Before I Wrote my Senior Thesis: [February 14, 2009]

I’m writing my thesis officially. It is kinda fun, and but at the same time I’m mad that I changed my topic so radically.

I began thinking that I’d write about the seeming contradiction of UN foreign policy regarding apartheid South Africa and its image as a great democracy. Both domestic and foreign policy pointed to the opposite conclusion- black votes were suppressed, and if not suppressed, the vote was given a great price. Surely, if a subset of the American people are disenfranchised, that nation is not truly a democracy- not if the dominant group has readier access to political participation. The same went for the US’s continued economic and diplomatic support of the apartheid regime in the Union of South Africa- support of a regime that classifies and disenfranchises a majority of its people on the basis of color- tacit or not- speaks volumes about the nation itself. Aside from the Uranium and gold- there was a racial dimension. Clearly those (African) lives are not valued.

That continues even today. Bush’s accomplishment was his funding of AIDS research. AIDS is not the only disease on the African continent (and Africa is a continent…) *ahem* *coughssarahpalin* Globalization takes the same paradigms set forth by the Cold War discourse- 1st World, 2nd World and 3rd World. Those “third world” nations are so alien- populated by dark- skinned peoples in the warmer southern hemisphere. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank continually apply molds better suited for European nations upon these nations in the form of Structural Adjustment Plans.

The same goes for nationalism. The dilemma was best addressed by Partha Chatterjee in Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World- to what extent is nationalism imitative of Western forebears? Is the nation expected to follow the same progression from feudalism to industrial capital to socialism? To what extent is nationalism free of the European model?

So, at the moment, I am writing about the Council on African Affairs (CAA) from 1941 to 1957, and its role in the voicing the position of the African- American lobby for sanctions against the South African apartheid government. Paul Robeson and Max Yergan were Chairman and Executive Director respectively of the CAA. The aims of the organization were nationalistic, and they followed the post- colonial discourse- stressing the importance of linking domestic and foreign liberation struggles. Paul Robeson’s views, in particular, were interesting. He was a Marxist Nationalist. He advocated the retention of culture while learning how to operate the machines of Europe. Essentially, the black man should not relinquish his culture in favor of being like the European. He may learn from the European and apply his unique personhood.

The dilemma keeps coming back. To what extent is nationalism imitative of European models?

It hurts my head.

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