As a feminist activist and an occupier, I have not felt any disconnect between the two roles. I am a feminist because I want to actively work to eradicate the systemic oppression of women and people of color. I am an occupier because I want to see an end to sexism, racism, poverty, our criminal justice system, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the dehumanizing exploitative nature of our neo-liberal capitalist system. I am a feminist occupier because I want to confront all systems of privilege, to actively work to change our society to one free of all inequality, that recognizes and seeks to end all intersecting forms of oppression, that equally redistributes power and wealth, and works to create a new world in which every human being is valued and has access to adequate food, fair wages, health care, education.
In the Occupy movement, we must examine the system – how and why corporations exploit hierarchies of race, gender, and national status to increase their power and wealth. When we look at the 1%, we see not only a huge amount of wealth (one-fourth of the nation’s income), we also see predominantly straight, white men whose economic and political power is upheld by patriarchy, white privilege, and heteronormativity.
And while the rest of us, “the 99%”, tend to be characterized by the media as a homogeneous mass of ordinary, middle-class citizens (read: white and male), we are anything but. We are women, we are black, we are Latino/a, we are transgender, we are queer, we are disabled, we are homeless, we are indigenous, we are young, we are old. A statement of principles was released today by an amazing bunch of activists at OccupyDC. Making a note that this is a living document, the Statement of Principles from Non-dominant Communities states
We share an understanding that people of color, women, gender and sexual minorities, indigenous people, people with disabilities, people from non-dominant religious backgrounds, and other marginalized groups comprise the majority of “the 99%.”
Like everyone in this movement, we abhor the corporate control that influences our daily lives. We reject the systems of hierarchy that exist in our current society and reject their replication within this movement. We worry that we already see this movement becoming a microcosm of systems of power and privilege that exist in the greater world. We must be conscientious of these systems’ impact on global, national, local and Occupy-specific levels in order to prevent harm to our movement.
For those of you who haven’t participated in the fight for justice before, we are deeply excited and grateful for your presence. Welcome to the struggle.
To contact the group, email firstname.lastname@example.org
We have such an incredible opportunity here. We’ve created an activist movement that is not only about examining the symptoms of inequality but the very systems. We feminists have been arguing all along that society needed to change. We’ve always wondered why those around us weren’t angrier at the way women and other non-dominant and marginalized groups were being treated. Well here it is – the anger, the frustration, the passion, and the energy to change the underlying values that govern society. We’ve long understood the interconnectedness of all forms of oppression, that one cannot dismantle one form of inequality without dismantling them all. The people are ready, the dismantling has begun. The time is now.
**Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of the Feminism & Occupy blog series
For more sources on feminism and the Occupy movement, check out these great websites:
Hey students! Check out OccupyColleges.org
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