Class struggle and national struggle: Shehzad Aslam
Kwame Nkrumah in his book “Class struggle in Africa” delivers his ideas on colonist attitude and the defaults of capitalism; which he believed as a socialist that capitalism strengthens the exploitations of the oppressed or in fact exceeds the agenda of the colonists.
Despite his bow towards socialism, he explains a wonderful revolutionary idea and discusses the evil effects of colonialism more than a socialistic motivation. It means that his book may not only be credited as a motivation for socialism but also a motivation for the oppressed colonised people or nations who may not possibly affirm with a socialistic perspective or favor socialism in anyway.
The first thing he explains in the first chapter, origin of class, that how social classes emerge and that who are responsible for designing such an socioeconomic structure. There have been five major types of production relationships known to man, he says; “colonialism, slavery, feudalism, capitalism and socialism.”
When the colonists seize the lands, he explains, people are compelled to sell their labour power to the colonists who turn their profits into capital. So in anywhere as a result of this, diverse social changes occur. Then feudal and semi-feudal relationships undermine the emergence of an industrial and agricultural proletariat.
Now here comes the most important thing following these circumstances. It was in these circumstances, he explains, that the race-class struggle also emerged as a part of class struggle. What does he mean by that? He does not determine class and race as two different realities in the light of social circumstances of colonialism, which means that, the point to be noted, the attitude of the colonists intends to treat the whole nation as a race, and with equal motives, therefore compels every indigenous to enjoy almost a similar economic position. It ultimately proves to evolve their class consciousness as a whole. When suffering becomes their ultimate result, they start considering them a single entity deprived equally by colonial forces. This is how the marxist explains some aspects of the colonialism.
But still Kwame Nkruma thinks that, things work slowly and sometimes parallelly. Another default of a colonial society, he says, the colony becomes a sphere for investment and exploitation. Therefore, the need for the colonial administrative apparatus results in the emergence of, first a petty bourgeois class and then an urban bourgeois class of bureaucrats; reactionary intellectuals, traders and others who become increasingly part and parcel of the colonial economic and social structure.
Here we come into a consequence that the needs of administration for the colonists and the financial needs of the indigenous together result as a cooperation between the colonists and a specific indigenous class. Here is when a middle class within the indigenous emerge and the interests of the middle class conflict with the national interests of the common. The colonists on the other side tries to secure the interests of the indigenous middle class; the bureaucrats, traders, businessmen and investors to win their support for preserving their colonial interests.
Now his idea of a race-class, that the whole nation becomes a class, exceeds with the idea of class within the class. Now the new class does not contribute with the national cause, instead they favour their bilateral interests with the colonists as a status-co functionary. So, they may not ideally be considered indigenous or they are more of the colonists and must be treated as accordance. It is because their actions reveal this. What they seek is what they are.
If the nation overall strives as a class then they must consider them a single class in actual terms as they are practicing a same economic position. And of the economic determinants which distinguish them with a pretty bourgeois class within themselves; a group in cooperation with the colonists, politically or economically, may not ideally be considered the indigenous. They are colonists too. For national struggle in marxist perspective is not a cultural fact, but an economic fact that isolates the oppressed class with the middle-class, per se, the supporters of the colonists.
A national struggle against a colonial force is purely a class struggle. And it appeares exactly so. It is always the oppressed who come into resistance against the oppressors. And the people who are well of, wealthy and exploitating a good sum of interests within the social and economic structure designed and constructed by the colonists, do not usually appear to participate in the national cause. It is because of the monopoly that the colonial forces have purposely designed to strengthen and continue their exploitation. The objectives of the indigenous bourgeois class does not usually seem to relate with the proletariat class. They are much of in favour of the colonists.
So, the question remains, how easy it is to decide that the class struggle should determine the national struggle. And that if the speculation is true, then the class consciousness ought to be, of necessity the factor to determine the national struggle whether or not you are a socialist.