Essay Building Nation

This continued relationship, Fanon argued, benefited African politicians and the small middle class but did not benefit the national majorities.

In 1964 he wrote in Toward the African Revolution: "Every former colony has a particular way of achieving independence.

Every new sovereign state finds itself practically under the obligation of maintaining definite and deferential relations with the former oppressor." With regard to the Cold War he continued: This competitive strategy of Western nations, moreover, enters into the vaster framework of the policy of the two blocs, which for ten years has held a definite menace of atomic disintegration suspended over the world.

Although Western European powers granted aid to African nations, they also coerced governments to support their agendas and instigated and aided coups against democratically elected governments.

They also fomented civil unrest to ensure that governments friendly to their Cold War agenda remained in power and those that were not were removed by political machinations or assassination.

One of the many questions that African leaders faced was whether continued economic and political interaction with former colonial powers threatened their autonomy and political viability.

The ex- colonizers wanted to retain their former colonial territories within their sphere of influence.Along these lines, in his speech on the occasion of Kenya's independence from Britain in 1963, Prime Minister Jomo Kenyatta (in power from 1964 to 1978) declared: The aim of my government which starts today is not to be pro-left or pro-right.We shall pursue the task of national building in friendship with the rest of the world.When decolonization began, there were reasons for optimism.The year 1960 was heralded throughout Africa and the West as "the Year of Africa" for the inspiring change that swept the continent.Mobutu's rise to power and economic and political damage to Congo in the process—with the help of his Western allies—demonstrates that the politics of the Cold War, more than anything else, defined the successes and failures of African decolonization.Back to top In the 1960s, Frantz Fanon, the anti-colonial intellectual and psychoanalyst, among others, described neo-colonialism as the continued exploitation of the continent from outside and within, together with European political intervention during the post-independence years.And it is surely not purely by chance that the hand or the eye of Moscow is discovered, in an almost stereotypical way, behind each demand for national independence, put forth by a colonial people.Early in the decolonization process, there were fleeting moments in which the emerging African and Asian nations did seek to shift the political paradigm away from the Cold War's East-West dichotomy.These seventeen nations joined the United Nation's General Assembly and gave greater voice to the non-Western world.Fully recognizing the potential for the remarkable change that African independence could bring to global politics, on February 3, 1960, Harold Macmillan, prime minister of Great Britain from 1957 to 1963, delivered his famous speech, "Wind of Change," to the South African parliament.


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