Tel Aviv, but not Gaza?
“Occupy Together” has since the beginning noted solidarity with Tel Aviv. The J14 protest movement in Israel have been problematic in purposefully not extending their solidarity to occupied Palestine. Given this backdrop, it was surprising to see a tweet earlier this month by Occupy Wall Street in solidarity with humanitarian vessels attempting to reach Gaza’s shores. Hours later, however, as Ben Lorber writes:
…Occupy Wall Street’s tweet mysteriously disappeared from its home page on Twitter. The Twitter-sphere was instantly taken aback- “didn’t realize #OWS is non-political!!” remarked one tweeter, while another insisted that “If #OWS can not support #FreedomWaves and #Gaza then they should not compare themselves to #ArabSpring or #Tahrir.” The Canada Boat to Gaza, who earlier had nodded in satisfaction, now, shook its head in disappointment, offering, in the face of Occupy Wall Street’s fear of involving itself in the Israel-Palestine conflict, a few words by Desmond Tutu: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
Full post here!
Bruce Dixon of the Black Agenda Report asks what would have been the case if OWS was a heavily dominated people of color initiative from the onset (read block quote below) before looking onward towards possibilities. Based out of Atlanta, Dixon mentions how race issues are met with resistance and dismissed as ‘divisive’ while also noting how gentrification in the city can be addressed by activists who bend the influence towards the everyday concerns of black folk.
If the first occupiers in Zucotti Park had been young and black, they’d instantly have been branded a street gang and arrested en masse, with or without violence, but certainly with little media play or sympathy. If the first occupiers were black, and blathering about the ravages of finance capital and how neither of the two parties were worth a damn, they certainly would not have been endorsed by what passes for the preacher-infested local leadership of black communities. Tied as they are to corporate philanthropy, corporate financing, the corporate-run Democratic party and its corporate-friendly trickle-down black president, our black misleadership class would have run, not walked away from black occupiers who failed to identify as staunch pro-Obama Democrats.
What if the occupiers had been brown? Here’s a clue. In the last few years, hundreds of thousands of immigrants at a time have stayed away from work in near general-strike proportions to march on May Day, no less, for their human rights. The anecdotal evidence is that ICE agents raided many workplaces in California, Texas, New York, Arizona, Illinois and elsewhere, and that without much notice in the corporate media, a wave of retaliatory harrassment, jailings and deportations ensued. Certainly, the Obama administration is on track to deport a record 400,000 immigrants for the third year in a row, already far outstripping Bush’s eight year total. There are in fact, gang injunction-type laws in many states which make it a criminal offense for young people in designated (black and brown) neighborhoods to assemble in groups in public places for any reason.
Full post here!
A great link that, aside from great conversation on video, also points out how the General Assembly’s official document doesn’t tell the full story of how it feels to be a person of color fighting for a voice at Occupy:
How many activities and movements or even conversations have I forgone, thinking that they had no space for me? How many times have I thought that some purportedly progressive activity wasn’t even considering anyone like me? How many times have I walked away, rather than saying anything, because I was bone-tired?
Full post here!
As so many people of forward seeking to make sense of Occupy and move forward, Ernesto approaches some inherent obstacles, like Consciousness of History, Credibility Gaps, The Power of Political Trickle Down, Lack of Leaders Means Leaders Move Covertly, Lack of Agenda, Occupy Language, Process Issues. He concludes by addressing those people of color who engaging with Occupy:
It is the obligation of people of color who want to be involved in Occupy efforts and wish to see more political investment by communities of color to organize in a united fashion independent of Occupy actions, and to do community outreach. It is on you to meet with our communities who cannot or will not come out to these events, for whatever reason, hear openly and share their concerns with a movement you clearly wish to support. It is up to you to lead community mobilizations. If you have no relationships or credibility in those communities, beyond your skin tone, it is up to you to be honest about that and mend fences and/or build relationships.
Full post here!
As the conversation about the intersection of Occupy and people of color gains momentum with the public, an issue that many of us have struggled with is the fact that photographers will often spot a group of people of color within a larger crowd and start shooting away. While we’re happy to see more images of people of color featured in the media, we know that this can also paint a distorted view of the struggle that remains before us to decolonize this movement. Huffington Post reporter Janelle Ross explains the irony of being photographed for the sake of multiculturalism, despite the fact she was working on a story and not demonstrating:
I wasn’t carrying a placard decrying the evils of corporate greed or growing income inequality, just my standard equipment — a notebook, my oversized purse and a pen. And, I was there.
“Oh, well, that’s OK,” one photographer said when I told him that I was just a reporter and probably not the best person to mention in his caption. “I want to convey the fact that there are some black people here.”
The conversation was a reminder of the often simplistic, sometimes exasperating way that diversity is thought about, handled and cultivated in America.
Read the entire post here!
So incredibly good you’ll find yourself going back. Rinku Sen’s analysis is not getting anywhere near the attention it deserves, please spread it widely:
My friend Anita Earls said once that in this country, we have something called “universal white man” standing. I don’t think Anita would mind if I added “straight” to that description. She means that white men are the standard of universalism, and if something doesn’t affect them, it is considered a side issue and not part of the universe. Given the terrible conditions in which the average white man finds himself these days, I certainly agree that we need to speak to the specifics of their situation. But 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. Building movements that include groups that explicitly address the racial, gender and sexual dimensions of our economic system is key to that process.
Full post here!
Indian Country Today Media Network highlights some of the debates about Occupy:
While many people in Indian Country can sympathize with the protestors’ claims, there is also some growing criticism for the idea behind its name, which overlooks the first occupants of the Wall Street area. This has given rise to the response from Native bloggers and activists to not Occupy Wall Street but Decolonize Wall Street.
Full post here!