Colonization and the shadow of belonging

By Chris Corrigan

The great shadow of North American history I think is that settlers know deep down that we don’t belong here. The idea of “settling” the west was predicated on the continent being cleansed of its original inhabitants. This happened in a number of ways. There was outright murder perpetuated by war, disease and neglect. There were treaties which ripped people from their territories and bound the loyalties of indigenous people to the Crown rather than their own laws. There was the residential school system which had as its goal the “education” and “civilization” of indigenous children such that they would no longer be indigenous, which resulted in hundreds of thousands being torn from their families and raised by many abusive and unwell priests, nuns, administrators, social workers, nurses, doctors, coaches and teachers.

It seems everywhere settlers ventured on this continent, they have left unsettled peoples, lands, animal populations and communities. The devastation of indigenous population over 500 years and including to the present day through the loss of lands, language, autonomy, self-governance, dignity, health and resources has been rightly called genocide, and documented as such in the last decades’ inquiries into residential school legacies and missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. There has been a deliberation erasure of peoples here, which made possible economies that have resulted in some of the monetarily richest people in human history living some of the most prosperous lives humans have ever lived.

And I think deep down, every knows that it was gained on the backs of genocide.

So that has some bearing on whether settlers can even feel at home here. And I think that unresolved cognitive dissonance – maybe deeper, maybe a soul dissonance – perpetuates inhumane level of violence towards people, land and community. On this continent the world’s mightiest military power has taken root, supported by the world’s mightiest economic engine and spread death and exploitation around the world.

Read more…

On Police Abolition: Decolonization Is The Only Way

https://i1.wp.com/hoodcommunist.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/abolition-.jpg?w=1200&ssl=1

By Cameron Crowder, via Hood Communist

The United States is a project of both anti-Blackness and racial-colonial power. From the founding of this white supremacist settler-colonial state, Black people have endured 250 years of slavery, ninety years of Jim Crow, sixty years of “separate but equal” legal doctrine, and thirty-five years of explicitly anti-Black housing laws among other insidious forms of de jure and de facto racial discrimination. The racial capitalist state and its policing functionaries employ state violence as a means of containing and controlling the working-class, especially racialized and colonized domestic peripheries. The late political prisoner and revolutionary ancestor George Jackson (1971, p. 99) writes the following:

The purpose of the chief repressive institutions within the totalitarian capitalist state is clearly to discourage and prohibit certain activity, and the prohibitions are aimed at very distinctly defined sectors of the class- and race-sensitized society. The ultimate expression of law is not order—it’s prison. There are hundreds upon hundreds of prisons, thousands upon thousands of laws, yet there is no social order, no social peace. …Bourgeois law protects property relations and not social relationships.

The United States is a punitive carceral state with 25 percent of the world’s population behind bars despite comprising only 5 percent of the world’s population (Collier, 2014, p. 56; Hayes, 2017, p. 17). The American criminal so-called “justice” system holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,833 state prisons, 110 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile prisons, 3,134 local jails, 218 immigration detention facilities, and 80 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. settler-colonies (Sawyer & Wagner, 2020). U.S. incarceration is disproportionately racialized, targeting Black and brown people who represent 60 percent of the incarcerated (Marable, 2015). If Black and Latino people were incarcerated at the same rate as whites, their imprisoned and jailed populations would decline by almost 40 percent (NAACP, 2019). The problems are not rooted in crime but policing itself which constructs, (re)produces, and institutes white supremacy and anti-Blackness through racial capitalism. The police have been waging asymmetric domestic warfare on Black people, encircling, and capturing their prospects for self-determination and self-actualization. From the Greensboro Massacre of 1979 to the murder of Marcus Deon Smith of 2018 to the murder of George Floyd in 2020, the only solution for Black liberation is abolishing the police and freeing what is essentially a semi-colony of peripheral peoples.

This essay has five sections. This first section discusses the problems of policing. The second section explains the history of U.S. policing and its development. The third section lays out the failure of liberal reforms to grapple with policing as an institution. The fourth section argues the case for police abolition. The last section concludes.

Click here to read more…

Post-Apocalyptic Theatre on Native Land

A tombstone labeled "Dead American Theatre" on the dirt in front of blue curtains. Various signs are on the curtains and vegetation is behind them.
Illustration by Silent Fox, inspired by the essay.

By Vera Starbard (Tlingit/Dena’ina), via HowlRound Theatre Commons at Emerson College

In the Tlingit culture, there is a philosophy that everything has its time. When a totem pole decays you do not expend a lot of effort restoring and putting it back up; you let it fall, and it goes back to the earth it came from. A person’s legacy is only as old as the memory their grandchildren have of them; if a person has done good work, the grandchildren will take what the person gave them and grow it, but the elder’s responsibility to this earth is done.

I might also mention we have a strong value of not being afraid of death.

And so I must ask about American theatre: Is its time done? Are we expending effort to keep something simply because we believe it must continue to exist? Is it time for its death?

Click here to read more…

The Politics of Indigeneity, Anarchist Praxis, and Decolonization

Cover: Debra Yepa-Pappan, “Whirling Corn Maiden,” digital print on antique ledger paper, 2017

Via Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies

Guest Editor: J. Kēhaulani Kauanui

Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies (ADCS) is an international peer reviewed and open access journal to the study of new and emerging perpsectives in anarchist thought. ADCS is an attempt to bring anarchist thought into contact with innumerable points of connection. We publish articles, reviews/debates, announcements and unique contributions that: (1) adopt an anarchist perpective with regards to analyses of language, discourse, culture, and power, (2) investigate various facets of anarchist thought and practice from a non-anarchist standpoint, and (3) investigate or incorporate elements of non-anarchist thought and practice from the standpoint of traditional anarchist thought.

Web Published and Distributed Online: University of Victoria, located on unceded Lekwungen and WSÁNEĆ territories.

Creative Commons License
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Published: 2021-05-24

Articles

Book Reviews

Settlers on the Red Road: A Conversation on Indigeneity, Belonging, and Responsibility

The start of a discussion around indigeneity and identity within the anarchist movement.

PDF for READING
PDF for PRINTING

By Tawinikay

This zine is not going to be comfortable for some people to read. It is likely to personally challenge a few of you out there who may yourself be dipping a toe in the pond of indigeneity, trying it out to see how it feels. This zine is not going to beat around the bush, because the bush has been thoroughly beaten around.

This is the start of a larger discussion on indigeneity, belonging, and responsibility in our anarchist community. But there is something here for everyone, even if you don’t call yourself an anarchist. At the time of it’s writing, it is already long overdue. In the past two years in southern Ontario, there have been multiple incidents of settlers claiming indigeneity within our intersecting anarchist circles, incidents which caused great harm to relationship and undermined solidarity with Indigenous communities. In Quebec, the rise of the “Eastern Métis” threatens to bleed over into radical spaces. In this era of state-sponsored reconciliation, the line between settlers and Indians is being purposefully blurred by Canada in an attempt to gently complete the assimilation initiated long ago and, try as anarchists might to keep ourselves separate, the dominant culture has a way of creeping in.

This is not a defense of identity. In fact, it will be a critique of identity in many ways, particularly of the way we drape identities over ourselves to give us a purpose for fighting injustice. A rail against the culture of identity that breaks people into hard categories and fuels each of our dark indulgent desires to join the ranks of the oppressed instead of being satisfied to fight for the dignity of all living things from wherever we happen to stand. But it will also be a critique of individuals and their choices, and it will urge each one of you to think not only about your potential complicity in trying on indigeneity but in allowing your friends and comrades to do so as well.

Click here to read more…

Decolonization, A Guidebook For Settlers Living On Stolen Land

By Tanya Rodriguez, Medium

I learned something yesterday….

When I share with a white person they can not decolonize on stolen land they get really really fragile and pissed that yet again, another brown azz takes away their new shiny thing…

Decolonization.

The process of decolonization is a violent, brutal, and involuntary act. It costs lives and destroys cities. Decolonization is the rematiration of tradition and culture to Indigenous people. Decolonization is the repatriation of land and sovereignty to Indigenous people.

It is not for White people, Black people, or P.O.C. people to do while on stolen land.

Decolonization is for Indigenous people only. To assume as a settler, that it is possible to decolonize while still benefiting from systems of oppression, is like the white guy appropriating from the Wixárika people, while erasing their existence by calling them Huichol, and when asked what he does to give back to the people he takes from responds…”I try to sing their songs to the best of my ability” while insinuating he is saving their culture from themselves.

I know I am guilty for using decolonization as a metaphor and the group I am honored to steward, Global Decolonization Initiative, was created traipsing the line of decolonization and social justice. For that I apologize for my misstep, and am doing the work to correct the misinterpretation of the term as well as bringing awareness to the depth of vigilance it takes to keep settler colonizers from colonizing decolonization while completely erasing Indigenous sovereignty in favor of another rung in the race to supremacy.

The more we progress towards collective liberation and the more that I and y’all are learning, the more important it is to give back the term of decolonization to those that have been harmed by colonialism the most-

Us, Indigenous people.

For clarification, settlers can UNCOLONIZE, as that is voluntarily distancing, detaching from colonial moreys. However to truly decolonize, is a commitment I’m pretty sure a very small percentage of you reading this is willing to accept.

Settlers….this is a guide for you. This guide is for you to use as a basic understanding of what decolonization is NOT and how to recognize when decolonization is being used as a metaphor. It is a guide for you to use in being vigilant and humble when walking the path of uncolonizing your inner world and to give space to actual decolonization efforts led by Indigenous people.

This list is compiled from the many ways I’ve seen decolonization being used as a metaphor, as well as those that see the phrase and use it incorrectly as a buzzword for social justice.

Please be mindful of when your triggers come up reading this, as the deep reality of those triggers are that they are coming from a place of domination. Hundreds of years of not listening to native voices, of talking over native voices, of bypassing native voices in favor of a default to a settler colonialist narrative. Which is exactly the reason for the depth of importance and the vital need for this clarification….

Click here to read the full article on Medium

Notes on fake decolonization

https://images.jacobinmag.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/12/17151157/mohd-aram-8rekrtBLM7s-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Mohd Aram on Unsplash

What counts as “authentic” decolonization as the term takes over our social media and influencer bubbles? And how we can sharpen our activism.

By Bhakti Shringarpure, Africa Is A Country

Decolonization has taken over our social media timelines with a vengeance. With hundreds of thousands of “decolonize” hashtags, several articles, op-eds, and surveys on the subject—and plenty of Twitter fighting over the term—one thing is clear: decolonization is all kinds of trendy these days. So, we are naturally forced to ask: What counts as “authentic” decolonization in 2020? Much irritation is generated around how terms like “decolonization” or “decolonize” or “decolonizing” are used, and who is allowed to use them. Only this week, a writer was being flogged on Twitter for saying that it is time to “decolonize” the World Bank and IMF on Al Jazeera. No real attention was paid to the powerful institutions he was criticizing but to the fact that the writer used the term “decolonize.” With these debates getting so territorial and snarky, it’s time to break it down for the haters and the mockers so we can discern the fake from the feeble and the nefarious from the silly.

Click here to read the full article…

Compost the Colony: Exploring Anarchist Decolonization

Photo credit: RÍONA O’REGAN

By Alexander Dunlap, Tvergastein Journal

The term “decolonization” has gained prominence within the University over the last decade. From diets to international security, academics are talking about decolonizing. While the watering down and co-optation of the term “decolonization” is recognized (Tuck and Yang, 2012; Grosfoguel, 2016; IAM, 2017), this article briefly examines how anarchism might be useful for decolonization: what is anarchist decolonization or decoloniality? The recent article by Lina Álvarez and Brendan Coolsaet (2020) on “Decolonizing Environmental Justice Studies” indicates the affinity between anarchism and decolonization without saying it directly. In response, this article provides a conception of anarchist decolonization, which is accomplished by briefly reviewing a multiplicity of anarchist positions, before locating and responding to observable tensions within decolonial theory from which anarchist decolonization departs.

Click here to read the full article…

Let Empire collapse: why we need a decolonial revolution

https://i0.wp.com/publicseminar.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/shutterstock_1755510449-scaled.jpg?fit=1024%2C683&ssl=1
Member of the American Indian movement poses next to a toppled Columbus statue in Minneapolis. JUNE 10, 2020 Photo: Ben Hovland / Shutterstock.com

Repatriating Indigenous land and organizing anti-state Indigenous-Black-POC Power alternatives is better than pouring resources into the liberal-progressive vote.

By Mohamed Abdou, Roar Magazine

I am part of a We that says: “Let Empire collapse.” A We that says to build alternatives to Empire, we must expose the illegitimacy of the dreadful dream we are in. Instead of trying to shore or salvage the world as it is, we need to recognize with Audre Lorde that “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”

I am part of a We that says: “We love and respect you, Angela Davis and your behemoth ongoing legacy of indispensable teachings that are fundamental to the centuries-old struggle we confront,” but we will not be castigated into voting or fall into the trap of “lesser of two evil” arguments that have been critiqued time and time again.

We do not buy the story that we are at a crossroads and have the opportunity to finally fulfill America’s promise by ushering in a new era of Dwight D. Eisenhower-inspired eco-friendly dominance. We are not fooled by the repackaged, false, liberal-progressive hope of a Joe Biden-Kamala Harris-Bernie Sanders coalition that normalizes — rather than contends with — America’s imperialist settler-colonial existence. And which by design cannot allow life-saving reforms such as universal healthcare, student debt cancellations, housing and immigrant rights, racial and environmental justice, abolitionist defunding and dismantlement initiatives and worker protections.

We anticipated Donald J. Trump’s ascendance and expected Bernie Sanders’ demise when few did. We tell you, here, now, as a cautionary tale that it will be no surprise if Trump wins a second term. In fact, the seeds for his potential victory were laid the day of his inauguration because of how resistance and liberation came to be defined — as resistance to Trump rather than liberation from settler-colonial oppression.

Click here to read the full article…

https://roarmag.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Patreon-banner.jpg

The Settler Logics of (Outer) Space

“River of Souls” by Carl Gawboy (as published in Indian Country Today, 4/2/16)

By Deondre Smiles, Society+Space

In this essay, I position the logics of settler colonialism and the logics of space exploration dominion over both space on earth, and interplanetary space at the expense of Indigenous peoples. I then look to Indigenous conceptions of space as a potential foil to these colonial logics.

Click here to read the full article…

Deondre Smiles, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral scholar at The Ohio State University. A citizen of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, his ongoing research agenda is situated at the intersection of critical Indigenous geographies and political ecology, centered in the argument that tribal protection of remains, burial grounds, and more-than-human environments represents an effective form of ‘quotidian’ resistance against the settler colonial state.