Nonviolent Communication is for the Privileged

by Raffi Marhaba I am a lover of words. I speak 7 languages, hold a BA in Translation, write and perform poetry and am deeply fascinated with the power and impact of language. When I first heard of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), I was curious and intrigued about it, especially because it was becoming so popular among some of the activists I engage with. As someone who has done primarily nonviolent forms of activism, it made sense to pick up Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg. Like anything I commit to learning, I also heavily ...

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Just Language [As In Justice]

by Raffi Marhaba Quite often I will look at my Facebook memories from 5 years ago and be like, “what the hell did I say??” Sometimes, even posts from 2 years ago surprise me. As activists, we use language as a powerful tool to ignite social change. But sometimes the words we choose can actually end up firing back at us. Here are a few things I learned about language and frameworks that are just. All Lives Matter Context is everything. Saying “All Lives Matter” directly undermines “Black Lives Matter.”Yes, I know. The Animal Rights Movement was ...

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The Modern Social Justice Movements: Pro-Intersectional. Except to One Minority

By Raffi Marhaba I’ve always had a great sense of justice, since I was a little. My mom thought I’d grow up to be a lawyer or a diplomat. But I became an activist and an artist instead. I was born and raised in Brazil and came to the USA through a political asylum petition based on sexual orientation. I say this because I want to clarify that not only do I understand (to the best of my abilities) the points in this article, but that I myself share with you some of these violent systems of oppression. I came across a book called When We Fight, We Win, which ...

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It’s Not Just Chocolate, It’s Their Flesh

By Tori Lion Nielsen estimates that Americans buy 58 million pounds of chocolate in the week preceding Valentine's Day. Decontextualized from the industrial farms where children of colour and nonhuman animals are forced to work without compensation, these products are imbued with the aura of "love." Purchasing them is one of the rituals of compulsory heterosexuality, which represents another way in which our desires are manipulated to reproduce the status quo. In routine "dairy" production, mother cows are impregnated without their consent and denied the joy and ...

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20 ways the violence of the oppressed isn’t the same as the violence of the oppressors

By Ana Hurwitz Whenever we seek to change the world the first thing we are asked is, "Do you believe in violence?" We are asked this because the violence of the oppressed is seen as morally equivalent to the violence of the oppressors. But the two are not the same. Here's why....   Oppressed peoples have a fundamental right to self defense. This self defense is characterized as "violence" because revolution is only seen as legitimate when it's on the terms of the oppressors. By their rules. Because they set the rules.  Nonviolence is a means of controlling ...

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Direct Action is for the Privileged

By Raffi Marhaba TW: homophobia, transphobia, racism, ableism, xenophobia, sexism Activism, to me and I imagine to many of you, is one of the best things one can do - it’s “[...] My rent for living on the planet.” Together, we are shaping the world to be a better place. But activism, especially direct action (since the legal repercussions can be devastating) is not only a defying response to the norms but is also an act of privilege. A privilege many of us don't have. Often times we see our comrades in action but little do we know that it can take one thing ...

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We Are All Animals: Demystifying Starbucks’ Humane Washing

By Lili Trenkova [For Portuguese language, please visit ANDA's page for our post.] WE ARE ALL ANIMALS It is the year 2015 in the age of technological innovation, disposable comforts and ever-growing income inequality. Yet our collective progress has always come at the expense of "others" - from the very first colonized nations to the non-human animals in factory farms today. How do we rationalize this deliberate injustice? How do we justify a latte readily available to us within 2 minutes of purchasing it at the expense of the forest cut down to grow coffee ...

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