The anticolonial settler: reflections on citizenship, violence and decolonisation

Focusing on Israel/Palestine, this article explores the role of anticolonial settler-citizens, discussing how they may advance or impede struggles to dismantle the settler state. It shows how in settler states citizenship is founded on, and functions through, violence. It then analyses how the settler colonial condition imposes a set of paradoxes on those settler-citizens who wish to resist the colonial condition, thus limiting possibilities for settler solidarity and co-resistance. Overall, the article presents a critique of the role of citizenship in decolonisation struggles, including through the framework of ‘acts of citizenship’. It shows that the role of violence and non-violence in the (anti)colonial project is key to unravelling the impossibility of bridging the inherent fault line of being anticolonial while remaining settlers. Lessons from other past and present decolonisation struggles teach us that settler solidarity and co-resistance must centre indigenous struggles and take leadership from them, in ways accepting the uncertainty of the settlers’ future after decolonisation. Only such recognition can allow genuine allyship and solidarity and with it hope for such a future.

Elian Weizman, The anticolonial settler: reflections on citizenship, violence and decolonisation, Citizenship Studies, 2022.