What Will Change: Eli Nadeau on Decolonization and Resistance

The next four years will prove to be unprecedented in the roll-back and dismantling of environmental protections. In our series, What Will Change, members of The New School community reflect on the environmental and social justice impacts of the election results from the perspectives of their research, practice, and passion.


By Eli Nadeau

The (s)election of Donald Trump changes: changes everything, changes nothing. The ascension of DT to power in the US changes nothing because that which has been violated for centuries remains in violation, and those who seek to protect, to defend, to cherish and nourish and steward — land, creatures, spirits, connections, life — have been, will be, are now under attack.The struggle at Standing Rock and at other pipeline sites continues. Our appetite for energy is boundless, but it doesn’t have to be. At the New School, we have committed to divestment on the surface — from fossil fuels — but we have to acknowledge that as long as we support the status quo, business as usual, we are living unsustainably. On the personal level, it’s one step up from recycling to remove our money (— our business) from the banks that fund the pipelines, but it is not enough.What can we do that could ever be enough? Educate ourselves, commit ourselves to another way. The Standing Rock Syllabus is one place to start, the Movement for Black Lives is another — These are not isolated battles; the possibility of different ways of knowing and being sings through these texts.Decolonize ourselves, decolonize our gatherings, unions, homes, schools, streets, galleries; open the doors to migrants, tear the doors off their hinges and use them to build a shelter for someone who is cold, a fire for your heart; build a bridge. Decolonize the curricula, the programming, the papers we write, the works we cite. @decolonizethisplace is under attack, but this fight is older than Trump, it is older than fascism, we are in this for the long haul, this story is centuries old.Defend those who are under attack: attend to that which is at hand: our shared life on this fragile earth, our island home is at stake.Eli Nadeau is a graduate student in Politics at The New School for Social Research.