The Purpose and Method of Colonisation

(Continued from last issue.)

Every analysis of, and enquiry into, the conditions of the overwhelming majority of the peoples of Christian civilised countries will and must reveal the fact that, so far is this civilisation from giving or promoting genuine joy in life, there is a very real justification for the common reference to this existence as “the burden of life,” if not for the necessity of having “to bear the cross” in silent resignation. Surely, then, it is anything but desirable or justifiable to in­flict such “burdens” upon other peoples who live in happier circumstances—free to enjoy the natural bounties surrounding them, and above all, the fruits of their labour.

The records of many individual missionaries, explorers, travellers, etc., besides being almost invariably full of praise for the physical beauty and soundness of the greater number of more or less primitive peoples, and paying high tri­butes to their skill, moral qualities, etc., such records with equal frequency depict the free and happy existence of the “uncivilised” as compared with the sordid “struggle (!) for life” of civilised man. In a recent number of the “Samoanische Zeitung” for instance, the fol­lowing appeared:

“In this sunny climate with glorious scenery around us, we forgat the squalid, sordid atmosphere which envelops all great European cities, and the fierce, stone age struggle for a bare living in which hundreds of thousands of men and women there are piteously involved. When we compare the happy condition of the Samoans and other Central Polynesian natives with that of the abject poor in England, America, and Russia, we feel sorry for the latter. . . . Let us not, then, over educate the native, and especially let us not instil into his mind the belief that cash is the main chance. For many of us it is, but not for him.”

And from an East African paper I extract the following, written by an experienced traveller:

” . . . On broad well-kept roads . . . the villages and huts of the Washambaa people and other native tribes can be reached ; there one can observe them tilling their fields, feeding their children, collecting the milk from their herds, and one cannot help a feeling of envy at the leisure which they can enjoy in these proceedings. They live simply, and without a care in the world—not tilling much more than is required—most of the food practically grows into their mouths, but they are almost too ‘lazy’ to grasp for it. Black children with dark clear eyes and well-fed little “tummies” are hurrying through rich banana-groves and break down the fruit ; if it is ripe they eat it, if not, it remains on the ground to rot.
“During my travels there I was often re­minded of other parts of the world I had visited and I drew comparisons. Thus, many a landscape made me think of Italy ; there, for example, between Amalfi and Sorrento (Italy) with its disrupted mountains and high plung­ing brooks, an industrious people wrings treasures from the soil. On the mountainsides there are teeming vineyards, whose yield, however, the hungry, begging multitude of children, who imploringly stretch out their meagre fingers at the approach of the visitor, can never enjoy !”

Apart from the absence of anything that modern society, as at present constituted, could offer to other leas advanced races to guarantee the latters’ enhanced welfare and happiness—supposing for a moment that the bourgeoisie, of all human societies, were capable of such an altruistic feeling—there is the indisputable and glaring fact that the Bourgeoisie utterly reject any idea of association with, or relationship other than unconditional distinction, from the colored, and especially the more or less primi­tive black races—not to mention their abhor­rence for such notions as “equality” or “brotherhood.” This fact, then, would also constitute a queer explanation for the Bour­geoisie’s keen interest in colonizing and their support of missionary effort. Not only the Colonial Press, but writers and politicians at home take every opportunity to lodge their pro-tendencies. “We will not have any equality or test against any what are called “negrophile fraternal relation with those African races !” vituperate those superior, if conceited, Sons of God. “Assimilation of our high-standing working class (c’est bon !) with the detestable, lazy rabble of Africa ?—Never!” they rave. One feels it necessary to remind the enquirer, that the coming of the vulgar “civilized” has no more been invited by the “detestable, lazy rabble” than the presence of the bourgeoisie is appreciated. What, then, one may ask, is the incentive—the purpose of the missionary effort ?

Now, although the disinterested apostles and propagandists of Christianity, and the rest of the vulgar satellites of the bourgeoisie, often let the cat out of the bag by themselves boasting of the commercial value (to their paymasters) of their missions, there are none the less the asser­tions of their more hypocritical, or shall we say ignorant, brethren affirming pompously that the object of their “missions to the heathen” is their great concern for the education, moral and intellectual uplifting, and general welfare of the natives of foreign “uncivilised” lands. Childish as this assertion may seem at this time of day, even to the non-Socialist, it is neverthe­less the officially declared and avowed object of missionary organisations, besides being fre­quently used by those following on their heels.

It will, therefore, not be superfluous to have on record in the “Socialist Standard,” fresh evidence from Colonial mouthpieces of our Christian promoters of “civilisation,” that the sole object of the colonization and opening up of foreign “uncivilised” countries, is first of all the forcible appropriation of their natural riches (wealth), which the native, of course, never dreamed was by the Will of God ordained to serve a purpose far higher than that of being merely enjoyed as means of subsistence.

Further, and necessarily, the forcible sub­jection and exploitation of those peoples for the benefit of the cosmopolitan clique of capitalists and concession hunters, since for the purpose of success in the piratical enterprise of appropriation it is necessary to have the co-operation of the natives themselves. And it is here the “good offices” of missionary societies come in. They offer the cloak behind which to hide the brutalities connected with the conversion of the native from an owner of his land and indepen­dent conditions of existence into a propertyless wage-earner—the element which is as indispen­sable to Capital as is the stomach to the human being. All the talk of education, moral and intellectual uplifting, etc., simply resolves itself into an effort to imbue the native with the due respect for that mysterious quality of all things known by the “civilised” as Value and Price, and the inestimable virtues of industry and abstinence.

It is, besides, a matter of history how the various peoples, who to-day “enjoy” the com­pany of “cultured civilised man,” have been and still are being “educated” and “guided.” The Putumayo horrors still haunt the memory and are in themselves sufficient to prove how far from the truth is the impudent assertion that the concern of the “pioneer of civilisation” is the welfare of the natives. Indeed, the blood of thousands of innocent men, women and chil­dren cries out aloud against such a lie as this.

A glance over the map of Africa, for example, which has in later years in particular received the attentions of the Gospel merchants and their “followers”—the concession hunters—will prove to the world in whose service the former are, and will provide for posterity a lasting example of Christian love and brotherhood.

The governments of Germany, England, France, Belgium, Italy, etc. have vied with each other in their disinterested desires to help on the work of “education” and “uplifting” pre­liminarily started under the auspices of their sky-pilots, while the factory hells of Krupp and Maxim and other murder-instrument makers have been kept busy supplying the wherewithall to furnish the recalcitrant with a dose of the eternal bliss promised by the missionary. Almost each designative name on the map re­calls the cold-blooded slaughter of numberless innocent human beings in the most cowardly and fiendish manner, although the whole extent soldiers will, of course, never be told. One has of the horrors perpetrated by the Christian to be satisfied with what filters through, and can only gather from one’s knowledge of the all-per­vading greed of that sinister and dehumanised 20th Century product, the modern capitalist class, what the innocent multitudes of the natives can expect once they come into the clutches of our masters.

Who of us, who are Socialists, can forget the Congo or the Tripolis atrocities, the wholesale slaughter in South Africa, the massacres in Egypt and in the Sudan, the butcheries in Algeria and Morocco, the systematic murders in German East and South-West Africa ? All of which have been perpetrated, and are still being perpetrated, in order to obtain access to, and confiscate the riches of the land, and by the same token force the natives into the labour market !

As a rule, after the chiefs of the staff in the human slaughterhouse have had their day and their “purse” for successfully establishing their masters’ authority abroad, the equally deadly, if less noisy and often more deceiving, weapon of legislation completes the work of brigandage and the consequent impoverishment of the sub­dued peoples. Thus, last year’s “Land Act” assigned to the 4 millions natives in the South African Union, 11,000,000 morgen land out of the total area of 142,000,000 morgen, the re­maining 131,000,000 morgen being in the occu­pation of 1,250,000 whites. The provisions of the Act are, of course, such as to prevent the natives from acquiring land outside the sche­duled areas, and to leave them no alternative but the wage-labour market—no escape from the dependancy on the “profiteer.”

It is obvious that so long as a man can find his means of subsistence freely provided by nature, e g., so long as he owns means allowing of the pro­duction of the things whereby he lives, he need not and will not sell himself to another man ; in other words, he is not fit material for capital. This fact alone is sufficient to indicate that expropri­ation of the native is an indispensable condition. And just as the history of the rise of the bourgeoisie in Europe is marked by a series of revolutions and wars ending, as it did, in the complete dispossession of the great mass of the people of every vestige of independent property, so the natives of “uncivilised” Africa have to go through this metamorphosis as soon as they have the misfortune to come in contact with the modern bourgeoisie. Capital, the demon inseparable from the bourgeoisie, is as we know, not a thing—it is a social relationship and requires the existence of a huge class of men and women deprived of all possibility of producing their own means of subsistence. The crucial point in the Colonies is, therefore, to ensure the separation of the natives from their own conditions of labour and their root, the soil; and thus create there that “high-standing” artificial product of modern sosiety, the proletariat, which is synonymous to saying—”the poor.”

(To be Continued.)


Leave a Reply