Jun 22, 2012

is solidarity even possible in this system?

So asks President Mujica, of Uruguay, at this speech in Rio.  Many thanks to Mariano for pointing me to it (warning, not the best translation).

Jun 18, 2012

advocacy as part of accompaniment

Christian Peacemaker Team's site has one of the more detailed descriptions of their work of any of the international organizations doing accompaniment in Colombia. Interestingly their site never uses the word ‘space’. They say:

“By accompaniment we mean both: 1) having a physical presence in the communities and with the organizations we accompany, and 2) doing advocacy work on their behalf.

1) Our physical presence in communities/organizations demonstrates to both members and leaders of organizations as well as armed actors that they are not alone; members of an international organization are present to witnesses and report on whatever is happening, and will non-violently intervene when armed actors abuse the rights of civilians. We ask violators to cease and desist from any behaviour that places civilians at risk or abuses their rights, and make it known that we will report all abuses to local authorities, local, national and North American government representatives, the media, and our international support base. …

2) Advocacy work for the organizations and communities we accompany is based on the understanding that justice must prevail before peace can be attained. It seeks to support our partners’ initiatives in their struggles to end violence and impunity, and to have their rights to life with dignity and territory respected. It also raises the profiles, not only of community/organization leaders, but also of their struggle for justice. Raising their profiles increases the political cost of doing them harm, and thereby diminishes the ability to oppress them with impunity. …"

They go on to list what advocacy work includes, and first on their list is

“1) Doing public actions and participating in demonstrations that promote justice and seek to end violence and impunity in the communities accompanied by CPT.”

CPT is known amongst other accompaniers as the group that engages in public actions in Colombia and considers this to be a form of accompaniment, and that section of their website includes this photo of such an action.

Jun 11, 2012

anti-oppression resources

The Colours of Resistance Archive (http://www.coloursofresistance.org), is a collection of anti-oppression resources for movement-building.

As they put it: "Colours of Resistance (COR) was a grassroots network of people in the U.S. and Canada who consciously worked to develop anti-racist, multiracial politics in the movement against global capitalism. This network existed from 2000 until 2006. COR members aimed to help build an anti-racist, anti-imperialist, multiracial, feminist, queer and trans liberationist, anti-authoritarian movement against global capitalism. COR members were also committed to integrating an anti-oppression framework and analysis into all of the work."

I've used the term anti-oppression for years.  When I was organizing with Seattle CISPES we started each meeting with 10 minutes we called, rather ridiculously, DOBS - or 'dismantling oppressive behaviours'.  It was useful to each week think about how to be more aware and respectful of different communities.  I guess I prefer dismantling oppression to anti-oppression as a term, but in general I'd rather our terms focused on what we want in the world rather than what we don't want.  Maybe we're not there yet.  And not sure what the term for this internal work in organizations would be then.  Liberation? Respect? Solidarity?