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A Marxist critique of settler colonial theory

2:15pm Sun 31 Mar

About this session

Israel’s brutal war on the Palestinians has strengthened the already growing interest amongst left wing people in the interconnections between colonialism, imperialism and capitalism in the Middle East and beyond. For many, this has meant an engagement with settler colonial theory. However, settler colonial theory is not a useful guide to understanding colonialism, imperialism and racism in today’s world. The emphasis on the cultural and ideological similarities between different imperialist projects - rather than the material and structural roots is disorientating. As is settler colonial theory’s dogmatic assertion that Israeli Zionist settlers and non-Indigenous workers in Australia are both privileged colonizers. The intellectual roots of settler colonial theory lie in the postmodern turn away from Marxism and the suspicion of socialist politics that this produced. This talk will explore the pitfalls of settler colonial theory, drawing attention to how it obscures the role that capitalism plays in reinforcing racism and imperialism and the disorienting impact it has had on developing strategies and movements to fight for a better world. Speaker: Jordan Humphreys is a socialist activist and the author of Indigenous Liberation & Socialism (Red Flag Books). He has written widely on Indigenous history and politics.

Recommended Reading

Chapter 3 "pitfalls of settler colonial theory" from Indigenous Liberation & Socialismby Jordan Humphreys
The World Turned Outside In: Settler Colonial Studies and Political Economyby Jack Daviesin Historical Materialism
The Routledge Handbook of the History of Settler Colonialismby Edward Cavanagh, Lorenzo Veracini (eds)
Settler Colonialism: An Introductionby Sai Englert
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