THE WEST AND THE REST OF US: White Predators, Black Slavers and the African Elite by Chinweizu

THE WEST AND THE REST OF US: White Predators, Black Slavers and the African Elite

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The author, a Nigerian poet who studied mathematics and philosophy at MIT, excoriates the West for centuries of predation, along with petit-bourgeois elite Africans like Nkrumah, Senghor, and Houpouet-Boigny. The book looks toward a ""gigantic reconstruction of [Africa's] society ""to build black power in the African homeland."" This can and should be accomplished by developing economic autarky as Japan did a century ago (the Soviet Union is also regarded as a model, no because of socialism, but because of its nationalism and economic development). Who will lead this mobilization against the Western exploiters remains a moot point; tepidly, Chinweizu credits Sekou Toure of Guinea with an independent spirit and also Mobutu of Zaire (though it was Mobutu who helped murder Patrice Lumumba and handed over the copper mines of Belgium's Union Miniere to the Americans). Certainly, beyond the question of leaders, the book gives no tangible sense of social forces and strategies. Chinweizu does provide dabs of historical insight when he examines the assimilationist, comprador (middleman) qualities of turn-of-the-century black liberals and post-World War II independence leaders like Nkrumah. Decolonization is termed the ""middle-class solution"" in which foreign aid facilitated economic drainage and distortion. Chinweizu's own advocacy of a traditionalist cultural revival scarcely sounds like expansive freedom for the African population, but his polemics against the ""glorified slaves"" of the new middle class are geared to peg the book as forward-moving.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1975
Publisher: Random House