Recreating Oppression in OWS

-From Anarchists and the Occupy Movement:

“[At OWS,] Patriarchy and white supremacy reared its head constantly, as white male organizers were consistently given more credibility than female organizers or organizers of color. As a result, many of our most experienced queer, female-identified and organizers of color dropped out in the first few months of Occupy Wall Street and a trickling loss of talent continues to this day.

In Occupy New Orleans, where I lived and organized for a little over two weeks, a group of experienced anarchist organizers (majority female-identified people of color) who helped start the occupation were pushed out by a group of predominantly white male ‘anarchists’ who would loudly disrupt general assembly and mock the women of color facilitating.

Eventually, this group successfully pushed out the experienced anarchists; they stopped participating in the project. The conflict started because the one group were completely resistant to acknowledging white privilege or patriarchy, were infuriated at the women of color who brought up these concepts, and then used all of their privilege to launch verbal and physical assaults until they had won some kind of twisted power-struggle. When, weeks later, my female partner and I attempted to have a quiet, civil conversation with them about the importance of these concepts, she left in tears after being screamed at by a hulking, shirtless man who loudly proclaimed her to be a ‘cunt’.

…If our movement is to grow, we must learn to create safer spaces for systemically marginalized organizers and activists to work and thrive in.”

While I don’t know exactly who the “anarchist organizers” mentioned above refer to, such oppressive dynamics were not uncommon at Occupy NOLA  and the concluding prescription is spot on.

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