Decolonization: What it means to me in the context of "Occupy"

[in response to a few twitter posts that worry that changing the name of “occupy oakland” to “decolonize oakland” would mean that white people will have to leave their apartments and homes here] 
A commitment to decolonization does NOT mean that (white/non-native) folks will be asked to leave their homes, neighborhoods, community, land, etc.
A commitment to decolonization DOES ask us to consider the history of the land we live on. It asks us to respect the land and to acknowledge the original inhabitants of this land, including American Indians (in the US) and other native folks elsewhere, trees, animals, water, air, etc. Decolonization is about our relationships to each other but also about our relationship to nature/Earth (also known as Mother Earth, Madre Tierra, PachaMama…)
Decolonization ask us (non-Native folks) to CHANGE—to give up our sense of entitlement in order to make way for gratitude and humility in all areas.

For the occupy movement to become a decolonial movement, we must commit to changing the way we interact with one another. As decolonizing peoples, we would endeavor to come together in the spirit of reconciliation. We would come to political spaces to learn at least as much as we come to teach, to listen, rather than just to speak. Decolonization asks us to be rigorous in our questioning of white male (and all other) supremacies to open the way for previously marginalized voices (of all colors, genders, bodies, etc.) to be heard—not just because that is the right thing to do——but because this will build a movement that is stronger and more radical in its critique.
Decolonization is a call for radical equality inside the movement as well as our demand for a more just and equal society.
Decolonization recognizes that economic inequality in the US is profoundly rooted in  histories of racial and gender injustice—histories that includes genocide, forced labor, mass incarceration, mass deportation, war, rape, violence, and more.
Decolonization recognizes that for many in the 99%, the crisis did not start a few years ago with the Great Recession, it started with colonization, broken treaties, slavery, and the founding of the US.
Decolonization calls for the complete and utter reconstitution of the United States and perhaps even its dismantlement in favor of other, more humane, modes of organizing social life. Decolonization does not have a blueprint for the future, but it opens the doors to a radically different way of living.
For these reasons, I favor the name change to “Decolonize Oakland.”

1 comment:

  1. I so agree with you. I think "occupy" is a disrespectful term to use, and unfortunately it seems to be the one that will continue to be used. I understand that the Occupy Oakland folks brought it up, but didn't get a majority vote, and let it go.