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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The search for solidarity in the United States-Mexico borderlands/occupied O'odham territory Kartal, Rebekah Lea


Qualitative research in Tucson, Arizona reveals limitations to coalition building based on activists’ distinct positions and experiences, as well as their disparate understandings of the meaning of solidarity. Nonetheless, in the context of increasing militarization in the United States-Mexico borderlands/occupied O’odham territory, there is a history of coalition building to challenge the violence, at times halting the U.S. state’s plans for further militarization. Thus, it is timely to consider the (im)possibilities for solidarity amongst activist groups confronting militarization. To do so, I first examine the analysis and strategies put forward by immigrants’ rights groups, incorporating literature related to racial capitalism and imperialism. Next, I consider critiques and strategies presented by a Palestine/occupied O’odham land solidarity group, integrating scholarship on settler colonialism and indigenous resistance. Finally, I discuss challenges to and potentials for coalition building in the region based on listening to activists’ varying sentiments related to solidarity. I posit that a form of solidarity that requires finding a common struggle, despite the recognition of different experiences, may reify settler colonial ways of relating. I argue a decolonial framework may foster a form of solidarity that does not require a search for one form of oppression that is “common” to all, but rather embraces a form of solidarity that strives to listen to and learn from multiple subject positions. Additionally, a form of solidarity that embraces analyses born out of listening to various (hi)stories of those affected by the ongoing militarization in the region provides a nuanced understanding of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands/occupied O’odham territory. Such an understanding highlights the complexity and multiple technologies of power at play in the U.S. settler colonial capitalist nation, as well as various forms of ongoing resistance to oppression.

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