"In 1984, the re-election campaign of Ronald Reagan released an ad with the opening line, “It's morning again in America.” While this ad embodied a momentary sense of optimism, forty years of neoliberal policies have failed working people. This year, with Donald Trump assuming the Nation’s highest office, it seems fitting to reflect and assess where we are on a variety of issues related to economic stability and race in America. State of the Dream 2017: Mourning in America is a broad assessment of where we are as a nation. It features reflections from leaders and advocates that are fighting inequalities everyday, and contains a short, accessible snapshot of where we are as nation on the topics of wages, wealth, housing, immigration, and LGBT inclusion." click this link to download the rest of the report for free www.faireconomy.org/dream17
Chapter 8: The Strategy Going Forward
By Ernesto "Eroc" Arroyo-Montano for www.faireconomy.org/dream17
“The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated. ” ― James Baldwin
My family migrated to Boston, Massachusetts from the U.S. Colony of Puerto Rico in 1976. My father stressed that when you’re new to a land, you must prioritize learning the history of the oppressed people there. The hope being that with a better understanding of the systems of power and the atrocities that have occurred in U.S. history, we would stand in solidarity with others and challenge those systems and policies in place that allow for few to benefit from the injustices done to many. I often reflect back on this lesson from my father.
Since its inception, the U.S. has required those who are being oppressed to unite with accomplices and fight back –– or continue to be exploited. Historically, from the Abolitionists, Suffragists, and the Civil Rights movement to modern social movements like Black Lives Matter and Standing Rock, an organized radical resistance has been the vehicle for social change. Social movements have organized to combat the roots of inequality: white supremacy, capitalism and heteropatriarchy in the U.S. These movements have shown over and over again that there is a need to build coalitions across social issues and agitate, agitate, agitate!
When asked what our priorities should be after the recent U.S. Presidential election, activist and scholar Angela Davis said, “I think we need to build community, we need to come together. We cannot allow Donald Trump to govern the way that he wants to. It’s probably going to mean doing a lot of civil disobedience, being disruptive, but we also have to build something constructive. We can’t just engage on the anti-side of the political struggle.”
For me, this led to more questions than answers. These are some of the questions I believe we should be asking ourselves:
What does building something constructive look like in these times? What are some of the practices that have worked to dismantle empire and build a better world? How do we shine a light on these examples and support each other in creating alternatives to systems of exploitation?
At this critical moment, how will we choose to live, learn and love while remaining true to ourselves and our communities? In what ways can we develop substantive connections across social movements? How do we resist fascism? What does collective resistance and coalition building look like moving forward? How are we decolonizing our movements and strategies? What does liberation mean to our movements? How do our coalitions evolve to address these new challenges? How do we collectively strengthen our support of movements against social injustices across the United States of America?
Will you to challenge yourself, and those around you in the movement for social justice and beyond, to take the time to reflect and build on these questions?
From Standing Rock, North Dakota to Ferguson, Missouri; from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Oakland, California and across the globe; together, and taking the time to build genuine connection and solidarity, we can build sustainable coalitions that will not only resist empire but also continue working towards creating a better world.
We must keep working towards an authentic interconnected, interdependent, intersectional and intergenerational movement; it is beyond time to come together, connect, build coalition, agitate and resist!
“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe...
Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
― Arundhati Roy
*Excerpt From United For a Fair Economy's "State of the Dream 2017: Mourning in America"