Michelle from Solidarity Halifax speaks at Anti-Racism Rally Against White Supremacy

| Statements |

 

Members of Solidarity Halifax joined with many others in the community on the evening of Tuesday August 15th for a rally against racism and the white supremacist far right, in the context of the horrific events in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.
 
Michelle from Solidarity Halifax spoke at last night’s rally on behalf of our organization, saying:
 
“As we have heard tonight, we know that Canada has a problem with racism. Nova Scotia has a problem with racism.
 
Tied closely to capitalism, racism is everywhere. Its in the geographic, cultural, and economic segregation in our cities and communities.
 
Capitalism is the economic ideology of liberalism and liberals, with a kind white face and confused political outlook, and which gives us false hope in the Justin Trudeau’s of the world while everything around us continues to burn to the ground, deepening political disenfranchisement and despair.
Right now the internet is full of photos of the faces of white men, lit brightly by torches, mouths contorted by anger, chins uplifted and loudly, surely, claiming what is theirs.
 
They yell “You will not replace us”. They threaten Black lives, Jewish lives… any life that is not white. Its easy for most white people to reject these faces, identifying them as the face of white hate, overt racism, fascism, white nationalism.
 
The difficult thing to admit is that we, every last one of us who benefits from the oppression of others, is inherently racist.
 
Capitalism and racism are all about self preservation. Keeping what white people have. We call it self preservation. But really, its hate normalized. If preserving or keeping what we have leads to the oppression of others, our preservation is oppression.
 
Racism reinforces this white skin privilege both in our institutions and our personal relationships. White skin privilege is a reality and racial segregation is present under capitalism. Now is the time to stand in solidarity and resist.
 
We need to learn the ways that white people and settler governments have broken treaties in past and continue to break and ignore treaties right now.
 
We need to learn to say the words “We are all treaty people” comfortably with an understanding that we are all responsible to respect the treaties.
 
We need to acknowledge that there is geographic, cultural, and economic segregation in our cities and communities and question what is our role in this?
 
We know that Capitalism allows for virtually unmonitored and uninterrupted use of our natural resources, contamination of our land, air and water and is resulting in climate change. Racialized communities are the most likely to have their rights ignored and denied.
 
Garbage dumps, factory farms, industry, environmental violations are most frequently located in close proximity to black, indigenous and communities of colour.
 
We need to learn more about what environmental racism is, where it is happening in NS and in Canada, and speak out vocally against it.
 
We need to support organizations and people that are asserting their rights and fighting environmental racism by offering our time and financial support .
 
We need to learn about the role of police under capitalism. We need to learn about Street Checks and carding.
 
We need to learn about the ways that black, indigenous and people of colour are disproportionately affected by criminalization.
 
We need to remember that black, indigenous and people of colour are disproportionately represented in our prison system and learn about why this is.
 
White people benefit both consciously and unconsciously from structural racism in institutions like policing. Lack of recognition and action of this reinforces both white supremacy and oppression.
 
We need to ask ourselves why we haven’t had to think about this before. Emiliano Zapata said “If there is no justice for the people, let there be no peace for the government”. We need to demand better.
 
We need to financially support initiatives from communities of colour; artists of all kinds, authors, events, projects etc by black people, indigenous people and people of colour. Choose to support these first. Go out of our way to find these. Our city is FULL of these efforts.
 
We need to financially support projects and organizations that support black, indigenous and youth of colour, especially those that originate in or are organized by people from these communities. We need to volunteer our time when its needed and where its wanted.
 
We need to think long and hard about about all the statues, the place names, schools, streets, parks that exist with names like Cornwallis and the fact that we are a city that venerates murderers. Is this okay with us? Why is it not okay with us? If its not okay with us, what do we want to see done about it.
 
Start by demanding of our city officials that the Cornwallis Statue come down & that the park be officially renamed. DEMAND THAT THE CORNWALLIS STATUE COME DOWN. We cannot allow this beacon of hate and white supremacy to continue to exist in Halifax.
 
We cannot continue to sit back, comfortable in our Canadian privilege, our Canadian Racism, separating ourselves from the white people we saw carrying torches in Charlottesville.
 
We cannot expect Indigenous, Black and people of colour to continue to carry this burden of fighting racism, virtually on their own.
 
For Black, Indigenous and People of colour, existence, is resistance.
 
Desmond Tutu said that “To be neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
 
While its easy and satisfying to say Fuck fascists, white supremacists, alt rights and everyone like them, the real work is dismantling the systems that allow these ideas to exist.
 
We need to think about the privilege that capitalism and racism give us in our own life.
 
We need to stop accepting the status quo because we benefit from it. We need to ask other white people around us to do the same.
 
Demand equity at every opportunity, every day.
 
Don’t wait for torches in our city.
 
Do something.
 
Now.”