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Discourse on Colonialism
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About the Author
- ISBN-10 : 1583670254
- Item Weight : 4 ounces
- ISBN-13 : 978-1583670255
- Paperback : 102 pages
- Publisher : Monthly Review Press (January 1, 2001)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #79,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Césaire’s work not only provides the groundwork for later critical race theories and postcolonialism, but it also adds to the important critical conversation about race-blindness in Marxist philosophy. Césaire believed that “the coming revolution was not posed in terms of capitalism versus socialism…but in terms of the complete and total overthrow of a racist, colonialist system that would open the way to imagine a whole new world” (9). He essential states that racism must not be eclipsed by class struggle because working class whites always side with their race against the black proletariat (23). As a result, he envisions the revolution coming from a unified third world instead of a unified proletariat, and that this third world unification would be built upon the shared experience of white colonialization (27). Aimé Césaire also had notable influence on the work of his student and collaborator, Frantz Fanon.
But this essay is so powerful. If you've read Fanon's Black Skins, White Masks, Cesaire is all over that book. His arguments are so provocative but also quite mind-blowing. Fanon uses these arguments in BSWM and further explicates it when he talks about the "white civilization" and "reason/rationality." But Cesaire is the blueprint of these arguments. Kelley calls it the "poetics of colonialism" (Kelley's intro gives a lot of guidance to reading the essay). Its one of those essays that really sticks with you.
This is a collection of thoughts rather than a step-by-step argument, and mayseem a bit "choppy" (it did, to me). But it has been influential and is well worth the read. Those who think that Europeans had a right to invade the "New World" and subjugate its peoples, take their resources, and denigrate and squash their cultures won't like this book at all.