Released: January 1969
In his second book, Andre Gunder Frank expands on the theme presented in his influential study Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Latin America. It is the colonial structure of world capitalism, in his view, which produced and maintains the underdevelopment characteristic of Latin America and the rest of the Third World. This colonial structure penetrates everywhere in Latin America, forming and transforming all its features in obedience to its own imperatives and thereby imposing upon the region those characteristic features of poverty and backwardness which are not primarily the remnants of an ancient “feudal” past but the direct products of capitalism. This development of underdevelopment will persist, therefore, until the people of Latin America free themselves from world capitalism by means of revolution. The Cuban Revolution is thus viewed as the first effort in a continent-wide revolutionary process direct against both imperialism and the national bourgeoisie.
The thesis which in the author’s first book was spelled out for Chile and Brazil is here extended to Latin America as a whole. A number of essays are devoted to examining the North American emperor’s ideological clothes, and exposing the scientific nakedness behind the sham theories. Further essays are devoted to some of the economic aspects and political manifestations of imperialism. And a final group of essays brings the discussion onto the domestic scene in Latin America, where a debate over strategy and perspectives raged among revolutionaries. Since much of this debate related to differing conceptions of the structure of society in Latin America, the author’s investigations had a direct bearing on the various lines of revolutionary policy proposed. The immediate tactical enemy of revolutionaries, the author argued, is their own bourgeoisie, notwithstanding that their principal strategic enemy remains imperialism.