Anti Colonial Nationalism

Anti-colonial and post-colonial nationalism are terms that have been used to describe countries that have gone through two historical phases, giving their experience of nationalism a dual character.

Anti-colonial nationalism refers to the first stage, where the indigenous population of the colonies begin questioning and then rejecting the supremacy and authority of the colonial powers. This usually emerges alongside a rising sense of their own national identity..

· Post-colonial nationalism refers to the second phase and the experiences of these nations once they have achieved their goal of independence.

The 'scramble for Africa' refers to a time period beginning in the 1880s when the European powers invaded, occupied and annexed Africa for their own interests. The Berlin Conference of 1884-85 aimed to regulate colonialisation and trade in Africa, and was the start of a period when European powers wiped out most forms of autonomous government in the African continent. Before this, only 10 per cent of Africa was under colonial rule; by 1914 the figure had risen to 90 per cent. To European powers, Africa was an untapped natural resource with an undeveloped economy and the potential to bring in huge profits, along with the opportunity to spread their own culture, language and religion across the globe.

When colonial powers rule over an area, they encourage the indigenous populations they ruled over to reject their own culture and traditions and adopt the ruler's language, culture and religion. Today many African nations have English, French or Portuguese as their official language — a leftover from colonial days.

Anti-colonial nationalism started when these oppressed nations began to recognise their oppression and reject the culture of their oppressors, wishing to follow their own traditional ways. The experience of colonial rule helped to forge a sense of nationhood and a desire for 'national liberation' among the peoples of Asia and Africa, and gave rise to a specifically anti-colonial form of nationalism. During the twentieth century, the political geography of much of the world was transformed by anti-colonialism. Although the Treaty of Versailles applied the principle of self-determination to Europe, it was conveniently ignored in other parts of the world, where German colonies were simply transferred to UK and French control. However, during the inter-war period, independence movements increasingly threatened the overstretched empires of the UK and France. The final collapse of the European empires came after World War II

In post-colonial societies, colonial rule was often replaced by non-Western or anti-Western ideas. Often these nations wished to throw off the yoke of colonialism in every way and certainly did not seek to replicate their oppressors by setting up capitalist, liberal democracies. In a sense, the colonising Europeans had taken with them the seed of their own destruction: the doctrine of nationalism. Many of the leaders of independence or liberation movements were western-educated. It is therefore not surprising that anti-colonial movements sometimes articulated their goals in the language of liberal nationalism, reminiscent of Mazzini or Woodrow Wilson. For these African and Asian nations, the quest for political independence was closely related to their awareness of eco­nomic under-development and their subordination to the industrialised states of Europe and North America. Anti-colonialism came to express the desire for national liberation in both political and economic terms, and continuing resistance to neo-colonialism. Therefore, many African and Asian nations saw the point of independence as being free to shape their own destiny, based on their traditional culture and practises. Often they looked towards socialist ideas to provide a framework. Post-colonial nationalism has found connections with socialism for a number of reasons.

· They related strongly to Lenin's analysis of imperialism as a form of capitalist oppression. For many colonies, Lenin's scrutiny gave them an insight into their oppression in economic terms. Lenin argued that rich, Western capitalist countries could 'buy off' the indigenous working-class of their colonies by exploiting and pillaging the raw materials and cheap labour.

· Former colonies have been attracted to socialist values that resonate with their more traditional ways of life as communities, co-operating together and sharing ownership.

The Russian Bolshevik leader V. I. Lenin (1870— 1924) had earlier provided the basis for such a view by portraying imperialism as essentially an economic phe­nomenon, a quest for profit by capitalist countries seeking investment oppor­tunities, cheap labour and raw materials, and secure markets (Lenin, [1916] 1970). The class struggle thus became a struggle against colonial exploitation and oppression. As a result, the overthrow of colonial rule implied not only political independence, but also a social revolution which would bring about economic as well as political emancipation.

In some cases, developing-world regimes have openly embraced Marxist—Leninist principles. On achieving independence, China, North Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia moved swiftly to seize foreign assets and nationalise economic resources. They founded one-party states and centrally planned economies, closely following the Soviet model. In other cases, states in Africa and the Mid­dle East have developed a less ideological form of nationalistic socialism, as has been evident in Algeria, Libya, Zambia, Iraq and South Yemen. The 'socialism' proclaimed in such countries usually took the form of an appeal to a unifying national cause or interest, in most cases economic or social development, as in the case of so-called 'African socialism', embraced, for instance, by Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Angola.

African Socialism

African Socialism was practised by Leopold Senghor of Senegal, Kwame Nkrurnah of Ghana and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania. Nyerere is also associated with the concept of Ujamaa — 'familyhood' in — which he used as the basis for the rejuvenation of Tanzania after it gained independence from Britain in 1961. Wanting a system unlike that of the colonial masters, Nyerere created a one-party state, with the nationalisation of industry and the collectivisation of agriculture. He also insisted on free education, resulting in extremely high literacy rates, and medical facilities that helped halve infant mortality. Nyerere aimed to unite Tanzania by encouraging Tanzanians to reject tribal loyalties, creating a relatively cohesive nation. However, his economic experiment failed, leaving poor infrastructure and a crippled economy reliant on international aid.

Kwame Nkrumah (pictured on a Soviet postage stamp) was a Ghanaian politician who coined the term "neocolonialism"

Neocolonialism is the practice of using economics, globalisation, cultural imperialism, and conditional aid to influence a country instead of the previous colonial methods of direct military control (imperialism) or indirect political control (hegemony). Neocolonialism differs from standard globalisation and development aid in that it typically results in a relationship of dependence, subservience, or financial obligation towards the neocolonialist nation. This may result in an undue degree of political control or spiraling debt obligations, functionally imitating the relationship of traditional colonialism.

Post-colonial nationalism has been linked with black nationalism through Marcus Garvey and the many movements that emerged from his ideas. Garvey was born in Jamaica but travelled to London and then the United States to extend his understanding. He saw black people returning from the Second World War, thinking that their war effort would lead to equal treatment by American society, only to see nothing change and losing hope of genuine equality.

Garvey believed that the answer was twofold.

. Black people should learn to be proud of their race and see beauty in themselves (for example, by leaving their hair naturally as 'afros', rather than straightening it to make it seem more like white people's hair).

. A second, more radical alternative, was for black people to go to Africa and set up an African nation in their ancient homeland. Only when black people could show white people that they could be successful economically, culturally and politically in their own homeland would they start to earn the respect of others and be treated as equals.