Archive for March, 2021

No One is Illegal Anti imperialist Organizing in Canada

Tuesday, March 16th, 2021

Undoing Border Imperialism, Harsh Walia, 2013

Walia refers to North America by its folklore Native American name Turtle Island. She refers to Vancouver as Indigenous Coast Salish territories. The No One is Illegal (NOII) movement often chants No One is Illegal, Canada is Illegal. Walia is a long-haul anti imperialist revolutionary with impressive intellect. Highly recommended but wish the publisher, AK Press of Oakland (Edinburgh) had not produced a pocket version with unreadably small print. Phoenix Library has only one copy of this important book.

On many days, fighting against border imperialism is like swimming in glue or grieving against gravity. But I remember all the battles we have won and the shifting terrain for migrant justice movements that has centered the voices and experiences of our immigrant, refugee, and non status communities within the broader social movements. In the words of Davis, “What we manage to do each time we win a victory is not so much to secure change once and for all, but rather to create terrains for struggle.”

Within movement building, the strengthening of external alliances and facilitating internal leadership both require a strong grounding in antioppresssion analysis and practice. Antioppresssion analysis attempts to examine and address the varied – often unintentional and invisible – effects of systemic marginalization and differential power dynamics between individuals, groups, and communities by providing a a critical analysis of the intersecting lived realities of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability.

“Democracy is not, to begin with, a form of State. it is in the first place, the reality of the power of the people that can never coincide with the form of a State. There will always be a tension between democracy as the exercise of a shared power of thinking and acting, and the State, whose very principle is to appropriate this power.”- Jacques Ranciere Democracy is not, to begin with, a form of State

“What we want is democracy and inclusion of all – not in a nation, a state, or an identity that always presupposes exclusion – but in a life in common.” – Carlos Fernandez, Meredith Gill, Imre Szeman, and Jessica Whyte, Erasing the Line, or, the Politics of the Border.

Why don’t we alter the frames of the question, asking, instead, what feminism actually means and whether feminism, both as a political movement and analytical tool, is amenable to Islam and religious identity and practice? Anti imperialist movements reject the white man’s (and woman’s) burden – or what author Teju Cole characterizes as the “White Savior Industrial Complex” – represented by state interventions and certain progressive movements, to rescue women, children, and queers from their so called backward traditions. By challenging the ideologies of superiority and uniformity underlying cultural imperialism, anti-imperialist movements diversify and hence decolonize our understanding of how coercion is experienced.