Today and yesterday I have been reminded of the harm that can come when we are working in groups to create a better world, yet perpetuate injustice interpersonally. Far too many cases of sexual assault, racism, cissexism, ableism, and other forms of marginalization happen in ‘revolutionary’ circles. We are products of the systems which we aim to destroy for a more just humanity, and it thus necessitates that we decolonize our minds – we MUST begin within.
Nobody is perfect, we are going to make mistakes. But if we are not honest about our own oppressive behaviors what can we hope to accomplish in the long run? Foucault theorized that power is not only perpetuated by institutions, but is diffuse and recreated every day by us and our actions. It is no admittance of defeat to accept our own wrongdoing, in fact it takes courage and strength and a perpetual commitment self evolution and growth. We owe it to ourselves, to our brothers and sisters, and to our future generations to tear down these walls which not only separate us but are incredibly harmful.
One of the best pieces of work that came from Occupy Honolulu was our mindfulness statement:
As each of us participates in the General Assembly, online and in any other setting, we shall make every effort to use “I” statements rather than talking about “you,” “all of humanity,” or any other group. We shall strive to talk about our relationship with others while refraining from speaking for them. We recognize that the gross inequality in wealth depends upon colonization, displacement, and marginalization on the basis of race, sexual orientation, class, gender and gender identity, nationality, age, and ability. We shall consider our own possible privileges as we create a safe and non-judgmental space for each other’s expression of thoughts and feelings, by our respectful listening, speech and actions. In being mindful in this way we recognize that fighting inequality of all kinds rocks the foundations upon which corporate dominance and economic exploitation are built. In addressing our differences our work can become truly revolutionary and transformative.
Words to Live by.