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Noam Chomsky

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Topic: Noam Chomsky
Posted By: tatee
Subject: Noam Chomsky
Date Posted: Mar 28 2013 at 2:41pm" rel="nofollow - U.S. Role in Haiti's Destruction

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Date Posted: Mar 28 2013 at 2:46pm" rel="nofollow - History of U.S. Rule in Latin America

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LOVE Noam Chomsky!

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The Committee on Public Information

In March 1917, when United States entry into the war seemed inevitable (the declaration came one month later), rumors circulated in Washington that military leaders were again advocating censorship of the press. Beginning in June 1916 President Woodrow Wilson's attorney general, Thomas Gregory, had pushed for measures to punish members of the press found guilty of espionage and strictly limit freedom of the press and of speech. He tried again in February 1917, but on each occasion Congress balked. The administration tried again following the declaration of war and found the mood in Congress much more receptive. Newspaperman, muckraker, and Wilson adviser George Creel sent the president a memo urging a voluntary agreement with the press to control information rather than the institution of formal censorship. Wilson agreed and created the Committee on Public Information (CPI), with Creel as its chairman. The other members of the committee would be the secretaries of war, state, and the navy, who had themselves suggested such a committee to the president on 13 April 1917, writing that Americans ought to be "given the feeling of partisanship that comes with full, frank statements concerning the conduct of the public business." Given Creel's background as a crusader and his fiery temperament, many observers felt that putting him in charge of rallying public opinion for the war was most unwise. Wilson's stated fear—that once into war the American people would "forget that there was ever such a thing as tolerance"—was realized in part because of the work of the CPI. It prevented formal censorship on the home front (not in the combat theater, where strict censorship reigned) but raised serious questions about where the line lay between public information and propaganda.

Expert Communication or Propaganda?

The CPI organized a speaker's bureau of seventy-five thousand people, known as the "Four-Minute Men." They traveled all over the country making short speeches to rally the public for the war effort. By 1918 they were being told to make liberal use of war atrocity stories in their speeches. Creel recruited advertising experts and prominent journalists such as Ida M. Tarbell, Ernest Poole, Ray Stannard Baker, and Will Irwin to publish a daily newspaper with a circulation of one hundred thousand, known as theOfficial Bulletin. A government wire service supplied official information from all over the world. To some observers Creel expertly mobilized every form of communication in the cause of the war. To others he incited the "righteous wrath" of the public against the "Hun" and the "Boche." Writer Raymond B. Fosdick (who was also head of the Commission on Training Camp Activities) summarized the attitude of the American people: "We hated with a common hate that was exhilarating." Fosdick ob-served a church meeting where a speaker demanded that the kaiser be boiled in oil, and the congregation rose to its feet in hysterical approval. Such spectacles chilled civil libertarians.

Pamphlets, Publications, and Movies

The CPI regularly issued publications with titles such as "German War Practices" and "The German Whisper," written as exposés of enemy tactics. They certainly inflamed the public. At the outset of the publicity campaign, the committee made films with innocuous titles such as Our Colored Fighters and Pershing's Crusaders. By war's end they had turned to producing movies such as The Kaiser: The Beast of Berlin, and The Prussian Cur. Creel sent the writer Lowell Thomas to Europe to collect stories that could be used to stir appropriate sentiment. When the Western Front proved too gory for good recruiting material, he went on to the Middle East where T. E. Lawrence was fighting along with the Arabs against the Turks. Thomas's romanticized dispatches about Lawrence helped to shape one of the indelible myths to come from the war, that of Lawrence of Arabia. Lawrence called Thomas, who grew rich off creating the legend, "the American who made my vulgar reputation; a well-intentioned, intensely crude and pushful fellow."

Terrible Legacy

While avoiding formal censorship, the CPI's Official Bulletin certainly blacked out information that did not reflect favorably on the war effort. In the aftermath of the war the public and Congress grew progressively more outraged over having been, as they saw it, "duped" into war in the first place. Despite all the criticism Creel received personally for his temper during the war, the CPI became far more notorious as a source of foul and misleading propaganda after it had been disbanded. When the United States mobilized for World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt designed his public information policies in large measure by trying not to duplicate the mission and the spirit of the CPI.


Roy Howard, the president of the United Press wire service, left Paris for Brest on 7 November 1918 to board an army transport for home. He knew that the warring parties had worked out the terms of the armistice but had not yet announced them. In Brest he found celebrations in the streets. Adm. Henry B. Wilson, the commander of the U.S. Navy in France, showed Howard a telegram from the U.S. embassy announcing the signing of the armistice. With the admiral's permission, Howard immediately filed a report to the United Press (UP).

The dissemination of the report in the United States set off furious celebrations there as well, but lacking further corroboration, many editors viewed it with caution. Later that day the Associated Press reported that the Germans had not yet agreed to the armistice terms. At about the same time a courier reached Brest cautioning Adm. Wilson that the previous telegram could not be confirmed. Wilson that the previous telegram could not be confirmed. Wilson filed a correction, but the wires were jammed and it did not get through for several more hours.

While the UP had acted in good faith, indignation against the wire ran high, especially among its competitors. The source of the erroneous telegram remains a mystery.


John Hohenberg, Foreign Correspondence: The Great Reporters and Their Times second edition (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1995).


George Creel, How We Advertised America (New York: Harper, 1920);

David Kennedy, Over Here: The First World War and American Society(New York: Oxford University Press, 1980);

Stephen Vaughn, Holding Fast the Inner Lines: Democracy, Nationalism, and the Committee on Public Information (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980)." rel="nofollow -

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Posted By: tatee
Date Posted: May 16 2013 at 11:18am
Slavery did not end with the Civil War, despite the Constitutional Amendments that prohibited it in principle. The war was followed by a decade of partial freedom for African Americans, but by 1877, with the end of Reconstruction, slavery was reconstituted in a new and even more sadistic form, as Black life was effectively criminalized and sentencing was rendered permanent by various means, while brutalizing prison labor provided a large part of the basis not only for agricultural production, as under chattel slavery, but also for the American industrial revolution.

In the past 30 years, a new form of criminalization has been instituted, much of it in the context of the "drug wars," leading to a huge increase in incarceration, mostly targeting minorities. This provided a new supply of prison labor, much of it in violation of international labor conventions. Ever since the first slaves were brought to the colonies, life for African Americans has scarcely escaped the bonds of slavery.

Source:" rel="nofollow - Hopes and Prospects, by Noam Chomsky, p. 79  , Jun 1, 2010

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Posted By: tatee
Date Posted: Jan 06 2014 at 8:38am
Public Education "Failure by Design,"

By Noam Chomsky

April 05, 2012 "" rel="nofollow - " ---  Public education is under attack around the world, and in response, student protests have recently been held in Britain, Canada, Chile, Taiwan and elsewhere.

California is also a battleground. The Los Angeles Times reports on another chapter in the campaign to destroy what had been the greatest public higher education system in the world: "California State University officials announced plans to freeze enrollment next spring at most campuses and to wait-list all applicants the following fall pending the outcome of a proposed tax initiative on the November ballot."

Similar defunding is under way nationwide. "In most states," The New York Times reports, "it is now tuition payments, not state appropriations, that cover most of the budget," so that "the era of affordable four-year public universities, heavily subsidized by the state, may be over."

Community colleges increasingly face similar prospects – and the shortfalls extend to grades K-12.

"There has been a shift from the belief that we as a nation benefit from higher education, to a belief that it's the people receiving the education who primarily benefit and so they should foot the bill," concludes Ronald G. Ehrenberg, a trustee of the State University system of New York and director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute.

A more accurate description, I think, is "Failure by Design," the title of a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, which has long been a major source of reliable information and analysis on the state of the economy.

The EPI study reviews the consequences of the transformation of the economy a generation ago from domestic production to financialization and offshoring. By design; there have always been alternatives.

One primary justification for the design is what Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz called the "religion" that "markets lead to efficient outcomes," which was recently dealt yet another crushing blow by the collapse of the housing bubble that was ignored on doctrinal grounds, triggering the current financial crisis.

Claims are also made about the alleged benefits of the radical expansion of financial institutions since the 1970s. A more convincing description was provided by Martin Wolf, senior economic correspondent for The Financial Times: "An out-of-control financial sector is eating out the modern market economy from inside, just as the larva of the spider wasp eats out the host in which it has been laid."

The EPI study observes that the "Failure of Design" is class-based. For the designers, it has been a stunning success, as revealed by the astonishing concentration of wealth in the top 1 percent, in fact the top 0.1 percent, while the majority has been reduced to virtual stagnation or decline.

In short, when they have the opportunity, "the Masters of Mankind" pursue their "vile maxim" [ all for ourselves and nothing for other people," as Adam Smith explained long ago.

Mass public education is one of the great achievements of American society. It has had many dimensions. One purpose was to prepare independent farmers for life as wage laborers who would tolerate what they regarded as virtual slavery.

The coercive element did not pass without notice. Ralph Waldo Emerson observed that political leaders call for popular education because they fear that "This country is filling up with thousands and millions of voters, and you must educate them to keep them from our throats." But educated the right way: Limit their perspectives and understanding, discourage free and independent thought, and train them for obedience.

The "vile maxim" and its implementation have regularly called forth resistance, which in turn evokes the same fears among the elite. Forty years ago there was deep concern that the population was breaking free of apathy and obedience.

At the liberal internationalist extreme, the Trilateral Commission – the nongovernmental policy group from which the Carter Administration was largely drawn – issued stern warnings in 1975 that there is too much democracy, in part due to the failures of the institutions responsible for "the indoctrination of the young." On the right, an important 1971 memorandum by Lewis Powell, directed to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the main business lobby, wailed that radicals were taking over everything – universities, media, government, etc. – and called on the business community to use its economic power to reverse the attack on our prized way of life – which he knew well. As a lobbyist for the tobacco industry, he was quite familiar with the workings of the nanny state for the rich that he called "the free market."

Since then, many measures have been taken to restore discipline. One is the crusade for privatization – placing control in reliable hands.

Another is sharp increases in tuition, up nearly 600 percent since 1980. These produce a higher education system with "far more economic stratification than is true of any other country," according to Jane Wellman, former director of the Delta Cost Project, which monitors these issues. Tuition increases trap students into long-term debt and hence subordination to private power.

Justifications are offered on economic grounds, but are singularly unconvincing. In countries rich to poor, including Mexico next-door, tuition remains free or nominal. That was true as well in the United States itself when it was a much poorer country after World War II and huge numbers of students were able to enter college under the GI bill – a factor in uniquely high economic growth, even putting aside the significance in improving lives.

Another device is the corporatization of the universities. That has led to a dramatic increase in layers of administration, often professional instead of drawn from the faculty as before; and to imposition of a business culture of "efficiency" – an ideological notion, not just an economic one.

One illustration is the decision of state colleges to eliminate programs in nursing, engineering and computer science, because they are costly – and happen to be the professions where there is a labor shortage, as The New York Times reports. The decision harms the society but conforms to the business ideology of short-term gain without regard for human consequences, in accord with the vile maxim.

Some of the most insidious effects are on teaching and monitoring. The Enlightenment ideal of education was captured in the image of education as laying down a string that students follow in their own ways, developing their creativity and independence of mind.

The alternative, to be rejected, is the image of pouring water into a vessel – and a very leaky one, as all of us know from experience. The latter approach includes teaching to test and other mechanisms that destroy students' interest and seek to fit them into a mold, easily controlled. All too familiar today.

© 2012 Noam Chomsky

Posted By: tatee
Date Posted: Jan 07 2014 at 7:58am" rel="nofollow -


What the hell is gang stalking?" rel="nofollow -

Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself. As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda, in its most basic sense, presents information primarily to influence an audience. Propaganda is often biased, with facts selectively presented (thus possibly lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or uses loaded messages to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the attitude toward the subject in the target audience to further a political, or other type of agenda. Propaganda can be used as a form of political warfare.

"There's no doubt that one of the major issues of twentieth century history, surely in the US, is corporate propaganda.... Its goal from the beginning, perfectly openly and consciously, was to 'control the public mind,' as they put it. The reason was that the public mind was seen as the greatest threat to the corporations."—Noam Chomsky

"The man who is possessed of wealth, who lolls on his sofa or rolls in his carriage, cannot judge the wants or feelings of the day-laborer. The government we mean to erect is intended to last for ages. The landed interest, at present, is prevalent; but in process of time, when we approximate to the states and kingdoms of Europe, when the number of landholders shall be comparatively small, through the various means of trade and manufactures, will not the landed interest be overbalanced in future elections, and unless wisely provided against, what will become of your government? In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The senate, therefore, ought to be this body; and to answer these purposes, they ought to have permanency and stability." - James Madison.

Statement (1787-06-26) as quoted in Notes of the Secret Debates of the Federal Convention of 1787

Posted By: tatee
Date Posted: Mar 20 2014 at 8:09am
                             Consent Without Consent
                                                    excerpted from the book
                                                       Profit Over People
                                                      by Noam Chomsky
                                               Seven Stories Press, 1999

... Over the years, popular forces have sought to gain a larger share in managing their affairs, with some success alongside many defeats. Meanwhile an instructive body of thought has been developed to justify elite resistance to democracy. Those who hope to understand the past and shape the future would do well to pay careful attention not only to the practice but also to the doctrinal framework that supports it.
The issues were addressed 250 years ago by David Hume in classic work. Hume was intrigued by "the easiness with which the many are governed by the few, the implicit submission with which men resign" their fate to their rulers. This he found surprising, because "force is always on the side of the governed." If people would realize that, they would rise up and overthrow the masters. He concluded that government is founded on control of opinion, a principle that "extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular."
Hume surely underestimated the effectiveness of brute force. A more accurate version is that the more "free and popular" a government, the more it becomes necessary to rely on control of opinion to ensure submission to the rulers.
That people must submit is taken for granted pretty much across the spectrum. In a democracy, the governed have the right to consent, but nothing more than that. In the terminology of modern progressive thought, the population may be "spectators," but not "participants," apart from occasional choices among leaders representing authentic power. That is the political arena. The general population must be excluded entirely from the economic arena, where what happens in the society is largely determined. Here the public is to have no role, according to prevailing democratic theory.
... The founding fathers repeated the sentiments of the British "men of best quality" in almost the same words. As one put it "When I mention the public, I mean to include only the rational part of it. The ignorant and vulgar are as unfit to judge of the modes [of government], as they are unable to manage [its] reins." The people are a "great beast" that must be tamed, his colleague Alexander Hamilton declared. Rebellious and independent farmers had to be taught, sometimes by force, that the ideals of the revolutionary pamphlets were not to be taken too seriously. The common people were not to be represented by countrymen like themselves, who know the people's sores, but by gentry, merchants, lawyers, and other "responsible men" who could be trusted to defend privilege.
The reigning doctrine was expressed clearly by the President of the Continental Congress and first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay "The people who own the country ought to govern it." One issue remained to be settled Who owns the country? The question was answered by the rise of private corporations and the structures devised to protect and support them, though it remains a difficult task to compel the public to keep to the spectator role.
The United States is surely the most important case to study if we hope to understand the world of today and tomorrow. One reason is its incomparable power. Another is its stable democratic institutions. Furthermore, the United States was as close to a tabula rasa as one can find. America can be "as happy as she pleases," Thomas Paine remarked in 1776 "she has a blank sheet to write upon." The indigenous societies were largely eliminated. The U.S. also has little residue of earlier European structures, one reason for the relative weakness of the social contract and of support systems, which often had their roots in pre-capitalist institutions. And to an unusual extent, the sociopolitical order was consciously designed. In studying history, one cannot construct experiments, but the United States is as close to the "ideal case" of state capitalist democracy as can be found.
The main designer, furthermore, was an astute political thinker James Madison, whose views largely prevailed. In the debates on the Constitution, Madison pointed out that if elections in England" were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place," giving land to the landless. The Constitutional system must be designed to prevent such injustice and "secure the permanent interests of the country," which are property rights.
Among Madisonian scholars, there is a consensus that "the Constitution was intrinsically an aristocratic document designed to check the democratic tendencies of the period," delivering power to a "better sort" of people and excluding those who were not rich, well born, or prominent from exercising political power (Lance Banning). The primary responsibility of government is "to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority," Madison declared. That has been the guiding principle of the democratic system from its origins until today.
In public discussion, Madison spoke of the rights of minorities in general, but it is quite clear that he had a particular minority in mind "the minority of the opulent." Modern political theory stresses Madison's belief that "in a just and a free government the rights both of property and of persons ought to be effectually guarded." But in this case too it is useful to look at the doctrine more carefully. There are no rights of property, only rights to property that is, rights of persons with property. Perhaps I have a right to my car, but my car has no rights. The right to property also differs from others in that one person's possession of property deprives another of that right if I own my car, you do not; but in a just and free society, my freedom of speech would not limit yours. The Madisonian principle, then, is that government must guard the rights of persons generally, but must provide special and additional guarantees for the rights of one class of persons, property owners.
Madison foresaw that the threat of democracy was likely to become more severe over time because of the increase in "the proportion of those who will labor under all the hardships of life, and secretly sigh for a more equal distribution of its blessings." They might gain influence, Madison feared. He was concerned by the "symptoms of a leveling spirit" that had already appeared, and warned "of the future danger" if the right to vote would place "power over property in hands without a share in it." Those "without property, or the hope of acquiring it, cannot be expected to sympathize sufficiently with its rights," Madison explained. His solution was to keep political power in the hands of those who "come from and represent the wealth of the nation," the "more capable set of men," with the general public fragmented and disorganized...
...The National Security States installed and backed by the United States are discussed in an important book by Lars Schoultz, one of the leading Latin American scholars. Their goal, in his words, was "to destroy permanently a perceived threat to the existing structure of socioeconomic privilege by eliminating the political participation of the numerical majority," Hamilton's "great beast." The goal is basically the same in the home society, though the means are different.
The pattern continues today. The champion human rights violator in the hemisphere is Colombia, also the leading recipient of U.S. military aid and training in recent years. The pretext is the "drug war," but that is "a myth," as regularly reported by major human rights groups, the church, and other who have investigated the shocking record of atrocities and the close links between the narcotraffickers, landowners, the military, and their paramilitary associates. State terror has devastated popular organizations and virtually destroyed the one independent political party by assassination of thousands of activists, including presidential candidates, mayors, and others. Nonetheless Colombia is hailed as a stable democracy, revealing again what is meant by "democracy."
A particularly instructive example is the reaction to Guatemala's first experiment with democracy. In this case the secret record is partially available, so we know a good deal about the thinking that guided policy. In 1952 the CIA warned that the "radical and nationalist policies" of the government had gained "the support or acquiescence of almost all Guatemalans." The government was "mobilizing the hitherto politically inert peasantry" and creating "mass support for the present regime" by means of labor organization, agrarian reform, and other policies "identified with the revolution of 1944," which had aroused "a strong national movement to free Guatemala from the military dictatorship, social backwardness, and 'economic colonialism' which had been the pattern of the past." The policies of the democratic government "inspired the loyalty and conformed to the self-interest of most politically conscious Guatemalans." State Department intelligence reported that the democratic leadership "insisted upon the maintenance of an open political system," thus allowing Communists to "expand their operations and appeal effectively to various sectors of the population." These deficiencies of democracy were cured by the military coup of 1954 and the reign of terror since, always with large-scale U.S. support.
The problem of securing" consent" has also arisen with international institutions. At first, the United Nations was a reliable instrument of U.S. policy, and was greatly admired. But decolonization brought about what came to be called "the tyranny of the majority." From the 1 960s Washington took the lead in vetoing Security Council resolutions (with Britain second, and France a distant third), and voting alone or with a few client states against General Assembly resolutions. The UN fell into disfavor, and sober articles began to appear asking why the world was "opposing the United States"; that the United States might be opposing the world is a thought too bizarre to be entertained. U.S. relations with the World Court and other international institutions have undergone a similar evolution...
... doctrines ... have been crafted to impose the modern forms of political democracy. They are expressed quite accurately in an important manual of the public relations industry by one of its leading figures, Edward Bernays. He opens by observing that the conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. To carry out this essential task the intelligent minorities must make use of propaganda continuously and systematically," because they alone "understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses" and can "pull the wires which control the public mind. Therefore, our "society has consented to permit free competition to be organized by leadership and propaganda," another case of "consent without consent." Propaganda provides the leadership with a mechanism "to mold the mind of the masses" so that "they will throw their newly gained strength in the desired direction." The leadership can "regiment the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments the bodies of its soldiers." This process of "engineering consent" is the very "essence of the democratic process," Bernays wrote ...
***" rel="nofollow -

Posted By: tatee
Date Posted: Mar 20 2014 at 9:52am

The Mohawk Valley Formula

"The Mohawk Valley formula is a plan for strikebreaking purportedly written by the president of the Remington Rand company James Rand, Jr. around the time of the Remington Rand strike at Ilion, New York.

The plan includes discrediting union leaders, frightening the public with the threat of violence, using local police and vigilantes to intimidate strikers, forming puppet associations of "loyal employees" to influence public debate, fortifying workplaces, employing large numbers of replacement workers, and threatening to close the plant if work is not resumed."

"Elements of the formula - The following is the text of the Mohawk Valley formula as quoted in the labor press:

1.When a strike is threatened, label the union leaders as "agitators" to discredit them with the public and their own followers. Conduct balloting under the foremen to ascertain the strength of the union and to make possible misrepresentation of the strikers as a small minority. Exert economic pressure through threats to move the plant, align bankers, real estate owners and businessmen into a "Citizens' Committee".
2.Raise high the banner of "law and order", thereby causing the community to mass legal and police weapons against imagined violence and to forget that employees have equal rights with others in the community.
3.Call a "mass meeting" to coordinate public sentiment against the strike and strengthen the Citizens' Committee.
4.Form a large police force to intimidate the strikers and exert a psychological effect. Utilize local police, state police, vigilantes and special deputies chosen, if possible, from other neighborhoods.
5.Convince the strikers their cause is hopeless with a "back-to-work" movement by a puppet association of so-called "loyal employees" secretly organized by the employer.
6.When enough applications are on hand, set a date for opening the plant by having such opening requested by the puppet "back-to-work" association.
7.Stage the "opening" theatrically by throwing open the gates and having the employees march in a mass protected by squads of armed police so as to dramatize and exaggerate the opening and heighten the demoralizing effect.
8.Demoralize the strikers with a continuing show of force. If necessary turn the locality into a warlike camp and barricade it from the outside world.
9.Close the publicity barrage on the theme that the plant is in full operation and the strikers are merely a minority attempting to interfere with the right to work. With this, the campaign is over—-the employer has broken the strike.
A similar, although more nuanced and longer, version was published in The Nation in 1937."" rel="nofollow - video

Posted By: tatee
Date Posted: Mar 20 2014 at 10:56am
"The point of getting power down to the state is so that any business even middle size business, can make sure that the money goes into their pockets.  Not in the pockets of poor people.  It's trickier to do it at the federal level."

Posted By: tatee
Date Posted: Mar 20 2014 at 12:22pm" rel="nofollow -


Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky demolish one of the central tenets of our political culture, the idea of the "liberal media." Instead, utilizing a systematic model based on massive empirical research, they reveal the manner in which the news media are so subordinated to corporate and conservative interests that their function can only be described as that of "elite propaganda."

"If you want to understand the way a system works, you look at its institutional structure. How it is organized, how it is controlled, how it is funded." -Noam Chomsky

"The Mainstream media really represent elite interests, and what the propaganda model tries to do is stipulate a set of institutional variables, reflecting this elite power, that very powerfully influence the media." -Edward Herman

Posted By: tatee
Date Posted: Mar 28 2014 at 9:37am" rel="nofollow -

"They don't hate us because they hate our freedoms - they hate us because they want their freedoms"

Posted By: tatee
Date Posted: Apr 20 2014 at 8:14am


By" rel="nofollow - Robert J 21/11/2011 19:21:00
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Neocolonialism is the practice of using capitalism, globalization, and cultural forces to control a country (usually former European colonies in Africa or Asia) in lieu of direct military or political control. Such control can be economic, cultural, or linguistic; by promoting one's own culture, language or media in the colony, corporations embedded in that culture can then make greater headway in opening the markets in those countries. Thus, neocolonialism would be the end result of relatively benign business interests leading to deleterious cultural effects.

The term 'neocolonialism' was first coined by Kwame Nkrumah, the first post-independence president of Ghana, and has been discussed by a number of twentieth century scholars and philosophers, including Jean-Paul Sartre and Noam Chomsky.

"Neocolonialism" is a term used by post-colonial critics of developed countries' involvement in the developing world. Writings within the theoretical framework of neocolonialism argue that existing or past international economic arrangements created by former colonial powers were or are used to maintain control of their former colonies and dependencies after the colonial independence movements of the post–World War II period. The term neocolonialism can combine a critique of current actual colonialism (where some states continue administrating foreign territories and their populations in violation of United Nations resolutions) and a critique of the involvement of modern capitalist businesses in nations which were former colonies. Critics adherent to neocolonialism contend that multinational corporations continue to exploit the resources of post-colonial states, and that this economic control inherent to neocolonialism is akin to the classical, European colonialism practiced from the 16th to the 20th centuries. In broader usage, neocolonialism may simply refer to the involvement of powerful countries in the affairs of less powerful countries; this is especially relevant in modern Latin America. In this sense, neocolonialism implies a form of contemporary "economic imperialism": that powerful nations behave like colonial powers of imperialism, and that this behavior is likened to colonialism in a post-colonial world.
Origins of the term: charges against former colonial powers

    "As long as imperialism exists it will, by definition, exert its domination over other countries. Today that domination is called neocolonialism."
    — Che Guevara, Marxist revolutionary, 1965

Kwame Nkrumah, first president of Ghana, and one of the coiners of the term "neocolonialism", pictured on a Soviet stamp (1989).

The term neocolonialism first saw widespread use, particularly in reference to Africa, soon after the process of decolonization which followed a struggle by many national independence movements in the colonies following World War II. Upon gaining independence, some national leaders and opposition groups argued that their countries were being subjected to a new form of colonialism, waged by the former colonial powers and other developed nations. Kwame Nkrumah, who in 1957 became leader of newly independent Ghana, was one of the most notable figures to use the term. A classical definition of neocolonialism is given in his Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism (1965). The work is self-defined as an extension of Vladimir Lenin's Imperialism, the Last Stage of Capitalism (1916), in which Lenin argues that 19th century imperialism is predicated upon the needs of the capitalist system. Nkrumah argues that "In place of colonialism as the main instrument of imperialism we have today neo-colonialism. Neo-colonialism, like colonialism, is an attempt to export the social conflicts of the capitalist countries." He continues:

    The result of neo-colonialism is that foreign capital is used for the exploitation rather than for the development of the less developed parts of the world. Investment under neo-colonialism increases rather than decreases the gap between the rich and the poor countries of the world. The struggle against neo-colonialism is not aimed at excluding the capital of the developed world from operating in less developed countries. It is aimed at preventing the financial power of the developed countries being used in such a way as to impoverish the less developed.

Pan-African and Non-Aligned movements

Initially the term was popularised largely through the activities of scholars and leaders from the newly independent states of Africa and the Pan-Africanist movement. Many of these leaders came together with those of other post colonial states at the Bandung Conference of 1955, leading to the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement. The All-African Peoples' Conference (AAPC) meetings of the late 1950s and early 1960s spread this critique of makku- neocolonialism. Their Tunis conference of 1960 and Cairo conference of 1961 specified their opposition to what they labeled neocolonialism, singling out the French Community of independent states organised by the former colonial power. In its four page Resolution on Neocolonialism is cited as a landmark for having presented a collectively arrived at definition of neocolonialism and a description of its main features. Throughout the Cold War, the Non-Aligned Movement, and organisations like the Organization of Solidarity with the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America defined neocolonialism as a primary collective enemy of these independent states.

Denunciations of neocolonialism also became popular with some national independence movements while they were still waging anti-colonial armed struggle. During the 1970s, in the Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola for example, the Marxist movements FRELIMO and MPLA, which were to eventually assume power upon those nations' independence, denounced neocolonialism as well as colonialism.

Paternalistic neocolonialism

The term "paternalistic neocolonialism" involves the belief held by a neo-colonial power that their colonial subjects benefit from their occupation. Critics of neocolonialism, arguing that this is both exploitive and racist, contend this is merely a justification for continued political hegemony and economic exploitation of past colonies, and that such justifications are the modern reformulation of the civilizing mission concepts of the 19th century.

Foreign mercenaries, like these United States and British veterans training anti-insurgency troops in Sierra Leone, are often accused of being instruments of Neocolonial powers. French government minister Jacques Foccart was alleged to have used mercenaries like Bob Denard to maintain friendly governments or overthrow unfriendly governments in France's former colonies.

The classic example used to define modern neocolonialism is Françafrique: a term that refers to the continuing close relationship between France and some leaders of its former African colonies. It was first used by president of the Côte d'Ivoire Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who appears to have used it in a positive sense, to refer to good relations between France and Africa, but it was subsequently borrowed by critics of this close (and they would say) unbalanced relationship. Jacques Foccart, who from 1960 was chief of staff for African matters for president Charles de Gaulle (1958–69) and then Georges Pompidou (1969–1974), is claimed to be the leading exponent of Françafrique. The term was coined by François-Xavier Verschave as the title of his criticism of French policies in Africa: La Françafrique, The longest Scandal of the Republic.

In 1972, Mongo Beti, a writer in exile from Cameroon published Main basse sur le Cameroun, autopsie d'une décolonisation ('Cruel hand on Cameroon, autopsy of a decolonization'), a critical history of recent Cameroon, which asserted that Cameroon and other colonies remained under French control in all but name, and that the post-independence political elites had actively fostered this continued dependence.

Verschave, Beti and others point to a forty-year post-independence relationship with nations of the former African colonies, whereby French troops maintain forces on the ground (often used by friendly African leaders to quell revolts) and French corporations maintain monopolies on foreign investment (usually in the form of extraction of natural resources). French troops in Africa were (and it is argued, still are) often involved in coups d'état resulting in a regime acting in the interests of France but against its country's own interests.

Those leaders closest to France (particularly during the Cold War) are presented in this critique as agents of continued French control in Africa. Those most often mentioned are the recently deceased Omar Bongo, former president of Gabon, Félix Houphouët-Boigny, former president of Côte d'Ivoire, Gnassingbé Eyadéma, former president of Togo, Denis Sassou-Nguesso, of the Republic of the Congo, Idriss Déby, president of Chad, and Hamani Diori former president of Niger.


The French Community and the later Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie are defined by critics as agents of French neocolonial influence, especially in Africa. While the main thrust of this claim is that the Francophonie organisation is a front for French dominance of post-colonial nations, the relation with the French language is often more complex. Algerian intellectual Kateb Yacine wrote in 1966 that

    Francophonie is a neocolonial political machine, which only perpetuates our alienation, but the usage of French language does not mean that one is an agent of a foreign power, and I write in French to tell the French that I am not French.

Belgian Congo

After a hastened decolonization process of the Belgian Congo, Belgium continued to control, through The Société Générale de Belgique, an estimate of 70% of the Congolese economy following the decolonization process. The most contested part was in the province of Katanga where the Union Minière du Haut Katanga, part of the Société, had control over the mineral and resource rich province. After a failed attempt to nationalize the mining industry in the 1960s, it was reopened to foreign investment.

United Kingdom

Critics of British relations with its former African colonies point out that the United Kingdom viewed itself as a "civilizing force" bringing "progress" and modernization to its colonies. This mindset, they argue, has enabled continued military and economic dominance in some of its former colonies, and has been seen again following British intervention in Sierra Leone. on the other hand, it was Nigeria that first intervened in Sierra Leone.

Neocolonialism as economic dominance
United States President Harry S. Truman greets Mohammad Mosaddeq, Prime Minister of Iran, 1951. Mosaddeq, who had begun nationalising US and British owned oil companies in Iran, was removed from power on August 19, 1953, in a coup d'état, supported and funded by the British and U.S. governments and led by General Fazlollah Zahedi .
US President Jimmy Carter and Lt. Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo tour Lagos, Nigeria. April, 1978. Obasanjo had come to power in a coup three years earlier, and as an oil rich state, courted both sides in the Cold War.

    "We, politely referred to as 'underdeveloped', in truth are colonial, semi-colonial or dependent countries. We are countries whose economies have been distorted by imperialism, which has abnormally developed those branches of industry or agriculture needed to complement its complex economy. 'Underdevelopment', or distorted development, brings a dangerous specialization in raw materials, inherent in which is the threat of hunger for all our peoples. We, the 'underdeveloped', are also those with the single crop, the single product, the single market. A single product whose uncertain sale depends on a single market imposing and fixing conditions. That is the great formula for imperialist economic domination."
    — Che Guevara, Marxist revolutionary, 1961

In broader usage the charge of Neocolonialism has been leveled at powerful countries and transnational economic institutions who involve themselves in the affairs of less powerful countries. In this sense, 'Neo'colonialism implies a form of contemporary, economic Imperialism: that powerful nations behave like colonial powers, and that this behavior is 'likened to' colonialism in a post-colonial world.

In lieu of direct military-political control, neocolonialist powers are said to employ financial, and trade policies to dominate less powerful countries. Those who subscribe to the concept maintain this amounts to a de facto control over less powerful nations ('see Immanuel Wallerstein's World Systems Theory').

Both previous colonizing states and other powerful economic states maintain a continuing presence in the economies of former colonies, especially where it concerns raw materials. Stronger nations are thus charged with interfering in the governance and economics of weaker nations to maintain the flow of such material, at prices and under conditions which unduly benefit developed nations and trans-national corporations.

Dependency theory
Main article: Dependency theory

The concept of economic neocolonialism was given a theoretical basis, in part, through the work of Dependency theory. This body of social science theories, both from developed and developing nations, is predicated on the notion that there is a center of wealthy states and a periphery of poor, underdeveloped states. Resources are extracted from the periphery and flow towards the states at the center in order to sustain their economic growth and wealth. A central concept is that the poverty of the countries in the periphery is the result of the manner of their integration of the "world system", a view to be contrasted with that of free market economists, who argue that such states are progressing on a path to full integration. This theory is based on the Marxist analysis of inequalities within the world system, dependency argues that underdevelopment of the Global South is a direct result of the development in the Global North. Neocolonialism originates from the Latin concept of letting one rule for the success of all

The basis of much of this Marxist theory is in theories of the "semi-colony", which date back to the late 19th century.

Proponents of such theories include Federico Brito Figueroa a Venezuelan historian who has written widely on the socioeconomic underpinnings of both colonialism and neocolonialism. Brito's works and theories strongly influenced the thinking of current Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez.

The Cold War
Main article: Cold War

In the late 20th century conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States, the charge of neocolonialism was often aimed at Western and less often, Soviet involvement in the affairs of developing nations. Proxy Wars, many in former colonised nations, were funded by both sides throughout this period. Cuba, the Soviet bloc, Egypt under Gamal Abdel Nasser, and some governments of newly independent African states, charged the United States with supporting regimes which they felt did not represent the will of their peoples, and by means both covert and overt, toppling governments which rejected the United States. The Tricontinental Conference, chaired by Moroccan politician Mehdi Ben Barka was one such organisation. Roughly designated as part of the Third World movement, it supported revolutionary anti-colonial action in various states, provoking the anger of the United States and France. Ben Barka himself led what was called the Commission on Neocolonialism of the organisation, which focused both on the involvement of former colonial powers in post colonial states, but also contended that the United States, as leader of the capitalist world, was the primary Neocolonialist power. Much speculation remains about Ben Barka disappearance in 1965. The Tricontinental Conference was succeeded organisation such as Cuba's Organization of Solidarity with the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America (OSPAAAL). Such organisations, feeding into what became the Non-Aligned Movement of the 1960s and 1970s used neocolonialism, in much the same way as Marxist dependency theory intellectuals did, to encompass all capitalist nations, and most especially the United States. This usage remains popular on the political left today, most especially in Latin America.
Multinational corporations

Critics of neocolonialism also argue that investment by multinational corporations enriches few in underdeveloped countries, and causes humanitarian, environmental and ecological devastation to the populations which inhabit the neocolonies. This, it is argued, results in unsustainable development and perpetual underdevelopment; a dependency which cultivates those countries as reservoirs of cheap labor and raw materials, while restricting their access to advanced production techniques to develop their own economies. In some countries, privatization of national resources, while initially leading to immediate large scale influx of investment capital, is often followed by dramatic increases in the rate of unemployment, poverty, and a decline in per-capita income. This is particularly true in the West African nations of Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and Mauritania where fishing has historically been central to the local economy. Beginning in 1979, the European Union began brokering fishing rights contracts off the coast of West Africa. This continues to this day. Commercial unsustainable over-fishing from foreign corporations have played a significant role in the large-scale unemployment and migration of people across the region. This stands in direct opposition to United Nations Treaty on the Seas which recognizes the importance of fishing to local communities and insists that government fishing agreements with foreign companies should be targeted at surplus stocks only.

Defense of investment

Proponents of ties which critics have labeled neocolonial argue that, while the First World does profit from cheap labor and raw materials in underdeveloped nations, ultimately, it does serve as a positive modernizing force for development in the Third World.

International financial institutions
World Bank protester, Jakarta, Indonesia, 2004.

Critics of neocolonialism portray the choice to grant or to refuse granting loans (particularly those financing otherwise unpayable Third World debt), especially by international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank, as a decisive form of control. They argue that in order to qualify for these loans, and other forms of economic aid, weaker nations are forced to take certain steps favorable to the financial interests of the IMF and World Bank but detrimental to their own economies. These structural adjustments have the effect of increasing rather than alleviating poverty within the nation. Some critics emphasize that neocolonialism allows certain cartels of states, such as the World Bank, to control and exploit usually lesser developed countries (LDCs) by fostering debt. In effect, Third World governments give concessions and monopolies to foreign corporations in return for consolidation of power and monetary bribes. In most cases, much of the money loaned to these LDCs is returned to the favored foreign corporations. Thus, these foreign loans are in effect subsidies to corporations of the loaning state. This collusion is sometimes referred to as the corporatocracy. Organizations accused of participating in neo-imperialism include the World Bank, World Trade Organization and Group of Eight, and the World Economic Forum. Various "first world" states, notably the United States, are said to be involved, as described in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins.

Neocolonialism allegations against the IMF
Main article: Criticism of debt

Those who argue that neocolonialism historically supplemented (and later supplanted) colonialism, point to the fact that Africa today pays more money every year in debt service payments to the IMF and World Bank than it receives in loans from them, thereby often depriving the inhabitants of those countries from actual necessities. This dependency allows the IMF and World Bank to impose Structural Adjustment Plans upon these nations. Adjustments largely consisting of privatization programs which result in deteriorating health, education, an inability to develop infrastructure, and in general, lower living standards.

They also point to recent statements made by United Nations Secretary-General's Special Economic Adviser, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, who heatedly demanded that the entire African debt (approximately $200 billion) be forgiven outright and recommended that African nations simply stop paying if the World Bank and IMF do not reciprocate:

        The time has come to end this charade. The debts are unaffordable. If they won't cancel the debts I would suggest obstruction; you do it yourselves. Africa should say: 'thank you very much but we need this money to meet the needs of children who are dying right now so we will put the debt servicing payments into urgent social investment in health, education, drinking water, control of AIDS and other needs.' (Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University and Special Economic Advisor to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan).

Critics of the IMF have conducted studies as to the effects of its policy which demands currency devaluations. They pose the argument that the IMF requires these devaluations as a condition for refinancing loans, while simultaneously insisting that the loan be repaid in dollars or other First World currencies against which the underdeveloped country's currency had been devalued. This, they say, increases the respective debt by the same percentage of the currency being devalued, therefore amounting to a scheme for keeping Third World nations in perpetual indebtedness, impoverishment and neocolonial dependence.
Alternatives to IMF influence

Due to its large cash reserves, the Chinese government has begun playing a significant role as counter-weight to IMF influence. Its often lax lending requirements have led some countries, such as Angola in 2006, to eschew all previously planned IMF loans.

Sino-African relations
Exotic animals such as the giraffe caught and sold by Somali merchants were very popular in medieval China.

Historically, China and Somalia had a strong trading tie. In recent years, the People's Republic of China has built increasingly stronger ties with African nations. China is currently Africa's largest trading partner. As of August 2007, there were an estimated 750,000 Chinese nationals working or living for extended periods in different African countries. China is picking up natural resources — oil, precious minerals — to feed its expanding economy and new markets for its burgeoning enterprises. In 2006, two-way trade had increased to $50 billion.

Not all dealings have involved direct monetary exchanges. In 2007, the governments of China and Congo-Kinshasa entered into an agreement whereby Chinese state-owned firms would provide various services (infrastructure projects) in exchange for access to an equivalent amount of materials extracted from Congolese copper mines.

Human rights advocates and opponents of the Sudanese government portray China's role in providing weapons and aircraft as a cynical attempt to obtain petroleum and natural gas just as colonial powers once supplied African chieftains with the military means to maintain control as they extracted natural resources. According to China's critics, China has offered Sudan support threatening to use its veto on the U.N. Security Council to protect Khartoum from sanctions and has been able to water down every resolution on Darfur in order to protect its interests in Sudan.

South Korea's land acquisitions

Rich governments and powerful multinationals from South Korea are rapidly buying up the rights to millions of hectares of agricultural land in developing countries in an effort to secure its own long-term food supplies. The fact that South Korea is no longer "importing" food and resources that is being cultivated overseas implies that these lands are effectively Korean. This amounts to agricultural imperialism a new form of neocolonialism. South Korea's largely mountainous land area of just over 100,000 square kilometer houses a population of nearly 50 million, yet the country's highly industrialized trillion-dollar economy was almost as large as the economy of the entire African continent in 2007. Hence, the South Korean government is now using its massive financial resources to purchase cheap land overseas for energy and food, in order to fuel one of the world's fastest growing advanced economies.

South Korea's RG Energy Resources Asset Management CEO Park Yong-soo stressed that "the nation does not produce a single drop of crude oil and other key industrial minerals. To power economic growth and support people's livelihoods, we cannot emphasize too much that securing natural resources in foreign countries is a must for our future survival." The head of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Jacques Diouf, has warned that the controversial rise in land deals could create a form of "neo-colonialism", with poor states producing food for the rich at the expense of their own hungry people.

In 2008, the South Korean multinational Daewoo Logistics secured 1.3 million hectares of farmland in Madagascar, half the size of Belgium, to grow maize and crops for biofuels. Roughly half of the country's arable land, as well as rainforests of rich and unique biodiversity, were to be converted into palm and corn monocultures, producing food for export from a country where a third of the population and 50 percent of children under 5 are malnourished, using workers imported from South Africa instead of locals. Those living on the land were never consulted or informed, despite being dependent on the land for food and income. The controversial deal played a major part in prolonged anti-government protests on the island that resulted in over a hundred deaths. Shortly after the Madagascar deal, Tanzania announced that South Korea was in talks to develop 100,000 hectares for food production and processing for 700 to 800 billion won. Scheduled to be completed in 2010, it will be the largest single piece of agricultural infrastructure South Korea has ever built overseas.

In 2009, Hyundai Heavy Industries acquired a majority stake in a company cultivating 10,000 hectares of farmland in the Russian Far East and a wealthy South Korean provincial government secured 95,000 hectares of farmland in Oriental Mindoro, central Philippines, to grow corn. The South Jeolla province became the first provincial government to benefit from a newly created central government fund to develop farmland overseas, receiving a cheap loan of $1.9 million for the Mindoro project. The feedstock is expected to produce 10,000 tonnes of feed in the first year for South Korea. South Korean multinationals and provincial governments have also purchased land in Sulawesi, Indonesia, Cambodia and Bulgan, Mongolia. The South Korean government itself announced its intention to invest 30 billion won in land in Paraguay and Uruguay. Discussions with Laos, Myanmar and Senegal are also currently underway.

The South Korean government's strategy is quickly yielding results and despite predicting that farmland is shrinking on the country, the government announced in August 2009 that South Korea would enjoy a 10% increase in rice production in 2009, the first since 2005, yet there are already pile-ups of mountains of rice purchased by the government to keep rice prices stable.

Other approaches to the concept of neocolonialism

Although the concept of neocolonialism was originally developed within a Marxist theoretical framework and is generally employed by the political left, the term "neocolonialism" is also used within other theoretical frameworks.

Cultural theory

One variant of neocolonialism theory critiques the existence of cultural colonialism, the desire of wealthy nations to control other nations' values and perceptions through cultural means, such as media, language, education and religion, ultimately for economic reasons.
Main article: Colonial Mentality

One element of this is a critique of "Colonial Mentality" which writers have traced well beyond the legacy of 19th century colonial empires. These critics argue that people, once subject to colonial or imperial rule, latch onto physical and cultural differences between the foreigners and themselves, leading some to associate power and success with the foreigners' ways. This eventually leads to the foreigners' ways being regarded as the better way and being held in a higher esteem than previous indigenous ways. In much the same fashion, and with the same reasoning of better-ness, the colonised may over time equate the colonisers' race or ethnicity itself as being responsible for their superiority. Cultural rejections of colonialism, such as the Negritude movement, or simply the embracing of seemingly authentic local culture are then seen in a post colonial world as a necessary part of the struggle against domination. By the same reasoning, importation or continuation of cultural mores or elements from former colonial powers may be regarded as a form of Neocolonialism.

In postcolonialism theory
Main article: Postcolonialism

Postcolonialism is a set of theories in philosophy, film, political sciences and literature that deal with the cultural legacy of colonial rule. Postcolonialism deals with cultural identity in colonized societies, referencing neocolonialism as the background for contemporary dilemmas of developing a national identity after colonial rule: the ways in which writers articulate and celebrate that identity (often reclaiming it from and maintaining strong connections with the colonizer); the ways in which the knowledge of the colonized (subordinated) people has been generated and used to serve the colonizer's interests; and the ways in which the colonizer's literature has justified colonialism via images of the colonized as a perpetually inferior people, society and culture.

Theories of postcolonial studies include Subaltern Studies (specifically its postcolonial manifestations), Frantz Fanon's "psychopathology of colonization", and filmmakers of the Latin American Third Cinema (such as Tomás Gutiérrez Alea of Cuba or Kidlat Tahimik of the Philippines).

Critical theory

While critiques of postcolonialism/neocolonialism theory is widely practiced in Literary theory, International Relations theory also has defined "postcolonialism" as a field of study. While the lasting effects of cultural colonialism is of central interest in cultural critiques of neocolonialism, their intellectual antecedents are economic theories of neocolonialism: Marxist Dependency theory and mainstream criticism of capitalist Neoliberalism. Critical international relations theory frequently references neocolonialism from Marxist positions as well as postpositivist positions, including postmodernist, postcolonial and feminist approaches, which differ from both realism and liberalism in their epistemological and ontological premises.

Conservation and neocolonialism
Main article: Conservation and Neocolonialism

There have been other critiques that the modern conservation movement, as taken up by international organizations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature, has inadvertently set up a neocolonialist relationship with underdeveloped nations.

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