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Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism in Africa

Horace Campbell is professor of African American studies and political science at Syracuse University. He is the author of Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya (Monthly Review Press, 2013), as well as Rasta and Resistance (1987) and Barack Obama and 21st Century Politics (2010).
One of the most serious errors, if not the most serious error, committed by colonial powers in Africa, may have been to ignore or underestimate the cultural strength of the African peoples. —Amilcar Cabral1

When international media were broadcasting live video footage of Tunisians gathering in hundreds of thousands in front of the central office in Tunis of the long-terrifying ministry of home security, chanting in one voice “the people want to bring down the regime,” something had already changed: ordinary people realized they could make huge changes.2 Weeks later, the Egyptian uprising removed the Mubarak regime that had been entrenched in power for over thirty years. Fearmongering, police violence, exploitation, and rigged electoral systems could not stop the wave of protests. The neoliberal forms of imperial rule that had destroyed the hopes of the liberation movements were under attack. In order to counter the possibilities for a massive breakthrough at the popular level, the Western forces mounted an invasion of Libya using the mantra of humanitarianism to disrupt, militarily, political and economic life in Africa. Later in collusion with the counter-revolutionary forces in the Egyptian military, Western imperialism sought to roll back the gains of people in the streets of Tunis and Cairo. NATO, as the force for the defense of the financial oligarchs, sought to squash all forms of anti-imperialism in Africa, but the NATO intervention and its catastrophic aftermath only strengthened the resurgence of anti-imperialist ideas among the peoples of Africa.3

This article will be published in full on Monday, August 10th

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