Protest Poster Art by Ernesto Yerena Montejano
I appreciate the artist’s zeroing in here on the crucial distinction between “occupying” and “decolonizing”. It’s a distinction which goes straight to the heart of many of the problems that various communities of color are having with a mass action which I believe many truly want to support. There’s a fundamental gap in worldview and vision between people who see themselves as an occupying force and people who see themselves as already occupied and seeking decolonization and liberation from imperialism. In a way it’s another manifestation of a phenomenon I once wrote about on my old blog called The White Liberal Conundrum, a struggle for people of color to constantly exhaustingly determine the extent to which we should ally ourselves with white people who purport to be “the good guys” in “the struggle”.
For my part, I’m wary of white activists who suddenly exclaim “we’re all part of the 99%, man! let’s stand together! join us!” when it suits them. If they truly identified in common cause with communities of color, they would have previously made their way into POC-led organizations and the actions would probably have unfolded somewhat differently. Truth is, a lot of white people whose anger at their employment options has brought them to the point of taking to the streets may not be part of Wall Street’s 1%, but they’re probably part of the upper 15% or 20% of US society, making them part of the upper 5% or so of global society, as opposed to the 60% or 70% of the world who are really getting shafted. This means that there are different agendas at play: some are simply trying to restore the settings to a prior system of inequality which was working for them and their families until recently, while others seek to subvert that system entirely.