People of Color Solidarity Guidelines
White Supremacy is a system of power that is as active today as any time in this culture’s history. As white activists, we have been socialized into a culture of domination and often carry, practice, and reproduce racism in our own work. Racism is a threat to the health and continuation of all communities, including political ones. We therefore ask all white activists to commit themselves in every aspect of their lives, political or otherwise, to dismantling racism, personally and culturally. Communities of color alone cannot change white communities from the outside, nor is it their responsibility.
As Stokely Carmichael said, “White people must start building those [anti-racist] institutions inside the white community, and that is the real question I think facing the white activists today: can they in fact begin to move into and tear down the institutions which have put us all in a trick-bag that we’ve been into for the last hundred years?” As allies to people and communities of color, this is our work. The following guidelines are to encourage white activists to eliminate racism from their behavior and language, and better ally themselves with people of color.
- We understand that, as white people raised in a white supremacist society, we are racists. It is impossible to work to end racism without acknowledging the deep-seated racism that is taught to us from a very young age. White activists need not feel guilty about this, but rather we should feel obligated to dismantle racism, both inside ourselves and externally.
- Among activists, racism doesn’t always show itself in outbursts of anger or violence; more often it is found in everyday language, interactions, and assumptions that ultimately silence and devalue people of color. Work to respect and listen to the voices and choices of people of color.
- Actively support, encourage, and respect the leadership of people of color.
- Offer support and assistance to activists working in communities of color. Acknowledge and respect the primary emergencies of these communities.
- Work to counter the efforts of white supremacist and fascist groups.
- Have the humility and courage to challenge oneself and learn from others about issues relating to race and white supremacy.
- Do not participate in or condone racist humor. Do not use derogatory labels based upon race. Do not speak in stereotyped racial dialects.
- Challenge racist behavior in your friends, family, associates, and political allies. When appropriate, end relationships with people who continue to encourage or practice racism.
- Discuss racism with young people in your life. Help them to identify and confront racism, become better allies to people of color, and engage in working towards the end of white supremacy.
- Commit to ongoing self-education on the history and theory of racial oppression. Do not speak as an authority on subjects that people of color directly experience and you do not. If you are to speak at all on such subjects, it should only be after people of color or if people of color ask you to do so.
- The power of white supremacy is maintained to a large degree by institutions (housing, education, criminal in-justice, banking, culture, media, extraction, and so on), rather than by individual racists. Our primary work to end racism goes beyond confronting particular racists; ultimately, it requires dismantling racist institutions and culture.
- Understand that when you choose to fight racism and imperialism, you are joining a protracted, centuries-old struggle which indigenous people and people of color have always been on the front lines of. As white people, we must allow those who have experienced these histories first hand to inform our resistance.
- The guidelines established above represent a baseline for acceptable behavior. Following them is not exceptional, and does not merit reward. Choosing to ignore racist behavior will be seen as an act of collaboration with the culture of white supremacy.
Indigenous Solidarity Guidelines
It’s important that members of settler culture ally themselves with indigenous communities fighting for their rights and survival, but there are right and wrong ways to express solidarity. The following guidelines have been put together by Deep Green Resistance members with the help of indigenous activists. They aren’t a complete how-to guide – every community and every situation is different – but they can hopefully point you in a good direction for acting effectively and with respect.
- First and foremost we must recognize that non-indigenous people are occupying stolen land in an ongoing genocide that has lasted for centuries. We must affirm our responsibility to stand with indigenous communities who want support and give everything we can to protect their land and culture from further devastation; they have been on the frontlines of biocide and genocide for centuries, and as allies, we need to step up and join them.
- You are doing Indigenous solidarity work not out of guilt, but out of a fierce desire to confront oppressive colonial systems of power.
- You are not helping Indigenous people, you are there to: join with, struggle with, and fight with indigenous peoples against these systems of power. You must be willing to put your body on the line.
- Recognize your privilege as a member of settler culture.
- You are not here to engage in any type of cultural, spiritual or religious needs you think you might have, you are here to engage in political action. Also, remember your political message is secondary to the cause at hand.
- Never use drugs or alcohol when engaging in Indigenous solidarity work. Never.
- Do more listening than talking, you will be surprised what you can learn.
- Recognize that there will be Indigenous people that will not want you to participate in ceremonies. Humbly refrain from participating in ceremonies.
- Recognize that you and your Indigenous allies may be in the minority on a cause that is worth fighting for.
- Work with integrity and respect, be trustworthy and do what you say you are going to do.
Feminist Solidarity Guidelines
As a class, men have developed an entrenched system of power called patriarchy in order to naturalize exploitation of women’s bodies, labor, time, children, and so on. Patriarchy consists of an interlocking system of social, economic, political, legal, and cultural structures designed to oppress women for the benefit of men. This system provides men with privileges in every aspect of our lives; we are the direct beneficiaries. As men, we often mistake these privileges for natural rights.
It is not enough for us to be “good guys.” It is not enough to personally refrain from exploiting women. It is not enough for us to be personally conscientious and respectful to women. It is not enough to maintain equality in our own relationships with women. While all of those things are important, abstaining personally from outright oppressive behavior doesn’t challenge patriarchy as a system of power. Basic decency commands that we work alongside women to uproot and dismantle this entire patriarchal system– within ourselves, within our groups and communities, and within institutions and the culture at large.
The following guidelines are to encourage male activists in DGR to change their behavior and to better ally themselves with women. As male activists we have been socialized into a culture of domination, and are just as liable to carry, practice, and reproduce patriarchy. Remember: being an ally is an ongoing process rather than a title one earns; it must always be defined by women, who will determine by the daily actions and behaviors of a man how much of an ally he really is.
- Learn to be silent, hold back, be humble, and to listen to women’s voices. Be aware of subtle ways that you may devalue women or treat them unfairly.
- Hear what individual women are saying. Acknowledge what they say and respond appropriately. Respect women enough to disagree with them, rather than pretending to go along with something you obviously disagree with; when you do agree, make this known.
- We must follow the lead of women, and prioritize issues that are brought forth by women or concern women. The culture we want to move into will be women-centered: we should move in this direction ourselves. Make it a priority to have women in positions of power, and to foster new woman leaders. This includes recognizing how women leaders are objectified and silenced, and having zero tolerance for such behavior.
- It is inappropriate for us to speak as authorities on subjects that women directly experience. As men we do not and cannot understand these experiences. If we are to speak at all on such subjects, it should only be after women or if women ask us to do so, and never from our own perspective.
- We must challenge our own patriarchal behavior, such as patterns of silencing or devaluing women, and using patriarchal language (such as hate speech, jokes based on humiliation and degradation, and male-identified generalities e.g. “mankind”, “manpower”, “hey man”).
- Do not use pornography or prostitution. Free your sexuality from patriarchal capitalist structures that exploit women. Be vocal in challenging the sex-exploitation industry.
- Challenge entitlement. Women do not owe men anything, including a smile, a conversation, a hug, a relationship, or intimacy of any kind. Men do not have the right to take up space at the expense of women’s comfort or personal boundaries.
- Challenge sexist behavior in your friends, family, associates, and political allies. End relationships with men who continue to encourage or practice sexism. We do not need permission to call out men on patriarchal behavior; it is our baseline responsibility. Calling out men in male-only spaces and groups, is a priority.
- “Mansplaining” is not tolerated. By this we mean male speech that is arrogant, patronizing, condescending, or in some other way talks down to women or attempts to put the male speaker on a pedestal.
- While patriarchy does hurt men in some ways, the intended target is women. Thus, while we may feel hurt by masculinity, we are not oppressed by it.
- We must familiarize ourselves with issues affecting women, and with feminist theory and history. We should not expect to be spoon-fed a feminist understanding.
- Within the dominant culture males are perpetrators of harassment and violence. Many women are survivors of this violence – studies estimate that nearly 1/3 of all women have been sexually assaulted or beaten by men, and many women say these numbers are low. It is not any woman’s responsibility to assume that men are safe to be around.
- We are not here to save or rescue women. We are not here to be heroes. We are not here to be protectors of women; women can protect themselves. Our job is not to protect women; it is to respect their wishes and work in solidarity with them to dismantle patriarchy. If we take on these roles against the wishes of the particular women involved in a situation, we are violating boundaries.
- The guidelines established above represent a baseline for acceptable behavior. Following them is not exceptional, and does not merit reward. Conversely, choosing to ignore sexist behavior will be seen as an act of collaboration with the culture of male dominance.