Communiqué from Decolonize Oakland 3.18.12

Categories: Open Mic

Re-posted from Decolonize Oakland

March 18, 2012

Decolonize Oakland (formerly the QPOC/POC caucus/committee of Occupy Oakland) would like to reintroduce ourselves to you, our communities, as an autonomous collective. We believe that working autonomously will give us the freedom to build power from below.

Occupy Oakland’s failure to fully address the ways that race, gender, and sexual oppression intersect with capitalism in the lives of Oakland’s communities of color has made it challenging for us to work under the “Occupy” umbrella. Moreover, the unchecked race and gender privilege within Occupy Oakland’s organizing structures has made it difficult for many of our members to fully participate in Occupy meetings and events.

By declaring autonomy, we focus our energies on building the collective power of people of color in the Bay Area. We have begun this work by building with our larger networks, whether they are other autonomous groups, community associations and organizations, churches, Occupy Oakland and its committees, our neighbors, our family or our friends.

Following the rich tradition of people of color who have fought for self-determination, Decolonize Oakland aspires to win struggles for liberation by placing people of color, people with disabilities, people who are low income or working class, immigrants, gender non- conforming persons, women, and queers at the center of our collective struggle.  In addition, we commit to creating political structures and community events that welcome Oakland’s residents, 75% of whom are people of color.  Ceremony, talking circles, encuentros, coalition-based projects and actions, and educational workshops are examples of our approach to building participation within and across communities, neighborhoods, and organizations in Oakland.

We view our collective struggle as one that dates back more than 500 years; at the same time, we see 2012 as a unique historic moment characterized by global revolutionary struggle.  As a new collective, we do not pretend that we have the answers to all the problems and injustices that face our communities, nor do we presume to speak for all people of color in Oakland. Instead, we invite people of color and allies to work with us to build relationships, share information and wisdom, and take action that align with our Points of Unity.

Decolonize Oakland Points of Unity

Decolonize Oakland is a collective of queer people of color and people of color. Descolonicemos Oakland es una colectiva de queers/GLBTQ de  color y gente de color.

We decolonize because Oakland is Ohlone land and because the occupation of Oakland continues through gentrification, military occupation by OPD and ICE, predatory practices of Wall Street banks and more. Descolonicemos porque Oakland es tierra de los Ohlone y está sufriendo de la ocupación intrusa de la gentrificación, la policía e ICE, los bancos, y más.

We decolonize because our current system was founded on settler colonialism, genocide, and slavery. Descolonicemos porque el sistema actual fue fundado en el colonialismo invasor, el genocidio y la esclavitud.

We decolonize because communities of color, women of color, and queers of color have been on the front lines in the centuries long struggle against State violence, patriarchal white supremacy, heterosexism, capitalism, and colonial exploitation. Descolonicemos porque nosotros somos comunidades de color, mujeres, gente queer/LGBT y llevamos
siglos luchando contra el violencia del Estado, el racismo patriarcal, el heterosexismo, el capitalismo y la colonización.

We decolonize because any movement that doesn’t confront the continuing force of colonization, patriarchy, hetero-normativity, and white supremacy replicates these oppressions. Descolonicemos porque cualquier movimiento que no enfrente al colonialismo, el patriarcado,la heteronormatividad y el racismo, continuara apoyando esas mismas opresiones.

We decolonize to claim spaces for the self-determination of communities of color in Oakland. Descolonicemos para reclamar lugares para la autodeterminación de las comunidades de gente de color en Oakland;

We welcome collaboration with any group—including Occupy—on any and all projects that coincide with our core values—that is, the radical (to the root) project of decolonization, liberation, and self-determination of communities of color, with a particular and non-negotiable commitment to women of color and queers of color within those communities.

We can be reached at: decolonizetoliberate@gmail.com or (510) 969-9745
Our website is:http://decolonizeoakland.org/

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11 Responses to “Communiqué from Decolonize Oakland 3.18.12”

  1. a_small_voice

    simcha,

    it’s my belief the word “color” is used in the term “PoC” to signify solidarity among those who are not white who may be experiencing shared struggles in white-dominated power structures. i could be wrong, but that’s how i see it. the shade of the skin is less relevant than a person’s experiences in these struggles. a person can be pale-skinned and still self-identify as black. a person can be pale-skinned and still self-identify as latina. you mentioned frustration regarding the way others identify you; that’s pretty tough to deal with. i try to take people as they are and how they self-identify.

    my personal stance is that because we live in a white-dominated society that consists of structures that put people of color at a disadvantage, and because we experience struggles related to the inequities that are perpetrated by these racist systems, it is necessary for people of color to organize in whatever way they need to overcome these struggles. if that means that PoC organize amongst themselves, then so be it. if it means that PoC organize alongside and among white activists in a united front to overcome inequities that affect PoC, then so be it. as a participant in decolonize oakland, i find power in how we reserve the right to organize as we wish, and to support the work of PoC that relates to our points of unity. we are flexible as a group and we are dynamic as individuals in that sense.

    i’ve had nothing but positive experiences, exchanges, and dialogues working with white activists who self-identify as anti-racist allies. maybe you had negative experiences because you don’t self-identify in that way.

    i’m glad that you’re still interested in cultivating your own political activism. who knows – you may find yourself crossing paths and sharing work with those from occupy oakland or other “splinter groups” at some point.

    maybe you could raise some awareness about whatever is in your heart and on your mind on may day this year? just a thought…

  2. Simcha

    “decolonize oakland does not exclude on the basis of skin color.

    when people say “PoC” it’s more of a sociopolitical designation with cultural ties. it’s not a physical descriptor.”

    OK, then please explain why the word “color” is in the term “People of Color.” Does culture have a color? Does a sociopolitical designation have a color? Do cultural ties have colors? It seems to me that the only reference the word “color” could possibly have, is the color of people’s skin. I know you may not see it that way. Perhaps you “pass” as a “PoC” because your skin isn’t pale like mine. I can tell you quite pointedly that whenever I’ve attempted to participate in groups that say that they are comprised only of “PoC” I am not very welcome because my skin is pale. I get labelled as a “white ally.” That completely strips me of my identity, every time.

    And even if you could convince me that “color” isn’t a reference to skin color, is it still OK to exclude people who don’t share the same sociopolitical designation or cultural ties when the group you are forming is supposed to be about inclusion? In my opinion, it still looks like segregation and exclusion of certain people who don’t fit the criteria whether it be skin color, culture, cultural ties, sociopolitical designation, etc.

    “to restate: allies are welcome to join and support struggles decolonize oakland may be involved in”

    And implicit in this statement is that if you aren’t a “PoC” you are welcome to join and support, but you can never suggest, initiate, or lead because you really aren’t “one of us.” Whenever I’ve been labelled as an “ally” I’ve been treated as if I shouldn’t have any say in what the group does or is about. I’m there merely as an appendage of the group. In my experience of the hierarchy within “PoC” groups, “allies” are welcome so long as they remain in line with what the people who have designated themselves as “PoC” dictate. In my opinion, this mirrors the racist hierarchal system of “white privilege.” It still places some people in a higher position above other people based on some arbitrary criteria, in my opinion.

    “while it’s unfortunate that you feel as though you don’t fit into the movement, i think there are other places you could devote your political energies if you feel occupy oakland or decolonize oakland are not inclusive enough.”

    Yes, I’ve always been politically active, I continue to remain politically active, and I have no intentions of ever being a passive member of this society.

    I still grieve that a movement that I felt excited about, involved in, and engaged in doesn’t feel like a welcoming place for me anymore. I won’t work against Occupy Oakland or Decolonize Oakland just because I don’t feel welcome. I just won’t be banging on the doors to be let in.

    We are all entitled to our opinions and to form groups that include or exclude as is self-evident. I still believe that this movement was originally inclusive of anyone and everyone in the 99%. And even as a movement that welcomed anyone and everyone in the 99% it excluded anyone in the 1% who didn’t stand with us. It’s an interesting paradox. As the Oakland movement has changed and morphed and splintered, my experience is that some of us in the 99% simply aren’t welcome. I will continue to work in places where my contributions, membership, opinions, and ideas are welcome and respected, even when there is disagreement.

    And please understand that I have no disrespect for you personally or Decolonize Oakland or Occupy Oakland. I don’t believe that honest critique equals disrespect. Again, that’s my opinion.

  3. a_small_voice

    simcha,

    decolonize oakland does not exclude on the basis of skin color.

    when people say “PoC” it’s more of a sociopolitical designation with cultural ties. it’s not a physical descriptor.

    while it’s unfortunate that you feel as though you don’t fit into the movement, i think there are other places you could devote your political energies if you feel occupy oakland or decolonize oakland are not inclusive enough.

    to restate: allies are welcome to join and support struggles decolonize oakland may be involved in.

  4. Simcha

    Great! Fabulous! You have created yet another exclusive club.

    I have a huge problem with groups that exclude anyone regardless of race, color, gender, age, different abilities, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender, etc. This is yet another group that excludes anyone who doesn’t fit certain “attributes.”

    I’m queer. I’m a Euro-Jewish-Cherokee 40ish white male. My skin is pale. When I was a child my skin was described as “olive.” As I get older I get paler, not by choice. Where I grew up I wasn’t treated as “white” because I have an Italian last name, I grew up Catholic, and I’m Jewish by birth. Of course being queer didn’t help in being included at many places where I grew up.

    Since moving to the Bay Area, my identity has been reduced to “middle-aged white male.” I feel like my identity is stripped from me every day. I don’t fit any stereotypes. Most people don’t recognize that I’m queer. Most people see my pale skin and don’t consider that my ethnicity and race isn’t simply a one answer proposition. Since I’m seen as white here, which is very uncomfortable for me because I grew up with a different reality in another area, I have experienced white privilege here. It most certainly isn’t by choice or design. I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t grow up with it in most situations. It’s extremely uncomfortable because it negates my true identity and I detest how it affects people who don’t get such privilege. Also, I’ve witnessed intense racism and bigotry in the Bay Area. I’ve experienced bigotry for being queer and Jewish here. I’ve seen others experience racism and bigotry to my dismay because, growing up somewhere else, I grew up with the fantasy that the Bay Area was an extremely tolerant and enlightened place. To my horror it’s more backward here than where I grew up in many ways.

    And I’ve experienced something quite new to me. I’ve experienced exclusion, bigotry, and hostility from people who call themselves “People of Color” with whom I greatly identify. “Decolonize Oakland” is yet another group that excludes me because I have pale skin. It’s yet another example of how my identity, and other people’s identities here in the Bay Area, gets reduced down to my skin tone. I don’t identify as a “Person of Color.” I don’t identify as “white.” I do identify as queer. Where do I get included? The answer is that I most certainly don’t get included in “Decolonize Oakland” because my skin is pale. By the way, “pale” or “white” is a color. I don’t identify as a “Person of Color” because I strongly object to the concept because it’s exclusionary. I am first and foremost a human being. I’d hope that this would mean that I fit in anywhere there are human beings gathering. We all know the political reality. None of us fit in everywhere, even though we are all human beings. In my opinion, separating “People of Color” from “people of no color” or “white people” or “people with pale skin” reinforces the racist system under which we all suffer.

    So, I continue to disengage with Occupy Oakland and its splinter groups. I don’t feel included in Occupy Oakland. I see that I’m not welcome in “Decolonize Oakland.” I don’t fit the criteria. I’m queer but my skin is too pale. Oh, of course I might be welcome as an “ally.” I hate that term. It’s pejorative. It’s exclusionary. To me it says, “You aren’t one of us. You’re one of “them.” Thanks for hanging out with us and for your support, but really you don’t belong here.”

    This trend of exclusionary groups forming who claim to be “inclusive” and working to break the racist/bigoted system under which we all suffer is disturbing to me. In my opinion it doesn’t address the problems of privilege, exclusion, racism, sexism, heterosexism, bigotry, etc. simply because creating a group that excludes people because of the color of their skin is antithetical to the stated purpose of these groups. It plays into the racist/bigoted system. It is self-segregation and it creates a separate hierarchy that in many ways looks like the racist/bigoted system of “white privilege” that it claims to fight.

    These are my opinions. I know they aren’t popular. I know many don’t agree with them. Just remember, if you are asking me to respect your opinions and your ideas, then it would be nice if that respect would be reflected back to me. Elitism of any kind hits a raw nerve with me. I’ve been called “obtuse” and “provincial” here before. In fact, I’m not sure why I participate or read this forum anymore. I guess it’s because I fell in love with Occupy Oakland in the beginning and I really wish that it would evolve into something that I could join again and feel like my contributions mattered and are respected. I don’t feel that way now.

  5. a_small_voice

    “Occupy Oakland’s failure to fully address the ways that race, gender, and sexual oppression intersect with capitalism in the lives of Oakland’s communities of color has made it challenging for us to work under the “Occupy” umbrella. Moreover, the unchecked race and gender privilege within Occupy Oakland’s organizing structures has made it difficult for many of our members to fully participate in Occupy meetings and events.”

    example 1 – analysis of capitalism intersecting with race/gender based inequities

    OO has had 5 large campaigns thus far: holding public space, operation longview, anti-police actions, foreclosure defense, and good PR in the community. by campaign, I mean – a series of connected and related actions that contribute to a major cause. i am not talking about all of the other marches, demos, and actions that spring up here and there in OO, as there are several of them that don’t really relate to one another.

    aside from holding public space in the original encampment, the longview campaign has been the most robust cause celebre in OO since october 27th. the first and second port shut-downs occurred, in part, to support the longview fight. several of the “emergency” proposals involving large amounts of money and maneuvering through OWS were related with the longview campaign. what did any of that have to do with the city of oakland and its citizens? where was the intersection of capitalism and race/gender/sexual oppression in that campaign? OO spent weeks and weeks on that campaign, with lots of people power, energy, time, and money devoted to it – yet, how did it help OUR LOCAL COMMUNITIES advance the struggles that we face? that is one example of a failure to address critical issues of not only in oakland proper, but in this whole movement.

    i am not saying that the longview fight was not one to be had, and i do not begrudge them their victory. i only ponder why OO led the charge with so much energy without drawing any parallels to oakland, connecting any dots to the folk who live here, or transferring any knowledge gained from that campaign to an analysis of local struggles our citizens face – a populace that is 75% PoC.

    comments:

    the last three campaigns that i mentioned are new. i think the one that has the most potential and steam right now is the foreclosure defense campaign. i’ve noticed that most of the oakland families who have been involved and who have been represented are families of color, led by women. this is VITAL to highlight and explicitly recognize, because it is a crisis in our city. perhaps the people involved in that campaign will speak more explicitly about that…i really don’t know. i believe that another plus in this campaign is that it has diverse leadership and different kinds of people are active on different levels.

    example 2: unchecked race/gender privilege in organizing structures

    the influential working groups are usually dominated by white males. this is what i have observed in the facilitation committee, on more than one occasion. this committee has been the only committee to recognize imbalances in diversity in the GA and in the committee itself, and has made some attempts to change things…that’s what i would call “checking” privilege, which is something that OO needs a lot more of.

    comments

    it’s my experience that PoC do not use the term “race card” to critique what someone else is saying in a conversation about race. same thing for the term “vicitimization.” for someone to assume that when a person talks about incidences of racism that it’s an “excuse,” or some kind of victim-mentality, it could very well be proof positive of insensitivity toward racial dynamics between people. it may also be indicative of white-privilege masking one’s ability to empathize with someone else, and to see things from their point of view.

    in the quan example you mentioned, I remember seeing several people attacking quan on her FB page and making ugly, nasty, bigoted comments about her ethnicity (along with all the reasonable critiques of her failures in the position of mayor). that may have been what she was referring to when she spoke of racism and misogyny against her.

  6. David Heatherly

    Thanks “voice”, I am in agreement with you on many points here.

    One thing that’s odd for me, you said: “you’ve never heard of it, and I completely believe you. I HAVE heard of it, not from one but from several people. I have witnessed and experienced it.” But my question is still: what is it? What kind of experience specifically are you talking about? It’s as if somebody is telling me that they have prepared a huge feast, but they are unwilling to tell me what any of the food or drink consists of. I’m asking: what sort of racist exclusion have you witnessed or experienced? I am willing to listen. I have experienced many cases of patriarchy and I have seen both white and black racism at #OO, but I have not seen anything other than, as I said, what I consider vestigal traces or leftover toxic waste from the many centuries of racism and prejudice. And there is a LOT of it against homosexual people. But those problems need to be faced, not run away from. And they will not be resolved by changing the name to “Decolonize.”

    As far as the race card, you say:

    “when people start saying that PoC are acting like vicitms when they share honest observations of racial tensions and inequities in social systems, it is a way of shutting down conversation. It’s just like saying, “oh quit playing the race card.” that’s what folks say when they don’t wanna hear any sort of analysis of or reaction to systemic racism.”

    The thing is that this is such a broad statement, it could be used to defend any instance where any person, whether we consider them to be a valid victim or perhaps a victimizer, can establish racial prejudice as an excuse. Occupy Oakland should not have such a short memory. It was less than two months ago when Jean Quan stated to the media that the reaction to her treatment of Occupy Oakland: “a little misogyny and a little racism.” If we apply your statement to Jean Quan, we’d have to accept the idea that the reason people are criticizing Jean Quan is because she’s an Asian woman. We should not accept claims of victim status without question. That’s just my stance, I know it’s not a particularly safe or popular stance for a white man to take, but there it is.

    With regards to the “race card” aspect of the argument… yes when people

  7. a_small_voice

    you say, “I have serious problems with the language in the CRP’s statement, which you provided a link to.”
    ok, that’s fair – you have a problem with the statements from the community rejuvenation project about the decolonize mural in oakland. that’s not a statement from decolonize oakland, the grassroots group. you are conflating that statement with decolonize oak’s communiqué, which is erroneous and unfair. If you have a response to our communiqué, stay on target and critique the communiqué only – or at least delineate your concerns without lumping everything together.
    “And I’m also going to point out that the language in the CRP’s statement is very similar to the “communique from Decolonize.”
    the language may seem similar, but the two documents were written by two completely different collections of folks. i can only address (from my personal standpoint – I am not speaking for everyone) what decolonize oakland has published.
    “as far as counter-protesting, I do not plan to be part of that on 5/1, but I very much do not plan to be part of any permitted march that begs Jean Quan for permission and retreats when she refuses to give it.”
    i’m ok with that.
    “I’m not trying to negate somebody’s experience, but honestly I have never heard anybody describe any specific experience where Occupy Oakland interfered with any minority voice or did anything to prevent participation.”

    you’ve never heard of it, and I completely believe you. I HAVE heard of it, not from one but from several people. I have witnessed and experienced it.

    “People are throwing around the language of victimization but I’m not one of those liberals who reflexively defends anybody who paints him/herself as a victim.”

    meta-moment: when people start saying that PoC are acting like vicitms when they share honest observations of racial tensions and inequities in social systems, it is a way of shutting down conversation. It’s just like saying, “oh quit playing the race card.” that’s what folks say when they don’t wanna hear any sort of analysis of or reaction to systemic racism.

    while it seems that you are asking for clarity or examples of problems in occupy, your tone in your message is so hostile and dismissive it seems as though you don’t have respect for civil two-way dialogue. this is another example of how some people in OO shut the door to conversations about race in the occupy movement. are you openly seeking new perspectives that are different from your own, or are you just feeling protective? i will only engage in conversations about these sensitive, personal issues on neutral ground. we can get an in person roundtable discussion going. It might be better than an internet tete-a-tete.

    “Occupy is all about decolonizing and we all know it.”

    how so?

    “If you need that ego boost, or that affirmation, from getting your way and having the name change, and if that’s so important that you’d divide the movement over it, then you aren’t people who I would want to be in solidarity with anyway.”

    i am reminded of an adage an elder in the movement often uses when we face struggle amongst ourselves: “unity without uniformity.”

  8. David Heatherly

    Thanks for the response. My anger in this case is the result of the fact that I see one group of dissidents attacking another group, perhaps because it’s easier to do than dealing with the real problems here in Oakland. I have serious problems with the language in the CRP’s statement, which you provided a link to. This is the source of my anger, not whatever it is you imagine:

    ““Decolonize” also represents CRP’s commentary on the Occupy Oakland movement, and a reminder that indigenous communities of color already inhabited native lands before colonizers, settlers and tourists arrived. In October 2011, the Occupy movement began its encampment in Oscar Grant /Frank Ogawa plaza by asking the blessing of local indigenous elders. This was an appropriate first step. Yet since then, however, the indigenous community and communities of color have repeatedly voiced concerns around exclusion, despite the fact that these communities were affected by economic woes, underemployment, and bank foreclosures long before the recession hit the white middle-class. Many in these communities also objected to the name “Occupy” – a term inherently identified with colonialism and the colonial mentality. Yet a proposal to rename the movement “Decolonize Oakland” was voted down by the General Assembly.

    It is perhaps no coincidence, then, that since its failure to uphold the heartfelt message of communities of color—that decolonization should be the goal of the people’s uprising – the Occupy movement has become unfocused and is lacking in direction.”

    Essentially, CRP is saying that the reason Occupy Oakland has not been able to dismantle the capitalistic power structures which are hundreds/thousands of years old, in the last 6 months, is because we did not change our name to “Decolonize.” Sorry, I’m going to call major bullshit on this. And I’m also going to point out that the language in the CRP’s statement is very similar to the “communique from Decolonize.” It is extremely disingenuous to use a term like “voted down” the de-colonize resolution, when everybody who was there knows it had a vast majority of the support of the people. But we have modified consensus, 90%, that is a hard number to reach. If Decolonize really thinks that it’s unreasonable to expect a major decision to have at least 90% support, then I’m going to say Decolonize has no respect for real democracy.

    As far as counter-protesting, I do not plan to be part of that on 5/1, but I very much do not plan to be part of any permitted march that begs Jean Quan for permission and retreats when she refuses to give it.

    Now regarding this statement:
    ” your confusion about our statements only shows the depth and complexity of the problems some of us encountered. just because you haven’t experienced something doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. questions are good. the negation of other people’s experiences is unwise (also another example of the problem i have personally identified in the local occupy movement).”
    I’m not trying to negate somebody’s experience, but honestly I have never heard anybody describe any specific experience where Occupy Oakland interfered with any minority voice or did anything to prevent participation. People are throwing around the language of victimization but I’m not one of those liberals who reflexively defends anybody who paints him/herself as a victim. I’d like to hear specifically what is preventing these people from taking part in #OO, and what kind of “checks” they would like to see in our process. What we have seen from CRP and Decolonize so far seems like petulance. So you didn’t get your name change. Big deal. Occupy is all about decolonizing and we all know it. If you need that ego boost, or that affirmation, from getting your way and having the name change, and if that’s so important that you’d divide the movement over it, then you aren’t people who I would want to be in solidarity with anyway. You would fall apart like the leaf that falls from the tree in the first breeze long before the storm. I have no time for people who use revolution as a fashion statement. I don’t give a fuck what the name of this group is. Dividing the group and then attacking the original group is not a tactic that will EVER win my respect.

  9. a_small_voice

    david heatherly,

    decolonize oakland did not make the lovely mural to which you are referring,
    http://decolonizeoakland.org/2012/03/08/community-rejuvenation-projects-latest-mural-urges-commuters-consumers-to-decolonize-the-message-of-decolonization-meets-the-people/

    but i can safely say we all enjoy it quite a lot. the CPRB is to be credited to the beauty of that piece. they’ve been around for a few years, cleaning corners of oakland and erasing blight through art. http://communityrejuvenation.blogspot.com/

    2. members of decolonize oakland, occupy oakland, labor unions, socialist groups, immigrants’ rights groups, and community members (unaffiliated with any groups) are a part of the dignity and resistance coalition. our coalition voted upon how we are going to shape this march. you are welcome to join if you would like to add new ideas for this momentous day, and meet some new people. occupy oakland’s may day group is in touch with the dignity and resistance group, so…if there are major issues with logistics from either group, i am sure something can be worked out for everyone involved.

    3. if you wish to counter protest a regional march that MANY people will be attending, including some people from occupy oakland, that’s your decision. it might seem a little off to everyone else, though.

    4. i was at the decolonize GA too. i was one of THOSE people you talked about in your post. you know, THOSE people you never saw before and never saw again?you’ve probably never seen me before. i have been involved in occupy oakland since jump. while i have pulled back quite a bit, i am still involved, and i remain in touch with occupy activists (even though i don’t really consider myself an OO’er).

    5. the proposal writers of the decolonize proposal are not currently active in the grassroots group “decolonize oakland.” none of us wrote that proposal, nor did we present it. but several of us were there, along with over 100 others, to support the proposal.

    6. we’re not demanding anything of you or the people you do political work with, david. we are only stating who we are and where we stand. from the looks of things, clarity is something this movement needs.

    7. your confusion about our statements only shows the depth and complexity of the problems some of us encountered. just because you haven’t experienced something doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. questions are good. the negation of other people’s experiences is unwise (also another example of the problem i have personally identified in the local occupy movement).

    8. check your anger. find out where it’s really coming from.

  10. David Heatherly

    “Occupy Oakland’s failure to fully address the ways that race, gender, and sexual oppression intersect with capitalism in the lives of Oakland’s communities of color has made it challenging for us to work under the “Occupy” umbrella. Moreover, the unchecked race and gender privilege within Occupy Oakland’s organizing structures has made it difficult for many of our members to fully participate in Occupy meetings and events.”

    What is that even supposed to mean? Basically since it is so vague (although admirably couched in 21st Century liberalese), it could mean anything. Nobody has EVER been prevented from taking part in an #OO event. What kind of “checks” would you like to see on #OO to eliminate race and gender privilege? Since you’re complaining that it’s “unchecked”, presumably you have some restrictions or rules that you wanted to place on the organizing structures. I’d like to hear something specific about that before I respect your claims which fly in the face of all my experience at Occupy Oakland. I have experienced some leftover toxic deposits of race or gender bias, but it’s not so much the fault of #OO as just the fact that our society is so fucked up, we can’t just make all that privilege disappear by an act of sheer will.

    Until Decolonize Oakland stops attacking and insulting Occupy Oakland and pretending that putting up a sign nobody can see next to the damn Burger King on 14th or helping to sponsor a march on 5/1/12 that pathetically attempts to get a permit from the government, I will be prepared to counter-protest your divisive behavior. I was at the GAs where “decolonize” was discussed, and I can honestly tell you I never saw any of those people at any GA before or since. So why should I care what you think? I don’t believe any of you have honestly tried to work within Occupy Oakland. You just came with a list of demands, with many people saying that if we did not give in to your demand for a name change you would attack Occupy Oakland as racist. Which is just what you are doing here. And which is just about the most pathetic behavior I’ve seen from anybody who claims to work for the 99%.