Rallying Cries and Oppositional Politics

This BBC article points to corruption as the menace of the Third World. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-29040793. Factually accurate, but interesting claim nonetheless, when one considers that neocolonialism provides the means necessary for much of that corruption to be sustained, and colonialism may be accused of creating much of the need that fuels the grabbing and the ‘Third World” itself in the last several centuries.

[Naturally, I am reading this accusation leveled at developing nations that they cannot manage themselves (tsk, when will they grow up, the world cannot deal with another burden) incredulously. And, for the purposes of this limited point, I am going with E. San Juan Jr when I accept neocolonialism as ‘a political regime and behavioral pattern of continued dominance of nominally independent nation-states through transnational disguises’; as ‘the domination of peoples and societies by capital through the liberal market and other ideological means, not through direct political rule’; as ‘the practice of exploitation and oppression of the majority of the world’s laboring masses under the guise of democratic access to markets, the free flow of commodities, technology, bodies and ideas’; as a general term for concrete empirical situations where ‘the ascendancy of corporate transnational capital generates effects of misery, violations of human rights, rape, malnutrition, genocide.’ ]

One wonders what would replace the functions currently served by corrupt regimes and systems in the developing world for transnational capital.

What will replace them, and what systems of ostensibly cleaner or more honorable functioning (which might be more protective, nationalist and resistant to transnational capital) would be acceptable to the neoliberal system? The answer depends on what role these developing countries play in the global cartography of capitalist empire: will they be ‘subaltern’ hinterlands and markets to metropolitan centers of empires, as they were in the 19th C? Will those metropolitan centers be the same as those 200 years ago, or will there be new power centers, dictated by resource-richness and geopolitical value? Or will there eventually be vast clusters of semi-urban areas, populated by groups that will trade with or prey upon other such areas, ecosystems of crime and trade and unbalanced labor?

The point of this extended diversion is simply to underscore that news such as this cannot be made a rallying cry without looking at what came before and planning for what could come after.

It is easier to create anarchy and topple a throne than it is to replace the offending regime with a stable and halfway benign system accepted by all. But to people desperate for change, or blame, short-term oppositional politics will come easier.

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