This week, as some people in the United States celebrated the mythical 'Thanksgiving' dinner, Indigenous Peoples held a National Day of Mourning and continued their resistance to defend the land and water. As Native American, Matt Remle, writes: "Despite colonial efforts to exterminate, terminate, relocate, and assimilate Indigenous populations, Native communities continue to resist efforts to both desecrate Unci Maka and strip Native peoples of their languages, spirituality and communities." Settler colonialism continues to this day in the United States and around the world as do resistance efforts to reclaim what has been lost, including land, access to sacred sites, clean water, culture and sovereignty. Remle makes the point that non-Indigenous people benefit from this resistance. Around the world, Indigenous people are leading the way to end exploitation and build a better future for all of us.
Below are key points identified by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network in responding to the Biden-Lapid Declaration (“The U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Joint Declaration”) issued on Thursday, 14 July 2022. While the declaration largely holds nothing new, it once again reveals the joint commitment to imperialism and Zionism that is responsible for the past 75 years of colonization in Palestine. Imperialism here means more arms, more support and more money for Israel. It means Phantom jets, atomic bomb secrets, and the building of an economy capable of facing the permanent blockade and state of war which we try to impose. Here millions upon millions of … American dollars are converted into a concrete force which increases Israeli strength and should therefore be taken into account in our calculations for the battle. Our enemy then is not Israel alone. It is Israel, Zionism, imperialism, and unless we have a clear scientific knowledge of our enemy we cannot hope to triumph over it.
The good news is that Comrade Bob Wing’s analysis represents a step forward in terms of the U.S. Left’s understanding of the nation—“republic”—in which it struggles. The bad news is that the U.S. left has not necessarily kept pace with the U.S. ruling class in terms of similar issues, or even with non-radical African-Americans, for that matter. Consider the multi-part series on HBO Max (a member in good standing of the much reviled “corporate media”) that premiered recently, i.e. Black filmmaker Raoul Peck’s “Exterminate All the Brutes,” a sweeping analysis and condemnation of settler colonialism (a term curiously absent from ordinary discourse on the left) and white supremacy. His other credits include the superb docu-drama “The Young Karl Marx.”
B’Tselem, a leading human rights group in Israel, recently released a report concluding that Israel is an apartheid state, with a regime of Jewish supremacy stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. The report found that Israel meets the definition of apartheid under international law, which defines apartheid as “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them”. The report received widespread international media attention and was described as a “watershed” moment. But it was only a watershed moment for B’Tselem, which was using the term “apartheid” for the first time in its three-decade history, and for an international community that is so infatuated with Israeli voices.
Starting in 1452, under the guise of the Papal Bull Romanus Pontifex and later the 1493 Papal Bull Inter Cetera, the Christian Doctrine of Discovery, European Christians began their efforts to expand colonial rule, and the Christian Empire, throughout the world. These Papal Bulls sanctioned European Christian Nations to “capture, vanquish, and subdue the saracens, pagans, and other enemies of Christ, to put them into perpetual slavery, and to take all their possessions and property” and were authorized “to take possession of any lands discovered that were not under the dominion of any Christian rulers.”
UCLA history professor Benjamin Madley’s book An American Genocide: The United States and the California Catastrophe 1846-1873 details the killing of tens of thousands of Native Americans as the state was being settled in the 19th century. In their conversation, Madley tells Robert Scheer why he believes these massacres did, in fact, constitute genocide in its 20th century United Nations definition. He talks about white settlers’ dehumanization and paranoia about “the other,” and the exceptions to that way of thinking.
For 25 years, Indigenous rights activists fought for an official UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — for a document that doesn’t just affirm our individual human rights, but asserts our inherent and inalienable collective rights as Indigenous peoples. In 2007, that document was finally adopted by the General Assembly. Article 10 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states that “Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories.