The Ideological Roots of 'The Squad' in Academic 'Postcolonial' Theory
To understand the ideological goals of the so-called “Squad” of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley, one needs to understand the academic theories labeled colonial and postcolonial studies. Many of us “people of color” who have direct or indirect ties to other parts of the third world have seen this nonsense being peddled many times before.
Screen grab from a Trump campaign video
What we are witnessing, despite the veneer of watermelon politics, is not just Marxism, or Alinkyism, or socialism, or communism, or Black Pantherism, or eco-fascism. We are seeing iron-fisted colonial and postcolonial theory acting itself out on the national stage. The study of European colonialism and its aftermath, post colonialism, is a combination of all of those leftist social, economic, and environmental projects rolled into one, presented under the auspices of a systematic academic canon. It uses insider academic jargon to bemoan the aftereffects of having once been dominated, and against their will, culturally transformed by a European colonial power. Hence, the terms “colonialism” and “postcolonialism.”
This is what most people who are not of European descent study when they go to college in this country. If they don’t study it in college, they get a version of it in high school through “social studies” classes. If they never went to high school, they get a Jerimiah Wright version of it from the pulpit. If they don’t go to church, they get it from community organizers in the streets. And if they are not in school, at church, or in the streets, then they are getting it from home. The bottom line is that one way or another, they get it. However, it is the colleges and universities that are doing the most to perpetuate this ideological system intent on destroying all Christian societies and civilizations.
Whether they just take a few classes as electives or end up minoring or majoring in some form of colonial and post colonial theory, this is the radical intellectual ghetto that most blacks and Hispanics are herded into the moment that they step foot on most college campuses. It is what people like me were almost browbeaten into studying when I attended the City University of New York decades ago. When I chose instead to study Old Western Culture, I was overlooked for numerous scholarships and fellowships; treated by the predominantly far-left academic administrators as if I were a leper; and laughed at (behind my back) by many of my fellow students. But as someone who already had first-hand knowledge of several West African regions and a keen interest in a systematic study of her tribal lineage, I saw no need to spend three or four years of my life buttering up to professors who would present me with a revisionist version of my authentic history.
Colonial and postcolonial studies radicalizes its students so effectively based on two important propositions. Number one, it speaks specifically to the experiences of minority people in a way that straightforward Marxism/communism cannot. The problem with trying to stick the Saul Alinsky or Karl Marx label on most black folks is that it still superimposes a European experience on to them.
The theoretical roots of Marxism were not cultivated in Africa, the Caribbean, or Asia. They were cultivated in Europe. So essentially, when you call a “woke” minority person a communist, according to these theories you are “re-colonizing” them based on a European social and economic model. So, whether it’s communism or capitalism, if it was conceived by white people, then don’t try pin it on a black person. If you do, it has to be very “ethno-specific” e.g. African socialism, Pan-Africanism, Latin American socialism, etc. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tried to articulate this point a few weeks ago, but her lack of verbal dexterity made for a convoluted sound bite.
The second reason that these studies radicalize so thoroughly is because they take human instincts and organize them into racial situations that most minorities in the West emotionally identify with. In other words, colonial and postcolonial theory take human instincts of aggression -- to conquer and enslave; to rape, pillage, and lay siege to occupied territory; to overthrow existing regimes in order to assume power by force; and to discriminate and separate oneself from what is unfamiliar -- circumstances that have been experienced across the scope of human history -- and turn these into phenomena that only blacks and browns have been victims of at the hands of whites.
And this by the way is why “people of color” is an absolutely ludicrous but clever phrase invented by these very types of people. It is used to balkanize and erase the real backgrounds of various African, Asian, Arab, and Native American tribal people. It suppresses their cultural vices while exaggerating their virtues. Ultimately, it dehumanizes people because it robs them of their human instincts; and usually for better, it reinvents the stories of their actual traditions. So now, Arab Somalis like Ilan Omar, who come from Muslim tribes that have historically and presently engage in practice of selling black Africans as slaves throughout parts of Africa and the Islamic Middle East, are allowed to evade this fact by taking cover under the mantle of being “people of color.”
Here’s a brief breakdown of the various derivations of colonial and postcolonial theory and how each of the four U.S. Congresswomen uses the theories to perpetuate political agendas that seek to undermine the moral legitimacy of the United States and the Christian West. Included is an overview of the academic departments at their respective alma maters where colonial and postcolonial studies take refuge:
A Focus on Latin American/Caribbean Postcolonial Theory with a Degree in International Relations/Economics
The canon of literature defending this strain of postcolonial theory posits the following: European conquest of modern-day Latin America and the Caribbean began in the late fifteenth century with the travels of Christopher Columbus, which were financed by the Spanish empire. Through the efforts of Columbus and other navigators, the Spaniards killed and enslaved native people in many parts of the Caribbean as they searched for gold and other resources that would be valuable to Spain. A similar pattern was adopted by the Portuguese in their conquest of territories in South America and Africa. By the late sixteenth century, most of the territories and peoples of the Caribbean Basin, Central and South America had been successfully seized and colonized by the Spanish and Portuguese.
The European powers divided their respective colonial societies along racial lines that deprived the majority native people of basic human rights while giving the ruling advantage to the minority European classes. The Catholic Church, and subsequently all Christian faiths, that forced their religious dogmas onto the native people, were complicit in the subjugation and genocide of the native populations. The Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) is an example of of a decree, validated by papal bulls, that legitimized colonial conquest in this region.
The Europeans brought Old World diseases such as smallpox to the West Indians and Central and South Americans who were already being used as slaves based on the encomienda system. These diseases decimated the populations forcing the replacement of them with black African slave labor, which a developed and sustainable trans-Atlantic Ocean slave trade provided. The slave labor was used on tobacco, sugar, cotton, and coffee plantations; in timber fields; and in gold and silver mines — all to the benefit of the European colonizer. By the early eighteenth century, as the military predominance of the Spanish and Portuguese continued to wane, the Dutch, French, and English began to adopt facets of the colonial conquest pattern set in place by the Spaniards and Portuguese, especially in the Caribbean. Despite the the independence movements of native populations that began in the Caribbean, most notably the Haitian Revolution, during the eighteenth century, the corruptive nature of the European political system made it virtually impossible for the new postcolonial governments (based in part on colonial models) to develop and thrive in an authentic and productive way.
At Boston University (BU), Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s alma mater, colonial and post colonial theory can be studied across several disciplines, including comparative literature, history, political science, and even the fine arts.
The university offers a B.A. in Latin American Studies with key courses such as “The Americas Before Columbus,” “The African Diaspora in the Americas,” and “The Spanish - American Colonial Experience.” BU also offers extensive lectures and conferences in its Musicology and Ethnomusicology departments on the colonial experience. BU’s English and sociology departments offer an array of courses on postcolonial literature studies and critical race/culture theory, which fall under the auspices of colonial and post colonial studies.
Here is a sample syllabus offered by the Pardee School of Global Studies – Latin American Studies Program. The course was open to both undergraduate and graduate students.
Ocasio-Cortez, perhaps the greenest of the four watermelon politicians, uses insider colonial and postcolonial theory talking points quite often to underscore her political motivations. She has claimed that the growing of cauliflower in urban green spaces is “taking a colonial approach to environmentalism” and that communities of color get pushback on environmental projects because of the “colonial lens” that they are viewed with. She also views the present-day relationship between the U.S. and Puerto Rico as inherently colonial by nature. In a Twitter exchange with Dinesh D’Souza, she responds to one of his questions about Puerto Rico by claiming that the question comes from a “colonial mindset” and that his sentiment is “rooted in colonialism.” And in a 2019 podcast interview not only does she make the audacious statement that “[all] black folks are descendants of slaves that were imported for the explicit purpose of cultivating crops,” but that “racism, colonialism are [something] that we understand through lived experience in a way that many don’t understand.”
The interview is quite revealing.
Ilan Omar and Rashida Tliab
Focus on European Colonialism and Post Colonialism in (North) Africa and the Middle East With Degrees Respectively in Political Science/International Studies and Political Science/Law
This is the most complex version of colonial and postcolonial theory to unpack because of the historically ancient relationship that has existed between Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, extending back to the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage (modern day Tunisia). Historically speaking, the political and cultural exchanges between the West and the Arab world have by no means been one-sided. In essence, for the better part of a millennium before European colonialism appeared, many of the Semitic people of this region had already been divided, subjugated, and colonized by a theocratic political ideology of conquest, Islam. This notable fact is something that many prominent Muslim politicians in America like to ignore. So, in terms of colonial and postcolonial studies, the focus tends to be on the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century relations between Europe, the U.S, and the Middle East. Orientalism, written by the late Edward Said is still the standard text used to “deconstruct” and attack Western assumptions about the Middle East.
The central thesis of the book asserts that the people of the Western cultures intrinsically harbor derogatory understandings of Arab regions and people even though they have little-to-no first-hand knowledge of the Arab world. In the arts, literature, political discourse, and academic studies, Arabs are often portrayed as unfamiliar, strange, and menacing. Furthermore, the way in which the knowledge is acquired is highly subjective. The political motives are clear, and they seek to alienate and create a false “the West vs. the Other” dialectic. The lens from which the West views the East is completely distorted. There is an obvious disparity between the reality of what Arab cultures are versus the Western representation of them.
Professor Said’s revolutionary 1978 treatise continues to be required reading in hundreds of colleges and universities across the U.S. within political science, English, anthropology, sociology, history, and cultural/gender studies departments. As a history major, I too had to read it in college.
Ilan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are the most militant of the four women. It is becoming increasingly clear to me that they want a civil war in this country. They want an “American Spring.” This video is one of many where Rashida Tlaib uses Mr. Said’s central thesis to make the point that traditional Americans are morally wrong to attack Muslim women of color based on an “us vs. them paradigm.” And in this video, Ilhan Omar actually pokes fun at Americans for fearing Al-Qaeda, as the “Other.”
Although North Dakota State University, where Ilan Omar received her bachelor’s degree, does not offer much in terms of colonial and postcolonial studies, the University of Minnesota (Humphrey School of Public Affairs) where Ms. Omar was a fellow does. Also note that the Chair of NDSU’s English department, Dr. Weaver-Hightower, describes herself as a “postcolonialist by trade.” Wayne State University Press, the publishing house of Rep. Tlaib’s alma mater, publishes extensively on colonial and postcolonial studies mainly under the guise of African American studies. The University of Minnesota Press also in lockstep with social justice academic culture, publishes books on bizarre topics such as “post colonial biology”.
Congresswoman Pressley is not a college graduate. However, she did attend Boston University for two years. Judging from her insipid diatribes on race, it’s clear that her lack of academic credentials and imagination has forced her to regurgitate the decades-old tropes on race that we are all too familiar with. BU’s Pardee School of Global Studies and African Studies Center has an extensive virtual multimedia resource center dedicated to the study of colonialism and postcolonialism in Africa especially. I am sure that Rep. Pressley is quite familiar with many of these ideas, which parallel the colonial and postcolonial theories outlined above pertaining to Latin America and the Caribbean.
Americans with a casual interest in politics have no idea of the depth of the hatred that these four women have towards the West and all of its abiding citizens. That’s too bad because mark my words, these women want war. And it’s starting to look like they will actually get their wish.