Césaire, Aimé. Discourse on Colonialism. New York: Monthly Review.
Searchable page-scan PDF edition here. (Zip file password: archive)
“Discourse was never intended to be a road map or a blueprint for revolution. It is poetry and therefore revolt. It is an act of insurrection, drawn from Césaire’s own miraculous weapons, molded and shaped by his work with Tropiques and its challenge to the Vichy regime; by his imbibing of European culture and his sense of alienation from both France and his native land. It is a rising, a blow to the master who appears as owner and ruler, teacher and comrade. It is revolutionary graffiti painted in bold strokes across the great texts of Western Civilization; it is a hand grenade tossed with deadly accuracy, clearing the field so that we might write a new history with what’s left standing. Discourse is hardly a dead document about a dead order. If anything, it is a call for us to plumb the depths of the imagination for a different way forward. Just as Césaire drew on Lautréamont’s Chants de Maldoror to illuminate the cannibalistic nature of capitalism and the power of poetic knowledge, Discourse offers new insights into the consequences of colonialism and a model for dreaming a way out of our postcolonial predicament. While we still need to overthrow all vestiges of the old colonial order, destroying the old is just half the battle.”
- From the introduction by Robin D.G. Kelley.