people woke up to what had happened

Steven Welzer
2 min readMay 9, 2024

I was a history major in college. At the time there was a buzz about something new. It was called “revisionist history.” My own history department at Rutgers was a center of such.

The essence of it (what later started to be called “woke”ness) was embodied in and reflected in books like those by Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Lloyd Gardner, Gar Alperovitz, Joyce and Gabriel Kolko, William Appleman Williams.

Beyond the details it’s about recognition of European colonialism; and beyond that an appreciation of the issues associated with what we call “civilization,” especially Western Civilization.

Urbanism and developmentalism led to overcrowding, depletion, and disease. In attempting to deal with those issues the states and empires of civilization have always tended to be expansionist and exploitative … involving conquest, encroachment, enslavement, oppression, and discrimination toward Others.

About 500 years ago Europeans achieved the capability to sail the oceans and go all over. Between that capability, their powerful weaponry (guns, cannons, etc.), and their advanced metallurgy they felt themselves to be technologically superior. The sense of superiority carried over to their lifeways in general, including their belief systems.

The first thing Columbus did upon arriving in what eventually would be called America was to think of how the “primitive” (inferior) natives could be (a) Christianized and (b) made into slaves. That was typical of the mentality of the European explorers of the 1500s. After 1600, the Europeans started colonial enterprises all over the planet … conquering, encroaching, sometimes moving in, sometimes just exploiting the indigenous populations.

* * * *

The “woke” are anti-Zionist on the basis of viewing it as a manifestation of European colonialism.

The latter is controversial. Zionists assert that the settler-colonial thesis denies the idea that Zionism is the modern national movement of the Jewish people, seeking to reestablish a Jewish political entity in their historical territory. Being both a national movement and a settlement movement at the same time, it should not be considered a colonial settlement movement.

Whatever. They tried to move into an area where people were already living. It wasn’t just individuals immigrating, it was a movement to take over. And there’s been trouble ever since.



Steven Welzer

The editor of Green Horizon Magazine, Steve has been a movement activist for many years (he was an original co-editor of DSA’s “Ecosocialist Review”).