Excerpt: Queer organizing against Israel’s deployment of gay rights discourses to mask the occupation of Palestine—referred to as “pinkwashing” within academic and activist circles—has raised pertinent questions about the relations between settler colonialism, sexuality, gender, race, and (gay) imperialism. Such campaigns have directed attention to the realities of occupation in Palestine/Israel while simultaneously obscuring the historical and present-day colonial processes that enable transnational political intervention on Turtle Island—or what is commonly known as Canada and the United States. In this essay, we ask how critics of Israeli pink-washing—known as pinkwatchers—varyingly challenge, engage, negotiate, perform, or reproduce settler colonialism on Indigenous lands. We examine debates over the participation of Queers Against Israeli Apart-heid (QuAIA) in Pride Toronto (Pride) in 2010 and the subsequent formation of the Pride Coalition for Free Speech (PCFS). By focusing on these debates, we seek to critically explore how certain queer praxes have worked to normalize and invisibilize settler colonialism in the Canadian context and to reproduce Canada as a progressive queer-friendly liberal state. While our discussion focuses on QuAIA, PCFS, and Pride 2010, the objective of our essay is not to single out groups and organizations but to contribute to conversations about the broader political stakes of anti-racism, anticolonialism, and decolonization in radical queer organizing. These examples serve as the entry point for us to consider in what ways the articulation of “radical queer perspectives” might be complicit with the white settler state project, wherein the casting of Canada as a gay-friendly nation invisibilizes past and ongoing processes of colonialism. Our essay suggests that criticism of the use of queer rights and liberal tolerance to justify governmental, industrial, and military actions often works to limit discussions of settler colonialism to places, nations, and peoples who are already invisible within that frame. Describing how queer groups naturalize notions of belonging and Canadian identity, as well as how queer critiques of pinkwashing fail to address settler colonialism in Canada, we seek to underscore the way Indigenous struggles for sovereignty are invisibilized in activists’ attempts to address issues of free speech, homonationalism, and occupation in Palestine/Israel. Where the pinkwashing of Israel has been criticized by queer activists who effectively surveil and organize against, or pinkwatch, such activities, the complicity of their activist efforts with settler colonialism ultimately whitewashes colonization in Canada. We argue, therefore, that the pinkwatching of Israel enables the pinkwashing, or rather whitewashing, of Canada.

Toronto has played a pivotal role in transnational organizing around Palestinian solidarity and challenging the apartheid state of Israel—with several labor, student, faculty, artist, and community organizations central to this organizing. Collectively they have pushed the limits of analyses of solidarity, colonialism, imperialism, race, gender and, increasingly, questions of queerness and sexuality (see, for example, Ravecca and Upadhyay 2013). Through the work of QuAIA, Toronto has come to serve as a key site on the global map in the struggle against Israel’s attempts to pinkwash its occupation of Palestine. Not only does QuAIA challenge Israeli apartheid, but it also informs queer praxis in Toronto. It engages a queer perspective that is intersectional and contextualized by an analysis of colonialism, racism, Islamophobia, and heteropatriarchy. QuAIA was formed to work in solidarity with queers in Palestine and Palestine solidarity movements around the world, alongside groups such as Queers in Solidarity with Palestine and Israeli Queers for Palestine. The group challenges homophobia in Israel, Palestine, and across all borders. QuAIA acknowledges on its website that “the struggle for sexual rights cannot come at the price of other rights” (queersagainstapartheid.org). QuAIA activists are very critical of Israeli apartheid and Israeli attempts to pinkwash and create an image of Israel as a “haven” of gay tolerance in the Middle East. They push queer politics beyond the liberal queer positive image of Israel, as a state that recognizes same-sex marriages, permits legal adoption for queer citizens, and allows gays to serve in the military. As a voice for critical intervention, QuAIA has also played a key role in the global call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

Description:  The 1820s to the 1860s were a foundational period in Australian history, arguably at least as important as Federation. Industrialization was transforming Britain, but the southern colonies were pre-industrial, with economies driven by pastoralism, agriculture, mining, whaling and sealing, commerce, and the construction trades. Convict transportation provided the labour on which the first settlements depended before it was brought to a staggered end, first in New South Wales in 1840 and last in Western Australia in 1868.

The numbers of free settlers rose dramatically, surging from the 1820s and again during the 1850s gold rushes. The convict system increasingly included assignment to private masters and mistresses, thus offering settlers the inducement of unpaid labourers as well as the availability of land on a scale that both defied and excited the British imagination. By the 1830s schemes for new kinds of colonies, based on Edward Gibbon Wakefield’s systematic colonization, gained attention and support. The pivotal development of the 1840s-1850s, and the political events which form the backbone of this story were the Australian colonies’ gradual attainment of representative and then responsible government.

Through political struggle and negotiation, in which Australians looked to Canada for their model of political progress, settlers slowly became self-governing. But these political developments were linked to the frontier violence that shaped settlers’ lives and became accepted as part of respectable manhood. With narratives of individual lives, Settler Society shows that women’s exclusion from political citizenship was vigorously debated, and that settlers were well aware of their place in an empire based on racial hierarchies and threatened by revolts. Angela Woollacott particularly focuses on settlers’ dependence in these decades on intertwined categories of unfree labour, including poorly-compensated Aborigines and indentured Indian and Chinese labourers, alongside convicts.

Introducing a special issue of Settler Colonial Studies: This issue of Settler Colonial Studies comes out of a long-term collaboration between the guest editors which began, in earnest, with a panel on the theme of ‘Other People’s Country: Law, Water, Entitlement’ at the Cultural Studies Association of Australasia conference held at the University of Sydney in December 2012. The panel’s topic was drawn from our own work on encounters between settler and indigenous ‘laws’ over specific waters, including Lake Omapere in the Hokianga district of Aotearoa/New Zealand, Lake Okanagan in British Columbia, Canada, Lake Cayuga in upper New York State, and the Wenlock, Archer, Stewart and Lockhart rivers in far north Queensland, Australia. Further, the conference’s provocative title (Materialities: Economies, Empiricism, & Things) corresponded to our own interest in thinking through the entangled objects of law – legislation, policies, institutions, treaties and so on – that ‘govern’ waters and that make bodies of water ‘lawful’ within these settler colonial sites today. Informed by the theoretical interventions of cosmopolitics and political ecology, each opening up new approaches to questions of politics and ‘the political’, we were interested in attempting to locate these insights within material settler colonial ‘places’, rather than abstract structures of domination. A claim to water is not simply a claim to a resource. It is a claim to knowledge and to the constitution of place and therefore, in the terms of Isabelle Stengers, to the continued constitution of the past, present and future of a ‘real world’.

Abstract: This paper uses the work of an amateur historical society – the Rhodesiana Society – as a lens to explore the racialised nature of attempts to define a white Rhodesian identity in the crucial post-war period of 1953-1970. It builds upon the existing corpus of work on history and national identity, moving beyond the more traditional sites in which historical discourse is produced – academia and the state – looking instead at how individuals in private organisations sought to use the past to shore up identities in the present. It does so using the particularly interesting example of a British settler colony in the late twentieth century, where minority rule was being upheld even as the rest of the continent entered the first stages of its post – colonial life.

The paper focuses in particular on discourses of imperial legitimation which stemmed from the earliest history of white British/South African settlement in the colony. Historical work and narratives exploring early conflicts with Africans, specifically the 1896 Mashona and Matabele rebellions, served to legitimate the continued white presence by having shown that they had ‘won’ the country with their own blood. These histories also used techniques of historical silencing, culturally reinforcing the social, legal, and economic segregation which ascribed to Rhodesia’s Africans a state of permanent subservience and anonymity.

The paper also suggests how these sanitised narratives of Victorian (white) heroism may have resonated with white Rhodesians in the 1960s, embroiled as they were in their own slowly escalating guerrilla war. Constant reminders of the narratives of triumph in the past offered whites both an historical anchor in the past, despite the majority of the settler community’s origins outside Rhodesia, and also hope that the triumph over the adver sity of the late nineteenth century might be replicated in the contemporary conflict.


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