Decolonization and Empire

Contesting the Rhetoric and Reality of Resubordination in Southern Africa and Beyond

By John Saul  

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What does Empire mean today? There is the unalloyed working of capitalism, the manufacture and exacerbation of a global hierarchy, reinforced by the “free” workings of the market, creating unequal windows of opportunity and material outcomes. The gap between rich and poor continues to grow, not exclusively along geographical lines (there are, after all, many poor in the global North and some rich in the global South) yet, nonetheless, principally along these lines. This hierarchy is only in part self-creating and self-sustaining. It is also willed and locked into place by the states, the governments in power of the North and their quasi-international panoply of institutions (the imf, the World Bank, the WTO and the like). The space for quasi-left experimentation in the South has gone now and capitalist practitioners face only a weak opposition. What does this mean for those at its receiving end, those in a global South? Those increasingly unable to defend themselves against the “free global market” as projected upon them by the us, the imf, the wto. What else is this, if not recolonization?

“To be read by concerned scholars everywhere, especially the young–and the young at heart.”

— Barbara Harris-White, Professor of Development Studies, University of Oxford

“As a scholar and an activist he has taught and inspired…”

— Trevor Ngwane

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  • Introduction: The Empire of Capital
  • Colonization recolonization: The Southern Africa Case
  • Decolonizing the Residues of Empire
  • Recolonization and the New Empire of Capital
  • Revalidating vs. Resisting Empire: The Global Struggle
  • Regrounding Resistance to the Empire of Capital
  • Conclusion: Resistance
  • Appendices: Eduardo Mondlane and the Rise and Fall of Mozambican Socialism
  • Remembering Samora Machel


  • John Saul

    John S. Saul was educated at the Universities of Toronto, Princeton and London and, on the ground, in Africa and has taught for many years both at York University (until his retirement) in Canada and in Africa: in Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa. He also worked throughout these years as a liberation support and anti-apartheid activist, notably with the Toronto Committee for the Liberation of Southern Africa (TCLSAC) and with Southern Africa Report magazine. He had published over seventeen books including: Millennial Africa: Capitalism, Socialism, Democracy, The Next Liberation Struggle: Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy in Southern Africa, Development after Decolonization: Theory and Practice for the Embattled South in a New Imperial Age, Recolonization and Resistance: Southern Africa in the 1990s, and O Marxismo-Leninismo no Contexto Moçambicano. He remains committed to an anti-capitalist/anti-imperialist politics.

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