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Democracy, Class, and White Settler Colonialism

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This essay offers a critique of a set of responses to neoliberalism that emphasize liberal democracy and class solidary (worker identity) as the paramount sites today for productive collective struggle and creation of democratic life. Drawing on the insights of Indigenous critical theory and Afro-pessimist theory, I argue that theories of liberal democracy and worker-centered struggle fail to consider how the colonial antagonisms Indigeneity and Blackness continue not only to underpin neoliberal forms of exploitation and dispossession but to overdetermine how we conceptualize and organize our struggles for genuine forms of democratic life. To create genuine forms of democratic life we must conceptualize and build struggles not around points of convergence among differentially positioned groups in capitalism, but around the antagonisms that make democratic social belonging impossible in the first place. This requires that we confront the colonial antagonisms that remain with us today in the structures of settler colonialism and racial capitalism.
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Keywords: blackness; class; indigeneity; liberal democracy; neoliberalism; racial capitalism; settler colonialism; worker identity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of New Mexico

Publication date: 01 June 2017

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