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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: December 2019

18 - ‘The Dust of Empire’: the Dialectic of Self-Determination and Re-colonisation in the First Phase of the Cold War

from Part III - The Parochial/Plural Cold War


When Charles de Gaulle learned that France’s former colonies in Africa had chosen independence, the General shrugged dismissively: ‘[t]hey are the dust of empire’. This disdain toward the non-Euro others characterised as Eurocentrism is typical of, and almost defines approaches to, the post-Westphalian order. This disdain is naturalised in the early era of what I have elsewhere called ‘conquest colonisation’, where resources, territories, nations and even people are plundered and looted, and governance by predation and the politics of discrimination prevail. Paradigmatically, conquest globalisation engages in ruthless subjugation of peoples marked by the altogether resolute denial of their humanity and confiscation of their natural habitat, social relations and human resources. At times, it even entails the total physical destruction of peoples, or cultural destruction, as the histories of indigenous peoples everywhere testify. Conquest globalisation founds itself on, and takes pride in, reiterating and calibrating various forms of production of human rightlessness of the subjugated peoples.

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