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Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectColonialism...
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=2753&mesg_id=2754
2754, Colonialism...
Posted by Nettrice, Thu Dec-11-03 05:12 AM
...imperial power or the construction of empires allowed "missionaries" and colonists to divide the world up and get native and indigenous peoples to accept absolute and universal European ideas and ideals.

I am reminded of "The Mission" and "Rabbit-Proof Fence", two movies based on true stories that are examples of how colonialism, modernity, etc. broke down other cultures to create a "global village" based on European concepts.

In "The Mission" the Jesuits are challenged to convert the Guarani Indians of South America and then decide to unite to prevent the destruction of the tribe by 18th century colonial empires. In "Rabbit-Proof Fence" three aboriginal girls are separated from their mothers and transported to a distant training school, where they are prepared for assimilation into white society by a racist government policy (set by European colonists). I am also reminded of "Roots" that tells the tale of Kunta Kinte, a young African boy who is stolen from his home, survives Middle Passage and start a life & family in the U.S. He is forced to change his name and accept a different way of life.

At the core of all of these stories/events is colonialism and imperialism. By 1900, European and U.S. powers controlled 90% of Africa, 99% of Polynesia, 56% of Asia, 100% of Australia, and 27% of the Americas (http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pol116/colonies.htm). European colonial expansion had much to do with the creation of core or universal ideas and ideals. Also, by 1815 the world had known four hundred years of continuous European imperialism. This was an outward expansion of European power over other continents. Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, British colonial empires had followed one another throughout these four centuries. Always these extensions of control over non-European territories had involved, in varying proportions, trading, missionizing, adventure, settlement, loot, national pride, conquests, and wars between rival powers.

Once you have control you can then control the indoctrination and domestication of the people. The U.S., as a global power from 1898-present, is currently portrayed as the biggest bad guy and the big question in dominant U.S. foreign policy circles has been whether the country should assume leadership in a "one-superpower world" or subordinate itself to the decisions of international organizations like the United Nations.

The big problem is how these elite circles maintain the status quo by controlling foreign policy and related interests. Many countries struggle to get out from under this situation and some are called terrorists. This is not to say that terrorism is the answer to ending imperialism but I do think it is one reaction to the phenomenon.

An alternative is to reject imperialism (what Lenin called the highest form of capitalism) but how to regain control? This is something no one has been able to make happen successfully. People would need to be self-sufficient and cut all ties to foreign powers but that seems like a step into the past, not moving forward to a new future.