[Living Statement/DRAFT/BORRADOR] Principles, Demands, & Goals of the POC Space at the October Encuentro

Living Statement
(Frente X for International Liberation)

Participants in the People of Color (POC) Space deeply believe in the power and necessity of collaboration as a way to overcome complex issues and create a sense of shared space, purpose, and vision. We believe that the established models of solidarity in the U.S. in regards to Latin America, the closest neighbor of the U.S. and region of origin of tens of millions of those living within the U.S. have not worked and will not work. Solidarity should be a two-way street, and we need to challenge the present paradigms, capitalize on the current political moment, and build towards a more effective solidarity model that utilizes one of the spoils of empire – the existence of colonized populations and diaspora from the world over residing inside of the U.S. – as an organized force against imperialism. The “traditional” solidarity model, including that of SOA Watch, has been primarily established as a one-way street in which  “powerful White Americans” respond to desperate calls for assistance from Latin America. Although effective at certain times and in certain ways, notably congressional pressure in the 1980s, and the spotlight that the Vigil and Prisoners of Conscience have shone on the abuses at the SOA, this solidarity model is inherently limited. In practice it has been exclusionary of not just the Latinx diaspora, but other POC and directly affected peoples whose family and other bonds naturally make them more closely tied to those we seek to stand in solidarity with in Latin America, the U.S., and other parts of the world. In general, there has also been a failure to pass the baton/leadership to the youth.

All justice-minded people, including White Americans, need to work together to dismantle the intertwined and oppressive systems of capitalism, imperialism, white supremacy, and cis-heteropatriarchy. Nevertheless it is the very targets of these systems that have the most to lose and the most to gain from the ongoing struggle, and therefore are best positioned to genuinely lead successful international movements against state violence or solidarity movements. This collective therefore seeks to build solidarity among the various communities who are the primary targets of these oppressive systems. These groups include, but are not limited to, the poor, migrants, refugees, queer, trans & gender non-conforming people, laborers, service workers, sex workers, Muslim, Native, Black, Latinx, API, South Asian, African, and other People of Color and diaspora. This is not an exhaustive list of identities, nor are they mutually exclusive of one and other. As a collective of People of Color, directly affected people, and allies, we see the divisions among us to be the result of capitalism, imperialism, white supremacy, and cis-heteropatriarchy. These divisions, not only go against our values, but must be overcome in order for all peoples to achieve true liberation and for a just future for humanity and the earth to be secured.

The POC Space is a part of the greater Encuentro at the Border facilitated by SOA Watch and countless allied organizations and individuals. As such, we reaffirm the Encuentro’s demands, and exceed from the powers that be:

  1. An end to the destructive U.S. military, economic, and political interventions in the Americas
  2. De-militarization of the borders. We need to build bridges with our neighbors, not walls.
  3. The dismantling of the racist and sexist systems that steal from, criminalize, and kill migrants, refugees, natives, trans & gender non-conforming people, communities of color, and others throughout the hemisphere.
  4. Respect, dignity, justice and self-determination for all communities, especially the poor and most vulnerable
  5. No more profits over people! Private military, prison, oil, mining, and other corporations should not determine our future or that of the earth, the people should.

Furthermore, as we seek to establish a collective of or Space for people working together for the liberation of all humanity, we establish the following guidelines for participation:

  • Love that overcomes physical, mental, racial and gender borders
  • An eagerness to learn from and build solidarity with other POC & directly affected groups.
  • A willingness to confront your own biases and challenge your own ignorance
  • Anti-imperialism, gender justice, and the rejection of state sanctioned violence as core values of the Space
  • An understanding that uncomfortable conversations are necessary, that mistakes will be made, that corrections will be offered lovingly (although not necessarily by the justly aggrieved), and that continued transgressions will not be tolerated
  • Self-identification as a Person of Color

The goals of this collective/space include, but are not limited to

  • Creating a space that fosters transformative experiences and learning for all
  • Creating a sense of shared understanding and hopefully, vision
  • Re-defining solidarity – The exploration and building of inter-racial, transnational, “two-way” solidarity against state sanctioned violence through a gender justice lens
  • Planting the seeds for a network of engaged, confident, and collaborative organizations and individuals