Declaration of Decolonize/Occupy Seattle

*The General Assembly passed this statement on Oct 20th.

**However, the name “Decolonize/Occupy” was not passed. Majority (63/40) of the GA insisted on keeping the name “Occupy Seattle.”

DECLARATION OF DECOLONIZE/OCCUPY SEATTLE

AFFIRMATION of Decolonization of Seattle with Northwest Indigenous Peoples

WHEREAS, those participating in “Decolonize/Occupy Seattle” acknowledge that the United States of America is a colonial country, and that we are invaders and squatters upon stolen indigenous land that has already been occupied for centuries, Seattle being the ancestral land of the Duwamish and Suquamish people; and

WHEREAS, indigenous people of this land have continued to resist the violent conquest, oppression, exploitation and victimization by the invaders and colonizers since they first arrived on this continent; and as a result have endured a great amount of trans-generational trauma and woundedness; and that their experience strengthens this movement to expose those on-going inhumane crimes; and

WHEREAS, after centuries of disregard for the welfare of future generations, and the repeated disrespect and exploitation of the Earth, we find ourselves on a violated and polluted planet, lacking the Indigenous people’s wisdom and knowledge to live in balance, harmony and at peace with the community of Life; and

WHEREAS, the term “occupation” has been used by imperialists to colonize indigenous lands

WHEREAS, the term “occupation” has also been reclaimed by militant workers of color from Latin America (Oaxaca, Buenos Aires, South Korea, China among other places) to describe their occupation of factories, schools and neighborhoods, to strike back against the oppressive forces led by racism and capitalism. It is in this context that we use the term “occupy”

WHEREAS the borders of the United States of America are a colonial construct based upon the violent destruction of indigenous land across the continent and therefore illegitimate in our eyes

WHEREAS this land is currently occupied by descendants of slaves kidnapped from the African continent, as well as economic refugees forcibly displaced by the forces of capitalism and imperialism around the world, therefore

AFFIRMED, that we prioritize the involvement of indigenous sovereign people in the redesigning and rebuilding of a new way of living on their ancestral land in the context that there is one mother of us all, our earth mother; and

As a Decolonization Statement to the national “Occupy” movement and to indigenous members who have been excluded by the colonialist language used to name this movement, it is declared that phrase “Occupy Seattle” is reframed to the inclusive cross-cultural term “Decolonize/Occupy Seattle” to affirm the guidance and participation of indigenous peoples; and to affirm the history of militant labor struggles associated with the term “occupy”

Awakening to compassion and extending an open hand of friendship and partnership, we hereby invite indigenous members of the Pacific Northwest and all displaced peoples to collaborate with us in this event remembering and reawakening to our original identity as humane beings – that is now initiated on this continent and worldwide simultaneously.

We intend to facilitate the process of healing and reconciliation and implore Indigenous Peoples to share their knowledge and wisdom of stewardship of the earth, water, fire and air to inspire and guide us restore to pure democracy rather than representative democracy as design failure in governing for collective survival; and to initiate a new era of cooperation and peace that is cross-cultural, intergenerational, inclusive and universal in practical application upon Mother Earth with the original indigenous inhabitants of this land.

18 Responses to Declaration of Decolonize/Occupy Seattle

  • lydia_peace says:

    I love it! Great points regarding the negative connotations of the word “occupy”. I really love the word “de-colonize”. It brings to mind an unwinding, a removal of old bindings, a letting go.

    May we move together in a spirit of curiousity and sweetness to explore all that is bright and new along our journey to pure democracy. May our journey bring peace and healing to our Earth Mother and to all her creatures, the winged ones, the furred ones, the creepy-crawlers, the four-legged, the stone people, and even us two-leggeds. aho.

  • msmikestew35 says:

    http://wsws.org/articles/2011/oct2011/pers-o26.shtml

    The brave young men and women camping out – be warned. The organizers of OWS have displayed every intention of using your courage for the political betrayal they are preparing. The organizers have a pseudo-left alliance that is extremely troubling. They deal with Democratic party style politics of muting dissent through consensus and assiduously avoiding the key issue that brought people out – economic inequality.

    **** BEGIN QUOTE

    The increasing repression poses all the more directly the fundamental political issues raised by the protests, above all the necessity for a political struggle against the Obama administration, the Democratic Party and the capitalist state. Even as it carries out mass arrests, the Democratic Party and its adjuncts—from the trade unions to a variety of middle-class “left” organizations and academic celebrities—are continuing their attempts to channel opposition behind the Democrats and Obama’s reelection campaign.

    **** END QUOTE

    • DParker says:

      …agreed. This has already split the movement. When more people come out, which will happen once the move to SCCC is on, there will be a massive internal conflict on this.

    • donny1020 says:

      You are the type A example of white middle class youth. Lets just see who you are:
      White
      Children of Middle and Upper Middle Class parents who were most likely real estate agents or bio-tech types.
      Influenced by the ISO and RCP counter revolutionaries
      Anti-union
      In touch with your feelings
      Feel guilty about being born white and privileged but not willing to actually change.
      Believe that your class knows what’s best for the working class and minority community.
      Believes spending a night in jail gives them street cred.

      No thanks, you don’t speak for me,
      Years from now when you are in your den with your wife and 3 kids and complaing that the employees want a raise you will use this experience to try to convince people like me that you are cool.

      The only good thing about your movement is you have some cute girls there. That’s the only thing. Good thing even your girls are still attracted by real bad guys and when I’m parting with them we will talk about your wimpy ass and laugh at you.

  • msmikestew35 says:

    From the same article:

    Those within the Occupy movement who preach “no politics” and “no leadership” serve to maintain the stranglehold of the prevailing politics. It is precisely leadership and politics—that is, a party and a program—that are required above all.

    The unconscious historical process that is bringing millions of people into struggle against capitalism must be transformed into a conscious socialist political movement of the international working class.

    The basic aspirations expressed in the Occupy movement—including above all the fight for social equality—cannot be achieved within the framework of capitalism, in which economic and political life is subordinated to private profit. A movement of the working class must be aimed at establishing a workers government, which will have as one of its first tasks the transformation of the banks and major corporations into publicly owned and democratically controlled institutions.

    The Socialist Equality Party in the United States and its sister parties around the world are spearheading this struggle, and we urge all workers and youth who want to take up this fight to join the SEP.

    • donny1020 says:

      No you and your kind have hi-jacked this movement and most of these idiots don’t even know what hegemony means.

  • ChrisL says:

    To clarify this proposal was passed on the 20th NOT the 19th…

  • Hambone23 says:

    I concur with expvideo. My initial draw to OWS and Occupy Seattle was a desire to combat inequality while maintaining a capitalist framework and to hold Wall St accountable for the crimes and reckless acts they have committed. I feel that if we stick to those ideas, we can change the discourse in our politics away from more draconian austerity and towards helping those that are suffering. We can keep the average American on our side. On the other hand, if we call the US illegitimate and embrace the socialist party, we’re going to keep talking to our drum circle and won’t reach a wider audience. It’s not going to get more people off the couch and into the discussion.

    This is an “is/ought” question. Ought the US return land and restore the dignity of indigenous people? Probably. Is that ever going to happen? No. Let’s focus on embracing the 99% and asking for change that the 99% can stand behind. That declaration ain’t it.

  • msmikestew35 says:

    The demands of the 99% are socialist. expvideo is in the minority as he wants to bring his guns against the 99%.

    hambone23 will need to try a little bit harder to convince us that equality can be achieved within a capitalist framework.

    clearly, organizers are of a timid variety that think like hambone23 and of course willingly invite right wingers like expvidieo who has clearly threatened us with guns.

    but for the rest of us, there are important political lessons of an urgent nature to be drawn.

    • MCFADDEN_LIVES says:

      What happened to this movement? Seriously. It went from something I totally backed and believed in to a complete joke in like two weeks. A friend of mine that stopped by the event last night said and I quote “it’s like if Hempfest was sponsored by the Socialist Party”.

      Are you guys going to DO SOMETHING and GET RESULTS or just debate all week about the next camp move when SCCC starts having everyone arrested for camping on private property?

  • Ira says:

    Hi,

    I don’t know anyone in the Duwamish Tribe. However, if you go to their website you will see that a major issue for them is Federal recognition. I think it would do a lot for building alliances if perhaps you voted to support their bid for federal recognition.

    Here’s what it says on their website:
    Please Help – The tribe is suing the federal government for recognition–asking to reverse a 2001 Bureau of Indian Affairs decision that the tribe had gone extinct. The Duwamish Tribe was recognized at the end of the Clinton administration—only to have that positive determination overturned by the incoming Bush administration. Last week, we were granted a 6 month extension, to raise $100,000 to hire an expert witness to review 31,000 pages provided by the BIA. Our attorneys’ who are working pro bono tell us this is our last chance. If you can help, now is the time. Donations can be made through our office or on-line. Thank you.

    • donny1020 says:

      Ira, maybe you should have some Indian friends. Maybe you should talk to the Muckleshoot’s about this issue. You clearly don’t even know what it is you are talking about.

      The issue of recognition is about who get’s gaming rights. It was just salmon season and had you bothered to just go to the Duwamish and look for a line of floats, the guy standing there would be a Muckleshoot. What you are advocating is throwing that fellow out of work,

  • DParker says:

    Am I the only one who sees a contradiction here? Or who is confused about whether or not this means anything? Are we really this inept that nobody sees a disconnect here?

    “…it is declared that phrase “Occupy Seattle” is reframed to the inclusive cross-cultural term “Decolonize/Occupy Seattle” to affirm the guidance and participation of indigenous peoples…”

    “**However, the name “Decolonize/Occupy” was not passed. Majority (63/40) of the GA insisted on keeping the name “Occupy Seattle.”

  • blue_rain says:

    It would be nice if people would open a book, ponder some new ideas and at least question what they’ve been indoctrinated (brainwashed) to believe since birth. Socialism has as many different versions as you have time to imagine, stop with the “commie” stuff, it only furthers the notion that you’re a victim of another’s propaganda. Freedom? There is no plausible argument that one has to give up one’s personal freedom or liberty within a Socialist system. One only has to look to our Scandinavian brothers and sisters to see Democratic Socialism working today, and quite well I might add! Libertarian Socialism and Participism are two other ideas (look them up) that could work with or without Capitalist markets. Stop with the founding fathers and the Constitution. The Constitution was made to change … as we got smarter. The fact that we’ve not, in decades, is further proof of just how powerless the people have become. Concentrate on the Federal Reserve (a private banking cartel,) and its relationship with the Federal Government (the wholly owned subsidiary of the bankers,) and you will start to connect the dots on one of the most nefarious relationships in world history.

  • msmikestew35 says:

    The constitution is a fine document. We have to think of the time when it was written. At the time, there was an absolutist monarchy and people needed freedom from them and that could only be got with private property, the means to sustain oneself.

    Can we now – under capitalism in the modern day – talk about private property that sustains us? Not at all. We all (99%) live pay check to pay check. We do not have private property. Who does? The corporations. So when someone points to the constitution and advocates protecting private property, they are advocating (knowingly or not) the rights of the corporations.

    And what do corporations get due to the private property they hold? Why, they get us! our labor, divorced from private property ourselves needs to be connected to the private property that the corporations own. So we become wage slaves.

    Nick Beams of the Socialist Equality Party explained all this very nicely, taking a trip down history. Let me post it if I find it again.

    • donny1020 says:

      Screw the SEP, they are a bunch of ant-union, anti worker Trotskyite counter revolutionaries. Just read Their own book, The Historical and International Foundations of the Socialist Equality Party

  • msmikestew35 says:

    Ok, found it.

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2001/may2001/corr-m01.shtml

    I found this very instructive and sincerely hope it will provide the theoretical framework for those of us who want to see how a superficial look at things can distort what it actually is.

    Beams is writing this in reply to someone who wrote to him. A link to that letter can be found in Beams article itself.

  • SeattleRedWriter74 says:

    Is this Declaration available in PDF format (or will it be)? If not, can I make one and submit it to the General Assembly for approval for use?