LIBERATION SUMMER ATLANTA GEORGIA The first class of the Liberation Summer Semester of the University Sin Fronteras
(UNSIF) has started. Yesterday July 11th, the first class session took place at PROJECT SOUTH with 26 people participating. The room was overflowing and full of energy from the very start. The two hour class seemed like it went by real fast and people ran overtime in the discussion which said people were very interested in being a part of the class and excited about the subject of COLONIALISM and DECOLINIALIZATION.
PROJECT SOUTH gave the welcome at the opening of the class and both Emery Wright and Stephanie Guilloud, Co-Directors, spoke about the present struggles and organizing campaigns including the SOUTHERN ALLIANCE and the Septima youth institute and the BAM (building movement), the PMA Assembly, all happening daily and the WE ALL COUNT campaign on political education, organizing mobilization at the community level.After being introduced by Stephanie, Ruben Solis Garcia, President of University Sin Fronteras explained how the organizing process for the UNSIF started in 2010, and the first board meeting took place in 2011 and the first semester and the first class of the UNSIF is this one starting here today! The UNSIF is planning to organize a FALL and SPRING semester leading to Liberation Summer II in 2013. Classes are planned here in Atlanta, in San Antonio, Texas and in Puerto Rico.
UNSIF is a University without walls there the campus is where the classes are taking place and the learning is approached from the understanding that we learn in many ways and places not just in the traditional classroom.
The two 'teachers' for the first class of the first semester of the first University of the social movement was led by Ruben Solis Garcia and Stephanie Guilloud. Ruben covered the meaning of colonialism embodied in the five columns that hold up the 'system': 1) genocide and occupation & invasion 2) private property 3) Slavery 4) Capitalism and 5) Expansionism. The system is based on the following history and foundations
a) The so called 'right to discovery' b) established 'greater caribbean' as ground zero of all empires c) established and grew the 'original accumulation of capital' from slavery and d) it grew an 'emancipation', 'abolition' and independence movement, the ATLANTIC REVOLUTION.
Binary system scheme (Stephanie) Colonizer/colonized civilized/savage owner/owned man/woman white/black mind/body good/evil truth/lie clean/dirty (added)
Stephanie shared the thinking on gender and liberation as in thinking in brand new ways from the lens of liberation not just lifestyle, behavior or life. Liberation is about 'queering up' as a collective relations and communities in multiple circles of sex identity, gender rights and power and defining family and social organization. It is about the
sovereignty of the person and the body. As a body social controls and colonialist rules and systems exert constraints, prohibitions, surveillance and ultimately violence and repression.
Gender as Social Control of the Body
Gender as Liberatory Process
Physical & Sexual Violence
- disruption of connection / attack on the collective psyche
- used in war by state militaries and militias – EX: Andrew Jackson (1812) mutilated Indian bodies / Contras (1980s) in Nicaragua dragged bodies through public spaces as a warning
- used in families to assert and maintain authority – Indian Boarding schools, child sexual abuse
- Lynchings of Black men were/are justified by the idea of sexual violation of white women
Physical safety and sexual autonomy
Surveillance & discipline
- Registration of populations - medical industry – psycholological
pathologization (women, homosexuals,
gender variance) - AIDS epidemic - punishment, police, prison, torture - Ex: collective spaces, gatherings, religious celebrations were stopped – hygiene was the argument
Freedom of movement, citizenship, collective assembly, and healing practices
Constraints & Regulations of Family Formations
- motherhood as system for reproducing labor forces & institutionalizing colonial norms
- Sterilization projects – indigenous women, queers, disabled, prisoners, black women
- Moynihan manifesto – 1965
Liberated and fluid family formations
Some of the comments shared by the 26 student-participants of the first class of the first semester of the first University of the Social Movement as they were asked to write up what they knew about colonialism or imperialism or what questions they had about either:
What is neo-colonialism? Learning about struggles that have advanced the process of decolonialization. How did both (colonialism and imperialism) affect and shape the United States past
and present? Know how indigenous people were impacted by both Decolonize the mind How to teach about colonialism and imperialism Learn steps to break the chains of consumerism and internalized colonialism We are bend to think a certain way by force and control It is a type of agenda pushed on us on how to think and behave It is the overtaking of the land and the original people It is the subjugation and political domination Essentially it is for the exploitation of people Both are a murderous, soul crushing undertakings They are institutions for expansionism and create resistance
The participants of the class come from the Atlanta area with a couple of people from other regions but doing internships here and is MAJORITY FEMALE with 20 women and 6 men. It has a diverse make up in ages and sexual orientation but most if not all are organizers and practitioners out in the field via their work, organization of self.
University Sin Fronteras and Project South have 5 more classes to go in the
Liberation Summer Semester and the next subject is the colonial case of Puerto Rico the
longest running and oldest colony in the world today.
The next class is on wednesday July 18th.