Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat from Mayflower to Modern
Author: J. Sakai
Publisher: PM Press/Kersplebedeb
Page count: 464
Subjects: History-US/Political Science-Colonialism and Post-Colonialism
Settlers is a uniquely important book in the canon of the North American revolutionary left and anticolonial movements. First published in the 1980s by activists with decades of experience organizing in grassroots anticapitalist struggles against white supremacy, the book soon established itself as an essential reference point for revolutionary nationalists and dissident currents within the predominantly colonialist Marxist-Leninist and anarchist movements at that time.
Always controversial within the establishment Left Settlers uncovers centuries of collaboration between capitalism and white workers and their organizations, as well as their neocolonial allies, showing how the United States was designed from the ground up as a parasitic and genocidal entity. Settlers exposes the fact that America’s white citizenry have never supported themselves but have always resorted to exploitation and theft, culminating in acts of genocide to maintain their culture and way of life. As recounted in painful detail by Sakai, the United States has been built on the theft of Indigenous lands and of Afrikan labor, on the robbery of the northern third of Mexico, the colonization of Puerto Rico, and the expropriation of the Asian working class, with each of these crimes being accompanied by violence.
This new edition includes “Cash & Genocide: The True Story of Japanese-American Reparations” and an interview with author J. Sakai by Ernesto Aguilar.
“Settlers is a critical analysis of the colonization of the Americas that overturns the 'official' narrative of poor and dispossessed European settlers to reveal the true nature of genocidal invasion and land theft that has occurred for over five hundred years. If you want to understand the present, you must know the past, and this book is a vital contribution to that effort.”
—Gord Hill, author of 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance
“Great works measure up, inspire higher standards of intellectual and moral honesty, and, when appreciated for what they are, serve as a guide for those among us who intend a transformation of reality. Settlers should serve as a reminder (to anyone who needs one) of the genocidal tendencies of the empire, the traitorous interplay between settler-capitalist, settler-nondescript, and colonial flunkies."
—Kuwasi Balagoon, Black Liberation Army
“When Settlers hit the tiers of San Quentin, back in 1986, it totally exploded our ideas about what we as a new class of revolutionaries thought we knew about a so-called ‘united working class’ in amerika. And what's more, it brought the actual contradictions of national oppression and imperialism into sharp focus. It was my first, and as such my truest, study of the actual mechanics behind the expertly fabricated illusion of an amerikan proletariat.”
—Sanyika Shakur, author of Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member
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What Others are Saying
Read more What’s crucial is the mentality of conquest and occupation: J. Sakai in conversation with Gabriel Kuhn on Kersplebedeb
By Gabriel Kuhn
February 21st, 2017
Q. In the 1980s, you wrote the book Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat. A new edition has been published recently. How is settlerism different from racism? It seems that some folks use the terms interchangeably.
A. Yes, often young anarchists or socialists here do use the words in an uncertain way, as though they mean the same. Settlerism, as we know, is a very specific type of capitalist colonialism. It is the most complete colonialism. A conquest society, where a loyal national population was brought in to both economically populate and be the permanent garrison for capitalism over the conquered territory.
Settlerism has within it the broader phenomena of racism, but is importantly different. The culture is capitalist but twisted further. Sometimes you can see the cultural mark of being a garrison population, like the American white “gun mania.” The ruling class has always supported a heavily armed white citizenry to keep colonized people under the boot. This is their neurotically guilty culture of would-be conquerors and genocidists. Settlerism means that we are always fighting “Americanism” itself, not just some extreme nationalistic form.
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