3 denials

Our decolonial perspective is informed and inspired by Indigenous analyses and practices that affirm that our current global problems are not related to a lack of knowledge, but to an inherently violent modern-colonial habit of being. Three denials structure this habit of being:

  • the denial of systemic violence and complicity in harm (the fact that our comforts, securities and enjoyments are subsidized by expropriation and exploitation somewhere else),
  • the denial of the limits of the planet (the fact that the planet cannot sustain exponential growth and consumption),
  • the denial of entanglement (our insistence in seeing ourselves as separate from each other and the land, rather than “entangled” within a living wider metabolism that is bio-intelligent).

We have created a social cartography that maps these three primary denials onto four levels of denial. Download it in PDF here.

Violence Unsustainability Entanglement
Deep denial

(refusal to engage the critique)

No recognition of racial/colonial violence No recognition of climate change or the limits of the planet No recognition of entanglement

 

Interpretive

denial (selective acceptance of the critique)

Racial/colonial violence is a product of exclusion from opportunities and institutions, and should be addressed through inclusion and access Climate change is a product of inefficiency and waste, and should be addressed through technological innovations and renewable energy

 

Relationality and responsibility are established through individual will and based on chosen (social, familial, political) associations
Implicative

denial (acceptance of the critique, but not the full implications)

Racial/colonial violence is a product of the existing system, and should be addressed through systemic changes: redistributing resources and centering marginalized voices Climate change is a product of corporate greed and political corruption, and should be addressed through collective public action and mass movements to create green energy/jobs/policies

 

Relationality and responsibility operate within structures that exceed individual choices and should be therefore addressed with regard to the relevant power relations and subsequent obligations
No denial

(full acceptance of critique and implications)

Violence is the condition of possibility for the existing system and while changes to the system in the short term can be important for harm reduction, in the long term harm will not cease until the system itself is either dismantled or falls on its own Climate change is a product of the economic and ecological logics of the existing system (i.e. extractivist capitalism), and while green energy/jobs are important for mitigation, we will ultimately need to surrender this way of life and enact another mode of existence

 

Relationality and responsibility operate at many layers, including an existential layer before will (unconditional), and a political layer that recognizes systemic violence and tries to mitigate harm (in the short term) and unravel the system to ensure collective well being (in the long term)