Source: Andrew E. Harrod

In the United States, “if you’re white, leave; it’s really that simple,” announced Regan de Loggans, an activist with New York City’s Indigenous Kinship Collective, a “community of Indigenous womxn, femmes, and gender non conforming folx” who “denounce colonial power structures of leadership and blood quantum.”

Her belligerence captured the intersectional radicalism of the N.Y.U. Review of Law & Social Change’s 2022 colloquium on “Resisting Settler Colonialism,” a February 9 NYU Law School webinar at which she and allied activists and academics spoke.

Moderating the webinar, Georgia State University Law School professor Natsu Taylor Saito introduced the self-identified “two-spirit” de Loggans, whose preferred pronouns are “they/themme.” Saito described de Loggans as an “indigequeer agitator” involved in “decolonizing, indigenizing, and queering institutions and territorial practices.” De Loggans later declared that she is also an “anti-Zionist Jew” who “advocate[s] extremely for the liberation of Palestine.”

No surprise, then, that she would ask “How could I not advocate for the destruction of the settler state?” “The Zionist state is less than one hundred years old. I know what colonialism looks like 500 years out” in the Americas after Christopher Columbus’s 1492 transatlantic voyage, de Loggans said, reciting a story she sees as self-evidently evil. Lest one doubt her vision’s scope, she pronounced that “there is no justice without… the obliteration of the United States of America” and the “destruction of settler-colonialism means the destruction of capitalism.”

“White people should not own land, white people should not own property” in the United States, de Loggans decreed. Such Americans “are unwelcome guests on indigenous land” and “participate in anti-blackness every day,” she stated, and therefore “I am waiting for people to start going” back to Europe. No doubt a popular dinner guest, she urged people to “just start talking about settler-colonialism at lunch, at your desk, wherever.”

“I don’t think there is an ethical way for European-Americans to stay here, honestly,” concurred Erika Pinheiro, the litigation and policy director for the asylum and immigrant aid society Al Otro Lado. “In the United States, the project of genocide and enslavement is ongoing. It didn’t stop with regular colonialism,” she claimed. National borders such as between the United States and Mexico now create a “global system of apartheid.”

Such a webinar would not be complete without the approving presence of Rutgers University assistant professor of Africana Studies Noura Erakat (“she/her/hers”). This well-known radical, who grew up in California and attended college and law school in Berkeley, somehow ancestrally identified as a “Palestinian who has endured Zionist settler sovereignty.” Yet she felt no gratitude toward America, for merely “by virtue of being here, structurally living under American settler sovereignty, I am a settler.” Likewise, students like hers “are paying tuitions” at “universities on stolen lands.”

“Common to all settler colonial situations” is “eliminatory violence,” argued Erakat, and thus Palestinians “are expected to die.” Yet Israel’s Arab minority, to say nothing of Arabs in the Gaza Strip and disputed West Bank/Judea/Samaria territories, is far larger than the Arab population of the Palestine Mandate territory at Israel’s creation in 1948. These facts make a mockery of her assertion that faux “indigenous” Palestinians are “marked for elimination, either through outright removal, massacre, forced assimilation, and such.”

Erakat claimed falsely that Israel existed merely as recompense for the Nazi Holocaust genocide against the Jews during World War II, rather than Jewish national liberation in their ancestral homeland. “Western civilization expects of Palestinians” to “just disappear to make up for this canonical human rights violation in the Western civilizational framework” as a “sacrificial lamb,” she stated. Such Eurocentric analysis ignores that half of Israel’s Jewish population has roots in the flight and expulsion of Mizrachi Jews from oppressive Muslim societies in the Middle East and North Africa following Israel’s creation.  

Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are “two completely different concepts,” Erakat asserted. Saito herself showed the linkage between the two during the webinar while reading a question from the viewing audience concerning the modern blood libel of Israel’s “deadly exchange.” Israeli police training exchanges with American police that supposedly promote their abuses are “inextricably linked to the occupation of black and indigenous bodies in the U.S.,” she quoted without objection.  

Avigail Aviles, a community organizer from New York City’s Queens borough, amplified the panel’s bellicosity by rejecting democratic norms. “I’m not a believer in electoral politics,” for “you cannot create a better society on occupied land,” she stated. For her, “legal evictions” are the “present day version of settler colonialism,” as landlords exploit “land that’s not theirs.” Therefore, “people are being forcibly removed from the places that they call home in order to bring in wealthier, or better, residents.”

Such utopian quests make the rule of law a necessary casualty: “Even representing someone in court, you are helping someone navigate a system of oppression,” Pinheiro agreed. “Asylum is fundamentally racist,” for “you are forcing black and indigenous people to relive the most traumatic parts in their life to prove that they deserve to be part of the settler-colonial state,” she said. De Loggans added that “this idea of incrementalism and harm reduction is purposeful and strategic so that people don’t go burn down everything right now.”

Radical chic attracts wannabe revolutionaries too cowardly to inhabit the societal hellhole their ideology would birth. Comfortably bourgeois within their university sinecures, safe in a complex polity dependent on a constitutional order and respect for law they claim to loathe, Erakat, Saito, and their peers epitomize hypocrisy. Subject these ideologues to withering criticism, satirize their sanctimonious claims, and end any public support.