How I learned to decolonize socialism. Preventing the process of self-replication to counter the rise of oppressive and elaborate neo-colonial frameworks. by Al Content
I became a socialist through the identity of a cishet white settler male living within the Canadian state, with a cultural identity of primarily Scottish, with some French heritage.
Over time as a leftist, I learned more about myself, traced my heritage, and formed an ethnic identity.
After digging deep into my matriarchal lineage, I recognized my ethnic identity as Metis, which I confirmed with genealogical records and databasing. I finally understood myself as a Scottish white settler with Metis heritage. However, something was still missing.
Upon learning more about my Métis ancestry and the history of Métis peoples in the context of settler colonialism, I was struck by the unique approach of French European settlers who arrived on Turtle Island. Unlike other European powers, the French established natural kinship bonds with certain Indigenous communities, ultimately leading to the emergence of the Métis as a distinct people with a unique cultural identity. This history highlights the complexities of colonial relationships and their enduring impacts on the identities and cultures of Indigenous peoples.
While the imperial British settler colonial state enacted its power through ridged segmentation, which included binding various sexual identities into the easily sortable male/female binary, the social colonies of the Metis took on a different approach.
At first, rather than taking the typical colonial pathway of dominating, segmenting, and extracting from nature. The diverse Metis colonies took on a social structure in an attempt to be in harmony with nature and the Indigenous people of Turtle Island.
The unrestrained way of life for the Metis people created a culture that incentivized a harmonious and sustainable social structure that fragmented away at times, only to return shortly after, which acted as a natural means to ward off the emergence of any hierarchal structures.
However, as the British Crown’s colonial project on Turtle Island continued to expand, the Metis colony became entrapped in the rigid social segmentation of the colonial framework and found itself binding to the norms of what we understand as the state and statehood today.
Unbinding the Social Framework
As I understood this phenomenon, I looked at myself. I became fully aware that I do not fit into that colonial binary framework and that my ethnic, sexual, ideological, and interpersonal identity can not be segmented into an easily organizable category or partition.
I came into the journey of this understanding as a cishet male with white settler heritage and came out with a personal understanding that I can’t even begin to describe, nor will I try to in this thread. This is more than that, this isn’t about me, but this is how I got here.
For many of us who identify as settlers, we only understand the oppressive imperialist state we live in through the lens of the state itself. We can only identify and relate to THIS structure through our experience of alienation within it; we’ve never had anything else.
If our understanding of social liberation can only be framed within this oppressive system, any alternative system we form together will only replicate the system we are currently experiencing. We must think far beyond our understanding of how these social structures operate.
Decolonize Socialism, End Self-Replication
The old socialist project, the idea of seizing the means of production to bring about workers’ liberation, stands ultimately as a chauvinistic, ethnocentric, and non-sectional approach to achieving global solidarity.
Confronting The Faults Of A Failed Revolution
To truly begin this process, we must first acknowledge the faults of old socialism without judgment but with empathy and an informed understanding of the phenomena of self-replication.
If we as settlers only understand the concept of liberation and equality in the framework which upholds a system that impedes the liberation and equality of non-settlers, our understanding of this mythical colonial concept that is ‘equality’ will be perpetually flawed.
The state acts as an unconscious collective of the dominating human psyche and will forever replicate the state structure in which that dominating human psyche can exist. Regardless of ideology, if conceived within this framework, it will replicate it.
That framework is a pyramid-shaped hegemonic social process that naturally alienates and oppresses a section of society for a smaller section to prosper.
Any attempt to reform this oppressive system from within will only be a more complex replication.
If we’re going to change society, we must first change our minds and understand the social framework we are currently collectively experiencing. The only way to do that is to unite and break out of that framework with collective collaboration.
Human beings are not naturally meant to be rigidly segmented into binary identities. We’re not meant to live in a world where our only understanding of ourselves is through the experience of how we are alienated and oppressed for the benefit of the system we’re forced to serve.
A system that perpetuates itself on each individual’s own self-exploitation is a system that is defined by its own ultimate self-destruction. Humanity is a collective experience, not a singular one, we have to share our environment collectively, or we’re destined for destruction.
The way to stop this process goes far beyond ‘seizing the means of production,’ but yes, that’s a start.
Revolutionism, socialism, communism, reformism, electoralism, and activism are tools, but they are not a solution. The solution is all of it and none of it.
We can’t comprehend the solution because we’ve only ever been able to understand solutions within the framework of the oppressive social structure we exist in. We must decolonize our understanding of these things and reshape them to form new understandings. We must decolonize socialism.
This is not an attack on any socialist ideologies or practices but an acknowledgment of their functions, what they do that provokes positive change, and what they do that can cause regressive harm. This is how we stop the phenomena of social self-replication and how we decolonize socialism and our politics entirely.
The colonial concept of ‘socialism’ has proven to be an excellent method of understanding for us as settlers to identify how these oppressive systems operate.
However, this understanding of socialism is still ultimately flawed. When implemented, it will replicate as such. Only until we decolonize socialism will our efforts as settlers amount to anything more than self-destruction.
One day we’ll reach a collective understanding of how exactly to bring about a revolutionary post-colonial system that can implement itself without replicating past oppressive systems, but that won’t be done by attempting to achieve colonial concepts like ‘equality.’
It will be done by coming to terms with ourselves, our humanity, and our own self-destructive nature.
It will be done by achieving holistic harmony with the planet and all other living species on earth and, by doing such – ensuring our survival as a species and a planet.
In love and solidarity.