Oakland Book Festival Angela Davis and Judith Butler

and let's let's let's start by by actually talking about it as a matter of equality and inequality because um when we talk about uh spaces being accessible or when we talk about pavements being built in such a way that people in chairs have mobility we're actually talking about rights of access especially to public events sometimes to public institutions sometimes to modes of participation that are central to citizenship as we know it and here i use citizenship to include those who got papers and those who don't and um and and we're also talking about rights of mobility which are actually crucial for thinking about what democracy is because if people cannot move they cannot assemble they cannot come together they cannot deliberate they cannot decide they cannot reflect together they are not part of the public world so um so it goes to the heart of what we talk about when we talk about equality and it also puts the body in the center of that uh issue um equality is not just an abstract right that individuals have and bear and express in their own way equality is a question of um equal treatment and equal opportunity but also having lives that are regarded as um as as being equal in worth to all other lives um and being able to exercise bodily freedoms and that includes i mean for people who um are in chairs or who have other kinds of disabilities uh access and movement but it also let's think about it there are a lot of people who can't move on the street i mean who has the freedom to move on the street who has the freedom to move in safety on the street without being shot without being harassed without finding an impediment um with a curb stop right um these these issues are linked um and i just want to underscore that the ability to move and to have the technology and the infrastructure that lets people move and and assemble and participate and enter into spaces and and and traverse the public sphere is part of our freedom and it is also a place where we find radical inequality hi judith likes to jump right in and i totally appreciate uh the way in which you so eloquently um um allowed us to think about the degree to which issues of of ability and disability are interwoven into all issues of inequality and injustice let me say that there are some serious problems here and i think it's always important when we come together as a community how however uh brief that might be to reflect on where we are and who we're sharing space with who we should be sharing space with and so first of all i um i think it's so important to recognize that we're on olani olonilan and that this is colonized land and and that if we have a deep sense of the space we recognize the history of this space and and the fact that um this is not accessible um and yes there are many places many spaces that are inaccessible but we should say that an event that that is designed to celebrate intellectual community a political community an event that is designed to allow us to engage in discussions about racism misogyny globalization that that event should be accessible and it's not and i'm just going to reveal a little bit of the pre-event conversations we were asked to cancel the event because it's not accessible and because we don't have certified asl interpreters and i can tell you that i'm sitting here very ambivalently now primarily because i think that these issues should be discussed in a broad context and that all of you should be willing to take these issues to your community i mean we need of course a vast movement that is going to transform this entire society with respect to accessibility and this is just the beginning so yeah so i had to say that before i responded to the questions we've been asked to think about inequality on the one hand it's it can be very abstract what do we mean by inequality uh what who sets the standards for equality yeah and i'm concerned about the fact that we often work with the assumption that that equality already exists right and that we have to be included that that some of us who have been left out of that space of equality have to be assimilated into equality and i you know i don't think i want to be assimilated into the kind of um the notions of equality that we have been compelled to work with you know historically and that you know i know that democracy is a good thing or should be a good thing i hope hopefully one day will be a good thing um but i you know i'm concerned about the fact that the ways in which we tend to think about democracy are so totally racialized and we don't and i always like to point out that we never talk about haiti we never talk about the haitian revolution when it comes to uh the the great advances that have been made with respect to uh equality and and and justice and democracy and if we did we would have to talk about racism and we would have to talk about uh misogyny okay welcome so certified uh thank you so much and i appreciate this entrance and this event i want to let you know that we have deaf and disabled people of color outside who cannot come in we don't have access to this event we want to let you know that they're being blocked from coming i thought she was here to help us interpret okay no i thought you came and i understood people do not have access to this event so there are deaf people outside who have been barred from coming i thought she was going to bring someone in i'm sorry i'm sorry i'm sorry i am deaf i know i know a lot of people involved in the bay area writing c i've been involved in this my whole life it's gonna have to play out in one way or another there are a lot of people who are here so i wanted to let you know we'd love to see you all here and we wanted to see you but we can't i want to let you know that we're going out i'm going to be outside with my people thank you is there anybody can you ask if there's anyone out there well perhaps we should have a discussion about this and we should invite uh people i think we need to invite people into this and that's on us we literally just accessibility [Music] just one of those yes but yes peter but but but yes but people choose it and and and shame on the city council right yeah yeah but also we could be gathering in another space as well is okay [Applause] [Music] so angela and judith i i guess i would like to know whether in fact there are people out there who have not been able to gain access and if that's it please go could you please see if there's any uh sign language the interpreters that could come in and help us that i i believe either certified or non-certified at this point hmm is everyone seated that needs to be seated to enter okay all but right there's also the the question of deaf people not being able to there's also the question of the lack of an asl certified asl interpreter so as hard as we that to find two interpreters very quickly we contracted the two of them one of them didn't show up today okay did he show up is that my fault i guess it is yeah but let's not be defensive let's find an affirmative way forward right [Applause] okay so okay it's true i i think kyra tried to own it and it i think as angela said we we need to make this moment now something that will change what we can do right now is limited but i think we need to organize so it's different in the future and make this something about a potential change and i i really hope we can turn the conversation to reorienting our actions towards a different type of future as far as possible um that's what we can do right now and hopefully someone else will come in to help us at least solve one problem but we're all gathered here and we're working under conditions that are certainly very difficult but i think it's important to learn how to work through and with you know all of the restraints that to continue to have a discussion uh should not mean that we're putting aside the issue of the inaccessibility of this space uh and i think that um um you know feminism the kind of feminism that uh that i've learned from judith butler and the kind of feminism that one sees activists who are struggling against racism and and challenging um the assaults on the undocumented the kind of feminism that they embrace is a is a capacious feminism that allows us to work at the heart of contradictions without necessarily being compelled to choose one side or the other so i want to appeal to you to to experience this sense of of deep trouble uh that that that that is is is um that has been brought about as a result of the problems of accessibility of this space and attempt at the same time to have a conversation that will hopefully move us forward i don't know what you all think about that okay [Music] [Applause] and okay what do you think um well um i jumped in quickly before but let me say how honored i am to be here with angela as we all are and uh angela's someone from whom i have been learning now for a very long time and um she always shocks me into a new way of thought it's not it's never an easy transition oh i think i'll think about that no no shock shocks me into a new way of thought and um and i think that uh you know i was thinking about coming here i had kind of three thoughts uh one was um as somebody who has worked in lesbian gay queer and trans activism for many years i like many other people had mixed feelings about the equality act and the equality movement within the lesbian and gay uh community and i'm going to call it lesbian and gay because i think that is exactly what that movement was that was pushing for that um for marriage rights and i was thinking what happened to the notion of equality when equality became identified with gay marriage rights and um and of course many of those people wanted to own property together or bequeath property or to become upstanding middle-class citizens of a certain kind and to have the same kind of recognition for their uh relationships their intimate usually dyadic relationships that um that straight people had and and i watched as kind of radical traditions of um innovating and experimenting with various forms of intimate alliances were backgrounded i watched as property ownership became at the the center of uh the idea of freedom and equality i watched as well as state recognition became the object of desire um and i thought well which state and do we want that recognition and what is the what's the cost of recognition nobody was asking well many people were asking but it wasn't in the mainstream but it was also i think a predominantly white movement as well and uh even though they were talking equality as they talked there was another tradition of the struggle for racial equality that struck me as as he faced or as backgrounded as that became the new equality discourse so when angela says what do we mean when we talk about equality it seems to me we have to ask who's using it for what purpose and how does the use maybe mobilize a history or efface a history what what are the alliances that are made through one usage or another usage and um and of course i think if there's going to be marriage anybody should be able to marry i have no idea why you can only marry one other person but okay i mean you know i'm not like against it and you know if you know if there's going to be that right then it should be extended to gain lesbian people there's no question about it but the radical critique of marriage or even the the the implication of marriage in property relations it's almost like we evacuate any analysis of political economy we evacuate the analysis of the estate the state and we also evacuate um other traditions of the struggle for equality um you know what does it mean that black lives matter is happening or was it still is happening to the side of of that equality uh uh issue like are are they speaking to each other i i think in fact not i don't i don't want to go further with that but yeah and you know i'm thinking that um there's there's there's always been this push for assimilation uh uh you know why do we have to assume that existing modes existing standards uh are are the ones to which we we we we have to assent um i mean yeah i very ambivalently supported uh the marriage equality act and the same but it seems as if as you pointed out there there there there ought to be a way to include a critique at the same time and the problem is the problem is not that uh a people oh it's not loud enough okay okay well i can actually hold it like this if that's better [Applause] and and so um yeah it's not it's it's it's it's not the um so much that uh people um assume that existing heteronormative uh standards of marriage uh were the only ones it's was the the reluctance to engage in a serious critique you know why why is it not possible say to get married and at the same time recognize what a excuse me i'm in the council table you you know what kind of an institution it is you know based yes based on on on property based on property ownership property inheritance i think property is the major problem here this is why it is not possible i think to engage in any serious conversation about inequality or equality without addressing capitalism yes without addressing property and of course there are those who want to address capitalism but who don't want to talk about racism yeah or who don't want to talk about misogyny or who don't want to talk about homophobia or any of the other issues and unfortunately um you know over the last period both activists and scholars have learned that it is important that it is possible not only possible but important to address these issues together uh you know the term that people use is intersectionality i don't know whether that's the best uh way to address it uh but uh it's it's not necessary to leave racism uh in order to have a serious conversation about democracy you know one of the the the problems now is uh that democrats i think are when i when i say democrats i mean members of a certain political party right are assuming that the reason the election was lost had to do with what they called um identity uh politics oh yeah oh yeah that was definitely the reason yeah yeah and so now they're saying let's forget about identity politics which means let's forget about all the issues that really matter when it comes to democracy yeah right yeah and let's just um well we need to talk about the working class more of course we need to talk about the working class we've always needed to talk about the working class but the assumption is that the working class is white and it's the assumption is still that the working class is male and i don't understand how people walk around with these these they do that you know i mean i guess that's why ideology really is one's imagined relationship to reality well but let's take that seriously because one of the things you're suggesting is that we don't yet know what equality might mean right so you're asking us not to accept established ideas of equality or not you're asking us not to simply adapt or conform or to ask for assimilation to an existing framework of equality because equality has not yet been thought in the radical ways that it needs to be thought which means we have to imagine it which means we need we need experimentations as it were of thought that allow us to think um equality maybe for the first time or to think it anew and so often when we stay with existing frameworks we find out that whole populations are left out or whole dimensions of of human existence are left out and um i was thinking for instance um that uh the black lives matter movement which now is at risk it's being criminalized in some places and it's at risk of being more massively criminalized depending on the momentum that some of these really pernicious uh legal um efforts are taking um it was i think and is uh still uh adamantly asserting equality but it's the equality of the value of life and we might think in an abstract way we know what that is oh yeah all lives are equal sure all lives are equal you know that's in the declaration it's in the constitution yes yes yes but this country has said oh men are all men and all men i have to remind you okay all men but as we know that those forms of universalizing equality saying all men they always carry with them that that grave exception like gender race right um uh native peoples um uh who's being effaced or whose effacement is being is being further effaced through that assertion and then the question is but what would it mean for it to be in fact capacious inclusive uh where no where nobody is sacrificed right we're no when we talk about intersectionality we i think we're trying to imagine a kind of analysis and a kind of movement that is all-inclusive in which nobody gets sacrificed we don't sacrifice race for a political economy we don't sacrifice sexuality for gender right we we just don't do it but it also means that the whole framework will have to be transformed and i think the problem is up until now we assume that includes inclusiveness uh diversity all of these these watch words uh refer to an existing framework that continues to be the same and so what we want to do is is make a racist society inclusive by including latinx people or black people but it's still a racist society or make the misogynist society inclusive yeah by including you know so forth and so on so this is the dilemma that uh that we confront uh when we think about punishment and this is why i think uh prison abolition is central not only with respect to uh the issue of reimagining a punishment system but reimagining society uh so it's so interesting that if one looks at the the the long history of the institution of the prison in the us and the world the us which is really responsible for offering uh imprisonment as punishment to the rest of the world this uh incidentally was a very important element of the democracy because in prison prisons are perhaps the quintessential democratic institution and we could talk about that if you are but uh and and and so why is it that that for for centuries decades and centuries there have been these efforts to create a better prison i mean and it's been happening over and over and over again and the better um a punishment framework the better uh imprisonment techniques uh the better strategies have only led to um more repressive more um racist uh you know more uh sort of uh in all embracing uh carceral approaches and we we're still there right now even at this moment when perhaps more than than than at any other time since perhaps uh the the beginning of the 70s with the attica rebellion and there is a consciousness of the need to do something about the fact that 25 of the world's imprisoned population resides in the u.s and that one third of all incarcerated women live in prisons in the united united states of america one third of all incarcerated women on the entire planet but it seems that the mainstream question is still okay how can we make it better you know how can we okay how can we release some how can we move from mass incarceration to uh you know i don't know what the what's the opposite would be selective incarceration i don't know but that has been the question and and abolition urges us to think radically to think outside of that framework to think about something entirely different something entirely new [Music] i mean one part of your analysis that has been so important to many of us angela is that the prison system continues in some sense the legacy of slavery in this country when we consider the numbers of black and brown people who are incarcerated and that means deprived of their voting rights deprived of the ability to function in public as citizens to to participate in any way so there's a re it's almost as if um uh the enfranchisement of the slaves um is being reversed uh through imprisonment that imprisonment is the is the method through which voting rights are are um uh are destroyed for um for for for many many black and brown people and i i think we have to think about that that it is um it is part of a systemic and institutional inequality um i'm wondering if we could also relate that to your earlier remarks about keeping capitalism in mind how do you how do you put it together i know you do okay well since you're inviting me um well first of all um you know capitalism i i like uh you know cedric robinson's notion of racial capitalism capitalism has always been racial capitalism capitalism would not be the economic [Music] institution global economic institution it is today had it not been for slavery uh had it not been for colonization and and somehow we think that uh that these are separate issues but they are not i and i'm i'm thinking um parenthetically about the difficulty that someone like bernie sanders had incorporating an analysis of race into his uh critique of capitalism and and and it's that's exactly what what we need what we would have needed yeah uh it would have worked much better no i think it was a secondary oppression once again racism but you added on you know and i'm thinking about um i'm thinking about um elizabeth spellman when we read many years and we talked about the ampersand problem you remember yes you know of course you do that you can't just add something on you can't just add it and assume that the problem is solved you can't just add you know black people uh into the system you end up with people like uh dick parsons uh i mean he's not one of the wealthiest men in the world but he was the ceo of what was it time warner and aol and you can't just assume that by adding the previously excluded into of the existing set of arrangements that there's going to be any significant change it continues the way it is always continues and this is why i like the notion that you know diversity means difference that really doesn't make a difference you know that you can that there can be difference but it makes no significant difference and this is why we have to think about the extent to which slavery um is very much present uh we this is still the afterlife of saved slavery and many efforts to address the ways in which racism had become so central to the uh social political economic structures and uh the the psyche the collective psyche of the country that has never been addressed and therefore we're still living that that afterlife and of course the fact that uh uh there are as elizabeth alexander pointed out there are more black men in prison and under the control of the criminal justice system today in the 21st century than their work in slaved in 1850 is one indication but um but yeah we're still living with slavery and it's not it's not just the prison system it's it's it's it's also capital punishment uh which would capital punishment would not be a normal mode of punishment in the united states of america were it not for slavery were it not for the fact that this institution survived through slavery at a time when um even the the the men who were calling for democracy were saying that we need to abolish capital punishment benjamin franklin and all those those guys those white guys back then and we still have it and that is a sign that we have not effectively addressed the vestiges of slavery and this is a problem not just for black people somehow the assumption is that it's black and brown people asian people native people who have to deal with racism and i'm tired of that you know yeah black lives matter yeah but the point of course is that if ever black lives were really to matter that would mean that all lives matter that's right that would be that would be the end of the show it's a different approach to the universal yeah we're not there yet we're not there yet but you know i think that um you know when we when we see a witness uh or experience in our personal lives um mainly black and brown people unarmed who are shot down uh uh whether it's in fruitvale or um in oakland or in north carolina or in brooklyn or or uh or strangled um in a way we get the graphic the the graphic moment of that that violence from slavery that has has not vanished from the history of this country um and of course there then the institutional means like death penalty and and imprisonment which continued that legacy in another way uh and occasionally we get the very graphic um uh example of a black man being hunted down like a dog right i mean really uh what what is the difference between that and slavery or or strangulation um and slavery so um we do have that but i wonder whether we could as we think about the future and we we take up your challenge to imagine um equality in a new way and to insist that it take a new form one that's not been historically available to us uh what would it mean to to think about um a form of socialism that had anti-racism at its center that didn't sacrifice feminism that was not transphobic that was that was taking into account the the the the deeply legitimate man demands of the disability movement where we actually had that kind of um uh amazing collection of groups that understood each other and had a profound analysis of of how capitalism works do you think you could show us the way angela but can i ask don't you think sometimes with your work you do that with vulnerability she's just joking i know she's joking you but i know you're asking but i'd like to ask you oh about yeah about vulnerability and precarious one of the main ways in which you are having us well i guess what i'm what i'm worried about is that a lot of my friends um on the left who are still working in some older models of marxism think we're dealing with wage laborers and their exploitation and indeed we are one reason we continue to need unions and have to really fight against the massive union busting but a lot of people are no longer wage laborers they work here and there they have precarious work lives they don't have um they don't have the possibility of being part of a union they don't have those protections they don't have property and they don't have a health insurance and that condition of precarity is um is extreme so i think we have to um listen carefully to those who are trying to explain to us these new versions of precarity i mean um 12 of the of the world's population now lives in a global slum i mean what does that mean and um how many people uh have any kind of job security anymore it's become less and less the case but do you think that unions can transform whether that we can develop a new paradigm i think i think we need to defend unions and i think we need to work with unions but i also believe that precarious work is a huge problem and a lot of times those people who are part-time who are who are only getting jobs seasonally or they're not part of union structures because they're not there on a regular basis what if we think about um very different union structures so that i i think this is the challenge really uh uh you know unions tend to think about wage labor as you pointed out and uh these you know very um rigid traditional ways but considering the fact that with all of the changes that have happened as a result of globalization that that women who do manufacturing work women who do care work really constitute the new worker and unions are not thinking about how to organize the unorganized which is what the charge for unions has always been right but why is it that unions are not thinking about organizing prisoners there have been efforts in within the prison system in the u.s for for decades to create unions in prisons so that workers who work in prisons as a matter of fact i i don't want to talk about better prisons uh but sometimes i do end up doing that uh we forgive you you know but you know i was i was impressed when i did some research in cuban prisons that that cuban prisoners were members of the same unions and received the same pay scale and the same benefits as people did in the so-called free world yes and that made a major difference so again i suppose the the the the question is uh uh why do we continue to assume that the old structures uh the old structures of organizing the old epistemic structures are going to be the ones that uh lead us to um a new world and well it may it may be that the precariat is overtaking the proletariat in some way or that we need to think them together but the the truth is that there are a lot of very interesting movements of people who are squatting or people who are you know uh you know in barcelona the the amazing um uh organization against banks that are were for foreclosing on people who had been living in homes or renting places for a very very long time and um and and that did become uh there a very important movement and they they put the head of that movement out of kalau and into into power into political power and it seems to me that you know throughout latin america and europe and and and many other places we're seeing new forms of organization that are trying to take um into into account new forms of economic destitution right and building alliances on the basis of it and the real question is is that going to happen in a way that also allow allows us you know to think about the centrality of race the centrality of class that's the or new ways in which class is being articulated under this economy under this global economy and what are the possibilities for transnational alliance that's what i'm kind of trying to to suss out like what what what's possible here i'm gonna i hate to interrupt you but i'm gonna invite the audience in the times the few minutes we have remaining to continue this conversation um if a mic will be passed around and why don't we start right here thank you hello i just want to start by saying thank you for being here um as real life like heroes and existing with us in the struggle i know you have scars and yet you're still here and as a community activist and a part-time professor emphasis on part-time yeah you know i'm in the struggle i fight racism and sexism on a daily basis however in battling it's better with groups and yet in these groups that i'm in it hurts the worst when it's other people of color or other women who are like fighting each other like we're crabs in a bucket and so when i'm at that moment and my my soul hurts i'm wondering like how do you heal when it's your own people so do you want both of us to address that no i think that you do i'm sure you have different techniques of healing right yeah that's a really challenging uh problem but i think that um it also leads to the question of how we build community and who constitutes our community who helps to create our community and you know i raised the specter of identity politics before and i you know i think that term is has been so used and misused because uh it is um black people native people latinx people um women the lgbtq movement the disabled movement these are the communities that have made the most progress when it comes to democracy in this country and and there's an effort to marginalize uh uh these communities by simply by referring to them oh they're just identity uh these are special interests uh just identity politics uh so i think that we have to acknowledge that uh and then of course we have to find ways of um surviving i was actually telling judith the other day that uh someone asked me in one of my lectures recently why i hadn't been assassinated he said and they named all the people who had been assassinated and said well why are you still here oh god so i said i don't know i really don't know but i do know that as long as i am here it's my responsibility to continue to do the work and to bear witness for those who haven't been able to make it this far and that of course also involves doing what we often call self-care which i think should be collective self-care because oftentimes we we assume that self-care is an individualistic uh process that we we have to go off and and and and heal ourselves before we can rejoin the community of struggle and and so some people are doing really interesting thinking about how we create collective modes of healing and self-healing and how we come to how can we bring allow people to bring their whole selves uh into the space of struggle because there is so much trauma collectively we represent you know as you were saying so much pain and so much trauma and the assumption often is that oh we deal we you know we find the therapist we do whatever we need to do individually but we've never figured out how to address that collectively and i think that's one of the major challenges of this period that's one of the major challenges that young activists are going to have to address and i think um you look like you're young although you know the older you get the everybody everybody looks young so judith do you want to oh just you know i would just reiterate um there's a lot of pain and fear and it's escalating you know we're seeing you know a lot of undocumented people living in massive fear a lot of discretionary power being intensified on the part of police and immigration officials we have a government that's clearly out of control we don't know what's going to happen and and a lot of accelerating economic inequality and people are feeling the deep fear of losing what they need in order to be okay financially you know and and and people who thought they were going to be okay are no longer okay and are living with new forms of anxiety and people who are never okay are being ground down by a kind of anxiety they've been living with their whole lives so and that gets sometimes we get spiky then right we lash out we're angry we're we're trying to find power somewhere we were we're but it's because we're not building something together i mean the minute we start coalescing and building something together that's when you're part of something else and it's and it's a problem because the so-called left i presume we are the left where wherever the left is we're we're not yet building we're still disoriented right we're but we're not yet building the way we need to be building and i'm reminded of of angela's idea of restorative justice which is her alternative to to the prison system and that that idea presumes that communities have the power to heal one another and to heal themselves and that they are empowered with that and there's a there's a beauty to that notion that i think we need to think more about and and come together to to to really think think about how that happens practically person to person i think we have someone um even younger to speak to us hi my name is aaliyah moore and i'd like to say question ask a question um how can we how can we close close prisons close prisons this is somebody who that's a great question you know that's a great question okay um you really want the answer yeah i i don't have the answer but this is what i'm a part of an ever larger group of people who really want to make sure that prisons do not represent our future so first of all we have to make sure that no new prisons are built and people all over the country are addressing uh these issues they're even um you know sometimes there's the argument but we really need a place for young people so we need the youth detention facilities the the juvenile justice no no no new prisons and then there are efforts to shut down existing spaces for example rikers island is one of the uh we were talking about issues of ability and disability rikers island constitutes one of the um uh three largest mental institutions in the country you know along with chicago and l.a cooks county and l.a county and so within 10 years if the pressure continues rikers island will be shut down it will no longer exist but we have to at the same time call for you know the word incarceration have you ever heard that word well incarceration basically means putting people in prison right okay so there's another word and that's decarceration that means what does that mean taking people out of prison absolutely so you know that is and there are a number of other strategies i could talk about but what's most important and this is why prison abolition represents a lot more than just getting rid of prisons what's more important is to create is to try to create a society that doesn't need prisons so then what would so tell me what do you think we need what do you think we need what's the first thing that comes to your to your mind schools absolutely schools not prisons you see you know and then we could talk about housing and health care and all of these things that is precisely what it means to try to get rid of prisons thank you so much for the question and the answer [Music] but there's there's a root problem it's children are being taught these oh there's a root problem children are being taught these bias from the start and that's what causes discrimination how are we supposed to stop this if we can't get to the parents and stop homophobia and transphobia and things like this it's not their faults it's they're being taught this way well i'll i'll say a few words and then i i i know that uh judith uh uh has something to say on on this issue as well uh especially you know we often become so um frustrated by the immensity of the problems that we're facing and you know racism is one of those huge huge problems how can we possibly how can we possibly um believe that that one day racism will have been purged from our worlds uh homophobia you know how can we possibly believe that that one day there will be a period in our history we may no longer be around and i think that's the that's the key we assume that in order for there to be any legitimate approaches to these great issues that they're going to have to provide some solutions like right now you know you understand what i'm saying we want and in a sense capitalism has encouraged us to to think in temporalities that require us to want the answer right now if you don't have the answer now and especially if you don't have the answer in my lifetime what does it matter because my my life is the is the measure of everything so how and i and i know there are many other ways to approach your question but i'm i'm thinking about um you know how we encourage a very different temporality when it comes to the justice work the work for equality that we're doing how how do we learn how to do this work and passionately and urgently and yes try to get ahold of the parents and try to but the parents a lot of the parents are not going to change you know so so how so how do we think about well what happens the next generation and then the generation after that and i like um uh the fact that most indigenous people think in temporalities that that are so much vaster and so much more capacious than the capitalist temporalities we work with we think that uh you know what is the five-year outcome like if you're writing if you're writing a grant for some community organization the foundation is going to ask you you know what is the two-year outcome what is the five-year outcome suppose we ask well what is the what is the 100 year outcome [Laughter] you know what is the 200 year outcome uh and and i think that's how we have to begin to think because um we would not be gathered in this space today if it weren't for the work that people did hundreds of years ago [Applause] and so you know i've been i've been thinking about the fact that that that we are the manifestation of the imagination of those who came before us and who didn't give up because it wasn't going to be possible to completely uh abolish colonization or completely get rid of slavery they still struggled and we are here as a as a testament to that persistence and so we also have to imagine our responsibility to that uh that long sense of history and the fact that the work that we do now even if it seems if not like it's not making a major difference it will make a difference and there will be people gathered somewhere 200 years from now who will be thankful to us for the work that we did during the short time we were together and i think we have to begin to think in those terms so this is really horrible okay oh um just just briefly um when i was your age i thought um i basically um didn't know any other queer people and um the way it was talked about and the way my parents talked about it it seemed like i was headed towards a psychiatric institution to get corrected um but uh luckily i found some other people who didn't think that way right so a little disobedience a little bucking of the what you've been taught a little critical thought little community where you can think something new together i was also taught that israel was the the saving place for the jewish people and that it was a beacon of democracy in the middle east and they didn't tell me that this the founding of israel involved um the massive death of so many palestinians and the expulsion of more than 800 000 and that and that people still were living in the west bank and gaza with with with with no substantial political rights and that that there are over six million palestinian refugees with no way to exercise their legitimate right of return i mean i i was given oh i was taught a lot but you can un-teach yourself and you can be taught differently and you can think and you can become part of communities that help you think well and that support you and allow you to be brave and courageous in moving beyond what you have been taught thank you this this time has ended okay but there will be a longer future i think we we probably should end on um with everyone making a commitment to address the issues we talked about at the very beginning uh as a matter of fact uh this this is city hall right and this is council chambers right so this is the center of oakland well the center of one part of oakland and so what are we going to do to guarantee that this space is accessible so let's think about that you know take it back to your organizations to your communities uh um and thank you so much for coming you

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