Decolonizing Democracy from Western Cognitive Imperialism
274 Pages
English
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Decolonizing Democracy from Western Cognitive Imperialism

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274 Pages
English

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There seems to be a sort of prevalent attitude in the Western world that its brand of democracy is something of a catch all solution for all the world's political problems. Hence, Western imperialism has always been sold under the pretext of spreading freedom and democracy. Democracy is beautiful. But it is no proof against imperialism. Whether democracy is causal is another whole consideration. It may be a case of the 'least bad of evil alternatives.' It may be a case of a state of social and political development over and above the way people organize themselves. It may be the fate of rational life on a planet with insufficient energy reserves to support locomotion without predation. But what gives anyone the right to go into a sovereign country and change its foundation through War? The whole democracy and freedom line is a lie to give Western imperialism a friendly face. Imperialism and its lie of spreading democracy is an unmitigated evil, whether for material gain, or the pride fostered by active participation in the machinery of state. Therefore, a people seeking to control their destiny must decolonize imposed Western democracy.

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Published 06 August 2015
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EAN13 9789956762897
Language English
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Decolonizing Democracy from Western Cognitive Imperialism
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Decolonizing Democracy from Western Cognitive Imperialism
TATAHMENTAN
Decolonizing Democracy from Western Cognitive Imperialism
Tatah Mentan
L a ng a a R esea rch & P u blishing CIG Mankon, Bamenda
Publisher: LangaaRPCIG Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group P.O. Box 902 Mankon Bamenda North West Region Cameroon Langaagrp@gmail.comwww.langaa-rpcig.net Distributed in and outside N. America by African Books Collective orders@africanbookscollective.com www.africanbookscollective.com ISBN: 9956-762-16-4 ©Tatah Mentan 2015All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying and recording, or be stored in any information storage or retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher
Table of Contents Acknowledgements……………………………………...v Preface……………………………………………………vii Chapter I Introduction:Framing the Global Democratic Dynamic………………………………………………….1 Chapter II Western Liberal Democracy as Cognitive Imperialism: A Theoretical Exploration………………..57Chapter III Globalization and Democratization as Rewesternization………………………………………...97 Chapter IV Toward Liberation from Western Democracy’s Cognitive Imperialism…………………....157 Bibliography……………………………………………...237
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AcknowledgementsNo one walks alone on the journey of life. Just where do you start to thank those that joined you, walked beside you, and helped you along the way continuously urged me to write a book, to put my thoughts down over the years, those that I have met and worked with, and to share my insights together with the secrets to my continual, positive approach to life and all that life throws at us. So at last, here it is. So, perhaps this book and its pages should be seen as “thanks” to the tens of thousands of you who have helped make my life what it is today. This book would not have been possible without the support of many scholars. I wish to express my gratitude to the following scholars whose ideas have both inspired and enriched my book. My deepest gratitude therefore goes to: Francis Nyamnjoh (for pushing me on), Samir Amin, Walter Mignolo, Anibal Quijano, and Arturo Escobar. I would like to gratefully acknowledge the enthusiastic embrace of the timely struggle to theorize decolonization from Western coloniality of power in all forms such as Liberal Democracy as the New World Order. Apart from my efforts and those of scholars mentioned above, the success of any project depends largely on the encouragement and guidelines of many others. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to my friend Professor Jean-Germain Gros, University of Missouri- St. Louis, the person who has been instrumental in the successful completion of this book. I would like to show my greatest appreciation to him. I can’t say thank you enough for his tremendous support and help. I feel motivated and encouraged every time I receive an unfriendly comment from him about my research work. Without his encouragement and guidance this book would not have materialized. Finally, I wish to thank Professor Bill F. Ndi immensely for his editorial cleaning and critical interventions, ideas, and ever-appreciated availability to get the book published.
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Preface Apparently, “Democracy” is in, and “development” is out as buzzwords for Africa nowadays. The very “development” idea and word are in apparently terminal crisis in the continent. The new idea to replacing it is “democracy.” When Gandhi was asked what he thought of “Western Civilization,” he answered “it would be a good idea.” We can say as much of development and democracy as well. However, for Africa, “democracy” is likely to become no more real in the future than “development,” or Western Civilization for that matter, did in the past. Instead, like the latter, “democracy” may well become a flag—or the fig leaf—for continued recolonization, exploitation and oppression of the continent by the West. In Abraham Lincoln’s words therefore, there can be little real and meaningful democratic government by the people, of the people, and for the people in any part of the world as long as their economic possibilities are limited and their policy options are controlled by their participation in the whole world economy, which is run from the West. Of course, there is no present claim or foreseeable hope of making decisions for the whole world economy on a democratic basis. As long as this lack of democracy remains for the world economy as a whole, political democracy in any “sovereign” African enclave called state thereof can be of limited scope and value at best.This existential situation around the world explains why the word “democracy” is increasinglyattached to an arrayof concepts, themes,political and social realities, and visions. Yet there are currently a number ofgroups, movements, interests and actors around the world that are contesting the normative, hegemonic meaningmanifestation of formal Western democrac and y beingimposed on alienpeople in the South. Manypeople in the South do not see their interests served by formal Western electoral, representative democracy, that which concernspoliticalparties, votingti and ghtly controlled electoralprocesses. Rather, there is visible concern in manyquarters with not only the formalprocess of how elections are shaped and governments are formed but, also, vii
with thepolitical, economic, cultural, social and militaristic outcomes of such institutionalized configurations. However, democracya worth remains y and widespreadgoal, but it is important to distinguish thegoal from the means used to attain it. There is a difference between assertivepromotion and moregentle support of democratization. Avoiding coercion, premature elections, and hypocritical rhetoric should notpreclude a patientpolicythat relies on economic assistance, behind-the-scenes diplomacy, and multilateral approaches to aid the development of civil society, the rule of law, and well-managed elections. Equallyimportant to the foreign-policyused to su methods pport democracyare the wa abroad ys in which the Westpractices it at home. When they try to impose democracy, theyit. When tarnish the West lives upits own best traditions, it can stimulate to emulation and create the softpower of attraction. This approach is what Ronald Reagan called the “shiningcityon the hill.” Another aspect of, say, America’s domesticpractice of liberal democracyis currentl that y being debated is how it deals with the threat of terrorism. In the climate of extreme fear that followed the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Bush administration engaged in tortured legal interpretations of international and domestic law that tarnished American democracy and diminished its softpower. Fortunately, a freepress, an independentjudiciary, and apluralist legislature helped to hold for suchpractices uppublic debate. Obama hasproclaimed that he will close the Guantánamo Baydetention facility within ayear, and he has declassified the legal memos that were used tojustify what is now widely regarded as torture of detainees. But theproblem of how to deal with terrorism is notjust a matter of history. The threat remains alive, and it is important to remember thatpeople in democracies want both libertyand security. In moments of extreme fear, thependulum of attitudes swings toward the security end of that spectrum. Abraham Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus – theprinciple that detainees are entitled to challenge their detention in a court of law – duringthe Civil War, and Franklin Roosevelt internedJapanese-American citizens during the early days of the Second World War.
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When some of the Bush administration’s more reasonable members are asked todaythe how ycould have taken thepositions they did in 2002, they cite the anthrax attacks that followed 9/11, the intelligence reports of an impending attack with nuclear materials, and the widespread fear of a second attack against the Americanpeople. In such circumstances, liberal democracy and securityare in tension. Terrorists hope to create a climate of fear and insecurity that willprovoke Westerners to harm themselves by undercutting the qualitytheir own liberal democrac of y. Preventing new terrorist attacks while understandingavoidin and gmistakes of the the past will be essential if the US is topreserve and support liberal democracy both at home and abroad. That is the debate that the Obama administration is leadingthe US toda in y. However, this debate does not cancel the fact that democracyis beingimposed bythe West on non-Western societies as a system of recolonization. Although democracy seems to have scored an historic victory over alternative forms of governance, a widespread commitment to democracy is a recent phenomenon and the creation and maintenance of democracy isaremarkably difficult form of government (as evidenced by serious threats to it such as fascism, Nazism, Stalinism). Liberal democracy has been championed as the agent of progress, and capitalism as the only viable economic system. People have even proclaimed the “end of history” (Fukuyama, for example) as ideological conflict is being steadily displaced by universal democratic reason and market-oriented thinking. Theorists of democracy have assumed a “symmetrical” and “congruent” relationship between political decision makers and the recipients of political decisions. However, regional and global interconnectedness contests the traditional national resolutions of the key questions of democratic theory and practice. National communities by no means exclusively make and determine decisions and policies for themselves, and governments by no means determine what is appropriate exclusively for their own citizens. Decisions made by quasi-regional and quasi-supranational organizations (EU, NATO, IMF, etc.) diminish the range of
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