Video from the Intercambio: Invitation to Solidarity
Invitation to Solidarity focuses on the theme of cocreating solidarity and building collective power. No big deal, right? But in a world where even with “accessible” technology and amazing organizing, we can easily feel worlds apart from our comrades in other countries and lands, and out of touch with their daily struggles. We must remember how intentional and strategic this lack of visibility and (mis)information is. The work of solidarity is a body of work that is vulnerable. It reteaches us that for folks based in the United States, our learning does not merely come from wanting a relationship with leaders and organizers in other countries, but it comes in the undressing of ourselves of our internalized ways of Western exceptionalism and isolation. It is an act of vulnerability to admit that the U.S. may not always feel like home or “ours,” but is indeed part of our responsibility because of its power and tragic influence in the global landscape.
For MEV, so much of our learning about solidarity came from following the leadership of JASS in times of crisis and when things were not so easy, co-facilitating a curriculum created by MesoAmerican feminists rooted in a MesoAmerican anti-patriarchal, anti-racist, anti-capitalist context, creating this exchange from a multilingual, Language Justice framework, and admitting when we were not doing enough to connect our movements to the United States’ extractive practices and policies transnationally. Learning came from understanding that we need to be committed to sharing with each other our analyses on racial and gender justice as informed by our different contexts and histories, and to not be afraid of grappling with issues and tensions that arise. All are things we have learned are part of our movement traditions.
Our visit to La Puya also tells the story of movement traditions. It reminds me of Bayard Rustin’s visits to India and South Africa to learn about nonviolence organizing philosophies and liberation movements. It reminds me of U.S. based BLM activists in Palestine, Angela Davis in Cuba, SNCC members in Guinea. Our traveling to build across race, borders, and language has long been part of how Freedom Movements based in the U.S. have expanded, deepened our analysis, and grown to be more intersectional, glocal, and revolutionary. And so, it feels powerful to continue that legacy.
In this video, Monica Dennis, MEV Co-Director, shares her gratitude for our visit to La Puya, where we are able to see the connections between capitalism, racism, patriarchy, and militarism as movements united against womxn and gender expansive peoples. La Puya is a seven year community-led, nonviolent blockade and movement opposing the construction of El Tambor, a U. S. owned gold mine. It is an intergenerational commitment where Indigenous womxn’s leadership is centered and celebrated, and where elders, youth, and entire families are invited to protest for their land. You can read more about La Puya and our time at the site here.
Monica’s statement is not just about seeing the connections, but understanding that where these oppressive forces connect, that is where we will also find our accomplices in this struggle. Our visit to La Puya was an example of learning to trace that struggle – from El Tambor Mine to the engineering firm Kappes, Cassiday & Associates in Reno, NV, we could map how extractive strategies and imperialism cut through our lands, and where our support in the fight could come in stateside. As Betty del Carmen later describes – that is where and how the uniting of the South & the North can happen.
My questions to you are:
- What are challenges you/your organization face internally when building solidarity with comrades and other movement spaces ?
- What global liberation movements do you/your organization draw inspiration from? How do you/your organization both build on that legacy and visibilize that work?
- Where is there an opportunity for the work you/your organization do to strengthen its analysis and work to end gender based violence through the vehicle of partnership and solidarity?