I would like to better understand why Neil has so little to say about the key arguments I make. After all that we’ve learned about the serious disconnect between nationalism and liberation, how can that part of the Left to which Neil relates still believe there is no way to fight colonialism, capitalism, racism, and patriarchy without resorting to nationalism? Is the obtainment of national territorial sovereignty really the same as realizing decolonization? Are the lives of people who are currently living through the terror organized by national liberation states in Asia, Africa, the Americas, the Pacific, and the Caribbean unimportant? Is there a significant distinction between “western” ideas of national sovereignty and those held by oppressed, subjugated, colonized people, including those who identify as Indigenous people in what is now Canada? Is it ethical to not critique and repudiate the violence carried out across the world in the name of autochthony (or Indigeneity)? Are we unable to critically analyze the actions taken by various Native nations in Canada (and elsewhere) to limit membership and expel people from “national territory”? Is immigration really the same as colonization? Do Migrants really have no relationship to the places they come to live other than that of colonialism and conquest? Can we ignore the relationship between nationalists’ “defense” of “their nation” and the enormous violence carried out against people on the move?

Moreover, can we have a robust discussion of alternatives to nationalisms? Or should we continue to ignore those who fought – and continue to fight – capitalism and colonialism without resorting to nationalism or without seeking national territorial sovereignty? And wither “internationalism”? Or demands for a planetary commons? Is national sovereignty, including of the oppressed and colonized, really compatible with the commons? These are precisely some of the questions my book attempts to address – and that Neil either fails to engage with or misrepresents.

Neil claims that I see no difference between what he says are, “‘Nativists’ who imagine themselves to be members of a racially and culturally homogenous body politic united patriotically around shared opposition to immigrants and refugees” and “the First Nations and original peoples of the land who in my context (that of settler colonialism in Canada) have survived centuries of genocidal policies and racist and sexist violence, and who are on the front lines of struggle for the survival of life on this planet against capitalism and ecocide.” He makes this claim while ignoring what I say in the book’s introduction: no, “they are not equivalent.” I add that, “White people demanding the expulsion of Migrants in the name of being the ‘indigenous people of Europe’, for example, are not the equivalent of various Indian or Aboriginal claims to national sovereignty in the United States, Canada, or Australia.” I add: “nor is it my argument that all contemporary discourses of autochthony advocate or mobilize genocidal violence against Migrants. Indeed, discourses of autochthony deployed by some Indigenous National-Natives, for instance, argue that their national sovereignty is essential to take good care of the planet, each other, and the generations of life to come.”4Home Rule, p. 208.

However, Home Rule also documents and discusses the growing number of political exclusions, physical expulsions, and even exterminations organized specifically in the name of the indigenous “people of a place” fighting the “migrant/colonizer” who they deem to be “out of place.” Thus, I argue that we must address not only the shared semantics (e.g. use of the term “indigenous”) but also the shared political philosophy of autochthony, which makes claims to indigeneity the only legitimate basis of political power.

Contemporary autochthonous politics are, I argue, both part of the colonial legacy of separating people categorized as either Natives or as Migrants and the foundational basis for all nationalism(s). This is not to say, as Neil argues I do, that in my “view there is no historical basis for drawing strict distinctions between colonialism, postcolonialism, neocolonialism, and anticolonial and decolonial movements.” I do certainly argue – and substantiate – that practices of expropriation, exploitation, and oppression have expanded and intensified during the post-WWII period of postcolonial rule. I also argue that the theory of “neocolonialism” provides an alibi for the failures of national liberation states. “In the national liberation states,” I say, “postcolonialism was renamed ‘neocolonialism’ in a bid to explain why ‘national self-determination’ felt like imperialism, or worse.”5Home Rule, p. 19. I add that, “with the nation-state – and nationalism – monopolizing the political, it could not generally be acknowledged that national sovereignty was bound to fail people — both National-Natives and Migrants.”

Neil takes my argument that postcolonialism is best understood as a containment of demands for decolonization and should therefore not be equated with it and, instead, claims that I believe that there is no difference between colonialism and decolonization. He compounds this mistake by arguing that my “position [is] that resurgent Indigenous movements and decolonial struggles are the political and ideological offspring of the settler colonial state itself.”6“Critical Commentary,” p. 100. Again, only by equating national sovereignty with decolonization and equating critiques of nationalism with a lack of support for decolonization can Neil make such an assertion. Let me be clear: my rejection of nationalist movements and their demand for territorial sovereignty does not lessen my staunch and unwavering support for decolonization.

While nationalists promise(d) an end to colonialism – and while nation-states have replaced imperial-states in their control over territory and all life on it – national sovereignty has clearly failed to bring about the decolonization of land, labour, or imaginations. Instead, old imperial wine has been put in sparkling new national bottles. Neil takes this argument and claims that, “for Sharma, Indigenous peoples’ efforts to reclaim their self-determination are shaped by ‘deep and centuries-long histories of colonialism’; [thus] their felt cultural connections to a precolonial life are products of origin stories invented in a postcolonial context and retroactively inserted into the past to justify national sovereignty claims in the present. Sharma offers examples of the Mohawk and Cherokee Nations, which at different times have restricted membership and access to their institutions and land on the basis of a ‘blood quantum’ principle, a measure adopted from settler colonial states.”7“Critical Commentary,” pp. 100-101.