Yesterday I published my own commentary on OccupyLA, “Decolonize L.A. That’s the Movement We Need” which focused on issues of inclusion, including dis-ability inclusion, without which my participation is either distant or passive. I also provided links to resources and other commentary. since then a lot has happened. (scroll down for more links to more commentary by other activists).
The blog post has received a lot of attention (more hits than any other post on my blog), most of it very positive. I have had my share of detractors, including one commentary on a FB thread telling people , to stop reading and circulating my link, and accused me of trying to keep people from participating in OccupyLA. (not a stellar example on his part, of how to build a democratic movement!)
So let me clarify!!! PLEASE PARTICIPATE IN OCCUPYLA, TO THE EXTENT THAT YOU THINK YOU CAN. DEMAND FULL INCLUSION! DEMAND A STATEMENT ABOUT POLICE BRUTALITY (WHICH THE PWOD WHITE BOYS DON’T WANT TO ISSUE), DEMAND SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETATION, DEMAND GENDER RIGHTS, DEMAND ANTI-RACIST DIALOGUE. DEMAND TRANSPARENCY!!!! DEMAND DEMAND DEMAND. (I UNDERSTAND THE EVENT ORGANIZERS PREFER THE WORD “OBJECTIVE” TO “DEMAND”. DEMAND THE RIGHT TO USE THE WORD DEMAND!!!!!!!!!)
Aside from the example already provided, I’ve received other nasty emails, tweets etc. and disparaging comments, some in the form of patronizing pleas that I temper my message to be more pleasant and effective, to outright abuse (usually from the same belligerent pwod white male, who couldn’t control me with sweet talk.)
But they are wrong. social justice isn’t realized by acting all “nice” and “pretty”. and I don’t try to be a lady (a term that seems most prolific when insults are being hurled such as “go fuck yourself, lady” — one lovely tweet (squawk) i got). I sent 3 days of tweets before I got ANY response from OccupyLA. That’s what it took. And to my knowledge, the abusive language i received went totally unchallenged. But I have been informed that due to my persistence, 6 accessible porta potties have been purchased, and I’ve been contacted by some of the event coordinators in search of more input from me, on the issue of access.
Dis-ability rights seems to be finding itself into the lexicon of social justice, and there seems to be a greater understanding of the need to include us in the pantheon of marginalized and oppressed. I’ve also received a lot of support on this issue, and a lot more people had my back, which is a relatively new experience. I feel like my years of struggle screaming into the wilderness on this issue are finally proving to have impact.
I’m looking forward to seeing how I can help assist with access to this event, including working with either the logistics committee and/or the social media committee. I’m hopeful, but I’m not holding my breath.
Positive thinking can be a real kick in the ass, in the form of devastating disappointment! But we’ll see. I’m not going to be tokenized, nor am I willing to address access outside of the other issues of social justice, because they’re too linked and none is more important than the next. It’s all class struggle.
As for those who disparage netivism, for those of us who can’t always get out, or who, when we do, are up against terrible obstacles, netivisim is what we have. If it isn’t effective why are so many pwod white boys so damn upset with me??? After all, it’s just the internet, it’s not really real life! (Or is it?)
More Links to Other Dissenting Activists re OccupyLA
My thoughts on #PoliceBrutality discussion at #OccupyLA General Assembly last night:
“…This is Occupy LA, right? Police brutality is a real issue for Los Angeles. (you know, the home the Rodney King beating, the most famous case of police brutality in the world). Those who have grown up here in poor and immigrant communities (aka, the majority of LA) will all tell you stories of being harassed, abused, and sometimes brutalized by the police. Just last year hundreds of people from the MacArthur park area marched to the LAPD headquarters right across the street after a day laborer was shot in the head by the LAPD for no reason. Whether or not you’ve experienced police brutality yourself, it doesn’t mean it’s not an issue for the people of Los Angeles, which has one of the highest rates of police brutality in the country. If Occupy LA is the people of LA, it should raise the issues that most affect the people of LA.”