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To what extent did the colonial state openly side with metropolitan capitalist interests and missionaries lobbies against indigenous interests?

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  1. Introduction
  2. The colonial states siding with European capitalists and missionaries against Ghanaians
    1. The Ghanaian governments policy during the whole colonial period
    2. The causes of the governmental partiality
  3. The limits of the usual attitude of colonial state towards expatriate communities and 'Natives'
    1. The colonial states lack of action the behalf of the bourgeoisie
    2. The colonial states lack of action against the indigenous population
  4. Conclusion
  5. Bibliography

Ghana was a victim of the British Empire's colonialism, from the establishment of the South as a Crown's possession in1874 to the independence of the country in 1957.
Basically, colonialism can be defined as a particular form of imperialism: the colonial imperialism, notion mainly developed by economists, political scientists and historians.
For the Marxists (notably Lenin ) and their heirs (the Neomarxist ?dependency' theorists ), colonial imperialism first means economic exploitation. Thus, for them, the colonial Ghanaian state would be simply a committee for managing the businesses of the metropolitan British bourgeoisie .
But, the political scientists and the historians tried to go beyond the Marxist economic reductionism. For them, colonial imperialism, as a form of totalitarianism, also deals with the idea of racial and ?civilizational' superiority and, as a particular shape of imperialism, it also implies the will to universalise a culture by assimilation or, at least, acculturation . Thus, this scholars would see in the Ghanaian colonization not only a economic exploitation but also a British empire's attempt to spread the ?Civilization' notably by imposing Judeo-Christian ways of thinking and believing in Ghana trough collusion between State and Church. Civilizing mission and evangelising mission became the two facets of the ?White man's burden' popularised by Rudyard Kipling , the main justifications of political domination.
These two visions of colonial imperialism tend to make think that colonial state was the simple expression of the interests of the expatriate bourgeoisie and clergy. It is interesting to discuss the pertinence of this hypothesis by wondering to what extent did the colonial Ghanaian state openly side with metropolitan capitalist interests and missionary lobbies against indigenous interests?
This essay will try to show that if most of the time the state acted on the behalf of British businessmen and men of church against the ?Natives' (I), certain factors sometimes qualified its partial behaviour (II)

[...] - Meredith, David, Colonial Office, British business interests and the reform of cocoa marketing in West Africa, 1937-1945?, Journal of African History pp. 285-300. - Simensen, Jarle, ?Christian Church, ?Native State' & African Culture: The Presbyterian Mission in Akim Abuakwa, Ghana?, in H.B. Hansen and M. Twaddle (eds.), Christian Missionaries and the State in the Third World (Oxford: James Currey, Athens (Ohio): Ohio University Press, 2002), pp. 147-156. - Smith, Noel, The Presbyterian Church of Ghana, 1835-1960: a Younger Church in a Changing Society (Accra: Ghana Universities Press, 1966) p. [...]


[...] Most of the time, the colonial state sided with the British firms and the proselyte Christian churches against the Ghanaians because the interests of the administration, the business community and the clergy were often congruent, because the institutional structured favoured the lobbying of the two expatriate communities and because all the overseas Europeans were united by the ideology of the white supremacy. But, this system was able to be questioned in the rare situations where the interests of the British capitalists and the ones of the Western religious congregations were in contradiction with the colonial state's plans or when the colonial administration was torn between the different rationalities that composed it. [...]


[...] The colonial state did not always act against the indigenous population: the ?plurality' of the colonial state or the internal administrative conflicts It is important to precise that even if the government usually sided toward British merchants and missionaries to preserve ?white prestige'[30], some organs or individuals occasionally side with ?Natives'. In this respect, it is necessary to remind that the colonial government was not a monolithic set. As Michel Crozier's sociology of organisations has shown it[31], in their day-to-day behaviours, the numerous offices, services, desks or professions that make up administration do not obey to explicit common goals, which would admit no interpretation and always be implemented the same way. [...]

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