Resolution 50: Decolonization, Self-Determination, Anti-Imperialism

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Affected Items & Short Rationale

  • Resolution 50: Decolonization, Self-Determination, Anti-Imperialism

    • Commit to decolonization to fight historical and current exploitation of Indigenous nations in the USA. 

Why Is Build Endorsing Decolonization?

  • Fight exploitation and oppression

    • White colonialists are responsible for the genocide of Indigenous people. We live on stolen land. 

    • Fixing this issue requires nothing less than the full dissolution of United States empire. 

    • This resolution calls for concrete actions we can take here and now to recognize the sovereignty of Indiginous nations and support Indigenous-led movements.

  • A specific, actionable plan to decolonize where we are

    • Calls for supporting local Indigenous-led actions and movements, acting in solidarity with their political formations while remaining conscious and respectful of their leadership and organization.

    • Advocates for legislation that will materially help Indiginous peoples, such as necessary exemptions to the Jones act and the overturning of the Insular Cases. Directs us to push for the release of all political prisoners of the State.

    • Calls for the forgiveness of debts and reparations for survivors of colonial exploitation. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Concern: r50: Doesn’t tampering with the Jones Act hurt the labor movement in the United States?

Answer: The resolution calls for “necessary exemptions” to the Jones Act; it does not call for a full repeal as this could negatively affect maritime workers. However, it is a fact that the Jones Act is seen and experienced in many territories as a tool of imperialism, notably in Puerto Rico during the botched response to Hurricane Maria. We must push for legislation not written from a colonial mindset that protects only maritime workers; we must also uphold the rights, dignity, and material well-being of peoples suffering under the boot of U.S. empire. 

Concern: r50: Doesn’t this resolution seem to prioritize certain issues over others?

Answer: A very important part of decolonization efforts is not speaking over Indigenous and colonized peoples, or claiming to understand their experiences and goals better than they do. This is why this resolution proposes the formation of a committee to build bridges to Indigenous peoples and their organizations and to bring those learnings back to our work. What this listening process teaches is that the suffering caused by imperialism is widespread, and diverse, and it cannot be addressed by making a few small changes on the margins. The crimes of U.S. empire could fill an entire library, and the solutions being called for could fill another. The priorities in this resolution are broad in scope for these reasons. 

Concern: r50: Isn’t this symbolic?

Answer: No, there are actionable items within the resolution including calling for support of indigenous led movements, such as those protecting sacred land, and the formation of a working group to facilitate decolonization politics, as well as legislative goals such as supporting self-determination for the so-called overseas  territories.

Concern: r50: We already have an international committee, why do we need a decolonization working group?

Answer: While the international committee has taken steps to include more membership in its deliberations, decolonization includes addressing the United States’ brutality and oppression within its hidden empire. Therefore, we feel it is necessary to have a working group committed specifically to decolonization, anti-imperialism and self-determination and for the DSA as a whole to work towards those ends and goals.

R50 “Resolved” section:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, DSA will commit to the full decolonization of all the occupied lands of the so-called USA: self determination and full sovereignty for Hawaiʻi; Puerto Rico; Amerika Sāmoa; Guåhån; Northern Mariana Islands; Virgin Islands; and to all Indigenous nations whose ancestral lands are within the USA’s current borders; and independence to all other overseas territories and dependencies controlled, occupied, or otherwise exploited by the USA.

This commitment would include the following actions: 

  • building a movement in solidarity with and alongside those oppressed peoples and their own political formations, conscious and respectful of their own leadership and organization, against all forms of colonialism and imperialism;

  • creating a Decolonization Working Group to facilitate anti-imperialist and decolonization politics within the organization; 

  • advocating for necessary exemptions to the Jones Act, the overturning of the Insular Cases, and all other laws and legal rulings that maintain the colonial status quo; the release of all political prisoners of the State, incarcerated for their resistance to Empire; 

  • forgiveness of all debts and reparations to the survivors of this exploitation, as well as their descendants, so as to allow the free political expression of the oppressed of these lands; and the total dissolution of the United States Empire.