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While I think it is fantastic that Occupy Wall Street is offering immigration training to protesters, I also think that the well-meaning individuals quoted in this article also need to wake up and realize that undocumented immigrants have been organizing for their rights quite visibly and vocally for several years now, risking everything from arrest to deportation to imminent death. The question is not really about where we are in terms of being the 99% but where have you been?
I’m not sure why people of color, who face the brunt of an oppressive system on a daily basis, are always expected to follow the lead of the outraged cisgender white citizen masses instead of the other way around. Lets be real – undocumented immigrants are the bedrock of a system that extracts surplus value from our labor while denying us basic due process and civil rights. On a related note, in a latest poll, 79% of Latino voters support the California Dream Act, compared to 30% of white voters, which is quite telling and sums up my point.
I don’t think there is one correct way of resisting or fighting for our freedoms and at the same time, highly recommend How Nonviolence Protects the State by Peter Gelderloo:
Nonviolence declares that the American Indians could have fought off Columbus, George Washington, and all the other genocidal butchers with sit-ins; that Crazy Horse, by using violent resistance, became part of the cycle of violence, and “as bad as” Custer. Nonviolence declares that Africans could have stopped the slave trade with hunger strikes and petitions, and that those who mutinied were as bad as their captors; that mutiny, a form of violence, led to more violence, and thus, resistance led to more enslavement. Nonviolence refuses to recognize that it can only work for privileged people, who have a status protected by violence, as the perpetrators and beneficiaries of a violent hierarchy.
I heard Shailja Patel, a Kenyan-Indian poet perform Shilling Love recently, and it moved me beyond measure. I’ll leave you with another powerful performance by her:
Cooking Thanksgiving dinner for someone who eats absolutely no meat, including fish? Try Tofurkey, I’ve been told. We’ll see how that goes.