Why racism and fighting against it is central to the divest movement

The bidirectional effects of racism and capitalism

As a movement rooted in anti-racism, Divest MTA would like to make a statement in light of recent photos, which have since been removed from social media, depicting a Mount Allison student dressed as the “US Border Patrol” holding a gun up to someone dressed as a “Mexican.” Divest MTA stands with those outraged and disturbed – we echo these sentiments. This racist costume was particularly disturbing in the context of Trump’s recent response to asylum seekers. We must refuse to tolerate racism, whether it’s overt, such as these photos, but also more covert manifestations such as the constant devaluing of opinions, thoughts and ideas of students of colour.

This incident at Mt. A did not occur in a vacuum. The world is on fire. Last week alone, two Black people were murdered while grocery shopping in Kentucky, 11 Jewish people were murdered at their synagogue in Pittsburgh and Brazil elected a fascist, far-right government. Just 100 corporations produce 71 per cent of the world’s fossil fuel emissions. The world has 12 years to go until humans start seeing intensified, worldwide climate catastrophe.

These instances can’t be seen in isolation from each other, as the rising force of fascism and white supremacist violence act in conjunction with the destruction of our planet. Fascism is capitalism in decay. As extraction-based corporations continue to steamroll past every report warning of their dangers, capitalism will continue to erode as its contradictions are exposed, and fascism will continue to rise – unless we take action.

This is why we must continue to organize. Divest MTA will continue to fight for Mt. A to remove its endowment fund from the top 200 largest fossil fuel companies. A fight against fossil fuel corporations is a fight against capitalism and colonialism, which fuel fascism and white supremacy, and which are the context of the recent racist acts on Halloween.

Please email antiracism@mta.ca to express your anger over these photos and demand action is taken.

Zoe Luba