Posts tagged ‘people of color’

November 4, 2011

Message of Solidarity to Occupy Wall Street from the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq

Editors’ note: We are sharing and re-printing this statement of solidarity written by the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq because we find it an inspirational reminder of how movements against oppression, militarization and the 1% are necessarily connected.

By Yanar Mohammed and Ali Issa

Originally Published at  Jadaliyya


Dear Occupy Wall Street,

The people of the world are watching you, following your news and hoping that – rather than just vent your anger and frustration – you achieve all of your dreams.

While democracy should guarantee all people an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives, you find yourselves forced to take to the streets, as politicians and bankers make decisions behind closed doors and hire an army of police to send you back home with nothing.

While a wealthy 1% ravages your jobs, health, and very lives, their focus is always on their banks and not on the welfare and future of innocent, unsuspecting millions of people. In times of growth, those banks are sustained by your labor, resulting in extravagant luxuries for the 1%; while their economic failures and crises deny you basic resources and economic rights.

This is the same 1% that pursued the war on Iraq without hearing the millions who marched – in the United States and around the world – expressing their opposition. While claiming democracy, the 1% builds vast armies to be launched not just against people all over the world, but also within their own borders.

A second wave of global revolutions has begun as the 99% (that is, the global working class) rejects the tyranny, marginalization, and poverty which capitalist authoritarian governments force onto billions of us. Despite all claims of representation, capitalist states make the people pay the price of the economic failures of their political systems with unemployment and government cuts, while the banks get bailed out by the same resources that people’s toil has created. Avoiding the poverty and starvation of billions is never the concern of these so-called democracies as much as the stability of their own political rule. Moreover, that same 1% re-creates the same failing model of “democratic” capitalist political structures in newly-invaded countries around the globe.

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November 1, 2011

Occupy Wall Street is Transforming its Participants, Our Country, and Democracy

By Manissa McCleave Maharawal

Originally published on AlterNet

Monday night at a bar in Brooklyn my friend Alex and I looked through pictures on his phone of the “early days” of Occupy Wall Street. He had pictures of the General Assembly from Day 5 and we laughed together about how empty it looked, how ramshackle and tenuous almost, how we could still see the pavement and there was still space between the people. We had just biked back from Occupy Wall Street and we were commenting, again, on how different the space seems every time we are down there. This time I had been surprised to see tents everywhere, something I hadn’t seen before and honestly between the tents, the problems with the drumming in the past week and the debate about moving to a spokes-council structure it felt like the movement was in a moment in which it was trying to deal with its own internal dynamics. Growing pains almost.

It makes sense for a movement like Occupy Wall Street to be having growing pains right now. It is still a surprise to most people, those inside the movement and those observing, whether in solidarity or not, that it is still there and that it is growing. It is still a surprise that in places like Occupy Oakland, where their tents were torn down in the middle of the night and they were tear gassed the next evening, they came back the next day in even stronger numbers and called for a general strike. It has become clear in the past month that the political discourse has shifted and it has become clear in the past month that this thing isn’t going away. But some mornings I still wake up surprised about it all.

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October 27, 2011

Reflections on Muslim Prayer at OWS

By Linda Sarsour

What do we have to do with Occupy Wall Street? What’s so Islamic about Occupy Wall Street? Are we just going to show up or were we actually invited to be there? These were just some of the posts on the facebook event’s page for the Friday Prayer at Occupy Wall Street last week. I was shocked that there was so much doubt, uncertainty and lack of clarity as to what was the role of Muslim New Yorkers in Occupy Wall Street.

First off, Muslims have been part of and many have supported OWS since day one. Second of all, we were invited to have Friday prayer at OWS and graciously accepted that invitation. Friday prayer is the most sacred part of our lives to share with our fellow Americans. Muslims all over the world congregate in mosques to pray together, shoulder to shoulder, rich and poor, educated and non-educated to bring themselves closer to God. Third of all, it is our obligation as Muslims to stand up against injustice and to defend those who are defenseless.

photo by Naqeeb Memon

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October 25, 2011

Letter of solidarity to OWS from Tahrir

Editor’s note: We are sharing and re-printing this statement of solidarity written by activists in Cairo, as we think it is crucial to acknowledge the connections between our movements. 

To all those in the United States currently occupying parks, squares and other spaces, your comrades in Cairo are watching you in solidarity. Having received so much advice from you about transitioning to democracy, we thought it’s our turn to pass on some advice.

Indeed, we are now in many ways involved in the same struggle. What most pundits call “The Arab Spring” has its roots in the demonstrations, riots, strikes and occupations taking place all around the world, its foundations lie in years­-long struggles by people and popular movements. The moment that we find ourselves in is nothing new, as we in Egypt and others have been fighting against systems of repression, disenfranchisement and the unchecked ravages of global capitalism (yes, we said it, capitalism): a System that has made a world that is dangerous and cruel to its inhabitants. As the interests of government increasingly cater to the interests and comforts of private, transnational capital, our cities and homes have become progressively more abstract and violent places, subject to the casual ravages of the next economic development or urban renewal scheme.

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October 24, 2011

Revolutionary Movements

By Hena Ashraf

As a filmmaker my eye has always been drawn to the movements present in breakdancing; they are beautiful, fluid, and inspiring. This video released in March, “Spring Movements” by Justin Mashouf, combines this form of dance with footage that shows some of the millions who have fought for democracy in 2011 in the Arab world, and is an example of arts/media/culture as empowering forms of resistance. This week marks the first elections that are taking place amongst the Arab countries undergoing revolution, in Tunisia.

Arab Spring, European Summer, American Fall.