Back in April, the Law & Disorder conference brought awesome speakers, organizers, and ex political prisoners from all around the world to Portland, OR. This is always an extremely exciting time for us, because we get to meet wonderful and inspirational folks, many of whom we have only heard stories of. The speaker in this video, scott crow, is one of those people.
Scott is an anarchist, worker, and community organizer from Austin, TX and has a lifetime of activism under his belt including work with the SHAC campaign, katrina support and community organizing, and much more. I would tell you about his successes and victories, but instead, you should get together with some friends, and have scott tell you himself by watching this video.
By Joel Olson
Occupy Wall Street and the hundreds of occupations it has sparked nationwide are among the most inspiring events in the U.S. in the 21st century. The occupations have brought together people to talk, occupy, and organize in new and exciting ways. The convergence of so many people with so many concerns has naturally created tensions within the occupation movement. One of the most significant tensions has been over race. This is not unusual, given the racial history of the United States. But this tension is particularly dangerous, for unless it is confronted, we cannot build the 99%. The key obstacle to building the 99% is left colorblindness, and the key to overcoming it is to put the struggles of communities of color at the center of this movement. It is the difference between a free world and the continued dominance of the 1%.
Left colorblindess is the enemy
Left colorblindness is the belief that race is a “divisive” issue among the 99%, so we should instead focus on problems that “everyone” shares. According to this argument, the movement is for everyone, and people of color should join it rather than attack it.
Left colorblindness claims to be inclusive, but it is actually just another way to keep whites’ interests at the forefront. It tells people of color to join “our” struggle (who makes up this “our,” anyway?) but warns them not to bring their “special” concerns into it. It enables white people to decide which issues are for the 99% and which ones are “too narrow.” It’s another way for whites to expect and insist on favored treatment, even in a democratic movement.
As long as left colorblindness dominates our movement, there will be no 99%. There will instead be a handful of whites claiming to speak for everyone. When people of color have to enter a movement on white people’s terms rather than their own, that’s not the 99%. That’s white democracy.
The white democracy
Biologically speaking, there’s no such thing as race. As hard as they’ve tried, scientists have never been able to define it. That’s because race is a human creation, not a fact of nature. Like money, it only exists because people accept it as “real.” Races exist because humans invented them.
Earlier this month, we were able to film author Kristian Williams while he answered these questions in detail while reading a chapter from an upcoming book called ‘We Are Many’ about the Occupy movement being put out by AK Press. We hope you enjoy this video, and we hope you help us spread this video around via your favorite social networking site!
Here at Because We Must, we love social justice media, this often includes videos of sorts that inspire us and give us goosebumps. This video is certainly one of those videos. “On Revolution: A Conversation Between Grace Lee Boggs and Angela Davis”, this historical event was the kick off event for the 27th Annual Empowering Women Of Color Conference in Berkeley, Ca. We could write pages about how Grace Lee Boggs and Angela Davis have inspired us to be the activists we are today, but for now we would like you to look into them yourselves. My favorite part of the talk is around the 45 minute mark, where Angela Davis discusses how she thinks the topic of food is going to be one of the next big social justice struggles. She then talks about being vegan, and the connection between human and non-human struggles. Although its a lengthy video, its a very interesting one. We should all be having these sorts of discussion everyday, and I thank those responsible for putting this talk together.
“I am sometimes really disappointed that many of us can assume that we are these radical activists, but we don’t know how to reflect on the food that we put in our own bodies. We don’t realize the extent to which we are implicated in the whole process of capitalism by participating uncritically in the food politics offered to us by great corporations. I usually don’t mention that I’m vegan, but that has evolved, and I think its the right moment to talk about it, because it is, I think, a part of a revolutionary perspective. How can we not only discover more compassionate relations with human beings, but how can we develop compassionate relations with the other creatures with whom we share this planet. And that would mean challenging the whole capitalist industrial form of food production.” – Angela Davis
Although this is a press release for a single action, it is important to note that countless other actions took place all across the U.S today in a coordinated effort to shut down the corporations affiliated with ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council).
Wednesday February 29th
Lindsay, Hart, Neil & Weigler LLP
Wells Fargo Center
1300 SW Fifth Avenue
Courtney Eastman, Portland Animal Defense League- (209) 559-0577, email@example.com
Animal Rights Activists Occupy Office of ALEC Chair
Portland, OR – On Wednesday, February 29th, Animal Defense League and has occupied the offices of Lindsay, Hart, Neil & Weigler and Paul S. Cosgrove, the state corporate co-chair for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ADL has taken this action as part of the international day of action to shut down corporations and ALEC affiliates on February 29th.
As the Oregon state corporate co-chair of ALEC, Paul S. Cosgrove of lobbying firm Lindsay, Hart, Neil & Weigler LLP is responsible for the myriad of legislation that institutionalizes animal exploitation and ecological devastation. ALEC represents the interests of some of the most notorious corporations synonymous with animal abuse and environmental degradation- AstraZeneca, Bayer, BP, Cargill, DuPont, Exxon Mobil, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Johnson & Johnson, Koch Industries, Monsanto, Novartis, Peabody Energy, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, and Sanofi-Aventis.
ALEC has written legislation forcing communities to accept the abusive practices of factory farming industries, including the Ag-Gag bills of Florida and Iowa, which criminalize the filming of cruel practices on factory farms. ALEC has written legislation that would allow the seizure of public lands such as wilderness areas and National Parks for resource extraction. ALEC has passed legislation, specifically the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), that labels and convicts activists that oppose these corporations and their activities as “terrorists,” silencing dissent and enabling corporate control and destruction.
“Paul S. Cosgrove, Oregon state corporate co-chair of ALEC, facilitates the systematic abuse of animals trapped on factory farms, caged in laboratories and surviving in the wild,” says Courtney Eastman of Animal Defense League. “Because the ALEC corporations Mr. Cosgrove represents stand in the way of ecological balance and freedom for all species, we demand he and his law firm, Lindsay, Hart, Neil & Weigler LLP, cut their ties with ALEC immediately.”
Three activists from the Animal Defense League covertly entered the Wells Fargo Center and made their way up to the 34th floor of the building, to the offices and Paul S. Cosgrove and Lindsay, Hart, Neil and Weigler. There, the activists chained themselves to together and physically began occupying the office in an act of nonviolent direct action.
For more information, please visit: http://pdxanimaldefenseleague.org/