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I want things that disrupt the way that governments and societies operate, and so why would I be in favor of any presidential candidate?

I’m tired, and that exhaustion is going to follow me deep into the 2020 presidential election. I’m not looking forward to being yelled at about voting for “the right candidate”, I’m not excited about being told that our salvation supposedly lies with a politician who will most likely continue to exercise imperialist policies and enact violent positions against Black and Brown peoples around the globe. I’m not happy or hopeful about any of it because I don’t believe in the United States government, I don’t believe that it is legitimate because it was founded upon colonialist, white supremacist, patriarchal ideals and policies. I’m certainly not looking forward to being told that representational politics are our salvation when I cannot trust anyone who thinks that working within a fundamentally white supremacist, imperialist and colonialist government is good for change and when those versions of incremental change are just forms of appeasement. I am not hopeful about Kamala Harris who as a prosecutor and senator harmed the poor, Black and brown folks, trans people, and sex workers. Her brown skin puts a slightly more pleasant and reassuring face on white supremacy and mass incarceration. She remains a neo-liberal, capitalist, imperialist who is paraded around as a representative of “the resistance” thanks to well-timed photos of her reactions and side-eyes at the more blatant fuckery of her republican colleagues. I’m not excited about Elizabeth Warren who time and time again, despite being called-in and called-out by Indigenous people here in the U.S., has used blood quantum to claim Native American ancestry and position herself as a more “diverse” choice. I’m not excited about any of it because I do not believe that any candidate is prepared to dismantle white supremacy, capitalism and the patriarchy. I’m not excited about the prospect of a woman candidate making the decisions to bomb, invade, maintain or create sanctions against other nations. There is no salvation in white feminism, carceral feminism, imperialist feminism. I want more than what governments are prepared to do: I want the dissolution of oppressions. I want all colonial powers to issue reparations and to return the lands and resources they stole. I want things that disrupt the way that governments and societies operate, and so why would I be in favor of any presidential candidate?
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Colonization is the act of forcefully stripping sovereignty of a country through acquisition of land, resources, raw material, and governmental structures.

My turn to state an equation: colonization = “thing-ification.” - Aimé Césaire
The use of social media as a powerful tool for free education on various topics continually rises, with definitions, experiential narratives, and resources being shared through Twitter threads, short videos, Facebook statuses, and even memes. And while this is a mostly positive phenomena, there seems to be a trend of words, and thus words’ associated theories, being used misguidedly. Often, this is a simple case of fighting character limits and the loss of nuance that occurs through online mediums, and other times it seems a phenomena of genuine miseducation and confusion. Words like intersectionality, decolonize, imperialism, socialism, and other loaded terms that come with decades of jargon are at times applied to everything, and their actual meaning is lost. Observing this pattern is what lead me to the idea of an article series titled “Words Mean Things,” wherein each month I choose a different word and discuss the theories, uses, theorists, examples, applications, and praxis surrounding it. The goal is to do this as concisely as possible and, understanding these will never be wholly conclusive of all definitions, applications, and examples of certain words, to deliver small primers that exist as resources to lead readers to study deeper. I often say that words mean everything, and then anything, just before meaning nothing.

Colonialism

Colonialism is a system of land occupation and theft, labor exploitation, and/or resource dependency that is to blame for much of our modern concepts of racialization. It is an act of dominance in which a forceful state overtakes a “weaker” state; this means that colonization is the act of forcefully stripping sovereignty of a country through acquisition of land, resources, raw material, and governmental structures. Systems of colonialism are based in notions of racial inferiority, as they as they perpetuate white/European domination over non-white colonial subjects. The most obvious (and broad) example of colonialism is the expansion of Europe into Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and the subsequent creation of colonies. Through violence and manipulation, a relationship of control and influence was exerted economically, socially, politically, religiously, and culturally. In Jamaica, for example, the British empire invaded and colonized the island in the mid-17th Century, and subsequently established British colonial school systems, laws and regulations creating dependency on Britain, and pushed European gender, religious, and wardrobe norms onto the society. There are various forms of colonialism and colonial projects, but all involve some form of domination, control, and/or influence on an indigenous population through violence and/or manipulation. It is also important to note that these various forms of colonialism often intersect and overlap, too. In his 1972 essay “Discourse On Colonialism,” one of the most important pieces of writing I have ever read, writer Aimé Césaire states: “Between colonizer and colonized there is room only for forced labor, intimidation, pressure, the police, taxation, theft, rape, compulsory crops, contempt, mistrust, arrogance, self-complacency, swinishness, brainless elites, degraded masses. No human contact, but relations of domination and submission which turn the colonizing man into a class-room monitor, an army sergeant, a prison guard, a slave driver, and the indigenous man into an instrument of production.”
Related: THE LASTING, RACIST LEGACY OF COLONIALISM ON THE ENVIRONMENT

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