Friday, August 15, 2008

Bloggers at the DNC

In just under two weeks I'll be in Denver, Colorado blogging for Guam at the Democratic National Convention.

The DNC has made great efforts this year to provide blogs and bloggers access to the convention. In 2004 they credentialed just 30 bloggers, this time around there will be more than 120. I feel very fortunate to be included in this list, and hope that I can do my part, which might seem like a paradox to some, in first, supporting the Democratic party this year, and second laying bare the hyspocrisies and inconsistencies that Guam endures as an American colony. Sounds, strange, but this sort of bewildering contradiction is the norm in Guam.

Although I was able to vote in California's Democratic primary in February, by virtue of my attending UCSD, by November I will be back on Guam and thus again be unable to vote in the Presidential elections. I will be at the convention first as an expression of the colonial desire in Guam, my presence there is yet another celebrated resolution to the colonial difference on the island, whereby everyone desperately wants to be American, are conditioned from birth to want to be so, but cannot ever truly be. Thus life on Guam is innundated with attempts to find minute forms of evidence, moments or mentions where Guam at least appears to be American, where the difference which always mocks those on Guam is resolved, overcome, surpassed! My going to the convention is part of that cruel game of endless searching for recognition by the colonizer. So in one way, by going to the convention I am continuing the colonization of Guam. I become, in the same way that the primary on Guam in May became, a moment where we can focus in on the small and often tokenistic ways we are included, in order to blur out and make invisible the ways we are not.

On the other hand, it would be pointless to argue that my going can have no positive or critical impact. The Democratic National Convention this year, will be one of the primary grand spectacles of American political power and will, especially because of its potential symbolism of breaking with America's racist past. Although I don't believe that Obama's nomination changes much about the racial logics that operate in the United States, in terms of one party or the other asserting itself as the future of the United States, this really makes 2008 a Democratic year. While the Republican party appears to be clinging to fantasies of a white-male dominated/normative nation, the Democrats are at least making gestures to suggest a more open, multi-cultural and tolerant America. After all, the convention is being held on the 45th anniversary of the day that Martin Luther King Jr. gave his historic "Guaha guinife-hu" speech in Washington D.C.

Whether this year results in significant gains for racialized groups is unlikely, but the Democratic National Convention will be a potent symbolic event, creating a huge emotional bubble amongst people in the United States, built from two very intimate, yet transcendent hopes. The first is the laudable hope that racism in this country can be surpassed and that dream of Martin Luther King Jr.'s is possible. The second is the seflish and self-protecting hope that should America at last elect a black person to its highest office, then white people who never owned slaves or killed Native Americans, will no longer have to feel guilty for the slaves owned and indigenous people that their ancestors killed or profited from.

Therefore, although conventions are often pointless since they are so stage-managed and planned, that nothing new or original ever seems to emerge from them, this year's convention will be historic regardless of whether or not it is dull and dim. This spirit of supposed openess, progressivity and America laying to rest its racial ghosts, is perfect for the questions about the "promise" of America that my island and the history of American colonialism that Chamorros have experienced represent. By going to the convention I will be a colonial citizen, walking amongst those who control the fate of my island, those who determine its future, and determine how much military it will be forced to host. Although we tend to imagine Republicans as the more militaristic and aggressive party, in terms of military expansion there is little difference between both parties, and so on one of the fundamental issues that tie the US to Guam (America's military presence there) Chamorros and others on Guam can expect little from the United States. To those who know, Guam belongs to the US and exists to be militarized by it.

At the convention I will seek allies in the struggle for decolonization on Guam, but the lack of knowledge and overwhelming belief in American greatness will make this difficult. An incredulous "Why would anyone want to leave the United States?" will be mashed together with "America doesn't have colonies" to create a wall of disbelief and indifference. My basic hope for the convention must therefore be to inform those present about Guam, but not in the usual ways that people accomplish this, by reminding people that Guam is American, and then begging for recognition and trying to prove how American the island is. But to inform them about Guam in all its uncomfortable forms, as a site of American imperialism, militarism and colonialism that continues up until today. Tonight, I took a break from dissertation writing, and instead spent some time doing research on who I would like to interview during the convention and what questions I would like to ask them. I have to admit, I am both eagerly anticipating and dreading the blank, perplexed looks on some of the faces of Congressmen when I ask them to comment on how the military buildup in Guam will affect the possibilities for the island's decolonization, which has been mandated by the United Nations.

Be sure to stay tuned on my blog for more updates on the convention. In the meantime, check out the full list of blogs below which are being credentialed for the Convention. Hu gof agradesi este na oppotunidat. Taitai este na lista, ya sina un komprende. Gaige yu' gi halom noskuantos na gof matungo' na blogs. In other words, I'm very excited to be amongst such great company. I've been reading some of these blogs for a while now and I am honored to even be loosely linked to some of them.


2008 Democratic Convention Watch
African American Political Pundit
Asian American Action Fund Blog
Badlands Blue
Bitch Ph.D.
Blogger News Network
Blogging For Michigan
Blue Hampshire
Blue Indiana
Blue Jersey
Blue Mass. Group
Buckeye State Blog
Burnt Orange Report
Campus Progress
Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis
Change to Win
The Colorado Independent
Cotton Mouth Blog
Crooks and Liars
Daily Kingfish
Daily Kos
Dallas South Blog
Democracy Arsenal
Democracy for New Mexico
Democratic Party of the U.S. Virgin Islands
Democratic Underground
Democrats Abroad Argentina
Digby's Hullabaloo
Doc's Political Parlor
Fired Up!
Florida Progressive Coalition
Future Majority
Georgia Politics Unfiltered
Green Mountain Daily
Grist Magazine
Group News Blog
HummingbirdMinds Blog
Jack and Jill Politics
Keystone Politics
Las Vegas Gleaner
Left In Alabama
Left in the West
Michigan Liberal
Minnesota Independent
My Left Nutmeg
New Nebraska Network
No Rest for the Awake
Obsidian Wings
Ohio Daily Blog
Open Left
Pam's House Blend
Political Base
Political Wire
Pop and Politics
Prairie State Blue
Raising Kaine
Raw Story
Rhode Island's Future
Room 8
Rum, Romanism and Rebellion
Scholars & Rogues
Seeing the Forest
Sepia Mutiny
Talking Points Memo
Taylor Marsh
The Albany Project
The Center for Emerging Media
The Iowa Independent
The Natchez Blog
The Seminal
The UpTake
The Utah Amicus
The Washington Independent
Think Youth
Thought Theater
Tondee's Tavern
Turn Maine Blue
Under The
Uppity Wisconsin
USAmerica Vota '08
West Virginia Blue
What About Our Daughters? Blog
Working Life
Zennie's Zeitgeist


dmeinert said...

Seattle's Blue Scholars and Common Market are headed to Denver during the DNC, joining other groups like Rage Against the Machine and Flobots, to take part in the historic progressive demonstrations during the Democratic National Convention. They will be taking part in events put on by the Re-Create 68 Alliance and the Tent State Music Festival. All the info is below (More shows will be announced soon) .

Sunday, August 24:
End the Occupations/End the War March & Rally 9am – 2pm
West Steps of the State Capitol Building to the Pepsi Center (This will be Denver’s largest anti-war, anti-illegal occupations march and rally.)

Speakers (Alphabetical): Ida Audeh – Palestinian Refugee, Kathleen Cleaver – Black Panthers, Ward Churchill – Long-time Author, Activist, and Scholar
Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. – Prisoners of Conscience Committee, Larry Hales – World Worker’s Party, Larry Holmes – Troops Out Now Coalition, Ron Kovic – anti-war activist, veteran and author of Born On The Fourth of July, Cynthia Mckinney – Green Party United States Presidential Candidate, Glenn Spagnuolo – Re-create 68 Alliance

Bands: David Rovic – State Capitol Steps, kicking of the rally
Dead Prez – State Capitol Steps, prior to the march
Blue Scholars & Common Market – Concert at State Capitol, after the march
Jim Page – State Capitol Steps, during the rally


Tuesday, August 26th
Tent State Music Festival
City of Ceurnavaca Park, 20th St & Little Raven(across from the Skate Park)

In a sea of tents, Tent State University will be erected in City Park, Denver. Tent State will serve as an alternative university, teaching the tactics and strategies necessary to force an end to this war, hosting guest 'professors' such as Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney, and hold the Town Halls used to allow everyone the ability to democratically decide the days direction.

Tent State will serve as the music venue for the first radical music festival, the Tent State Music Festival, hosting artists such as Jello Biafra, The Coup, and some very special guests. It will host an unending list of activities and installations, such as the WARGAMES Anti-War Fashion show which aims to highlight the consequences of war on women, and Backbone Campaign's "Funeral for the Past" installation.

Most importantly, Tent State will serve as basecamp for activists and organizations to strategize, stage, and execute actions from throughout the week. It will also house first aid tents by the Colorado Street Medics, drop off points for social media, and other tools.

Tent State University at the DNC is part of the Alliance for Real Democracy which includes local and national groups as diverse as United for Peace and Justice, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Indigenous Support Network, local SDS chapters, World Can't Wait, CODEPINK, and others.

Blue Scholars 9 - 10 pm
Common Market 8:30 - 9pm
P Nuckle 8 - 8:30 pm
David Rovics 7:30 - 8 pm
DJ Russh 7 - 7:30 pm
Kombat 6:30 - 7 pm

hyndm said...

hi! just wanted to say how much i enjoy and appreciate your blog. i found you through google alerts on "decolonization"...i'm also writing a dissertation. my focus is on the struggle for national belonging at the time of decolonization -- looking at the West Indies. your blog has really helped expand the meaning of decolonization beyond the standard "transfer of power"

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