Updated: Jan 3, 2019
Starting with papal division of the Americas, settler colonial law has for the past 500 plus years laid the foundation for every interaction between European settlers and their colonial subjects. Every decision (legal, cultural, political, economic) made today by settler society concerning/impacting Xicanx/Indigenous people is made based in part on the perpetuation of the colonial state through settler law.
Accepting this viewpoint can aid Xicanx/Indigenous people in uncovering and seeing for themselves how the violence inherent in each decision (legal, cultural, political, economic) upholds the rule of colonial setter law. From the moment of contact between European and Mesoamerican civilizations the struggle for control has been founded primarily in European settler colonial law.
One question facing Indigenous peoples today is their continued national submission to the letter
and spirit of European colonial settler law. The world wide hostile takeover of global chattel capitalism (wage slavery) as expressed through the international juridical colonization of the United States and Europe is just one device to stop the growth of alternative systems (legal, cultural, political, economic) of power among colonized and third world people.
Militarily, modern counterinsurgency (COIN) theory, which is rightly understood as a legal intervention into a legal crisis (insurgency), is premised for public consumption on the winning “hearts and minds” but the end goal is firm: reinforce and shore up within the average citizen belief in the strength of a civil government, which represents the legal, cultural, political, economic status quo – COIN, first and foremost, supports/repairs/reinforces the legal structure that perpetuates the hegemony of the state. Most people see this legal intervention (COIN) as a thing that operates solely within an active theatre of war. However, NGO’s funded by US State Department grants to promote ‘democracy’ around the world are good examples of economic and cultural low intensity COIN.
In my opinion, contemporary counterinsurgency is theorized and implemented as a juridical attempt to reinscribe the mythology of an amaranthine colonialism (European/ United States). The notion of perpetual war, introduced by the Bush II regime as an extra-state preemptive legal maneuver, has struggled around the world to create the impression armed struggle cannot overthrow legal, cultural, political, economic imperialism solely based on the asymmetrical nature of contemporary western warfare.
The inevitability of armed struggle as an inescapable fact of national liberation has its foundation in the same legal framework that works to maintain empire. To change the world to establish a new way of dealing and interacting – acts of violence are required, as the current ruling power will never and relinquish control without total legal, cultural, political, economic war.
The above ideas are some of the problems confronting Indigenous people who believe they are working for national liberation, a return to history, the end of settler colonialism. Is it possible to free ourselves from the restraint of law and the state? The role of anti colonial resistance as liberator is one role that must be thought through and critically analyzed if Indigenous people are to mount a total legal, cultural, political, economic war.
If the purpose of COIN is to preserve the state, then the purpose of anti-colonial resistance is to dismantle the existing settler colonial state by overthrowing settler colonial law and replacing it with a state controlled by the formerly colonized who found a new law allowing a return to history through national identity. Attacks on ethnic studies (AZ HB 2281), taking passports from US citizens, criminalizing entire indigenous populations through propaganda, criminalizing appearance (AZ SB 1070), creating gross rationalizations for systemic intergenerational poverty are all manifestations of pre-emptive war extra-state warfare.
In other words: counterinsurgency = colonization.