Western civilization is built on colonialism and has institutionalized genocide and ecocide, in a drive against all life on earth. Our end-goal, therefore, is not to assimilate/integrate or aim for more representation and diversity within the colonial system. We do not aim for a more ‘equal’ share of the colonial pie or for more ‘diversity/inclusion’ without change. We aim for a fundamental system change and a radical change of values.
Decolonize not Diversify.
Strategies of gaining more representation and diversity from ‘within’ are rather a means towards ending global injustice, genocide and ecocide. Our main aim is a world where a diversity of alternative systems, beings, and cultures can flourish and be respected, instead of being forced to assimilate into monocultural and colonial systems. Instead of universalism, we aim for pluriversality. We believe decolonization is needed to achieve this as it has forced the assimilation and destruction of other cultures.
Healing and Spirituality
We recognize the diversity of systems and civilisations that pre-date Columbus which still exist today. Many of these diverse traditions, cultures and languages have knowledge, cosmologies and ways of being that preserve a relationship with nature, community and spirituality. We believe in order to decolonize our being and ways we relate to each other and our environment it is important to listen, learn and exchange with different knowledge systems.
We are a Pan-Decolonial Network.
We use the word ‘Pan’ to indicate the global character of colonization in order to emphasize the need for solidarity and decolonization from different backgrounds and histories. There are different trajectories of decolonization depending on the specific history or location of a people, but we try to actively see the connection and commonalities of the different struggles. ‘Pan’ implies the union of all branches of a group, coming originally from the Greek word panacea meaning “all,” and referring to the attempts of unifying different movements such as pan-africanism and pan-arabism. Here we use the word ‘pan’ to indicate the global character for the need for decolonization, building on older traditions of global south solidarity such as the tricontinental and the non-alignment movement.
Solidarity with Global South
Aralez is a network and organization that is situated in the global north, a place where we materially benefit from ongoing colonization and exploitation of people and the environment in the global south. From this perspective we recognize that international solidarity is an important part of our vision and must have a central part in our analysis on social justice and questions surrounding ‘inclusion’. This is why decolonization efforts should include ending global injustice and not merely be focussed on improving minority positions within dutch borders.
Lastly, we recognize that the different systems of oppression are connected and reinforce each other in order to maintain the colonial system. We therefore aim for a holistic liberation which looks at wide variety of focal points such as: capitalism, imperialism, (neo-)colonialism, ecocide & climate breakdown, (institutional) racism, genocide and patriarchy. We also look at particular systems of oppression that uphold the colonial system such as Indigenous struggles, islamophobia, afrophobia, anti-semitism, ableism, queerfobia, xenofobia, border imperialism, militarism and labour struggles.
Why is this network and collective important?
- Need for collaboration: There is a growing amount of grassroot initiatives working on social justice and decolonization, but these initiatives often operate separately from each other. We aim to stimulate grassroots exchanges and explore ways to collaborate and see commonalities between the different movements, struggles and groups.
- Need for long term thinking: There is a need for long term and regenerative thinking for grassroot movements in order for them not to erode, burn up or disappear. In this regard, we have a long view of history and see a need for inter- and transgenerational ways of organizing and sharing knowledge.
- Need for radical spaces: It is important to create an autonomous network and space with like minded people outside large colonial institutions. Spaces that affirm and stimulate alternative, independent and critical narratives and visions in order for them to flourish.