From:   Winter Siroco <wintersiroco@gmail.com>
Sent time:   Wednesday, October 12, 2011 8:15:19 AM
To:   september17@googlegroups.com
Cc:   Alexander White Plume <alexanderwhiteplume@yahoo.com>; Medora Woods <mw4311@q.com>; Tiokasin Ghosthorse <tiokasin@gmail.com>; Glenn Morris <gtm303@gmail.com>; Bahareh Seyedi <t.seyedi@gmail.com>; Roberto Borrero <indigenous.committee@gmail.com>; Janene Yazzie <jy2157@barnard.edu>; Rosalie Alfonso <ralfonso@sfsu.edu>
Subject:   Re: [september17discuss] Zionist speaker at OWS outreach training
 

While some at Liberty Plaza are trying to "Recover the American Dream" (hallucination would be more appropriate) some of us are trying to "End the American Nightmare". 

Many voices have yet to be fully heard at Zuccotti Park before we can reclaim its original name. 
Let's have a dialogue with multiple voices, not a consensual monologue. 

I am so glad we had the Day In solidarity with Indigenous People instead of the infamous Columbus Day, and that we had great moments and that our internal problems are brought to the Sunlight. We should start working our minds for a new meaning of Thanksgiving Day, and for everyday.

If you are interested in hearing truly oppressed voices, please, read the threads that follow.

I do think that my posting very much belongs here, and that other problems of blacks and undocumented workers (many of them indigenous people displaced by other horror histories of oppression) belong here too.
Cesar    
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kent Lebsock <oweakuinternational@me.com>
Date: Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 9:13 AM

I understand that racism is not necessarily unique in a situation like this.  And I'm happy to discuss it with anyone.  However, we would hope that you would also understand that as Native peoples we go through this every single time we talk to a group of any kind because the issues are buried, hidden, misunderstood, fantasized, mythical, and denied.  Americans deny genocide.  Americans think their history with Indians consists of Thanksgiving... and fear.  Like that one facilitator said to me, 'you're not special.'  But she is wrong and until she and others like it realize that, whatever you do is doomed to failure.  Are there other groups in this country who, in order to be removed from their land and their resources stolen, were massacred or starved to death?  Are there other groups whose children were literally stolen and taken hundreds of miles from home to be reconditioned to NOT live in the cultures of their birth?  Are there other groups in this country who's teenage suicide rate is the highest in the Americas?  Are there other groups with unemployment rates of between 65 and 95 percent.  Are there other groups whose average life expectancy is 55?  Are there other groups in this country who have been fighting colonists, capitalist, christians, kings, empires, democracies and oligarchies for 519 years to simply preserve their right to exist?  No, none.  So she, and those who think like her, are wrong.  I firmly believe that until America and Americans recognize, accept and atone for their own history, this hemisphere will always have a dark cloud hanging over it for all the immigrants coming here.  That system is bound to fail because you cannot ever connect to a land that you murder and cheat and lie in order to occupy.  Whether that occupation is colonial Virginia or Zucotti Park, you will fail without listening to Indigneous peoples and turning to our connection to the Earth.  Our prophecies say so.  History shows it. Contemporary events support it.  

Feel free to share anything I say.  The first step in any encounter is transparency.

Wopila.  Hecetu

On Oct 12, 2011, at 08:55 AM, Cesar Arenas-Mena <arenasmena@gmail.com> wrote:

Dear Kent, Glenn, Tiokasin, Roberto and Janene,

I propose to bring your concerns to the general OWS email discussion group. If you agree, I could post your letter today.


The easiest thing to do would be to forget about it and walk our way, but if we are serious about transforming the world we should start by transforming minds. I am not myself very prone to the task, but stupidity, ignorance and conscious or unconscious bigotry will only be defeated after confrontation.


Your incident was not the first, and it will not be the last. Similar concerns have been raised about Palestinian rights and a Zionist who joined a working group. I do not think there will be any transformation of our society if we do not define and defend what we stand for.


I not only ask you to share your concerns with the group, but to join the ongoing discussion (I could request your inclusion in the OWS email group). There will be no consensus but monologue if only privileged voices are heard.


We have many beautiful documents already, about human rights, freedoms and treaties of mutual respect, just ink and paper if the words do not reach our souls.


Give it some thought, a lot of people should hear what you have to say, and it is not so often that people gets ready to hear and speak truth.  Join those of us who are serious about truly changing the way we treat each other.


Cesar 

We are waking up from the American Nightmare.                                                                             


On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 12:37 PM, Tiokasin Ghosthorse <tiokasin@gmail.com> wrote:
September 17, 1787
 I got into a bit of a tiff with one washicu woman who was clearly completely uneducated (she used the old refrain, "I didn't have anything to do with colonization and it wasn't her responsibility."). 

 Kent, 
This is an example or an excuse to not take individual responsibility in all aspects of education themselves on the real issues rather than their privileges. I often have a response to this American Exceptionalism. I usually ask them if they follow the democracy and the U.S. Constitution signed over 200 years ago and most often they say, "yes."
If I feel inclined, I remind them of what the document's signers did to the Original Peoples of this land called Turtle Island. Then I use their own words so to speak and say "well I wasn't there on September 17, 1777 and I didn't sign the constitution nor did my people so why should I have to follow your laws? 

The 500 year old generational denial is even buried deeper, even with the "Occupy" movement. 

On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 11:55 AM, Kent L <oweakuinternational@me.com> wrote:
Well, I'm gearing up to write a report (I'm starting to feel my age after shouting and standing all evening) but basically the "facilitators" of the "general assembly" said that they weren't "set-up" to consider any kind of declaration so they couldn't "endorse" it.  It would, they said, be treating Indians as "special."  I got into a bit of a tiff with one washicu woman who was clearly completely uneducated (she used the old refrain, "I didn't have anything to do with colonization and it wasn't her responsibility.").  Though they didn't want to treat Indigenous peoples as special, it was in a private meeting of the "facilitators" that this decision occurred (after having told us they would consider it in the General Assembly.  Apparently they have learned well from their system of privilege and hierarchy and failed to see the irony.  We did present it to the "general assembly" (maybe a thousand people) and asked them to endorse it as groups if they wanted and even offered to come back and do a teach-in in a more intimate setting for those interested, but I doubt it will go anywhere.

Nonetheless, the people who had worked with us from "Occupy Wall Street", a young woman named Bahareh and a gentlemen named Cesar, were very supportive and did their best to make sure we were able to make our presentations.  I spoke generally about colonialism, capitalism, and a culture designed to create physical and economic reservations based on the devastation of the Earth, trying to follow Rosalie's suggestion about connecting the dots for a non-Indian audience.  Roberto Borrero from the United Taino Confederacy spoke more directly to the issue of Columbus and genocide and Tiokasin Ghost Horse talked some about the Indigneous history of Manhattan with input from Steve Newcomb (Leni Lenape).  We rounded it off with Janene Yazzie, a young Navajo Deneh activist who is now going to school here in New York.  She spoke about the responsibilities within Indigenous cultures to the community, the Earth and the future generations.  The overall message was, hopefully, until the rights of Indigenous peoples are addressed there will be no healing for the planet or anybody else.  I alluded to that when I told the "facilitator" that I though it would be shameful for them, if New York, the source of the now world-wide "occupy" movement could not find away to endorse the Declaration of Indigenous peoples.  Its demonstrative of elitism for sure and the concerns of our peoples and other communities of color.

Moving forward, I'm not sure what to do.  That will require some reflection, input and prayer.  In many ways, it was the same story.  As I said in an earlier email to our folks, it's like 1977 at the United Nations.  No one gets it and it will be a very long road to educate them on it.  In this setting, I'm not sure its worth our very limited resources, both human and financial.  On the other hand, this should be a progressive crowd with whom a valuable alliance could be built.  Frankly, though, when people are asked, no matter how progressive, to give up their comfort and privilege in exchange for a principle, we've all learned what they choose.

In concluding this brief update though, I want to state that the people in the square, the ones who took the time to listen and talk to us and read our Declaration, were very receptive and welcoming and whatever happens they have my blessing.  But if it comes to defending the preservation of the Lakota way of life, if I have to, I'll take on any of them.
On Oct 10, 2011, at 11:57 PM, Glenn Morris wrote:

> Hi, Kent,
> Just checking to see what the results of the Wall Street general assembly were?  Thanks.
> Glenn




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On Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 8:12 AM, Matthew Presto <matthew.presto@gmail.com> wrote:
A couple hundred representatives from Students for Justice in Palestine are coming to New York this weekend. There's talk of them coming to the occupation on Sunday afternoon.


On Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 7:35 AM, Amin Husain <amin.husain@gmail.com> wrote:
Andy and Layan - What do you think is needed to make things better?

On Oct 12, 2011, at 7:32 AM, shaista husain <shaistahusain@gmail.com> wrote:

> Can we have a teach in in front of UN? The NYU speak out was
> successful. Perhaps a UN speak out will also be just as successful to
> bring attention to the failed policies.
>
> On Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 7:06 AM, Amin Husain <amin.husain@gmail.com> wrote:
>> I am happy to help with a teach-in.
>>
>> On Oct 12, 2011, at 3:49 AM, Layan Fuleihan <lsfuleihan@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> I agree wholeheartedly.  As an arab-american with Palestinian roots, I've
>> been encouraged by the amount of support and inclusion so far in the square.
>>  This is definitely not something I'm used to seeing, and it is really
>> heartwarming and encouraging.  There are of course differences of opinion,
>> and while I personally do not see any reason at all to support a zionist
>> political agenda, I will respect the right of anyone involved with OWS to
>> have their own opinions regarding this issue.
>> However, there is a difference between having personal opinions and being
>> afraid to hear all sides.  What it sounds like happened (and I wasn't there,
>> so I apologize if this is inaccurate) is, with the downward finger signs and
>> general disapproval, and unwillingness to face an uncomfortable truth.  If
>> this isn't then time, then when?
>> OWS is not about being comfortable.  Isn't this supposed to be a place where
>> voices that are usually oppressed to finally be heard?  If anyone has any
>> critique about anything that goes on in the square, it must be fairly
>> considered.  The specific context of the J-14 protests is specifically
>> concerning:  yes, the J-14 protests might have been similar to ours in form
>> and style and subject, but the real housing crisis in Israel happened half a
>> century ago with the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and
>> continues today with settlement expansion and an institutionalized policy of
>> racism and apartheid.  These are facts that are, at this point, impossible
>> to ignore and undeniable, there is more than enough human and material
>> evidence so that this becomes larger than politics, it is an issue of basic
>> human rights.  To speak of the J14 protests without at least acknowledging
>> this reality goes against what I understand is one of the main central
>> productive abilities of OWS that gives it such credibility: a drive to
>> unmask the forms of oppression the national and global system currently
>> creates.  Further, it is our responsibility to face these facts: the
>> disproportionately large U.S. financial and political support of Israel
>> makes this issue urgently relevant to our protests.
>> I second Andy's suggestion for a teach in and discussion between different
>> groups to start coming to an understanding on this topic.  I truly believe
>> that OWS is the space for this sort of productive discussion to happen, I've
>> seen it happen, and I'm very optimistic that it can occur again.
>> Thanks,
>> Layan
>>
>> On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 9:41 PM, acpollack2@juno.com <acpollack2@juno.com>
>> wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>> Tonight (Tuesday) was the first Occupy Wall Street outreach training. I
>>> was shocked to hear that the first speaker after the introduction would be
>>> an activist from the Israeli "tent protests," the racist movement which was
>>> fighting for cheaper rents and mortgages for stolen homes on stolen land.
>>> OWS has responded to criticisms of
>>> inadequate leadership and participation and addressing of issues by and
>>> regarding people of color by fostering discussion and restructuring. The
>>> racist "tent protest" movement responded to equivalent challenges from
>>> Palestinians by telling them, "shut
>>> up, leave us alone, don't divide the movement."
>>> I waited to hear what the speaker (Ezra something) had to say, and it was
>>> as bad as I feared. It was all about the technical issues of outreach and
>>> democracy, and not one word about outreach to Palestinians or inclusion of
>>> their issues.
>>> When he finished I got the floor (even though there hadn't been discussion
>>> time planned for that agenda point) and made some of the above points.
>>> Almost as soon as I began speaking murmurs of disagreement and calls of
>>> "this isn't the time" and downward "twinkling" hand motions began. One of
>>> the facilitators asked the
>>> speaker to respond, and he said "it's a question of outreach. I did
>>> outreach to Palestinians in Israel who were leery of joining the movement.
>>> You'll have to do the same in the Bronx. The issue of Palestinians in the
>>> movement won't be settled here."
>>> Well, yes, Mr. Zionist, it will be settled here. There is a huge
>>> Palestinian exile community in the US, with that in NY being one of the
>>> biggest components. They want their land back, they want their homes back,
>>> and they want the right to return. They have no
>>> interest in a movement which haggles over the rent paid by Jews to Jews
>>> for stolen property. They can't even return to visit because of exclusionary
>>> laws passed by your racist state.
>>> I have been having a hell of a great time building OWS, especially its
>>> labor component, and encouraging Palestinians and other Arabs to join in.
>>> That will cease until there is some clarification of exactly where OWS
>>> stands on these issues.
>>> I can't continue to encourage Palestinians to come to OWS events for fear
>>> that they might be surprised, as I was tonight, by the promotion of a racist
>>> Zionist speaker. When 30,000 Bedouins are being driven out of their homes,
>>> when settlers are escalating murderous attacks and destroying thousands of
>>> olive trees, how can I recruit people to a movement which promotes a speaker
>>> who thinks this is all irrelevant?
>>> I don't presume to know what the opinions of the rest of the leadership of
>>> OWS is on this question, and I would be happy to help organize a discussion
>>> -- preferably with Palestinian activists, the OWS People of Color committee,
>>> and a representative group from
>>> the OWS leadership -- to resolve this.
>>> How can OWS promote the great revolutionary speech by Mohammed Ezzeldin on
>>> Saturday and then promote this racist tonight?
>>> The REAL movement OWS can learn from in the region is that of the refugees
>>> in May and June who tried to reoccupy their homes in historic Palestine by
>>> crossing the borders, some of whom were mercilessly gunned down.
>>> Photos have begun to surface in stories about the current Palestinian
>>> hunger strike in which at solidarity demonstrations for the prisoners,
>>> Palestinians are holding up signs reading "Occupy Wall Street, Not
>>> Palestine!" How can we let them down?
>>> Until such time I will be devoting my organizing efforts to where they
>>> were overwhelmingly before OWS erupted: the Palestine solidarity movement.
>>> In solidarity (I hope),
>>> Andy Pollack
>>> Al-Awda NY: the Palestine Right to Return Coalition
>>> For background and context:
>>>
>>> http://electronicintifada.net/blog/jalal-abukhater/what-tent-protest-really-about
>>>
>>> http://electronicintifada.net/content/tel-aviv-arab-spring-ignores-arabs/10374
>>> http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2011/ajl160811.html
>>>
>>> http://maxblumenthal.com/2011/08/the-exclusive-revolution-israeli-social-justice-and-the-s
>>> eparation-principle/#more-2195
>>>
>>
>>


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