Occupy What?

I’m sick of Occupy. I’m sick and tired of movements that refuse to acknowledge the matrix of oppression — sexism, racism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism, etc.

Don’t get me wrong, Occupy does a lot of really great things…

For white, able bodied, cis, straight men.

There’s a reason why people of color left the movement to create their own. Why women, when they were either sexually harassed or raped, decided to leave when they were told that a safe space would not be created. This should never be tolerated, especially not in a movement created to try to rid the world of inequality.

I’ve been to a few GA’s. All of which were unproductive, disorganized and heavily white male focused.

Is this too reverse sexist for you? Reverse racist? Leave your comments at the door. Society already conforms itself to your needs, it’s time for y’all to start thinking critically about how you act around marginalized groups.

This is not to say that I am perfect or all knowing. It’s about accountability and when you are being called out to sit down, shut up and listen.  

My experiences with white men have formed what psychologists would call a defense mechanism of sarcasm and cynical viewpoints. I’m not interested in playing nice with boys who consistently create dangerous spaces for me. As a rape survivor, I am constantly on watch. I need to always be on the look out for shady behavior, such as where hands go, what kind of looks am I giving to men? Is the outfit I’m wearing too provocative? Does my smile profess consent to any kind of sexual behavior? And I have yet to attend an Occupy GA that addresses these concerns in a horizontal, non-hierarchical manner.

And why is a horizontal structure so important? Because it lends a leadership position to all who are involved. Rather than place power among a few at the top (which is what we are fighting against, numero uno am I wrong?) we should be creating a movement of working class folks who are taking part in every part of the struggle. This includes a diverse group of people including women, people of color, queer folk, trans* folk and people with disabilities (invisible and well as visible).

So, this is a call for people involved with Occupy to think critically about social inequality. Economic inequality is important to discuss, but the point becomes mute when ignoring the social inequality that exists on institutional, interpersonal and internalized levels.

 

 

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