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Albert Memmi & The Political Left Within "The Colonizer & The Colonized"

Uploaded by uhcroll on Nov 16, 2002

Domestically, within American history, we have always associated social liberation with the ideological left. That is--a liberal or socialist movement that has aided in the beneficial reforms of cultural and economic humanity. Humanity of civil and equal rights, along with policies that support labor and commerce benefits for a working class genre. This has resulted in the various ways we socially and politically view the leftist in society. Within Albert Memmi’s The Colonizer and the Colonized, the author somewhat surprisingly explains the faults of the leftist colonizers and how he interestingly points out why the leftist view could not win the political war that struggled to denounce and dismantle diseased colonization.

Of course the leftist view differs somewhat socially and politically between American society and the colonial societies of the 19th and 20th century Africa. There is no doubt that Memmi directly attacks the ideas and acts of colonialism, describing it as an inescapable trap that is a destructive force upon the native culture. What is truly important about how Memmi describes the left view as compared to the right, “The essential factor is firmness of ideological attitude and condemnation of colonization. To be a rightist or leftist is not merely a way of thinking but also…a way of feeling and of living” (27).

Memmi makes an interesting point when he discusses the leftist position in respect to the natural position of a colonizer. Even though the leftist primarily rejects colonization, he soon finds himself assimilating into the culture because of the ever going environment. “He participates in and benefits from those privileges which he half-heartedly denounces” (Memmi 20). What Memmi is conveying is that the leftist colonizer is on an equal level in terms of treatment with his fellow citizens, which the colonized are certainly not.

Memmi also delivers the notion that one can be both a revolutionary and an exploiter, also giving evidence that the leftist has a dual face that they may not necessarily be able to control. The leftist can not at anytime truly relate themselves to the colonized for a very simple fact. It is the fact that the colonized are from different origins. It comes down to colonizers taking away the question, “who am I?” right from the hands of the colonized. What Memmi points out is that when the colonizer performs the colonization process, he is taking utmost everything away from the colonized. History...

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Uploaded by:   uhcroll

Date:   11/16/2002

Category:   Literature

Length:   5 pages (1,048 words)

Views:   2311

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