Decolonize ALL The Things

The UNsettling reflections of a Decolonial Scientist in a Constant State of Rage

An Overview of Dialectics & Historical Materialism

January 31, 2016
Shay-Akil

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MESSAGE TO READER FROM THE AUTHOR: Below is a summary of Karl Marx’s theorizations of dialectics and historical materialism that I put together.  What I review is the main contributions of Karl Marx’s work that contributes to how many critical scholars theorize the place of capitalism and hegemony in what we see as the history of “modernity”.  This encyclopedic entry is NOT a replacement for reading Marx’s work.  Your thoughts and analysis on a text matter and you should read things for yourself to confirm and evaluate their value and context to your political ideological development.

Shay Akil

Karl Marx Encyclopedia Entry

Karl Marx’s philosophy of history is an inversion of Hegel’s ‘idealist conception of history’ that argues that society is determined at any given time by its material conditions.  Marx’s theory of historical materialism, “led him to the view that instead of the state being the basis of “civil society,” as Hegel held, civil or bourgeois society is the basis of the state” (Tucker, 1978:16).  Marx’s historical materialism reveals that no means of social reproduction can exist without the necessary material conditions.  This articulation also reveals that the very circumstances that create social phenomena also harbor the means for their demise: their contradiction. Continue Reading

Transitioning Into A Decolonized Masculinity

November 15, 2015
Shay-Akil

Under-construction

Its been 4 months. Its been 4 months today that I’ve been on HRT. I came out to everyone else about being genderqueer about 2 years ago.  I told loved ones that I wanted to transition after the passing of my grandmother this May.  I’ve known I was trans since I was a kid.  As a child I had all senses of mystical rationales that I came up with to be “okay”.  At night I would dream that I was a baby boy in a crib and told myself that being awake was just a bad dream and in reality I was a baby boy and everything was right with the world.  I spent a large bit of my childhood and teenage years rebelling against people telling me I was a girl, telling me what women do, telling me that I need to get into place.  I stayed in trouble mostly because I was gender policed.  The majority of my troubles in school, daycare, and at home was all about me doing things that “only boys do”. Continue Reading

D.A.T.T. Freedom School Week 5 Summary – Black Feminism

August 11, 2015
Shay-Akil

Liberation Circle & Reading Summaries from D.A.T.T. Freedom School

Summer 2015 – Week 5

Black Feminism

The Storify for this topic’s Liberation Circle tweet chat can be found HERE.

Summary of “Black Feminist Thought” by Patricia Hill-Collins – Chapter 1 “The Politics of Black Feminist Thought”, Chapter 2 “Distinguishing Features of Black Feminist Thought”, & Chapter 10 “U.S. Black Feminism in Transnational Context”

Dr. Collins opens up the first chapter of Black Feminist Thought with the words of Maria W. Stewart in 1831 challenging the notions of white patriarchy limiting the greatness & brilliance of Black women by delegating them to gendered tasks based on hegemonic femininity.

“How long shall the fair daughters of Africa be compelled to bury their minds and talents beneath a load of iron pots and kettles?”  – Maria W. Stewart, 1831

“Maria Stewart challenged African-American women to reject the negative images of Black womanhood so prominent in her times, pointing out that race, gender, and class oppression were the fundamental causes of Black women’s poverty. In an 1833 speech she proclaimed, “Like King Solomon, who put neither nail nor hammer to the temple, yet received the praise; so also have the white Americans gained themselves a name . . . while in reality we have been their principal foundation and support.” Stewart objected to the injustice of this situation: “We have pursued the shadow, they have obtained the substance; we have performed the labor, they have received the profits;we have planted the vines, they have eaten the fruits of them” (Richardson 1987, 59). Maria Stewart was not content to point out the source of Black women’s oppression. She urged Black women to forge self-definitions of self-reliance and independence. “It is useless for us any longer to sit with our hands folded, reproaching the whites; for that will never elevate us,” she exhorted. “Possess the spirit of independence. . . . Possess the spirit of men, bold and enterprising, fearless and undaunted” (p. 53). To Stewart, the power of self-definition was essential, for Black women’s survival was at stake. “Sue for your rights and privileges. Know the reason you cannot attain them.Weary them with your importunities. You can but die if you make the attempt; and we shall certainly die if you do not” (p. 38).” – “Black Feminist Thought” by Patricia Hill-Collins, p. 1

Continue Reading

D.A.T.T. Freedom School Week 4 Summary – Cishetpatriarchy, Gender, & Sexuality

August 4, 2015
Shay-Akil

Liberation Circle & Reading Summaries from D.A.T.T. Freedom School

Summer 2015 – Week 4

Cishetpatriarchy, Gender, & Sexuality

The Storify for this topic’s Liberation Circle tweet chat can be found HERE.

What is GENDER?

Gender is the range of mental and behavioral characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between and across, masculinity and femininity.  In Western societies, the accepted cultural perspective on gender views women and men as naturally and unequivocally defined categories of being with distinctive psychological & behavioral propensities that can be predicted from their reproductive function.  (The idea that women do feminine things, men do masculine things & it is just ‘natural’) (Doing Gender, West & Zimmerman, 1987:126)

What is SEX/BIOLOGICAL SEX?

Sex is a determination made through the application of socially agreed upon biological criteria for classifying persons as females or males.  The criteria for classification can be genitalia at birth or chromosomal typing before birth, and they do not necessarily agree with one another (Doing Gender, West & Zimmerman, 1987:127).  & its important to recognize that binary ‘sex’ is not supported by biology, if genes & genitalia are the criteria for binary biological sex, then even Eurowestern colonial binary biological sex is false and not supported by biological evidence.

What is SEX CATEGORY?

Placement in a sex category is achieved through application of the sex criteria, but in everyday life, categorization is established and sustained by the socially required identificatory displays that proclaim one’s membership in one or the other category.  Sex & sex category can vary independently; that is, it is possible to claim membership in a sex category even when the sex criteria are lacking (Doing Gender, West & Zimmerman, 1987).

What is SEXUALITY?

Sexuality is a person’s sexual orientation.  Many sexual orientations exist including but not limited to asexual, pansexual, bisexual, gay, lesbian, and heterosexual.  (Its important to remember that sexuality is not the same as gender or romantic orientation)  Some describe sexuality as what you do or don’t do with your genitalia.

– From Patriarchy & Gender by Shay Ture (@They_berian)

Continue Reading

D.A.T.T. Freedom School Week 3 Summary – Race & white supremacist racism

July 25, 2015
Shay-Akil

Liberation Circle & Reading Summaries from D.A.T.T. Freedom School

Summer 2015 – Week 3

Race & white supremacist racism

The Storify for this topic’s Liberation Circle tweet chat can be found HERE.

 

Summary of “Fatal Invention” by Dorothy Roberts – Chapter 1: The Invention of Race & “Racial Formation in the United States” by Michael Omi & Howard Winant – Chapter 4: The Theory of Racial Formation & Chapter 5: Racial Politics & the Racial State

In this chapter, Dorothy Roberts quickly reviews the history of the invention of “race”.  The title of the chapter alone challenges the popular notion that race has always existed along with the complete separation of racial groups till colonial contact.  Robert’s historical analysis poignantly reveals that is not the case.  Roberts points out the importance of race in settler colonial US,

“Americans are so used to filtering our impressions of people through a racial lens that we engage in this exercise automatically – as if we are merely putting a label on people to match their innate racial identities … So we force the melange of physical features and social clues into a code that tells us how to categorize each person – so as to know where each person fits in our society (Roberts, 2011:1)”.

This process of “racialization” is about making approximations about people’s cultures, behaviors, and etc..  But overall its a series of political processes.  Omi & Winant call race a “way of making up people” and also a “process of othering” (2015:105).

According to Michael Omi & Howard Winant in “Racial Formation in the United States” race is “a concept that signifies & symbolizes social conflicts and interests by referring to different types of human bodies” (2015:110).  But we know from Roberts (2011) that race is not just a social construct; race is a political relationship.  Thus, race is a political conflict carried out by reference to specific types of human bodies. Racism is not something particular to the United States & race is not the same everywhere in the world. Racial categories serve particular contextual purposes depending on the society they are used in, but generally follow the base logic of the supremacy of one type of human body over all others (ordering these human bodies in a hierarchical fashion).

Race is a typology based in zoological typologies and heavily influenced by the line of thought in “the great chain of being”, a concept derived by Plato and Aristotle. Continue Reading

D.A.T.T. Freedom School Week 2 Summary – Socialism

July 17, 2015
Shay-Akil

Liberation Circle & Reading Summaries from D.A.T.T. Freedom School

Summer 2015 – Week 2

Socialism

The Storify this topic’s Liberation Circle tweet chat can be found HERE.

Summary of “Stokely Speaks: From Black Power to Pan Africanism” by Kwame Ture/Stokely Carmichael – Chapter 7: The Dialectics of Liberation

In Chapter Seven of his seminal work, Stokely Speaks: From Black Power to Pan-Africanism (1965), Kwame Ture, also known as Stokley Carmichael, elucidates the connection between autonomy—as an ideal—and the institutional structures that affirm, legitimize, and undergird autonomy.

This “Dialectic of Liberation” distinguishes between an “individual racism and an institutionalized racism” (p. 78). The political injustices related to every milieu of Western society –from public health to the edifice of academia—is abstracted by what Kwame Ture notarizes as “distant and dismissible statistics” (Memoirs, p. 421). In this way, the Pan-African struggle to disentangle from the neo-colonial handmaiden of capitalism is decontextualized of intergenerational oppression— and the germs of wrought imparted by hegemony. In other words, Ture’s referendum on the “pure theater” (p. 420) of individualism within Western politics, catalyzed by his premise that the integration of black diasporic peoples into white hegemony does not decentralize power from the white establishment. In fact, integration merely casts a wider net of influence upon the governed. He cautions that individual reciprocals of oppression (e.g., low-income schools that pathologize students as nouns, rather than adjectives) or segregation, are not ameliorate as a result of integration into districts, gerrymandered by classist inflections. Proposition 13, which severely hampered the ability for post-civil war, black municipalities in California to appreciate tax wealth, was a prime example of corporate tools employed in colonial wedlock. As a result, black neighborhoods were blighted and the social proximity between low and high-income neighborhoods began to mirror that between predominantly black and white schools. Thus, integration failed to meet a semblance of financial equilibrium as instruments of capitalism were harnessed to influence propositions that swiftly catapulted the status of white neighborhoods—and by proxy, “white” schools—despite the SCOTUS decision in 1954. Continue Reading

D.A.T.T. Freedom School Week 1 Summary – Capitalism

July 6, 2015
Shay-Akil

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Liberation Circle Summaries from Week 1 of D.A.T.T. Freedom School 2015 Summer Session:

The Storify for this topic’s tweet chat can be found HERE.

Summary of “Black Marxism” by Cedric J. Robinson – Chapter 1: Racial Capitalism – The Nonobjective Character of Capitalist Development

We see in the Cedric J. Robinson text (Chapter 1) that the development of capitalism was one that is not so separate from feudal Europe.  The shift to more capitalist modes of production versus feudal modes of production was ushered in with the new bourgeoisie during the 11th century.  They included merchants as well as serfs escaping their lordes.  Through their consistent travel they found ways to maintain freedom from land.  Into the 12th & 13th centuries we see more and more forms of capitalist modes of production, including the clothing business in Flanders.  In essence, Europe first colonized herself, leading to dangerous consequences.  As the bourgeoisie began to grow and expand their trade relations they also changed their relation to the land – e.g. in Italy & Italian colonies in the Mediterranean they began clearing out land (rapid deforestation that changed spring & fall flood seasons) for urban development, as they changed the ecology, there were environmental & health consequences.  As trade centers developed & serfs rose in resistance against lordes, the bourgeoisie offered the “freedom from the land” just to re-enslave people through wage labor.  Urban industry thus helped move people away from feudal modes of production.  These industries created the bourgeoisie. Continue Reading

D.A.T.T. Freedom School Summer 2015 Syllabus

June 22, 2015
Shay-Akil

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In preparation for the summer workstudy program, read these articles:

(1) Critical Thinking & Employing Education to Develop A Critical Consciousness: http://wp.me/p4oYXR-63

(2) Black Feminism: A Short Intro: http://wp.me/p4oYXR-w

(2) Patriarchy & Gender: http://wp.me/P4oYXR-55

(3) Race, Ethnicity, & Racism: http://wp.me/P4oYXR-5o

(4) Books You Can Read & 3 Documentaries You Can Watch Instead of Exposing Yourself to the Hegemonic Lies in the Hidden Colors Films: http://wp.me/p4oYXR-3O

D.A.T.T. Freedom School Summer 2015 Syllabus:

Week 1: Capitalism – Week of June 28th

Readings:

  • “A Companion to Marx’s Capital” by David Harvey – Introduction, Chapter 1, Chapter 3
  • “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery & The Making of American Capitalism” by Edward Baptiste – Chapter 1-2
  • “Black Marxism” by Cedric J. Robinson – Chapter 1: Racial Capitalism – The Nonobjective Character of Capitalist Development
  • “Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism” by Kwame Nkrumah – pp. 1-3

Week 2: Scientific Socialism – Week of July 5th

Readings:

  • “Class Struggle in Africa” by Kwame Nkrumah – Chapter 12 “Socialist Revolution”
  • “Stokely Speaks: From Black Power to Pan Africanism” by Kwame Ture/Stokely Carmichael – Chapter 7: The Dialectics of Liberation
  • “Black Marxism” by Cedric J. Robinson – Chapter 3: Socialist Theory & Nationalism

Week 3: Race & White Supremacist Racism – Week of July 12th

Readings:

  • “Fatal Invention” by Dorothy Roberts – Chapter 1: The Invention of Race
  • “Racial Formation in the United States” by Michael Omi & Howard Winant – Chapter 4: The Theory of Racial Formation & Chapter 5: Racial Politics & the Racial State
  • “Stokely Speaks: From Black Power to Pan Africanism” by Kwame Ture/Stokely Carmichael – Chapter 3: Power & Racism
  • “Unsettling Ourselves: Reflections and Resources for Deconstructing Colonial Mentality” compiled by Unsettling Minnesota – “What is White Supremacy” by Elizabeth Martinez pp. 71-74
  • “White by Law” by Ian Lopez – Chapter 1 “White Lines”

 

Week 4: Cishetpatriarchy, Gender, & Sexuality – Week of July 19th

Readings:

  • “Doing Gender” by West & Zimmerman (1987) [Article]
  • “Doing, Undoing, or Redoing Gender” by Connell (2010) [Article]
  • “Black Sexual Politics” by Patricia Hill-Collins – Chapter 6 “Very Necessary: Redefining Black Gender Ideology”
  • “Heteropatriarchy & the 3 Pillars of White Supremacy” by Andrea Smith
  • “The Invention of Women: Making An African Sense of Gender Discourses” by Oyeronke Oyewumi – Chapter 1 “Visualizing the Body: Western Theories & African Subjects” & Chapter 4 “Colonizing Bodies & Minds: Gender & Colonialism”

Week 5: Black Feminism – Week of July 26th

Readings:

  • “Black Macho & The Myth of the Superwoman” by Michelle Wallace- Chapter 1
  • “Black Feminist Thought” – Chapter 1 “The Politics of Black Feminist Thought”, Chapter 2 “Distinguishing Features of Black Feminist Thought”, & Chapter 10 “U.S. Black Feminism in Transnational Context”
  • “Sister Outsider” by Audre Lorde – The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House
  • “Africa: homophobia is a legacy of colonialism” by Val Kalende: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/30/africa-homophobia-legacy-colonialism

Week 6: Anti-Colonial Struggle – Week of August 2nd

Readings:

Week 7: Pan Africanism (Scientific Socialism) – Week of August 9th

Readings:

  • “Global Circuits of Blackness: Interrogating the African Diaspora” – Introduction
  • “Stokely Speaks: From Black Power to Pan Africanism” by Kwame Ture/Stokely Carmichael – Chapter 14: Pan Africanism & Chapter 15: From Black Power to Pan Africanism
  • Africana Critical Theory by Reiland Rabaka – Chapter 2 “W. E. B. Du Bois: The Soul of a Pan-African Marxist Male-Feminist” & Chapter 3 – “C. L. R. James: Pan-African Marxism Beyond All Boundaries”

 

Every week on Saturdays (with the exception of the 1st Saturday) we will have “Liberation Circles” which is our tweet chats where we discuss the readings & topics as a community.  This is where the participants & the coordinators come together to share and build in critical thought.  Below are the dates & times for the Liberation Circles:

Week 1: Friday, July 3rd, 2015 (7 PM – 8 PM EST, 6 PM – 7 PM CT, 4 PM – 5 PM PT)

Week 2: Saturday, July 11th, 2015 (4 PM – 5 PM EST, 3 PM – 4 PM CT, 1 PM – 2 PM PT)

Week 3: Saturday, July 18th, 2015 (4 PM – 5 PM EST, 3 PM – 4 PM CT, 1 PM – 2 PM PT)

Week 4: Saturday, July 25th, 2015 (4 PM – 5 PM EST, 3 PM – 4 PM CT, 1 PM – 2 PM PT)

Week 5: Saturday, August 1st, 2015 (4 PM – 5 PM EST, 3 PM – 4 PM CT, 1 PM – 2 PM PT)

Week 6: Saturday, August 8th, 2015 (4 PM – 5 PM EST, 3 PM – 4 PM CT, 1 PM – 2 PM PT)

Week 7: Saturday, August 15th, 2015 (4 PM – 5 PM EST, 3 PM – 4 PM CT, 1 PM – 2 PM PT)

The D.A.T.T. Freedom School’s Liberation Circle will be facilitated by @DATTFreedomSch

The D.A.T.T. Freedom School hashtag that we will use our tweet chats is #DATT

 

D.A.T.T. Freedom School: Summer Session

June 8, 2015
Shay-Akil

DATT.Logo

Purpose:

DATT Freedom School’s purpose is to provide political education to those who want to learn online with a variety of platforms.  DATT Freedom School is a dynamic online work study group that includes the basis of a book club, hosted tweet chats every other week, video lessons, & master posts.

Goal:

Provide people with the basics of critical thinking skills & begin their political education process.

What are we teaching?

The DATT Freedom School will teach the political foundations of Black feminism & Pan Africanism (scientific socialism).  These will be based on the intellectual legacies of Patricia Hill-Collins, Audre Lorde, Kwame Ture, Kwame Nkrumah, Frantz Fanon, Ida B. Wells, etc.. Continue Reading

COMING THIS SUMMER: D.A.T.T. Freedom School

May 2, 2015
Shay-Akil

Its about to go down.
DATT School Announcment Tweets

DATT School Announcment Tweets2

The goal is for the freedom school to function as a work study program that provides people with the basics of critical thinking skills & begin their political education process.  The DATT Freedom School will host weekly tweet chats where the basics of how to understand hegemony is taught & discussed by guest educational coordinators & a DATT Freedom School Team Member as well as tweet chats reviewing the chosen book of the week or month.  I also plan on setting it up where participating educational coordinators & community activists record video sessions that easily breaks down concepts and applies them to historical & contemporary examples.

If you would like to participate DM me on twitter or email me at decolonizeallthethings@gmail.com!

MORE DETAILS COMING SOON!!!!!!!!!!

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