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How China and Japan were integrated into today's completely unsustainable global capitalism

The Whites are Enemies of Heaven. Climate Caucasianism and Asian Ecological Protection
Forfatter: Mark W. Driscoll
Forlag: Duke University Press, (USA)
EAST ASIA / Mark W. Driscoll tells, among other things, concrete stories about drunken, arrogant, hyper-violent and rape-cultivating diplomats, missionaries and businessmen.


Normally, I would never settle for looking at – a foolish neoliberal evaluation machine where students can irresponsibly give their teachers grades and where the tendency (not surprisingly) is that the easier a course is to pass, the better the evaluation.

Still, I could – after reading the really strange book The Whites are Enemies of Heaven – do not dare me to check what author Mark W. Driscoll's students might have to say about this lecturer in Asian Studies at North Carolina University. Driscoll is, the young people think, «super fun», «committed», «enthusiastic», «a bit disorganized» and «often goes out on a tangent» – but those tangents are worth hanging on to, and so is Driscoll a «totally laid back guy» who «definitely makes you think about and question everything».

This is, in fact, quite precisely how I imagined it must be to follow the teachings of a person who, in his analysis of how China and Japan were integrated into today's completely unsustainable global capitalism, has invented concepts such as Climate Caucasianism, CO2lonianism, The Speed ​​Race (r) og supine stupefied yellow.

Samurai and Gen'yōsha

According to Driscoll, during the 19th century, China and Japan were transformed from a thriving and sustainable trading region into a "periphery of unsustainable Euro-American CO2lonialist capitalism" through this intricate cycle: clipper-coolie captive-contraband-capital. And yes, you have to be able to constantly be presented with that kind of conceptual ingenuity to keep up with the story The Whites are Enemies of Heaven.

Clipper-coolie captive-contraband-capital- the circuit is naturally more and other than a (lighter strenuous and rather American) game with words. It describes the connection between the British Empire's shameless smuggling of both opium and weapons China via the at the time unheard of fast clipper boats, which also brought huge amounts of profits from China to the Queen's England – as well as the connection between this smuggling business and the targeted undermining of Chinese society through, among other things, opium addiction on the one hand and extraction of raw materials by human (forced) labor on the other hand.

Gen'yōsha and samurai tried to fight the Euro-American colonial masters and their local allied oligarchs.

The story begins and ends with the opium wars, which Driscoll divides into first, second – and third. In between, the Boxer Rebellion and other uprisings in China as well as the incredible story of Gen'yōsha and other Japanese underground communities are unfolding by samurai, among others, who in their own way tried to fight the Euro-American colonial masters and their local allied oligarchs. Through extensive archival studies, Driscoll unravels the intellectual and practical attempts to defend both nature and man against the grotesque, and grotesquely violent, profit strategies that the "white devils" brought with them to East Asia.

Racist supremacy mentality

What Driscoll is doing, among other things – and for which he will probably get his ears in the machine and perhaps even be called a revisionist – is to turn the Western narrative that, for example, the Boxers in China and Gen'yōsha in Japan were "xenophobic" and " ultranationalists », upside down.

First, by showing abundant concrete stories of drunken, arrogant, hyper-violent, and rape-seeking diplomats, missionaries, and businessmen from the so-called civilized world, to East Asia, and against which these rebel movements were a reaction.

Secondly, through close studies of not least Gen'yōsha, showing why it is highly simplistic to dismiss them as fascistoid upper-class samurai, who from the beginning only had ambitions to oust the colonial masters so that they could build a racist empire in Asia themselves.


Instead, Driscoll shows the complex process by which not only the local allies of the Euro-American capitalist imperialists among the elite, but also some of the anti-colonial rebel movements were enrolled in a global profit and extraction paradigm.

He does this, among other things, by following Gen'yōshas at once astonishing and in his context tragically predictable development: from a municipality-like progressive-pedagogical eco-esoteric radical-democratic samurai society, whose perspective was precisely neither nationalist nor imperialist, but on the other hand, locally rooted in the Asian horizon and rather egalitarian – to a state-allied stinging network with the trunk deep down in, among other things, the mining industry, which the movement's first leading activists had fought so fiercely against.

The East Asian sphere changed from an economically self-sufficient and climatically sustainable region with respect for nature and its spirits.

Driscoll's mission is to show how the East Asian sphere, from the beginning of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, changed from an economically independent and climate-sustainable region with respect for nature and its spirits, to a kind of follower. in American and British capitalism «during a budding formation of white supremacy and systematic plunder of the land» – what he calls Climate Caucasianism.


Twisted, bizarre, anecdotal, at times eclectic

In the historical period we are in right now, Driscoll's analysis – although it takes its empirical point of departure in a relatively distant past – is burningly topical.

To understand what clipper-coolie captive-contraband-capital-circuit is, and why it matters to today's climate-ravaging global capitalism, one must, however, accept to be taken along through a convoluted, bizarre, anecdotal, at times eclectic, and, yes, in short, really strange book.

As one online student wrote about Mark W. Driscoll's way of presenting his material, it may seem "random and derived", but nonetheless – "once you get used to his distinctive style" – he offers a completely new way to look at things.

Nina Trige Andersen
Nina Trige Andersen
Trige Andersen is a freelance journalist and historian.

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