Anti-Colonial Anarchism vs Decolonization


Many forms of resistance to colonialism and empire are necessary and important, and this poster should not be interpreted as dissuading those forms of solidarity and resistance. Nor should anti-colonial consciousness and decolonization be thought of as mutually exclusive forms of action.  They often co-exist as “named” movements side by side. This poster seeks to point out that they may not be equivalent, and there are some critical differences between the two.

Recognizing many of the settlers engaging in this resistance identify as anarchists or dwell on an anti-colonial anarchist fringe, we ask you to consider how the pursuit of an anti-colonial  consciousness can still allow settler moves to innocence – diversions and distractions that relieve settlers of feelings of guilt while concealing the need to give up land, power, and privilege.

When anti-colonial action is complete, there is no guarantee that the settler has learned any more about who he is, or where he comes from. The inner work to heal the spirit from historic traumas that allow and perpetuate colonization may not be engaged.

Decolonization creates the possibility for the settler to become something more  –  to heal Indigenous identity, story, and spirit and deconstruct the very source of colonizing thought.


42 thoughts on “Anti-Colonial Anarchism vs Decolonization

  1. fairly good critique, hope class war anarchists listen, but they are more likely to turn to marx than ever listen to indigenous folks – but mad respect for the green anarchists who have been talking about his for a few decades now! part of the reason we are marginalized and not taken seriously by the class warriors.

    there are two big problems with the “decolonization” column, though.

    first of all, “sovereignty” is a legal term from the bronze age. it means one supreme authority, invested in one person. it is the legal basis for the rule of kings. few indigenous peoples have kings, and struggling for “sovereignty” is the struggle for ONE person to speak for all the people in their community. only another sovereign can recognize the authority of another person to speak for some other people. if a foreign power is strong enough, they can determine who is the soveriegn of their neighboring peoples. just read any history of any region in europe to see myriad examples of competing sovereigns, but more importantly, i urge you to read “native american sovereignty: now you see it, now you don’t!” in order to get a clear understanding about falling into legal traps like this.

    also, most indigenous peoples view themselves as a people, not a nation. nations are a construct of european societies. in order to reclaim the indigenous mind, such eurocentric concepts need to be challeged and discarded in favor of more human ones which emphasize our relationships to one another and the places we dwell.

    if you understand where i’m coming from with this, then you should grasp why it is impossible for indigenous peoples to turn to the institutions of colonial power – courts and the united nations, for instance – in order to fight against eurocentric colonial powers.

    in real, legal court cases, indigenous peoples are not considered to be human beings, but pests like wolves or mountain lions which must be removed in order to create a suitable environment for commerce – another tool of control and conquest. again, i refer you to the article mentioned above:

    and the united nations exists to further the interests of the member nation states. if the united nations was either capable of or interested in looking after the interests of indigenous peoples, the palestinian people would be living peaceful, prosperous lives, and indigenous peoples in amazonia, papua, and africa would not be hunted into extinction by corporate mercenaries and militaries of the local nations.

    hopefully indigenous people will soon wake up and realize that there are enough of them left to turn back the tide of european domination over the world. and plenty of people who want nothing from the master race but liberation. we can do this, together – and thanks so much for bringing up this discussion. this is so, so important!

    • But is there not some reclamitory value in ‘sovereignty’ and ‘nation’? In the sense that “only Europeans are worthy of sovereignty, only Europeans had Nations, only Europeans had wheels, etc” Which of course is utter horse shit, and therefore it may be rhetorically valuable to meet Euro-logit tit-for-tat as a tactical option?

      However, I really agree with the point you make! These are some increasingly troubled waters in desperate need of navigation.

  2. This graphic’s info re-enforces colonial thought… which undermines the intent. Certainly we can’t decolonize anarchism but anarchism can be an intersection of attack against colonial systems. I’m not attempting to unlearn colonization, I am on the attack to tear it up from the roots and abolish it.

    • Thanks for sharing your perspectives. How do you believe the graphic re-enforces colonial thought – and do you feel like the writing underneath the poster in the original blog post addresses those concerns? Also, this poster is specifically made for white settler anarchists/anti-colonial activists who may, or may not, use this activism as an evasion to deeper internal work of decolonization that does unroot colonialism from within – and without.

  3. Reblogged this on Míle Gaiscíoch and commented:
    Go raibh míle maith agat! I am privileged enough to know who my People are, the exact places we come from, and my language is still alive to be reclaimed. But I must wonder about those who feel they are ‘settler mutts’ or are adopted, or what of English people who actually are speaking their Native language? What of the Indigenous folks who’s languages are now sleeping?
    Of course I ask this in the spirit of further deconstruction and reconstruction, celebrating the intersectionalities that connect us all and make us all unique.

  4. Nuwi née Sirama, sihu Mánkeme, I’m a Chorotega descendant from the Great Nicoya territory in Central America. Our people called ourselves Mánkeme before the Spanish renamed us. Our tribal name means “the Chiefs” or those who speak with knowledge. I disagree with the use of the word sovereignty as only a European term that we must discard. The term can be applied to the way that indigenous people are autonomous and responsible for their own ways of organizing and have the right to have those forms of tribal organization. I also disagree that the term “Nations” should not be used. In my case, the word “chief” doesn’t pertain to what the word in my language means: the speakers, the ones who have the speaking turn. So any term morphs or changes in translation. The term Nation has to be viewed that way too, as translations. The term “tribe” as well. These are translations of more accurate terms in the indigenous languages of the people that they are describing. The terms can still be useful.

    • Hello fellow Chorotega sister! Grateful to be on the medicine path alongside you. Love and blessings to you.

  5. “no gods” or “diverse spiritual realities” has unfolded in my life as an anarchist trying to unwind the roots of decolonization… I used to identify as an atheist, but now I see myself as deeply spiritual.
    My question is this: what about those of us whose grandparents went to boarding schools? how do we authentically reclaim place or language? I am of many different races / cultures, some were colonizers and some were colonized. How can we, of mixed ancestry, honor all our histories and places?

  6. Pingback: Anti-Colonial Anarchism vs Decolonization | Some words by Richard Hosein

  7. This chart actually reinforces colonial mentality. Binaries are not only a fundamental part of modernist thinking, they also serve to unnaturally divide. They only work out of any particular context and create foes instead of allies. Just search for “Shorter Binary Thinking” for more information. The word and concept for “spiritual” actually serves capitalism because it separates the material realities from spiritual concerns, as if those are different. As such, this chart will serve the egos of hippies and new agers more than deep de-colonization.

    • As the author of this post, I don’t agree with you that the poster reinforces colonial mentality, and here’s why. While the poster is intentionally dichotomous, the accompanying language of the poster identifies the connection and tension between the two terms, especially when referring to the choices of movements by white euro-american settler activists:

      Many forms of resistance to colonialism and empire are necessary and important, and this poster should not be interpreted as dissuading those forms of solidarity and resistance. Nor should anti-colonial consciousness and decolonization be thought of as mutually exclusive forms of action. They often co-exist as “named” movements side by side. This poster seeks to point out that they may not be equivalent, and there are some critical differences between the two.

      The inescapable fact is that exclusive anti-colonial action by settlers can lead to evasions and resettlement because the underlying conditions that allow for those behaviors has not actually been faced. Only deep decolonization can begin to address this chasm. The poster creates tension around this potential -as it was intended to do.

      As for the use of the term “spiritual”… I agree that the spiritual and material are inseparable, yet abandoning the word all-together doesn’t really feel like a practical solution. The word has meaning and value, and it’s used in the poster for a reason. Until we all start speaking our Native tongues to each other, then we are just going to have to dwell in the murkiness of the english language and have the patience to find understanding and clarity when it fails us. If you wish to talk about “spirituality” then by all means, let’s…

      Given the number of supportive comments of this poster, and this blog, by Native activists and people, I feel safe that the poster is doing more than stroking the egos of hippies and new agers. Instead, the provocative nature of the poster has brought alot of attention to the blog, so the more nuanced and complex understandings shared in many of the posters and articles have found more exposure.

      If you feel like you can create a better, more effective artwork to address the tension between decolonization and anti-colonialism, then you are invited to share it here. Thanks for sharing your perspectives.

      • Interesting but short sighted and misleading. True that a clear comprehensive dichotomy can’t be properly draw up on a poster. But I will say this. Many indigenous peoples romanticize the culture, and yes I know that is a problematic word, but semantics aside if we as humans truly want freedom we must not romanticize humanity. All cultures seem to do this. Not just colonized but un colonized ones as well. Nature is an organic state. We don’t have control of it. We can respect it and live accordingly, i.e. environmentalist, but she will always have the upper hand no matter how low our carbon impact will be. Look at it this way. Think of human nature as energy. Energy can not be created or destroyed. It simply changes its form. Now thing of human natures as a pull towards nefarious intent. “Decolonization creates the possibility for the settler to become something more – to heal Indigenous identity, story, and spirit and deconstruct the very source of colonizing thought.” This idea is nothing more than romanticizing indigenous societies. It implies that prior to colonial settlement native societies were living in some kind of Utopia. There is more than able evidence to prove other wise. Also lets not forget the barbarity of humanity in what even culture you choose to place it in. I really have no desire to rediscover my native history if that entails human or animal sacrifices i.e. the Aztecs limited forms of the written word and the lack of modern empiric medicine. So the question then becomes will the revolution have free wi-fi? 🙂

      • One side of colonial racism is romanticism. And the other side of that coin is denial and disbelief. They both prevent authentic seeing and understanding of Indigenous people, Indigenous lifeways, and Indigenous knowledge.

      • This is a reply to B.Juarez as well as the original poster of this article (i couldn’t find where to reply to B.Juarez, so just did this as an alt). First, to the original poster:

        You said:
        we ask you to consider how the pursuit of an anti-colonial consciousness can still allow settler moves to innocence – diversions and distractions that relieve settlers of feelings of guilt while concealing the need to give up land, power, and privilege.

        When anti-colonial action is complete, there is no guarantee that the settler has learned any more about who he is, or where he comes from. The inner work to heal the spirit from historic traumas that allow and perpetuate colonization may not be engaged.

        Decolonization creates the possibility for the settler to become something more – to heal Indigenous identity, story, and spirit and deconstruct the very source of colonizing thought.

        I think i said this awhile back, but i’ll say it again: where do you all get the idea that you will reach us via shaming and pushing guilt politics on settler people? I once quoted the post-left anarchist, Jason McQuinn (going openly as Lev Chernyi at the time) on the problem of “desire vs guilt” in mass movements, specifically his challenge to the Earth First!ers in the 1980s.

        We do have more commonalities than the author of this blog seems to recognize. For one, our intuitions, which are systematically taught/programmed into us settler people by formal society to be something to categorically dismiss! Our intuitions are a remnant of OUR Indigenous connection!

        McQuinn’s idea was about organizing via strategies of mutual DESIRE, not guilt and shaming. I think i said this before, but while guilt and shaming may work for the short-hall, what is the quality of the participant that comes from guilt? And what is the quality of the FELLOW CHAMPION (!) who is moved to join in decolonization via MUTUAL DESIRE?!!!

        It should be obvious! We learn more about ourselves as settler people from our shared background as Indigenous descendants, not forever focusing ONLY on our not thinking things through carefully enough.

        And this brings me to my response to B.Juarez:

        You’re using words and concepts that i think you’re not thinking through enough. But glad you’re saying your feelings/intuitions, at least! Keep up the good process!! Take the word “freedom” (really, free-dumb, when you think about it, as John Trudell has). The bottom line is that these kinds of comments are settler-centric because they don’t seem to think beyond a kind of corral.

        i’d like to discuss this further with you, if you’d like.

        As for your assumption about Indigenous sacrifice, to this seasoned ear you’re missing out completely on all of the sacrifices that “modern society” visits on its uncomprehending settler “human resources”. Take war, domestic or foreign. And sending thousands of naive and ignorant kids off to fight, whereupon only years later do they tend to wake up to the reality that they have put their lives on the line to serve interests that are not their own! See Smedley D. Butler’s online (in full) book “War Is A Racket”.

        And how about EVERY family SACRIFICING its young to compulsory schooling and the general destruction of their kid’s original GREAT SPIRIT?!! All to get them to fit snugly in Misery Loves Company (i.e. enslavement to The System; see for more info on this).

        The romanticizing this seasoned mind has is for the QUALITY OF COMMUNITY and FAMILY that world Indigenous folks have sustained despite all forms of overt and covert warfare against them. That and a few other qualities, which people like yourself have been obviously programmed to ignore, and stay well within your Nice little Settler Corral!

        Having said all of this, i am a fellow settler who continues to wake up!

        B.Juarez, i sense that you’re on a journey of waking up as well, and in that light i welcome your voice, as i feel like it is coming from your heart. Only the words an concepts (i.e. “Human Nature”) seem to trip you up from seeing as akwaken-the-horse folks are promoting. Glad you’re here!

  8. I am troubled by this poster, even with the attempted nuancing of the text below. I welcome and enjoy the challenge of getting to know my ancesters and their original place so I don’t perpetuate colonization but I also need a framework that enables me to engage in collective action (see struggle) for liberation. And it seems that this framework is being negated in this posting. For example, focusing solely on the question “Who am I?” (or even “who are you?”) implies a search for a given identity whereas I desire to focus on “what can I do to be free?” and “how can I interact with others in a way free of oppression?”.
    In a critical anarchist way, being an ally should be understood as solidarity and nothing more, just as mutual aid should not be confused with charity. The problem with allyship is that, if you are to follow “indigenous” lead, you are still left with the problem of deciding who is this legitimate indigenous voice you are to listen to. It is all tangled with the problem of authority. There is no such thing as a nation (a people or tribe if you want) that exists out there, homogenous and static, that can be directly and objectively accessed and assessed. Whatever nation is also penetrated and made up of other systems and identities: patriarchy, the capitalist class system, etc., and all those mechanisms of the surrounding society will influence the structure within that nation and who becomes the visible and the invisible part.
    I care for the traditional knowledge and community, “mine” and that of “others”, but this is not something I can just give myself to: that goes for my “heritage and origins” as well as that of other “indigenous” people. I got to start and act from where I am now and from what I can know and do directly. That does not mean willfully ignoring the past and not trying to learn about that, but that I recognize a fundamental limit to doing that and choose to dedicate myself to the most present, clear and urgent tasks, even though it might turn out (if in theory I could know better) that it is acting in a settler place. I am not after perfection but practice.
    Anarchism can’t tell me how things really are, who am I really and where I am really from. I just wish to remain open and always questionning. What is the purpose of calling this “placelessness”?
    Likewise, to me it is clear that “no god, no master” is just a way of saying the same as “diverse spiritual realities”, that it is up to you to know. I get the point that some so-called anarchists can be obnoxious in insisting with their “no god” doctrine in negating others’ belief, but that’s just it: people being obnoxious not a fundamental problem with “anarchism”. No?

    Anyway, if you would like to correct some of my assumptions and give feedback, thanks a lot.

  9. I stumbled upon this and have some clarifying questions (sorry if these are already answered): What do you mean by ‘relative’ vs. ‘ally’?
    What do you mean by ‘perpetuation of anarchism’ and how is this different from ‘survival of indigenousness knowledge’?

    If I understand your goal, it is to problematize the way that anarchists interact/struggle/show solidarity with indigenousness people. It’s unclear to me if you are critiquing a particular strand or group of anarchists. If so, then my comments are probably irrelevant.
    If not, I would say that your representation of the anarchist viewpoint seems to be problematic. For instance, the ‘no gods (no masters)’ is more of a (simplistic) slogan that encapsulates the idea that we shall not be governed by a religious state/authority-not that religion is prohibited or that one cannot consent to follow religious doctrine-and on this reading the ‘no gods’ doesn’t seem to be contrary to ‘diverse spiritual realities’. My understanding of the ‘no nations’ is similar; I’m not sure about the language of ‘revolutionary autonomy’ and ‘indigenous sovereignty’, but intuitively it seems like those things could include each other. Likewise, I don’t think ‘English’ is something anarchists generally think everyone should speak-after all ‘anarchists’ are not all English speaking. I see the anarchist project as striving towards ‘deconstructing whiteness’ and ‘decolonizing native and settler’, rather than what you present them as. I think my main hesitation is that I generally see more interaction or similarities between the two ‘sides’ (as you present them here) than you give credit.
    Again, I just stumbled upon this so my apologize if you’ve explained this elsewhere or if this is part of a conversation I’m unfamiliar with. Either way, I’m glad this is a conversation that is happening.

  10. This is a really thought provoking image. It brought forth a fair bit of thought on the vast extent I need to decolonise myself. I have to ask though, what do you mean by “natural rights”? The term as I understand it has some connotations which are quite negative, so if you could expand on this it would be greatly appreciated.

    From An Anarchist FAQ (

    Natural Law, and the related concept of Natural Rights, play an important part in Libertarian and “anarcho”-capitalist ideology. Right-libertarians are not alone in claiming that their particular ideology is based on the “law of nature”. Hitler, for one, claimed the same thing for Nazi ideology. So do numerous other demagogues, religious fanatics, and political philosophers.

    • The Spaniards used “Natural Law” as a justification for colonization. Indigenous traditionalists regard themselves as “keepers of Natural Law” You are correct that this is perhaps the most problematic phrase in English. However, this dialogue is at the gateway to understanding Law as something biocentric, in genuine opposition to something anthropocentric. Flagging Natural Law as ‘right’ or ‘nazi’ or ‘fascist’ is silly and cheap, and is often used to silence Indigenous People in a very colonial manner.

  11. Hi, as a white european anarchist I hope that the solidarity activties we take with decolonisation struggles has been one of looking to follow the lead of those who are struggling directly. Many of the ideas and tactics being suggested as ways we can help have came from south american struggles and we find local struggles have overlap in terms of campaigning for linguistic and cultural autonomy. I’m interested in what you see as the practical ways anarchists could be asked to provide future solidarity.

    • Floaker, your European skin and body is what gives you privilege. Put it between brown bodies and violence. Other Europeans have used force against brown peoples. Your task is to defend those peoples with force. Anything else falls short. Greetings to you and solidarity!

  12. Fixed Typos*

    I think anti-colonial – anarchism or post-colonial anarchism would not be euro-centric. It would actually focus on restorative justice as its way to emancipate and learn from all of human history to reach a stage of full emancipation for all. In a truely anarchist society settler colonialism would be dismantled but it would not be nationalist because it would not advocate racial seperatism nor cultural assimiliation but multiculturalism. I think decolonizing still central to anti or post colonial anarchism. Ally vs Relative? Why couldn’t anti or post colonial anarchists view eachother as relatives? I don’t think anarchists use the good/bad moral binary when it comes to white supremacy. Racism and other forms of oppression are socialized into us by the larger society and by decolonizing ourselves or checking ourselves to actively resist oppressive behavior we dismantle it. My pre-colonial ancestors weren’t anti-oppressive as a society. they still had kings and a class system so by creating a society based on consentual and anti-oppressive behavior we can go beyond that. Human rights vs Natural rights? I know many anarchists who refuse to partake in the destruction of the planet and are not speciest or against speciesm. I am a pagan anarchist you do not have to dismantle all cultural values to an anarchist.

    • Fakhra, many thanks for reblogging this and for asking my personal feelings about this post.

      Some of my experience is shared in the Post Colonialism? post as I reflect on my whiteness in this world. I’ve moved in both anarchist and Indigenous circles for a number of years so I wanted to share this perspective.

      This particular poster was created to provoke thought and conversation by using a dichotomous set of characteristics which are not mutually exclusive of each other but do capture some truth in their division.

      As someone who formerly identified as anarchist and is still active in anarchist/anti-capitalist circles (among others), I’ve observed instances where I’ve heard decolonization actually pushed aside for anti-colonial action. In my opinion, some of this is legitimate urgency to act in solidarity with Indigenous peoples under fire. But not always. Sometimes its clearly been used as an evasion for confronting the shadowy parts of ourselves and our histories. It caters to the disbelieving and apathetic parts of ourselves that say, “decolonization isn’t possible.” It also reflects amer-european discomfort with spirituality and spiritual things, which I’ve experienced in solidarity talks with anarchists both on Turtle Island and in Europe. From my perspective, this knee-jerk reaction to spirituality is highly destructive and will prevent healing. I don’t see a way around that.

      This creates the dynamic that when this “anti-colonial” action is complete, the historic traumas that contributed heavily to euro-centrism and colonialism in the first place, have not been addressed. I don’t believe that’s a healthy step either for ourselves, or for the Indigenous peoples we seek solidarity with. As a person of european heritage, I believe I have a responsibility to heal myself whether Indigenous people ask for it or not.

      For me personally, I also believe english is a poor language to have some of these conversations in, and I know from experience that many Indigenous understandings are poorly translated to english. That said, I appreciate the perspective where the motivation is decolonization and the action can be labeled as anti-colonial. This feels true to me in my own experience. I believe sloganizing (no gods, no borders, no masters) isn’t particularly helpful in either form of action and I called that out in the poster.

      Decolonization to me, is very often one foot in the colonial world, and one foot outside of it. I try to navigate that challenging ground as best as I can.

      • Some replies your thinking. You say:
        It also reflects amer-european discomfort with spirituality and spiritual things, which I’ve experienced in solidarity talks with anarchists both on Turtle Island and in Europe. From my perspective, this knee-jerk reaction to spirituality is highly destructive and will prevent healing. I don’t see a way around that.
        The way i see around it is to side-stand with anarchs, etc. the reality that many of us have been attacked by statecraft=subordinate religion, and to expose how spirituality is qualitively different, provided we qualify this notion with G.Taiaiake Alfred’s words on how traditions are meant as GUIDELINES. Not as rules/laws in which all must continually subordinate to. Spirituality is more personal, where all participating, in my view, get personal visions that they may journey through in processes of their own desire.

        A further difficulty is that many “antis” of spirituality, i think, have only a city/urban background, with little or now serious connection to the magick of the natural world.

        As for the ‘healing’, hm, i’ll have to think about that one for awhile.

        On the english challenge, why not give oneself permission to create new words, which we all get to define depending on how we choose/desire? Why must we settler people WAIT for some kind of veritable authority to bring us to this kind of self-creation??? i think that inability is merely more of our settler programming.

        If we are in solidarity with world Indigenous folks then we should begin (finally) giving ourselves permission to design our lives and methods according to our desires, and join as equal (or younger sisters/brothers) champions with our relatives (fellow descendants of tribal peoples!)!

        Finally, the one foot in and one foot out reminds me of the ol’ “bucket” image. One foot in the colonial bucket and one foot in the, uh, proverbial Indigenous-spirited …canoe…? Not a bad thing; our privilege can be used, as i’ve been discovering personally, to aide in building and inspiring consciousness in our fellow settler folks!


  13. Pingback: Post Colonialism? | Awakening the Horse People

  14. 1) Nor sure why its labeled anti-colonial *anarchism*. Many of these things are not particular to or inherent to anarchism except things like revolutionary autonomy.

    2) Seems to be imposing a false binary with forced characteristics.

    3) All these things are not mutually exclusive. One can advocate revolutionary autonomy and support indigenous sovereignty.

    • Thanks for sharing your comments. The poster is meant to provoke much needed conversation. And while you are right that some of those things are not exclusive to anarchism, myself and others have commonly heard those perspectives from settlers who identify as anarchists. And as the text in the original post states – many of the characteristics may not be mutually exclusive, but there can be some important differences. When those differences allow for diversions, evasions, and resettlement (recolonization) – then they become problematic. The poster created a dichotomy intended to provoke thought and conversation about this – which it has!

  15. I understand the poster as a personal path in some ways. I began by understanding what I called social injustice (which did include deconstructing whiteness) and then ventured beyond the concepts into a deeper appereciation of difference beyond western barriers. In SA, Lesiba Baloyi has written a wonderful PHD on the importance of heritage and indigenous knowledge in healing.

    I get your explanation that it’s not about the language or Janus face of modernity. It’s a different, less intellectual perspective which says it’s not enough to look at the difficulties from a western viewpoint. At the same time, as we continually realize, it’s hard not to. So we get to learn.

    I love the quote by Arrida who says when he speaks English, he is in a world of barriers, things and seep rations rather than a world of energies, flows and processes.

    Interesting discussion, thank you.

  16. I reposted the pic on a decolonization page for the University of British Columbia. I haven’t analyzed the response or the poster completely as I am in the midst of final exams/assignments but plan to do so. in the meantime, aside from many ‘likes’ on the pic, this is the response one individual posted:
    I’m sorry, but I find an extraordinarily high number of things wrong with this post. I’ll try to outline them, but let me be clear that it is not the intent of the message of decolonization that I oppose, but the delivery and the various logical fallacies and blatant mistruths applied here.

    So firstly, being an “ally” or a “relative” is extremely vague and it reduces the message of decolonization to only those who have directly suffered the legacy of colonialism here in North America, pitting those who try and understand against those who apparently have an inborn understanding. That’s just flat out damaging.

    Secondly, “placelessness” affects many groups and it is wrong to allege that anti-colonial anarchism advocates it, or even worse, that there are those who are unable to pursue decolonization on account of their own settler status. We live in a world that is increasingly overcrowded and all people are fighting against placelessness and a lack of home. Saying that anyone is an advocate is absolutely juvenile.

    Thirdly, “deconstructing whiteness” belongs to me and those who are categorized as “white” or “european” as much as it belongs to those who aren’t or choose not to be. I have just as much of a stake in dismantling race and its damaging legacy, even in my partial whiteness as anyone else. I am just as disgusted by racial ideology and racism as any decent human being.

    Fourthly, “dismantling” and “resisting” are the same thing. Placing them against each other makes no sense. They are steps within a necessary process in which anti-colonial anarchism and decolonization are the same things.

    Fifthly, I would agree that “eurocentric ideologies” are problematic and there needs to be a reclaiming of the “indigenous mind”, but creating a false binary is not the way about it. Furthermore, “humans rights” ARE “natural rights”; that’s another false contrast I find fault with.

    Sixtly, implying that anti-colonial anarchists, which by the implication of this infographic are all non-indigenous settlers who claim to protest colonialism, wish to liberate the “oppressed” is only further reinforced by the text at the bottom that insists that all settlers must feel guilt.

    Sevently, and lastly, “perpetuation of anarchism”, “no nations”, and “no gods” all display a faulty understanding of what constitutes the movement known as anarchism. indigenous rule through clans and tribes IS anarchical. it is the absence of formal government in lieu of communal governance, with a stress on the process, rather than the entity. That’s just misinformation.

    The main issue is that there is the creation of a false enemy, which is laid out as a placeless, English, resister not a reformer, Euro-centric, ignorant settler/holder of patronizing attitudes towards indigenous people, having the moral reasoning of a kindergartener, and possessing the intelligence of a 15 year old punk.

    The process of decolonization becomes restricted to those who identify as native (not that there is inherently any issue with decolonization being led by indigenous communities) and even worse, the crux of the argument becomes ‘kick the settlers out.’

    I may be misunderstanding, but by juxtaposing “settler futures on stolen land” (which fyi i disagree with, but this isn’t the way to approach it) against “relinquishing stolen lands”, this is advocating a blatantly unintelligent, irrational, reactionary approach to decolonization.

    To summarize in one big point, this infographic ignores global citizenship and global struggles against colonialism and other oppressive forces. We all have a need for living space, a need for resources, and the need for community. The world is bigger and more interconnected than ever before. We now have the ability to understand that billions around the globe are human beings too and that aligning ourselves based on creed is only further reinforcing the same attitudes that CREATED colonialism and nationalism.

    These damaging perspectives are not exclusive to whites or Europeans, but they were indeed at the forefront of the tides of colonization that ravaged the entire world. Decolonization needs to incorporate globalism and it needs to utilize an understanding that we are all people and human beings. Creating “us vs. them” arguments only backs the forces we should be fighting against.

    Also, I think I was pretty pissed when I started writing this and it shows without also encompassing a few other things that I think I acknowledged in my own head without putting down on paper (so to speak). I am not against self-determination or self-rule, but I do think that the world is moving in a different direction by the power of the internet and that eventually these forces will blur the lines between nations, if we are ever to peacefully coexist on this earth. Nationhood perpetuates conflict.

    The options for a peaceful resolution are either complete deindustrialization, which accomplishes decolonization, or global citizenship and global governance, which would also decolonize in the process of denationalization. Both are extremely unlikely and both sound like fiction, but we live on a planet that is changing quickly. Shedding the harms of the colonialism requires change in one direction or another. Though national determinism of people based on history sounds like a good idea and it acknowledges a lot of what is important to us now (culture, family, identity), it also supports the system that oppresses us all. Peace and human survival on a large scale isn’t possible without removing these boundaries.

    • Many thanks for taking the time to read and to share on the university page. I’m about to write up a longer explanation of the poster that people may find interesting, and certainly addresses some of the analysis you shared here. I would like to reflect that personal attacks shrouded in intellectual critique like “unintelligent”, “irrational”, “absolutely juvenile” and “moral reasoning of a kindergardener” are intentionally demeaning and dissuade open dialogue about these urgent movements. I would like to invite the source of those comments to visit the blog in its entirety to expand their understanding of the poster and it’s context. Thanks!

  17. Honestly I think this sets up a false dichotomy. A lot of non-aboriginal anarcho-syndicalist, class struggle types, in occupied australia embrace decolonisation; i think decolonisation (in its static form above) without a critique of self-justified forms of authority under capitalism leads to things like sovereignty/’native governments’ and other (white) ideas that take power out of the peoples hands or allows small groups of people to use movements as springboards into power. It also assumes that Native peoples are homogeneous blank slates that don’t take on ideas from elsewhere (eg: black panther stuff, black autonomy federation, socialist thought etc is very influential). It also puts out that indigenous people have some noble innocence/complete knowledge of ancestral ways and aren’t divided by class. What do you say to those of us that don’t know their lands or culture?

    Also a strawman: Anarchist use of the terms nation/state (No Gods no Masters) etc historically are very specific, not concepts that can be applied to non-capitalist societies. No anarchist worth their weight would appeal to ‘human rights’ or any other garbage that perpetuates the myth that ‘rights freedom or anything else can be decreed from above or reduced to a piece of paper.

    These are very narrow ways of talking about anarchism and decolonisation, especially when both these concepts have transformed and taken from each other so much in recent years.

    Decolonisation means every human has the ‘right’ and responsibility to resist or overcome the existential alienation and violence of modernity, and to preserve or restore their relation of belonging to the world through a particular place or set of places.

    Decolonisation shows us the legacy of conquest; this great divide on one side of which are the survivors of this undeclared and untreatied war, and on the other side of which are the descendants of those who waged the war, and those people and institutions which actively continue that war with the powerful view that assimilation and conquest are the only option.

    Decolonisation is the ongoing domain of our lives in which we sustain an open commitment to Life enhancing feedback between transformative social change and ecological change – while most importantly at the same time resisting ‘de-narrativisation’ (ie: understanding that the land already has stories, systems etc and is not a storyless object to which we can blanket our ideologies over).

    We have to walk softly, respectfully, work through wounded spaces, form relations not yet fully imagined – but most importantly have an open orientation towards struggle – not dividing people into more dichotomies.


    • i agree, mostly. My feeling is that everyone should continue to speak what they think, and not let fear of stepping on toes stop them! But, yes, the difficulty of getting bogged down in dichotomies is a biggie to be aware of!

  18. Pingback: Anti-Colonial Anarchism vs Decolonization | ANTIFAFOREVER

  19. I deeply appreciate the intent of this graphic and text, thank you for them. Hopefully we will all spend as much time ACTING on our convictions as we do on critiquing the many nuances of the graphic! Surely it is far less important to have our ideologies perfectly correct than to act in defense of the things we know to be right… If you’re sitting behind your computer screen right now debating the flaws of the graphic, challenge yourself to ACT!

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