The Red Deal: Indigenous Action to Save Our Earth

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    The Red Nation

    Publisher: Common Notions

    Year: 2021

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 176 pages

    ISBN: 9781942173434

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A powerful guide to Indigenous liberation and the fight to save the planet.

One-part visionary platform, one-part practical toolkit, The Red Deal is a platform that encompasses everyone, including non-Indigenous comrades and relatives who live on Indigenous land. We—Indigenous, Black and people of color, women and trans folks, migrants, and working people—did not create this disaster, but we have inherited it. We have barely a decade to turn back the tide of climate disaster. It is time to reclaim the life and destiny that has been stolen from us and rise up together to confront this challenge and build a world where all life can thrive. Only mass movements can do what the moment demands. Politicians may or may not follow—it is up to them—but we will design, build, and lead this movement with or without them.

When the Red Nation released their call for a “red deal,” it generated coverage in places from Teen Vogue to Jacobin to the New Republic, was endorsed by the DSA, and has galvanized organizing and action. Now, in response to popular demand, the Red Nation expands their original statement filling in the histories and ideas that formed it and forwarding an even more powerful case for the actions it demands.

The Red Deal is a call for action beyond the scope of the US colonial state. It’s a program for Indigenous liberation, life, and land—an affirmation that colonialism and capitalism must be overturned for this planet to be habitable for human and other-than-human relatives to live dignified lives. The Red Deal is not a response to the Green New Deal, or a “bargain” with the elite and powerful. It’s a deal with the humble people of the earth; a pact that we shall strive for peace and justice and a declaration that movements for justice must come from below and to the left.

About the Author

The Red Nation is a coalition of Native and non-Native activists, educators, students, and community organizers advocating Native liberation that formed to address the marginalization and invisibility of Native struggles within mainstream social justice organizing, and to foreground the targeted destruction and violence towards Native life and land.

What People Are Saying

“The Red Nation has given us The Red Deal, an Indigenous Peoples’ world view and practice that leads to profound changes in existing human relations. Five hundred years of European colonialism, which produced capitalist economic and social relations, has nearly destroyed life itself. Technology can be marshaled to reverse this death march, but it will require a vision for the future and a path to follow to arrive there, and that is what The Red Deal provides.” Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

"The Red Deal is an incendiary and necessary compilation. With momentum for a Green New Deal mounting, the humble and powerful organizers of The Red Nation remind us that a Green New Deal must also be Red—socialist, committed to class struggle, internationalist in orientation, and opposed to the settler colonial theft of Indigenous lands and resources. Redistribution also requires reparations and land back. The Red Deal is a profound call to action for us all." Harsha Walia, author of Undoing Border Imperialism and Border and Rule: Global Migration, Capitalism, and the Rise of Racist Nationalism

“We really need The Red Deal because it forces open a critical conversation on how Land Back can be a platform for mass mobilization and collective struggle. The Red Deal poignantly argues that if we do not foreground decolonization and Indigenous liberation in climate justice strategies such as the Green New Deal, we will reproduce the violence of the original New Deal that dammed life-giving rivers and further dispossessed Indigenous peoples of their lands. Strategically, The Red Deal shows how, if we understand green infrastructure and economic restructuring as anticolonial struggle, as well as an anticapitalist, we can move from reforms that deny Indigenous jurisdiction towards just coalitions for repossession that radically rethink environmental policy and land protection without sacrificing Indigenous life and relations.” Shiri Pasternak, author of Grounded Authority: The Algonquins of Barriere Lake Against the State

“The world system, born in settler colonialism and racial capitalism, is mired in a crisis at once ecological, epidemiological, political, and economic. What is to be done? As this urgent book states, the choice is decolonization or extinction. The Red Deal presents a rousing vision of a shared future of socio-ecological care, rooted in revolutionary Indigenous praxis. A must read.” Thea Riofrancos, author of Resource Radicals: From Petro-Nationalism to Post-Extractivism in Ecuador and coauthor of A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal

“The Red Deal offers a revolutionary program for global environmental justice informed by the liberation struggles and epistemologies of Indigenous, Black, migrant and working people everywhere. The vision of this manifesto calls for nothing less than a radical transformation of our relationships with each other and the land itself. It is truly inspiring work that we have come to expect from our comrades in The Red Nation.” Glen Coulthard, author of Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition

“The Red Deal asserts that the fight for climate justice must center Native people when it comes to the issues that disproportionately impact Native communities, but it also communicates what the Green New Deal does not — namely, that public lands are stolen lands and climate change is significantly caused by just a few industries,which the government has at worst neglected to hold accountable and at best assisted in their efforts to mine the earth for resources in a move that put profits over people.” Teen Vogue

“The GND has the potential to connect every social justice struggle—free housing, free health care, free education, green jobs—to climate change. Likewise, The Red Deal places anti-capitalism and decolonization as central to each social justice struggle as well as climate change. The necessity of such a program is grounded in both the history and future of this land, and it entails the radical transformation of all social relations between humans and the earth.” Jacobin

“For the Red Nation, living and being interdependent with Mother Nature is explicitly anticapitalist. An ethos merely hinted at in the Green New Deal, The Red Deal understands that capitalism fundamentally protects wealth, not life” The Politic

“The Red Nation also names Black abolitionists as an inspiration for the Red Deal, citing the links between mass incarceration and detention and climate change. They further note that police departments, prisons, and the U.S. military receive billions of taxpayer dollars annually while doing irreparable harm to Native Americans, Black people, and the Earth.” Essence

“The Democratic Socialists of America is proud to endorse The Red Deal, an indigenous centered set of policy recommendations that was written by The Red Nation. We are also proud to endorse the work of The Red Nation and commit to a long-term partnership with them in the furtherance of decolonizing our society. The Red Nation is a group of radical indigenous people that are fighting back against the US imperialist settler colonialist state. They are not just fighting for land and sovereignty, but for survival….We also look forward to a fruitful and mutually beneficial partnership with The Red Nation in all areas of activism moving forward.” Democratic Socialists of America

From the book

The Red Deal begins with the oldest yet often forgotten struggle on this continent: ending the occupation. While usually erased from the history of this nation, settler colonial occupation has fundamentally shaped the development of the United States and indeed the world that it dominates economically and politically. Ending the occupation links those of us in the seat of empire with those who face its weapons, soldiers, and policies around the world. Together we share the common enemy of US imperialism, and Indigenous people here have fought against it since the first settlers began to occupy our lands by force. It is important to remember that the very first act of US imperialism was the military and settler incursions on Indigenous land as the fledgling colonies expanded westward. This is why we begin with ending the occupation.

The struggle against occupation on this continent has remained strong throughout history and continues to this day. We’ve seen this in the global uprisings led by Black relatives who have been resisting the colonization of Africa and the enslavement and oppression of African people stolen to work on this continent for centuries. The uprisings during the summer of 2020, even with the global COVID-19 pandemic, built upon the decades of Black resistance to police violence and the everyday brutality of American society towards Black people, and exploded into some of the largest mobilizations in US history. The spread of uprisings throughout cities across the country was also marked by the sharpening of tactics and clarity of the roots of the issues, with images of burnt down police precincts and flipped cop cars evoking memories of Black and Indigenous resistance to slave plantations and frontier forts. Calls for abolition of police and prisons arose with renewed volume, stretching forward from a long history of abolitionist struggle.

It is important that we continue nurturing these histories and movements of struggle against occupation on these lands and continue to build relationships with others globally who face the violence of occupation. We begin with addressing those things that act as obstacles to our collective liberation: the prisons and detention centers filled with our family members; the police officers and prison guards who stand between us and the capitalist interests they defend; and the military, police, and vigilantes who murder our relatives. As we know, colonial occupation is upheld by constant threats of violence and in many instances, actual violence. It is therefore no surprise that these obstacles to our life and wellbeing that employ violence in order to maintain the occupation, receive the largest proportions of resources by the US settler state. We seek to dismantle these institutions that get in our way of living good lives, and we aim to divert resources away from them through divestment.

This is just the first step, though. It is not enough to be against any one thing, even something as big, evil, and all-encompassing as colonial occupation. Ending the occupation gives us the space to breathe and envision other possibilities that we are for, and we must be clear about what we are for. We are for Indigenous life, for the life of all human and other-than-human beings. And in order to live good lives, we must heal ourselves from the destruction caused by colonialism and capitalism by stopping what harms us and desecrates our land and begin to build what will sustain us.

Book Details

Author: The Red Nation
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781942173434
Size: 176 pages
Publisher: Common Notions
Year: 2021

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