In the midst of struggles against racial oppression in the United States that intensified in and around 1968, activists developed the theory of the internal colony to contend that US imperialism was essential to understanding racial oppression in the heart of empire. The theory of the internal colony foregrounded alliances with struggles for national liberation abroad, articulated through an internationalist and Third Worldist position. This essay is a critical evaluation of the theory of the internal colony as a political perspective, its use and circulation within militant movements against racial oppression during the long 1960s, and its cultural and theoretical resonances today. Through the work of Robert L. Allen, the essay argues that the internal colony was a crucial lens through which to read both the rise of law and order and neoliberal political formations. Furthermore, drawing on the critiques of imperialism and finance, first developed by Lenin, that inspired movements for Third World emancipation through dependency theory from Latin American scholars and the theory of neocolonialism developed by Kwame Nkrumah in the 1960s, the author argues for a reevaluation of the theory of the internal colony in the context of contemporary financialization in the United States and elsewhere as a way to reinvigorate theories of geographical dislocation that remap solidarities in struggles against the financial dispossession today.
Internal Colony as Political Perspective: Counterinsurgency, Extraction, and Anticolonial Legacies of ’68 in the United States
Morgan Adamson is associate professor of media and cultural studies at Macalester College. She is the author of Enduring Images: A Future History of New Left Cinema (2018). She has also published on the relationship between culture and finance capitalism in journals such as South Atlantic Quarterly, Ephemera, and New Formations.
Morgan Adamson; Internal Colony as Political Perspective: Counterinsurgency, Extraction, and Anticolonial Legacies of ’68 in the United States. Cultural Politics 1 November 2019; 15 (3): 343–357. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/17432197-7725493
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