Imperialism and Human Rights Struggle

The rise of imperialism in Africa emerged in the 1880s during the Scramble for Africa. European nations that included: France, Italy, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Britain, rushed to grab different regions of Africa. This was attributed to Industrial revolution and economic competition in Europe which resulted in the demand for natural resources and raw materials. Nationalism also promoted imperialism in Africa where, European nations would compete for colonies in areas permitting trade. Racism and the belief of Europeans being superior made them claim lands inhabited by non Europeans. Missionary impulse encouraged missionary and Christian leaders in Europe to spread the religion globally, initiating imperialism.

Within no time, 90 percent of the entire continent was under European occupation. They imposed their cultural practices upon the African communities as a way of demonstrating their powers to influence. They also subjected the native people to harsh treatments through the exploitation of various forms such as slavery. After years of persevering in the hands of their foreign oppressors, Africans sought to regain their sovereignty through fierce opposition including, demands for inclusion and opportunity by educated Africans such as the South African National congress. Traditional religious leaders promoted religious opposition on their congregation such as Maji Maji rebellion in Tanganyika and Chimurenga in Zimbabwe.

The African elite encouraged economic sabotage and mass action to ground all economic activities that benefited the Europeans. This occurred in 1920s and 1930s by mine workers in South Africa and port workers in the west and east Africa with minimal success. Finally, armed struggle gave rise to independence, ending imperialism.

The Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Indian Independence Movement

This was a series of violent revolutions that began on 8th of March (February 23rd on the Julian Calender), 1917 between protesters and authorities on the after effects of World War 1 which included drained economy, poor leadership by Czar Nicholas II and rampant corruption in government. Workers’ councils organized committees to plan on demonstration, interlinking throughout the country. To quell the uprising, the army was called in but later on defected to the cause of the demonstrators. This forced the imperial government to resign and later form a provisional government. On 6th November, (October 24th on Julian calendar) the Bolshevik party initiated a bloodless coup d’etat. The party later on formed a government headed by Vladimir Lenin. He was later overthrown in 1920 through a civil war creating the roadmap for the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1922.

On the other hand, under the stewardship of Netaji Chandra Bose and Mohandas Gandhi, the Independence Movement which incorporated non-cooperation (1919-1922), the civil disobedience movement and the Salt Satyagraha (1930-1931) and the Quit India movement (1940-1942) advocated for peaceful demonstrations against the British Imperialism and Company Rule in South Asia. They embraced non-violent means to fight for the Indian people’s rights and demand for self rule. The strategies involved were persuasion and non violent protests which involved the use of formal statements in public places. The delegation was also used to persuade government officials. The use of symbolic public acts such as the flag, through processions and honoring the dead was practiced. They also advocated for social, economic and political non cooperation through social boycotts, economic shutdowns and rejection of authority. This led to India independence as a Dominion of the Crown in 1947. The Constitution of India came into force in 1950, establishing the Republic of India.