Sunday, June 04, 2017

Decolonization in the Caribbean #15: Solidarity Lessons

For places like Guam that lack a formal place within the international system and to an extent the national system of the US, solidarity is of critical importance. Without a formal place, you are invisible or you direct power over the structure around you. There was ways that you can fight for power, that you can seize it, but solidarity is an important part of changing your invisibility or your lack of visibility and therefore lack of relevance of standing, into something different, something more strategic. As the movement for decolonization and independence grows in Guam, it is important that we find ways to connect it to other potentially similar movements, which can offer lessons or inspirations on the way forward. This was the case in the past, where members of Nasion Chamoru achieved a greater sense of their place in the world through interacting with people who were members of Black and Brown Power movements in the US, and also from postwar elite Chamorros who felt affinity with African Americans who they saw struggle against segregation and racism.

My last two appearances at the UN C24 Regional Seminar have reminded me of the importance of solidarity. For those of us who remain colonies, non-self-governing territories, we are often forgotten about or ignored by much of the world, including our own colonizers. But solidarity can be difficult as our experiences are so diverse and the geographic distance mirrors historical, cultural and political differences between these 17 colonies spread across the Pacific, the Caribbean and the Atlantic. Most people on Guam have no idea where the Turks and Caicos or Tokelau are. Through Independent Guåhan we are seeing if there is someway we can create a solidarity network to at least in some small way, deal with this distance.

In the meantime, Independent Guåhan is having a teach-in later this week to draw connections between Black Lives Matter and the Water Defenders at Standing Rock. As you can see from the flyer it'll take place June 8 from 6-7:30 at UOG HSS 106. The event is open to the public and absolutely dibåtde.

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