Monday, October 10, 2011

decolonizing 100%

so, i'm realizing one of the (many) evils of facebook is that all this information gets passed around  between myself and folks i'm connected to on that site but never the risk of being redundant, but hoping these things might reach more folks, i want to post some links to writings about the "occupy" movement that have really moved me...

Occupy Wall Street: The Game of Colonialism and Further Nationalism to be Decolonized From the “Left”  by Jessica Yee

"...We don’t need more occupation – we need decolonization and it’s everyone’s responsibility to participate in that because COLONIALISM AFFECTS EVERYONE. EVERYONE! Colonialism also leads to capitalism, globalization, and industrialization. How can we truly end capitalism without ending colonialism? How does doing things in the name of “America” which was created by the imposition of hierarchies of class, race, ability, gender, and sexuality help that?"

An Open Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Activists  by JohnPaul Montano

"...I hope you would make mention of the fact that the very land upon which you are protesting does not belong to you – that you are guests upon that stolen indigenous land. I had hoped mention would be made of the indigenous nation whose land that is. I had hoped that you would address the centuries-long history that we indigenous peoples of this continent have endured being subject to the countless ‘-isms’ of do-gooders claiming to be building a “more just society,” a “better world,” a “land of freedom” on top of our indigenous societies, on our indigenous lands, while destroying and/or ignoring our ways of life. I had hoped that you would acknowledge that, since you are settlers on indigenous land, you need and want our indigenous consent to your building anything on our land – never mind an entire society."

A call for economic justice that reflects the occupation of this land, the role of the institution of slavery and immigration 

Susan Raffo

"In 1944, FDR spoke about the meaning of security for "post war" America.  As part of that speech and in response to the growing international focus on human (mostly political) rights, he called out for a "Second Bill of Rights" guaranteeing Economic Rights. These are the rights he suggested:

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
  • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
  • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
  • The right of every family to a decent home;
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
  • The right to a good education.
While not all of these were enacted, some, like Social Security, Medicaire and fair mortgage practices, were created. These are the very economic safety nets that the Right is politically working to end. But in 1944, FDR's call was not the only action taking place.

Also in 1944, The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) a Native American indigenous rights organization, was founded in response to the ongoing termination (otherwise known as genocide) and assimilation policies that the United States forced upon the tribal governments in contradiction of their treaty rights and status as sovereign entities.

1944 is also seen by many historians as the year the Black Civil Rights movement began as Black soldiers returned from fighting in WW II and began to organize. It is when NAACP attorney Thurgood Marshall won Smith v. Allwright in the U.S. Supreme Court guaranteeing that "all-white" primary elections are unconstitutional, a landmark case in demanding Black political voice and Black agency.

1944 is also the year when the federal government ended the internment of Japanese families. It is the year after the US ended the Chinese Exclusion Act but created the Bracero program, a "guest worker" program that brought Mexican families to the US for low wage work without granting the benefits of citizenship.

Economic change in the US has always been directly tied to the history of the occupation of this indigenous land, the histories of the institution of slavery and its ongoing impact, and the histories of immigration and control. Sometimes economic change has benefited the mostly white middle class while largely ignoring those who are poorest or have least access to the political and legal benefits of citizenship. Sometimes economic change has happened precisely because of the political protests of the poorest and those with least access. And large scale economic change has always happened without taking into account the fact that the resources that feed economic health - land and the work that happens on top of that land - are resources taken from stolen land and a continuous history of broken treaties.

Let's do it differently this time."

and then lastly a piece i just read this morning which I believe balances all these conversations just perfectly...
from liberty plaza by Adrienne Maree

"I have been in movement spaces for a long time, and we have a way of doing things which is so steeped in critique that I have often wondered if we would strangle movement before it could blossom. sometimes I think we put up the critiques to excuse ourselves from getting involved, and sometimes I think we do it to protect our hearts from getting broken if it doesn’t work out. critique, alone, can keep us from having to pick up the responsibility of figuring out solutions. sometimes I think we need to liberate ourselves from critique, both internal and external, to truly give change a chance."

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