No Ordinary Time: Indigenous Dispossession and Slavery Unwilling to Die

George Lipsitz

Abstract


The contemporary coalescence of Indigenous and Black peoples as aggrieved, insurgent, and mobilized polities reflects a shared recognition of more than the private, personal, and parochial concerns of members of those groups. The enduring consequences of Indigenous dispossession and what US jurist William O. Douglas aptly described in the 1960s as “the spectacle of slavery unwilling to die” are felt harshly and directly by First Nations and Afro-diasporic people around the globe, but they harm everyone. Racialized capitalism treats the planet and most of its people as mere objects to be manipulated in the pursuit of profits and power. As the system resorts to ever more desperate and dangerous forms of domination and exploitation, aggrieved communities of color see first the very worst that it has to offer. What happens to them today will happen elsewhere tomorrow. Their insurgencies are not pleas to be granted full recognition and rights within the world as it now exists but rather insistent struggles to transform radically a society that they rightly perceive to be decadent and dying. The turmoil of our time is evidence of chickens coming home to roost, of the ways in which the patterns of the past shape the contours of both peril and possibility in the present, and of the need for the world to be at last responsible and accountable for the cumulative costs of displacement, dispossession, slavery, and segregation.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15367/kf.v5i2.209

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