Tariq Khan

  • Fellowship year:2020-2021
  • University: University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
  • Dissertation Topic/Category: United States
  • Dissertation Title: Savage Reds: US Settler Colonialism, Anarchism, and Anticommunism, 1840s-1920s.
  • "The only good Indian is a dead Indian" went General Sheridan's genocidal axiom. By the 1880s, US politicians, industrialists, and their media organs were using the words "Indian" and "anarchist" in the heinous phrase interchangeably. This application of the "frontier" language of Indian-killing to internal political repression reflected a larger process in which colonialism was turning inward. This dissertation focuses on the period in which anticommunism/anti-anarchism became explicit in US culture, politics, and policy. It argues that there is a direct relationship between the United States' outwardly-facing so-called "Indian Wars" on the "frontier" to class war within the metropole. The former structured the latter and both were part of the same project of capitalist domination. What historians refer to as the First Red Scare was preceded by over half a century of red scares. Those earlier red scares played out directly within the larger context of US "frontier" militarization and war. Internal repression was colonialism turned inward: meaning the tactics, weapons, mythology, and ideology the state wielded to control the "foreign," migrant, multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic urban "rabble" and extinguish proletarian insurgency were developed and refined in the "Indian wars" and other outward imperialist invasions and occupations. This is not to say that anarchists became the "new Indians," as US war against Indigenous peoples, and Indigenous resistance, never ceased, continuing unabated into the present. It is to say that settler colonialism and imperialism were so formative to US institutions that they structured internal political repression and internal proletarian control. The culture, ideology, and policies of anti-anarchism/anti-communism, grew from, were shaped by, and overlapped with the larger settler colonial and imperialist structure of the United States.