Darren Parker, Z Magazine
Note: This article appeared as a sidebar to Elizabeth "Betita" Martinez's article "Combating Oppression Inside and Outside," which appeared in the February issue of Z Magazine.
In evaluating the weekend, here are some of the comments made by Darren Parker, who led the workshop with The Color of Fear.
"My goal at the workshop was to discuss the SOA as part of a tradition and system of white supremacy and to do so in the way I would in the community where I live. The purpose of the School is to maintain U.S. domination over the nations of this hemisphere. It is also a tool to maintain white and Eurocentric supremacy over the non-white populations of this hemisphere.
"One thing I see lacking in the current discourse about the School is the race analysis. Discussing the SOA without talking about the white supremacy that undergirds it would be like discussing Auschwitz without talking about anti-Semitism.
"Is there an organizational commitment to see the School as part of a system of racial supremacy in addition to capitalism and militarism? If there is, then much virtue is in it. Then SOAW must
be the change it wishes to see in the world?from top to bottom.
"But is the goal here to provide a place for people to feel like good activists and good people once a year or to do whatever is necessary to save the lives of the victims of the school? If the answer is the latter, then the movement should be as broad-based as possible and challenge, not perpetuate, the problems that gave rise to it.
"Often social justice activists agree to operate within an 'anti-racist paradigm' as long as it helps them be accepted by communities of color that might be more wary of them without that new language. The label of being 'anti-racist' just might become the next fashionable philosophy in the quest for a unifying theory of social justice. In order for anti-racism or, as I prefer to call it, counter-supremacy, to not become another tool for deception, there must be direct oversight and in fact control by people of color over the money, goals, and methods used in legitimately anti-racist movements and organizations.
"I was encouraged by how willing and understanding many people in the audience were to push beyond their comfort levels. The workshop and the showing of The Color of Fear opened many people in the audience to a completely different way of viewing the world, which enabled some to understand the implications of the School of the Americas and see their work as part of a longer, deeper struggle for justice by people of color in and outside this nation.
?I think that the recent trend of attempting to understand racial and cultural supremacy as central to the struggle for justice and against imperialism continues in white justice organizations. I would recommend having as many people from the global south who are directly impacted by the School, as well as people in the U.S. from the countries in question, in positions of legitimate power so they can determine the course of the movement. This means power...and not just as speakers or minor celebrities for one weekend a year."