Decolonization & Anti Oppression Policy
OPIRG-Carleton uses the following definitions:
● Settler Colonialism is the relationship between colonizers and indigenous peoples, where the colonizers are convinced of their mandate to rule and desire the indigenous population to become a minority and/or vanish by doing acts of genocide, violence, and biological warfare.
● Decolonization is the work of supporting indigenous sovereignty and land repatriation, abolishing slavery, and dismantling imperialism.
OPIRG-Carleton uses the following definitions from the Canadian Council of Refugees:
● Discrimination is the treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit and that can be used to privilege (special treatment in favour of) as well as disadvantage (special treatment against) a particular group or individual.
● Oppression is the use of power or privilege by a socially, politically, economically, culturally dominant group (or groups) to disempower (take away or reduce power), marginalize, silence or otherwise subordinate one social group or category.
● Systemic Oppression consists of practices, policies, laws and standards that disadvantage a particular group or category of people.
● Anti-Oppression is the work of actively challenging and removing oppression perpetuated by power inequalities in society, both systemic oppression and individual expressions of oppression.
OPIRG-Carleton recognizes the historical and institutional injustices towards certain groups of people based on such things as (dis)ability, socio-economic class, age, skin colour, ethnicity, gender (including gender identity and expression), sexual orientation, residency/migratory status, language and linguistic origin, ancestry, size, and faith. In
particular, OPIRG-Carleton recognizes that the original peoples of what is now known as North America have been subject to land theft, invasion, and genocide at the hands of colonizers and settlers.
In addition, OPIRG-Carleton recognizes that oppression is intersectional, and that privilege and oppression is partly context-dependent as well as historically-rooted. For example, someone can have masculine privilege but still be oppressed racially due to being non-white. In a different context, if he was working at a non-white feminist organization, he may not feel the effects of that oppression within that organization and his privilege can be mitigated, but that doesn’t negate his privilege and oppression outside of that context in other institutions that he has access to or is forced to interact with.
OPIRG-Carleton recognizes that we as an organization are embedded in institutions and systems of privilege and oppression, and so replicate power imbalances and oppressive dynamics. We recognize that unequal power is expressed not just in
individual interactions, but language, spaces, structures, and policies on a systemic level.
OPIRG-Carleton recognizes and supports the contributions, agency, and self-determination of all its supporters, members and staff, within the organization, and outside of it, in abolishing their own oppression and working with others for liberation.
We also recognize that different people are at different stages of learning, and that we must continually self-educate and learn from each other.
OPIRG-Carleton is making a commitment to decolonization and anti-oppression in all areas and levels of our work, ensuring research and leadership from oppressed peoples in the areas that affect them the most.
OPIRG-Carleton will work towards ensuring that:
● Indigenous sovereignty is at the forefront of all we do.
● Board Members and staff are diverse and accurately reflect the range of groups that form our society.
● All members have adequate training on how to challenge settler colonialism and oppression within themselves, with each other, and within society as a whole.
● Meetings, consultations, and events are conducted in an accessible way to accommodate as many needs as possible.
● We strengthen our capacity for leadership by investing in training and skillshares for all our members.
● Financial and human resources support our commitment to decolonization and anti-oppression.
● OPIRG-Carleton has an effective process to handle complaints surrounding discrimination, oppression, and any unfair and inequitable treatment within the organization.
December 2015. Prepared by Lukayo Estrella.