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C O U R S E 
The Great War and Modern Philosophy
Nicolas de Warren, KU Leuven University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
The Nature of Colonialism Wars
Notes taken on December 17, 2015 by Edward Tanguay
the First World War was a true global war
but when we think of WWI, the first images that come to mind are British, German, and French soldiers
in reality over 4 million non-European soldiers fought in the war
French army at at least 500,000 colonial troops
the colonial prehistory to the war
how the European colonial experience established a certain mentality and attitude of war that would elevate war to the pinnacle of absolute destruction
The Critique of Dialectical Reason
an analysis of colonialism
an unfinished war
began in the late 50s, published the first volume in 1960
written sixty years after the First World War
the development of colonialism in the late 19th century represents the most advanced stage of European capitalism and imperialism
it's in this context that the fundamental distinction and confrontation between civilization and barbarianism gives rise to a new form of war, a form of absolute war, which appears on the continent in the conflagration of 1914-1918
there exists a constitutive relationship between imperialism, capitalism, and colonialism
colonialism is the last stage in the development of European capitalism
the stage in which European capitalism becomes globalized
the relationship between violence and destruction in colonialism
violence and destruction were integral and constitutive elements of colonialism
colonialism had as its main purpose an economic objective
the exploitation of resources and the conquest of lands
"The colonial wars of the 19th century realized an original situation of violence for the colonists as their fundamental relation to the natives."
the key term is realized
colonialism as such is a system of violence
the system of colonialism instituted a permanent state of war
the institutions, mentality, and culture of colonialism was something like a state of war
the infernal machine
the experience of absolute and total warfare as it was later developed in the First World War was routinely understood with the analogy of a machine
the anonymity and bureaucratization of death
colonialism as a state of war
1. colonialism is cosmological in the sense that it produces a universe, fundamentally a Manichean universe
the world of colonialism is predicated on a conflict between good and evil, between civilization and barbarism
this Manichean universe permeates entirely the relations within colonialsm and its institutions
reappropriates Clausewitz's view of war
not the pursuit of politics by other means
the pursuit of economics by other means, indeed, by total means
Clausewitz's notion of the duel
war as the confrontation between two antagonistic parties that has the shape of a duel
Sartre transforms this: colonist and native are in a duel, no one can intervene and so there is no political solution
they don't struggle for political aims and recognition
the aim of the antagonism from the point of view of the colonist, is not to reach a political solution, but extermination
2. this Manichean universe produces an anthropological break
it creates and depends on the constitution of a difference between the human and the other-than-human, or the inhuman
it constitutes the natives, the colonized population, as the inhuman
it sees them as a population which is not part of humanity
it constitutes the enemy, the other, as inhuman
analogy of a comparison of H.G. Wells "The Island of Dr. Moreau"
the native is perceived as a "botched experiment"
a failed experiment of both animality and humanity
hatred and ferocity
the colonist is moved to apply violence
with not political solution
3. what is distinctive about European racism
understood war as a race war where the primary objective, above and beyond economic exploitation, is extinction
colonial war presupposes a war among races and presupposes a certain hierarchy among races
forges the constitutive difference between civilization and barbarianism
a war which by definition has no political solution
and is a war in which everything is permissible, indeed required, to exterminate the brutes