Colonization, From Without And From Within

evildeadDave Pollard writing at how to save the world:

Colonization is a loaded word, depending on whether you are the colonizer or the colonized. Throughout the history of our civilization, colonizers (imperialists, conquistadors, missionaries and, most recently, globalization corporatists) have asserted that colonized people were “savages” who needed external rule imposed on them “for their own good”. It matters little whether such assertions were honest, well-intentioned and misguided, or blatant excuses for theft, murder and oppression. The whole world is now substantially a single homogeneous colony, a single culture imposed and enforced by political and media propaganda, economic coercion, and of course, brute force.

The world “colonize” is from the Latin (whose speakers were accomplished at it) meaning “to inhabit, settle, farm and cultivate”. This definition carries no pretense of doing anything for the benefit of the “colonized” peoples. It just means taking over the land and resources, with or without violence and displacement. The words “culture” and “cultivate” also referred strictly to farming activities until, a mere two centuries ago, their meaning was expanded to include the intellectual, political, economic and social activities of civilization.

Such is the malleability of the human mind and conscience, that colonization occurs, to a greater or lesser extent, at four different levels, and the fact that the more interior forms of colonization are less obvious and often sub-conscious merely makes them, and their effect, more insidious. The four levels, depicted in the chart above, are, reading from the outside-in:

  1. External colonization — where people from one land move into and colonize another land (e.g. various recent invasions of Afghanistan; NAFTA)
  2. Internal colonization — where a dominant culture undermines and exterminates another culture within the same area (e.g. the ongoing brutality that the dominant European culture subjects indigenous peoples to, worldwide)
  3. Self-colonization — where a group of people undermines and exterminates diversity within their own culture (e.g. McCarthyism, groupthink and hazing)
  4. Personal colonization — where an individual molds her/himself to better fit in with her/his group and/or culture

External colonization historically occurred when there was insufficient land to sustain a group. Boundaries were tested, and, in Darwinian fashion, the conflict was resolved in favour of the “fittest” — not the strongest, necessarily, but the group that could best “fit” themselves to the types of food and the carrying capacity of the disputed land. Most such conflicts were won by the incumbents, since they “knew” the land better, and since an easier solution for the invading group would be to manage their own numbers to adapt to the carrying capacity of the land they already were familiar with. The same is true for most wild species — it is in the best interests of all-life-on-Earth to avoid massive conflicts and instability, while introducing new variations that, in some cases, will improve “fitness” and resilience, even though they may create a temporary disequilibrium. Resilience is optimized by diversity, which is why, in the absence of catastrophe, evolution tends towards greater complexity and variety of life forms and “cultures”.

Sometimes, however, there are major natural catastrophes that produce sudden changes and extinctions, that may take a long time to find equilibrium again. The fifth great extinction, 65 million years ago, was the result of a massive meteor collision with Earth, which extinguished most of the life-forms on our planet and made possible the emergence of our weak and ill-equipped (relative to the dinosaurs) species. Then, some other unknown event about a million or so years ago knocked the Earth slightly off its axis and precipitated the Ice Ages. Our species’ (brilliant) response to this catastrophe was to invent hunting tools (the invention of the arrowhead and spear marked the dawn of the sixth great extinction), agriculture and civilization. And with these inventions came explosive population growth and the need for colonization. This colonization was assisted (and made more violent) by the discovery that our hunting tools could also be used as weapons against our own species. As our numbers continued to explode beyond sustainable limits, violent land conflicts accelerated. And as our inventions allowed us to move much faster much more easily and learn about life elsewhere, we discovered the need for “preemptive” colonization to prevent the peoples who might resent our invasion of them, or covet our wealth, from attempting to attack us. We also learned that we could colonize without physically occupying the land of the colonized — we could colonize economically or (with nukes or drones) militarily.

With the growth of civilization, colonization became the major economic activity of our species, and it has remained so ever since. But now that we’ve run out of new places to colonize (and space will, despite the dreams of the technophiles, never be colonized by our species, though the bacteria are likely to succeed at it). And, while we continue to recolonize areas that refuse to accept the dominant culture, we are now struggling with the challenge of dealing with the colonized survivors who cannot or will not “fit” into our culture. A popular solution to this challenge has been to exterminate them, and the number of languages disappearing every year on our planet attests to our success at this solution. Physically non-violent attempts at internal colonization, however, have been less successful. As convenient as it may be to blame indigenous peoples for the high rates of suicide, substance addiction, violent crime and unemployment in many of their internal communities and in our cities, these are all artifacts of internal colonization, the failed attempt to force people to adapt to a culture that is not, and can never be, theirs.

The way in which our civilization culture maintains internal order is through the exploitation of self-colonization. With the advent of language, and hence the ability to propagandize through control of the education systems and media, we can effectively allow groups to colonize themselves, to force their members to conform or be socially, politically, legally and/or economically ostracized. At this level it is no longer land that is the battleground of colonization, it is the real estate of the mind.

Read more here.

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  • Ted Heistman

    I always thought White guilt was dumb. I knew my Mom’s family was from Boston since the 1600’s and never owned slaves. I also knew they were abolitionists who supported the underground railroad. My Dad’s family background was more of a mystery, since he was adopted by his Step Dad when he was a baby and lost all contact with his blood Father. He recently reunited with them through the internet and I recently learned that His ancestors actually paid rent to the Mohawk Indians in Canada. They had a 999 year lease on an island in Lake Ontario of thirty dollars a year. They lost the land through no fault of their own and migrated back to the US, but as far as I know they paid rent for over 100 years and it got raised a couple times and they kept paying it.

    A lot of my extended family is multi-racial. I think after a while nobody will care about this colonization stuff. Its waaay to abstract for my daily life. It requires this weird view of history, the author has where every period of history is all morphed together.

    Like for example, he is talking about the advent of hunting tools and language then suddenly education and propaganda. Its like “colonization” is this weird way of framing the entire past and present all at once.

    If you want to sum up the entire history of humankind all at once you can do it from a limitless number of perspectives, not just this “colonization” lens.

    There are so many layers of abstraction involved in this.

    • Andrew

      White people can be colonized too.

      “Can be?” Make that “often are.”

      • lunasea

        I think it’s kind of silly to even focus on the race bit, when this author is clearly pointing to the “self-colonization” as the focus of the article…maybe I’m the only one who clicked on the link to read the rest of it, but what I got out of it was a white dude telling about his own struggle to keep out the “self-colonization” or group-think…(I read this article yesterday so I could have added my own interpretation by now).

        It’s applicable to anyone who doesn’t (or *once* didn’t) agree with where the common culture is, or is headed. How many people have we all seen “struggle against the system” until they simply became part of it?

        And it’s never as simple as fashions being co-opted or advertising agencies subverting political messages to better sell sugar water–it is truly self-colonization: reaching a certain age or “maturity” where creature comforts and peer pressure mean more than absolute knowledge of the truth that things really didn’t have to be this way. Really.

        Even if one can personally get away with “struggling” until death, offspring just “rebel”…like, what was that one TV show with Michael J. Fox?

        • Calypso_1

          Having spent some years making an infiltration run within the system only to experience increasing immune response, I am reevaluating the sensibility of any self-chosen struggle against this prevailing & lapsing organism.

          The term self-colonization seemed also to evoke the possibility of actually colonizing yourself, not with the requirements of an external order but with your own. Reentering the internal corpus of channels and encapsulations formed against the intruders parasitic hunger has always been a struggle against the hemorrhage it sups on. The promise of a pelagic zone of comfort and sustenance rests upon a precipice of casting out, no compromise and forgetting everything you knew to be true.

          If it may be that a niche can be carried within one, then the few, these places reoccupied become wombs of remembrance and uncertain birth fated to remerge unto completion. Far better this than the horror of a life gone by left only with petrified remains of dreams last grasped in the paroxysm of death.

        • jnana

          life isn’t just about producing offspring like yourself to carry your banner when you die. when you rebel against the system of oppression you inspire others to do likewise. but you can’t force it on other people, even your own children. the best you can do is help them to birth the resistance within themselves, as a sorta midwife.

          remember:

          • jnana

            remember:

          • lunasea

            Did I say it was?

    • Rhoid Rager

      i see what you mean. you’re against the parsimonious nature of it all. but formalism is the only socially-acceptable way to ‘think’ these days. one could even say that the thinking that went into this nicely-packaged, four-tiered colonization scheme was colonized, itself.

      • kowalityjesus

        that is fucked. the word parsimonious just occurred to me earlier and I wrote it down. There are synchronicities occurring, trends of the subconscious, and we are on the same wave… :D

        • Rhoid Rager

          Let me know if it happens again, and i’ll get back to my self-trepanning to let the evil spirits out. ;)

          • Calypso_1

            I have been considering for sometime creating a Voynichesque Codex on trepanning.
            Given that there are those few that are going to do this anyway and that their delusions are usually quite expansive already, I am feel morally relativistic regarding culpability.

          • The Well Dressed Man

            Trepannation should be the next step in extreme cultural appropriation, I mean body modification.

          • Calypso_1

            To incorporate the latest neurooptic interfaces it may come sooner then we think.

          • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness

            But will it be voluntary?

          • The Well Dressed Man
          • Rhoid Rager

            If your readers have the dedication to decypher such a codex and then drill a hole through their skulls, i would say you are entirely absolved.

          • Calypso_1

            Oh it would be lavishly illuminated.
            My cluster headache pain synesthesia vision of the world .

          • Rhoid Rager

            You would certainly spice up the tort law system.

          • Calypso_1

            Judas Priest came through their trial.

          • Rhoid Rager

            i was a teenager in the 90s, and being the uncultured heathen i am, i had to look up that reference.

          • Calypso_1

            I as well, but my inundation with the Satanic Panic was very thorough.

          • The Well Dressed Man

            Actually caught the Painkiller tour, was there for the opening act. That Priest set is still the most metal thing ever. Literally hundreds of Marshall stacks from floor to ceiling. Drum riser was a firebreathing chrome lion’s head. They didn’t just ride Harleys on to the stage… they jumped them off of ramps in a burst of pyro

          • echar

            It’s Unfortunate that his group with guitarist John 5 didn’t do so well. I truly enjoyed it.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfbeYBrOMpE

            Halford has the best metal voices, Then comes Bruce Dickens, and Geoff Tate of Queensrÿche.

          • Calypso_1

            Not bad, I had not listened to it before. I like Marlette’s synth work but his stamp on the mixing/production is a bit conservative. I can think of 3 or 4 people that could have produced this at another level.

          • The Well Dressed Man

            I’m curious about the production too. Seems like Reznor would have been more hands on with releases on his label at this point.

          • Calypso_1

            PS:
            Preference for a remix:
            David Bottrill
            Danny Hyde

            cEvin Key/Phil Western

          • echar

            Are you saying there are remixes of Two, or that if one is to have a remix done it’s best to go to these fellows?

            I have read that Halford released some pre-Reznor mixes of five songs off of voyeurs. I read elsewhere that Reznor messed with the songs too much, and that the originals are good. Sadly I could not find them online. As an aside, I am a fan of Reznors.

          • Calypso_1

            I don’t know of any remixes. Given the industrial element of the sound I heard (and the what was missing that I would like to hear) those are the individuals I think could do good work.
            The wiki mentioned that Halford liked the original session tapes better because they were rawer.

          • echar

            All listed have some musical chops. David Bottril: got me at David Sylvian & Robert Fripp, then Tool. Seriously.

          • Calypso_1

            Ever listened to Download?

          • echar

            I am listening to LingAM now. I like it already. There’s a nice dark ambient touch, but not way out there like Lustmord, who I adore, btw.

          • The Well Dressed Man

            Heard this Lustmord/Melvins project?

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYNo94TYQLo

          • echar

            Oh yes, Pigs of the Roman Empire is fantastical.

          • The Well Dressed Man

            Thanks Echar. I actually had no idea about this project, it’s weird that it slipped through the cracks. Definitely the missing link for John5 between Roth and Manson.

          • echar

            It flopped. Metal fans are not the most accepting of fans at times. You are welcome.

          • Rhoid Rager

            You just reminded me of this funny little video.
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMR9DdYiA-w

          • The Well Dressed Man
          • Rhoid Rager

            Great interview.
            “But in no way am I advocating the idea of self-trepanation; it should
            always be carried out by members of the medical profession.” Except, of course, when there aren’t any willing to do it! LoL!

          • Calypso_1

            Oh yes, quite familiar with her. It’s a fascinating idea.
            However, I’ve read too many psych cases of extremely sick people who tried this. Then again, who can blame them. Until the right cocktail of meds controlled my headaches, I would have done it for the promise of relief if a surgeon would perform it.

          • jnana

            I’ve heard plenty of people(actual live people, not just internet people!) who’ve experienced relief from migraines by ingesting L or psilocybin. This one guy would take shrooms a couple times a year to cure his migraines, although he did not like the psilocybin experience. apparently, it was effective enough for him to endure an uncomfortable trip to cure his migraines.

    • Juan

      “There are so many layers of abstraction to this.” Exactly. The colonization lens or postcolonial theory is just one way of looking at or framing whatever it is you happen to be looking at. There are other ways that suggest different conclusions. For instance, you could use a psychoanalytic approach and get a very different picture of things.
      I look at these various approaches as part of the tool kit that you can use depending on the job at hand. Which I guess is a very postmodern perspective.

      • Ted Heistman

        Juan,

        My point is kind of like. What if you had ancestors who were slaves owned by Native Americans? (A few Indian tribes owned black slaves and fought against the Union in the Civil war) Slave owning Native Americans, White people who got along with Indians and paid rent, poor white people who lived down South and never owned slaves all these people existed. They aren’t part of the dominant narrative.

        What was it like living back then in real time? Did people think they were trying to Colonize “turtle Island” ? Did the diverse Native Americans all think that? Or is this something pieced together later with hindsight?

        I mean were primitive Neo- humans making tools and learning language really on their way to becoming Colonizers? Maybe they were on their way to becoming Jazz Musicians.

        • Juan

          I know what you mean. The colonial approach to looking at history is reductive, it necessarily leaves out all kinds of things.
          I tend to think it is something pieced together in hindsight. All anybody is ever giving you is their particular take on things.

          • Ted Heistman

            I just don’t want to be beholden to somebody else’s made up story. It might prevent me from composing a different narrative that fits the facts better.

            For example, I see a lot of parallels between the Plains Indians of the 19th century and the various Mongols tribes, Huns, etc. of Eurasia, centuries before.

            Everybody seems to have this narrative that the conquerors are always more technologically advanced and literate than the conquered peoples.

            But in realty time and time again, advanced Civilizations were conquered by Illiterate barbarians, who then had slaves teach them reading, writing and advanced culture. This was the case with the Romans for example and highly educated Greek slaves. This was the case with Genghis Khan. This was even the case with William the Conqueror in the battle of Hastings. The Normans who conquered England were illiterate and spent all their time practicing martial arts and hunting in the woods. When William conquered England he tore up a whole bunch of Farmland and created this huge forest, which still exists today.

            The way I look at Ghengis Khan is that what if all the plains Indians, just after the Civil war, when everyone was recovering, united under a single war chief and rode West and obliterated everone and completely leveled NY, DC and Boston and became the New Rulers of America

            That is not something without historical precedent. Had things played out a little differenty it could have happened.

            I don’t think of Native Americans as niave pacifists that were doomed to get their asses kicked by European invaders no matter what. I don’t think of it as fate that was sealed from the get go way back in history when people first developed language and the ability to make tools.

    • SomeRandomDude

      I agree with several points you make and here is why. My great grandpa on my mom’s side was full blooded Cherokee Indian from the Oconaluftee Tribe or the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, as they’re known today, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains North Carolina. On the paternal side of my dad’s family they, Irish-Scots, actually moved in to take land after the Indian Removal Act of 1830 was enforced. That made many of my Cherokee ancestors suffer greatly on the Nu na da ul tsun yi, the place where they cried or Trail of Tears, each Nation/Tribe have a different name for the sadness and took different routes to Indian Territory. If you actually read the route, time of year, the fact most was lightly clothed, and no moccasins the Cherokee had one really heartbroken and difficult journey. Also, they say they didn’t actually cry, but, walked silently the whole way. It divided much of my ancestors since some went to the Indian Territory and a few, including my great great grandpa and his wife stayed in North Carolina on land owned by white men that allowed them to stay legally, most importantly Mr. William Thomas. I’ve personally meet only a few Indians who express anger still, though still sadden by it all, and for the most part they accept the life they knew and land they loved is no more.

      So here I am today a mixture of those who suffered and those who caused it, even though being Irish-Scots they were actually slaves of the English at one point in the 1600’s. On the materinal side of my dad both sets of his great grand parents were full Irish immigrants to escape the Great Famine forced by the English, so they didn’t arrive here until I’m told 1851-53. And on my maternial side of my mom I don’t know she left the family when my my was a year old, but, I know her last name was Proctor or Procter and believe she was English and maybe something else. The 3 grandparents I knew were this old and died when I was this old: Cherokee grandpa 71 and died when I was 5, Irish Grandma 63 and died when I was 6, and Irish-Scots Grandpa 55 and died when I was 21. So I didn’t get to really inquire deep down my family line and my Irish-Scots Grandpa was a heavy drinker all my life, really his too, so he honestly was rarely sober enough to answer anything.

      Well your post just got me thinking and rambling I’m sorry. But, I guess I was just posting to point out how in the end you’re right it is so far behind me that honestly I just think of myself as an American or at the very least an American-Indian because I off my belief “faith” system. And might I add you should read about the Iroquois’s “laws,” which is also the language the Cherokee language was based off.

      Also, I am curious if McCarthyism is in #3 where does communism-facism-socialism fit in #2 or a mix of #2 and #3 or depending on how the Supreme Great Leader in complete power feels that day could be whatever # they demand, even #69?

      • Ted Heistman

        Yeah, I think Braxzil is a little ways ahead of us, but that eventually we will be even more of a melting pot.

  • kowalityjesus

    The cruel fact is that colonization is a realization or aperture of efficiency and efficacy. The mechanism that would prevent rapid bleaching of cultures is saying “enough is enough” and doing things that go against absolute efficiency, cultural traditions which still symbolically matter but are no longer pragmatically necessary. But laziness in the form of satiation and greed is an extremely unrelenting and all-encompassing force to counteract.

    Give me a man that would rather die in the snow than in a hospital bed, and I will give you a truly cultured individual.

    • echar

      Thanks to some colonization, many may not have a choice as to where they die.

      • kowalityjesus

        The cruelty is in the fact that almost everyone wants to benefit from ‘modern’ farming and accoutrements, which is a large arbiter in the bleaching process.

  • Calypso_1

    I love when they add to the mythos; their own culture so bereft of life.
    It was this shit that made me get a guitar, play D&D and start sneaking out back during church service to smoke with the preacher’s kid.
    …there were a few pentagrams carved into pews as well. : ) oh the gripping wave of panic that ensued. They called in ‘specialists’.

    • The Well Dressed Man

      without that level of medieval superstition at that formative point, would we even be hanging out here now?

      • Calypso_1

        There are quite a few of us who were set upon such a path. I’ve met many musicians who recount the terrific glee they experienced the day the guy with the Devil & Rock n’Roll spiel came to church.

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