Resistance is everywhere, but everywhere a surprise, especially when the agents of struggle are the colonized, the enslaved, the wretched of the earth. Anticolonial revolts and slave rebellions have often been described by those in power as “eruptions”––volcanic shocks to a system that does not, cannot, see them coming. In Anticolonial Eruptions Geo Maher diagnoses a paradoxical weakness built right into the foundations of white supremacist power, a colonial blindspot that grows as domination seems more complete.
Anticolonial Eruptions argues that the colonizer’s weakness is rooted in dehumanization. When the oppressed and excluded rise up in explosive rebellion, with the very human demands for life and liberation, the powerful are ill-prepared. This colonial blindspot is, ironically, self-imposed: the more oppressive and expansive the colonial power, the lesser-than-human the colonized are believed to be, the greater the opportunity for resistance. Maher calls this paradox the cunning of decolonization, an unwitting reversal of the balance of power between the oppressor and the oppressed. Where colonial power asserts itself as unshakeable, total, and perpetual, a blindspot provides strategic cover for revolutionary possibility; where race or gender make the colonized invisible, they organize, unseen. Anticolonial Eruptions shows that this fundamental weakness of colonialism is not a bug, but a permanent feature of the system, providing grounds for optimism in a contemporary moment roiled by global struggles for liberation.