View full issue online here: SwatOverlapsVI.I
or as pdf: SwatOverlapsVI.I
Letter From the Editors Regarding this Issue:
Since the last issuing of Swarthmore Overlaps, we’ve seen widespread displays of popular protest and resistance across the globe, from Tunisia, Egypt, Syria to Greece, Spain, and the United States. In hundreds of cities, people are reclaiming public space in experiments of collective economy, direct democracy, and global movement building.
Here in the U.S., this has taken form in the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has already succeeded in shifting public dialog, forging new coalitions, igniting waves of local organizing in a number of cities, and sparking the radical imagination. Of course the Occupy movement is at a turning point right now, with key sites having been evicted over the last several weeks and winter weather imminent.
We’d like to use this issue as a reflection and discussion of the Occupy movement so far, particularly the critiques being waged against it from other organizing spaces. Mainstream media were quick to characterize the movement as white, college-age, and middle-class. Additionally, and more importantly, we’ve heard critiques from seasoned activists about examples of white-supremacy, homophobia, misogyny, and other forms of oppression occurring in Occupy spaces. On a larger scale, the movement’s focus on economic inequality has often lacked analysis along the axes of race, gender, sexuality, ability, citizenship status, etc, exemplified by the simplistic refrain of the ‘99%.’ Some have contested the term ‘Occupy’ itself, in that it fails to address the indigenous and ongoing histories of colonization and oppressive military occupation.
However, we feel that while such criticism is intensely necessary and completely justified, there are also positive examples of the Occupy movement addressing these overlapping issues. Through working groups, side conversations, experiments in consensus building and the designing of safe spaces, ‘Occupiers’ have started to address issues of identity and ways to build anti-oppression into priorities of the movement itself. For example, some sites have re-purposed the language of the movement in the form of ‘un-Occupy’, or ‘Decolonize Wall Street.’
In this issue we’ve collected primary documents, images, and commentaries from and about the Occupy movement that address the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, etc. to highlight some of the awesome work emerging from ‘Occupy’ spaces and to demand the movement do even better. We believe that movements such as Occupy can be dynamic platforms on which to wage struggles of identity and forms of anti-oppression–but we must demand that the movement address the intersectionality of economic inequality and allows truly revolutionary coalitions to be formed.
We feel the Swarthmore community and Overlaps readership has a lot to offer to the ongoing movement as it finds new footing the coming months. We invite Overlaps readers to help make this movement stronger, more radical, and more liberatory.
At Swarthmore, we’ve seen the movement’s influence in the form of two general assembly (GA) meetings held in Sharples Dining Hall. At these GAs and in other spaces, students brought the tools and language seen in the Occupy movement to talk about Swarthmore values, things that we feel need to change, but most importantly to come together regardless of our various backgrounds. Meanwhile, a group of tri-college consortium (Swarthmore, Haverford, Bryn
Mawr) professors signed a letter of solidarity and support with the Occupy Philadelphia movement, further grounding the movement within our communities close to home.
This issue of Overlaps is a departure from our previous issues, as it is driven by external sources and submissions. This is partially due to our decreased team of editors, but more positively because we (though few in number) felt moved by the Occupy movement to create a time capsule of sorts, or an archive of what we have been seeing and feeling in other publications, blogs, and on the streets! Overlaps aims to facilitate discussion of issues that are left out of the mainstream discourse and to foster a sense of community by exploring our intersections, and we should demand that the Occupy movement do the same. We should never stop asking ourselves: who is the 99% and are they all here?!
Overlaps is committed to reporting the whole picture. If you feel that we have left out yours or anyone else’s part of the picture, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or better yet, join our team.
The Overlaps Team