Neocolonialism is the practice of using capitalism, globalisation and cultural imperialism to influence a developing country instead of the previous colonial methods of direct military control (imperialism) or indirect political control (hegemony). The term was first used by Kwame Nkrumah in the context of African countries undergoing decolonisation in the 1960s.
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- As with all so-called humanitarian crises, it is essential to remember that the social conditions found across most of the countries of the South are the direct product of how these states are inserted into the hierarchies of the world market. Historically, this included a long encounter with Western colonialism, which has continued, into contemporary times, with the subordination of poorer countries to the interests of the world’s wealthiest states and largest transnational corporations. Since the mid-1980s, repeated bouts of structural adjustment — often accompanied by Western military action, debilitating sanctions regimes, or support for authoritarian rulers — have systematically destroyed the social and economic capacities of poorer states, leaving them ill-equipped to deal with major crises such as COVID-19.
- Adam Hanieh, This is a Global Pandemic – Let’s Treat it as Such, 27 March 2020, Verso Books
- Khe Sanh, one of the major battles in the Vietnam War, was just one little piece of a huge malignant disaster in a war that was criminal from its inception, and that had no purpose beyond perpetuating the neocolonialist control by the US of a long-subjugated people who were fighting to be free, just as our own ancestors had done.
The methods of neo-colonialists are subtle and varied. They operate not only in the economic field, but also in the political, religious, ideological and cultural spheres.
Faced with the militant peoples of the ex-colonial territories in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America, imperialism simply switches tactics. Without a qualm it dispenses with its flags, and even with certain of its more hated expatriate officials. This means, so it claims, that it is ‘giving’ independence to its former subjects, to be followed by ‘aid’ for their development. Under cover of such phrases, however, it devises innumerable ways to accomplish objectives formerly achieved by naked colonialism. It is this sum total of these modern attempts to perpetuate colonialism while at the same time talking about ‘freedom’, which has come to be known as neo-colonialism.
- Kwame Nkrumah, "The mechanisms of neo-colonialism," Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism (1965)
- A state can be said to be a neo-colonialist or client state if it is independent de jure and dependent de facto. It is a state where political power lies in the conservative forces of the former colony and where economic power remains under the control of international finance capital.
- Kwame Nkrumah, "Sham independence," Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare (1968), p. 8
- The three essential components of neo-colonialism are:
1. Economic exploitation
2. Puppet governments and client states
3. Military assistance
4. Economic "aid."
- Kwame Nkrumah, Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare (1968), p. 15