Decolonizing Dialectics

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Anticolonial theorists and revolutionaries have long turned to dialectical thought as a central weapon in their fight against oppressive structures and conditions. This relationship was never easy, however, as anticolonial thinkers have resisted the historical determinism, teleology, Eurocentrism, and singular emphasis that some Marxisms place on class identity at the expense of race, nation, and popular identity. In recent decades, the conflict between dialectics and postcolonial theory has only deepened. In Decolonizing Dialectics George Ciccariello-Maher breaks this impasse by bringing the work of Georges Sorel, Frantz Fanon, and Enrique Dussel together with contemporary Venezuelan politics to formulate a dialectics suited to the struggle against the legacies of colonialism and slavery. This is a decolonized dialectics premised on constant struggle in which progress must be fought for and where the struggles of the wretched of the earth themselves provide the only guarantee of historical motion.


“Critiques of the dialectic are a constant in the contemporary intellectual scene, most of them unconsciously animated by dialectical logic, as George Ciccariello-Maher demonstrates. His book traces the dialectical logic of two fundamental contemporary movements, the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela and the internal debates within Black politics and theory. At the same time, he restores three great antidialectical thinkers—Sorel, Fanon, and Dussel—to their full dialectical stature, in analyses that range from the nature of violence to the different moments of nationalism and colonialism. It is an energetic and stimulating new intervention that enhances the theoretical canon and forces a welcome rethinking of practice itself.”
— Fredric Jameson

“If the Euro-dialectic of Hegel and Marx has limited its adventures to the poles of master and slave, or bourgeoisie and proletariat, a decolonized dialectic must take in far more territory to be true to our multipolar non-Euro world. Drawing on Sorel, Fanon, and Dussel, George Ciccariello-Maher demonstrates how this classic philosophical concept can be dynamically developed to illuminate the logics of the emancipatory struggles of the global South against white supremacy and colonial/neo-colonial rule.”
— Charles W. Mills, author of,Radical Theory, Caribbean Reality: Race, Class, and Social Domination