Published in Women of Chiapas
-Human Rights Journalism in Chiapas
*The American dream is a mirage, we are living in low intensity warfare, the Third World is in our home; we want a world where many worlds fit.”
- Patricia Chandomí
Organized women from marginalized groups in the United States have been a model of struggle for the Occupy Wall Street movement--“Zapatista women, Black women, immigrant and displaced women have been our inspiration in the encampments,” said members of the Occupy Wall Street Movement during their visit to Mexico.
“At every level [of society] in the United States, women have a lot less participation; there is no justice for them, and what little exists is classist, racist, and sexist. In that sense, I believe what we need a form of collective participation that does not subordinate women. Today we know that with women, things work out; in the encampments, we have received the solidarity, support, and example of organized women like those from Movement for Justice in El Barrio,” pointed out Johana, one of the Occupiers from New York.
The mirage of the American Dream
“US society has been, for a long time, living in a war of low intensity conflict, in which it has been given large doses of fear, repression, and crisis, and on top of that, it is sold the illusion of the ‘American Dream,’” said Billy, an Occupier from the North East.
“The anti-systemic movement, Occupy Wall Street, must learn from its brothers and sisters from other parts of the world who have struggled and resisted the capitalist system for many years,” concurred the three young people hailing from different encampments within the movement, during an interview conducted in their visit to Chiapas.
Inspired by struggles of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), the Arab Spring, the “indignad@s” (outraged) in Europe, and mobilized by a call to action made by a small newspaper, thousands of US citizens came together to take over Wall Street in protest of the politics of extermination and misery meted out by transnational corporations and backed by the U.S. government.
“It was very interesting, because not only did people with a long history of struggle, such as Black, indigenous, and immigrant communities, respond to the call to action, but so too did a large swab of the U.S. middle-class—those of us who grew up in the ‘American Dream.’ We were there ready to fight, without any organizing experience, but with the desire to wake up. It was inspiring and exemplary,” said Billy.
“We are rescuing our memory of struggle as a people, an apparently dormant people. We need to be listening to people who have been resisting for many years. They possess greater clarity and experience in the struggle against this economic and political system of misery, death, and destruction,” said Johanna, from the New York encampment.
Billy, Johanna, and Penny acknowledged that the Movement possesses an unprecedented pluralism, which has incited severe criticism against them. “We have to recognize that there are people in the movement who just want their piece of the pie, and are not interested in changing the system; they want to shift the movement to the field of political parties, because the idea has been jammed in our heads that the only way to participate and organize ourselves is within the framework of political parties,” remarked Penny.
“There is a bit of everything in our encampments, but we see that there is a strong sentiment, a need, to liberate ourselves from our colonized mind-set, to imagine other ways of life that respect nature; we are fighting against the idea that we will ask reforms from the state, we don’t want this system of government, of death, war, and destruction; our challenge is to live outside the ‘American Dream,’ to have a world where there is room for many worlds,” they said.
The Third World is in our Home
The recent economic crisis in the United States was experienced well before 2008. The most marginalized sectors in the United States —such as immigrants, indigenous people displaced from their lands, African Americans—have always experienced the crisis.
“This does not mean that average, everyday people in the U.S. do not resent the crisis, of course they do, and because of this there is a major political, media, and economic onslaught to ensure that everyday people continue clutching on to the fictitious ‘American Dream,’” they stated.
Given that the United States has authored low-intensity warfare in many countries around the world, it is clear that it has very sophisticated systems of repression: “The machine of repression is very effective, there is a sense of fear and lack of consciousness; what we are doing is recovering our memory of struggle, our brotherhood with other sectors that always have struggled, by trying to rid ourselves of the fierce sense of individualism that has been implanted in us as our culture, and recover the concept of ‘living well.’”
In broad terms, the young adults said that it is urgent to shape their struggle so as to avoid the immobilization of political parties, particularly in light of this year’s coming elections.
“Is a slow experiment and we know that the strength is outside of the encampments, with the struggles of people of color. We need to learn from other struggles, create our own Spring. It is urgent that we make visible the lack of democracy in the United States,” said Johana.
We are a landless generation
The youth, who have participated in different forums and movements against the globalization of misery, pronounced themselves against borders, “we are a generation without land and we do not want to give up our bodies to capitalism. There aren’t any autonomous spaces of expression, all spaces are occupied by corporations and political parties; we are busy trying to express ourselves, we grew up with a war against terrorism which, in addition to persecuting the Muslim population, led us to fear and ignorance; at the same time provoked in us a feeling of not being free.”
“Perhaps from there [stems] the success of the encampments, because in the assemblies people have finally experienced the feeling of freedom; the freedom to be able to say whatever they think, the freedom to imagine the world they want, a world where many worlds fit.”