Jun 28, 2005

imperial reckoning by Mike Morgan: Mau Mau, Insurrection and the tactics of counter-insurgency.

“Like all European colonies in the Third World, Kenya had everything to offer white settlers and nothing but grief for the local indigenous population. From the beginning of the last century and by the early years post World War II, whites flocked to Kenya to cash in on the privilege afforded them by virtue of their skin color… If ever a community of people deserved to be considered the detritus of humanity, it was the parasites that made up white Kenyan society.

“The immediate goal of the British was to break the back of the Mau Mau insurgency, fostering the belief amongst Africans that the pursuit of revolution was a doomed enterprise. Thus the brutality of the incarceration and screening processes, which were designed to spread fear and doubt amongst would-be Mau Mau adherents and to coerce those captured and already on the Mau Mau side to renege on their allegiances. However, another benefit of such tactics, critical to winning the overall campaign, was the collection of intelligence. The surreptitious nature of guerrilla warfare and urban rebellion requires that those combating it remain steps ahead of the rebels. Better intelligence gave the British the ability to pull off pre-emptive strikes.

“Pseudo-gang atrocities could also be manipulated conveniently to blame such violence on the liberation groups themselves… pseudo-gang activities have the potential to exploit already existing rivalries and exacerbate divisions within an united front liberation movement in order to further foment in-fighting, sectarianism and to exploit internal group instability… [these] interventions have set many a struggle back and harmed some irreparably.”

-Mike Morgan, imperial reckoning

Brooklyn resident by way of South Africa, Mike Morgan uses his review of two recent works on the Kenyan Mau Mau insurrection to take a broader look at what is going on with war and revolt today. Although he lays out an array of names and scenarios, he readily admits, “It would take many more pages to explain each example, and I apologize for merely making reference. A fuller description of these particular organizations and events referred to in passing is for another time and place.”

Nonetheless, he touches on several themes that seem to dovetail nicely with where Three Way Fight is coming from and hopefully going to. Topics ranging from Settlerism and it’s privileges based on class and race, to high-lighting counter-insurgency tactics employed by the State agencies in it’s campaigns against oppositional forces are all of utmost importance for radicals to wrap their heads around. The Kenyan experience also raises the realities of what brutal depth’s a privileged stratum of society will go to in resisting those who are taking action to reform or alter their societies. Morgan’s piece makes me think what realities could/can we expect, here in the U.S., if a mass social crisis emerges and leads to a struggle over land and resources amongst the populace? White supremacists and neo-fascists have been organizing a base for years in anticipation of some major social breakdown. And even though the fascists here are a small minority, they are an active one whose numbers, or at least influence, exceeds the influence held by any notable Left tendency. Even more innocuous projects like the Minuteman highlight what may be in the cards.