Saturday, July 1, 2017

More Concerned With The Tone Of Someone’s Message Than You Are With The Message Itself? #MillsVsPenobscots

Chloe Cekada and Iris SanGiovanni of Greater Portland SURJ disrupt Maine Attorney Janet Mills
calling for her to respect Native rights to protect the Penobscot River and its many life forms.

Guest post from Sass Linneken, program coordinator for Resources for Organizing and Social Changewho had just returned from a Maine People's Alliance event on June 29, 2017 (MPA is a "progressive" Democratic Party lobbying organization).

Musings on Maine’s Democratic Party, white feminism, and how white men take up space:
I went to the Resistance Rising summit hosted by MPA tonight and came away with some thoughts I need to roll out before going to sleep.

#1) I get anxious when I’m going into crowds, and anxiety is for the birds.

#2) The Democratic party is in no way leading anything resembling resistance at this point.

#3) The Democrats are having a difficult time realizing that taking a paternalistic/tone-policing attitude toward people they view as disruptive is not helping them to galvanize their base, it’s doing the opposite.

Villainizing disrupters is supremacist, and it completely negates the truths that exist within the disruption, for instance, the very fact that political disruption is a small thing compared to whatever issue is at the root of the disrupters’ cause.

***Case in point: Disrupting Janet Mills might feel egregious to people who support Mills, but that disruption is not going to kill her, or take her self-determination from her. On the flip-side of that coin, her refusal to support the Penobscots instead of lead the charge to steal their water rights and redraw the boundaries of their reservation when they hold less than 1% of the land they once did *will* impact their livelihoods and impact their ability to self-determine their own futures.

Letter found by Community Water Justice organizer Nickie Sekera in her son Luke's
pocket. Luke just graduated from middle school and is already a seasoned water protector.

Refusing to revisit the standards for justification in state-sanctioned police violence when there has been a drastic increase in police shooting fatalities *will* result in avoidable deaths, particularly of those who don’t look or live like Janet Mills. Rudeness in messaging should really be the least of worries in this context.***

Luke Sekera speaking at a previous event where Mills was confronted about her attack on
the rights of the Penobscot people to protect their water against industrial polluters the state of Maine protects.
Luke is being protected by Elizabeth Ann Mitchell, a Penobscot water protector.
#4) A candidate should not get a free pass if she’s a woman because she has it harder than her male counter-parts on the campaign trail or in office, and to suggest that the only reason she’s being held accountable is because she’s a woman is as sexist as the perceived sexism in the allegation to begin with.

#5) Saying that a candidate deserves our respect because she’s a champion for women’s rights when she is simultaneously engaging in an agenda that hurts women of color is the epitome of white feminism.

It’s not only hella problematic in its analysis of women’s rights, it’s detrimental to any perceived effort of resistance. To the contrary, it’s the very upholding of the systems and structures liberals/progressives claim to want to smash.

#6) If you’re a cisgender, able-bodied white guy, you’ve had the floor long enough. Shut the hell up.

The fact is, if your platform is not centering and considering the needs of PoC, you’re doing it wrong.

Trump was no accident, and if you think his agenda is egregious, it’s time to look in the mirror and ask yourself how you are complicit in his getting to where he’s at. And I don’t say that sitting on any kind of a pedestal, I’m a white person on a life-long learning curve.

All I’m saying is if you’re more concerned with the tone of someone’s message than you are the message itself, you are more a part of the problem than the solution, and that should matter to you if you want things to change.


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