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Feb 20th
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Anti-Oppression PDF Print E-mail
In our work to close the SOA and to change harmful U.S. foreign policy, SOA Watch recognizes the SOA/WHINSEC as part of a racist tradition and system of violence and control.

The purpose of the SOA/WHINSEC is to help maintain U.S. power over the Western Hemisphere. It is also a tool to maintain white supremacy over the non-white populations of this hemisphere. Working for justice for the people of the Americas in a principled way means that we acknowledge and address racism and other forms of oppression as a driving force behind the violence and domination perpetuated by current U.S. foreign policy. 

Because people in the United States are socialized in a society where prejudice is often accepted as the norm, systems that perpetuate oppression invariably enter communities dedicated to working for justice.

SOA Watch is an organization with the goal of abolishing a powerful instrument of monstrous oppression. It's a grassroots movement committed to transparent decision-making, and one that draws both experienced and new activists together to learn about U.S. imperialism and nonviolent direct action. Like all communities, SOA Watch is susceptible to the same systems of oppression that dominate our society. When these systems take root in social movements like SOA Watch, they weaken our collective power and divide us.

It is critical for us to educate each other about the ways in which white supremacy, patriarchy, classism, heterosexism and all other systems of oppression play out within our own movement, on personal levels and on an institutional level.

But it's not enough just to educate each other! We have to actively work against these forms of oppression. Our movement should embody the kinds of relationships, social norms and behaviors that we want to see in the new world we are working to create. We must challenge personal and organizational supremacist practices which marginalize, exclude or de-humanize others. When we don't, we violate our commitment to justice and undermine the kind of alliance building that is so vital to real organizing victories.

Crossroads Ministries describes this transformational organizational work along a continuum, moving from "Monocultural" to "Mulitcultural" to "Anti-racist" and finally to "Multicultural Antiracist." The vision of the multicultural antiracist institution includes full participation and shared power with diverse racial, cultural and economic groups in determining a group's mission, structure, constituency, policies and practices, and a sense of restored community and mutual caring.Antioppression

If we want SOA Watch to reflect the world we hope to create, we have to work to dismantle the systems that privilege some and oppress others, every time we encounter them. That is to say, if what we want is to build a broad-based, diverse and democratic movement that can win, we have to get serious about fighting oppression within our own groups.

To read articles on race, class, gender, abelism, antisemitism, and ageism and how they affect each of us, visit the Anti-Oppression Resources Section on the SOA Watch webpage: www.SOAW.org/antiopp

"Combating Oppression Inside and Outside " by Betita Martinez , "How to Build a Movement that Can Really Win" by Jackie Downing and the "Continuum on Building an Anti-Racist Multicultural Institution" by Crossroads Ministry were instrumental in the writing of this article.


Published in the Summer 2006 issue  


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