Full Spectrum Resistance: transnational solidarity in social justice movements
Initiative for Equality (IfE)
International collaborations to overcome existential threats to humanity and institute systemic change are more crucial than ever before. This is a time of rising surveillance and authoritarianism, perpetual war, environmental devastation, and vicious economic tactics as capital scrambles to maintain domination. These problems are global, and we cannot rely on local and national-level activism alone: it will take a global movement to confront them. International movements, collaborations and solidarity are essential to support those in war zones or dictatorships who cannot resist without external help; to share information and strategies; to conduct effective boycotts and divestment movements; to support massive migrations precipitated by climate change and warfare; to find ways to stop the military and arms dealers from perpetrating perpetual wars; and to transform our elite-dominated political and economic systems. However, North – South collaborations have gotten a bad name over the past decades because many Western NGOs have taken a paternalistic approach or worse. We need to make sure that we are working together in appropriate non-hierarchical ways, respecting the people living at the center of these issues and impacts to provide primary perspectives and leadership. The panelists leading this discussion include: Deborah S. Rogers (US): American activists on the left are often disinclined to participate in international political collaborations, either through lack of knowledge, lack of time, or repudiation of paternalistic efforts by Western NGOs. However, I will make the case that international movements, collaborations and solidarity are absolutely essential in these dangerous times, and provide examples of best and worst practices in such endeavors. G. Ugo Nwokeji (Nigeria/US): The inward and autarkic tendencies of today’s left activism in the West are paradoxical as they are happening in an era when the world is increasingly globalized, borders have shrunk and transnationalism has gained currency in intellectual thought. These tendencies are antithetical to the universalist foundations of international humanist activism in the early modern era. The weak presence of Left activism in international activist spaces gives succor to state violence and terrorism, and yields ground for Right activists who capitalize to buttress their global presence by shaping the narratives in and about conflict zones around the world according to their ideological and political priorities as well as to shaping new international coalitions and expanding their networks. Jiwon Chung (Korea/US): Against a doctrine and system that believes in "full spectrum dominance", what does solidarity and resistance look like? How do the oppressed coordinate and collaborate to survive, resist, and bring about justice and transformation? What do the tactics, strategies, alliances and synergies of solidarity look like? Where are the vantage points and exposed areas of the terrain of struggle? I will explore this from the viewpoint of several interlinked local and geopolitical struggles.
SATURDAY November 4th - 2:45pm - 4:00pm
President, Initiative for Equality, and Affiliated Researcher, Stanford University Institute for Research in the Social Sciences
Deborah S. Rogers grew up on four continents, establishing ties to a broad array of cultures. She directed the non-profit Technical Information Project for 14 years, providing public interest research, grassroots political organizing and strategic legal interventions on behalf of communities, tribes, and civil society groups facing choices about development and environment on the Northern Plains (US). After shifting her primary focus from environmental policy to social and economic issues, Rogers taught at a tribal college on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and ran a health disparities research project serving three Lakota reservations in South Dakota. Her doctoral research at Stanford University (2005 – 2010) focused on mechanisms of cultural change, particularly the spread of socioeconomic inequality. Her research findings have been published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), Proc-B (Proceedings of the Royal Society-B), and PLoS ONE (Public Library of Science), as well as numerous other journals, online sources and multilateral agency reports. After working for one year at the UN's International Human Dimensions Programme for Global Environmental Change (Germany), since 2011 she has been facilitating regional and global activist collaborations through Initiative for Equality, a global network of activists struggling to overcome social, economic and political inequalities.
Associate Professor of African history and African American Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Ugo Nwokeji is Associate of African history and African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He has diverse research interest within the disciplines of history, political economy and energy policy and is currently at work on various projects, including serving on both the Steering and Scientific Committees of the General Labor History of Africa, a multivolume publication commissioned by the International Labor Organization (ILO). Dr. Nwokeji participated in the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy study, "The Changing Role of National Oil Companies in International Energy Markets”, and authored the institute’s report, The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation: History, Strategies and Current Directions(2007). He is also the author of the book, The Slave Trade and Culture in the Bight of Biafra: An African Society in the Atlantic World (Cambridge University Press, 2010), which won The 2011 Melville J. Herskovits Book Prize awarded by African Studies Association the best book published about Africa. Ugo was educated at the University of Port Harcourt, Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly University of Ife), Memorial University of Newfoundland, and the University of Toronto. He previously been a professor at the University of Connecticut and has held either visiting professorship or fellowship in the following institutions – Emory University, Yale University, Harvard University, and Zentrum Moderner Orient (Center for Modern Oriental Studies, Berlin, Germany).
Kairos Theater Ensemble, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art, Media and Social Justice at the Starr King School, Graduate Theological Union
Jiwon Chung is artistic director of Kairos Theater Ensemble, visiting assistant professor of Art, Media, and Social Justice at the Starr King School at the Graduate Theological Union. A scholar and activist working at the intersection of art, media, education, and political activism, he focuses on transforming structural violence and redressing historical atrocity through transnational action and solidarity. A key practitioner of Theater of the Oppressed, he is a pioneer in the integration of somatics, theater of the oppressed, and critically engaged performance art.