Articles by John Paul Belk Prats

Oppressive pines: Uprooting Israeli green colonialism and implanting Palestinian A’wna

This article charts Israel’s cooption of environmentalism to discreetly colonize Palestine, focusing on the complicity of protected areas. I identify this manipulative strategy as Israeli green colonialism, tracing it back to the emergence of Western environmentalism and Zionism, in the 18th and 19th centuries respectively. After all, national parks, nature reserves, and other protected areas are colonial inventions. Their exclusionary design is based on the Western construction of humans – especially poor, racialized, and feminine communities – and non-human nature as inherently incompatible. Effectively, the human/nature dichotomy was fabricated to justify land grab, Indigenous dispossession, and the introduction of coercive population control measures, across the Global South, under the banner of ecological stewardship. Meanwhile, Zionism is the European ideology and movement that promotes the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and appropriation of its land for the creation of a Jewish state. Emulating other settler colonies, Israel produces national parks, forests, and nature reserves to: (a) rationalize the expulsion of Palestinians and annexation of their lands; (b) obstruct their return as refugees; (c) dehistoricize, Judaize, and Europeanize Palestine; and (d) greenwash its genocidal operations worldwide. First, I underline that Israeli national parks and nature reserves are advantageously concentrated in the most coveted regions and where most Natives live. These include the North and South of “Israel” or 1948 Palestine, the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Syrian Golan Heights, and Jerusalem, which remains sought-after by Israel as its future capital. I explain that when Israel creates a nature reserve or national park, Palestinians are prohibited from building or cultivating in it, dispossessing them of their territory. In the same space, Israeli colonizers are allowed to not only develop, but also pollute. Additionally, quotes are provided from directors of Israeli afforestation, corroborating its colonial, rather than environmental, purpose. Second, many Israeli protected areas are, literally or metaphorically, planted over destroyed Palestinian villages, and on the border between 1948 Palestine and the West Bank, to impede the ability of forcibly displaced Natives to reclaim their homes. Third, I argue that Israel’s preference for planting invasive pines and erasure of Palestinian history in the publications of its parks, fulfill its plan to dehistoricize, Judaize, and Europeanize the Holy Land. I emphasize that this process of memoricide erodes the identity of Palestinians and suppresses their resistance. Fourth, I center the role of the Jewish National Fund – a globally recognized environmental charity, whose underlying goal, since its founding, is the depopulation of Palestine on behalf of Israel – in afforesting Palestine and administering Israeli protected areas. I argue that its self-contrived environmental image greenwashes its reputation globally, enabled by Orientalism – or the racist view of Palestinians as backward, unsustainable, and violent nomads, as opposed to civilized, sedentary, and progressive European Jews. Then, I explore various paths of resistance, pursued by both Palestinians and their land. Outlining their values of sumud (steadfastness), a’wna (solidarity), and a’wda (return), in addition to the Islamic tenet of tawhid (unity), I present an anti-oppressive and scientific environmentalism as an alternative to its Western counterpart. Meanwhile, I reject the trope of the ecological savage, which seeks to dehumanize Indigenous people as closer to non-human nature, as I highlight their prioritization of their self-interests, akin to the rest of humanity, even if they deeply unsettle the human/nature dichotomy.

Ghada Sasa

“Reacting to Black Lives Matter: The discursive construction of racism in UK newspapers”

Racism is a term that is used a lot of different ways by a lot of different people. It is often seen as an aberration, something on the fringes, characterised by the irrational prejudices and racist attitudes of a minority. However, racism is about social hierarchy and a social system in which expressions of prejudice by individuals are symptoms of larger power structures. It is important to note that the way that racism is defined is not neutral. If it tends to be seen as a systemic problem, solutions will be centred around a fundamental restructuring of social institutions, but if it tends to be individualised, solutions will be focused on changing the attitudes of prejudiced people, which, while not a bad thing, will not change the system, which will keep reproducing itself. My recent article in Politics analyses how four UK newspapers (the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, and the Mirror) discuss racism before and after the uprisings which took place in 2020 in response to the police killing of George Floyd. The main takeaway from the newspaper articles I collected before the protests began is that journalists tended to create a ‘good’ in-group which includes themselves, the sources they cite, and the reader. This in group is not only not-racist, but stands against racism and racist people, who are placed in the corresponding ‘bad’ out-group. The ‘good’ people in the in-group were those identified as being in the reasonable ‘mainstream’, and racism was characterised as a disease or poison infiltrating this mainstream. But this ‘disease’ metaphor misses that racism is built into our society and is not an outside agent. The types of racism that were written about the most were overtly racist language or racist violence, with little mention of systemic forms of racism. Racism was stripped of a structural analysis and seen as mostly about the individual behaviour of outsiders. By defining the in-group through disassociation with an out- group which exists on the margins, this leads to the assumption that the mainstream in-group, being ‘good’ and innocent, don’t require scrutiny, since they condemn racism and make an effort to distance themselves from racists. After the protests began, systemic racism began to be written about more frequently. The phrase ‘systemic racism’ appeared about 80 times in the five months between January and May 2020, compared to about 800 times in June 2020 alone. The in-group/out-group dynamics remained alongside discussions of systemic racism, which came to be represented as a ‘bad’ abstract entity which becomes easy to disidentify from because it is so abstracted. This allowed right-leaning newspapers in particular to acknowledge and oppose systemic racism while also negatively portraying protesters as ‘anarchists and vandals’. Across all the newspapers, the proposed solutions to racism rarely advocated for systemic changes and instead appealed to the values of peace and acceptance. Rather than denying and debating systemic racism, as they did before, journalists openly discussed the problem of racism but only recommend sanitized forms of anti-racism. This, alongside journalists’ continued use of positive self presentation strategies, allowed them to continue to place themselves in opposition to racism in the abstract while not actually supporting structural change.

Flo Bremner

Politics Call for Papers | Debating the Global South

The category of the Global South has emerged as a widely accepted part of our political vocabularies and the study of international politics. As the collective product of the era of national liberation struggles, tricontinental anti-colonial militancy, dependency and World-Systems Theory, it outlined both an emancipatory political project and global web of exploitative social relations confronting the peoples of the colonised and decolonising world. In the famous words of Fanon, ‘Europe is literally the creation of the Third World. The wealth which smothers her is that which was stolen from the underdeveloped peoples.’ In this Call for Papers, we invite contributors to reflect on the history and genealogy of the category of the ‘Global South’, as well as its continued relevance to understanding world politics in the present. With the ‘rise’ of China and the emergence of the BRICS more broadly, does the Global South still retain the moral and political force it once possessed? Does the category remain analytically useful for debates around global inequality and climate debt? What is the status of contemporary theories of neocolonialism and notions like core and periphery? What of inequalities within the Global South itself and the challenges of neoliberalism and sub-imperialism? Which transnational social movements can be said to have inherited the legacy of Third World liberation in the 21 st century? The editors hope that this call will encourage researchers working on these questions, themes, and issues to submit their articles to Politics. The call for papers does not pertain to a Special Issue of the journal but comprises part of an ongoing and open-ended commitment to these questions by the editorial team.

While the editors are open to a wide range of perspectives and topics on the question of the Global South, we strongly encourage submissions which explore:

• Political theories and theorists of the Global South
• Legacies of “Third Worldism”, Afro-Asian solidarity, and the Tricontinental movement
• Non-Alignment: Past, Present, Future
• The politics of knowledge from within and about the Global South
• The Global South, theories of decolonisation, anti-colonialism, and decoloniality
• Global South from Above, Global South from Below
• Approaches in Critical Political Economy and the Global South
• The Legacies and Futures of Dependency Theory
• Transnational social movements and networks of solidarity within the Global South
• Climate Debt, Ecocide, and the Global South
• Feminist perspectives on the Global South
• Nationalism, Cultural Imperialism, and the Global South
• Contemporary theories of imperialism, neocolonialism, and the Global South
• Sub-imperialism, super-exploitation, and the Global South
• Neoliberalism and extractivism in the Global South
• The evolving institutions of Global Governance and the Global South
• Critiques of the “Global South” as a politico-economic category
• Categories which explicitly provide an alternative conceptualization to that of the Global South
• Class politics, the international division of labour, and the Global South
• Indigenous social movements within the Global South
• The BRICS and the Global South
• China in/and the Global South

Please visit the journal’s submission site to upload your manuscript.

Please note that manuscripts not conforming to these guidelines may be returned.

For further details please contact our Editor-in-Chief, Dr Elizabeth Evans at or Associate Editor, Dr Eskandar Sadeghi-Boroujerdi at