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(en) Active Solidarity Collective http://www.activesolidarity.net/organization/activesolidarity.html

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 18 Dec 2003 12:40:04 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
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The Active Solidarity Collective facilitates participatory
workshops in anti-racism for predominately white social justice
groups. We aim to initiate a process of critical reflection, whereby
white activists can examine the historical roots and institutional
foundations of racism in the U.S., its detrimental effects on
movements for social change, and its current impact on
participants’ work. We also aim to inspire action by exploring
freedom struggles led by people of color, white anti-racist
solidarity, and concrete tools that participants can apply to
confront racism in their own groups and movements and build
respectful multi-racial alliances. We approach this work as a small
component of a larger effort to build multi-racial movements that
can one day topple all systems of oppression and build a just and
free society.

To see detailed information about our workshops click here.

Who We Are

The Active Solidarity Collective currently consists of five young,
white social justice activists coming out of the Movement Against
Global Capitalism. We are anti-authoritarian in our world view,
structure, and approach to social change.

Why We Came Together

We have all been challenged by organizers of color on racism and
white privilege manifesting within our organizing. We share with
many of these organizers the belief that it is not their job, as
organizers of color, to perpetually challenge white activists’
racist behavior, and that we, as white people, must take
responsibility to do so ourselves.

We understand that racism has been intentionally and
systematically created in the United States and has been
consciously used to undermine and destroy every movement for
radical social change in this country.

Therefore, we have engaged in a the start of a lifelong effort to
educate ourselves about racism, its role in dividing social
movements, and strategies we can use to challenge our own white
privilege and build effective multi-racial movements. We have also
developed our own anti-racism workshop to share our findings and
engage other white activists in this vital process.
We do not consider struggling against racism and white privilege to
be charity work, but rather in our self-interest as white people who
want to build unified movements for grassroots social change.

How We Work

Collective Power and Responsibility
As a collective, we have no formal leadership structure, but rather
share responsibilities and decision-making power equally. We
make decisions by an informal consensus process and delegate
specific tasks to individuals or groups directly answerable to the
whole collective.

We believe that gaining input and direction from folks who carry
the experience of racism is essential for us to have a complete
understanding of how it functions within society. We also realize
that white social justice communities have a long history of
ignoring the voices and leadership of people of color.

So to remain accountable to a larger community and obtain critical
feedback on our work, we have developed an Accountability
Council of radical organizers of color and experienced white
anti-racists. This council helps us develop the direction of our
work, and point out problematic parts of our work that we may not
realize. We invite members of our Accountability Council to attend
workshops, provide feedback, engage in dialogue and suggest
future directions for the collective.

Gender Caucuses
In order to confront patriarchal dynamics within the collective, we
have established gender caucuses. The caucuses periodically
break off to discuss gendered power dynamics in the group, then
return to the whole collective for further discussion and
strategizing for change.

We are committed to creating and sustaining structures to address
and deal with the needs of everyone in the collective especially
those who have been marginalized and oppressed within larger

Our Analysis

We understand racism as a hierarchical power relationship based
on the social construct of "race"; that is, it is a vertical power
arrangement with "whites" at the top and all other peoples in strata
below. Those at the top manipulate and exploit those at the bottom
to their material and psychological advantage. They institutionalize
racial oppression to provide for their own white privilege. A similar
dynamic of oppression and privilege exists within all systems of
hierarchical organization such as capitalism, patriarchy,
heterosexism, the state and many others. Whenever one group of
people assumes power over others, privilege is perpetuated and
freedom denied.

The goal of our work is to be a part of building a multi-racial, mass
based, popular movement for radical social change. It is our view
that this kind of change will only come from battling the root
causes of systems of oppression and domination. This means that
we believe that "Band-Aid" solutions of making systems of
oppression more "friendly" are not enough. We see the problems
ailing our society are institutional and not just stemming from
individual flaws. Because of this understanding we work to fight
oppressive institutions while actively building liberatory ones. We
envision a restructuring of society. And so see our responsibility to
fight those systems which are oppressive, but also to build the
foundations we would like our society to built upon.

We are not alone in this process. We see ourselves as a small
portion of a world-wide struggle for freedom.

Our Vision

In striking contrast to our present society, we envision a global
network of radically self-managed, cooperative communities
wherein access to wealth and decision-making power is equalized
and decentralized. We support the self-determination of all
oppressed peoples and advocate for directly democratic,
non-hierarchical, and communal alternatives to our existing
oppressive society.

Prefigurative Politics

We believe that means and ends must be consistent. Therefore, we
organize our struggles today according to the same principles that
we hope will underpin a new society.
Some of those principles are:

A consistent commitment to identifying and uprooting all
oppressive dynamics that stifle the full empowerment of any
member of our collective, or the broader society

The horizontal and democratic organization of power

Direct Democracy
The full empowerment of all to discuss and decide upon the issues
that affect our lives

Solidarity and Internationalism
Active support for those most affected by systems of oppression
and groups in struggles for justice and freedom both within the
borders of this country and beyond

The cooperative sharing of responsibilities and distribution of
goods and services according to need and desire

The development of a mutually beneficial, non-dominating
relationship with the rest of the natural world

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