In 2018, the term "identity politics" is often associated with the promotion of tokenized personalities rather than on the representation and advancement of oppressed communities within society. This form of identity politics often revolves around empty partisan placards and exclusive single-issue platforms rather than on forming inclusive alliances meant to stimulate fundamental structural change. As such, it reinforces a populism that serves white supremacy and patriarchy.
The crisis of identity politics has undermined the concept of intersectionality, which is viewed as critical to the struggle for liberation from all forms of oppression. The recent assassination of the Brazilian Black queer activist Marielle Franco and the consequent public uproar demonstrate the threat intersectional leaders pose to the ruling establishment that uses division and preserves privilege to stifle change. Leaders such as Franco serve a vital unifying role in a peoples' transnational solidarity movement that embraces -- rather than eliminates -- identities.
Ashanti Monts-Treviska co-manages a social enterprise, Cascadia Deaf Nation, which focuses on creating a member-owned cooperative model that co-creates thriving spaces with Deaf Black Indigenous People of Color (DBIPOC*) in British Columbia, Washington State and Oregon. Monts-Treviska is currently a doctoral student in transformative studies and consciousness at the California Institute of Integral Studies.
Gerry Ebalaroza-Tunnell is a Pacific Indigenous scholar and transformative coach who intermingles Indigenous epistemology and Western philosophies.
Together, Monts-Treviska and Ebalaroza-Tunnell facilitate spaces for dialogue that shift paradigms and challenge the status quo. They are currently working on producing a resilience and adaptability workshop to address the dynamics between trigger and response.
In this interview, Monts-Treviska and Ebalaroza-Tunnell discuss the importance of intersectionality and decolonization as fundamental aspects of building a just and equitable society.
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The author of this piece is Veterans For Peace Chapter 111 Member and former Israel Defense Forces Veteran Yoav Litvin.