ABSTRACT

The postcolony is a chaotic, fragmented entity, the pluralities of which defy business-as-usual scholarly analysis. And yet there is some regularity in the postcolony's chaos. Just as the seemingly infinite mutable patterns in cloud movements or gushing streams have "structures:' so in the complex chaos of the postcolony there is what Mbembe calls an "internal coherence:' I Indeed, postcolonies are characterized by a system of signs-a discoursein which the state creates significantly empty symbols-veritable simulacra. The postcolony,

Mbembe also argues that postcolonies in Africa at least consist of what he calls, "the commandament:' the French term used to mark a colonial regime that wields absolute power and that tolerates nothing less than total discipline and obeisance)

And yet, Mbembe does not suggest that the postcolony is brutally and simply a regime of terror. For him, postcolonial relations cannot be reduced to analyses of domination, resistance, and collaboration; they are

much more complex and subtle. In postcolonies, he suggests, there emerges a certain conviviality that familiarizes and domesticates power relations and leads not to resistance, but to the "zombification" ofthe commandament and their subjects. Considering Reagan's regime in the United States, for example, one can add that mutual zombification is not unique to the Mrican postcolony. The conviviality and complicity of power relations in Reagan's America lead to a certain kind of impotence. Reagan happily took naps as the nation felicitously went to sleep.