"Césaire's essay stands as an important document in the development of
third world consciousness--a process in which [he] played a prominent
This classic work, first
published in France in 1955, profoundly influenced the generation of
scholars and activists at the forefront of liberation struggles in
Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Nearly twenty years later,
when published for the first time in English, Discourse on Colonialism
inspired a new generation engaged in the Civil Rights, Black Power, and
anti-war movements and has sold more than 75,000 copies to date.
Aimé Césaire eloquently describes the brutal impact of capitalism and
colonialism on both the colonizer and colonized, exposing the
contradictions and hypocrisy implicit in western notions of "progress"
and "civilization" upon encountering the "savage," "uncultured," or
"primitive." Here, Césaire reaffirms African values, identity, and
culture, and their relevance, reminding us that "the relationship
between consciousness and reality are extremely complex. . . . It is
equally necessary to decolonize our minds, our inner life, at the same
time that we decolonize society." An interview with Césaire by the poet
René Depestre is also included.