Settlers need help (how to stage an intervention): Daniel Platts, The Settler Colonial Catastrophe of White Supremacist Fantasy: Diagnosis, and Treatment Options for Settlers, MA dissertation, York University, 2021

26Jan21

Abstract: This paper utilizes marxist psychoanalysis to provide a diagnosis for the pathology of settler colonialism such that treatment options can be derived for settlers who wish to engage in the process of decolonization. The diagnosis identifies two mechanisms through which settler colonialism produces itself: the catastrophic violence of conquest, and the fantasy of white supremacy. It discusses their operation in settlers and the states they create to demonstrate the ways in which the fantasy causes violence that serves to maintain it. A special focus is given to the relation of capitalism to dispossession as I contend that attending to this injustice will give treatment the greatest chance of success. Building from this I argue that the only way to stop being a settler is to let go of the land, and that this will require nothing less than a mass movement against global capital. From this the discussion of treatment holds that settlers must learn how to engage in radical action without reproducing the violences of the system they seek to oppose and that this depends on their ability to confront the operation of fantasy within themselves. It is hoped this can be accomplished through the development of settler grounded normativity, a process which above all requires taking heed from indigenous nations already engaged in the struggle. The paper closes with a discussion of the parade and the blockade as two distinct methods for articulating grounded norms in the face of catastrophe.



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