In the ’70s and ’80s, the remarkable thinker Walter Rodney helped to develop the idea of being politically Black, arguing that often the racist act and actor failed to discriminate in terms of his target—Pakistani, African, or Caribbean—the brute force of racism thus landed equally among peoples of colour. By the ’90s, however, the broad-brush approach that allowed African Caribbean people, continental Africans and Asians to gather under the rubric of being Black in the political sense (particularly in the U.K.) had fragmented into the particularities of identities—Asian, South and East; Caribbean; continental African and other cultural markers of identity. In the twenty-five years, the list of markers has rightly expanded to include LGBTQ2, as well as the disabled. Riffing on the old and now outdated esoteric and philosophical discussions about the presence of angels, I’m sometimes tempted to ask how many identities can dance on the head of a pin.
In the above example [of the Portuguese government supplying laborers to South Africa], the Portuguese colonialists were cooperating with capitalists of other nationalities to maximize the exploitation of African labor. Throughout the colonial period, there were instances of such cooperation, as well as competition between metropolitan powers. Generally speaking, a European power was expected to intervene when the profits of its national bourgeoisie were threatened by the activities of other nations. After all, the whole purpose of establishing colonial governments in Africa was to provide protection to national monopoly economic interests. Thus, the Belgian government legislated to insure that freight to and from the Congo would be mainly carried by Belgian shipping lines; and the French government placed high taxes on groundnuts brought into France by foreign ships, which was another way of insuring that groundnuts from French Africa would be exported in French ships. In a sense, this meant that Africans were losing their surplus through one straw rather than another. But it also meant that the sum total of exploitation was also greater, because if competition among Europeans were allowed, it would have brought down the cost of services and raised the price paid for agricultural products.
In addition to private companies, the colonial state also engaged directly in the economic exploitation and impoverishment of Africa. The equivalent of the colonial office in each colonizing country worked hand in hand with their governors in Africa to carry out a number of functions, the principal ones being as follows:
1) To protect national interests against competition from other capitalists.
2) To Arbitrate the conflicts between their own capitalists.
3) To guarantee optimum conditions under which private companies could exploit Africans.
The last mentioned objective was the most crucial. That is why colonial governments were repeatedly speaking about "the maintenance of law and order," by which they meant the maintenance of conditions most favorable to the expansion of capitalism and the plunder of Africa. This led the colonial governments to impose taxes.
Africa’s total contribution to Britain’s sterling balances in 1945 was 446 million pounds, which went up to 1,446 million by 1955—more than half the total gold and dollar reserves of Britain and the Commonwealth, which then stood at 2,120 million. Men like Arthur Creech-Jones and Oliver Lyttleton, major figures in British colonial policy-making, admitted that, in the early 1950s, Britain was living on the dollar earnings of the colonies.
If one accepts that the government is always the servant of a particular class, it is perfectly understandable that the colonial governments should have been in collusion with capitalists to siphon off surplus from Africa to Europe. But even if one does not start from that (Marxist) premise, it would be impossible to ignore the evidence of how the colonial administrators worked as committees on behalf of the big capitalists.
In a way dreams exactly embody the concept of freedom. They free you of all constraints. I think God gave human beings this possibility to apologize for all the limitations he’s created for them.