Chairman Omali speaks on….Neocolonialism: White power in black and brown faces (part 1)

The following is part one of two part series of a transcribed speech which was made by Chairman of the Black is Back Coalition, Omali Yeshitela at the National Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination Preparatory conference. The conference was held by the Black in Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparation’s on August 17 and 18, 2016.

Here, Chairman Omali takes gives us political analysis of neocolonialism, its historical conception and how it works to uphold the oppressive system of parasitic capitalism today. 

Part two of our series will be available next tuesday, October 4th.

Neocolonialism: the indirect foreign domination of a nation or people through control of the economy and social system. Within neocolonialism, members of the dominated nation or people are used as administrators of white power.

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One of the things, that I certainly tried to do on yesterday with this conference was not simply to lay out the fact that we are consolidating this National Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination. Not simply talking about what we’re going to be doing coming forward. But also struggling to place what it is that we’re doing, in some, political context, because obviously, everything that we’re talking about requires struggle against white power, imperialism. And that is important.

But sometimes, imperialism doesn’t come in its own face. In fact, increasingly, over the last two or three generations, it has been extremely difficult for imperialism to step forward in its own face. And because of this, we’ve seen the emergence of what Kwame Nkrumah characterized as neocolonialism.

This is when white power cannot easily govern masses of people directly. When the white man stands over us, we’ve always said, you know, the movement had developed to such a point, it was getting the white man. Getting the white man out of here, “kill whitey.”

You know, this had become a prominent slogan among oppressed peoples around the world. And, neocolonialism is something that we see emerge at that time in history where the masses are conscious of colonialism and have developed a state of resistance that makes it difficult, if not impossible, for white power to dominate us directly. And so, neocolonialism is that instance where direct white power, direct colonial rule, is indirect rule.

“Nigger-area” and neocolonialism

A man whose name was Frederick Lugard was British and he worked for some major corporations in England. And England, as most people know, up until 1945, controlled actually a quarter of the landmass of the world and a quarter of the world’s population dominated by England.

And, so England had a lot of territory that it controlled in Africa and a particular group of territories was something that it was paying, attention to. And it sent this man Lugard, to look at these two particular territories that it wanted to combine into one administrative entity.

He went there and with him went his mistress at the time, Flora Shaw. He later married Flora Shaw but Flora Shaw was, a well-known, prominently established journalist of her own, in her own right. And so England had given Lugard the responsibility of combining two territories in West Africa into one, one administrative whole. And while they were doing that, they were looking at what this thing could be called. They wanted to give it a name. And so Flora Shaw, Lugard’s mistress, said, “Why don’t we call it ‘nigger area’?” And that is what they named this territory. And, of course, ‘nigger area’ is what you now know as ‘Nigeria.’

That’s where ‘Nigeria’ comes from, ‘nigger area.’

Lugard was the one who really developed this whole concept of indirect rule. He decided that it was fruitless for the white man to continue to try to control these territories directly. And so he really developed this whole concept of indirect rule.

Let the oppressed administer the territories for us! And the oppressed, they ‘fou fou’ just like the rest of us. They know the dances, you know, they’re from the same ethnic groups and what have you. Let them become the rulers.

Neocolonial tools and the crisis of neocolonialism 

Neocolonialism is something that’s been around for a while. And I wanna mention this because, despite the fact that its been around for a while, and a lot of intellectuals have discussed this question of neocolonialism, it still seems, to be relatively successful, although there is a crisis of neocolonialism that we can see happening around the world.

You look at Cuba, Batista was a neocolonial tool of the United States. He ran Cuba for the United States. So you saw the revolution overthrew him. Somoza of Nicaragua, a tool of the United States. They got rid of him.

They even successfully used Noriega as a tool up until the Nicaraguan Revolution created a certain kind of crisis and they made him useless.

Saddam Hussein, he was their guy. He, he functioned, for them and, they used him to start a war with Iran with the objective of, of destroying the power of both Iran and Iraq.

So neocolonialism is something that has been around for a while but we’ve seen a crisis because although they used Hussein in that fashion, the fact is, he became a problem.

You know why Saddam Hussein became a problem? He became a problem because he was trying to industrialize Iraq. And if you had an industrialized Iraq, where all this oil was coming from, that means that the people now have their own use for their own oil. They, they can now use their own oil, and there’s no basis for them thus exporting oil, to the corporations in the United States and other places like that.

So the imperialists require what they like to refer to as ‘underdevelopment’ which simply means, exploited.

They require that people do not have their own capacity because at the moment you have your own capacity, then that means that you’re not dependent on this parasite that’s sucking your blood.

Neocolonialism upholds parasitic capitalism

And there’s still people who actually believe that the slave master is the one who feeds us––feeds the slave––when it’s obviously the other way around. It’s the slaves who feed the slave master, his children, send his children to school.

It’s colonialism that’s keep England afloat.

If you look at a place like France, for example, where they control fourteen so-called Francophone so-called states, in West Africa, where they receive directly 65 percent of the foreign, investment resources. Sixty-five percent goes directly to the French treasury that Africans in these territories don’t see.

Ivory Coast, Central African Republic, Cameroon, they never even see it, it goes directly to French treasury.

Then France charges them, 20 percent handling fees for stealing the sixty-five percent. So that’s eighty-five percent, of the gross domestic product that comes from these territories going directly to France which, obviously, the people cannot live off of.

Because that leaves them fifteen percent to live off, and then when a black petty bourgeoisie skims its off the top, then the people are lucky if they have five percent of the gross domestic product to try and survive.

They can’t live off of it so what do they do? They borrow from France. So they borrow their own money from France and they have to pay commercial fees to France for borrowing the money!

This is what neocolonialism does.

This is the kind of relationship that we have with white power all over the world! We feed them. We clothe them. We house them. And when you go to Africa, any place in Africa, with some minimum exceptions that you’ll find in South Africa and perhaps in Zimbabwe, is in a state of deterioration now.

There’s no infrastructure. There are no roads.

Those roads are not in Sierra Leone, those roads are not in Ghana, those roads are not in Sudan and all those other places, but you know where those roads are? Those roads are in Amsterdam. Those roads are here in the United States. Those roads are in France and other places.

Those are resources that came from those places that built and sustained Europe. This is the parasitic relationship that we have with white power today.

White power is a brutal social system which oppresses Africans and other colonized people

And this is one reason you’ll have to really, forgive me because I have no respect at all for the social system, I have no respect for white power in any way at all.

There’s nothing right that it does, it can’t tell me to stop sagging, it can’t tell me to do any damn thing! It’s a brutal social system that destroys the lives of millions of people everyday.

It’s no accident when they’re killing us. Capitalism itself established, its State as an enterprise for the purpose of exploiting and maintaining the control of oppressed peoples around the world.

And in this country, the specific features have been defined by taking this land from the Indigenous people here who are now on these damn concentration camps, stealing half of Mexico, and keeping African people in a state of slavery. This is how the State emerges here, this is what defines it. This is what gives it its role, what it does.

This is why in England, for years, there was no guns carried by police. Why were no guns carried by police? They didn’t need to carry guns in England. They were carrying guns in Nigeria. The English were!

They were carrying guns in India and all these other places where the British dominated people and that’s because the State has its role.

Capitalism was born from slavery

The State was born into society for the purpose of maintaining the status quo to protect the social system and the social system that came into existence in the world after feudalism was destroyed in Europe was capitalism.

And capitalism was born as a consequence of slavery and colonialism and imperial white domination of the world. And so the State is there to protect that. So they didn’t have to have the police in England at that time.

Now you see more armed police in England. Why? Because more of the Africans and other people are now in England. They have a domestic colony just like they do in this country. This is why they’re armed to the teeth in this country.

The Europeans have always feigned amazement at why there was so much violence and gun violence and so many guns in America when guns in America were here because the whole American enterprise was started by helping to kill people, to take their land and keep them enslaved, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So everybody was armed to the teeth.

And so it’s only recently that you and I got a gun. And now they wanna take it back. That’s the truth!

The reputations of Mexicans and black people always having knives and razors––that’s the only thing we could have because it was illegal for us to have guns. Right?

And, if they controlled us with sticks, it would be illegal to have a stick.

So this is what we’re looking at. This kind of relationship that we have…

Part two will be posted next Tuesday October 4th. 

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