Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Meditation on The Decemberists - This Is Why We Fight, and the Decolonize/Occupy Movement

It might be just me (and I realize this was released months ago but I saw it for the first time today), but this song seems like it should be the anthem of the Occupy/Decolonize movement.

While I was watching the video it just hit me really hard like, isn't the story being told (through the visuals, through the music) so much a story of the underclass choosing to stand up and just refuse to take the shit those in charge are dealing?  To refuse to continue to be controlled by fear and manipulation and coercion and force and false privilege any longer?

And particularly, that those who used to be aligned with/protected by those in charge need to abandon that and stand with the oppressed?

Even so far as that it took one of "their own" being thrown out of the protective circle of the powerful group to galvanize those who revolted to their realization?

It's so bittersweet and inspiring at the same time... Just like I feel about this movement...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Recommended Reading on Thanksgiving

Full disclosure: yes, my family gets together on this holiday and does the turkey dinner, and we thank Spirit for what we have been given that year and wish blessings on our own and the world in the coming days.  This has never been about the Pilgrims or in ignorance of the genocide that has built this country, but it does mimic the traditions passed down in the historical mythology of this settler colonial nation, and while I love this day for seeing family I don't get to see often and eating good food with them I am increasingly ambivalent about the holiday, even in the form we "celebrate" it.  At the very least I think that while we are giving thanks, it is a good time to also meditate on the things in our nation and communities that need to change, the destructive and violent cycles that need to end and that (in the national mythology) we trace to this event of The First Thanksgiving.

In that spirit I share this piece, please click the link to read the full essay: Original Occupation: Native Blood & the Myth of Thanksgiving
Intro to that first occupation
We are talking widely among ourselves about “occupying” Wall Street — taking the center of an empire back for the people of the world. We are talking about “Occupy Everything” — sharing our dreams of taking all society away from banks, police, and the heartless authority of money. We hope this moment marks a beginning of the end for them.
And yet, just such a moment cannot be understood without remembering that other occupation — the one that marked the beginning of their beginning.
Arrogant invaders occupied a land using the most naked forms of genocide. They invented new forms of slavery, slave trade and profit making. They arrived with their high-tech arms and bibles. They declared all was theirs by divine right, while they took it all with raw force.
Put another way:  That first occupation was a sweeping nightmare that starts with Columbus. It has continued for 500 years. For the Native peoples of today (and therefore for us too) it remains an ongoing story of domination and removal. The nation-state who today labels millions of indigenous descendants “illegal aliens” arrived in boats with only royal decrees and their holy book as documents of legitimacy.
Every schoolchild in the U.S. has been taught that the Pilgrims of the Plymouth Colony invited the local Indians to a major harvest feast after surviving their first bitter year in New England.
Here is the true story of that Thanksgiving  — a story of murder and theft, of the first “corporations” invented on North American soil, of religious fundamentalism and relentless mania for money. It is a story of the birth of capitalism.
This piece is intended to be shared at this holiday time.
Pass it on. Serve a little truth with the usual stuffing.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Transgender Day of Remembrance

(If anyone knows who took this photo I would love to know, a friend posted it on Facebook but they didn't know where it came from originally)

The list of the dead

Candles are lit for you tonight, sisters.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Indigenous Solidarity Teach-Ins at #DecolonizeOakland

From Facebook:
Press Release/Announcement
Decolonize Oakland (DeOccupy Oakland)
Sunday, 11/13, 5:00-6:00
Monday, 11/14, 4:00-5:00
Oscar Grant Plaza, Oakland, California
Indigenous Solidarity Teach-Ins will explore some of the questions raised at the Occupy Oakland General Assembly on October 28 when the Memorandum of Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples passed by a 97% voting majority.
What does it mean to acknowledge the United States as a colonial and imperial nation? What is colonialism and imperialism?
What does it mean to acknowledge that Oakland is already occupied land? Who are the Chochenyo Ohlone people?
What does decolonization and deoccupation of the United States and Oakland mean? What can it mean?
Come discuss and learn with each other.
Joanne Barker