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Old 04-29-2012, 10:55 PM   #1
Despanan
 
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Exclamation OWS, Racism and the Establisment Media

So, I just got the time to get around a computer and type this up. Sorry it's taken so long, but I've had a CRAZY couple of days.

Originally, this was going to be a reply to Versus in this thread, however I felt that this was a broad enough topic that it deserved it's own thread.

So, to catch up, this is the claim made by Saya:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saya
[OWS is] a movement plagued with white privlege, Ron Paul wankers, neoliberals and reformers
As evidence, she site numerous complaints of r@pes, r@pe culture, as well as articles like this one as evidence that Occupy Wall Street is racist, overcome with chauvinism and white privilege, and as a movement it is focusing solely (or overwhelmingly) on the issues of white men to the exclusion of women, people of color, and other minorities.

Now, It's important to note here that largely, I am not disputing Saya's facts. What I am stating is that she has

1) a skewed perspective of the movement based largely upon exaggerations fed by a corporate media which is overwhelmingly interested in slandering Occupy Wall Street.

and

2) A fundamental misunderstanding about what Occupy is, and how it functions.

Now some of this, I got into in the other thread, but I'd like to clear things up, as well as address Versus's questions, and criticism of the Movement, and my own attitude towards it.

To begin:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Versus View Post
How has OWS addressed the concerns of non-whites? Where has that discourse come to?
In a number of ways, which are WAY too numerous to mention here in their entirety

The first and most glaring is our opposition to Stop and Frisk Which is a racist policy carried out by the City of New York, primarily against Black and Latino men (85% of stop and Frisks targeted these two racial groups, and 90% did not result in arrest or conviction of any crime whatsoever.

This is a policy which virtually no white man ever has to fear being targeted by, yet this has become a major issue for Occupy Wall Street.

Our opposition to Stop and Frisk is more than just protesting and getting thrown in jail over a policy which largely does not effect white males we also have an anti-stop and frisk workgroup which is funded by occupy money, and facilitated by a woman.

Second, Occupy has declared solidarity with indigenous peoples, Welcomed those who came to join our ranks and officially endorsed and incorporated proposals brought forth by some of the Native Peoples who met with us in solidarity.

We also took a stand against Columbus day, and with many indigenous activists who came to NYC to protest the Columbus day parade.

We have held multiple anti-racist education sessions and Teach-Ins, and been joined by former black panthers our library has carried BPP literature and we have had multiple speakers of color (or as Saya would put it "Tokens") who have taken their time to help educate us both on matters of race and activism. For instance, a little while ago we had a panel which among others featured both Cisco Torres and Laura Whitehorn both of which are former Black Panthers, and lifelong activists.

We have multiple important work and affinity groups which are facillitated by people of color, most notably the Tactical Action Committee in LA, and Occu-Evolve here in NYC and of course Occupy The Hood

Recently, I and other die-hard Occupy Wall Street protestors joined up with NYU students and Gilbert Baker in a protest against NYU's welcoming of a Chick-Fil-A in the west village, just blocks from Christopher Street and the Stonewall inn.

Now Saya would dismiss this as "Tokenism" which the movement affects in order to not lose it's liberal street cred/avoid being seen as a racist movement, but that's simply not consistent with the facts; for one thing Occupy is NOT all white men, as I have said and shown it is extremely diverse both in its membership and in the issues it addresses, and when minority groups make their voices heard, more often than not, they are heeded: <---**Anyone worried about racism and sexism in Occupy needs to read this whole article, it's long but it's VERY good, and it's worth it**
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Old 04-29-2012, 10:59 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manissa McCleave Maharawal
Let me tell you what it feels like to stand in front of a white man and explain privilege to him. It hurts. It makes you tired. Sometimes it makes you want to cry. Sometimes it is exhilarating. Every single time it is hard. Every single time I get angry that I have to do this, that this is my job, and that it shouldn’t be my job. Every single time I am proud of myself that I’ve been able to say these things because I used to not be able to and because some days I just don’t want to.

This all has been said by many, many strong women of colour before me but every time, every single time these levels of power are confronted it I think it needs to be written about, talked about, gone through over and over again.

And this is the thing: that there in that circle, on that street-corner we did a crash course on racism, white privilege, structural racism, oppression. We did a course on history and the declaration of independence and colonialism and slavery. It was hard. It was real. It hurt. But people listened. We had to fight for it. I’m going to say that again: we had to fight for it. But it felt worth it. It felt worth it to sit down on a street corner in the Financial District at 11:30 pm on a Thursday night, after working all day long and argue for the changing of the first line of Occupy Wall Street’s official Declaration of the Occupation of New York City. It felt worth it not only because we got the line changed but also because while standing in a circle of 20, mostly white men, and explaining racism to them, carefully and slowly spelling out that I as a woman of colour experience the world way differently than the author of the Declaration, a white man; that this was not about him being personally racist but about relations of power; and that he urgently needed to listen to and believe me about this … this moment felt like a victory for the movement on its own.

And this is the other thing. It was hard, and it was fucked up that we had to fight for it in the way we did but we did fight for it and we won. The line was changed, they listened, we sat down and re-wrote it and it has been published with our re-write. And when we walked away, I felt like something important had just happened, that we had just pushed a movement a little bit closer to the movement I would like to see – one that takes into account historical and current inequalities, oppressions, racisms, relations of power, and one that doesn’t just recreate liberal white privilege but confronts it head on. And if I have to fight to make that happen I will. As long as my people are there standing next to me while I do that.

Later that night I biked home over the Brooklyn Bridge and I somehow felt like the world was, just maybe, at least in that moment, mine, as well as everyone dear to me and everyone who needed and wanted more from the world. I somehow felt like maybe the world could be all of ours.
As far as "Ron Paul, neo liberals, and reformers goes" While Ron Paul has enjoyed SOME support from Occupiers, largely due to his anti-fed stance, his vocal support FOR the movement and the fact that he is the ONLY Presidential Candidate who is anti-war (Occupy is currently extremely concerned about the possibility of war in Iran) Occupy is overwhelmingly anti-capitalist, and those of us who aren't are getting more radical every day (it really only takes getting the shit kicked out of you by the NYPD and spending time in lock-up with more experienced activists to radicalize a moderate...and the NYPD have been beating and arresting the shit out of us. (<-- Watch those, especially the second one, you'll get to see the police break a window with my comrade's head).
With every arrest Occupy becomes more radical, more anti-capitalist, and more revolutionary. This is a very good thing, because shit has been getting freaking gonzo nuts lately, and if we all don’t want to find our respective countries goose-stepping through a robo-cop hell anytime soon, something radical needs to be done.

So how did Occupy come to be seen as “a movement plagued with white privlege, Ron Paul wankers, neoliberals and reformers” dominated by Chauvinist, Racist, White Men so un-aware of their own privilege that “every occupier is a frustrated dictator”?
Well, there are a number of reasons…for one thing, Occupy is a multi-cultural, multi-national, multi-ethnic, populist movement taking place in a world which has been dominated by Capitalist oppression and propaganda for centuries. It is only natural that there are going to be clashes, misunderstandings, rudeness, criminal activity, and downright crazy bullshit. That’s life, and it’s further complicated by Occupy’s Lateral Anarchist Structure. Versus brought up a point in the other thread actually:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Versus View Post
Also, this distinctly reminds me of when the government labels service men as rogues when they commit some kind of atrocity.

You have to take responsibility for everything that you create, not just the good things, but the bad as well. I understand that society as a whole generates these types of attitudes, but OCW as a whole needs to acknowledge that they exist within the movement because they are allowed to. That includes you, Despanan.
There is a distinct difference between Occupy, and the Military (or a regular political movement or party). When a soldier “goes rogue” he is part of a mission with specific goals, he has a set of homogenized ideals he’s supposed to follow, and a command which he is obliged to obey which must also answer for its actions.
Occupy has none of this, it is an Anarchist movement dedicated to the dismantling of illegitimate heirachal power structures, not by working within those structures, but by bypassing them entirely, and instead approaching the problem through bottom up egalitarianism and direct action. This is evident in the Declaration of the Occupation:

Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCGA
To the people of the world,
We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.
To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.
Join us and make your voices heard!
So how the hell am I supposed to “create” an oppressive environment in Occupy Newfoundland, let alone take responsibility for it? I didn’t not let Saya get a word in edgewise. Occupy didn’t tell that guy to bring a People’s Republic of China Flag to the march for Danny Cheng. It’s not our fault that, when Adbusters gave Occupy its name based on the Occupied Factories movement in Argentina, they didn’t think that it had a different connotation to Native Peoples.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Versus
]It's not the responsibility of people to overlook what you feel isn't there, because it's a very real thing to the rest of us. "Be more like a white middle class male." gets really, really old. It's YOUR responsibility to show that it's not there, and by not even taking the first step to acknowledge that racism, sexism, and homophobia are present within YOUR movement, you further alienate would-be supporters without your privilege.

If you don't acknowledge my issues and work to overcome them, how am I supposed be elevated to a position where I can work with you to overcome something we all face?

I am not overlooking this stuff. Nor are other members of Occupy. As you can see, this stuff has been addressed and will continue to be addressed.

What I am pointing out to you, Saya, and anyone else who bought in to the narrative that Occupy is just a bunch of racist, privileged white men flying the colors of revolution in an effort to reclaim their middle class and replace our current dictators with themselves, is that this narrative is a lie. Not only that, it is a lie of omission.
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:00 PM   #3
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Many of the bad narratives about Occupy spring from an article by Gina Belafonte of the NYtimes. The positions which you, and Saya, along with thousands of other bloggers, and members of the mainstream press are still echoing.

Let me explain how this works:

1) Multi-Ethnic, Multi-Racial, Cross Generational protestors of both genders meet under the umbrella of Occupy Wall Street.

2) Friction results from these groups not being used to interacting, and problems inevitably arise. These problems are made more difficult due to the protest itself being an umbrella over a number of minoritized causes (from ‘Free Puerto Rico’ to ‘No Fracking’) as opposed to a set of hegemonized ideals under a traditional heirachal power structure.

3) The establishment Corporate media, intent on silencing this movement picks up on these problems, and amplifies them to the population at large, focusing only on the problems and not on the why, how, or what is done about them. Those who are within the corporate media’s reach (ie: everybody) then is effected by this propaganda and begins to look for evidence to confirm the bias which was planted by the establishment. As a result well-meaning, intelligent people who are not involved in the movement are scared away/actively work to denounce the movement.

4) No one wins except the 1%. Rinse and repeat.


It is NOT that I am dismissing your facts, nor that I am refusing respond when occupiers behave badly. This is to be expected, and when I see it, I take them to task for it. What I am saying is that you only have a very NARROW view as to what is going on in Occupy, and you are focusing on and critiquing a small (but still important) aspect of the movement (the fact that there ARE dumb, racist, and/or crazy people involved with occupy) and then ascribing that critique to the entire movement at large and demanding I apologize for it and/or denounce them with you. Again, I do not support these people but I have no power to throw them out of occupy, and if I focus on them as you have, I damage the very GOOD and important things that Occupy is doing while playing directly into the anti-revolutionary establishment’s left’s hands.


I am not saying that you are incorrect to be concerned about them. I am concerned about them. I am not saying your facts are wrong, what I am saying is that your perspective ON these facts in incorrect, because of all of these other facts which you are now aware of.

TL;DR – Stupid, Racist, Chauvinist people suck, but as Saya pointed out, those people aren’t endemic to Occupy, they don’t control Occupy, nor are they well-liked IN Occupy, so please stop blaming myself and Occupy for them, and instead get involved and help me to make OUR voices louder.

PEACE. OUT.

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Old 04-29-2012, 11:25 PM   #4
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Note: My bad, made a mistake Laura is a member of the weather underground, not the Black Panthers. I was confused because she spent a great deal of time at the panel speaking about the Black Panthers, and I'm so tired from this weekend that the two just decided to merge in my head for some reason.

I am also dismissing the large majority of the facts about the rapes and **** culture. THere have been sexual assaults but these are few and far between and many have been made up and exaggerated by folks like Andrew Breitbart.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:33 AM   #5
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OMG dude, seriously? "I'm not disputing your facts, although it is a media conspiracy and probably made up and exaggerated (because most rapes are made up, amirite)", is that really all you got?

Story time. Did you know feminism spawned out of the abolitionist movement? They fought to end slavery. But first wave feminism was very largely racist, and included women who supported eugenics, who argued that white men were treating them like "negroes", and even women who fought to be allowed to join the KKK.

With movements now, most people are in theory against racism. They can fight laws and policies but not their own privilege. And basically what you're saying is, you'll fight the law, but not racists. You'll call the government out on it's bullshit, but not other people in Occupy. How can you call yourself an ally if you think racists in Occupy have the right to chase out aboriginal drummers and never hold them responsible for it? That security has the right to tell victims of sexual assault that the perpetrator has more of a right to be there than they do, and they're causing division? Do you really wonder why so many different groups view you as sexist and racist?

Its tokenism because that's how you're treating it. Its the "I have a black friend so I can't be racist" excuse. You'll listen, and some may feel they're having success, but obviously its not totally getting through. I've been to a workshop led by First Nations people and they said they felt they got through, THE VERY NEXT DAY WITH THE SAME GROUP WHO WAS THERE white people were totally dominating a discussion on racism and colonialism, making it about Quebec liberation, and women of colour understandably stormed out and never came back. It doesn't matter than I personally am not racist, it doesn't matter that most white people there weren't racist. That was allowed to happen, no one was held accountable, and nothing productive got done in the end. Obviously I still believe in feminism, I'm not saying you should quit Occupy, but you have got to accept why people don't want to associate with you when you're unwilling to hold people like that accountable.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:53 AM   #6
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Now Saya, I really should be ignoring you because you're not a person of Color, this is a response to Versus, remember?

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Originally Posted by Saya View Post
OMG dude, seriously? "I'm not disputing your facts, although it is a media conspiracy and probably made up and exaggerated (because most rapes are made up, amirite)", is that really all you got?
I've got seven pages here full of links. I spent a couple of hours working on this, if you think that's what I'm saying then you either don't intend to actually discuss this, or you're incapable of looking at this issue objectively.

Quote:
Story time. Did you know feminism spawned out of the abolitionist movement? They fought to end slavery. But first wave feminism was very largely racist, and included women who supported eugenics, who argued that white men were treating them like "negroes", and even women who fought to be allowed to join the KKK.
Interesting.

Quote:
With movements now, most people are in theory against racism. They can fight laws and policies but not their own privilege. And basically what you're saying is, you'll fight the law, but not racists.
No, that's not what I'm saying.

Quote:
You'll call the government out on it's bullshit, but not other people in Occupy.
I routinely call other people out in Occupy. I said as much in the OP.

Quote:
How can you call yourself an ally if you think racists in Occupy have the right to chase out aboriginal drummers and never hold them responsible for it?
1) I don't think they have the right to chase out Aboriginal Drummers, why would you think I felt this way?

2) I DO hold them responsible for it. THEM. I don't hold "Occupy" responsible for it because "Occupy" INCLUDES those same abortiginal drummers.

Quote:
That security has the right to tell victims of sexual assault that the perpetrator has more of a right to be there than they do, and they're causing division? Do you really wonder why so many different groups view you as sexist and racist?
1) I never said anything of the sort. You seem to be intent on arguing with other people through me. Stop it. I'm not the guy you couldn't speak over. I'm not one of the men you've banned from your feminist meetings (well, actually I guess I technically AM by virtue of my dangly bits, but not directly anyhow).

I am NOT one of the men who calls you sweety (though I may be NOW because I know it pisses you off) and talks over you. I fuck with you because I respect you. I respond to you, I make sure your voice is heard and I am as brutal towards you as I would be towards any man.

I will hold your feet to the fire for the same reason I hope you hold mine, because that's the only way either of us will get better.

I don't appreciate you projecting your problems with other people onto me. That's dismissive, disrespectful, and stupid.

2) I don't wonder. I actually explained a huge reason why these perceptions exist.

Quote:
Its tokenism because that's how you're treating it. Its the "I have a black friend so I can't be racist" excuse. You'll listen, and some may feel they're having success, but obviously its not totally getting through. I've been to a workshop led by First Nations people and they said they felt they got through, THE VERY NEXT DAY WITH THE SAME GROUP WHO WAS THERE
So, you have made the claim that not just myself, but Occupy is racist and sexist. What sort of evidence would you accept to disprove this claim? I mean I've already brought evidence that minority issues are represented, minority voices are heard, and that this is reflected in our offical policy.

What else can I do? Is it by virtue of the accusation alone that the entire movement is guilty of racism and sexism?

Where is your burden of proof Saya? Because you seem more than willing to dismiss any evidence to the contrary no matter what it is.

Quote:
white people were totally dominating a discussion on racism and colonialism, making it about Quebec liberation, and women of colour understandably stormed out and never came back. It doesn't matter than I personally am not racist, it doesn't matter that most white people there weren't racist. That was allowed to happen, no one was held accountable, and nothing productive got done in the end. Obviously I still believe in feminism, I'm not saying you should quit Occupy, but you have got to accept why people don't want to associate with you when you're unwilling to hold people like that accountable.
I don't understand why you think I'm unwilling to hold people accountable. I do hold people accountable.

What I don't do is contribute to the anti-revolutionary media narrative that uses these problems as ammunition in an ad-hominem attack on Occupy itself.
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:16 PM   #7
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jutcMDjtvT8
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Old 04-30-2012, 06:43 PM   #8
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Wait, you do remember writing this, right?

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Again, I do not support these people but I have no power to throw them out of occupy, and if I focus on them as you have, I damage the very GOOD and important things that Occupy is doing while playing directly into the anti-revolutionary establishment’s left’s hands.
You even had it in bold. You're saying critiquing the movement is bad. Bringing this shit up like I do is PLAYING INTO ENEMY HANDS OMGZ.

And yes, you are dismissive. You've said, in your posts, that the media is out to paint you as bad, so our facts aren't straight, and sexual assault is being exaggerated. You said that.

It doesn't matter to you that people are having a hard time with Occupy, you said you created this thread to focus on Versus but have mostly focused on me, again. The whole thing is funny because when he posted in the other thread originally he said to me that he's probably going to get ignored, and he did.

Intersectionality is revolutionary, and if criticism isn't accepted, the movement is bullshit. You can't have racists chasing off aboriginal drummers (who haven't returned to OWS from what I understand, so no they are no longer part of the movement) and say they both belong.
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Old 04-30-2012, 06:52 PM   #9
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Also interesting, according to surveys OWS is infact mostly white and male:

http://www.fordham.edu/images/academ...s%20102611.pdf

http://www.fastcompany.com/1789018/o...ics-statistics

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/1..._n_998722.html
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:58 PM   #10
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I should rephrase my question. "How has OWS addressed the concerns of non-whites about OWS? Where has that discourse come to?"

I appreciate the work you have to done to answer my question. I know you put a lot of effort into it, and I hate to bother you about it, but I don't really feel like you addressed it. I'm interested in the internal struggle to fight racism within the movement.

Quote:
There is a distinct difference between Occupy, and the Military (or a regular political movement or party). When a soldier “goes rogue” he is part of a mission with specific goals, he has a set of homogenized ideals he’s supposed to follow, and a command which he is obliged to obey which must also answer for its actions.
I could reference a few things that say otherwise, but I hope that at this point, that's not necessary. Is it okay for me to just say that it's not as specific as you think, and that my comparison was not inaccurate?

Quote:
So how the hell am I supposed to “create” an oppressive environment in Occupy Newfoundland, let alone take responsibility for it? I didn’t not let Saya get a word in edgewise. Occupy didn’t tell that guy to bring a People’s Republic of China Flag to the march for Danny Cheng. It’s not our fault that, when Adbusters gave Occupy its name based on the Occupied Factories movement in Argentina, they didn’t think that it had a different connotation to Native Peoples.
Because when OWS makes a mission statement or a general intent, it is OWS's responsibility when OWS does not adhere to it. I don't know if you consider other occupy pronouns as OWS, but I would assume so because you used Occupy Boston and Occupy The Hood as examples of what OWS has done to address the concerns of non-whites. I also think that you have to take credit for the crazies and stupids, too. I'm not really sure how you can have a consensus when their actions don't reflect the movement as a whole. I don't think there is a consensus like you think there is.

As far as what you're supposed to do about it? I don't know. I'm not an activist, and I don't have any experience with it. I'll try to look into it and come back with an answer, though. I'll tell you that "Nothing" isn't a good one, though. At least if you're interesting in drawing people to OWS.

Quote:
I am not overlooking this stuff. Nor are other members of Occupy. As you can see, this stuff has been addressed and will continue to be addressed.

What I am pointing out to you, Saya, and anyone else who bought in to the narrative that Occupy is just a bunch of racist, privileged white men flying the colors of revolution in an effort to reclaim their middle class and replace our current dictators with themselves, is that this narrative is a lie. Not only that, it is a lie of omission.
I'll get to this when I have a chance, but feel free to respond to the other jazz before then.
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:45 PM   #11
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:07 PM   #12
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That's not what I said. D:
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:40 PM   #13
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Desp have you ever heard of the term "denial of subjectivity"? Because I see an awful lot of that coming from you in both this thread and the other. You keep claiming that OWS is so perfectly wonderful that the things we have mentioned couldn't be widespread within it but you haven't addressed people's personal experiences in any sort of meaningful way.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:12 PM   #14
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And the true Scotsman thing.
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:01 AM   #15
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I am not overlooking this stuff. Nor are other members of Occupy. As you can see, this stuff has been addressed and will continue to be addressed.
No. You posted examples of the good things that occupy is trying to accomplish. You posted examples of how you believe occupy is diverse. But you have not posted anything that addresses the specific issues, or them in general. What has occupy done in response to the craziness at the million hoodie march? Or the Denny Cheng march? How have has occupy responded to the claim that they are a white middle class movement? By dismissing it as mainstream media narrative? How does that explain independent bloggers that nobody has heard of with similar experiences? What about specific individuals?

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What I am pointing out to you, Saya, and anyone else who bought in to the narrative that Occupy is just a bunch of racist, privileged white men flying the colors of revolution in an effort to reclaim their middle class and replace our current dictators with themselves, is that this narrative is a lie. Not only that, it is a lie of omission.
I never said that. I think I made two posts? One was an honest question with an open mind (still is, by the by), and the other was a criticism of dismissing what I felt was a legitimate claim. But to be honest, I'm really distrustful. You can blame that on propaganda if you want to, but I think everybody knows that I don't pay attention to the news.

Also, I'm glad your girlfriend doesn't have cancer, too.
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:32 AM   #16
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So, you have made the claim that not just myself, but Occupy is racist and sexist. What sort of evidence would you accept to disprove this claim? I mean I've already brought evidence that minority issues are represented, minority voices are heard, and that this is reflected in our offical policy.
Kind of, yeah. Check it out. It might seem unfair. I'll try to explain. I'm sorry if I sound condescending, but I'm trying to make you understand why what you're calling evidence doesn't matter.

So prejudice is an irrational dislike of somebody, or a group of people, and when you hold them to a specific belief, typically a steriotype, that isn't necessarily true. I think everybody does this to an extent. But remember, it's possible to harbor these feelings and not act on them.

Discrimination is when you do act on that prejudice. That's not practicing racism or sexism. This is still the individual level.

Racism and sexism is when an entire culture acts on this prejudice from a position of power to such an extent that the behavior becomes the norm. When people do it consciously, unconsciously. It manifests in different ways, but the bottom line is that those who are in a position of power within their class are the ones least likely to recognize their position and the privilege it affords because they are within a society that benefits them.

I have privilege. You have privilege. Saya has privilege. There are some types that we share, and some types that the others have.

What you don't see is that when you hold the words of women and people of color against each other, it's practicing sexism and racism. Despanan, what you're doing is piting the input and opinions of minorities against each other and supporting those that suite you. You are supporting the subserviant ones. It divides the group and lifts you up. Can you see why you're practicing racism and sexism, now?

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What else can I do? Is it by virtue of the accusation alone that the entire movement is guilty of racism and sexism?
Yes. As a majority white, majority male movement, there is nothing you can do. You have all the cards and don't realize it. Every movement practices some kind of oppression. The black community has sexist. The feminist community has racists. All from the fact that they have some sort of power over another in an oppressive society that makes it normal.
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Where is your burden of proof Saya? Because you seem more than willing to dismiss any evidence to the contrary no matter what it is.
Why does she need to convince you that she feels discriminated? Why not just accept that and try to understand and change it for the better?
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:09 AM   #17
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I can see both sides of this one. What both Versus and Saya's evidence seems to highlight is that the left are far from immune to the bullshit fallacies born of privilege commonly seen from the right. This is lamentably true, in my experience: having sat in on SWP meetings where everyone has actually sat there and agreed that combating racism is a more immediate priority than fighting sexism - some of the women included - I have jack-shit patience for people who are all, "Yah, that's a problem, but honestly, it's not at the top of the list right now - mayhaps we'll look into that shit when we live in an otherwise perfect world". The second you start allocating importance like that, your side becomes a little weaker, because when you're standing against the establishment it is all connected.

To be fair, though, I'm not really hearing that in Despanan's view - what he seems to be saying is that these problems are in fact very important ones, which he and others are doing their utmost to neutralise wherever they see them; while asking us to keep in mind that they are not the sum of Occupy, the normal standard of behaviour of the avergae Occupier, and should not allow the out-of-hand dismissal of Occupy's aims and achievements to date. (Although the "rapes and sexual assaults are being exaggerated" comment was ill-advised; I take the point that they're useful to those who seek to illegitimize Occupy, but still - perpetuating **** culture in the attempt to address feminist concerns is SO not helpful, and downright alienating. I'd rather hear what's been done to make Occupy safe for women than be told that it's simply been blown out of proportion by The Media. Unaccompanied by specific examples of PROVEN lies about **** as it was, frankly that just sounds offensive.)

I guess problems with racism and sexism in Occupy are inevitable to a point, as long as these things continue to be problems of society at large. As to whether enough is being done to combat these problem within Occupy, I couldn't say; my only information comes from bloggers and news sources. And my own protest experience tells me that opinions formed on such second-hand accounts are rarely worth much. It IS true that mainstream media tends to play up the disruptive and sensationalist elements of protests to a disproportionate degree.

It's good that you guys are having this discussion, though. The only way to pull Occupy's socks up is for everyone in it to be having this dicussion.

General thoughts on these issues: the only solution I can see is for everyone involved leftist movement to pull their heads out of their arses, and realise that not only are they all on the same side, but that their struggles are completely inextricable from one another. No one issue is subordinate to any other, and if it is, then the movement will tear itself apart. Racism is not more important than feminism is not more important than economic inequality is not more important than gay rights is not more important than disabled rights, and anyone who tries to privilege one of these narratives over and above the others is missing the point.
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:36 AM   #18
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I should point out re: my last paragraph that the nature of privilege puts the burden for this change on the majority, to listen to marginal voices. Reading back it just sounds like "You lot all want your heads knocking together and you're all as bad as each other", which is emphatically NOT what I meant. The power balance is unquestionably unequal; so, therefore, is the responsibility.
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:03 AM   #19
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Not exactly. The argument that Desp is making is that, while he recognizes that occupy has problems here and there, he doesn't believe that he, or the movement itself, practices sexism and racism.

To speak nothing of the movement, while Desp is not racist or sexist, he is nevertheless adhering to it.

OWS is, according to the extremely conservative survey, 61% Male and 68% White, while NYC is 48% Male and 44% White. He's using "My friend is a woman, my friend is a person of color" as evidence that occupy is representative - a common excused to fall back on.

When Saya pointed out that he is ignoring the numerous instances of **** culture and racism, all legitimate criticisms, his reponses ranged from exercising his privilege to either make it about himself, pass the responsibility off to the individual perpetrators with a "no true scotsman" fallacy, try to justify that other movements have similar problems as if that makes it okay, blamed the media for exaggerating or blowing those real concerns out of proportion to marginalize their meaning, and down right ASK FOR PROOF instead of acknowledging that, from his privilege, he might not recognize these instances of sexism and racism.

And that's just the top of my head on my cell phone.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:07 AM   #20
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Ah, okay. I read the whole thing but fairly hurriedly, so I guess it's possible that having been on the other side of a mending-is-better-than-ending debate with Saya before, i was just seeing what I expected to see.

Despanan - you seemed to touch upon both of these viewpoints in your arguments, but I'm curious as to which one dominates your thinking on the subject the most. Is your argument that OWS is all kinds of -ist in the same way as the society that spawned it, but that attempts are being made to deal with this as effectively as possible, and that meanwhile we can't throw away the movement because it isn't completely utopian (because how can it be, when it's the direct result of rampant injustice that breeds social poison)? Or simply that these problems exist, but not on the scale that a biased media would have us believe, and are usually isolated incidents?
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:49 AM   #21
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You know...

I'm glad this conversation is happening. I feel like I'm learning a lot from just reading this stuff.
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:18 AM   #22
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So I want to make sure I've got this stuff straight. Firstly, I don't go to any of the protests. I'm actually quite ignorant as to what goes on in Occupy.

You see... I tell my friends that the fastest way to silence Occupy is to increase taxes on the rich, socialize medicine, education, and perhaps even bring in new laws about student loans that lessens the burden on those in debt. If we were to do this, Occupy would act as if they accomplished the revolution. Sure... things in America would change for almost everyone while perhaps the world remains unchanged.

And it leaves me thinking about what it means to live in a communist or anarchist society with the old prejudices and the racial/gender/orientation/religious privileges in place. So what I'm thinking is what does it mean when the economic and worker control problems are solved but nothing else is? What kind of world would that be?

Frankly, I don't think Saya or Versus or really anyone who suffers at the machinations of white male privilege wants Occupy to go away. It is a powder keg of real change if one can start getting those who enjoy privileges to recognize where they come from in life. It has to do it correctly.

I remember when I read about Orwell's account of Anarchist Catalonia. An anarchist society, people! And there were moments and scenes where something seemed oddly sexist and there were some times where Orwell was treated differently in Spain because he was from somewhere else.

I think the point is; there are systems that people want. Occupy is pretty red as far as wanting to be socialist and one can commend Occupy for that. But then what of the culture?

Am I on to this, guys? Do I get it or am I still missing the mark?
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:50 PM   #23
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So I want to make sure I've got this stuff straight. Firstly, I don't go to any of the protests. I'm actually quite ignorant as to what goes on in Occupy.

You see... I tell my friends that the fastest way to silence Occupy is to increase taxes on the rich, socialize medicine, education, and perhaps even bring in new laws about student loans that lessens the burden on those in debt. If we were to do this, Occupy would act as if they accomplished the revolution. Sure... things in America would change for almost everyone while perhaps the world remains unchanged.

And it leaves me thinking about what it means to live in a communist or anarchist society with the old prejudices and the racial/gender/orientation/religious privileges in place. So what I'm thinking is what does it mean when the economic and worker control problems are solved but nothing else is? What kind of world would that be?
I feel like I'm telling everyone this, but I totally recommend reading The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin. The anarchist society there doesn't really have sexism or racism (its an alien race, I assume there's little difference between them?), but the problem in the book is that they've had anarchy for over 150 years, the generation doesn't really know how to spot oppression anymore and bureaucracy and the tyranny of the majority has snuck up on them.

If it were to happen here, I could imagine it easily. Equal in theory but not practice, I've been told (can't say there's a strong anarchist presense here so no first hand knowledge) that feminists have problems in anarchist groups due to being stuck with "women's work," in the kitchen. And to echo what Cuckoo said I've heard "after the revolution comes we'll worry about sexism" and variations of before. If revolution is to happen as is, I could easily see other forms of oppression still existing. Economic oppression might be harder to get away with, of course, but that's about it.

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Frankly, I don't think Saya or Versus or really anyone who suffers at the machinations of white male privilege wants Occupy to go away. It is a powder keg of real change if one can start getting those who enjoy privileges to recognize where they come from in life. It has to do it correctly.
You're right, and we're skeptical that what you said in your first paragraph won't happen (or even enough changes will be made to kept those in Occupy happy and they'll just stop, or they'll just get tired and stop.) There's a historical precedence, you know? No one gave two shits when it was black kids being terrorized by the police, but when it happens to white students with Occupy everyone freaks out. So the problem is twofold, where the fuck were they? Why are they so late to the issues? And the other, are they going to screw everyone else over once again?

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I remember when I read about Orwell's account of Anarchist Catalonia. An anarchist society, people! And there were moments and scenes where something seemed oddly sexist and there were some times where Orwell was treated differently in Spain because he was from somewhere else.

I think the point is; there are systems that people want. Occupy is pretty red as far as wanting to be socialist and one can commend Occupy for that. But then what of the culture?

Am I on to this, guys? Do I get it or am I still missing the mark?
I'm not convinced Occupy is red. A good chunk say they aren't going to vote and I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that they're of the opinion that voting is too reformist, but there's a lot of Ron Paul supporters, who's racist and misogynistic and wants to take away civil rights and reproductive rights, and he isn't the only anti-war candidate, there's third party and independents who aren't racist sexist capitalist fuckheads. I can't take a Ron Paul supporter as actually red and behind us when it comes to racism and sexism. In no way is his isolationism an excuse, and according to the first survey I linked to, 11% support the Socialist party and 11% support the Green party, so its not like they've never heard of alternatives.

I don't think Occupy is decidely radical and revolutionary, and would be happy with reform.

I'd love to see a statistic on how
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Old 05-01-2012, 02:01 PM   #24
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sorry about the last sentence, meant to delete it and I can't even remember what that thought was D:
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:35 PM   #25
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I'd love to see a statistic on how sexy Versus is under various levels on physical exertion.
Aww.

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Frankly, I don't think Saya or Versus or really anyone who suffers at the machinations of white male privilege wants Occupy to go away. It is a powder keg of real change if one can start getting those who enjoy privileges to recognize where they come from in life. It has to do it correctly.
I express this in much angrier terms then Saya. I am extremely pessimistic about occupy's message of solidarity. Frankly; It's complete and utter fucking bullshit. White people lose their homes and national unemployment reaches double digits and suddenly there's economic inequality! White kids run outside like the fucking sky is falling and act like damn fools when black males have seen it for how long? Crack rips through black communities for years and nothing's amiss, but when it comes into the masses? WAR ON DRUGS!

It's fucking insulting to other activists. It's like shit doesn't matter until it reaches them, and then they try to get minorities on board with their movement by expressing solidarity like their struggles are the same when minorities have been fighting alone for years and nobody gave a shit. Tim Wise compares it to the Titanic. He says when the ship hits an iceberg, the first ones to get wet are the poor kids in steerage. They try to sound the alarm to everybody above them, but they all say "This ship can't fucking sink" until there's water lapping at their feet.

That being said, you're right. I want Occupy to work. My worry is that, upon finding a measure of success for some, they'll quit and throw minorities under the bus again. IT HAS TO BE DONE CORRECTLY.
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