In the sphere of current mainstream political thought, particularly the liberal tradition, there is a domination of western thought and ideas. Africans and descendants of Africans are not accounted for in this liberal tradition because of racialization and colonization. The liberal tradition is then not the best paradigm to apply to Africans and African descendants. An alternative method therefore should be applied for true liberation, especially in consideration with the post-colonial period of the 1960s and 1970s.
Several arguments have surfaced about how freedoms should be applied in the post-colonial era. In Anthony Bogues book chapter titled “And What About The Human? Radical Anti-Colonial Thought and Critical Thinking.” he discusses how humanism, which is a branch of the liberal tradition, creates the functions of subjects. In this paradigm, the profound assumption is that the human figure is a subject and an exploited worker. Anti-colonial thought on the other hand, centers on the human. This need for anti-colonial thinking is necessary for former colonized subjects in post-colonial states to move forwards so that people who occupy these states are not functioning as subjects, but as humans.
These differing paradigms are essential to consider when viewing the history of decolonization. During the 1950s and the 1960s, several countries, especially in Africa and the Caribbean underwent the process of decolonization, which brought up questions of how to create and sustain a decent quality of life. A majority of countries turned to sources such as aid and development to maintain this promise that decolonization posed. However, these programs did not succeed in achieving the goals of promoting growth and sustaining a decent quality of life. An explanation for this is that the framework that countries operated under were post-colonial, instead of anti-colonial. An explanation for the failure of these programs is that the countries applied a post-colonial framework, instead of an anti-colonial framework. In the post-colonial framework, the history of colonization that citizens in these countries face is disregarded, while the anti-colonial framework considers that history for the means of progressing in the country.
Grenada is an interesting case study to consider when viewing the history of decolonization Grenada is a small island situated in the Caribbean with a population of about one hundred thousand people. Grenada holds a long history of authoritarian government under Britain, not receiving independence until the year of 1974. Even when Grenada received independence, it was still under authoritarian rule by Eric Gairy. In 1979, he was ousted by a coup, which led to the Grenadian revolution of 1979. In 1983, The United States government decided to intervene with the insurrection and deployed about seven thousand troops to the island. Governor general Paul Scoon was instilled as the leader until elections occurred in the year of 1984.
After the revolution, several methods were used for reconstruction. World Bank and International Monetary programs, such as the Extended Fund Facility program implemented in 1983, served as reconstruction strategies. Strategies used by the program included repayment of IMF debt and local firms, increase in reserves of government-owned and commercial banks and investing in the public sector. In Pasty Lewis article titled “Rethinking Development and the Regional Integration project’ she discusses how these programs were unsuccessful though, in actuality weakening Grenada’s economy. With the reliance on aid, Grenada was pushed into enormous debt and not a lot to spend on spend on social welfare..
With the conditions that Grenada is currently under, it is important to note how these conditions were created. They were created because of the country’s colonial past, which created structural limits to the economy For Grenada to trump the colonial past it has endures, the country must attempt to frame new development under anti-radical thought instead of post-colonial thought. The reason why Grenada must be reframed this way to be successful is because since post-colonial thought, a part of the liberal tradition does not account for colonial subjects, it is not the proper way for a new state that underwent colonization to restructure itself. The world bank and international monetary fund programs did not account for Grenada’s colonial past and adopt strategies as an attempt to develop the state. There are several strategies in place that adapt the anti-colonial framework of thinking that could be very promising for Grenada’s future.
One of these strategies include conceptualizing the country as resource rich instead of resource poor. As a former colonial subject, there is a conception that Grenada needs to rely on another country for development, sort of in the same way that the liberal tradition treats former colonized people as subjects. In the case of Grenada, the country has a very thriving seabed which could be used for economic profit. Also with tourism exponentially growing in the country currently, that could serve as an avenue for Grenada to strengthen their economy. With ant-radical thinking, Grenada natives will have access and be centered during this process so that the country can receive their own benefits. In Dani Roedrick’s article titled “Trading in Illusions”, he discusses how countries need to focus more on internal strategies instead of integrationist strategies. Instead of looking to outside sources for help, or integrating into the world economy, countries can develop their own strategies and utilize them for their own benefit. In the past, when developing countries that tend to be post-colonial states integrate into the if and world bank, their growth is stunted. Even though following a model that has not yet been tried will be difficult at first to implement, the possibilities of economic growth are worth it in the end. With an anti-colonial paradigm that Dani Rodrik in a way proposes, countries can look inward instead of outwards to promote their own growth.
Essentially, for post-colonial states needs to adopt new methods of thinking when applying reconstruction models. In the past, just thinking about adopting post-colonial thought has not been enough for new states to promote growth, specifically economic growth. Anti-colonial thought serves as promising paradigm that promote growth in young nations.
Bogues , Anthony. “And What about The Human? Radical Anti-Colonial Thought and Critical Thinking.” In Who Speaks for the Human, 41–56. Morocco : University of Rabat Press, 2009.
Burtenshaw, Ronan. “Grenada’s Revolution at 40.” Jacobin, February 9, 2019. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/09/grenada-revolution-maurice-bishop-reagan.
Glass, Andrew. “United States Invades Grenada, Oct. 25, 1983.” POLITICO, October 25, 2017. https://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/25/united-states-invades-grenada-oct-25-1983-244072.
“IMF’s 6th Review Grenada Homegrown Structural Adjustment Programme Now Underway.” IMF’s 6th Review Grenada Homegrown Structural Adjustment Programme now Underway | GOV.gd, n.d. https://www.gov.gd/egov/news/2017/mar17/16_03_17/item_1/imf-6th-review-hgp-underway.html.
Kirton, Claremont D. “Grenada and the IMF.” Latin American Perspectives 16, no. 3 (1989): 121–44. https://doi.org/10.1177/0094582×8901600307.
Lewis , Pasty. “Foreign Policy and Economic Development in Small States: A Case Study of Grenada.” In Caribbean Political Activism: Essays in Honour of Richard Hart, 254–89. Kingston : Ian Randle Publisher , 2012.
2 thoughts on “Anti-Radical Thought in Coordination with Post-colonial States”
I thought this blog was very intriguing. Using Grenada as the subject of the blog and how the country is adjusting after gaining its independence is very comparable to countless other countries. Another point that was brought up that I felt was very important was the issue of international aid. Grenada is certainly not the only country that is reliant on international aid. This aid is proof that the influence of colonialism never died. It is proof that it is going to take centuries before the affected countries can fully recover from the atrocities committed by colonial powers.
This post insightfully explains the difference between post-colonial and anti-colonial thought. Many times, the colonial past of African countries—as well as their only very recent emancipation—is disregarded when considering their current political and economic conditions. I think it is interesting how you pointed out that international organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank, which were supposed to be aiding these countries, were in reality working towards their detriment because of their framework for considering these countries. In the case of Grenada, this country did not receive its independence until only decades ago in 1974 and remained under unstable political rule until 1984. Given its extremely recent establishment as an independent country, along with the pervading impact of colonialism, it seems necessary to employ a new, anti-colonial framework to counter the racism which still negatively impacts the country, such as referring to Grenada as resource poor and relying on aid instead of fostering self-dependency.