Outside perspective

Hi, I’m Zilchexo, I’m a friend of Aly’s and I’ve kept up with Sunbeam at least somewhat since I think the Masto went up. I’m a disabled, non-binary, indigenous person of color from a colonized culture and I heard you guys were looking for outside perspectives so I thought I’d chip in.

Speaking from close to zero context here, I’m not sure why you’re so caught up with abolishing “whiteness” (wish there was a better word for this) from the server culture. To me it has always been an inevitable symptom of being online, and I’m pretty sure if Black separatists had a meaningful presence online it would be largely white (just look at Maoist-Third Worldists). I hate to say that I think a lot of the concern is symptomatic of the same settler mindset you’re trying to get rid of and is probably going to not be very effective and just drive away the less initiated.

What I can say is this. Emsenn is fundamentally right about a lot of things, like white communities carrying with them white problems. One thing I don’t agree with them on from what I got out of their “story” is that, despite talking about how they’ve decolonized their mindset elsewhere, they don’t seem to factor in how the order encourages people of color to adopt settler mindsets. They characterize the problem as uniquely white, and I just don’t agree.

Of course, Solarpunk is inherently rooted in indigenous liberation. I visualize a world where indigenous peoples program the local lifestyle to what they know is sustainable for the Earth. Now I’m not going to say that African-American people or Chinese-American people are in the same league as White people in regards to ecology, but I don’t see why they should have any special say over a lot of things. We also have to consider that not all Latinxs are especially indigenous; think of all the born-and-raised Mexicans who had a German grandfather and grew up wealthy or whatever. The Mexican Revolution was rolled back a lot, and plenty of Mexicans (though not a majority, to my understanding) identify more with whiteness than with indigenousness. You can apply that to my native Borinquen as well.

Basically, I just don’t think it’s reasonable to expect any large population, white or not, to be a certain level of decolonized. The poison is in the water, and the water is in the ocean.

Here’s what I think. Establish an opt-in council that all members of indigenous populations can assign themselves to; this is most people of color, but it is not all, and I think it’s a crucial distinction because most people who would otherwise be eligible for such a thing would be, for example, urban African-Americans, who, with all due respect, are not indigenous, and being raised as slaves within a settler culture makes them a part of that settler culture as well.

One thing that Emsenn is damn right about, though, I will say, is the need for Sunbeam City to determine its purpose. I have a pretty cynical view of Mastodon and online leftism, and it doesn’t help that I’m effectively a fursona non grata in furry Mastodon not because I actually did anything but because Ace and Masanbol of snouts.online (both white leftists, lol) decided I’m a shit-stirrer and banned me and shadowbanned my other accounts somehow when I tried to speak up about them and then had yiff.life do the same like a year later. Like Ace actually followed me just so he could disagree with any post remotely discourse-related that I made and intimidate me into agreeing with him or whatever, but I’m getting sidetracked. The point is that I feel like online activism is the modern equivalent of Trotskyist newspapers that basically preach to the choir and jerk themselves off and maybe some other people join in, but this never actually moves toward action. It’s where activism goes to die. Like if you’re an Online Leftist and you vote you’re batting above average because most of them want to say voting droolz and want to shitpost until a mass movement that agrees with their exact platform comes out the other end and are definitely not regurgitating COINTELPRO shit. But I admire a lot about the ambition here and I know that there is potential, so I’m going to signal boost that. You guys need a mission, and “spreading leftism” can’t be it (you’re on Mastodon for Christ’s sakes). For example, just to pull something out of my ass here, the last time Aly spoke to me about you guys I mentioned that developing, supporting, and promoting federated, anticorporate, “decolonized” services could be a decent venture for the Mastodon left. Then I had Secure Scuttlebutt (article does a dogshit job of explaining what it is as does everywhere else, but basically think of it as a peer-to-peer social network where your statuses and such are locally hosted) and OpenSimulator (for VR) in mind, but it could be just about anything. I like the idea of a co-operative, but I can see you guys are pretty broke and don’t know what to do with it; ultimately it’s the same shit, you guys need to decide what you’re going to work at. For example, in my polycule and circle, we want to work towards cohabitation so that we can support each-other through various ventures; it’s a freelance collective of people in IT, data hosting, consultancy, art, programming, etc. and the people we choose to exist in a symbiotic relationship with us, as well as, for example, a new concept for a bottling co-operative that it wouldn’t be strategically prudent to share. But I don’t see SBC like that, I see it as a very web-based thing, which is certainly not a bad thing, but you should try to step up from being a place to discuss theory.

Anyway, that’s my contribution, hope it helps.

10 Likes

To clarify a bit here. SBC is working towards a decolonization mindset in order to allow everyone’s voices to be heard. We cannot build a better world, whether online or offline, if we are constantly dismissing individuals because of orientation, religion, etc. Being Solarpunk we want to build a utopia where all voices are heard and equal. This requires actively unlearning the mindset we have grown up with that constantly works to dismiss, dehumanize, and disenfranchise others for our own supremacy (as in the idea of white supremacy). These types of ideologies (fascism, homophobia, antisemitism, etc.) are not welcome on SBC.

3 Likes

Very cool.
See, I’m trying to express this in a way that is respectful to the person who received death threats- I don’t think average IPOC are race-conscious enough to be really seeing people posting bad takes online as a race thing, even though it is one. Additionally, having a pure mindset isn’t going to do shit for a community with no purpose other than Being Right Online. I think it’s vital to set the course first and address shortcomings as they arise. The pursuit of perfection and purity is kind of what I am criticizing here! It’s a hole for the left to throw its few resources down that will never be full. We don’t need to be perfect, we just need to be perfect enough that we can operate. The council at least would be a non-arbitrary standard to hold yourselves to.

5 Likes

I couldn’t agree more. Right now we are working in baby steps with very little knowledge. Some of the things we are trying to do now thanks to Emsenn is restructure. Get our collective / cooperative to a sustainable state and educate our mods (myself included) are some of our main priorities. However, we are working on establishing a constitution too. We’re not trying for purity but prosperity and we are taking a multi-pronged approach to fixing the problems we’ve have for a while now.

I would hate it if we fell into the idea that being ‘politically correct’ was the end goal for our platform and nothing else mattered too. I personally have hoped that this instance would become a springboard for discussion, learning, and eventual application in the real world and so far even before our current state of restructuring this has been the case.

6 Likes

Identity politics as practices by Liberals is what we and honestly all leftists should endeavor to avoid. As unfortunate as it is, some bad actors do use blind deference toward them on certain issues to exact personal vendetta, while some others would gladly throw members of one minority group under the bus to score woke points with another.

Decolonization happens as much in the minds as it does in space. Privilege is subtle and insidious; every white person have at least some of it, and will never root it out of their mind if they don’t try. Thing is, if we assume that people never learn nor change - despite how much that may seem to be the case with humanity these days - and never give them a chance to, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

However, it’d be unfair to ask those that suffers from oppression to help their oppressors get better. So it comes down to white people, again. They have to become the go between, listening to anyone who would talk to them and, without excusing the oppressor and giving out forgiveness they have no right to give, help the oppressor learn if they wish, or defend the oppressed if they won’t.

8 Likes

I wanna chime and say that my “characteriz[ing] the problem as uniquely white,” is a failure to communicate on my part. While I don’t think it’s “inevitable” that online spaces mimick colonial mechanisms, I agree it is the way most communities operate: online or not.

I agree that there’s no threshold we can define for “a certain level of decolonized.” My focus around decolonization is in the spirit, I think, of your post: that colonialism (whiteness) is the default, and only by explicitly making something else the purpose, can decolonization really be more than a buzzword.

I found this post really informative, not just because it shows a reflection of how people interpret what I’m saying, but hearing someone else talk about the purpose of, well, purpose, is informative.

5 Likes