Beyond Postcolonial Theory by E. San Juan Jr. (auth.)

By E. San Juan Jr. (auth.)

Opposing the orthodoxies of multinational postcolonialism, past Postcolonial concept posits acts of resistance and subversion by way of humans of colour as significant to the unfolding discussion with Western hegemony. The stories and signifying practices of Rigoberta Menchu, C.L.R. James, quite a few "minority" writers within the usa, and intellectuals from Africa, Latin the USA, and Asia are counterposed opposed to the dogmas of contingency, borderland nomadism, panethnicity, and the ideology of id politics and transcultural postmodern pastiche. Reappropriating principles from Gramsci, Bakhtin, Althusser, Freire, and others within the radical democratic culture, San Juan deploys them to recuperate the reminiscence of nationwide liberation struggles (Fanon, Cabral, Che Guevara) at the face of the triumphal march of globalized capitalism.

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This hermeneutic sabotage would not be a serious matter if we were to take Bhabha's version ofFanon as one possible reading or interpretation, albeit a highly fanciful one. To claim that this version captures the substantive, integral, and most subversive quality ofFanon's thought is, however, to expose the pathos if not reactionaty function of postcolonial theorizing. Fanon analyzed the case of a real patient, relied on empirical research, and interrogated the conclusions ofO. Mannoni andJean-Paul Sartre.

While Menchu's authorial "I" preserves a precarious distance from the tactical "We" who claim to represent others, this interlocutor at least belies the old Guatemalan attitude of self-defense expressed by Luis Cardoza y Aragon: "We do not go out of ourselves and, ifwe do, it is not to start a dialogue but to explode over our own monologue" (Franeo 1967, 232). Menchu initiates a conversation, staging contradictions and differences, utilizing the versatile modality of this genre as the chief agent of revolutionary articulation.

Popular-democratic struggle for national liberation, not identity politics based on ethnic particularisms, is a legitimate and historicaIly timely response to the structural offensive of transnational corporations and their instrumentalities (such as the World Bank/International Monetary Fund): "It is in this framework that the nation-state remains, globally, the horizon for any form of politics that adopts the life-processes of the working classes as its point of departure, and which seeks to address the issue of the exploitation of poorer women, the destruction of the natural environment by national as weIl as trans national capitals, or the rightward drift of ideological superstructures, all of which are deeply connected with labour regimes, gender-related legislations and ideologies, and investment and extraction plans guaranteed by the nation-state" (1995a: 12-13).

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