Solidarity is Love: Taking Asian Diasporic Feminists Back to Black and Asian Feminism in the ’60s

The cover of the Sept-Oct 1972 issue of 'Triple Jeopardy'.

By: Victoria M. Huỳnh

Nearly eight months into 2020, and there is so much to grieve. We are amidst a global pandemic leaving Black, Indigenous, incarcerated, and immigrant communities most vulnerable. Black-led uprisings in the imperial core enraged by the white supremacist murder of George Floyd should have shaken the world awake again: the US internally robs and exploits Black life in duty of its imperialist project that is the US empire. Worldwide, the US empire continues to manifest its devastation in crippling US economic sanctions amidst the bombing of Lebanon, ongoing US-backed Israeli occupation of Palestine, impending US imperialist aggression to China towards a Cold War 2.0, and more. 

To locate this moment, as non-Black Asian diasporas in the imperial core seeking solidarity with Black and other Third Worlded peoples, is to know this moment is fraught with deep struggle since times before ours. It is also yet a  urgency of committing to Black revolutionary praxis in their fight for a new world— knowing no Black life should have been lost to US empire in the first place. If we fall back on bell hooks’ reminder that, love is profoundly political. Our deepest revolution will come when we understand this truth,” we are forced to rethink what is so necessarily meant by “love” in and beyond these times. And if solidarity is love, we should be pushed to pursue a solidarity that is not just conscious of being against white supremacy, US imperialism, patriarchy, or global capitalism [wrongfully marketed] as separate systems– but a solidarity for an anti-imperialist, socialist, decolonized world that necessitates Black liberation– and which knows we must take down the US empire in its entirety to achieve so. 

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Asian Americans, We Cannot Be Silent on the Dakota Access Pipeline | #NoDAPL

Protesters demonstrate on August 11, 2016 against the start of construction for the Dakota Pipeline Project. (Photo credit: Tom Stromme / Associated Press)
Protesters demonstrate on August 11, 2016 against the start of construction for the Dakota Access Pipeline Project. (Photo credit: Tom Stromme / Associated Press)

A war is being waged right now to defend Native lands and people from fresh exploitation by the United States government, and yet it rages to virtually no mainstream coverage.

This week, protesters entered their fifth month of peaceful protest against the proposed $3.8 billion dollar, multi-state oil pipeline that would when completed transport crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. The Dakota Access Pipeline is being constructed by private developers, and will intersect through ancestral lands once held by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as well as running under the Mississippi River and within half a mile of current reservation land borders. Earlier this year, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sued the US Army Corps of Engineers denouncing the Corps’ fast-tracked approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline plans, saying that the Pipeline’s construction will threaten sacred sites and risk contamination of the Tribe’s water supply.

The Tribe further argues that the Corps ignored its own policies requiring it to consider the impact of construction projects on the environment and on Native lands in order to “meet the pipeline’s aggressive construction schedule.” Dave Archambault II, leader of the Standing Rock Sioux, added:

“The Corps puts our water and the lives and livelihoods of many in jeopardy.”

Last week, the Standing Rock Sioux filed a temporary restraining order asking that construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline be halted pending discovery of multiple cultural and historic landmarks that will be destroyed by the project’s continuation. And yet, over the weekend, protesters were met with violence by private security forces. Members of the Standing Rock Sioux, including Archambault himself, have been arrested for trespassing while standing upon the Tribe’s own ancestral lands.

The Corps’ overt disregard for the many concerns of the Standing Rock Sioux in this matter is well in-keeping with this country’s long history of physical, cultural, and economic violence committed by American settlers against the many indigenous peoples whose resources we assert our entitlement over, whose histories we erase, whose sovereignty we ignore, whose blood we shed, and whose lands we callously now occupy.

Right now, hundreds of Native protesters hailing from multiple tribal nations have come together with non-Native allies to form a united front demanding a halt to construction of the Pipeline. As Asian Americans, we must add our own voices to this mix.

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