The plunder of Africa: Colonialism – then and now


The idea that the British Empire ‘civilised’ the ‘backward’ and ‘barbarian’ people of Africa is the story rolled out by the apologists of imperialism, even to this day. The brutal reality of colonialism is almost always whitewashed over. Instead, at school and in the news, we are told to take pride in the role “we” played when “Britannia ruled the waves”.

These ideas serve as a useful foundation for the racist and xenophobic ideas that the capitalists deploy today in order to divide the working class and exploit it all the more surely.

The truth is that the wealth of Britain’s capitalist class came from the enslavement of black people and later, the bloodthirsty subjugation of the people of Africa in the 19th century. As Marx wrote, capitalism was born with “blood dripping from every pore”. In a very literal sense, this blood has continued to pour ever since.

Even today we see how the European capitalists continue to plunder Africa, with the mechanisms of world trade stacked against the ex-colonial nations. The most naturally rich continent on the planet continues to be ransacked by the imperialists of the world, breeding misery and poverty for billions.

In this talk, Fiona Lali discusses the importance of remembering the crimes of the ruling class. While almost all African nations have official independence, they have no independence at all from imperialist exploitation. The only way forward is militant struggle against the exploiters of all lands, based on the principles of socialist internationalism.