Overcoming Oppression, Building an Inclusive Movement

Efforts and movements to address oppression throughout history have been major forces in building democratic power. It is also a reality the democracy movements have been repeatedly thwarted by the fact that racism, sexism, classism, ageism, ableim, and other forms of oppression are systemic and not just specific to particular cases, organizations, or individuals. For these reasons, overcoming oppression and oppressive systems is critical if we are to have success in winning liberation together.

This track features sessions facing oppressed communities, intersections of identity and experience, tactics and strategies for overcoming oppression, and the work people are doing to make it happen.

The following is a statement of the conveners of the 2017 Democracy Convention. We urge each participant in this convening to read the statement and to take it to heart and mind.

Overcoming Oppression, Building an Inclusive Democracy Movement

Our purpose is to build a truly inclusive democracy movement, one that takes on oppression in order to finally overcome it, in order to build a truly democracy society.

Overcoming oppression involves building strong community and collective power. Community power begins with creating what Dr. King called the beloved community, something we are doing now with the Democracy Convention.

Inclusive democracy is anything but power-neutral. We include in order to democratize. Therefore, we also exclude. We exclude and confront white supremacy and racism, patriarchy and sexism, class rule and elitism, cisnormativity and homophobia, ableism, ageism, and anthropocentrism, and other structures and expressions of domination. Each oppression denies self-government, collective liberation, and full personhood. Each reinforces capitalism, a system that turns living and free beings into things for sale and consumption.

An inclusive democracy movement builds new institutions, cultures, and systems based on equity and direct resistance to oppressions, with the leadership and participation of those most directly affected by those oppressions.

The goal of the movement we are building is to overcome, not just regulate, oppression. We are outward oriented, globally aware, and always thinking about who is struggling for liberation. We seek social transformation and a democratic revolution.