I totally agree with this statement, and I think that we should discuss all of these issues and invite any one to discuss their experiences. We could even consider putting forth Harsha Walia's piece as a Principle of the Occupation. I just think it dangerous to start endorsing individual groups.
Yeah I really agree. Harsha Walia makes this point really well in her
"Letter to Occupy Together Movement" published just a few days ago:
"In creating a unified space of opposition to the 1 per cent, we must also
simultaneously foster critical education to learn about the range of
systemic injustices that many of us in the 99 per cent have faced
historically and continue to face daily. In the context of the Occupy
Together movement, the connection between the nature and structure of the
political economy and systemic injustice is clear: the growing disparity
in wealth and economic inequality being experienced in this city and
across this country is nothing new for low-income racialized communities,
particularly single mothers, who face the double brunt of scapegoating
during periods of economic recession. This cannot be pejoratively
dismissed as a "reduction to identity politics" or about being "divisive,"
which for many re-enforces the patterns of silencing and marginalization.
The idea of the multitude is powerful; it forces a contestation of any one
lived experience binding the 99 per cent. Embracing this plurality and
having an open heart to potentially uncomfortable truths about systemic
injustice and oppression beyond just the "evil corporations and greedy
banks" will actually 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. I would argue that it has historically been a mistake to
cater movements to the idea of lowest common denominator "mainstream"
politics. To be clear, I do not disagree with needing to reach out to as
broad a base -- i.e. the 99 per cent -- as possible; what I am arguing is
that we have to critically examine who constitutes the "mainstream." If
Indigenous communities, homeless people, immigrants, LGBTs, seniors and
others are all considered "special-interest groups" (despite the fact that
they 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." Therefore, this should not be
misunderstood as advocating for a pecking order of issues or priorities;
it is about understanding that the 99 per cent is not a homogenous group
but a web of inter-connected and inter-related communities in struggle. As
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 economic inequality and the growing disparity in wealth
locally and globally."
(full letter herehttp://rabble.ca/news/2011/10/acknowledgement-occupations-occupied-land-essential
> If we don't want to give endorsements for individual groups, that's fine,
> but we can't use that as cover to avoid making a clear statement about
> opposition to racial oppression in all its forms and to step up our
> in solidarity with struggles for racial justice. That would be to turn our
> back on a huge segment (a majority globally) of the 99% and their
> for justice, which are organically connected to the fight against
> On Sun, Oct 16, 2011 at 10:50 AM, <email@example.com
>> The history of the "divide and conquer" technique is to pit the poor
>> against the poor, the middle against the lower, the middle against upper
>> middle, the white collar against the blue, the Irish against the
>> the whites against the blacks, the blacks against the koreans, the shia
>> against the sunni, the mormons against the evangelicals, the workers
>> the immigrants, union against nonunion, and both sides usually have, or
>> believe they have, some truth on their side. The more we buy into the
>> divisions, the more we divide ourselves. The more we focus on specific
>> groups, the more we lose focus on the "dividers" and become dividers
>> We should have positive principles about how people should treat each
>> other, and blanket endorse people that follow those principles. This
>> the advantage of shaping their behavior, instead of okaying any thing
>> do ahead of time.
>> There are about 10,000 little groups that we would like endorsements
>> At 2hrs of GA time to reciprocate to each endorsement, that comes to
>> hrs of debate.
>> Let's divide the corporations and their minions from the rest of us,
>> worry about each of the millions of conflicts in the world. If we are
>> get as powerful as we would like to be, we should be looking for
>> *Win/Win*solutions to the problems of the world, not picking sides
>> between groups,
>> winners and losers.
>> On 10/16/11, Doug Singsen<firstname.lastname@example.org
>> Thank you for this endorsement, MJEB! We need to figure out a way to
>> reciprocate statements of support like this from groups representing
>> of color and fighting against their oppression. Saying that "we don't do
>> endorsements" is not an acceptable answer. We need to have a better
>> than that. OWS has become much more ethnically diverse in terms of the
>> people visiting the occupation and participating in marches, but the
>> groups continue to be very white-dominated, which means that the people
>> actually making the decisions are mostly white. And there have been
>> reports of people of color having their voices squelched when they try
>> put racial oppression on OWS's agenda. This is unacceptable and very
>> destructive for the potential of OWS! We need to support and be
>> supported by
>> people of color in the US and around the world. We need to unite the
>> 99% and take up all the struggles for justice that the entire class is
>> fighting. It's time we got our act together on this. I personally think
>> we need to get over the hostility to "endorsements" of specific groups.
>> will not destroy our movement. But if that is not possible, we need to
>> figure out some other way to put ourselves on record as standing in
>> solidarity with people of color and being committed to fighting all
>> forms of
>> racial oppression and to step up our efforts to put those views into
>> On Sat, Oct 15, 2011 at 3:24 PM,
>>> DECLARATION IN SUPPORT OF OCCUPY WALL ST.
>>> The following âDeclaration in Support of Occupy Wall St.â by Movement
>>> Justice in El Barrio was shared on Sunday, October 9th, 2011 during
>>> participation at Occupy Wall St.
>>> To the General Assembly of Occupy Wall St.:
>>> To the dignities that resist in the world:
>>> To civil society:
>>> Receive greetings and embraces of solidarity from East Harlem, New
>>> We are Movement for Justice in El Barrio, an organization of immigrants
>>> El Barrio, NYC that fights for human dignity and against community
>>> displacement driven by neoliberal globalization. We are a community,
>>> like in other corners of the world, large transnational corporations
>>> the bad government constantly seek to displace.
>>> We fight for the liberation of every marginalized group, such as
>>> immigrants, people of color, women, lesbians, gays, transgender people,
>>> and all the poor of the world. As predominantly Mexican immigrants, we
>>> part of The Other Campaign â a national Mexican movement that seeks to
>>> unify all the struggles from below and to the left. This movement was
>>> initiated by our beloved Zapatista brothers and sisters in Chiapas,
>>> Mexico. We walk with them to change the world from below.
>>> Movement for Justice in El Barrio fights independently and outside of
>>> elite political class and political parties of those from above.
>>> We fight against the capitalist system and against the servants of that
>>> system, which are the politicians of political parties such as the
>>> Democratic Party and the Republican Party. We know that the political
>>> class works for the benefit of those from above and against those from
>>> The majority of us come from Mexico, which is a strong military and
>>> economic corridor of those in power. We also know that the dictatorship
>>> Mexico is also a major ally to the bad government that oppresses us
>>> in the United States.
>>> Today, together we contest the neoliberal bad governments and
>>> globalizationâs global capitalism.
>>> We, Movement for Justice in El Barrio, have always believed that
>>> cannot be written by those from above, and we have acted upon this
>>> conviction. The bad governments cannot contain forever the anxieties of
>>> people that desires to be free; of a people of women, men, elderly and
>>> children who demand freedom, justice, and democracy.
>>> Today, we embrace all the struggles that resist with dignity, and are
>>> fighting against the war of death, which the neoliberal beast and its
>>> savage governments impose on us.
>>> Today we embrace all the hearts of humble and simple people who, like
>>> are also dignified and rebellious. We are writing history, the history
>>> our struggle for life and against death, which the political systems
>>> every corner of the world impose upon us.
>>> Today we embrace all the dignified hearts that together are building
>>> below and to the left, tearing down and shaking off of the world all
>>> lies that the political system imposes upon us.
>>> Today we embrace all of the dignified hearts that, in their own time,
>>> their own style and form of struggle, are revealing the destructive and
>>> deathly realities that neoliberalism is causing in our places of
>>> Today we embrace all of the dignities that fight to preserve our
>>> and practices that give us our own identity as human beings, that take
>>> pride in being different, and that fight for a better world for our
>>> children and our childrenâs children â a world in which many worlds
>>> Movement for Justice in El Barrio denounces the mass media for always
>>> telling the history of those from above. Now that people have shown
>>> peace without justice is a farce, the mass media continue to tell us
>>> story of those from above and of the victory they wish to see, to the
>>> benefit of the big companies.
>>> They tell us that a people without leaders does not truly know what it
>>> wants, but this is not true. They tell us that people need politicians
>>> imposed upon them so that they may be lead, else become savages. But we
>>> know who the true savages are. We denounce the mainstream media and the
>>> multinational corporations of those from above for blocking and
>>> the right of the community to communicate and express itself.
>>> We have the right to be free and that is why we fight for our
>>> and for the liberation of all those from below.
>>> The humble and noble people of El Barrio support you. Your cause is our
>>> With love and solidarity,
>>> Movement for Justice in El Barrio