[-empyre-] IV.

lucian o'connor lucianoconnor7 at gmail.com
Sat Nov 16 07:10:21 AEDT 2019


I am an Irish settler whose genetic relations have largely sold out
their own claims to colonial oppression and ethnic specificity, so
that we might benefit from the promises of whiteness in the
mythological territories of a settler colony that will never not be a
settler colony.

Becoming human for some of my ancestors has meant participating in the
violent multispecies evacuation and “development” of this continent,
to help manifest dreams of an empty frontier and claim resources
exclusively for Europeans and their symbionts.

Yes, our poverty and intergenerational traumas have been exploited
time and again by powerful colonial forces, to motivate some of my
ancestors to carry out dirty deeds on the front lines of Empire. Yes,
my ancestors were hungry for food, land, wages, and a decent standard
of living in the wake of our own dispossession and involuntary
migration. But those are not valid excuses.

Becoming human in the Empiriscene*(1) has meant adhering to a
flattening ideology of race, forgetting the specificities of our
ethnic and colonial pasts (and their lessons) so that we might have
access to the privileges of accumulated capital and the myths of white

My queerness, for all the grief it has wrought, for all the relations
it has shattered – and then engendered -- enables a critical
perspective on my genetic family’s history and ongoing complicity in
the American settler colonial agenda.

I may never recover from related traumas… but for the honesty and
knowledge, I am grateful.


*(1) I offer “Empiriscene” as an alternative term that polysemically
combines empire/colonialism/capitalism + empiricism/statistical
thinking/biopower + mass extermination/climate disaster. For me,
racialization, the plantation, capitalism, etc are significant pillars
of colonialism. I invoke empire here in the historical senses as well
as in terms of decentralized globalization, a la Hardt and Negri.

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