by The Ovas
Overthrowing Vendidos, Authority and the State (The Ovas – formerly known as the Ovarian Psycos) focus our work on mobilising the community to address pertinent issues through the use of bicycles. The popularity of the bicycle allowed us to engage with women that were looking to change the status quo and remove the stigma of women riding bikes.
We collaborated with several women of colour groups to host bike rides to “heal ourselves and the community physically, emotionally and spiritually.” We also held vigils and workshops, presented at schools, community centres/gardens, and public spaces in an effort to uphold our mission and vision. Our largest annual project, Clitoral Mass LA, had the participation of 300+ women identified bike riders. Lastly, through our most important project, La Conxa, a community space in the neighbourhood of Boyle Heights, we worked with and hosted a variety of events by and for the community. The many topics covered included: domestic violence, homeless youth, police brutality, workers rights and more.
Within the 8 years of organising in Boyle Heights, OVAS have picked up many skills, experiences and hood-education that will only help us to continue to develop politically and make sure we are always passing down the knowledge to our elders and youth. We see the importance of staying principled and militant and cutting out all the whack shit.
We see anything that comes from academia as a misrepresentation of our struggles, as working class people of colour. In our communities the role of academia usually plays out through the work of non-profits. Non-profits have a variety of contradictions within the community that they work in. One of the contradictions comes from them engaging in charitable work that by default is very top-down. People with degrees are seen as the people with the answers to the problems in the community. The decisions as to where money goes and what projects get worked on get made from the higher-ups who are disconnected from working class families. Even when they come from the same communities, they do not actually give a fuckin’ shit about addressing the roots of the problem.
We know from organising in the community that these issues are generally seen in left spaces too. These same folks will also argue that one can lead a revolutionary lifestyle as the answer to injustice. If only we could read enough books, go to enough workshops, and decolonise our minds, then all our problems would be solved.
Ultimately, we find no unity with these organizations or individuals because, even though we agree on the toxicity of the current system and state, our aim is not to reform the country through wishful thinking and/or ignore it and think it will disappear on its own. The only solution we see in ending all forms of injustice is by working alongside our communities and organising to literally overthrow vendidos and the state.
Right now we are meeting our community where its at. We uphold autonomy and continue to use our skills to offer programming out of our community autonomous space. We feel our community has the capacity to build outside of state funding and fight towards liberation. We use forms of popular education programming to continue to offer a political analysis to the masses. We want to empower ourselves and our community to find answers outside of institutions and the state. This is what we OVAs can offer as of now in this current time of class warfare.
We continue to operate out of La Conxa and we engage the community through our current projects: (1) Letters to Our Homies (2) Clinica Popular (3) For the People Propaganda (4) Guerrilla Theatre (5) Hood Rantz: Open Mic (6) Self Help Raps for Kids (7) Arming Ourselves Against Patriarchy: Creating The Women’s Defense Unit (8) Political Prisoner Letter Writing, (9) Mas Puta (Propaganda Utilizada Tacticas Anarquista), (10) Platos, Platicas y Politicas, (11) Tapp—Tactical and Physical Preparedness, and (12) Radio La Conxa.
We still host monthly Luna Rides through our newly formed Psyco Brigade and continue to work with a variety of organisations throughout Los Angeles. Most importantly, through our rooted, anti-displacement work here in our community of Boyle Heights we continue building solidarity with various collectives under the coalition work of Defend Boyle Heights.
In the current context of Boyle Heights, we see gentrification and the displacement of our communities as a primary site of struggle. The community worries about rent increases, evictions, and having no time with the family because they are forced to overwork themselves to meet their basic needs. We should not live under these conditions, but we do because in this society everything, including our homes, is a commodity. In this site of struggle we work in solidarity with our community to make sure that they are not displaced by greedy slumlords and capitalists. We are wholeheartedly against charity as a tactic or a solution. No one is coming to save us, we will fight ourselves through solidarity and action.
We have to put the power back in the hands of the community and away from do-nothing postmodernists. We can only do this by working with the community primarily and building up their leadership. Our tactic is to meet the masses where they are at, so that they guide us in our actions. They will be our leaders and we will be their people’s army. To us, self-care is being dedicated and disciplined comrades fighting towards liberation of working class people of colour by any means. When we say fuck postmodernism we are essentially saying fuck some dead end solutions.
This work will never be about us as individuals and will always be about the people and our liberation. Our politics will stay in command and continue to be disciplined as we work towards building up the people’s army. Fuck postmodernism. Fuck Vendidos. Fuck Identity Politics. We encourage everyone to put down the dead-end solutions and start building with the immediate community. We must start to build up our power as a mass. We may not even see the results of that work in our lifetimes, but we gonna die psyco, principled and dedicated.
Vendidos def: All Americans of Mexican descent (Chicanos) who have sold out their culture in favour of Anglo American culture; the Mexican equivalent of an Uncle Tom.
13 Principles of Struggle
As an Ovarian Psyco, I give my word/palabra to live my life with my feet firmly planted on my pedals, with mad heart for my xisters, my hood and my people and with my spirit always rebellious. As part of the Ovarian-Cycle Brigade I am dedicated to making appropriate moves in an effort to:
1.Maintain a brave space by and for marginalized womxn of colour,
2. Encourage autonomous, models of community organizing and actions to address oppressive power structures.
3. Centre our political analysis and community action to align with current struggles towards liberation.
4. Define our own course of development so that we are always serving the people first; not for social/capital gain.
5. White supremacist power structures are central organizers of violence oppressing womxn of colour and our communities of colour, while also recognizing that brown people are vendidos too.
6.Support coalition building between other anti-capitalist collectives/circles/individuals specifically when politically aligned.
7.Understanding that criticism and self criticism is essential to better serve the people. (kill your ego)
8. Shared leadership development and decision making is rooted in the rotation of roles and shared labor is mandatory.
9. Recognize, resist and dismantle the power of co-optation within our movements. FUK APOLOGIZERS & Fence straddlers
10. These principles must be upheld not only in our action but in the practices within our own working circles and beyond core membership.
11. Intergenerational organizing is a fundamental guiding practice. Always recognize the needs from the elders to the seeds. The doñas and the babies, from the cradle to the grave!
12. Recognize that any and all federal or state funding come with puppet strings very difficult to detach and almost that much more impossible to manoeuvre with. We firmly believe in our communities capacity to build without the aid of the state, for the purpose of building outside the state.
13. All of us or none. Para todxs todo o nada para nadien
The Ovas are a womxn of colour bicycle brigade based in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles.
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