In June 2016, Alliance Against Displacement held a public forum “Reconcile This!” that addressed the tensions between social movement demands to “redistribute wealth” downwards with the fact that in a settler-colonial society, that wealth has been stolen from Indigenous nations. This event asked, “is the solution to this problem simply to redistribute that stolen wealth downwards?” and it challenged us to imagine struggles against displacement and poverty also lining up behind Indigenous-led struggles against colonial dispossession. To continue to work on these big questions, we are organizing our third Conditions of Struggle reading series on this same topic. The Displacement & Dispossession series will consist of six classes. We hope that participants in the first class will prioritize taking part in the whole series. Reading packages for the first three classes will be available as packages.
Classes 1-3: What’s Capitalism got to do with Dispossession?
The first gathering for this series will define dispossession, and come to an understanding of how capitalism has required the dispossession of Indigenous peoples from land. Some questions we will ask include: How exactly are capitalism and dispossession related? What are some Indigenous experiences of dispossession? Why does capitalism require a continued attack on Indigenous ways of living?
Key terms for this class: primitive accumulation, accumulation by dispossession, capitalism, colonialism
- Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, “Chapter 2: Culture of Conquest,” pages 32-44
- Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch, excerpt from “Chapter 2: The Accumulation of Labor and the Degradation of Women,” pages 61-75
- Gord Hill (Kwakwaka’wakw), The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book, “Part 3: Assimilation,” pages 61-62
- Rosa Luxemburg, The Accumulation of Capital: An Anti-Critique, “Chapter 1: The Questions at Issue,” pages 47-62 & “Chapter 6: Imperialism”
Classes 4-6: When anti-capitalist & anti-colonial movements come together
The second gathering for this series will focus on points of alliance and points of conflict and disagreement between Indigenous movements and working class movements. Some questions we will ask include: Have there been allegiances between working class movements and Indigenous movements in the past? What are some of the conflicts between Indigenous movements and working class movements? What are some of the affinities or places of convergence between Indigenous movements and working class movements?
- Lee Maracle (member of Sto:lo Nation), I Am Woman, “Chapter 14: Another Side of Me,” pages 138-150
- Paul Tennant, “Native Indian Political Organization in British Columbia, 1900- 1969: A Response to Internal Colonialism.”
- Robert Des Verney, “Why White Radicals are Incapable of Understanding Black Nationalism” (1963)
Classes 7-8: Can working class movements support Indigenous national movements?
The third and final gathering for this series will build from the perspectives we’ve gained in the past two reading groups to suggest ways that socialist or working class movements can support Indigenous nationalist movements today. Some questions we will ask include: Are all Indigenous nationalist movements in line with working class or socialist values? In what ways can working-class movements actively support Indigenous nationalism? Are there kinds of work that might be best done within working class movements?
Key terms for this class: self-governance, neoliberalism, solidarity.
- Joanne Nagel, Red Power: Reforging Identity and Power
- Sarah Shulman, To be in solidarity with Palestine
- Ruana Kuokkanen (Sámi), From Indigenous Economies to Market-Based Self-Governance: A Feminist Political Economy Analysis: pages 275-291
- David McNally, Unity of the Diverse: Working-class formations and popular uprisings from Cochabamba to Cairo: pages 401-423