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Monday, February 18, 2013

Occupy or Decolonize?


The NCTT-Cor-SHU has always been a supporter of and participant in the Occupy Movement, by offering 10 Core Objectives (earlier called "demands'") and by trying to engage in discussions and support for the movement.  

This is a discussion-working-piece written by Heshima and Zaharibu after discussions on whether an Occupy Movement is still active or existing, in California at least. They learned about "Decolonize" fairly late and found it an interesting and important development. As it seems now, Decolonize Oakland seems no longer to exist online (or only on Facebook?). There is Decolonize Portland, Occupy/Decolonize Vancouver. This last mentioned group still has a more active website) and maybe more Decolonize groups we are unaware of. 

Jan. 24, 2013
On “Occupy” and ‘Decolonize” – after reviewing everything – what you see here is the inevitable and inherent contradictions of a movement in its infancy; and these types of discussions are essential and necessary if the movement is to develop the degree of political maturity to attain the aims we’ve set for ourselves.

The sister who drafted the “decolonize” piece [on the now disappeared website Decolonizeoakland.org] articulated an inescapable truth of virtually every progressive movement that has sought to transform the nature and structure of capitalist society in the U.S.: opposition to inequality in one segment of social activity does not negate the preservation of oppressive and authoritarian attitudes of those waging that struggle. Most everyone (New Africans, Latino’s, Natives, women and L.G.B.T.Q.’s included) in Occupy was developed in the same capitalist, patriarchal authoritarian U.S. society and its values were instilled in them (classism, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, religious intolerance, etc.).

That they’ve joined a movement to combat and eradicate socio-economic inequality does not automatically translate into them having confronted, struggled against, and eradicated those unprogressive tendencies within themselves.

This discourse is necessary to ensure that process is completed. But that’s only one aspect. In the course of that process, some greater realizations may be gained by sisters and brothers in both “Decolonize” and “Occupy.” For example, U.S. market capitalism is not simply composed of an integrated system of expropriation of surplus value of labor and enforced debt accrual, but is maintained through the systematic, and antagonistic, stratification of society via the economic class and race caste systems – which are both further stratified by gender & sexuality with white hetero-sexual males maintaining a decided social privilege.
Racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and other manifestations of U.S. patriarchal authoritarian culture are not simple social phenomena unique to these particular social ills- they are fundamental, institutional aspects of capitalism.

Acknowledging and confronting these contradictions, and their continued preservation in the movement, is not “divisionary” or “negative”, quite the contrary, they are necessary and progressive, imperative if we are to purge the very contradictions we all claim to be in opposition to. When this process reaches its logical conclusion, we’ll be left with a strong, politically mature, and effective movement truly representative of those who are, and historically have been, the most adversely affected by the global capitalist construct and system of white supremacy.

The only question is, will occupiers, particularly those who responded so negatively and reactionary to the legitimate, and for the most part accurate (there were some incorrect points), analysis of “Decolonize,” have the requisite maturity, courage, and psychological composure to engage – seriously – in that process?

NCTT-Cor-SHU
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