AR-15 stands for the following fifteen anti-racist principles:
1. Practice non-violence. Your mind is your best weapon.
2. Learn anti-racist history. The U.S. is a white supremacist (patriarchal, heterosexist, ableist, ageist, capitalist, ecologically destructive) state. The U.S. is the world’s first white supremacy state- a governmental system built on the oppression and murder of poor people, people of color, and the Earth (e.g. the enslavement of Africans; the exploitation of immigrant labor, including Europeans; the genocide of indigenous populations in the U.S. and abroad; the massive destruction of ecological habitat). Racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism, classism and ecological destruction are projects of the ruling class that keep people from uniting for their common interests against the ruling class.
3. Study legacies of resistance in communities of color, and the herstories of radical organizers of color and white anti-racist organizers (including women, poor people, differently abled folks, youth, elders, and queer and trans people- gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and questioning). History contains answers for how to create positive social change in today’s society. Resistance against racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism, classism and ecological destruction in communities of color and white communities has always existed; and communities have always strategically organized together to achieve justice. Study this history for guides for action today.
4. Research your family history of privilege, oppression, and resistance. Every individual has a past. Research your past in terms of privilege, oppression, and resistance. Know what your people have done (both good and bad- in terms of race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, age, and ecology) and in this way know what history you carry with you. This will tell you what you need to do to continue legacies of resistance and celebration, and to discontinue legacies of oppression and exploitation.
5. Respect leadership of color, especially, leadership and issues of radical organizers of color (including women, poor people, differently abled folks, youth, elders, and queer and trans people). Organizers that directly experience social injustice have insight into social justice that other organizers do not. Pay close attention to how whiteness, maleness, straightness, ability, age, and wealth privilege you in your work for social change, and respect those organizers who have lived experience in terms of social injustice that you do not. Also, consider how your own identity is a strength and allows you to speak to and organize those who are like you in terms of race, class, gender, sexuality, age, and/or ability. Work for social, economic, and ecological justice in your own community, as well as in coalition with other communities, while respecting the leadership and issues of radical organizers of color (including women, poor people, differently abled folks, youth, elders, and queer and trans people).
6. Stand in solidarity and support racial justice struggles, political prisoners, prisoners of war and national liberation movements against U.S. imperialism. Prioritize social, economic, and ecological justice issues that put race (including class, gender, sexuality, age, and ability) at the center; and that connect local and global struggles for justice. These issues, in particular, unite all communities as long as the leadership of radical organizers of color (including women, poor people, differently abled folks, youth, elders, and queer folks) is respected.
7. Challenge oppression in individuals and institutions; constructive criticism as an act of love. Racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism, classism, and ecological destruction occurs in interpersonal interactions, as well as in systems of culture, family, education, religion, economics, and politics. Love and caring also exists in interpersonal interactions and in social systems. Use love and caring to construtively critique moments of racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism, classism, and ecological destruction in people and social systems. Start with family and friends.
8. Listen actively. Each one, teach one. Everyone has something to contribute, however, racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism, classism, and ecological destruction has made it that some people’s voices are heard more often and in a louder way. Be conscious of your privileges (in terms of race, class, gender, ability, age, and sexuality) in your day-to-day interactions with other people and know when to step up and step back. Work first to understand and then to be understood. Listen to the emotions behind peoples’ words and be supportive of people when they communicate with you. Ask questions to ensure you are both on the same page, “What I hear you saying is…”, “Could you say some more about…”, “The way I am understanding what you are saying is…”
9. Create anti-racist culture and resistance through anti-racist language, interactions, lifestyle, and economics (including anti-sexism, anti-heterosexism, anti-ableism, anti-ageism, anti-classism, and anti-ecological destruction). Build community around your principles. Find friends, colleagues, and partners that share your commitments and keep each other accountable and dedicated to principles for social change in your daily life. Grow your community through gatherings at peoples’ houses or in public. Build coalitions with local and national organizations. Strategize how to generate money for social change work, so people can be financially supported in their work for social, economic, and ecological justice.
10. Act on your principles and hold onto your visions. Principles are no good without practice. Engage yourself in anti-racist work in your daily life, and ideally as part of a social, economic, or ecological justice organization led by radical organizers of color (including women, poor people, differently abled folks, youth, elders, and queer folks), or in an organization that supports that work of such an organization.
11-15. For future generations… Every generation makes their contribution to movements for social, economic, and ecological justice. Principles 11-15 honor that we build on the work of generations before us, and that we are building for generations after us. The fight for justice will always continue!