and a quiet voice called from the margins "this land is already occupied". The indigenous people of this land: Wall Street, USA, Canada, Australia. We have been living with an occupation so long that we've forgotten it was an occupation. We have renamed this land, erased the history, so it seems it was always lived upon by colonizers. It seems that settlers to this land do not want to be reminded of their position at the top of the 99%, but nor do they want to be removed from it.
Some familiar refrains:
We are all one race, the human race.
If you mention race, you are being racist. You are being divisive. We need unity. Race-blind unity.
Not all straight white men are bad, look at these straight white men here. They fight for justice.
I was born here and my parents too. The indigenous people moved here once as well.
... and the responses come. Race blindness erases histories of racism and current, daily struggles that we all face as people of color, indigenous people, the racialized other. These responses at times are not heard because of defensiveness.
Well... we are not one race. Humans are a species. To say we are all one race is a meaningless statement. Race as a category was created to distinguish between people. It isn't right what people have done with race, but it's true. Ignoring it will not make it go away. Ignoring it will not make it go away. Ignoring it will not make it go away.
This land is occupied land. Indigenous people are here suffering at the margins. Pushed out by kind-hearted, gentle, nice human beings just like you. Just like me. I speak English. Our government, political systems, economy, academy, schools, laws, language, all support one type of person. Someone like me. All these systems benefit one type of person. Currently. This is not a historical phenomenon. This is happening right now. We live in apartheid South Africa. We live in British India. Our societies foundations are built on injustice. If you choose to willfully ignore these facts, you cannot be an ally to the rest of the 99%. If, when confronted with these facts, you continue to respond with defensiveness or by expressing your own perceived victimhood you will never be an ally of the rest of the 99%.
Those who speak up against white supremacy within the left, within our movements, are not doing it to be divisive. Those who speak up against male supremacy, straight supremacy, against privilege, are not doing it because it is fun to do. They are speaking up because they know that if these privileges go unchecked, the beautiful new world we give birth to will be much like the old one. The one we already inhabit is run by a select group with particular characteristics. Are these characteristics inherently oppressive? Are straight, white, men destined to push others around and make all the decisions without shouldering the burden of the difficult labour? No, of course not. We taught them how to be like they are... and this is the process of unlearning that training.
What is to be done? Let's move forward together with kindness. Listen to each other. Speak up against power, not against our allies. Listen to each other. Make space for those who have never felt like this world belongs to them. Be vigilant. Notice when our friends are under attack. Listen.