So, what does Commonwealth Day mean to anyone British? If you even know when it is (helpful hint – today).
Is Commonwealth Day a remnant of colonialism? Doubt it. Doesn’t seem like anything in particular at all.
Back in school, half a century or so ago, OK I exaggerate but it sounds good, we studied Muir’s Historical Atlas. The British Empire was coloured in red and seemed to cover half the world.
I was brought up with the notion that the British Empire was A Good Thing. And that loss of colonies was A Bad Thing.
It was a very long time before I learned that empires and colonisation didn’t always involve Good Things.
That, it involved killing local people. Making the ones who weren’t killed, change their culture, their religion, their way of life, everything they had ever known, to fit in with the liberating oppressors.
The last few hundred years saw a race to grab as much of the world as possible. By and large, by the following western european countries – Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, UK.
What’s happened since then??
Most of us glorious colonising countries have ceded independence to our thralls. In the case of the UK we have a Commonwealth. Interestingly we used to have an Empire Day, established by Canadians in 1898, and then instituted in the UK in 1904.
Empire Day became Commonwealth Day in 1958 to reflect the changed relationship between the UK and former colonies, empirical subjects, whatever you wish.
The UK gets a lot of stick for its colonisation. When I was in Australia it seemed like there was a huge anti-UK campaign going on, everywhere seemed to be proclaiming its Australian origins and dislike/hatred of the UK.
More recently on forums, Americans seem to enjoy bashing Brits for colonising America. (Why we did is beyond me, but there we go).
Now this is seriously rich. Because the whole point of this post is about modern-day colonialisation.
It’s no longer about grabbing land. It’s about money-grabbing and asset-grabbing.
Modern-day colonial powers no longer take over a country and put in infrastructure. They go in, shoot the shit out of everyone, destroy the local environment and take what they want. Or, they do it a different way.
Some years ago, I decide to boycott Japan. Apart from the fact that I totally disagreed with their whaling policy, I didn’t agree with the way they flooded the market with their electronic goods.
Now Japan has lost ground to China, same issue, different country in the lead, still flooding the market with cheap goods. Who cares where their product is manufactured, or in which sweatshop? Economic colonialisation anyone?
But America is a different matter again.
1) America likes to invoke protectionist laws so that people can’t import goods into the US or make money on-line by taking money from American citizens. (qv the anti-gaming legislation that I have written about before)
2) America has the right to invade anywhere in the world. How many countries has the USA invaded since the second world war? Approximately 45 according to Tony Benn. What is that if it is not colonialism? Or imperialism?
3) New-style colonialism is about asset-stripping. Invade a country under the guise of liberation from a tyrannical oppressor. Create chaos in the local population, take the rights to the oil and piss right off.
Great stuff America. Even the Brits stayed long enough to pretend to do something useful.
Colonialisation exists. If you look for it. It’s in a different guise, but just as wicked. Don’t support it.
That ‘liberating war’ is another form of colonialism. Just go on in and beat the natives about the head.
Oh! did I mention corporate
wankers bankers? You know the ones. Put the world economy into reverse, saw a shit load of people on the street, and still took home their bonus?
People, our oppressors just change their spots. And some of us don’t even realise it.