Sunday, October 30, 2011


Being polarizing is a good thing, it's part of the struggle.

Nick Diaz!

Nick Diaz is hood and keeps it real, one of the greatest fighters of all time.

Everyone Boards the Nick Diaz Bandwagon, Including Champ Georges St-Pierre

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Don't Assume those who confront the police are agents provocatuers.

Don’t assume those who break the law or confront police are agents provocateurs. A lot of people have good reason to be angry. Not everyone is resigned to legalistic pacifism; some people still remember how to stand up for themselves. Police violence isn’t just meant to provoke us, it’s meant to hurt and scare us into inaction. In this context, self-defense is essential.

Assuming that those at the front of clashes with the authorities are somehow in league with the authorities is not only illogical—it delegitimizes the spirit it takes to challenge the status quo, and dismisses the courage of those who are prepared to do so. This allegation is typical of privileged people who have been taught to trust the authorities and fear everyone who disobeys them.

From: Crimethinc - Dear Occupiers: A letter from Anarchists

I Voted to Strike by Tia Katrina Taruc Canlas

I Voted to Strike

On October 25, 2011, I biked from my office at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights to the Oakland Public Library to show my support for Occupy Oakland.
About four hours later, the Oakland Police Department attacked me (and other peaceful protesters) with tear-gas. Pissed off but resolved, we came back the next day and we voted[1] for a GENERAL STRIKE in Oakland on November 2, 2011.
Last night, Occupy Oakland split into groups to develop a strategy to organize the GENERAL STRIKE. I had to choose between four groups specializing in media, community/door-knocking, union organizing, and student-outreach. I chose media.
The media group split into “production” and “distribution.” I joined the “production” group and immediately started collecting pictures and reasons-to-strike. I had amazing conversations with teachers, attorneys, youth, and some Veterans for Peace. I am going back to the Oscar Grant Plaza later tonight to take more pictures and collect more comments.
If you would like to help us recruit strikers, please take a picture of yourself and send it with the reason why you are going on strike to Then, “like” OakStrikeMedia’s facebook page and find your picture posted to share with your friends and family.
As for me, I support the strike because my mom raised me to love other people.

[1] The voting process went like this:
  • Somebody went on stage and proposed a General Strike.
  • A group of about 1,500 amazing people split into groups of 20.
  • The groups of 20 discussed the pros and cons of a General Strike.
  • The group of about 1,500 amazing people reconvened.
  • The representatives of the groups of 20 declared their concerns.
  • The group of about 1,500 amazing people split into their groups of 20 again to vote on the amended proposal.
  • The group of 20 designated a voter counter.
  • The voter counter, counted the votes.
  • The voter counter brought their 20 votes to the stage.
  • 1,484 people voted “yes”
  • 76 people abstained from voting.
  • 46 people voted “no.”
  • With a 96.9% approval, Occupy Oakland decided to go on a General Strike on November 2, 2011.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Revolutionary Tourism"

Check out this video, it's good satire regarding u.s. Imperialism in Mexico as well as poking fun at "revolutionary tourism" from u.s. activists: revolutionary tourism is not solidarity. GringoYo

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Letter To The Occupy Together Movement by Harsha Walia

By Guest Contributor Harsha Walia
I wish I could start with the ritualistic “I love you” for the Occupy Movement. To be honest, it has been a space of turmoil for me. But also one of virulent optimism. What I outline below are not criticisms. I am inspired that the dynamic of the movement thus far has been organic, so that all those who choose to participate are collectively responsible for its evolution. To everyone – I offer my deepest respect.
I am writing today with Grace Lee Boggs in mind:
The coming struggle is a political struggle to take political power out of the hands of the few and put it into the hands of the many. But in order to get this power into the hands of the many, it will be necessary for the many not only to fight the powerful few but to fight and clash among themselves as well.
This may sound counter-productive, but I find it a poignant reminder that, in our state of elation, we cannot under-estimate the difficult terrain ahead. I look forward to the processes that will further these conversations.

Occupations on Occupied Land

One of the broad principles in a working statement of unity (yet to be formally adopted) of Occupy Vancouver thus far includes an acknowledgement of unceded Coast Salish territories. There has been opposition to this as being “divisive” and “focusing on First Nations issues”. I would argue that acknowledging Indigenous lands is a necessary and critical starting point for two primary reasons.
Firstly, the word Occupy has understandably ignited criticism from Indigenous people as having a deeply colonial implication. It erases the brutal history of genocide that settler societies have been built on. This is not simply a rhetorical or fringe point; it is a profound and indisputable matter of fact that this land is already occupied. The province of BC is largely still unceded land, which means that no treaties have been signed and the title holders of Vancouver are the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Tseilwau-tuth, and Musqueam. As my Sḵwx̱wú7mesh friend Dustin Rivers joked “Okay so the Premier and provincial government acknowledge and give thanks to the host territory, but Occupy Vancouver can’t?”
Supporting efforts towards decolonization is not only an Indigenous issue. It is also about us, as non-natives, learning the history of this land and locating ourselves and our responsibilities within the context of colonization. Occupation movements such as those in Boston and Denver and New York have taken similar steps in deepening an anti-colonial analysis.
Secondly, we must understand that the tentacles of corporate control have roots in the processes of colonization and enslavement. As written by the Owe Aku International Justice Project: “Corporate greed is the driving factor for the global oppression and suffering of Indigenous populations. It is the driving factor for the conquest and continued suffering for the Indigenous peoples on this continent. The effects of greed eventually spill over and negatively impact all peoples, everywhere.”
The Hudsons Bay Company in Canada and the East India Trading Company in India, for example, were some of the first corporate entities established on the stock market. Both companies were granted trading monopolies by the British Crown, and were able to extract resources and amass massive profits due to the subjugation of local communities through the use of the Empire’s military and police forces. The attendant processes of corporate expansion and colonization continues today, most evident in this country with the Alberta Tar Sands. In the midst of an economic crisis, corporations’ ability to accumulate wealth is dependent on discovering new frontiers from which to extract resources. This disproportionately impacts Indigenous peoples and destroys the land base required to sustain their communities, while creating an ecological crisis for the planet as a whole.

Systemic Oppression Connected to Economic Inequality

In creating a unified space of opposition to the 1% who hold a concentration of power and wealth, we must simultaneously foster critical education to learn about the systemic injustices that many of us in the 99% continue to face. This should not be pejoratively dismissed as “identity politics”, which for many re-enforces the patterns of marginalization. The connection between the nature and structure of the political economy and systemic injustice is clear: the growing economic inequality being experienced in this city and across this country is nothing new for low-income racialized communities, particularly single mothers, all of whom face the double brunt of scape-goating during periods of recession.
The very idea of the multitude forces a contestation of any one lived experience binding the 99%. Embracing this plurality and having an open heart to potentially uncomfortable truths about systemic oppression beyond the ‘evil corporations and greedy banks’ will strengthen this movement. Ignoring the hierarchies of power between us does not make them magically disappear. It actually does the opposite – it entrenches those inequalities. If we learn from social movements past, we observe that the struggle to genuinely address issues of race, class, gender, ability, sexuality, age, and nationality actually did more, rather than less, to facilitate broader participation.
In order to this we need to critically examine the idea of “catering to the mainstream”. I do not disagree with reaching out to as broad a base as possible; but we should ask ourselves: who constitutes the “mainstream”? If Indigenous communities, homeless people, immigrants, LGBTQs, seniors and others are all considered “special interest groups” (although we actually constitute an overwhelming demographic majority), then by default that suggests that, as Rinku Sen argues, straight white men are the sole standard of universalism. “Addressing other systems of oppression, and the people those systems affect, isn’t about elevating one group’s suffering over that of white men. It’s about understanding how the mechanisms of control actually operate. When we understand, we can craft solutions that truly help everybody. ” This should not be misunderstood as advocating for a pecking order of issues; it is about understanding that the 99% is not a homogenous group but a web of inter-related communities in struggle.
Clayton Thomas-Muller, Tar Sands Campaign Organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network, wrote to me: “Our own Indigenous Rights movements are gaining momentum which means that we all must continually be educating new folks getting politicized. We can all be working towards a larger convergence that is strongly rooted in an Anti colonial, Anti Racist, Anti Oppressive framework.” In a similar vein, Syed Hussan writes, “Understand that to truly be free, to truly include the entire 99 per cent, you have to say today, and say every day: We will leave no one behind.” Just as we challenge the idea of austerity put forward by governments and corporations, we should challenge the idea of scarcity of space in our movements and instead facilitate a more nuanced discourse about inequality.

Learning from History and Building on Successes

While it is clearly too early to comment on the future of the Occupy movement, I offer a few humble preliminary thoughts based on Occupy Wall Street and the nature of the Vancouver organizing. Those who us who have been activists rightfully do not have any particular authority in this movement and as many others have cautioned, more experienced activists should not claim moral righteousness over those who are just joining the struggle. But we also cannot claim ignorance either.
It must be re-stated that Occupy Together is brilliantly transitional. As has been repeatedly noted, it is has been a moral and strategic success to not have a pre-articulated laundry list of demands within which to confine a nascent movement. Peter Marcus writes “Occupy is seen by most of its participants and supporters not as a set of pressures for individual rights, but as a powerful claim for a better world… The whole essence of the movement is to reject the game’s rules as it is being played, to produce change that includes each of these demands but goes much further to question the structures that make those demands necessary.” Similarly Vijay Prashad says that we “must breathe in the many currents of dissatisfaction, and breathe out a new radical imagination.”
The creation of encampments is in itself an act of liberation. Decentralized gatherings with democratic decision-making processes and autonomous space for people to gather and dialogue based on their interests – such as through reading circles or art zones or guerrilla gardening – create a sense of purpose, connectedness, and emancipation in a society that otherwise breeds apathy, disenchantment, and isolation. This type of pre-figurative politics – a living symbol of refusal – is a ways to come together to create and live the alternatives to this system. I am reminded of the modest (Anti) Olympic Tent Village in our own city in the Downtown Eastside last year, which was deemed ‘paradise’ and a place where ‘real freedom lives’ by many.
One issue I would stress is building awareness about police violence and police infiltration. In some cities, Occupy organizers have actively collaborated with police. While many do this on the principle of ‘we have nothing to hide‘, the police cannot be trusted. This is not a comment on individual police officers who maybe “ordinary people”, but their job is to protect the 1%. The police have a long history of repression of social movements. Plus, people who are homeless, racialized, non-status, or queer routinely experience arbitrary police abuse. We must take these concerns seriously in order to promote participation from these communities. We must also learn to rely on ourselves to keep ourselves safe and to hold ground when police are ordered to clear us out. This seems insurmountable, but it has been done before and can be done again.
In the heels of the Olympics and G20, a recurring issue is diversity of tactics. Despite a history in community-based movement-building, based on a debate about diversity of tactics with an ally whom I respect, there has been unnecessary and misinformed fear-mongering that those who support a diversity of tactics “fundamentally reject peaceful assemblies”. For me, supporting a diversity of tactics has always implied respect for a range of strategies including non-violent assembly. As G20 defendant Alex Hundert, who has written extensively about diversity of tactics told me, “It is important to recognise that a belief in supporting a diversity of tactics means not ruling out intentionally peaceful means. These gatherings have been explicitly nonviolent from the start and in hundreds of cities across the continent. Obviously this is the right tactic for this moment.”
It is noteworthy that Occupy Wall Street has not actually dogmatically rejected a diversity of tactics. It appears that the movement there has understood what diversity of tactics actually means – which is not imposing one tactic in any and every context. The Occupy Wall Street Direct Action Working Group has adopted the basic tenet of “respect diversity of tactics, but be aware of how your actions will affect others.” In my opinion, this is an encouraging development as people work together to learn how to come keep each other safe within the encampment, while effectively escalating tactics in autonomous actions.
Finally, we may want to stop articulating that this is a leaderless movement; it might be more honest to suggest that We Are All Leaders. Denying that leadership exists deflects accountability, obscures potential hierarchies, and absolves us of actively creating structures within which to build collective leadership. Many of the models being used such as the General Assembly and Consensus are rooted in the practice of anti-authoritarians and community organizers. There are many other skills to share to empower and embolden this movement. As much as we wish we can radically transform unjust economic, political, and social systems overnight, but this is a long-term struggle. And there is always the danger of co-optation. Slavoj Zizek warned Occupy Wall Street that “Beware not only of the enemies. But also of false friends who are already working to dilute this process. In the same way you get coffee without caffeine, beer without alcohol, ice cream without fat, they will try to make this into a harmless moral protest.” Which means that we will need to find ways to do the pain-staking work of making this movement sustainable and rooting it within and alongside existing grassroots movements for social and environmental justice.
“We have begun to come out of the shadows; we have begun to break with routines and oppressive customs and to discard taboos; we have commenced to carry with pride the task of thawing hearts and changing consciousness. Women, let’s not let the danger of the journey and the vastness of the territory scare us — let’s look forward and open paths in these woods. Voyager, there are no bridges; one builds them as one walks.”
- Gloria Anzaldua

Monday, October 17, 2011

Occupy the Hood!

The revolution will not be led by white middle class liberals or the professional-careerist-super activists... #Occupy The Hood! #Decolonize the Barrio!

Why I support Occupy The Hood by Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin

 Why I support Occupy The Hood

by Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin

The new mass movement, Occupy Wall Street, has already birthed a number of movement of oppressed peoples of color:Indigenous/African/Carribbean, etc. They are DeColonize OWS, the People of Color Working Group, and Occupy the Hood. It is Occupy the Hood, which is an actual Black working class political tendency, which has the most promise as far as Africans in America are concerned. They are not only trying to pressure the white majority to make a place the for voices of Black/POC people, but also organzing an independent tendency which can organize inour communities around issues effecting us especially. it is that latter dimension which really excites me.
For years, I have heard, but not seen a Black revolutionary mass movement in the hip hop era, which is free of middle class conventional politics or being manipuated by some power-hungry preachers/politicians. This movement has the potential to create a genuine mass movment of the poor and oppresssed, based in the urban inner cities. It is a youth centered movement, but seems to understand if it raises issues of oppressed peoples in Harlem, North Philly, South Memphis, or other hoods in other places, they can bring a true majority together, an army of the poor.
In order for that to happen, they have to put the people and mass grassroots politics in command, and be based totally around popular issues. In saying "politics", I am not talking about electoral politics, which I considere virtually useless and weak, I am talking about putting the Black poor together as a class, and then using their numbers to confront the white capitalist government and its financial sector in an anti-capitalist protest movement.
It is this what made the Black protest movement of the 1960's so dynamic, not just a number of small militant groups fighting isolated in various communities. Black Power was a widespread, but decentralized mass movement which superceded the civil rights phase, even before the assassination of Dr. M.L. King. Groups like the Black Panther Party, League of Revolutionary Black Workers and others had become mass movements in their own right, instead of tailing after white radicals.

This can happen again, and in my mind, Occupy the hood is that movement best situated to make that hapen in this period. They are part of the Wall Street tendency, and can unite with other POC tendencies and even anti-racist/anti-colonial whites to wage an internal battle inside OWS to make it accountable to POC's instead of just white middle class workers who have lost their jobs, homes, or money in this period. We have suffered far worse.
Over 1 million Black/POC people are in the prison system, which destroys not just the prisoner but his family and community. We have the highest evels of unemployment in the USA, "officially" 16.7%, but actually far higher at Great Depression levels of 26%. We have the highest number of urban homeless. We have record levels of infant mortality, approaching the 3rd world. On and on we are catching hell more than anybody, and we are the class of surplus labor that all economists speak of who have considered the matter.

But we need to organize, not not just bemoan our fate or curse our luck. We can change everything with out all-out struggle, on our own terms. We do not have to be shackeled by the racism and backwardness of white workers. Through a movement like Occupy the Hood, we can orgnize not only our own communities, but through that organize the world who would unite with our struggle. So, to end this, I see the potential of this movement more than anything else to come along in the hip hop era. They seem to "get it", and understand instinctively that they can organize their peoples to not only destroy Wall Street, which is based on our slavery and exploitation, but the entire system of capitalist oppression. Memphis has been designated the poorest city in the USA. I'm honored to be part of this movement in anyway, and will do everything I can to push it forward. I am not interested in "leading" it, they seem to have already gotten founders and collective leadership that can do the job at this early stage. I hope tht all power will continue to rest in the local communites, and that they shut out all m anner of political opportunists seeking to become the next Obama or politician using the movement as a launching pad. Only if power is in the hands of the people will it succeed.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The police are not the 99%...

The police are not part of the 99%, they are the army of the 1%!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Struggles for freedom from Montreal to Los Angeles |

Struggles for freedom from Montreal to Los Angeles |

The October 2011 edition of No One Is Illegal Radio lends a focus to local struggles against deportations, on movements against police killings, and organizing for rights for temporary workers and workers in temp agencies. Also a historical and current account of people of colour organizing in Los Angeles, U.S.A..
Rosalind Wong of Solidarity Across Borders discusses the recent deportation of Mexican refugee mother of two, Paola Ortiz, who had been living in Montreal after fleeing violence in Mexico. Rosalind also provides perspective on importance of directly supporting those facing deportations in the struggle to create a world in which people have the ability to migrate freely.
Joey Calugay of Montreal's Immigrant Worker's Centre, discussing the intersections between temporary work agencies and the exploitation of migrant labour in Montreal and across Canada.
Joaquin Cienfuegos of Copwatch L.A. and the Native Youth Movement, provides his perspective on autonomous organizing by people of colour in Los Angelas against police brutality, the history of gangs in L.A., and how these issues intersect with the Black Power movement. This audio is from the second International Copwatch Conference, which took place in Winnipeg in July 2011, from on a panel entitled "Gangs and the Police".
Bridget Tolley, an indigenous woman living in Kitiganzibi, and co-founder of Families of Sisters in Spirit discusses her struggle for truth and justice following the killing of her mother on her reserve by the police, and the importance of supporting families in this situation. She invites people to join Montreal's second annual Justice for Victims of Police Killings March & Vigil on October 22nd, organized by the families, friends, and allies of people killed by the police.

Paulo Freire

"[T]he act of rebellion by the oppressed (an act which is always, or nearly always, as violent as the initial violence of the oppressors) can initiate love." Paulo Freire in Pedagogy of the Oppressed

To Occupy and Unoccupy


To Occupy And Unoccupy

7 Votes
“This is a war that’s been going on since the invasion of North America.”
- Rev. Pedro Pietri 
With the ongoing Occupation movement on Wall Street and the growing occupation movements going on around the US, this is just a reminder that some of us have been dealing with occupation for centuries now. Although we support the ideas behind Occupy Wall Street and the other Occupation movements we want those who have chosen to use the terminology of “Occupation” to be aware of the hidden and unrecognized history behind that word when it comes to non-white peoples.
Those of us who are not white have had to deal with this “occupation” in one form or another since 1492 when Columbus “discovered” America, for himself. That discovery opened the door for other European nations hell-bent, fighting and tripping over themselves to colonize, rape, plunder and enrich themselves at the expense of indigenous peoples. From the genocide of the native populations in the Caribbean, North, Central and South America that this “occupation” brought to us over 500 years ago to the holocaust of the trans-Atlantic African slave trade and subsequent rampant colonization of Africa. The story of the occupation of indigenous lands doesn’t just end with wholesale murder but continues today in new forms of violence. The eradication of native peoples language, culture and history is the new “occupation”. With the success of the forced occupation of native peoples land, the only thing left to occupy is the minds of those who managed to survive…
The greatest misconception that white people have is that only non-whites have to deal with racism. What whites have failed to realize is that racism is only the frosting on the cake of class warfare. What is done to non-whites under the guise of racism is a test run for what they will eventually do to you. The irony of the situation is that we non-whites who have been dealing with this “occupation” for over five centuries were the canary in the coal mine. But you refused to see the graffiti on the wall. Now that you have lost your homes to banks and your livelihoods to unemployment and your once bright white futures have been painted black, (pun intended) and you are beginning to feel what we have lived with for more than half an eon.
UNOCCUPY HAWAII by vagabond ©
UNOCCUPY HAWAII by vagabond ©
If you ever wonder why more people of color haven’t yet swelled your “occupation” ranks it may be because historically, once you have what you want, you’ll go back to occupying the comfortable role of white privilege that led you to believe that racism was different from classism. What you are experiencing is old hat for us, the forced removal from your homes, the inability to find work that pays a living wage, the police brutality, frivolous arrests, and your adventures with the justice shitstem, even your homeless encampment are just a few of the things we have lived with for longer than you would care to imagine. We have lived with a knowledge of things that you are now, only beginning to realize.
This is a warning to you that your “Occupy…” movement will fail unless you reach out to those who have a lot more experience with “occupation” than you ever will have. Let me reiterate that people of color support your ideas in striking back at this ongoing class warfare but this movement will fail if it doesn’t realize that this didn’t begin with the collapse of the financial shitstem in 2008… it began long, long, long, before then. Unless you begin to deal with the roots of this occupation that began 500 years ago you’re current occupation will fail.
This is also an invitation for you to open up your dialogue to non-whites who have been at the frontlines of this “occupation” and have suffered the most casualties because of it. If you want to succeed in creating a more egalitarian society then it would behoove you to reach out to the ones who have suffered the most inequality. Otherwise you risk becoming the very same occupation that we have come to hate, and that you are only beginning to feel, and you risk changing nothing.

No One Is Illegal Montréal Personne n'est illégal Radio

Getting ready to tech No One Is Illegal Montréal Personne n'est illégal Radio. Robyn Ro Byn has put together a great show, with Yougotthewrong Wong (Rosalind Wong of Solidarity Across Borders), Joey Calugay from the IWC, Joaquin Cienfuegos on gangs and policing from the Copwatch conference, & Bridget Tolley with an appeal to attend the Justice pour les victimes de bavures policières: Vigile, manif et marche (October 22). Listen live at or 90.3FM in Montreal.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Somos Los de Abajo

Alex Soto on Occupy Phoenix

As an Tohono O'odham, who lives in Phoenix, let alone an Indigenous person of this region, we live through the nightmare of the 1% total disregard of Indigenous self-determination and overall Human Rights. I would HOPE all who are now mobilizing in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, would stop and think about what does that mean? Is Occupy Phoenix solidarity symbolic in meaning (i.e. rallying against Bank and the overall financial system downtown), or is it very intentional in challenging the destructive behaviors that the capitalist system, and all those in power that horde it (the 1%), release towards our communities? If the second (which I get from the comparison to Arab Spring by the Occupy Wall Street site), then we ALL need to address colonization, because if not, then this is just another "white" revolution, that perpetuates the initial destruction of the 1% (i.e. European setters), that nearly wiped the 99% population of Indigenous folk off the continent. I would hope any mobilization against Capitalism here in AZ starts with local and regional context, and provide space for those who have been fighting capitalism (the 1%!) for 519 years(Indigenous People, who contrary to popular belief, ARE STILL HERE!).

My people are fighting against the proposed two billion dollar South Mountain Freeway (out on the Gila River Indian Community, ) and Border Militarization (on the Tohono O'odham Nation). THESE two examples stem from Neo-Liberal projects, such as NAFTA! Freeways, Border walls all benefit capital (i.e. Wall Street). Walls regulate the flow of goods, manage labor and destroy communities with roads paved to transfer capital from Mexico to Canada (CANAMEX trade corridors). Believe it or not, the Financial system (Wall Street) benefits off this shit. My people are stuck in this nightmare! So if you want to challenge the 1% (the rich who benefit off this destruction) with Occupy Phoenix solidarity, PLEASE…provide space, then address capitalism (colonization) here, and be in solidarity the first 99% of resisters, us Indigenous folk…

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Some thoughts on the Occupation Movement

 "The only thing more irritating than people doing absolutely nothing to make the world a better place are those actively trying to make it worse, but coming in a strong third? Those whose well-meaning efforts to make the world better are so misguided that they make things worse by default."

 -Keli Goff regarding "Slut Walk" can also apply to the Occupation "movement"

"Let’s begin by approaching the name of the first encampment, Occupy Wall Street, by stating what we feel should be obvious: every city on the continent is occupied indigenous land. Wall Street was built on Algonquian land, and has been occupied ever since. After African slaves built Wall Street for European settlers, it was home to the slave market, and eventually became an African burial ground for up to 20,000 bodies. Since its arrival on this continent, capitalism has always been a system of exploitation based on race."


"The organizers of Occupy L.A. have been working in cooperation with the LAPD since the beginning."

-Some Thoughts on Occupy L.A. General Assembly by Victor

 "We ALL need to address colonization, because if not, then this is just another "white" revolution, that perpetuates the initial destruction of the 1% (i.e. European setters), that nearly wiped the 99% population of Indigenous folk off the continent. I would hope any mobilization against Capitalism here in AZ starts with local and regional context, and provide space for those who have been fighting capitalism (the 1%!) for 519 years(Indigenous People, who contrary to popular belief, ARE STILL HERE!). "

-Alex Soto on Occupy Phoenix

"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."

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

Some of my thoughts on the Occupation Movement and Occupy L.A.

-Joaquin Cienfuegos

I wasn't too excited about occupyla and the occupation movement in general, it seemed to me like a white middle class movement, and most of the folks leading it, I have doubts about their intention, seems like a "take back america" for the white middle class struggle.

Hearing from comrades all over, just countless stories about oppressed people being excluded.

I think there are some genuine people involved there who want to see change happen and were hoping that this was going to be the revolution and are being duped by the leadership, who is working with the police and the state.

The only way i think it's going to go anywhere is if the oppressed people are in the forefront, and make it about the people (the oppressed) not about their own ego or liberal issue.  The revolution isn't going to come from the privileged sectors of society or liberals.

Unchecked privilege in the movement makes it harder for us to achieve our goals.

-Joaquin Cienfuegos

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Decolonize Wall Street

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

OCTOBER 1, 2011
By Jessica Yee
The “OCCUPY WALL STREET” slogan has gone viral and international now.  From the protests on the streets of WALL STREET in the name of “ending capitalism” – organizers, protestors, and activists have been encouraged to “occupy” different places that symbolize greed and power.  There’s just one problem: THE UNITED STATES IS ALREADY BEING OCCUPIED. THIS IS INDIGENOUS LAND. And it’s been occupied for quite some time now.
I also need to mention that New York City is Haudenosaunee territory and home to many other First Nations. Waiting to see if that’s been mentioned anywhere.
Not that I’m surprised that this was a misstep in organizing against Wall Street or really any organizing that happens when the “left” decides that it’s going to “take back America for the people” (which people?!). This is part of a much larger issue, and in fact there is so much nationalistic, patriotic language of imperialism wrapped up in these types of campaigns that it’s no wonder people can’t see the erasure of existence of the First Peoples of THIS territory that happens when we get all high and mighty with the pro-America agendas, and forget our OWN complicity and accountability to the way things are today – not just the corporations and the state.
Let me be clear. I’m not against ending capitalism and I’m not against people organizing to hold big corporations accountable for the extreme damage they are causing.  Yes, we need to end globalization. What I am saying is that I have all kinds of problems when to get to “ending capitalism” we step on other people’s rights – and in this case erode Indigenous rights – to make the point. I’m not saying people did it intentionally but that doesn’t even matter – good intentions are not enough and good intentions obviously can have adverse affects. This is such a played out old record too, walking on other people’s backs to get to a mystical land of equity.  Is it really just and equitable when specific people continue to be oppressed to get there? And it doesn’t have to be done! 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?
I can’t get on board with the nationalism of  an “American” (or now “Canadian!”) revolution – I just can’t.  There has been too much genocide and violence for the United States and Canada to be founded and to continue to exist as nation states.  I think John Paul Montano, Anishnaabe writer captured it quite well in his “Open Letter to Occupy Wall Street Activists”:
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.
I will leave you with this new art piece from Erin Konsmo (also pictured above), our fabulous intern at The Native Youth Sexual Health Network she created on “OCCUPY: THE GAME OF COLONIALISM”.  Hopefully you get the picture now.

An Open Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Activists

Thank you for your courage. Thank you for making an attempt to improve the situation in what is now called the United States. Thank you for your commitment to peace and non-violence. Thank you for the sacrifices you are making. Thank you.

There's just one thing. I am not one of the 99 percent that you refer to. And, that saddens me. Please don't misunderstand me. I would like to be one of the 99 percent... but you've chosen to exclude me. Perhaps it was unintentional, but, I've been excluded by you. In fact, there are millions of us indigenous people who have been excluded from the Occupy Wall Street protest. Please know that I suspect that it was an unintentional exclusion on your part. That is why I'm writing to you. I believe that you can make this right. (I hope you're still smiling.)

It seems that ever since we indigenous people have discovered Europeans and invited them to visit with us here on our land, we've had to endure countless '-isms' and religions and programs and social engineering that would "fix" us. Protestantism, Socialism, Communism, American Democracy, Christianity, Boarding SchoolsResidential Schools,... well, you get the idea. And, it seems that these so-called enlightened strategies were nearly always enacted and implemented and pushed upon us without our consent. And, I'll assume that you're aware of how it turned out for us. Yes. Terribly.

Which brings me back to your mostly-inspiring Occupy Wall Street activities. On September 22nd, with great excitement, I eagerly read your "one demand" statement. Hoping and believing that you enlightened folks fighting for justice and equality and an end to imperialism, etc., etc., 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. See where I'm going with this? I hope you're still smiling. We're still friends, so don't sweat it. I believe your hearts are in the right place. I know that this whole genocide and colonization thing causes all of us lots of confusion sometimes. It just seems to me that you're unknowingly doing the same thing to us that all the colonizers before you have done: you want to do stuff on our land without asking our permission.

But, fear not my friends. We indigenous people have a sense of humor. So, I thought I might make a few friendly suggestions which may help to "fix" the pro-colonialism position in which you now (hopefully, unintentionally) find yourselves. (Please note my use of the word "fix" in the previous sentence. That's an attempt at a joke. You can refer to the third paragraph if you'd like an explanation.)

By the way, I'm just one indigenous person. I represent no one except myself. I'm acting alone in writing this letter. Perhaps none of my own Nishnaabe people will support me in having written this. Perhaps some will. I respect their opinions either way. I love my Nishnaabe people always. I am simply trying to do something good - same as all of you at the Occupy Wall Street protest in what is now called New York.

So, here goes. (You're still smiling, right?)

1) Acknowledge that the United States of America is a colonial country, a country of settlers, built upon the land of indigenous nations; and/or...

2) Demand immediate freedom for indigenous political prisonerLeonard Peltier; and/or...

3) Demand that the colonial government of the United States of America honor all treaties signed with all indigenous nations whose lands are now collectively referred to as the "United States of America"; and/or...

4) Make some kind of mention that you are indeed aware that you are settlers and that you are not intending to repeat the mistakes of all of the settler do-gooders that have come before you. In other words, that you are willing to obtain the consent of indigenous people before you do anything on indigenous land.

I hope you find this list useful. I eagerly await your response, my friends.

Miigwech! ( ~"Thank you!" )

JohnPaul Montano