Thursday, March 06, 2008

Nigeria: White Supremacy, Criminal or Traitorous Behavior

Below is an exchange between Chinweizu of Nigeria and me on who is to blame for the national oppression of Nigerians. Chinweizu blames white people; I blame Nigerians, especially their leaders. This conversation is relevant to African Americans in that there is a tendency among us to blame "white supremacy" for all or most of our problems. My view is that that perspective is inadequate, for many of our problems should be partially placed elsewhere, either on our leaders (in all stations of life) or on our regard for those leaders or on ourselves (individually and collectively). We cannot blame that which has already been conquered, or is dead.
-- Rudy

Nigeria and White Supremacy


Like Neely Fuller, Jr. said, "If you don't understand white supremacy--what it is, and how it works -- everything else that you understand will only confuse you."

The picture painted by Franklyn, though illuminating as far as it goes, does not go far enough. It is like a picture of a train that leaves out the engine. To complete the picture we need to add the role of the white supremacy institutions of the new imperialism in initiating and maintaining the disaster that is Nigeria.

If we understood the devious ways of white supremacy, in this stage of what Nkrumah called "Neo-colonialism", we would see that my account and Franklyn's are not contradictory or alternative accounts, but are complementary. Franklyn describes the body of the snake, I pointed at its head [albeit in passing, in the context of our discussion of white supremacy.] The combined and fuller picture allows us to see how the mess in Nigeria serves a white supremacy which manipulates Nigeria through institutions like the IMF, the World Bank, the UN agencies, The (British) Commonwealth, which link Nigeria to the global system of white supremacy.

Nigeria, like other black African countries, has been misruled by local Black Comprador Colonialists whose paramount interest is to preserve the subordination of their countries to the imperialist interests of their "former" colonial masters. It is that subordination that permits them to loot their own people for their imperialist masters, and allows them, as the junior partners and agents of imperialism, to keep a share of the loot, which is their own consuming interest. Of course, to that end they have frustrated, in their own local interests, any attempt to develop an autonomous polity that is answerable to its own people, that responds to the will/desires of its own people. A Nigerian polity that responds to its own people would have less to hand over to the imperialist masters, and would come under imperialist pressure and attacks. A current example is Mugabe's Zimbabwe. For so long as Mugabe did not try to take back the land stolen by the whites, he was okay. But when he began to respond to his people's land hunger, he became a pariah and came under sanctions and destabilization from the white supremacist powers like the UK, the USA and the EU. In contrast, Nigeria, under Obasanjo, handed to the foreign creditors a whopping $12bn to allegedly get Nigeria debt-free (which it did not) while leaving Nigeria with badly decayed roads, power supply, education, etc that still need massive capital injection to refurbish them. Needless to say, the debt-free mirage was just a scam. Nigeria is still not debt free and still goes aborrowing. But since Obasanjo was a loyal servant to the white imperialist powers, he had a free hand to rig elections, sack villages that contested his misrule (e.g Odi in the Niger Delta was sacked by Obasanjo's soldiers), and to loot to his greed's content. By the way, the bulk of the loot from what is misnamed "corruption" gets stashed away in the banks of Europe and America, thus adding to the total plunder that the imperialists extract. In that way, even the much decried corruption of the Nigerian elite ends up serving the white powers. It also bribes the Black compradors with part of the imperialist loot so they don’t buck the system.

We need to keep this fuller picture in view if we are to understand the so-called "failed state" of Nigeria. Nigeria, from the viewpoint of its population, is a failed state, has always been a failed state, i.e. a state that has failed to serve them or address their interests. And it has been that way right from its founding by the British a century ago. But it is not yet a failed state from the standpoint of its British and other imperialist masters. It has always served the white power interest, and consistently, at the expense of the interests of its population, during both the period of White Expatriate colonialism which ended in 1960, and the period of Black Comprador colonialism that began in 1960. We need to be ever mindful of these two senses of the phrase “failed state”.

Incidentally, though Nigeria is financially in a position to give free education to all its citizens--lets leave aside the matter of the damaging white supremacist content of that education-- part of why it does not do so is that much of its resources is pumped abroad to the coffers of the white supremacists through "debt" repayments and the routine looting by the foreign companies and their Nigerian comprador agents. If Obasanjo had chosen to apply to Nigeria's needs the $12bn he eagerly handed over to the white shylocks, there would be more than enough funds for the free education Franklyn is talking about, and for much else. Nigeria could become like Kuwait, Dubai etc, or even like Cuba, if it organized to use its oil earnings in the interest of its population. But for 50 years, the Black comprador colonialists have not seen fit to organize that. With their Eurocentric education and blancophile brainwashing and their mental allegiance to White supremacy, they have fallen for every conman advice that the white supremacists gave them on "development", especially through the IMF and the World Bank and the foreign aid outfits like Britain's ODA and America's USAID.

The ways of white supremacy are comprehensively devious. In fact one of its uses for the "independence" imperialism granted its colonies was to enable it deny responsibility for what its Black comprador agents do to their own people, even though it is all part of what they are prompted and encouraged to do for the continuing imperialist plunder of these "ex-colonies". These black misgovernments are serving as monkey's paws and fall guys for the plundering of Black Africa by and for the white powers.

Like the Black Slavers in the era of the Chattelization Wars, a.k.a. the Slave Trade, and like the plantation overseers and house niggers of ante-bellum USA, the Black colonialists of today operate within the framework and mandate given them by white supremacy, but they add their own peculiar twists to the master's mandate. The executive anarchism of the Nigerian comprador elite just happens to be, perhaps, the most abominable of these local twists to the basic mandate given by white supremacy to its local black agents.

We all need to continually deepen and update our understanding of white supremacy and its manifold and morphing ways if we are to see its dominant and directing roles in our condition. We also need to understand the roles of its black colonialist agents among us, and their own special contributions to the mess. If you want more insights into the Nigerian case, I can send you "Black Colonialists"-- an interview I did two years ago on the roots of the trouble with Nigeria. You could also read The West and the Rest of Us, for insights on the ways and means of white supremacy especially during the post WWII transition to Black colonialism in Africa.

-- Chinweizu

Nigeria: White Supremacy, Criminal or Traitorous Behavior

Chinweizu, the criminal and corrupting behavior of African heads of state, I suspect, existed hisorically long before there was the British, the French, or the Americans. This point was made by the Malian writer Yambo Ouologuem in his novel Bound to Violence and in his 1971 interview in Commonweal. Yambo said, "It was the black aristocrat who made black people become Negroes. If you look at the entire history, you find there were three stages of oppression: blacks oppressing blacks, Arabs oppressing blacks, and whites oppressing blacks" (Yambo Ouologuem). So we have come full circle. Now we have again "blacks oppressing blacks."

There has always been a "global" struggle for resources and power. Indeed that struggle has "morphed" in magnitude and character. And there probably has always been enticements from foreign powers. But because there are external enticements (say from the West), there is no reason to conclude that the enticing power (say USA or France or UK or white global corporations like oil companies) or the powers that lend some sort of assistance in a nation's reign (say China's recent sale of tanks to the Khartoum government) that we can conclude that that nation (say Nigeria or Sudan or South Africa) is a mere puppet of foreign influence (the agents of "white supremacy").

Nigerian (or South African or Sudanese) leaders made political decisions—without an American gun at their heads, or a French tank on the lawn of government house, or UK threats of invasions—about Nigeria (or South Africa or Sudan), its people, its economies, its internal development. We (Nigeria or South Africa or blacks leaders in the diaspora) will never have a situation in which there will be no foreign power that will not provide enticements as well as threats. The onus of the national oppression problem settles on black leaders and heads of state, not on the heads of foreign states or the heads of global corporations.

If you want to call the present black national oppression, "neo-colonialism," okay. But do not make a fool of us and common sense and say that this neo-colonialism was instituted and is sustained by "white supremacy" and there is nothing these leaders can do about it. If you insist on doing so, you must offer much more evidence of this "Black Comprador" relationship in which black leaders are being compelled to oppress and murder their own people and that they are receiving direct payments from Western corporations and Western states to do so.

As you have pointed out with regard to the Khartoum government, it is not so much that they are subject to the foreign powers who sustain "Arab Supremacy," that is, that they are not puppets of Saudi Arabia or Egypt or Syria, but rather that their heads are filled with Islamic political ideology that they are willing to slaughter and displace their own citizens because of native greed. If you are suggesting that the heads of states for Nigeria and South Africa are operating in such a was as they are in oppressing their native populations because their heads are filled with foreign ideologies and greed, I might agree. But that indeed is a far cry from saying that Nigeria and South Africa are the puppets of "white supremacy."

Chinweizu, your view of "white supremacy" as the primary culprit of Nigeria or South Africa's present difficulties are essentially different from that of Emmanuel Franklyne Ogbunwezeh, who says, “The home-grown masters have now new masters: namely their inordinate greed. They shipped their loot to Switzerland; housing it in numbered accounts. The rape of the country assumed the same trajectory in both epochs. Our local pirates in some space of four decades succeeded in out-performing the colonial masters in greed, thievery and plunder of our commonweal” (my italics).

That is, you place your emphasis on external influence and puppetry (rather than traitorous behavior), whereas Ogbunwezeh places his emphasis on a problem of internal governance and national or individual character (that is, criminality). If you eliminate such individuals whose emphasis is greed for money and power, he implies, Nigeria and South Africa and others such black states have a greater possibility of building up individuals who dwell on the true and good and thus the likelihood of developing model states. The political problem is not across the ocean but much closer to home.


Rudolph Lewis, Editor

ChickenBones: A Journal

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1 comment:

Pres said...

white supremacy is the dominant power system on the planet. ALL non-white areas of the planet are hostile because of white supremacy. It has been in practice long before what we know as 'colonialism' We must know our enemies.