From post-colonial to neo-colonial | Political economics

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Determining the exact identity of Pakistani politics has remained the main challenge for me since entering the academic field. A nation-state in the name of religion was obviously, as Khalid bin Sayeed called it, “an aberration from the norm”, simply because the modern state system does not subscribe to religious ideology as its guiding principle.

Faisal Devji had a rather provocative title for his book, muslim zionwhich to many like Ayesha Jalal seemed inaccurate, if not an entirely arbitrary description of Pakistan. muslim zion argues that Pakistan has never been a nation-state, based on historical ties of lands and peoples. Just as Israel is the only Jewish state, Pakistan is the only Muslim state to make religion the sole basis of its nationality.

Despite all these contestations, there was hardly any dispute that it was a “postcolonial” state. An unbiased reading of Pakistan’s struggle for freedom, however, suggests that the Muslim rulers of northern India were vying for independence against the Indian National Congress and not against British overlords.

Nevertheless, for the past two decades it has been considered a postcolonial state. But that, too, turned out to be an inauthentic description of politics. Regime change last month, at America’s behest, proved that neocolonial was an apt description for the polity instead of postcolonial. In the lines that follow, I will make the clear distinction between the two epistemic frameworks, namely postcolonial and neocolonial.

Postcolonial thought has mainly been concerned with reporting on the political, aesthetic, economic, historical and social impact of European colonial domination on the world from the 18th to the 20th century. Robert Young’s book, Postcolonialism, a very short introduction, explains that post-colonialism “claims the right of all the peoples of this earth to the same material and cultural well-being. The reality, however, is that the world today is a world of inequality, and much of the difference lies across the wide divide between the peoples of the West and those of the non-Western”.

Edward Said’s theory of post-colonialism is based primarily on what he sees as the false image of the Orient or the Orient that has been fabricated by Western explorers, poets, novelists, philosophers, political theorists, economists and imperial administrators since Napoleon’s occupation of Egypt in 1798. For example, the British had a colonial presence in India from the 1700s until India gained independence in 1947. It is the cultural dimension of a postcolonial dispensation that had sociopolitical implications. As we can imagine, the Indian people, as well as the characters in Indian novels, have to deal with the economic, political and emotional effects that the British brought and left behind. The post-colonial took academia by storm after Said’s death Orientalism has been published. Personally, I maintain Young’s definition of the category that defies colonial structures and episteme.

Edward Said’s theory of post-colonialism is based primarily on what he sees as the false image of the Orient or the Orient that has been fabricated by Western explorers, poets, novelists, philosophers, political theorists, economists and imperial administrators since Napoleon’s occupation of Egypt in 1798.

Neocolonialism, on the other hand, is defined as the economic and political policies by which a great power (read United States of America here) indirectly maintains or extends its influence over other regions or peoples. Wary opponents of neo-colonialism are scrupulous about preserving their non-aligned credentials. Neo-colonialism has been widely understood as a further development of capitalism that allows capitalist powers (both nations and corporations) to dominate subject nations through the operations of international capitalism rather than by means of government. direct. Kwame Nkrumah, former President of Ghana (1960–1966), coined the term, which appeared in the 1963 preamble to the Charter of the Organization of African Unity and was the title of his 1965 book, Neo-colonialism, the last stage of imperialism (1965). Nkrumah theoretically developed and extended it in the post-war 20th century.

Socio-economic and political arguments were presented by Lenin in the pamphlet, Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism (1917). The brochure frames 19and The imperialism of the century as a logical extension of geopolitical power, to meet the financial investment needs of the political economy of capitalism.

jean paul Sartre Colonialism and Neocolonialism (1964) contains the first recorded use of the term neocolonialism (unhyphenated). The term has become an essential theme in African philosophy, more particularly in African political philosophy. Sartre had an abiding interest in the African struggle for decolonization. Chances are he borrowed the term from Nkrumah.

It is important to state that the idea of ​​neo-colonialism developed from the writings of Karl Marx (1818-1883) in his influential critique of capitalism as a stage in the socio-economic development of human society. . The continued relevance of Marxist socio-economic philosophy in contemporary times cannot be denied. The model of society structured by an economic base, legal and political superstructures and a certain form of social consciousness that Marx presented both in The capital and the Preface to the Critique of Political Economy remains important for socio-economic theory. Marx presents theories that explain a certain type of evil in capitalism.

The United States can be considered a neocolonial power because it influences less powerful or Third World nations like Pakistan through its economic authority wielded through its control or preeminent influence over agencies such as the World Bank and Fund international currency. He is able to exert his influence for reasons such as (a) the weakened position of the European powers; (b) the rise of consciousness against imperialism; (c) the needs of developed countries; (d) the continued dependence of new states on developed states; and (e) the impact of the Cold War.

The methods employed to impose and subsequently support neo-colonialism are (a) interference in the internal affairs of the new states; (b) supply of arms and armaments; (c) the use of foreign aid and loans; (d) control of international economic institutions; (e) the use of multinational corporations; and (f) create economic dependencies.

A careful study of the history (past and contemporary) of Pakistani foreign policy hints at the tangible existence of these reasons and methods. An interesting aspect of neo-colonialism is the fascination with America shown by our political, administrative and judicial elite. They can do anything to be part of the American dream.


The author is a professor at the Faculty of Liberal Arts in Beacon House National University, Lahore. He can be reached at [email protected]


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