Decolonize Multiculturalism

Anthony C. Alessandrini

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For those interested in continuing the struggle for decolonization, the word “multiculturalism” is mostly a sad joke. After all, institutionalized multiculturalism today is a managerial muck of buzzwords, branding strategies, and virtue signaling that has nothing to do with real struggles against racism and colonialism. But Decolonize Multiculturalism unearths a buried history. 

Decolonize Multiculturalism focuses on the story of the student and youth movements of the 1960s and 1970s, inspired by global movements for decolonization and anti-racism, who aimed to fundamentally transform their society, as well as the violent repression of these movements by the state, corporations, and university administrations. Part of the response has been sheer violence—campus policing, for example, only began in the 1970s, paving the way for the militarized campuses of today—with institutionalized multiculturalism acting like the velvet glove around the iron fist of state violence. But this means that today’s multiculturalism also contains residues of the original radical demands of the student and youth movements that it aims to repress: to open up the university, to wrench it from its settler colonial, white supremacist, and patriarchal capitalist origins, and to transform it into a place of radical democratic possibility.

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policing, diversity, decolonization, desegragation, protests, white supremacy, patriarchy, state violence, decolonize, colonialism, democracy, radicalism, racism, student movements, youth movements, discrimination