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Accomplices Not Allies

Rising, Loving and Resisting Together

"Striving toward decolonization and walking together towards transformation requires us to challenge a dehumanizing social organization that perpetuates our isolation from each other, and normalizes a lack of responsibility to one another and the earth.”— Harsha Walia

For a long time, we have been thinking how to better work with and support people across a spectrum of identities and experiences, and have been asking ourselves: What do we stand for? What binds us together? How do we love our communities and across our communities? How do we bring love to the relationships with one another, especially during challenging situations/discussions?

The people who run our society are consistently choosing to invest in death rather than the thriving of society. Many have been accomplices of state violence for too long for enabling injustice to happen. Humanity cannot afford for us to be accomplices of the state, of governments who fail to protect us. We are women against war, militarism and we stand for peace and justice. It’s no longer enough to say we are allies with other people, which implies distance and passivity, but rather we must actively unabashedly defy, challenge, and expose the criminal forces destroying life and the possibilities for it to continue. We must be fearless in our demands that we emit through the spiritual force of love.

If we strive for liberation, we should act as accomplices, not allies. Liberation is dependent on each other, colonization and formation of social organization based on hierarchy has tricked us into being separate.

An accomplice is someone who understands that law and social institutions have been designed on lawlessness for those in power. Therefore, liberation requires being accomplices in resisting the legitimized forces of social control, which is criminalized and repressed. Being an accomplice means acting out of radical love against institutions that have sustained their domination over us through self-legitimization. We must delegitimize these systemic forces together and dream something new.

We are aware that we live in a world with different and complex identities, and that some identities are more oppressed. At this moment, we can’t afford to work in silos. We need to work together, building the power we need to dismantle systems of oppression and create systems of love and transformative justice. We all have a stake in one another’s liberation, and need to act from that interdependence. These times call for accomplices- not allies. Solidarity is a verb; therefore we commit to:

  • Build long-term relationships of accountability- be responsive to the experiences, voices, needs, and perspectives of people across a spectrum of identities. Do more listening, less speaking and planning.
  • Create spaces free from antiblackness, anti-indigenity, racism, sexism, homo- and transphobia, ableism, and state & interpersonal violence.
  • Understand that we are all somehow beneficiaries of the oppression, exploitation, repression of others and the Earth.
  • Act fiercely- putting our bodies on the line, picking a side (no neutrality), militantly, collectively, and led with love.
  • Make the time and space for deep reflection- is crucial for serious resistance. Keep a critical eye and a tender heart.
  • Practice what you preach. What are your values? Are you living with them? Our movements and work need to be based on shared values, principles and analysis.
  • Challenge yourself - learn about different perspectives, be open to conflicting conversations. There are contradictions that we must come to terms with. Accomplices aren’t afraid to engage in uncomfortable, unsettling, and/or challenging debates or discussions.
  • Anti-oppression and decolonization are much a process as a goal. It requires that we practice anti-oppression in our movements and all interpersonal relationships. We need to re-imagine our relationships with one another, with the land, and with the state- this requires study, conversation, practice, learning and unlearning.
    • “The State is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of behavior; we destroy it by contracting other relationships.” - Gustav Landauer
  • Learn and act from a place of responsibility rather than guilt.
  • Unravel our socialized individualization until we can feel how our survival/liberation is infinitely linked to the survival/liberation of others. Foster interdependence, as opposed to independence, and take responsibility for our choices.
  • No one is here to be saved, no need of “missionary allies” or pity. We are all in this together. There is a difference between acting for others, with others, and for one’s interests.

We move towards decolonization and liberation of all. This will require learning, unlearning, re-imagining, and collective, radical love. We will lead with our heart and show the world we want with our actions.

Do you commit? Take the pledge to grow local peace economies.

What to do?

 Other ideas and/or suggestions? Please write us at [email protected]

*These ideas were inspired mostly by the various articles from the book, Taking Sides. We honor all the writers, organizers, and healers who are challenging dominant ideologies and imagining transformative practices.