Snapshots

Decolonization: Theory, Action, and Praxis | Unsettling America

As a past participant of Occupy Oakland and as one who is currently active in Decolonize Oakland, I was intrigued by this event. I was eager to hear other perspectives on decolonization, and perhaps meet with activists of Decolonize Seattle to fortify any complementary efforts between our groups. I was also curious to know how the Decolonize Seattle tendency came about, in relation to Occupy Seattle, to find any parallels or similarities as has been experienced in Oakland.

Overview

That Sunday evening, the main upper level meeting area of The Holdout was filled with at least 75 people. It was apparent to me that this discussion was highly anticipated. I saw many familiar faces that I had recognized from various activist groups – mainly from Occupy Oakland.

One of the speakers opened by noting that Decolonize Seattle is not an organization per se, and does not adhere to a set of policies or principles. It is a collection of individuals whose ideas and work mesh together. The panelists gave brief self-introductions and overviews of the topics that would be discussed. It seemed that each had adopted a concept to examine through the lens of decolonialization, including: food sovereignty, education abolition, and critiques of the nation-state, non-profit organizations, and privilege/identity/oppression politics.

A synopsis of each decolonial theme presented by members of Decolonize Seattle is as follows:

Food Sovereignty: White supremacy disconnects us from the land. Our food system is a capitalist food system. we need to find ways to destroy it and refuse to work within that system.

Education Abolition: Education is an institution that does not need to exist. It is only necessary for the proliferation of capitalism. Educational institutions are colonial institutions, as they set people on certain pathways (from school to prison or from school to the nonprofit industrial complex).

The Nation-State: The installation of borders lead to territorialism, which leads to the displacement of peoples. 500 years of colonialism and the drawing of borders have fractured our communities. These geographical borders also create mental borders when we believe our oppressions define us. We have to confront our oppressions and confront our identities.

Nonprofits: The nonprofits say we need leaders. As people of color we need to stand our ground and resist – be our own leaders.

Identity Politics: Identity politics involves an examination of power relationships between groups. Identity politics means that individuals claim membership to groups and speak for others, based on these identities. Nonprofit organizations benefit monetarily through the state because of identity politics. On whiteness: we are all indigenous from some place or another. While white-skin-privilege does exist, whiteness is a concept, not a color.

ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: Decolonization: Theory, Action, and Praxis | Unsettling America.

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