My apologies to all for running out so abruptly on that last post, suggesting that crashing a MEChA meeting or supporting an action for Palestinians here and there constitutes “cross-movement organizing.”
It does not.
By my account, cross-movement organizing is deliberate engagement of both leadership and the people of other movements – or other branches of the global movement for universal liberation (which encompasses aspects of environmental and animal rights activists’ agendas as well) – as strategic allies in campaigns, actions, messaging, etc. It’s a process of recognizing and redefining common ground (and common opposition), working out areas of conflict between us, and building solidarity that extends beyond specific issues or actions to a general sharing of human, technological, and economic resources.
For example, “Jobs With Justice” has a campaign that encourages us to pledge that “I’ll be there” at least 5 times in the next year for someone else’s action – to fight for their health care, housing, or liberation, knowing theirs is intricately tied to mine. I don’t know how it’s working in action, but it’s a great concept.
My ASU comrade Emmanuel Gallardo, did an awesome job of cross-movement organizing with the “ASU Social Justice Coalition” a few years ago, which had members from many different student groups involved.
Boy, did we give President Crow some grief.
It’s the most diverse and active student organization I’ve been a part of, and while it was extremely ambitious and demanding, it was also quite inspiring. I learned a lot from Eman’s approach – he already had connections with every Latino organization on campus, but bent over backwards to connect with everyone else – from the NAACP and nAfrican American Men at ASU, to the Greens, to the LGBTQ community – and get us all to share our energy and resources – including bodies at rallies and actions.
So, what I ‘ve been doing is using the expression “cross-movement organizing” loosely to describe my clumsy efforts to establish relationships with people outside my immediate safety zone right now for the purpose of building explicit support for prison abolition. My recent connections include PUENTE, CODE Pink, the Brown Berets de Aztlan, the Liver Foundation, some Anarchafeminists, MEChA and these folks, the Students for Justice in Palestine.
I think it’s all connected anyway, of course – capitalism, war, racism, colonialism, prisons. Compulsory labor and the use of our bodies as soldiers, slaves, consumers or merchandise via coercion, co-optation, and criminalization (or the threat of it) still continues to this day. But the organizing around those principles, the personal connections, all that needs to be deliberate, consistent, prolonged, authentic.
I’m deliberate and authentic, but I’m also sporadic on the bigger scale, and may crash and burn tomorrow. I live on my own schedule, and am distracted by several different drummers in my head, so to speak. I’m something of a shy person, actually, unless I’m really all fired up about something or writing. I’m not too socially ept in many ways, so this isn’t all just coming naturally to me. I think I’m a little frayed from too many years of drugs and a few too many volts through my brain. Or maybe I’m just still rough around the edges, as they say.
In any event, cross-movement organizing is what I’m working on, but not with grace or ease. Take your lessons on that from the Black Panthers, et al – and keep in mind that the only thing that changed really about COINTELPRO is the language and the law: it’s still happening. This cross-movement stuff really threatens them. That’s why the Anti-Arpaio rally in January got disrupted by the cops…
I began to weep, right there, in the middle of the lawn with my tripod and camera in hand, in the shadow of this tower of heartrending scrawl, the narrative of perpetual occupation and war punctuated by photographs of dead and dying kids.
One cannot walk away from that wall and not be changed by the sudden visage of the blood we have on our hands. That has left me somewhat speechless; the magnitude of the prison industrial complex and how intricately tied it is to the perpetuation of war and violence. For now, the rest of the story of my afternoon will tell itself in pictures. As I catch back up with my life, I’ll put in a link in the margin to the Students for Justice in Palestine who set this up. hey apparently got the display from a group in California.
Thanks, by the way, to all of you who signed the solidarity card for Mississippi youth and the Scott Sisters.
Tune into NPR for a piece on the supplies finally reaching the Gaza Strip today for the first time in years – the world’s largest open-air prison. Good for the Black Market – of course there is violence and inequality there, too, but at least it’s a manifestation of the Resistance. Those people have done what they’ve needed to in order to survive another generation of genocidal policies. The economy is still so decimated, though.
What does Israel hope to achieve by continuing to terrorize and massacre their neighbors?