Polywog

December 14, 2007

INCITE!

Filed under: race — polywog @ 11:13 p12

I just noticed that INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence has a wonderful video clip from the US Social Forum that happened last June in Atlanta. On the video they included my most favorite, and my least favorite quotes from the plenaries. Andrea Smith critiqued the slogan of the US Social Forum, “Another US is Possible.” Andrea Smith said that “a sense of nationalist social hierarchy impacts what kind of revolutionary imagination we can even come up with. First of all let’s just look at the slogan of the US Social Forum: ‘Another world is possible, but another US is Necessary.’ The question to put on the table is, if another world is possible, is the US itself necessary? If we put all our… imaginations together, is the best we can come up with a kinder gentler…colonial state that’s based on slavery and genocide?” Mia Mingus gave a powerful speech on queerness and disability, a radical critique of able-bodied heteronormativity. I wish they took a larger clip of her speech, because the part they clipped did not quite catch the power/empowerment i felt listening to her speech at the time. I absolutely did not like the following speech by Loretta Ross, who said spoke about the colonization of the mind. Ross said that “nobody can make a slave out of you without your permission.” I absolutely feel that this kind of stance comes from a position of agency and some degree of privilege, neither of which enslaved or similarly exploited people can take for granted. I think her larger argument is right on, that we need to decolonize our minds as well as our bodies, and part of this process may include embracing a certain vocabulary of political language–she talks about women who wont use the word feminism–but why pretend that everyone in the world has the same amount of agency and privilege? Why assume that everybody wants to use the same language? Why assume that slavery is a choice? It seems to me these assumptions come from a general attitude that large structural/systemic social problems will change simply because we understand them, that just talking about problems will be enough to solve them. Shouldn’t it be obvious that slavery is a non-consensual arrangement? Who does it serve to say otherwise?

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