Declaration of Interdependence (1895)

1840-1945, Capitalism, Date, Defining the Enemy, Subjectives of Refusal, Workers

This document was written by Daniel DeLeon, a prominent leader of the Socialist Labor Party, in 1895. The Socialist Labor Party sought to turn labor movements and unrest into more radical socialist revolutions. In this declaration, DeLeon explores the shortcomings and oppressive nature of capitalism. He then encourages his readers to join the struggle.

“Under that system the toiling masses, hungry and despised, turned the wilderness into a garden, the stones, the clay, the trees into resplendent cities, the ore and the coal into new organs of motion, through which human strength, speed and skill were multiplied a thousandfold, the lightning itself into an obedient messenger; they built factories, ships, docks and warehouses; constructed railroads, bridged rivers and pierced mountains; then descended into their nameless graves, leaving all in the hands of their despoilers, to further oppress and degrade the inheritors of their misery… But throughout the civilized world the wage workers are asserting their interdependence— the natural dependence of every man upon his fellows, of every nation upon all other nations; and under the banner of International Socialism millions of them are now marching to the conquest of the public powers.”

“I incite this meeting to rebellion…” (1912)

1840-1945, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

This document was a speech given by Emmeline Pankhurst on October 17, 1912 at Royal Albert Hall in London. Pankhurst was an active militant suffragist and a founder of the Women’s Social and Political Union. In this speech, Pankhurst speaks of the critics of militancy and gives her response.

“We disregard your laws, gentlemen, we set the liberty and the dignity and the welfare of women above all such considerations, and we shall continue this war, as we have done in the past; and what sacrifice of property, or what injury to property accrues will not be our fault. It will be the fault of that Government who admit the justice of our demands, but refuses to concede them without the evidence, so they have told us, afforded to governments of the past, that those who asked for liberty were in earnest in their demands!”

Proclamation of the Striking Textile Workers of Lawrence (1912)

1840-1945, Date, Disruptive Spaces, Strike, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, The Workplace, Workers

This document is the proclamation of the striking textile workers of Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1912 – known as the Bread and Roses Strike. The workers went on strike due to the low wages and long hours. This proclamation elaborates on the reasons for their strike and the challenges they have faced at the hands of people in power.

“We, the 20,000 textile workers of Lawrence, are out on strike for the right to live free from slavery and starvation; free from overwork and underpay; free from a state of affairs that had become so unbearable and beyond our control, that we were compelled to march out of the slave pens of Lawrence in united resistance against the wrongs and injustice of years and years of wage slavery.”

The Manukan Declaration (2004)

1990-2010, Date, Disruptive Spaces, Indigenous, Subjectives of Refusal, The 'Natural World', Women

The Manukan Declaration was signed by seventeen different organizations across North America, South America, Asia, and Africa that make up the Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network in 2004. Generally, it advocates for indigenous voices. It highlights the importance of indigenous women in particular to indigenous culture, tradition, and environmental biodiversity.

“As Indigenous women, we have a fundamental role in environmental conservation and preservation throughout the history of our Peoples. We are the guardians of Indigenous knowledge and it is our main responsibility to protect and perpetuate this knowledge. Our weavings, music, songs, costumes, and our knowledge of agriculture, hunting or fishing are all examples of some of our contributions to the world. We are daughters of Mother Earth and to her we are obliged. Our ceremonies recognize her and we return to her the placentas of our children. She also safeguards the remains of our ancestors.”

Gender Violence and the Prison Industrial Complex (2001)

1990-2010, Black, Date, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

This document was written by Incite!, a group of radical feminists who work to end violence against all women, in 2001. This document makes a connection between state, interpersonal, and domestic violence and strives to address said violence outside of the criminal justice system. It attempts to provides more inclusive and community based solutions in hopes to create violence-free lives for all women.

“It is critical that we develop responses to gender violence that do not depend on a sexist, racist, classist, and homophobic criminal justice system. It is also important that we develop strategies that challenge the criminal justice system and that also provide safety for survivors of sexual and domestic violence. To live violence-free lives, we must develop holistic strategies for addressing violence that speak to the intersection of all forms of oppression.”

Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female (1971)

1946-1989, Black, Capitalism, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, White Supremacy, Women

This document was written by Frances M. Beal in 1971. “Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female” links the anti-capitalist struggle, women’s liberation, and black liberation.

“It must also be pointed out at this time that black women are not resentful of the rise to power of black men. We welcome it. We see in it the eventual liberation of all black people from this corrupt system of capitalism. However, it is fallacious to think that in order for the black man to be strong, the black woman must be weak. Those who are exerting their “manhood” by telling black women to step back into a domestic, submissive role are assuming a counterrevolutionary position.”

The Enemy Within (1970)

1946-1989, Consciousness Raising, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, Women

This document was written by Susan Brownmiller in 1970. She discusses the ways in which women have internalized sexism and patriarchal expectations – for themselves and for other women. She explores this partly through her own personal experiences and observations.

“It was men who made the arbitrary rules of masculine/feminine that we suffer under, but it is women who continue to buy the stereotypes.”

“We are an honorable people – can you say the same?” (1973)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, God, Country, Property, Indigenous, Subjectives of Refusal

This document was written by the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy in 1973. It states their solidarity with the occupation of Wounded Knee. It is written for the United States government. It addresses the destruction and violence that indigenous people face at the hands of the United States government.

“We have not asked you to give up your religions and beliefs for ours. We have not asked you to give up your language for ours. We have not asked you to give up your ways of life for ours. We have not asked you to give up your government for ours. We have not asked that you give up your territories to us. Why can you not accord us the same respect?”

The Longest Walk Statement (1978)

1946-1989, Date, Indigenous, Subjectives of Refusal

In 1978, a group of about 2,000 marchers – indigenous and not -, marched from Alcatraz Island, California to Washington, D.C. to protest bills that threatened indigenous rights. This document was their statement.

“Today we address you in the language of the oppressor, but the con- cepts predate the coming of the invaders. The injustice we speak of is centuries old, and has been spoken against in many tongues. We are still the original people of this land. We are the people of The Longest Walk.”

“Call Me Human” (2015)

2011-Present, Date, Indigenous, Subjectives of Refusal

This poem was written by Lyla June Johnston, a Diné activist, in 2015. It explores the meaning of “America” through a reflection of history. It can be found below and as a PDF.


“from birth we etch these lines

engrave them inside your mind

by the rockets red glare

the bombs bursting in the air

the war it begins 

to make the imaginary country

as real as your skin.

America doesn’t exist

it’s an idea men have obsessed over since 1776.

an excuse we use to manifest a reality that

destroyed the destiny of Native civilization.

they always told me I was an American

and so I said to them, 

“can you show me America?”

can you tell me where it is?

I’ve been looking for it all my life!

looking for the reason why my people had to die.

but the only place I can find America is inside of your mind. 

they said, no don’t worry… just

stand up

put your hand right there on your heart

now turn just a little bit towards the flag.

there it is. Right there. Don’t you see it?

there you go.

okay ready?

Go

I pledge allegiance to an illusion

called the United States of America

and to the non-existent boundaries

for which it stands

one deception

under a Christian god

with which we legitimize the genocide 

of its indigenous peoples

America doesn’t exist 

but it is a psychological sickness we catch with years

of exposure to our public schools to baseball games

and once we believe that America is real we believe that we have a 

reason to steal a reason to kill.

the Long Walk 1965

9,000 Navajo are marched with barrels at their backs

herded like sheep for over 400 miles 

to their own special concentration camp. 

in the name of America

Wounded Knee Massacre 1890

U.S. Calvary descend on a Lakota camp

with 530 women and children

and with “America” in their minds

and red and white stripes blinding their sight

they sunk bullets into the chests of children

that could have been their own

in the name of America

look on the twenty dollar bill my friends, see the man who

marched 15,000 Cherokee– 

pregnant women, their children, the elderly– 

marched from Georgia to Oklahoma 

in the name of America.

do we remember what has been done in the name of an abstract nation

or has it all been buried along with our hearts and our tongues.

and I should not hate fireworks on warm summer nights

and I should not hate a combination of colors

and I should not hate dead men on paper money

and I should not hate. 

so let me tell you that I love you

dear soldiers

dear president of the imaginary states of America

dear school teachers

dear man behind the curtain

let me tell you that I love you

and that I am leaving it in the past

let me tell you that I too am in love with my motherland

but know that this Earth is the foremother of your forefathers

she existed before Hancock and before Nixon

before money before America

and that she will exist long after America is forgotten.

raising hands to our hearts for a fairytale

that America is anything more than a word

we’ve drawn so many maps, we’ve put so many flags in the ground

we’ve labeled all the land

we’ve drawn imaginary lines all around the sand

but people hear me and separate your fact from fabrication

this is the projection of our imagination onto 

the holy earth.

and today we unite to remember what is real

to remember that humanity is real

a beating heart is real

the earth beneath us is real

but America is a thought that

has turned us against ourselves

history into myth

entire cultures into forgotten languages

and the free mind into a society, deceived

so please do not call me an American

please do not even call me a Native American

please, I beg you, call me human

and do not call this land America

if you listen hard she will tell you her true name

as the nighthawks dive at twilight

as the wolves howl at midnight

as the waterfalls rage cascading

when the avalanches fracture breaking

she WILL tell us her true name with earthquakes

that split states and break fences to 

remind us she does 

not belong to us.

but that we belong to her.”

Lynching: A Weapon of National Oppression (1932)

1840-1945, Black, Capitalism, Date, Defining the Enemy, Subjectives of Refusal, White Supremacy, Workers

This pamphlet was written by Harry Haywood and Milton Howard in 1932 under the direction of the Labor Research Association. The pamphlet states the causes and purposes of lynching, the organization of lynching, laws and resistance against lynching, and more. This document also makes a connection between the class struggle, the exploitation of black workers, and lynching.

“Every one of these Negro workers was murdered as a direct result of the class struggle as expressed in his demand for wages or better conditions from the white landlords who exploit the Negro masses with even greater intensity than they rob the white workers…”

Letter to President Washington (1790)

1700-1830s, Date, Defining the Enemy, God, Country, Property, Indigenous, Subjectives of Refusal

This document is a letter to President George Washington from Chiefs and Counsellors of the Seneca Nation – Big Tree, Cornplanter, and Half-Town. In this letter, the Chiefs and Counsellors address violence and deceit from the government.

“We could bear this confusion no longer and determined to press through every difficulty, and lift up our voice so that you might hear us, and to claim that security in the possession of our lands, which your commissioners so solemnly promised us; and we now entreat you to inquire into our complaints, and to redress our wrongs.”

Political Prisoners, Prisons, and Black Liberation (May 1971)

1946-1989, Black, Date, Subjectives of Refusal

In this document, Angela Y. Davis begins with a discussion of unjust laws and black resistance. After historical analysis, Davis begins to discuss the judicial system and the political prisoner. This document ends with an examination of the struggle against fascism and racism.

“As the black liberation movement and other progressive struggles increase in magnitude and intensity, the judicial system and its extension, the penal system, consequently become key weapons in the state’s fight to preserve the existing conditions of class domination, therefore racism, poverty and war.”

Females and Welfare (undated)

Capitalism, Defining the Enemy, Disruptive Spaces, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, The Home, Women

This essay identifies poor women who serve as heads of their families as the ideal engine for the Women’s Radical Movement: as author Betsy Warrior notes, poor women have both the knowledge of the oppressive system, and the instinct to protect that allows them to be both educated and motivated to create change. Unlike rich women–who lack the critique of the system–and poor men,–who Warrior notes do not have the protective instincts of mothers–poor women are uniquely situated to be revolutionaries.

The Women’s Rights Movement in the US: A New View (1968)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

In this article, author Shulamith Firestone looks to analyze the perception of the Women’s Rights Movement in the United States by tracing its development across generations. Mainly, she wants to answer the question of why intelligent and successful young girls are hesitant to identify with the feminist movement. In her exploration, Firestone finds that a major obstacle for the Women’s Rights Movement is that it has habitually sacrificed its interests and objectives in order to entertain “more worthy” causes. As a way of guaranteeing the success of the movement in the future, Firestone pushes radical feminists to stop this practice.

Feminism Old Wave and New Wave (1971)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

This article explores the similarities and differences between the Old and New Waves of the Feminist Movement, from the sources and origins of each movement, to the ways that they have been perceived by the rest of society, to the aims of each respective group. Following a mainly historical chronology of events, author Ellen DuBois traces the progress of the movements and the way that one has affected the other. Her hope, as she expresses at the conclusion of the essay, is that two waves will suffice in liberating all women.

What is Socialist Feminism? (1970)

1946-1989, Capitalism, Date, Defining the Enemy, Disruptive Spaces, Institutions, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, The Home, The Workplace, Women

By coining the term “socialist feminism,” members of the group aimed to encompass the way that capitalist realities negatively impacted women–rather than aiming to demolish the family structures that oppressed women and identifying those structures as the source of oppression. Rather, socialist feminism aimed to acknowledge that this negative impact within family structures actually stemmed from the way that capitalism formulated roles for both men and women. The end goal of this acknowledgement would be to merge socialist and feminist interests into the same ideology.

Tyranny of Structurelessness (1970)

1946-1989, Date, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

This essay by Jo Freeman represents an evolution of the Radical Feminist Movement, as thinkers such as Freeman moved away from a rigid idea about the intrinsic and necessary natures of the movement, and towards a more flexible and practical way of thinking that allowed change to occur fluidly and naturally. Rather than lacking a structure as a sort of rule within the movement, Freeman suggests something more “concrete” that is ironically less of a rule.

Poor White Women (1970)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Disruptive Spaces, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, The Home, Women

In this 1970 essay, author Roxanne Dunbar includes an intersectional analysis of the oppression of women, focusing on both gendered and class-based issues. Drawing on her own experience growing up in a poor farming community, Dunbar observes the way that women in socioeconomically challenged positions face additional obstacles in their fight for liberation, as they are not awarded the same privileges as wealthy women are. She notes that these challenges are again multiplied when race is also considered, but chooses to specifically focus on poor white women in this analysis.

Covert Sex Discrimination Against Women as Medical Patients (1972)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Disruptive Spaces, Institutions, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

In this speech originally given to the American Psychological Association, activist Carol Downer described her analysis of the medical field in the United States, and the way that male dominance within the field effectively inhibited doctors from catering to women, whose correct care was dependent on a deep understanding of the way that women conceive of their own bodies. At the basis of this argument is the implication that women’s bodies cannot be understood from an outside perspective, and that medical care is necessarily linked to psychological understandings of one’s self.

The Vagina on Trial (1971)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

Kathleen Barry’s essay unpacks both the physical consequences that a woman faces when she endures rape, and the psychological effects that are the result of every woman’s knowledge of the threat of rape. She includes an analysis of the “myth of female promiscuity” to describe the ways in which rape cases effectively put women on trial for their sexuality, not men on trial for their actions.

The BITCH Manifesto (1972)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

In this Manifesto by Jo Freeman, the author reclaims the title of “bitch” in a way that establishes the term as a description of a woman who does not conform to traditional social roles designated for women, and who exists as a subject, not an object. She describes the characteristics of a bitch in a way that makes her a threat to social structures that uphold misogyny.

Why I Want a Wife (1971)

1946-1989, Date, Disruptive Spaces, Subjectives of Refusal, The Home, Women

This piece of feminist satire by Judy Syfers is not purely comical; rather, it serves to prompt a wife’s male counterpart to consider the value that his wife brings to him, in the sense that she is a loyal and uncomplaining servant. As a heterosexual woman, Syfers explaining why she wants a wife effectively separates the status of being a wife from the romantic relationship that society thinks it is. In other words, you don’t have to be a man or a lesbian to want a wife: you only have to want a servant.

The Politics of Housework (1970)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Disruptive Spaces, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, The Home, Women

Written by Pat Mainardi in 1970, this essay is an analysis of the conversations that commonly arise between women and men, as women try to illuminate the political nature of their social statuses. Specifically, Mainardi analyzes the debate over housework, and the arguments that men make as to why they cannot or should not participate in the upkeep of the home. In this format, Mainardi’s arguments are clear and easy to follow: she interprets the underlying sentiments of the male argument explicitly.

The Jeannette Rankin Brigade: Woman Power? (1968)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

As a critique of the feminist movement’s protest against the Southeast Asian war, Shulamith Firestone wrote this essay, which articulated that a gathering of women should be used to create more productive gains for women. In her critique, Firestone notes the way in which women in this protest used their traditional roles as mothers, wives, and mourners to protest the war. Rather than gather in a way that capitalized on the traditional roles of women, Firestone concludes that dramatic action by women would be the most productive and least offensive. Broadly, this is a critique of the tactics previously used by women, which ironically worked within an oppressive system in order to change it.

Funeral Oration for the Burial of Traditional Womanhood (1968)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

During a protest against the war in Southeast Asia, radical feminists staged a mock funeral for the end of traditional womanhood in the United States, which they deemed forced women to accept an unsatisfactory hand in life, and blame themselves for their inability to adapt to these conditions. Author Kathy Amatniek wrote this oration to read at the mock service, articulating the motives behind the death of traditional womanhood.

The Grand Coolie Damn (1969)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Disruptive Spaces, Institutions, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

Marge Piercy was an American novelist and activist who wrote this 1969 expose in order to expose the inherent sexism of the American left at the time. Following the chronological order of events and the general acceleration of the New Left Movement in the United States, Piercy notes how the treatment and attitude towards women within the movement has been largely tied to the state of the movement as a whole: during the 1967 “Summer of Love,” it seemed as though Movement people held an interest in one another as human beings as opposed to gendered ones.

A Kind of Memo (1965)

Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

Widely regarded as one of the first documents of the emerging feminist movement, this essay by Casey Haden and Mary King reflects the experiences that they had as volunteers in the Students Non-Violent Coordinating Committee during the Civil Rights Movement. Haden and King parallel treatment of women to treatment of African Americans, noting the similarity between hierarchies based on sex and hierarchies based on caste, but also noting that the challenges faced by women are complicated by the fact that they are not institutionalized by law, and women cannot withdraw from the system.

The Laugh of the Medusa (1975)

1946-1989, Date, History/Theory, Subjectives of Refusal, Theory, Women

In her 1975 feminist critique, French author Helen Cixous offers women an ultimatum which demands that they either interpret and utilize the bodily expressions that society has accepted for them and remain trapped in their bodies, or find a new way of expression that liberates them by allowing them to use their bodies to truly communicate. In Cixous’s imagination, written and physical expressions are means by which women can empower and liberate themselves.

“We are Power” – John Trudell (1980)

1946-1989, Consciousness Raising, Date, Indigenous, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption

John Trudell, an active member of the indigenous struggle, gave this speech on July 18, 1980 at the Black Hills Survival Gathering. In his speech, he speaks of oppression, power, and liberation.

“We have to understand that when our oppressor treats us this way and do these things to us, we allow him to do it so long as we accept his lies. As long as we make excuses for his lies, as long as we tolerate his brutality, then we allow him to mistreat us. We have been allowing it too long. That’s genocide… It’s not revolution we’re after; it’s liberation. We want to be free of a value system that’s being imposed upon us. We do not want to participate in that value system. We don’t want to change that value system. We want to remove it from our lives forever. Liberation. We want to be free.”

You May Be Guilty of Conspiracy – Berkeley Student Protest

1946-1989, Date, Disruptive Spaces, Institutions, Students, Subjectives of Refusal

In this publication, student protestors at Berkeley articulate their interpretation of the motives behind conspiracy charges brought against the movement. As the protests at Berkeley continued, the suppression of student activism and the violent response to the protests began to incentivize students to produce more of this literature, and continue to push the movement forward.

Why We Fight- Berkeley Student Protest (1960)

1946-1989, Date, Disruptive Spaces, Institutions, Students, Subjectives of Refusal

As civil rights issues, protests against the war in Vietnam, and the free speech movement all converged, the students at the University of California, Berkeley engaged in a series of large protests that became a well-known part of the New Left Movement as a whole. In this statement, students both articulate the reasons behind their protests, and create a list of demands to be met by administration and law enforcement on campus.

The Black Unicorn – Audre Lorde (1978)

1946-1989, Black, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, White Supremacy, Women

Audre Lorde was a feminist activist who wrote poetry to confront issues of racism, sexism, capitalism, and heterosexism. Her work expresses raw emotion that reflects the experiences that she had in her real life as an African American lesbian woman. In this work of poems, Lorde explores the black woman’s relationships to African deities of creation, fertility, and warrior strength. It aims to reclaim the female body, and in doing so, empower the feminist movement.

Che Guevara: “Mobilizing the Masses for the Invasion” (1961)

1946-1989, Capitalism, Colonized, Date, Defining the Enemy, Subjectives of Refusal, Workers

“Mobilizing the Masses for the Invasion” was a speech given to workers prior to the Bay of Pigs invasion by Che Guevara in 1961. The speech heavily focused on Latin American solidarity against US impealism. Che Guevara was a Marxist revolutionary in Cuba who was a prominent figure in the fight against imperalism and capitalism. A guerilla leader, held prominent positions in the government after the Cuban Revolution. He was executed in 1967 at age 39 in Bolivia.

Heartbreak: The Political Memoir of a Feminist Militant (2002)

1990-2010, Date, Defining the Enemy, History/Theory, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Theory, Women

“Heartbreak: The Political Memoir of a Feminist Militant” is the autobiography of radical feminist Andrea Dworkin. Though Dworkin also wrote short stories and novels, she was best known for her non-fiction feminist writings. She covered all topics within radical feminism, with a strong emphasis on being anti-pornography. The bulk of her feminist analysis with through the lens of sexual violence and in the context of the lives of specific well-known individuals.

Committees for Solidarity with the Palestinian Revolution (1969)

1946-1989, Colonized, Date, Subjectives of Refusal

“Committees for Solidarity with the Palestinian Revolution” was a 1969 pamphlet published by the Democratic Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The pamphlet included interviews with leaders, aims for the DFLP, and two militant operations in the works.

The Palestinian Revolution: The Right to Self-Determination and the Independent State (1977)

1946-1989, Colonized, Date, Subjectives of Refusal

“The Palestinian Revolution: The Right to Self-Determination and the Independent State” was a 1977 publication by the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The publication was a collection of infromation and messages regarding the fight for Palestinians’ right to self-determination in the context of the occupation.

“Political and Armed Struggle” Al Fatah (1974)

1946-1989, Colonized, Date, Subjectives of Refusal

“Political and Armed Struggle” was a pamphlet published in 1974 by Al-Fatah. This pahmplet explains the organization, aims, and tactics ofthe party. It illustrates the tie between armed and political struggles against oppression. Al Fatah is the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The Fatah party is a social democratic party following a Palestinian nationalism ideology. The party advocates for a secular, two-state solution.

Palestinian Children: The Generation of Liberation (1970)

1946-1989, Colonized, Date, Subjectives of Refusal

“Palestinian Children: The Generation of Liberation” is a sociological study by Bassem Sirhan, published by the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) research center in 1970. The study focused on the liberation tactics used by Palestinian children against the occupation.

The Discovery of What it Means to be American – James Baldwin (1961)

1946-1989, Black, Date, Subjectives of Refusal

In these essays written during his time in Paris, Baldwin reflects on his efforts to find and build relationships around his unique identity as an individual, rather than his identity as an African American, or even the son of slaves. Baldwin speaks of a reconciliation he was able to come to in Europe, as a result of the lack of “social paranoia” that exists in the United States. This reconciliation was apparently one that helped him come to terms with his identity as it was defined in the United States in a way that released him from the illusion of thinking he hated the United States.

“Two Military Operations in the Heart of the Beast” Democratic Palestine (1984)

1946-1989, Colonized, Consciousness Raising, Date, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption

“Democratic Palestine” was a publication started in 1979 with the intention of cultivating solidarity among all global struggles against imperialism in the context of Palestine. This issue, “Two Military Operations in the Heart of the Beast”, was split into six sections; Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Arab World, World, and Culture.

Thomas Sankara Speech Before the General Assembly of the United Nations (1984)

1946-1989, Colonized, Date, Defining the Enemy, Subjectives of Refusal, White Supremacy

Thomas Sankara served as President of Burkina Faso for four years before being killed in a military coup supported by the United States and France. Beloved by his people for his social programmes, confrontation of the national elite, and challenging of Western imperialism on the continent, Sankara’s accomplishments in his short time in office were many. Among them were the vaccination fo 2.5 million children against meningitis and yellow fever, the redistribution of feudal land, the construction of national roads and railways, and opposition of foreign aid. Below is a speech Sankara gave at the United Nations, where he unified the colonized people of the world against a global order that promoted internalized elitism perpetuated by imperialist powers.

Angela Davis on Mainstream Feminism/ Bourgeoise Feminism (2017)

2011-Present, Black, Date, Defining the Enemy, Subjectives of Refusal, White Supremacy, Women

In this lecture, Angela Davis addresses her career-long struggle to identify as a feminist, given the current state of the feminist movement. Breaking through the glass ceiling, as Davis notes, is grounded in a hierarchy that favors those who are already high enough to break through the ceiling–those who are white and affluent. This type of feminism is irrelevant to any other subdivision of women. As a black revolutionary, the kind of feminism that is consumed by the mass media is of no interest to Davis, as it is fundamentally a carceral feminism.

The Negro and Language – Frantz Fanon (1952)

1946-1989, Black, Colonized, Date, History/Theory, Subjectives of Refusal, Theory

In this chapter of one of his most important works, Frantz Fanon establishes the way that identity is manifested through language, and the way that language is perceived by others in a way that enables them to push identities onto others. In his discussion, Fanon focuses specifically on how black people are conceived by white people, observing that black people change their language around white people as a direct result of colonialist subjugation. By this, Fanon means that colonization conditions individuals to believe that mimicking the behavior of the colonizer will award the colonized individual opportunities that he has previously been barred from. By replicating the linguistic behavior of the oppressor, colonized individuals indicate that the have successful adopted a culture.

The Fact of Blackness (1952)

1946-1989, Black, Colonized, Date, Defining the Enemy, History/Theory, Subjectives of Refusal, Theory, White Supremacy

Frantz Fanon was a French West Indian political philosopher whose work focused on post-colonial studies, decolonization, critical theory, and Marxism. In this work, Fanon works to theorize the way that different identity-based “schema” operate on an individual’s experience in the world. Specifically, Fanon focuses on the idea of “bodily schema” and the idea that black individuals have none, as a result of the historical-racial schema that prevents society from viewing black individuals as singular as opposed to representations of their race.

See Red Women’s Workshop (1972)

1946-1989, Consciousness Raising, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, Women

In 1972, See Red Women’s Workshop was founded as a feminist organization committed to combatting sexist images of women in the media by replacing them with more empowering alternatives. Feminist activist came together to produce a collection of posters and comics that served that purpose.