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The White Man’s Boredom – The New Inquiry
"Jeffrey Auerbach shows in a rich new book, Imperial Boredom: Monotony and the British Empire, despite the parades and the hunts, even colonial governors in the late 19th century British Empire found their work endless, fruitless, and boring."
book  review  colonialism  history  bureaucracy  boredom  19c  country(GreatBritain)  empire 
4 days ago by tsuomela
Cory Doctorow: Terra Nullius – Locus Online
The Europeans – staunch Lockeans – had a problem: they wanted to harvest the bounty of a new continent but absent the agreement of the people who already lived there, this would be theft, by Lockean lights.

To solve the conundrum, they deployed a bit of Aloha Poke logic: they declared the ancient, communally held thing to be owned by no one. They called it terra nullius (“nobody’s land”) and proceeded to “improve” it to make it into property. Many of these “improvements” involved acts of genocide against the indigenous people. After all, if something is owned by nobody, then the people on the land must be “nobody.”

Both the venality of Aloha Poke and the genocidal brutality of Terra Nullius reveal a deep problem lurking in the Lockean conception of property: all the stuff that’s “just lying around” is actually already in relation to other people, often the kind of complex relation that doesn’t lend itself to property-like transactions where someone with deep pockets can come along and buy a thing from its existing “owner.”

The labor theory of property always begins with an act of erasure: “All the people who created, used, and improved this thing before me were doing something banal and unimportant – but my contribution is the step that moved this thing from a useless, unregarded commons to a special, proprietary, finished good.”
colonialism  copyright  Indigenous 
9 days ago by Quercki
Ours First | Alliance for Self-Directed Education
"Have non-White families even considered this fascinating new way of educating?"

"Ours First: One

When unschooling is discussed, the practitioners presented or referenced tend to be families that are white and middle class or rich. The inevitable questions come up: Can poor or working class families afford to pull their children out of conventional schools? How can single-parent-families do this? Have non-White families even considered this fascinating new way of educating?

Then the inevitable responses: “Maybe poor families can do it, but with lots and lots of work.” Or, “Single parents will have to be quite creative in order to make this work.” Or, “Families of color don’t necessarily do this as often as White parents, but there’s a growing number that are. So that’s great!” The problem with these questions and subsequent responses is that they position Whiteness and wealth as the default standard-bearers of unschooling and other Self-Directed Education practices.

Of course, centering Whiteness and wealth is common practice in the settler-colonial, imperialist context that is the United States, which requires enslavement and genocide in order to maintain itself. However, in the name of resisting this practice, it is important for those of us interested in Self-Directed Education to take issue with the assumption that it falls under the purview of White wealth, as that assumption more accurately reflects the normalized and dominant identities of a Western-dominated global system, rather than the groups that historically practiced Self-Directed Education, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. Indeed, a consideration of historic education Indigenous practices in the lands presently called the United States – and the practices of various groups who have been legally or circumstantially excluded from schooling – should remind us that the very groups not often seen as ‘typical’ unschoolers actually have extensive histories of Self-Directed Educative practice.

When discussing Self-Directed Education here, I speak as one existing at the intersections of multiple marginalized identities, as a member of groups whose survival within this settler colony hinges upon an understanding of the individual as an inextricable part of and dependent upon both human and non-human community. Based on this positionality, then, my understanding of unschooling and other unforced education practices is not merely ‘allowing’ children to ‘do what they want’ all day. Rather terms like unschooling, natural learning, and Self-Directed Education are, to me, shorthand for the fostering of a human existence that values each individual’s exploration of how to be – while also recognizing that this being occurs within a wider human- and non-human context, a context that is affected by and can affect the individual, and upon which the individual is dependent.

Under this definition, living without school is not only about the learner. It is about all who surround the learner – both human and non-human, alive and inanimate. Such living not only requires community, but it requires the health of that community. Not only a learner’s search for purpose, but a search for that purpose in a world of other purposes just as valuable as one’s own. It requires an awed humility – a recognition of one’s greatness and smallness, and the commitment to live fully within both. It requires a trust in instinct – an acknowledgement that our heart and gut have always been right, though the dominant culture tells us we are wrong.

Marginalized groups have been learning the world for a long time, and without school. Before and throughout this colonialist era, it is the way we learned to manage our food systems and organize communities. It is the way we learned to predict weather and navigate seas. It is the way we learned transportation routes and our stories. It is the way we learned ourselves and others. It is the way we learned who the oppressors really were, despite what they told us about themselves in their schools.

It is the way we learned to survive under Western colonialism and imperialism. And it is the way we will thrive beyond it.

Ours First: Two

I am not seeking someone else’s words on this one. I do not need another perspective. I do not need advice or input from someone I do not know, whose intentions will always be hidden from me. I do not need confirmation or affirmation when I say:

this was ours first.

A simple truth that has been made obscure, beaten down into the dirt and dust and grime so much that we believe we are dirty and dusty and grimy, too. So that we think the things that come from us are not worthy. So that we cannot even conceptualize what comes from us anymore, as it is so quickly spirited away, co-opted even as it is maligned, made into vulgar mutations that we, in our lack of imagination, prefer. We no longer recognize the things that come from us.

Even though they were ours first.

Sometimes we have an inkling, though. It sneaks up on us when we are not expecting it. A sad look in a child’s eye, for example. Or the sight of that child walking into a building simultaneously so close and so far away. Perhaps it comes as a hard awareness, slamming us with a rush of schedules, exhaustion, and conflict.

We have long known that we are fitting into a way of being that is not our own. Rather than wondering whether there is an alternative, however, we know that there is a better way. Maybe some of us always knew, but struggled to admit it to ourselves because of family schooling traditions or our own relationships with schooling. Maybe we’ve recently begun listening to the voice speaking inside us. Maybe the better way makes logical or logistical sense. Whatever reason brought you here, know that:

this was ours first.

That means that you can look to yourself and your people for solutions, for ideas, and for expertise. You can trust yourselves for the answers. You have those answers within you – and have had them for a long, long time. You can look beyond what is and toward a different way of being, a way of knowledge beyond oppression, of learning and living without compulsion. Your people have been doing this work of self-trust, knowledge creation, and liberatory imagination throughout their history... and it’s why your life is possible. Such non-compulsive living and learning, then, is not a new thing – it is, in fact, part of your ancestral tradition. Your very existence is evidence of that.

Were your people able to live lives where they were completely free to trust themselves and their knowledge-making practices all the time? Probably not. This lack of complete freedom is what it means to live as a marginalized person in a colonialist context. I assert, however, that any work leading to the health and endurance of a marginalized community requires knowledge-creation and -perpetuation that runs counter to the dominant model. Despite disruptions to marginalized groups’ liberatory, non-coercive educative practices, then, these groups’ continued existence within a White, settler-colonial context requiring their subjugation or elimination is evidence of this counter-education.

It is reductive, of course, to assume that marginalized groups, when given the chance, would not enact (or have not enacted) their own types of knowledge coercion and manipulation. This undoubtedly occurs, as forcing people to do things they do not want to do is not solely a Western concept. However, in a wider social and historical context that assumes Western dominance in all areas, and in which we currently find ourselves, the pressing issue is not that a marginalized group acts in ways similar to the dominant group – such a similarity may actually be expected. Rather, the issue is that Western knowledge-creation dictates that even divergence from the dominant model and institutions be White in order to be legitimate, palatable, or non-threatening – indeed, sometimes divergence must be White in order to be recognized as existing.

Such dictates lie, of course. Your people have been doing this – existing and resisting, learning the world and their freedom – for years and years. They’ve been doing it for themselves and with each other, and without school as we know it. Despite how the narrative is compiled around you, then, and despite whoever tries to sell you whatever is already inside of you, remember:

Ours. First."
unschooling  race  racism  kellylimes-taylorhenderson  erasure  colonialism  deschooling  self-directed  self-directedlearning  alternative  marginalization  imperialism  decolonization  schooling  history  whiteness  wealth  class 
10 days ago by robertogreco
A Global, Invisible Empire
Two things happen in the 1940s and after that help set the shape of power. One is a serious, worldwide revolt against empire by colonized peoples, both within and without the Greater United States, driving the cost of colonialism up. At the same time, the United States masters several new technologies that allow it to project power without holding large populated colonies, and those technologies drive the demand for colonialism down.

That doesn’t mean that the United States no longer needs any land: rather, it doesn’t need large swathes of land and can make do with small splotches. I describe it as the emergence of a “pointillist” empire: if you look at all of the US overseas territory today, if you were to mash it all together, you would have a land area that’s less than the size of Connecticut. That’s all the colonies and military bases that we know about.

Nevertheless, that’s hundreds of extremely important points that the United States controls around the Earth’s surface, so it’d be a mistake to round those down to zero and to not really understand how crucial they are to the exercise of US power today.
imperialism  ww2  colonialism 
10 days ago by perich
Where Not to Travel in 2019, or Ever | The Walrus
"When adventurers crave “untouched” places and “authentic” peoples, it’s the locals who ultimately pay"

"For what is still missing from this scenario is consent. In its place is a sense of entitlement as extreme as it is commonplace."

"We want what we want when we go abroad, which often is the untouched, the authentic—even as our arrival, by definition, undermines those very qualities in a place or of a culture and contributes to the slow, involuntary conversion of one way of life into another."

Respectful pilgrimages rarely make the history books or headlines, which is all the more reason to pay them attention. Consider the 1971 “antiexpedition” of Norwegian eco-philosopher Arne Næss and his friends to Tseringma, also known as Gaurishankar, in Nepal, a then unsummitted 7,181-metre peak sacred to those living in its shadow. In a pointed critique of mountaineering’s culture of conquering, Næss’s team travelled light, consulted with a local lama as to how high on Tseringma they could respectfully go, and invited villagers along not as porters but as colleagues. A few years later, other foreigners would claim the first ascent of Tseringma, but forget them. Remember Næss and team, who climbed to a certain height, took a look at the summit from a distance, and turned back."
travel  observation  consent  authenticity  2019  kateharris  colonization  colonialism  adventure  untouched  imperialism  india  johnallenchau  pilgrimage  nepal  arnenæss  canon 
20 days ago by robertogreco
Ayinde Barrister’s Agbara Iku re: the 1851 British bombardment of Lagos | @Adxpillar
[Quality thread!!! As in, top shelf material.]

..Here's the short version history of Lagos: migrant fishing peoples first settled there, followed by a number of Awori from Isheri. A group of them settled at what is now Ebute Metta. There they established two settlements, Oto and Iddo, and soon attracted fresh migration

During this period, Africa became firmly identified in the Western mind as the source of slave labor for New World plantations. The first black slaves introduced into Spanish America survived the climate there. ..Thus the then regionally ‘insignificant’ town of Lagos was eventually transformed by the processes of change happening on the other side of the Atlantic. Lagos soon became a veritable slave emporium, alongside Badagry and Ouida. ..In 1858, Lagos had a population of around 25,000. 90% were slaves. The remaining 10% owned them. Every ship docking in Lagos had to pay 7.4 slaves (equivalent to 126 ounces of gold) to the palace. When dealing with non-royal merchants like Madam Tinubu, the tax was 9.65 slaves. ..One Portuguese trader named Domingo Martinez allegedly made between one to two million dollars from the slave trade. $1m in the 1800s! Rich motherfucker. He maintained a slave depot somewhere around Badagry. Others like Felix da Souza and Domingo Bello also amassed fortunes. ..The Scottish explorer Richard Lander, who encountered Oba Adele at Badagry described his appearance as “gorgeously arrayed in a scarlet cloak, literally covered with gold lace, and white cashmere trousers similarly embroidered.. ..As with all things in life, nothing lasts forever - In 1833, Great Britain resolved to abolish slavery and put an end to the Atlantic slave trade which had decimated West Africa for two and half centuries. Sommersett's case in 1772 changed everything but it dragged on painfully.

..With the British designs unknown to them, the people of Lagos during this period were engulfed in a greater political problem of their own - due to a long-running succession dispute, Oba Kosoko ousted Oba Akitoye from the Lagos throne in 1845. ..But something was about to change. By 1839, groups of liberated Yoruba slaves began returning to their homeland through Sierra Leone. They were joined by freed slaves returning from Brazil in the aftermath of the 1835 Malê revolt. The Brazilian ex-slaves killed their masters. ..A leader of the Anglican mission Henry Venn executed a powerful PR coup by deploying Crowther (a son of the soil) to argue the case for British intervention in Lagos before Queen Victoria.

..The Lagos defense was organized by a cunning tactician and legendary slave trader named Antonio Landuji Oshodi Tapa. He was a prince in Nupe land when Fulani warriors, invaded. They murdered his parents and sold him into slavery down south. ..Commander Forbes attack party consisted of 306 officers, men, marines, and sailors aboard HMS Bloodhound along with 21 boats. Though the HMS Bloodhound sustained heavy fire from canons from the shore, a landing party went ashore but met very stiff resistance.
Yoruba  NaijHist  Lagos  Colonialism 
21 days ago by AfroMaestro

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