Decolonizing Occupy

By , Intercontinental Cry

Catalyzed by the global financial crisis, citizen media is now pushing the dialogue about the rule of law and the institutional panic over the outbreak of unmediated communication taking place in public spaces around the world. On The World Tomorrow, Julian Assange interviews Occupy organizers from London and New York about the evolution of the social challenge to the Free-Market planetary bureaucracy. As Occupy evolves into organic political structures to effect the changes expressed in its demonstrations and assemblies, it would do well to include discussions with leaders from the movement for liberation of Indigenous peoples.

As the most educated, organized and active segment of humankind today, the world’s Indigenous peoples have learned a lot about the foes of Occupy. Fourth World nations — including many indigenous political entities in Europe — are in fact leading the fight against neoliberalism, as they did against colonialism. In his book The Distorted Past, Josep Fontana examines our habitual opinions about Europe’s social and political history through the lens of the evolution of modern state relations with the indigenous bedrock nations. In his alternative view of Europe’s history, Fontana helps to explain the persistence of collective, kinship-oriented, sociopolitical institutions and indigenous cultures that continue to challenge state notions of legitimacy.

Back in April, I posted on the topic of decentralization and the devolving of power along cultural faultlines, as examined by Dr. Richard A. Griggs of the University of Capetown in his paper The Breakdown of States. As we witness the merging of interests between Fourth World liberation and Occupy, the issue of governance is clearly foremost in participants’ grievances, but before these distinct movements can coalesce in pursuit of democratic renewal, Occupy would do well to brief itself on the indigenous perspective toward such things as sovereignty, autonomy and self-determination.

Jay Taber

is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, an author, a correspondent to Fourth World Eye, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as the administrative director of Public Good Project.


2 responses to “Decolonizing Occupy

  1. Not sure exactly what Jay is trying to say here, as he provides no real examples and simply links to an article and a book on Amazon (with an affiliate code). Many Occupy movements have consulted with indigenous groups, and many have issued specific statements about this. So what is he trying to get at if Occupy has already done what he is calling for, at least in some sense?

  2. Thanks, Jime. I am glad to hear some discussion on this is already taking place, and hope that the complexities of Indigenous liberation and governance will be undertaken as an essential component of Occupy educational efforts.

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