ABOUT NEO-KOLONIALISM - SHAKA SHAKUR #archive

a 1996 letter by the activist Shaka Shakur on Blast


The nature of neo-kolonialism is that of a chameleon. It is ever-present, ever-changing in its character content, and form. And by that very nature it is seductive. The seductíon can be subtle or upfront and in-your-face. The victim of such seduction can be willingly seduced and be engaging in a neo-kolonial politic, or he/she can be unconscious of the seduction and yet be participating in a neo-kolonial politicaI and social practice. 

When europeans invaded Afrika to kid­nap Afrikans as slaves and to steal land and the raw resources of that land, they created a system of kolonialism: Direct rule and occupation. As Afrikan people begin to struggle and throw off the yoke of kolonialism through a revolutionary process, kolonialists were forced to move to the next stage of kolonialism -neo-kolonialism. They began a systematic program not only to coopt revolutionary forces and leadership, but also to put into position those Afrikans who looked Afrikan but thought and acted like the foreign invaders whom they had already been conditioned by.


Historically, most revolutionaries and anti-kolonial forces have viewed neo­ kolonialists as those who have sold out to the kolonial forces holding high office and acting as buffers ; lackeys for the white colonial imperialist invaders, These neo-koloníals are usually created by the european invaders, educated in european institutions, indoctrinated with eurocentric values, placed in positions of pseudo-power, and utilized as tools to legitimize a kolonial imperialist system. They are used to obscure the contradiction and existence of natíonal oppression. Neo kolonialism obscures the struggle for national independence and national liberation. It leaves the impression of freedom and integration into the socio-economíc structure of society, when actually you either have flag independence or a bourgeois democracy resting on the backs of oppressed nationals. Neo-kolonialism represents a higher stage of kolonialism. It is kolonialism ín new form.

ln north amerikkka, New Afrikans have undergone a similar process. As the revolutionary movements and civil rights struggle of New Afrikan people began to surge forward during the 60s and 70s, the U.S. government implemented a cover counter-intelligence program (COINTELPRO) to target, neutralize, and destroy alI New Afrikan revolutionary organizations and prevent the rise of a Black messiah who could electrify the masses of New Afrikan people.


Part of this program was geared towards attacking the more militant segment of Our movement, while part was geared towards co-opting other segments with corporate grants and privileged positions. This process was multifaceted. While hunting down and assassinating many New Afrikan (Black) militants, framing others, and forcing the rest to go underground, the kapitalist ruling klass of euro-amerikkkans moved to create a more concentrated national New Afrikan bourgeoisie -a privileged elitist klass who for the most part was de-culturalized and allowed to integrate into so called institutions of higher leaming. They were indoctrinated with euro-centric values; freedom became a cadillac and a home in the suburbs, They were no longer "Black and Proud," but instead wanted to become recognized as amerikkkans. ln an attempt to undermine the grassroots organizing that many of our militants had been doing and to contaminate the sea of New Afrikan people, the system pumped drugs into our community at an alarming rate. While an elitist klass was created and alIowed token crumbs from the eurokapitalist table, a drug economy was created for the lower klass where we would kill one another while trying t become ghetto rich. Neo-Kolonialism changed forms as our national reality as a subjugated nation continued to undergo a transformation. 

As part of this dialectical process of growth and deterioration and the spiraling and sharpening of overall contradictions, what had been knowm before as “gangs” began to change form and character. As the movement of freedom was being crushed, reduced to a low tide among the sea of our people, street organizations continued to rise and grow. 

They became better organized, better armed, and more vicious and backwards than ever before. As the genocidal campaigm waged by the settler state intensified against new african and latino people, the actions of street organizations became a self-fulfilling prophecy for the euro-settler state. Just as yhe us government from afar controldded and subsidized many of the counter-revolutionary wars in third world countries, they now subsidized and controlled the wars raging in our community around the drug economy, by supplying both the drugs and the high-tech eaponry that most of these street forces use.

Most of the youth today do not see themselves as agents of imperialism, as agents of genocide and as extensions of the state, primarily becaus they have been seduced by the neo-koloial phenomenon, wich is constantly promoted and propagated through the u.s. Bourgeois superstructures and the (mis)educational institutions. These institutions infect us with morals and values that are alien and foreign to our historical afrikan and new afrikan culture.



The seduction of neo-kolonialism saturates and promotes almost every aspect of our popular kulture so that we receive a steady diet of rank opportunism and neo-kolonial politics. For example, take the popular TV series “N.Y. Undercover”, a supposedly realistic kkop show that as a neo-kolonial new afrikan and latino playing the starring roles. In contrast to the past aproach of starsky and hutch and other of its kind, these kkkops are dressed in hip hop gear and speak the language of hip hop kulture. Hip Hop artists and soundtracks are used as a theme and each show usually features a well-known or popular new afrikan or latino entertainer or athlete. While sugar coating the show with heavy dose of new afrikan or latino kulture, the fovus of each airing usually attempts to focus real issues confronting oppressed communities and promoting fictional portrayals of non-fictional events, e.g. The murder of Dr. Huey P. Newton and the armored car expropriation by Puerto Rico Independentistas.

In this hollywood creation, no new afrikan or other oppressed person is ever taken into the police station and beaten and tortured until a confession is given. No kkops are ever shown selling huge quantities of narcotics and weapons in the community or shooting kids in the back while claiming the kid had a weapon.

While appropriating New Afrikan and Latino kulture, the police and state take on legitimate characteristics. They take on the characteristic of having the people's interest at heart; this has not been Our historical reality. These kops are not seen as kkkops terrorizing the hood but are portrayed as homeboys protecting the hood, As the music and other portrayals of Our kulture seduces Our youth into watching and consuming this program, the real kontradiction of neo-kolonialism and Our relationship to the settler state and its occupational forces become obscured. The kontradiction is shrouded in a mythology promoted by the bourgeois super-structure while simultaneously creating illegitimate images and "role models" in the mind of Our children that they desire to emulate.

We can see this same appropriation of New Afrikan and Afrikan kulture in McDonalds and sports commercials, where popular New Afrikan entertainers and athletes are used to promote not only unhealthy products but products of corporations that have presently and historically had an oppressive and oppotunistic relationship to the New Afrikan community. Yet these products are promoted with an Afrikan-centric backdrop of kente cloth, New Afrikan church choirs and Afrikan artifacts. Under kapitalism everything is commodified, including kultures.


The relationship of street organizations to the New Afrikan community today is the equivalent of Jonas Savimbi -Ieader of UNITA -to the Angolan masses, the equivalent of Mongasithu Buthelezi of the Inkatha Freedom Party of South Mrika to Azanian people, the equivalent of the contras to the Nicaraguan people. They are forces financed and supported by foreigners to terrorize their own people and community. They have taken on the characler of warlords, who, as night falis, controI and dominate entire segments ofthe New Afrikan community in the further pursuit of vulgar materialism. They are chasing an amerikkkan dream whiIe further exacerbating a neo-koIonial nightmare for the New Afrikan Nation / people, This trend must be reversed.