#WeCantBreathe: A Call for Solidarity Against a Broken World System

Photo: @arielsinhaha

The world is reeling. The indignation of people in the United States is a desperate cry for justice in a society that has finally revealed historical systemic racism and inequity. The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor under the hands of the police force, is proof of the ongoing social and economic disparity in this country. The anger felt on the streets when we saw George Floyd pleading to let him breathe, reflects our collective anger towards a racist corporate state that does not have mercy.

For years, #BlackLivesMatter has helped us all, of all races, understand the profound meaning of state and corporate violence in the US, and our unwillingness to stand back or stand down. Our resistance is non-negotiable. Other social movements—to defend women’s rights, gender and sexual diversity, the homeless, immigrants in cages, Native self-determination rights, etc.—are a daily occurrence and bear witness of our collective strength.

Today, as Awasqa, we hear #ICantBreathe and also say #WeCantBreathe because we’ve witnessed the same corporate powers in the US empire sowing suffering throughout the continent of Abya Yala. Our communities as a whole, and Mother Earth, are struggling to breathe for justice.

From Native communities suing the US government to protect their territories and collect federal funds, to indigenous groups in Colombia and Chile using communications networks to denounce state violence, to the Garifuna people in Honduras self-organizing to protect and feed their communities, to people fighting capitalist-extractivist governments in Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia, Canada. These are all examples of the strength of our struggles, in the midst of a pandemic.

With heavy hearts, for the past few months, we have seen in the US an absolute indifference and contempt from the Trump administration as the overwhelming numbers of COVID-19 cases (1,7 million) and the unemployed rise (42 million). But Trump is only a symptom of the greater problem: let us be clear, he rose to power because the system made it possible, because corporations keep selling the American Dream as a Happy Meal filled with corruption disguised as lobbying, debt disguised as opportunity, poverty disguised as individual freedom. #WeCantBreathe

For decades, we have seen a neoliberal capitalist system that has little or no concern for the most vulnerable communities. For centuries, we have suffered from the colonial powers that always place profit over people, profit over children, profit over elders, profit over Mother Earth. #WeCantBreathe

By recognizing that #BlackLivesMatter is not disconnected from the fight for democracy in Chile, that the violence against the Amazon and the people who die defending it, is directly related to the violence perpetrated by the police against Breaonna, George, and Ahmaud, we win. While corporations gobble each other up, practicing autophagy, our movements recognize and see ourselves reflected in each other’s eyes, in our pain, in our anger, in our struggles, in our hope, in our ability to grow and nurture our communities. We are also capable, unlike corporate powers, to see ourselves in Mother Nature and in the wisdom of our ancestors. It’s a collective strength that will never be stolen, sold nor bought.