Final Discussion

We’ve been planting the seeds until now, but we must put a fine point on the white supremacist values that must be extricated from any kind of just practice of activism:

 

  1. Practicing purity politics that hinder solidarity or advance immutable and judgmental definitions of violence/nonviolence

  2. Practicing respectability politics that seek favor from and alignment with the Powerful and Privileged in order to achieve wins, comfort, or safety

  3. Maintaining absolutism that bars the blending of ethical frameworks or a diversity of tactics

  4. Centering the Powerful and Privileged, especially the oppressors

  5. Taking cues from ego-driven or individualistic motivations that seeking piety and status through activism

  6. Disrespecting the legacies of our ancestors by whitewashing them in order to tame our resistance

  7. Moralizing the tactics we use to get our people free in order to de/legitimize us


 

All of these spring from Power and Privilege co-opting and re-packaging nonviolent activism in order to divide us and limit our options. Sometimes that Power and Privilege is in the mouthpieces who are shaping culture and law, and sometimes that Power and Privilege is within us.

 

Regardless of whether you identify as part of LGBTQI movements or as a nonviolent activist (or both/neither), we believe the regular maintenance of our thought processes and actions to ensure white supremacy and other forms of oppression are not infiltrating our work is a healthy practice.

Here are some final discussion questions that face the question of white supremacy as an ideological force and its attempt to influence our activism. We offer these up to your ongoing process of divesting from white supremacist values:

 

  1. Why would I engage in any kind of activism, and how do my aims align with the needs of the collective?

  2. How do the ideologies, systems, and leaders of white supremacy weaponize calls to nonviolent activism? When that happens, how does it impact our justice movements?

  3. What are some precise ways that white supremacy sneaks into our language, politics, or direct actions, inviting us to align with the status quo?

  4. Is it possible to reclaim the word and legacy of Nonviolence from white supremacist co-optation, or do we need new language?

  5. Given the organizing histories–challenging racism, capitalism, colonization, and patriarchy–of the most lauded practitioners of nonviolent activism, what is the nonviolent activist signing up for, politically or spiritually, when they look to those legacies for instruction or inspiration?

  6. If you are a white person, regardless of whether you wear the mantle of Nonviolence, how can you daily resist the insinuation of white supremacy in your thinking, language, alliances, and actions?

  7. Has your understanding of the purpose, style, or ethics of nonviolent activism changed throughout your life? Throughout this video series?

  8. What ideas are you excited now to experiment with? Are there any ideas you want to let go?

 

We hope that you have gained sharper clarity, vocabulary, or principles from this course. Please be in touch with feedback and questions you have for us as we continue exploring at hello@soulforce.org.

 

Soulforce works to end the political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people through relentless nonviolent resistance.

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