International book tour Sandew Hira

Sandew Hira has completed the first phase of his international book tour. On March 15 he was in London. On March 18 and 19 was in Scotland, in Edinburgh and Glasgow respectively. On 27 March he was in Birmingham. Information about all meetings can be found here.

The meeting in Birmingham led to a new invitation. The Business School of the University of Birmingham will host a one-day conference on July 29 to mark the publication of Hira’s book. He will give a keynote speech, after which various working groups will discuss the various topics in the book in more detail.

On April 15, he will be in Paris where his book will be presented with two environmental organizations: L’Observatoire Terre-Monde en Verdragon, Maison de l’Ecologie Populaire.

From 1 to 27 May he is traveling in Africa, in particular South Africa and Zambia.

A decolonial critique of Ten Theses on Marxism and Decolonisation by Vijay Prashad

Sandew Hira, The Hague February 21, 2023


On September 20, 2022, Vijay Prashad published an article with ten theses on Marxism and Decolonisation. It is an important article because it addresses the question of decolonisation from a Marxist perspective and that can be a good starting point for a conversation between Marxists and Decolonial theorists on the relationship between Marxism and decolonial theory.

I come from a Marxist tradition and have evolved to decolonial theory. Vijya Prashad is a firm believer in classical Marxist theory. He is doing great work in the anti-imperialist movement with the Institute for Social Research (Tricontinental) of which he is a director. I respect and admire this work. We are in agreement on issues like the need for a global unity against imperialism and the fight against capitalism. Where I disagree with him is his analysis that Marxism is the only correct theory of liberation and socialism is the only solution for capitalism. I argue that outside the Eurocentric Western Enlightenment – that produced Marxism – there are other philosophies of liberation possible and necessary (decolonial theory is one of them) and thus Marxism is not the only or even the correct one. I explain this proposition in my critique of his ten theses and in more detail in my book Decolonizing The Mind.[1]

In this critique I make a distinction between classical Marxism with basic concepts such as the labor theory of value, historical materialism, class and class struggle etc., and modern Marxism that still looks at socialism as an ultimate goal, but don’t base their arguments on classical Marxism. One example is Deng Xiao Ping in China who introduced the concept of market socialism which basically discard the labor theory of value whose direct policy implication is a planned economy. Prashad is clearly a classical Marxist.

Thesis One: The End of History

Prashad rightly criticizes the liberal concept of the “end of history” as articulated by Francis Fukuyama. His critique is that capitalism is not the end of history. The concept of the end of history is actually an old concept and was put forward by German philosopher George Hegel (1770-1831) in his notion that Europe is the pinnacle of human history, the end of history, or as Hegel puts it: “the last stage in History, our world, our own time.”[2] History has come to an end with the rise of European modernity. Hegel wrote this in 1830. Since then a lot has changed. He is an important philosopher in the history of Marxist philosophy. Fukuyama repeated this claim more than 150 years later in 1989. Since then a lot has changed. The decline of the Soviet bloc led to “the weakened confidence of millions of people with the clarities of Marxist thought,”[3] says Prashad. My decolonial critique of this thesis is that it uses the same concept of the “end of history” as was articulated in the European Enlightenment, but then it is not capitalism, but socialism, or more exactly, communism, that will be the end of history.

But the idea of the end of history is problematic. It has a unilinear view of world history. History moves from a lower to a higher form of social organization. In Marxism communism is the highest form of social and economic organization based on the concept of mode of production. In my decolonial view history moves like a spider web web and is based on the concept of civilization, not on mode of production.

A civilization is a collection of economic, political, social and cultural institutions in a society with a common cultural base. The common cultural base is a combination of a variety of elements: knowledge production, cosmology, religion. An empire is a political unit that operates from a specific geographical center (a country, an urban center) and controls nations and communities outside that center through an elaborate system of economic, political, social and cultural institutions. Liberalism and Marxism are based on the European Enlightenment. Both are Eurocentric theories of the world that claim to be universal.

In my decolonial view of world history, civilizations develop like a spider web in different directions. The colonial world civilization – in which industrial capitalism was part (not vice versa) – imposed its cultural base on the colonized world, but we are now in a phase that it is losing its power and other civilizations are re-emerging. My critique of Marxism is that it also has a concept of the end of history, and that this whole concept is false.

Thesis Two: The Battle of Ideas

Prashad refers to Fidel Castro’s campaign of the battle of ideas which proclaimed that “people of the left must not cower before the rising tide of neoliberal ideology but must confidently engage with the fact that neoliberalism is incapable of solving the basic dilemmas of humanity… the political forces for socialism must seek to offer an assessment and solutions far more realistic and credible.” Prashad holds that there are two tendencies that continue to create ideological problems in our time:

“Post-Marxism. An idea flourished that Marxism was too focused on ‘grand narratives’ (such as the importance of transcending capitalism for socialism) and that fragmentary stories would be more precise for understanding the world…

Post-colonialism. Sections of the left began to argue that the impact of colonialism was so great that no amount of transformation would be possible, and that the only answer to what could come after colonialism was a return to the past. They treated the past, as the Marxist José Carlos Mariátegui argued in 1928 about the idea of indigenism, as a destination and not as a resource.”

So the battle of ideas is between Marxism and Liberalism on the one hand and between Marxism and these two schools of thought that criticize Marxism. Apparently he does not acknowledge that there is another school of thought that criticizes Marxist theory: decolonial theory. In the theoretical framework of Decolonizing The Mind (DTM) I criticize Marxism and Liberalism for their Eurocentric views on world history, and their economic, social, political and cultural theories. My basic argument is that from a civilizational approach Marxism and Liberalism are not scientific theories, but theories of ethics. Other civilizations had developed ethical theories with concepts of social justice that is not based on the Marxist idea of surplus value, which I regard as an ethical concept, not as a scientific concept.

So what does the battle of ideas mean if we talk about Marxism and decolonization? In my decolonial view there are two dimensions of ideological struggle: a battle of ideas and a dialogue of civilizations. The battle of ideas has to do with how knowledge production has been colonized by the European Enlightenment and the need to battle these ideas by decolonizing the mind. Marxism, as part of the European Enlightenment, has made important contributions to emancipating oppressed people across the world. These people have different civilizational backgrounds. Another part of the ideological struggle is a dialogue between civilizations: how to build a new and just and pluriversal global civilization with ideas from different civilizations.

Thesis Three: A Failure of Imagination

Prashad says that in the period from 1991 to the early 2000s, the broad tradition of national liberation Marxism felt flattened and was unable to answer the doubts sown by post-Marxism and post-colonial theory. Prashad: “Platforms that developed to germinate left forms of internationalism – such as the World Social Forum – seemed to be unwilling to be clear about the intentions of peoples’ movements. The slogan of the World Social Forum, for instance, was ‘another world is possible’, which is a weak statement, since that other world could just as well be defined by fascism.” This is a lack of imagination. But it is a lack of imagination on the part of Prashad to think that there are no valid narratives of envisioning a new and just society outside Marxism and Liberation. I show in my book that these narratives have been there in many civilizational traditions from Islam and Buddhism to Indigenous philosophies in Abya Yala and Africa.

Thesis Four: Return to the Source

Prashad: “It is time to recover and return to the best of the national liberation Marxist tradition. This tradition has its origins in Marxism-Leninism, one that was always widened and deepened by the struggles of hundreds of millions of workers and peasants in the poorer nations.” Marxism has inspired many people, including myself, to become active fighters against imperialism, capitalism and colonialism. I believe that this experience gained more relevance as revolutionaries dared to go beyond the sources and develop new ideas. Che Guevara thought of an alternative for the Leninist vanguard party in the form of the guerilla army. Deng Xiao Ping, in my view one of the greatest decolonial thinkers, managed to dramatically change the face of China and the world by introducing concepts like breaking with mental slavery, developing policies based on facts and not dogmas and using market socialism to eradicate poverty. Hugo Chavez experimented with the concept of socialism of the 12st century. By going beyond the sources they have managed to make contributions that we can now acknowledge as being part of a new philosophies of liberation.

Thesis Five: ‘Slightly Stretched’ Marxism

Prashad: “Marxism entered the anti-colonial struggles not through Marx directly, but more accurately through the important developments that Vladimir Lenin and the Communist International made to the Marxist tradition. When Fanon said that Marxism was ‘slightly stretched’ when it went out of its European context, it was this stretching that he had in mind… The dual task of the revolutionary forces in poorer states that had won independence and instituted left governments was to build the productive forces and to socialise the means of production.” Well this has been done, and the results are not great. Socializing the means of production according to the “Marxist sources” means bringing all the means of production into the hands of the state and setting up a planned economy that does away with the market as an instrument of allocation of goods and services. This policy is based on and is a direct outcome of the Marxist Labor Theory of Value that says that in capitalism the capitalist is the exploiter who extracts surplus value from the worker through the combination of the labor market and the ownership of the means of production. So according to Marxist economic theory the only just economic order is a planned economy. Well, it did not survive the first social revolution in the world and it went down with the dissolution of the Soviet system. In the largest country in the world, China, it underwent a drastic transformation. Capitalists play a crucial role in uplifting the economy and eradicating absolute poverty. In Cuba it survived and was probably even necessary because of the US blockade. With these experiences I think there is a need to rethink rather than to stretch Marxism.

Thesis Six: Dilemmas of Humanity

Prashad argues that neither post-Marxism nor post-colonialism addresses the fact of illiteracy, ecology and other big problems of humanity. Prashad: “The theory of national liberation Marxism, rooted in sovereignty and dignity, however, does address these questions.” I would add: and so does Islamic Liberation theology or Bhuddhist social and economic theory. The idea that a theory of liberation should be an exclusive Marxist theory is basically a Eurocentric idea. It stems from the analysis of the European Enlightenment as the exclusive source of science and social theory.

Thesis Seven: The Rationality of Racism and Patriarchy

Prashad: “It is important to note that, under the conditions of capitalism, the structures of racism and patriarchy remain rational.” He explains that apart from the two forms for the extraction of surplus value that Marx has distinguished (absolute surplus value and relative surplus value) there is a third form: super-exploitation. Prashad: “How are the suppression of wages and the refusal to increase royalty payments for raw material extraction justified? By a colonial argument that, in certain parts of the world, people have lower expectations for life and therefore their social development can be neglected. This colonial argument applies equally to the theft of wages from women who perform care work, which is either unpaid or grossly underpaid on the grounds that it is ‘women’s work’.” Racism is reduced to the justification of the super-exploitation. There is huge difference with our DTM theoretical framework of racism. In our framework racism is not a matter of justification of economic exploitation. It is a matter of civilization. The colonial world civilization has experienced three forms of racism, whereby racism is defined as the collection of economic, social, cultural and political institutions that organizes society along lines of superiority and inferiority. The three forms are related to the authority of knowledge production: theological racism that is related to Christian theology that argued between 1500-1650 that superiority/inferiority is organized along theological lines. Between 1650-1850 we have biological racism where superiority/inferiority is organized along biological lines and is related to the rise of the European Enlightenment philosophy and natural sciences. After 1850 we have cultural racism where superiority/inferiority is organized along cultural lines and is related to the rise of social sciences. This theory of racism is much more elaborated and fundamentally different from the Marxist economistic approach, because it is based on the concept of civilization.

Thesis eight: Rescue Collective Life

Prashad: “The breakdown of social collectivity and the rise of consumerism harden despair, which morphs into various kinds of retreat. Two examples of this are: a) a retreat into family networks that cannot sustain the pressures placed upon them by the withdrawal of social services, the increasing burden of care work on the family, and ever longer commute times and workdays; b) a move towards forms of social toxicity through avenues such as religion or xenophobia. Though these avenues provide opportunities to organise collective life, they are organised not for human advancement, but for the narrowing of social possibility. How does one rescue collective life? Forms of public action rooted in social relief and cultural joy are an essential antidote to this bleakness.” And public action is socialist action: Red Book Day, socialist manifestations etc.

This is a very narrow and Eurocentric view of how to look at collective life. It regards religion as a backward phenomena. The Iranian revolution shows how religion can be a strong anti-imperialist force in the world. By limiting the rescue of social life to socialist culture is really doing a disservice to the millions of people outside the socialist movement who are anti-imperialist and decolonial.

Thesis Nine: The Battle of Emotions

Prashad: “A degraded society under capitalism produces a social life that is suffused with atomisation and alienation, desolation and fear, anger and hate, resentment and failure… Since human experiences are defined by the conditions of material life, ideas of fate will linger on as long as poverty is a feature of human life. If poverty is transcended, then fatalism will have a less secure ideological foundation, but it does not automatically get displaced… It is, after all, through class struggle and through the new social formations created by socialist projects that new cultures will be created – not merely by wishful thinking.” His economistic approach runs into an empirical problem. If ideas of fate will linger on as long as poverty is a feature of human life, then the eradication of poverty will lead to the defeat of ideas of fate. The rise of fascism in Europe and North America is not among the poorest of the population about among white people living an affluent life style! And again, by claiming that only socialism can create new cultures is a Eurocentric denial of the contribution that other civilizations and culture have made to philosophies of liberation. Only look at the African philosophy of Ubuntu that is based on a culture of promotion social life (“I am because we are”). Why should we dismiss these contributions and position socialism as the only way to elevate culture?

Thesis Ten: Dare to Imagine the Future

This thesis goes back to the first thesis of the end of history. Prashad: “One of the enduring myths of the post-Soviet era is that there is no possibility of a post-capitalist future. This myth came to us from within the triumphalist US intellectual class, whose ‘end of history’ sensibility helped to strengthen orthodoxy in such fields as economics and political theory, preventing open discussions about post-capitalism… Certainly, socialism is not going to appear magically. It must be fought for and built, our struggles deepened, our social connections tightened, our cultures enriched. Now is the time for a united front, to bring together the working class and the peasantry as well as allied classes, to increase the confidence of workers, and to clarify our theory. To unite the working class and the peasantry as well as allied classes requires the unity of all left and progressive forces. Our divides in this time of great danger must not be central; our unity is essential. Humanity demands it.”

Earlier I criticized the concept of the end of history in both traditions: the Liberal tradition that sees the end of history in capitalism and the Marxist tradition that sees the end of history in communism. There are more views of world history possible that these two views. For Islamic Liberation Theology, African Ubuntu philosophy or Aymara vision of the relationship between humans and nature a vision for the future goes beyond Liberalism or Marxism. It requires a non-Eurocentric imagination to see this.

I think that moving from classical Marxism to other philosophies of liberation including philosophies that still see socialism as a larger goal would strengthen the anti-imperialist movement as a whole.

[1] Hira, S.: Decolonizing The Mind. A Guide to Decolonial Theory and Practice. Amrit Publishers. The Hague, 2023.

[2] Cited in Hira, S. (2023), p. 476.

[3] Prashad, V. (2022). All his citations are from this source.

Book distribution network

The new book by Sandew Hira on Decolonizing The Mind are distributed by different agents in the different countries. Here is a list of distributors. If you are a bookshop or book distributor who wants to distribute his books in your country, then send an email to Check the update of distributors here.

The Netherlands and Belgium

Any retailer (bookshop, webshop) that is a member of Centraal Boekhuis (CB) – the clearinghouse between publishers and retailers – can order the book via CB. The overwhelming majority of the retailers in these countries are a member of CB. The book is in the catalogue of these retailers in the Netherlands and Belgium, so a consumer can order the books through any retailer.

The United States of America and Canada

Retailers and consumers in the USA and Canada can order the book by:

Eastwind Books of Berkeley
2066 University Ave,
Berkeley, CA 94704

Retailers can mail to:

The link for consumers is here.

United Kingdom

Retailers and consumers in the United Kingdom can order the book by:

IHRC Bookshop
202 Preston Road
Telephone+44 208 904 4222


Join the 2023 Decolonial Summer School in Barcelona (in person) with excellent Decolonial thinkers!!! This year it is going to be held in Barcelona face to face with the faculty.

Date: FROM Monday July 3 to Friday July 7, 2023


Faculty: Ruthie Gilmore, Nelson Maldonado-Torres, Ramón Grosfoguel, Linda Alcoff, Alejandro Vallegas, Roberto Hernández, Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Ashraf Kunnummal and many others.

Website: You can find all of the information here:

Online application form is here:

Book launch Sandew Hira at Genocide Memorial Day in Amsterdam

Finally, after twelve years of hard work, Sandew Hira will present his book titled Decolonizing The Mind – a guide to decolonial theory and practice in Amsterdam on Genocide Memorial Day on January 15, 2023.

His book is about the rise of the colonial world civilization based on genocide. Genocide Memorial Day (GMD) is a day dedicated to commemorating man’s inhumanity to man. It takes place every year on the third Sunday of January and is initiated by the Islamic Human Rights Commission, a founding member of the Decolonial International Network Foundation.

The theme of the book’s presentation is: Let’s start decolonizing our mind. In an interactive session with the audience, the mechanisms to colonize the mind are discussed. It also looks at the ways in which these mechanisms can be combated in social struggles, how decolonizing the mind influences the strategy of social struggle and how it influences the issues of solidarity.

More information about the book (table of contents and introductory chapter) can be found at:

Date: Sunday 15 January, start at 2 p.m., doors open at 1 p.m.

Location: Theater Ru Paré, Chris Lebeaustraat 4, 1062 DC Amsterdam

Entrance: €10.


The book Decolonizing The Mind costs € 35, but is available on that day for € 25. The author will be present to sign.

Another view from Iran

Aralez, a pan-decolonial network in the Netherlands and an official partner of DIN, has organized a decolonial learning session on the situation in Iran with Setareh Sadeqi. Sadeqi is Iranian based activist who lives in the city of Esfahan. She’s a Ph.D. and an independent researcher. She works as translator and a teacher. Setareh studied the US Civil Rights Movement and propaganda analysis as part of her Ph.D.

Click here for the online session. Sadeqi has a podcast with many interesting interviews and analysis of the situation in Iran from an anti-imperialist point of view. Click here for the podcasts.

2023 Granada Summer School Back In-Person

Critical Muslim Studies: Decolonial Struggles And Theologies Of Liberation (Granada, Spain)

Date: June 12 – June 17, 2023 (back in person)

Granada Summer School will be returning to in-person class instruction in Granada. This program includes intensive courses as well as guided tours to the Alhambra Palace, the Cordoba Mosque, and surrounding areas related to Al-Andalus.

First Round Deadline: February 1, 2023

Website: Http://Www.Dialogoglobal.Com/Granada

Email: Cit@Dialogoglobal.Com

Online application form:

New book Sandew Hira: Decolonizing The Mind

The book

For twelve years Sandew Hira has been working on a book titled Decolonizing The Mind – a guide to decolonial theory and practice. In different parts of the world a new decolonial movement is growing that challenges long time narratives in knowledge production and social struggle and transforms activism and social movements. It is driven by key factors such as the fall of the west and the rise of the rest, the collapse of the socialist bloc and in general the crisis of Western civilization. This book develops a comprehensive, coherent and integral theoretical framework that draws on different contributions in the decolonial movement. It also deals with the practical implication of decolonial theory for decolonial activism.

Cuauhtémoc, the last Aztec ruler of Tenochtitlan, Mexico, spoke of the sun that has gone down with the arrival of the European invader and an era of darkness his people now entered. This contrasts with the idea of an era of Enlightenment, which is fundamental to the European view of world history. He also predicted that a time will come when the sun will rise again, when the colonial world civilization is replaced by a new world civilization based on decolonizing the mind.

You can download the table of content of the book here and the Introductory chapter here.

The importance of the book

There are five things that makes this book special.

First, across the globe there is a rise of a movement inside and outside the academia that labels their narrative as “decolonial”. Academics and activists have made great contribution to decolonial theory and practice.

Hira’s book is an attempt to bring these contributions together in a comprehensive, coherent and integral theoretical framework. Western Enlightenment has produced two such frameworks: Liberalism and Marxism.

A comprehensive, coherent and integral theoretical framework has the following characteristics:

  1. It is comprehensive because it has produced concepts of how to look at the most important dimensions of a society: a world view, economics, social relations including relations with nature, politics and culture. There are other important aspects of a society, but these dimensions are essential to make a framework comprehensive.
  2. It is coherent because its concepts don’t contradict each other. They are consistent and logical.
  3. It is integral because the concepts of the different dimensions are not just lumped together but are related to each other from a basic concept. In Liberalism it is “individual freedom” and in Marxism “class struggle”. In decolonial theory it is mental slavery and decolonizing the mind.

Second, the book is a systematic guide to decolonize the mind. Decolonizing the mind consists of three dimensions:

  1. The critique of the Western colonization of the mind and thus Eurocentric knowledge production.
  2. The development of an alternative comprehensive, coherent and integral knowledge production.
  3. The translation of this new knowledge in viable policies to built a new pluriversal world civilization.

Third, the book appeals both to academics who can use the book as teaching material, but also to activists who are figuring out to build social movements that go beyond the dichotomy of Liberalism and Marxism.

Fourth, the book is part of a greater vision of how produce and transfer decolonial knowledge. It is not only about producing and distributing a book. It is also about linking theoretical concepts with art. An example is the musical documentary produced by artist Pravini: The Uprising.

And most importantly, the book is a basis discussing decolonial knowledge in summer schools, lectures, workshops etc.

About Sandew Hira

Sandew Hira, penname of Dew Baboeram, is secretary of the Decolonial International Network Foundation (DIN). Hira studied economics at the Erasmus University Rotterdam in Holland. He has written 25 books on different topics among them colonial history. Download his CV is here. Follow Sandew Hira via his website:

The publisher

Amrit Publishers is decolonial publishing house set up by Sandew Hira and Sitla Bonoo in The Netherlands. Amrit has published more than 80 books, many in Dutch, but in the last few years they have started publishing books in English in the series Decolonizing The Mind. The series is edited by Sandew Hira of the Decolonial International Network Foundation, Prof. Dr. Stephen Small from the University of California, USA,  and Arzu Merali from the Islamic Human Rights Commission in the UK.

Order information

ISBN: 978-90-74897-47-1
Format: 148×210 mm
Pages: 572
Price: € 35,00
Publication date: January 15, 2023

In January 2023 more information will be available on the distribution per country.

Stop a nuclear war: dissolve NATO, end the economic boycott

Sandew Hira, November 2, 2022

The motive for a nuclear war

The world is at the threshold of a nuclear disaster. The driving force behind this is NATO, not Russia, Iran, North Korea or China. NATO, led by the US, is pushing for a nuclear war. Currently, only the United States supported by Western governments have the motive to start a war that develops into a nuclear war. Successive presidents have argued that United States should be the policeman of the world.

George W. Bush proclaimed in 2006: “The only alternative to American leadership is a dramatically more dangerous and anxious world.”[1]

Barrack Obama said in 2014: Those who argue otherwise — who suggest that America is in decline, or has seen its global leadership slip away — are either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics… America must always lead on the world stage.  If we don’t, no one else will.  The military … is and always will be the backbone of that leadership.”[2]

In 2020 Donald Trump brought to world to the brink of an all out war with Iran with assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in 2020. That war would easily have developed into a broad regional war. Despite his isolationist rhetoric and actions expressed the US withdrawal from international accords such as the Iran Nuclear deal and the Paris Climate Accords Donald Trump was ready to use military force to enforce US dominance in the world.

President Joe Biden said in 2022: “There’s going to be a new world order out there, and we’ve got to lead it.”[3]

The US is the only state in the world with the explicit goal of maintaining a global dominance of the world. That goal is supported by military means. The US has 800 military bases across the globe. They are not meant to protect the US from foreign invasions. They are there to maintain US hegemony over the world. Conservative scholar Robert Kagan puts it like this: “There is the matter of American hard power. What has been true since the time of Rome remains true today: there can be no world order without power to preserve it, to shape its norms, uphold its institutions, defend the sinews of its economic system, and keep the peace…. If the United States begins to look like a less reliable defender of the present order, that order will begin to unravel. It remains true today as it has since the Second World War that only the United States has the capacity and the unique geographical advantages to provide global security. There can be no stable balance of power in Europe or Asia without the United States. And while we can talk about soft power and smart power, they have been and always will be of limited value when confronting raw military power.”[4]

What will happen if a government refuses to accept US military, economic and political dominance? Then the US will use any means necessary to bring down that government: destabilization, economic boycott, coup d’état and ultimately a military invasion. And this is all supported by a simple narrative: it is about the struggle between good and evil and the US represent good and its adversary represent evil. The storyline is communicated through every mainstream media and is part of the colonization of the mind.

The US is preparing for World War III. It sees China, Russia, Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as its main enemies. In its Annual Threat Assessment of 2021 the US Intelligence Community laid down it view of the factors that might lead to of a future military confrontation: “Beijing, Moscow, Tehran, and Pyongyang have demonstrated the capability and intent to advance their interests at the expense of the United States and its allies, despite the pandemic. China increasingly is a near-peer competitor, challenging the United States in multiple arenas—especially economically, militarily, and technologically—and is pushing to change global norms. Russia is pushing back against Washington where it can globally, employing techniques up to and including the use of force. Iran will remain a regional menace with broader malign influence activities, and North Korea will be a disruptive player on the regional and world stages. Major adversaries and competitors are enhancing and exercising their military, cyber, and other capabilities, raising the risks to US and allied forces, weakening our conventional deterrence, and worsening the longstanding threat from weapons of mass destruction.”[5]

In other words: these four countries are challenging US hegemony on a regional and global scale in different terrains: economically, militarily en technologically. The only way to break that challenge is not by soft talk, but by hard power.

The preparation

In 2021 there were nine countries with nuclear arms: China, DPRK (North Korea), France, India, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Together they have more than 13,080 nuclear weapons. Russia and the US together possess 80% of all nuclear heads: Russia has 6,255 and the US 5,550. China has 350, DPRK 40-50 and Israel 90. The US hosts part of its nuclear weapons in five countries: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Türkiye .[6]

Two US political scientists, Keira Lieber and Daryl Press have built a computer model to simulate a hypothetical U.S. attack on Russia’s nuclear arsenal using the standard unclassified formulas that defense analysts have used for decades. Lieber en Press: “We assigned U.S. nuclear warheads to Russian targets on the basis of two criteria: the most accurate weapons were aimed at the hardest targets, and the fastest arriving weapons at the Russian forces that can react most quickly. Because Russia is essentially blind to a submarine attack from the Pacific and would have great difficulty detecting the approach of low-flying stealthy nuclear-armed cruise missiles, we targeted each Russian weapon system with at least one submarine-based warhead  or cruise missile. An attack organized in this manner would give Russian leaders virtually no warning.”[7]

What would be the likely result of the attack? Lieber en Press: “According to our model, such a simplified surprise attack would have a good chance of destroying every Russian bomber base, submarine, and ICBM. [SH: Intercontinental Ballistic Missile]. This finding is not based on best-case assumptions or an unrealistic scenario in which U.S. missiles perform perfectly and the warheads hit their targets without fail. Rather, we used standard assumptions to estimate the likely inaccuracy and unreliability of U.S. weapons systems. Moreover, our model indicates that all of Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal would still be destroyed even if U.S. weapons were 20 percent less accurate than we assumed, or if U.S. weapons were only 70 percent reliable, or if Russian ICBM silos were 50 percent ‘harder’ (more reinforced, and hence more resistant to attack) than we expected. (Of course, the unclassified estimates we used may understate the capabilities of U.S. forces, making an attack even more likely to succeed.)… China’s nuclear arsenal is even more vulnerable to a U.S. attack. A U.S. first strike could succeed whether it was launched as a surprise or in the midst of a crisis during a Chinese alert. China has a limited strategic nuclear arsenal.”[8] The end result will be a world order where “Russia and China-and the rest of the world-will live in the shadow of U.S. nuclear primacy for many years to come.”[9]

The war in Ukraine

The war in Ukraine is the result of NATO provocations. It is not an unprovoked war as Western media claim. I have described these provocations in an analysis of the events leading up to the war here. The eastward expansion of NATO is the main provocation. It took a new dimension in 2014 the Nazi coup d’état in Ukraine that was organized by NATO. It brought the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO closer to reality. NATO nuclear weapons would be stored at the border of Russia. All efforts by Russia to achieve a peaceful resolution of the tension culminating in two Minsk Accords were systematically undermined by NATO. NATO’s alternative to Russia was this: you wait and see when we will attack you once Ukraine become a member of NATO or you attack Ukraine now and we will bring hell to you by any means necessary: military war and the most severe economic boycott. Russia chose the last option.

The Western media are a major factor in mobilizing public opinion against Russia and for NATO. They use all mechanisms in colonizing the mind: outright lies, the selective use of solidarity with suffering people (the 14.000 Ukrainians killed in the Donbass by Ukrainian Nazi’s are not mentioned, but every day we see images of people suffering from Russian bombardments), portraying Russia as the perpetrator and NATO as the victim etc.

But the NATO game did not work out as it has been planned. Despite initial setbacks, Russia is winning the war. The economic boycott of Russia led to a deep economic crisis in the West, not in Russia. Europe is being colonized by US firms. They are forces to buy expensive oil and gas via the US. Russia has managed to set up an alternative economic infrastructure. They had been preparing for this for years. And now the population of Europe is bearing the brunt of NATO policies.

The way forward

Now is the time for all progressive forces, including the decolonial movement, to articulate a clear policy for social struggle: dissolve NATO and end all economic boycotts. It is as simple as that. Dissolve NATO means that in every NATO country the population should urge their government to step down from NATO and end all economic boycotts, not just of Russia, but of all countries, including Iran and Venezuela. These two simple demands should be at the core of every social movement: the socialist movement, the ecological movement, the movement against racism, the peace movement, the decolonial movements etc.

Together with these demands is the urgent need to counter the Western narrative of the Russian aggression in Ukraine. If you don’t engage in this narrative, you end up with a strategy that effectively supports NATO aggression. An example of this is the strategy the declaration of QG Décolonial from France, the former Parti des Indigènes de la République (PIR) led by Houria Bouteldja. The declaration takes all the talking points of the Western media regarding Russia and Ukraine.

“Nothing can make us forget how odious Putin is in his Tsarist melancholy.” The specter of the evil force: Putin.

“Denouncing Western policies toward Russia and China (the real target of the United States) does not justify Russia’s violation of Ukrainian national sovereignty.” The Ukrainian national sovereignty was violated since the coup of 2014. Ukraine was since then effectively led by the handlers of Zelensky from the US.

“To say that Ukrainians are Nazis is an insulting and offensive generalization.” Of course not all Ukrainians are Nazi’s, but the Nazi’s are the leading force in Ukraine.

“The country under Zelensky ‘s leadership is undeniably under attack.” In fact, it is the other way around. Since 2014 the Ukraine army relentlessly attacked the Russian population of the Donbass. That policy continued under Zelensky.

“It is therefore important to make ends meet: not only condemn the Russian aggression, but also not join the Ukrainian president.” How can you talk about the Russian aggression, when the aggression has been built up since 2014 by NATO?

“The Russian demonstrations against war and conscription deserve our full support and solidarity.” What about the Russian support in favor of the war? Russia has a population of 145 million people. Despite the claim of the contrary in the West, Russia is a democratic country with periodical elections for the presidency. In 2000 Putin won the presidential elections with 53% of the votes. In 2004 he got 72% of the votes. In 2008 he could not run because of the two term limit. In 2008 the presidential term was extended from four to six years. In 2012 Putin ran again and won with 64% of the votes. In 2018 he got 78%. On an average he got 67% of the votes. That means that there are still 33% of the people who did not vote for him and probable are against him. We are talking about 48 million Russian citizens who are against Putin. Why focus on the opposition against the war and ignore the massive Russian support for the war?

The end result of this analysis is the slogan: “We must resist the war and its tragic consequences for the people of Ukraine and the region. More than ever, we must cherish revolutionary peace.” Revolutionary peace means being silent about the suffering of the people of the Donbass and focus only on the rest of the people of Ukraine. Because if you pay attention to the people of the Donbass, then suddenly the Russian military action comes in another perspective: the pushback against the NATO expansion and the threat of nuclear war. The phrase about a revolutionary peace is just an empty phrase that neglects the reality of imperialist wars.

[1] Bush, G.W. (2006).

[2] Obama, B. (2014).

[3] Accessed 17-7-2022.

[4] Idem.

[5] ODNI (2021), p. 4.

[6] Sipri Yearbook 2021, p. 19.

[7] Idem, p. 45-56

[8] Idem, p. 48.

[9] Idem, p.43.


Application Deadline: November 20, 2022
Affiliated Faculty Members include:
Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Houria Bouteldja, Ramón Grosfoguel,Faith Mkwesha, Sandew Hira, Ashraf Kunnummal, Dina Odessy
The online international decolonial school, South-South Decolonial Dialogues, aims to open a dialogue among different decolonial thinkers of the Global South. The school goal is to the present different decolonial perspectives produced from the body-politics and geo-politics of knowledge of liberation struggles in the Global South. For this purpose, we have a group of decolonial intellectual/activists from different regions of the world that will participate as faculty of the decolonial school. They will cover different aspects of decoloniality with emphasis on their regional location. This course is offered through the Center of Study and Investigation for Decolonial Dialogues (Barcelona).

Decolonial International Network