Thinking through solidarity organizing, with an eye to how we can better live the change, as well as how we often slip in to colonial patterns when working together across distance and difference.
Sep 29, 2010
speaking of the space provided by accompaniment
This is my favorite of the recent short videos by PBI Colombia, because this one so clearly opens a space for the voice of one of the people that they accompany. What is odd is that he seems to say that he also has armed bodyguards - which is against PBI policy I thought. So maybe PBI just accompanies the organization that he works with (CREDHOS) as a whole, not him. It's not quite clear here. What IS clear here is that when he says PBI gives CREDHOS more space, he means not just political space but very literally that with PBI along they can go further out into more dangerous countryside to do their work.
Sep 20, 2010
bringing attention to unheard voices
The theme of famous people bringing attention to otherwise ignored people and places continues - this video is by Greenpeace of a trip the actress Marion Cotillard did to an area of the Congo being devastated by logging. Rather than fetishizing the people of the jungle like the Cameron piece, in this one they're real people that can talk and tell their story - more so in the latter episodes than in this first one. Great explanation at the end of the traceability principle. These videos would be a great tool to foster discussion in class about commodity chains.
Sep 12, 2010
a message from Pandora
I continue to be in awe of the organizers of Amazon Watch's good work of getting James Cameron, the director of Avatar, down to the Amazon to meet with real live people facing environmental destruction of their lands in real live "Pandora". This little video above is him telling of his trip, and I'm sure it will get the story of the destruction of the Amazon out to far more people than would otherwise have heard of it. Not so surprisingly, it suffers from the same white man saviour syndrome that the original movie did. sigh.
Sep 2, 2010
using privilege to pee
If you wanted to use a nice clean bathroom and knew you could walk into a fancy restaraunt and use theirs without being hassled because of your race/class/passport privilege - would you do it?
Would you do it if you were with a friend who would NOT be let in?
Or would you try to walk in with her?
If you were the one who would normally be hassled, would you walk in with your friend?
These simpler questions might be a good way to start a conversation about how, when, and why accompaniment uses privilege. One way to make these exercises more interactive and kinesthetic is to do a sociogram with them. Rather than have people stand along a line of just a yes/no response, you can ask them to position themselves around the room in ways (sitting, standing, facing away, close to the facilitator in the center or far) that reflect the various aspects of their position.
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