Revisiting "Accomplices not Allies"


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A helpful resource that I first encountered in 2017, perhaps earlier. Especially helpful in understanding foot-dragging by nonprofits around engaging in conversation regarding indigenous sovereignty. Like, why won't they publish a land acknowledgment? Because then they'd have to support it with action. And to do that would be self-sabotage.

The thing is, white supremacy is inherently self-consuming. Reflect on the machinations of the Jan 6 insurrection. Briefly: a nation was founded on indigenous genocide, land theft, enslavement of Africans, exploitation of poor people. Its founding documents reflect these values. Hundreds of years later, technology has facilitated anonymous proliferation of lies supporting the founding values of this nation.

Lies lead to more lies, leading to action -- action to usurp the organized power of the nation's government and to direct the nation to be more in alignment with those founding values. Toxicity is toxicity because it consumes itself with violence, using nature (including humanity and our byproducts) as fuel and as collateral. And, toxicity leaks all over the place and poisons everything it touches.

How does the nonprofit-industrial complex reveal its toxicity? It reveals its toxicity in its very structure. Nonprofits exist to resovle social problems. What would happen to a nonprofit that succesfully resolved a social problem? It would die, its need for existence satisfied. To avoid death, nonprofits use charity and tokenism to reinforce harmful dynamics of neoliberalism and multiculturalism to create a necessity for their existence.

What can be done? I'm not a doctor, just an artist. It's clear nonprofits do help some equitable processes manifest. Lots of good-hearted, well-intentioned people work for and with nonprofits, myself and many dear to me included. All that's clear to me is our urgent need to build life-affirming structures for survival and thriving in the conditions we're facing. We have to destroy and rebuild at the same damn time. We must thread the camel through the needle's eye.

We can learn from decomposers, from children and eldres, from artists and scientists -- from those who have maintained a capacity to imagine beyond the structures we've been provided. We'll have to imagine theose new structures while, in many cases, sabotaging the painful old ones.

tips

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