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09 29 Lecture Notes - Decolonization and state building.docx

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Western University
Geography 3312A/B
Haroon Akram Lodhi

September 29 th Decolonization and state-building, 1950 – 1980 The midterm: - Diagnostic - 40 minutes - Class divided into two groups – Thursday’s workshop in Wenjack at 9:55 - Two parts o 10 multiple choice questions, worth two marks each (he’s notorious for difficult ones. Not so much dates, but thinkers) o 5 short answer questions, 2 of which must be answered in responses of between 15 lines and a page, with each question being worth 40 marks. (Answer two) - Additional instructions are on MyLearning Episodes of decolonisation – south Sudan (newest independent nation) – votes the UN set up showed 97% in favour of independence. World War One led to • the dissolution of European empires • the contraction of the international division of labour that had shaped late colonialism • the world plunging into the Great Depression of the 1930s Some trace the origins of decolonization to World War One, and this is partially correct Countries tried to become more independent, even apart from the colonial… leader things. Decolonization: to free a colony from its dependent status Decolonization in Latin America in fact started much earlier, during the early 19 century, as the feudal Portuguese and Spanish empires were unable to sustain control and ceded power, mostly to local settler elites: groups within societies that had access to and enjoyed a concentration of wealth and power Settler elites established their control over newly-constructed states: governments that made decisions within a politically- and territorially-defined space Control was wrestled from Spain and Portugal – and, what we recognize today as government emerged from this. In some places, the indigenous people are still trying to wrestle the power away from the settlers – Bolivia just had its first independent president or something. Nonetheless, the impact of World War One was important in ushering in a wave of decolonization by some key capitalist states The difficulties the combatants faced led to upheaval and revolution • the Russian Revolution • the collapse of the Ottoman Empire • the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire • Britain accommodating the rise of the House of Saud (1912-15) • the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 that divided up the Middle East between Britain and France and established the current boundaries of the region • Irish independence (1921) • Egyptian semi-independence (1922) Nationalism, which had developed as a set of ideas in the late 19 century and led to the formation of Italy and Germany, was on the rise, especially across Asia, in India and Indonesia Nationalism: a set of ideas that hold that the nation, ethnicity or national identity is a ‘fundamental unit’ of human social life, and which makes certain political claims based upon that belief; above all, the claim that nations are the only legitimate basis for a state Shapes our social life. The argument: Nations are the only legitimate basis for a state (the rise of the nation state) “You are German first and Bavarian second” All Germans have a right back into the country, provided they can prove their Germaninity. Nation is used to describe both to a well-defined territorial and political entity as well as a population that identifies itself as a common group in juxtaposition to others. The distinction is important, for not all nations have independent states (ie Quebec, Scotland, West Papua, the Mohawk First Nation) This is a common identity that sets the nation apart from the rest. You can have a nation without a formally separate state. In addition to the impact of World War One and the rise of nationalism in Asia there is no doubt that for worldwide nationalist movements the expansion of the USSR in the late 1920s and 1930s was important, because the Soviet Union appeared to demonstrate that • mainly rural societies could overthrow urban-based power structures • that ruling elites could be successfully challenged and replaced • that very rapid economic transformation, from agrarian to industrial society, was possible • that there were alternative forms of social organization to capitalism, which was stagnating in the 1930s in Western Europe and North America The most important thing was the rise of the Soviet Union because of the points above that it showed. Yet, while nationalist movements slowly grew, initially across Asia and later across Africa, and agitated for independence during the economic chaos of the 1930s, mass decolonization did not occur until the two remaining major capitalist colonial powers, the UK and France, emerged shattered from World War Two, unable to financially sustain the empires upon which they had relied to win to the War They didn’t have the power anymore to control their colonies and there were an increasing number of people who thought colonisation wrong. The period of mass decolonization can thus be dated from 1945 • Vietnam (unsuccessfully), Syria, Lebanon (1945) • the Philippines (1946) • India, Pakistan (1947) • Indonesia, Burma, Sri Lanka (1948) The Indian National Congress (their government) was built in the late 1880’s but didn’t fight for independence until about 1920 or something. In part, decolonization took place because the colonial state had heavily relied upon indirect rule: a system of governance by which colonial powers recognized and supported the legitimacy of supposedly indigenous authorities and legal systems insofar as they were subordinate and useful to the colonial state, and also used those authorities as intermediaries to govern the local population Indeed, when many instances colonial powers did not face legitimate indigenous authorities and legal systems they created indigenous elites to act as intermediaries on their behalf to govern the local population But following World War I and the rise of nationalism indigenous elites increasingly came to view the colonial rulers as illegitimate, rendering the injustices of the colonial state intolerable Indirect rule is when you rule the state using local elite on the colony’s behalf. The colonisers rely on supposedly indigenous elites – supposedly because in many cases there were no elites. If there was no indigenous elite, they made one. When you create these elites, you create the basis for a problem – increasingly these elites came to see colonial rule as illegitimate. So they were running for the colonies and were against them at the same time. Even so, in many countries the collective action leading to decolonization were traumatic for their mass violence • the partition of India led to the deaths of at least a million people • the Malayan Emergency, which lasted from 1948 to 1960, led to a paradigmatic guerrilla war that killed thousands and which formed the backdrop to Malaysia’s independence in 1957 • the Mau Mau uprising of 1952 to 1960 was savagely suppressed prior to the independence of Kenya in 1963, with at least 60000 killed and 100000 interned in what we would call concentration camps. » • the Algerian War of Independence, which lasted from 1954 to independence in 1962, was a complex conflict characterized by guerrilla warfare, maquis fighting, vicious terrorism from both sides against civilians, the use of torture on both sides and widespread counter-terrorism operations by the French Army. At least 150000 died When India and Pakistan became independent at least a million people were killed. Four men can be described as axiomatic leaders of the period of anti-colonial nationalist activism: • from the educated indigenous elite • educated to be a prop of indirect rule • becoming disenchanted with the social injustice that is central to the colonial social contract that the masses are ruled by the elite who are ruled by the colony. • and so ceaselessly striving over the years to build a mass-based politics to change society by gaining self-determination Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi: • the son of a bureaucrat that served as Prime Minister to an Indian prince, because he was part of the elite he studied at University College London to become a barrister, a lawyer • accepting a job in Natal, South Africa, he faced overt racism for the first time and became actively involved in the civil rights movement, during which he first adopted the methodology of satyagraha (devotion to the truth), or non-violent protest • returning to India in 1915 at the age of 46, he slowly became active in the Indian National Congress, and satyagraha evolved into non-violent non-cooperation with the imperial authorities in pursuit of Swaraj, or complete individual, spiritual, and political independence, a movement that stressed non-violent social transformation based upon striving to do as much as possible yourself, within your local community • to that end, he promoted the policy of swadeshi—the boycott of foreign-made, especially British, goods; he advocated that khadi (homespun cloth) be worn by all Indians instead of British-made textiles; and that everyone should spend time every day making homespun cloth Got the people in the village to understand – he spun cloth which is something they did everyday • emblematic of his political practice was the 400 km Salt March in March 1930 from Ahmedabad to Dandi, Gujarat to make salt from the sea water which, because of British tax policy, was illegal. Thousands joined him on the march, and the British responded by imprisoning over 60000 people • over the years, when his followers became tempted by violence, he responded by fasting until all violence ceased Has since been a key political tool in India • when he was not in prison, he was negotiating with the imperial authorities or with other leaders of the independence movement • when, at the age of 78, India became independent, he refused any official position, instead working to try to prevent the partition of India, which he believed to be wrong tried to start a movement with Pakistan to get the two countries to work closer with each other • he was assassinated by a Hindu fundamentalist Sukarno: • the son of a school teacher, educated in a Dutch school, fluent in many languages, an architectural student, he embraced a modernity that was blind to race, European in style, dress and culture, and resolutely anti-imperialist • he founded a nationalist party in 1927 that was opposed to capitalism because he believed it worsened the life of the Indonesian people, for which he spent several years in prison • through the 1930s he saw the Pacific War as inevitable, but also an opportunity to rid Indonesia of the Dutch • thus, he eventually fought with the Japanese against the Dutch colonialists in World War Two, leading to a Japanese promise of independence in 1944 • he again fought against the Dutch when they returned in 1945, eventually leading his country to complete independence in 1949, and becoming its first President • his political philosophy was a blend of consensual nationalism, reciprocal social justice and secular Islam, and this was reflected in the country’s first constitution; he was an economic nationalist and while in office sought to promote a form of ‘guided capitalism’ to transform what was essentially an agrarian economy • increasingly autocratic, he moved the country from a liberal democracy in the 1950s to a ‘guided democracy’ in the 1960s, operating in close alliance with the Communist Party • his alliance with the Communists led to his removal from power at the hands of a US-facilitated coup in 1966 that killed more than ½ million people and led to a 35 year kleptocracy; he himself remained under house arrest until his death in 1970 Julius Nyerere: • was able to obtain a scholarship to attend Makerere University in Kampala, the best university in eastern Africa at the time, and, after college teaching, got a scholarship to go the University of Edinburgh—legend has it that he was the 2 African to get a degree outside Africa • in Edinburgh his encounter with Fabian socialism led him to think about connecting it with African community structures • he believed that Africans had been, until colonialism, living in an essentially socialist society, and that by returning to a more traditional mode of life they would recapture the past—he had a strong belief in the traditional values and ways of life of rural Africans • in 1954 while a college teacher he transformed the Tanganyika African Association, a civic organization dominated by civil servants, into the nationalist and peaceful Tanganyika African National Union, whose main objective was to achieve independence • in the late 1950s he traveled throughout the country speaking predominantly to rural people, trying to get them to support independence; he did the same internationally, addressing the UN • in 1961, when Tanganyika became independent without bloodshed, he became its first Prime Minister, and later, when it became Tanzania, its first President • to return Tanzania to its more traditional way of life, he announced in 1967 the Arusha Declaration, a policy of collectivization for the country's agriculture, known as Ujamaa, • Ujamaa failed to boost agricultural output and by 1976, when collectivization ended, Tanzania had gone from being the largest exporter of agricultural products in Africa to the largest importer of agricultural products in Africa, a failure that plunged Tanzania into its debt crisis • he thus became emblematic to the World Bank of all the failures of Africa’s attempt to develop autonomously in the 1960s and 1970s • realizing his failure, he retired in 1985, saying: ‘I failed. Let's admit it.’ • he died in 1999 Ho Chi Minh: • the son of an alcoholic imperial magistrate, he was educated at a lycée and became a teacher • between 1911 and 1923 he lived in Europe, holding a variety of jobs: kitchen helper, cook’s helper, baker, chef, waiter Travelled around the world • in 1919 he petitioned the Versailles peace conference to recognize the rights of the Vietnamese people, and was ignored • in 1921 he was a founder-member of the French Communist Party, and moved to Moscow; in the 1920s and 1930s he travelled widely in Asia and Europe working for the Communist International, and spent time in a British prison • in 1941 he returned to Vietnam to lead the Viet Minh the military fighting the French independence movement against the French and the Japanese, working very closely with the US Office of Strategic Services, the OSS – the CIA predecessor who in a memo to the President suggested that he was a nationalist first and a communist second and that if he were supported he would back American interests in the region • following Japan’s withdrawal in 1945 he declared the country’s independence, quoting from the US declaration of independence; but the French returned, supported by the US lead to war from 1945 to 1954 • he led the Viet Minh against the French again, with the support of China, until the military defeat of the French at Dien Ben Phu in 1954—one of the most important battles of the decolonization period, the first where the colonized defeated the colonizers in a set-piece encounter • French defeat led to the de facto partition of the country, into a communist North of which he was President and a corrupt Western-backed South • the North then started providing clandestine military support for communists in the South, leading to a brutal 16 year war, largely against the US The Vietnam war • he died peacefully in 1969, 6 years before national unification • ‘It was patriotism, not communism, that inspired me’ As a consequence of the activism of these people, and many others, and despite sustained resistance by the last colonial powers, the UK and France, by the late 1950s it was clear that colonialism was dying Ghana was the first country in Africa to gain independence, in 1957, and during the 1960s most of anglophone and francophone Africa became independent The British decolonized the Caribbean in the 1960s and the Pacific and Indian Ocean islands in the late 1960s and early 1970s Some st
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