Postcolonial Studies: A Materialist Critique

By Benita Parry | Go to book overview

5

Liberation theory: variations on themes of Marxism and modernity

It must initially appear improbable that disciplinary fields constituted around critiques of capitalism and colonialism have given a meagre reception to liberation theory. I will return to a tendency amongst postcolonial critics to disown liberation discourses and practices, and indeed all forms of anti-colonialist rhetoric and organization. 1 But first I want to consider why so few of the major Marxist meta-theorists in Europe undertook to examine the roads taken by Marxism on colonial terrains. Even if we allow that analyses inspired by Leninist strategies for class and anti-imperialist struggles diverged from the epistemological and aesthetic concerns of Marxisms in the advanced capitalist countries, this indifference takes its place within the wider and long-standing exclusion of non-western knowledge from the canons compiled by metropolitan scholars. 2 Nor is the propensity amongst European scholars to overlook or underestimate unfamiliar modes of thought, especially when these come out of Africa, limited to the mainstream. In a wide-ranging and provocative essay Göran Therborn acknowledges that Marxism became 'the main intellectual culture of two major movements of the dialectics of modernity: the labour movement and the anti-colonial movement'. 3 Yet when considering 'Marxism in the New Worlds', he underestimates the creativity and innovations of Latin American and Asian Marxisms, makes remarkably flimsy allusions to its Chinese form, and joins a larger constituency in rejecting Africa as a player in the discourses of Marxism and modernity. Thus while singling out Fanon, a francophone Martinican, for capturing the violent traumata of modernity in the colonial zone, he goes on to assert that most important Marxist intellectuals of Africa tend to be non-black: 'Black African culture very different from the Marxist dialectic of modernity, has not (yet) been able to sustain any significant Marxist intelligentsia' (p. 78).

The circumstances overdetermining the inadequate recognition of liberation theory within western Marxism during the decades preceding and subsequent to the second European war include but are not exhausted by 'eurocentrism'. As is well known, the main support for anti-colonial movements in the imperial homelands came from the political left, who hailed the Cuban revolution, supported the struggles in Vietnam, Latin and Central America, and Africa, were attentive to the case for guerrilla warfare in predominantly agrarian societies, and registered their respect for Che Guevara's intellect, his intelligence as a strategist and his undimmed revolutionary consciousness. Moreover the Marxist perspectives of the Chinese and Cuban revolutions excited considerable interest amongst many prominent left-wing scholars (Robin Blackburn in Britain, Leo Huberman, Paul Sweezy, Andre Gunder Frank, Fredric Jameson, Arif Dirlik in North America, Sartre, Althusser and Régis Debray in France). For as long a

-75-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Postcolonial Studies: A Materialist Critique
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 243

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.