So, this Open Letter to OWS from Anarchists finally convinced me not to go to Occupy Vancouver.
I’ve, of course, been reading about this movement for a little while now. However, since the majority of the blogs I follow are written by POC, my view is very biased. And it is a bias I’m comfortable with, since I don’t really care about the white viewpoint on this. One of the first things I read about the movement was this great post by Jessica Yee. When I was invited, via Facebook, to the Occupy Vancouver event I posted a link to the post in the hopes that someone might listen. One or two people chimed in with support, but I also was jumped on by people asking if we just couldn’t get past all this ‘tribal shit’ and recognize we are all one people. I decided not to take this to heart and was still considering going despite my comfort.
What clinched my decision? The fact that I don’t *trust* white people. The language chosen to represent this movement clearly indicate a white-centric and privileged viewpoint. The word ‘occupy’ tells me that they don’t want people like me there, or anyone else with experience as a colonized person (or with a violent past with occupation). It shows that they don’t mind feeling entitled to land and resources that are not only not theirs but do not belong to the corporations. That, ultimately, this movement isn’t about justice for everyone but about justice for white people. Or, more precisely, justice for colonizers realizing that they aren’t getting their fair share of the wealth and bounty derived from their current occupation and colonization of First Nation and Indigenous land (not to speak of the rest of the world).
This movement has been going on for weeks and I’ve yet to see any real dialogue or change in how this movement is being branded. And, yes, it is a brand now. This, to me, looks like Slutwalk all over again (and, if you’ve been paying attention in the past few weeks, we’ve all seen how this has turned out for Black women).
Anyway, as I was saying, it is my lack of trust preventing me from joining. I don’t see how this movement will benefit me. I can see how it might benefit the white colonizers of America, but not me. Not people like me, either. Because while it may precipitate some redistribution of wealth, it isn’t gonna prevent HR people from throwing my resume out because of my Hispanic name. It isn’t gonna prevent me from getting fired for my non-binary gender expression. It isn’t gonna stop people from staring at my Chum and I when we are holding hands in the street. It isn’t gonna change how much harder I have to work to succeed just because I’m a person of colour. It isn’t gonna change the fact that the sort of people going to Occupy Vancouver frighten me because they wear the face of my oppressors. Or the fact that going to such an event is extra dangerous because police disproportionately target gender non-conforming people of colour and I don’t believe (even for a second) that any of those people will have my back.
If they did? I probably wouldn’t be in this position in the first place. You can’t achieve justice when you are oppressing someone else. So, Occupy Vancouver, I’m just not that into you (but you never wanted me in the first place).