Introducing... Decolonize How?

New Internationalist launches a one-year series exploring responses to poverty that address the reality of post-independence power dynamics within and between countries.

In June 2022, the Ogiek people in Kenya won a landmark reparations judgment in the African Court of Human and Peoples Rights, for collective title to their ancestral land in the Mau Forest, as well as significant financial ‘damages’. In the Caribbean, an increasing number of countries are cutting ties with the British monarchy – Barbados became a republic in November 2021 with Jamaica looking set to follow. And across the US and Canada a growing campaign is reasserting Indigenous control over occupied lands.

All these moves are a response to the ongoing impacts of British colonialism and imperialism – whether it be an attempt to address or undo some of its damage, challenge ongoing power imbalances, increase independence or challenge settler colonialism. New Internationalist will be exploring responses like this in a new series called ‘Decolonize how?’ which launches this month.

The series was sparked by a proposal from our readers. Each year New Internationalist puts out an open call for people to let us know the ‘Big Stories’ they want us to cover in the coming year. Our reader-owners narrow down the list via a vote at our Annual General Meeting and, in 2021, the top spot went to a pitch asking us to cover the reality of post-independence power dynamics within and between countries.

So, now we are launching a new year-long series called ‘Decolonize how?’ which will explore what could it mean to ‘decolonize’, or take an anti-colonial approach when addressing poverty and inequality. The focus will be existing responses led by formerly colonized people and their descendants, or Indigenous peoples, in places with links to British colonial histories and imperialism.

With various world events forcing a re-examining of the British imperial project in recent years – including the death of Queen Elizabeth II who assumed her reign when a large percentage of the world’s population was living under British imperial rule – it’s the perfect time for New Internationalist to tackle this subject head on.

The ‘Decolonize how?’ series launches online this week and in our November-December magazine with a piece by Anishinaabe writer Riley Yesno exploring how the spirit of Land Back has been embodied in schemes to redistribute wealth from non-Indigenous hands in North America.

Expect articles examining responses to global international debt, tax and trade; or people taking on the British companies continuing to control the natural resources, politics and economic systems of their ‘independent’ countries. Expect some difficult and uncomfortable questions for all of us, as we explore this topic together.

The series aims to go beyond responses to poverty that further entrench neocolonial and settler colonial dynamics, and instead will highlight the role of social movements and initiatives that are actively taking an anti- or decolonial perspective.

The series is funded through a grant form the European Journalism Centre through the Solutions Journalism Accelerator. This fund is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is one of ten projects, led by different European media organizations which have been awarded funding this year through the Solutions Journalism Accelerator. The EJC, or its funders, will have no editorial say over the series.

Follow the stories on social media through the #DecolonizeHow tag.