“freedom is more than having a choice”

freedom is more than having a choice.
freedom is having power over all the things from which we choose.

Kris wrote that “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”
but freedom to me means having everything we need,
to say we were full after we ate
and wanting nothing more
than our neighbor next door;
freedom from being poor, freedom from feeling greed
freedom from the need to be great.
make the People famous! with Power to create
our own choices, through our own work and faith, and then we cannot lose.

*

freedom is more than having a voice.
freedom is having a platform, and funding and a microphone.

nobody wrote: freedom’s talking to yourself as you die alone.
and freedom to me means all the people taking heed
and paying attention to the pain
and paying money too
till we can all get through;
freedom from being silenced, from erasure, freed
from the profits the few gain.
amplify the voiceless: make the People reign!
the stage today is for transgender women of color to own.

Advertisements
“freedom is more than having a choice”

Dr. King’s Dream: From 8/28/1963 to 4/4/1967 to 8/28/2016

Exactly one year before he was murdered (on April 4th, 1967), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called for a “radical revolution of values.” Dr. King, known by white America for the four words “I Have a Dream” (proclaimed on August 28, 1963), also proclaimed the words “radical” and “revolution”– of far less comfort to the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie, because these words demonstrate his dream will never be realized as long as there is imperialist capitalism.

Dr. King said: “We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin … the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

The whitewashed version of Dr. King’s legacy might make it easy to praise him (this distorted version of him) while denouncing Colin Kaepernick, whose words are directed against the same source of oppression. But eventually we will be forced to pay attention to these words.

When people refuse to be persuaded by words, violence becomes necessary. America wasn’t persuaded by the peaceful words of Dr. King because America is based on violence: it fell back on the one thing it knows, and America murdered Dr. King in 1968.

Today, millions of whites are angry with Colin Kaepernick, claiming he’s disrespecting the American military and the American soldiers who gave their lives to guarantee his right to play football (and to shut up and be happy). So, not wanting to pay attention to his words, white people go directly to militarism. And this makes sense because the American flag is synonymous with the values of militarism.

Americans refuse to “undergo a radical revolution of values.” Whenever we are challenged to confront our violent, materialistic, racist past and present, whites choose to hate the messenger. But their message is for our own good. If we accept this challenge, we will recognize that none of these wars has been fought to guarantee the rights and freedom of oppressed peoples: colonized Africans, indigenous peoples, Latinxs, Hawaiians, Vietnamese, Palestinians, Iraqis, and on and on … the entire globe outside Europe. These wars were fought for white property rights, for profits– things, not people.

As Omali Yeshitela, Chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party, has stated: during the period of World War II, lynching Africans (Black people) was a national pastime in the United States.

Malcolm Little, long before he changed his last name to “X,” knew the unjust reality of the American military when he avoided the draft by pretending to be of unsound mind.

Black workers were recruited by Kaiser to escape the South (at the risk of being shot) in order to work in wartime factories (for less pay than their white counterparts) in cities like Oakland and Portland. After the war, Black workers in Portland were forced into the makeshift, segregated city of Vanport. When the dyke broke and Vanport was flooded, with no intervention by the white government, the lives of many Black people were totally devastated.

So how did support for the military– the basis for American values– benefit oppressed people who fought in the war or worked in the factories? Black people, regardless of any support for the American flag and military, continue to be treated by America as second class citizens (the same as being treated as subhuman, or three-fifths of a human being).

After World War II, capitalist policies created the so-called ghetto in Oakland and other cities where the wartime economy boomed on account of Black labor.

Dr. King called the “ghetto” a “domestic colony.” And when he said this he was attempting to persuade white people to radically change our values, the values of capitalist exploitation, military aggression and white supremacy that have led to the creation and maintenance of these domestic colonies.

If we can’t be persuaded by peaceful words, then the violence we have fallen back on again and again will be turned against us.

Scientific socialist theory makes this an historical necessity. We will only change our values– the ideals in our hearts snd minds– when control of the means of production in this society is violently taken away from us by the oppressed masses of the world. As long as we are situated in a bourgeois society that elevates whites by violently oppressing Africans (wherever they live), the values and ideals of whites will reflect this unjustly elevated class status. We will continue to show reverence toward the American flag, and stand (if we are able) during performances of the national anthem.

Yet imagine white people rooting for more than the culturally empty, morally corrupt, materialistic American identity– and the military and police who enforce these values. What if we could, in fact, radically revolutionize our hearts and minds, and develop an identity that isn’t based on genocide, stolen land, stolen culture, and unpaid reparations to Black people? The only thing stopping us from doing this is a collective will to power that begins with ME and YOU. And we won’t relinquish our elevated status until a collective, organized will that is stronger than ours forces us to give up the material advantages we enjoy– forces us at gunpoint the same as America has done to the world.

But the beautiful opportunity is still there for us to turn our backs on capitalism, whiteness, and star-spangled militarism, and focus instead on creating a real community, similar perhaps to the unique identities within the European continent that we exchanged for the homogenized, cookie cutter, hypocritical American identity.

It’s very doubtful we will be persuaded to undergo this “radical revolution of values,” but maybe there’s a tiny amount of humanity left in us that we haven’t given up in order to be proud “Americans.” We should love ourselves enough to believe so, and stop hating and murdering those who are helping us find this hidden treasure of lost humanity.

Dr. King’s Dream: From 8/28/1963 to 4/4/1967 to 8/28/2016

Colin Kaepernick’s Brave Words Are About More than Freedom of Speech

The liberal reaction to Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand up for “The National Anthem,” and his comments about this principled act of resistance, is that “America” is a free country, and “Americans” are therefore free to voice their opinions no matter what they are.

This attempt to avoid controversy– and “racial tensions”– places Kaepernick’s actions and words in the context of freedom of speech: a right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.  So the liberal view (barely distinguishable from the conservative view) is that “America” is great, because it guarantees the right to free speech.  And this liberal attempt to smooth over divisions in society– deep, historical differences that are basic to “America”‘s existence– has the potential effect of erasing Colin Kaepernick’s actual message.  But, then again, it’s a frequently used liberal tactic to protect the interests of the bourgeois ruling class by softening the language of the oppressor without truly challenging the basis for this oppression.

The next time a professional athlete says something homophobic, transphobic, racist or sexist, or defends the murderous actions of the military or police, liberals will have already given up ground to the enemy (capitalism) by arguing that these statements are just a matter of free speech.

According to the liberal view, the differences between the oppressor (white nationalist, colonial capitalism) and the oppressed (Africans/Black people, indigenous peoples and, in general terms, people of color) are almost meaningless: we’re all “Americans” with rights guaranteed by the Constitution.  What is meaningful to the liberal is the same thing that’s meaningful to the conservative: the U.S. Constitution, and the philosophical idealist dream of “America.”  Never mind that the Constitution and “America” have never meant actual freedom for colonized Africans and indigenous peoples– people of color.  In philosophical materialist terms, “America” is just a settler colony of European imperialist capitalism, an empire built on white supremacy, patriarchy, and ongoing genocide against Africa and the world.

Once we recognize the dialectic of the oppressor and the oppressed (or the colonizer and the colonized), we can then recognize that we are in a war of ideas.  Colin Kaepernick recognizes these divisions exist.  He didn’t create them.  The Black Lives Matter movement didn’t create the divisions in “America.”  This “divisive” situation was created when Europe invaded Africa and the Americas more than five hundred years ago.  The United States was built on this division.

Capitalism requires the division between the parasitic, oppressive bourgeoisie and the oppressed masses of the global proletariat, whose exploited labor, resources and lives are the basis for the wealth and power that white people enjoy.  This dialectic (colonizer/colonized) must be enforced through violence, and that’s why Black bodies are in the streets while police officers get paid leave for murder– to paraphrase Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick bravely chose a side in this conflict.  He used his status as a football star to heighten the contradictions of capitalism and to point out the material reality of the United States, beyond the hazy fantasies of the American flag and “The National Anthem.”  His brave stand against white supremacist, colonial aggression involves more than simply voicing an opinion.

Perhaps we are guaranteed the right to voice our opinions in this country– that is, some of us, some of the time.  But do the oppressed actually have any right or power to improve their conditions by stating their views?  If it’s only a question of one’s ability to voice an opinion (no matter what it is– hooray for America!), then: no.  But if it’s about mobilizing and then organizing the masses of oppressed people in order to gain real political power: we can answer “yes!” when the people are victorious in this struggle.

The challenge for white people isn’t to pat ourselves on our collective back because we believe Colin Kaepernick has the right, as an “American,” to speak his mind.  The challenge for whites who believe Black Lives Matter, and who value freedom, peace, equality and justice (as opposed to “America”) is to choose a side.  Choose to fight on the side of the oppressed and to materially support African revolutionaries wherever they are in the world.  Pay reparations to Black people.  Support a complete and qualitative change to the system of power: organize for socialism.  Stop violent white reactionaries.  Choose the side of Colin Kaepernick and the people he has courageously spoken for– not just because he has the freedom to do so, but because Black people are not free.

Colin Kaepernick’s Brave Words Are About More than Freedom of Speech

The Wolf (Capitalism) in Sheep’s Clothing (Liberalism)

It may be crucial for us to consider how adaptable capitalism is. The political, economic and social hierarchy of capitalism is very rigid and its aim– to create greater and greater profits for the ruling class– doesn’t change. However, the institutions that carry out these ideological and material aims are very protean or fluid.

Capitalism must be both flexible and unyielding at the same time. It must always make profits. It must always leech off the resources and labor of the world– people of color. Without this life source capitalism will die. But how it maintains this parasitic relationship is highly adaptable. And capitalism is able to survive because it fools us about what it is. Capitalism uses its infinitely complex web of institutions– corporations (big and small), government (at all levels, including schools), churches, even nonprofit organizations and community groups– to maintain the basic dialectic of oppressor (white-controlled bourgeoisie) and oppressed (people of color, the majority of the world who are the proletariat).

Institutions within capitalism can change names, change marketing strategies, or even be eliminated. In fact, the history of capitalism is a history of the failure of individual institutions. We could go back and find out which stocks were part of the Dow Jones average a hundred years ago. Institutions are always failing, but if we keep our focus on the ruling class and the basic dialectic, it remains the same, and it continues to be successful throughout all the volatile ups and downs.

By maintaining our focus on the basic dialectic of capitalism, and its ruling class, we may become more wary of institutional changes within the system. We won’t be so caught up on whether an institution is private or public– it’s all capitalism. We won’t be so supportive of gradual or incremental change, because we will recognize that capitalism is very flexible and powerful: it can take one step back in order to move two steps forward. Instead, we will consider how capitalism’s decisions affect the masses.

As Kwame Ture said, capitalism always lies. So it’s always safe to start with the recognition of that fact. If we know the system is always lying to us, then we won’t celebrate any incremental changes it is making, any new labels on the same bottles of the old poison. If we are able, all we need to do is look around us– beyond the suburbs, beyond the gentrified areas of cities, beyond the so-called white community– and see how the masses of people are doing. When the masses of people– mostly people of color– are released from prisons and detention centers, then we can celebrate. But only the masses can make this happen. If capitalism is doing it for us, we can be sure that it’s for some other purpose. The ruling class will never give up the material advantages it controls through the violent oppression of the majority of humanity and the earth itself.

Liberalism is the sheep’s clothing that the wolf– capitalism– puts on. And a wolf must always act like a wolf. But, unlike actual wolves, capitalism is an unnatural monster, no matter how many costume changes it makes or how sweetly its jagged steel teeth may smile– its jaws are opening only to devour more of humanity, and other animals and living things as well. If we want peace and justice, we must kill the monster.

The Wolf (Capitalism) in Sheep’s Clothing (Liberalism)

The Police Murders of Colonized Communities and All Murders of Trans People of Color Are Connected

TransLivesMatterPhoto

When Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department shot Michael Brown multiple times and murdered him on August 9, 2014, the ideas in Officer Wilson’s head didn’t come from himself.

Darren Wilson was raised and trained in a system of power that put the ideas in his head that Black lives lack value, and that Black people must be controlled, killed, and left to bleed in the street for hours without any respect given to our shared humanity.

Not only did Darren Wilson get these ideas from the current system of power, he was, in fact, empowered by this system.  This system is white supremacist, patriarchal, colonial capitalism.

The material basis for Officer Darren Wilson’s murderous actions was capitalism’s control of the means of production in society.  The ruling class that controls the means of production for the entire society is white supremacist, patriarchal, and capitalist, and these ideas of the ruling class permeate all classes within the tiered structure of this bourgeois society.

When any person– typically a cisgender man– has murdered a Black transgender woman, the violent ideas in his head did not originate with himself.  The bourgeois view will tell us that he was simply an evil or troubled man.  The bourgeois media, schools, politicians, churches, and corporations (if they pay any attention at all to the death of a Black transgender woman) will attempt to disconnect the murderous acts of this individual from the larger society.

The bourgeois view is to isolate both the murderer and the victim from the root cause, which is the system of power that put the ideas for violence in the head of the murderer, and which marginalized and endangered the victim even before they were murdered (basically, for their entire life).

The reason the bourgeois view attempts to isolate these individuals and events is that it is not in the material interests of the bourgeoisie, or the petty bourgeoisie who depend on the ruling class for our benefits, to make this connection.  If we were to make the connection between 1) a cisgender man’s murder of a transgender woman of color and 2) the system of power, then the source of all our material benefits, and therefore the entire structure of society, would be called into question– and this cannot be allowed by capitalism because it goes against its interests.

Even when a trans person of color takes their own life, the root cause of this suicide is the same as when a cis man murders a trans woman of color.  The transphobic ideology of capitalism, as well as its violent prevention of access to the material necessities of life, are the fundamental cause of suicide by a trans person of color.  And this root cause is connected to the same cause that empowered Officer Darren Wilson to murder Michael Brown two years ago, because they are both part of the same system: capitalism.

Capitalism was born white supremacist, patriarchal and imperialist when Europe attacked Africa and the Americas more than five hundred years ago.  European society was transphobic, homophobic, and misogynistic at the time of its attack on Africa.  Other societies around the globe were also patriarchal, but all societies, according to the objective laws of nature, evolve over time from one stage to the next.  And when Europe attacked Africa and the world, a global economic system locked the many societies of the world into place, all under the oppressive, parasitic control of the white ruling class.

Since capitalism is based on the few exploiting the many for the material enjoyment of the few, the ideological class interests of Europe have (naturally) moved to protect themselves.  For this reason, Europeans invented race and racism, and the white supremacist ideology, as well as “America” (a settler colony of Europe), in order to protect the wealth and power of a “race” and class who now identified as “white” in a dialectic where we’re the colonizers, and Africans, indigenous peoples and the majority of humanity are the colonized, from whose labor, resources, land and lives we materially benefit.

This rigid class structure must move to protect its interests, with cisgender, heterosexual white men at the top of the structure.  And capitalism must always move– as a reactionary force– to suppress any revolutionary movement from below.  The existence of capitalism depends on this dialectic remaining in place, and it remains in place through violence.

Capitalism doesn’t care who commits this violent, as long as their reactionary acts of violence promote the ideological and material interests of the white, cis/het ruling class.  Capitalism doesn’t care whether this violence is committed by someone in uniform or out of uniform.  Capitalism doesn’t care if this violence is committed by a white person or a Black person.  In fact, a white transgender woman may also commit this violence by taking up space in nonprofit organizations, or not paying Black women for their organizing and artistic work, or (in general) not paying reparations to Black people.  As long as the rigid system of power is kept in place, capitalism doesn’t care who the individual is, as long as they are promoting capitalism’s interests.

In conclusion, violence against Black people is not a question of the individual, whether it’s Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department murdering Michael Brown, or any cis man (Black, white, or another “race”) murdering a Black trans woman.  It’s a question of systemic power, and the ability of oppressed communities to protect themselves.  And when a Black trans person takes their own life (like our hero Blake Brockington) the root cause of this violence is still the same as the root cause for the murder of Michael Brown or for the murders of Black trans women (whose murderers are often not even pursued by the white supremacist, patriarchal, capitalist system).  All of these deaths are the result of ideas having been put in the heads of individuals by a system that is anti-Black, anti-Black women, anti-Black trans women, and, of course,  anti-working class Black people.  Anyone who murders a Black trans woman, or abuses her in any way, is promoting the interests of a racist, anti-Black system.

To be transphobic is to be anti-Black.  To be homophobic is to be anti-Black.  To be sexist is to be anti-Black.  And capitalism, of course, is anti-Black.  Because all these forms of systemic violence are rooted in the same system of power, and they all come from the ideology and material interests of the white-controlled ruling class.  The ruling class is content with violence being committed by anybody– Black, white, trans, cis, queer, straight, woman, man, rich, poor– existing at any one of these intersectional identities, as long as this reactionary violence benefits the rigid, tiered structure of capitalist society.

Any time a Black trans person is murdered, just like the murder of Michael Brown, the system that put the idea for destruction in the mind of the killer is the same: white supremacist, patriarchal, colonial capitalism.  Capitalism is the main enemy of trans people, Black people, people of color and all of humanity.

The Police Murders of Colonized Communities and All Murders of Trans People of Color Are Connected

“I was born and bred in … England and she has nothing to worry about” — England?! Everybody Run!!

WhiteFckry.jpg

The Quran teaches us to have patience and to show forgiveness, so we ask many blessings from God to be bestowed on a Muslim woman, Jiva Akbor, who (through God’s help) turned a moment of white supremacist violence against her on a flight into a so-called teachable moment.

The important thing for the Muslim sister is that she is at peace with her response to this white woman who said she was scared to sit next to her because the Muslim sister had texted the word “Allah.”

But if this isn’t the biggest example ever of white ignorance, white entitlement and (above all) white fragility, it’s hard to say just what it is.  We can– and should– forgive this white woman, for the sake of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), but the system of white supremacist imperialist capitalism that misled and twisted her thinking about Islam cannot and should not be forgiven.

It’s outrageous that the beautiful Muslim sister Jiva Akbor was put in a position where she had to convince a panicking blond-haired, blue-eyed white woman that she– Jiva– is “just a regular Muslim girl” who likes to talk “about Scotland, about England, … the exchange rate … [and] about Pokemon Go.”

The Muslim sister glorified our Lord with her patience and her generous heart.  May Allah (swt) bless her and reward her greatly for her act.  At the same time, no Muslim of color should be required to prove for the white gaze that they are “normal” or “nonthreatening.”

This conversation (of sorts) may not have been traumatizing to a Muslim sister whose focus was so purely intent on the rewards of Jannah and on Allah’s (swt) pleasure.  Yet this outrageous incident reflects centuries of trauma caused by an evil, and unequal, relationship between colonizer (Europe) and colonized (the rest of the world).

What is perhaps most outrageous is the assumption that the fact Jiva Akbor had been “born and bred in Greater Manchester, England” was cause for this white person (or any other nervous white person on the flight) to have “nothing to worry about.”

England?

Really?!

England is probably the worst purveyor of violence in the history of the world.  Look at what England did in India, in Kenya, in the Caribbean, Canada, Australia, China, and (of course) what England continues to do through its white supremacist settler colony “the United States of America.”

England’s settler colony, the United States, is responsible for ongoing genocide not only against the indigenous peoples to whom this land rightly belongs, but against colonized Africans/Black people who still have not been paid reparations for stolen lives, labor and resources.  Everywhere England has gone in the world it has left a path of blood, bones, broken lives, and destroyed civilizations behind it.  England is terrifying– literally.

My “ancestors” were from England.  Which makes me an “English-American.”  I guess.  I probably still belong in England. I’m also a Muslim woman. Yet Bill Clinton wasn’t asking me to stay here and help us win and make a future together.”  He was asking Muslims who are racialized and othered– both as people of color and as “foreigners” to help “us” win.  Who’s “us”?  White people.

The assumption is that white people– “even” white Muslims– belong here, and are the “us.”  No– this land belongs to indigenous peoples.  As a Black trans woman named Vita so accurately stated, white people are guests here– “rude guests.”  But Bill Clinton is telling Muslims to “stay here” and to help “us” win– once Muslims have proved that we love America and hate terrorism, something white people or non-Muslims are never asked to do, either on airplanes or on the ground.  “Win” what?   Win more power for white-controlled capitalism– more power, and more wealth, for the “rude guests.”

As soon as a passenger– Muslim or not– says, “Hey, I’m from England!”  maybe that’s the time to make an emergency landing, clear the plane, call in the military, issue a red alert, and hide in the cellar.  Wherever the English have gone in the world, over the past six centuries or so, it has been bad news– brutal news– for the people in that region.

In fact, the reason a potential “terrorist” from Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, or Syria would be any sort of a threat to all people in the world, not just Europeans (because the terrorists kill more Muslims than any other group), is on account of the colonial and neocolonial violence of white countries like England, France and Belgium.

Europe has destabilized the entire globe through its inhumane system of white supremacist, imperialist capitalism.  England robs and murders people all around the world, and then further endangers everyone through the reactionary violence it has created.  England is the biggest culprit in history.

So if anyone on a flight should happen to say, “Don’t worry, I’m from England” this is the time to panic and start screaming and begging the pilot to land the plane.

But, seriously, the most dangerous people in the world are white people in suits and ties, and skirt suits and pantsuits, carrying briefcases.  The white-controlled ruling class has done more damage than everybody else in history combined.

So instead of being afraid of a Black teenager wearing a hoodie, or a beautiful Muslim sister wearing the hijab, perhaps we should be more concerned about the guardians of this ruling class: “terrorists” in blue uniforms with badges, or “thugs” wearing camouflage and combat boots.

And you know who we should be keeping a close eye on (if we’re able)?  European colonizers.  White people.  Like me.  It might just be we are gentrifying a neighborhood in Portland, plotting to open another Whole Foods, or maybe we’re about to freak out on a plane because the nice Muslim woman next to us is typing the Arabic word for “God.”

But, no, we should fear no person, no event, nothing– we should only fear God.  And we should turn to God again and again asking for His Mercy.  Because we are in tremendous need of His Infinite Mercy.  White people like me have a lot of forgiveness to be asking for.

I pray we will ask for the forgiveness of Allah (swt), Who is Most Compassionate, Most Merciful, for our crime of not ending white supremacist, capitalist colonial terror, for calling the cops whenever a Black person scares us, for complaining about Black women on a train so they end up getting kicked off, and for harassing Muslim women of color on airplanes.

There’s a lot of forgiveness from Allah (swt) we need to be asking for as white people.  And a lot of gratitude for us to express to Allah (swt) that Muslim sisters like Jiva Akbor are so patient with us.

“I was born and bred in … England and she has nothing to worry about” — England?! Everybody Run!!

Remaining Human in an Inhumane System

Political power is like a bulldozer shoving mounds of earth in this direction or that.  The heavy machinery of the dominant class moves things out of the way: things that do not benefit the ruling class, making room for the things that do.  But the objects being shoved to the side, these things being piled up by political power, with some of these objects meant to be hauled off by the dump trucks of capitalism, and others meant to be ground into gravel or converted into other objects, are, in fact, human lives.

In this process of dislocating and relocating human life, the current system of power– European imperialist capitalism– places higher value on some lives (white) and lower value on others (Black and brown).  Masses of humanity– actual Black and brown bodies– are shoved to one side by the capitalist machine in order to make room, quite literally, for those lives who are considered by this system to be more valuable.  This project becomes a problem of weight, of waste disposal, of a highly flexible application of force (both physical and psychological), as the machine lowers its cold steel into the warm earth and pushes unwanted objects out of the way.

Bodies have a tendency to resist force, and living bodies rebel, meeting violent displacement with their own violence.  So this problem also becomes– in the view of the machine– a further problem of balancing 1) the amount of blood necessary to suppress and control these objects with 2) the amount of moral justification necessary to keep the machine functional, since this machine is also, in fact, a mass of human life: the white bourgeoisie and its white dependents (including me).

Less valuable bodies are literally marginalized: pushed to the side by the machinery of white-controlled capitalism.  Then these displaced bodies are additionally targeted, as the sophisticated controls of the ruling class recognize that force will be met with force.  The military, the police and prisons are costly parts in the sprawling structure of the bourgeois machine.  However, a careful analysis by the ruling class will not only demonstrate that building and maintaining these forces of control is still worth their high cost, but also that the military, the police and the prisons are highly profitable.

*

Capitalism requires labor to build and maintain its machine.  It also needs these workers to buy the products of its machine.  If the workers are paid too little, they won’t be able to purchase the very commodities that they have produced, and capitalism suffers.  But capitalism only can function if its profits rise.  So cuts in the budget are necessary, and this means, once again, the image of the bulldozer as it shoves mounds of humanity to the side like dirt.  But this isn’t dirt– it’s human life, which tends to rebel when its survival is at stake.  No longer able to to purchase the commodities that its work produced, and no longer deemed necessary to work at all, displaced and discarded humanity will strike back against the source of violence.  And this is when the military, the police and prisons become necessary.

Since the machine, and those who benefit from its destructive control, are also masses of humanity (most often with pale skin), there is a psychological toll on this collective mass, a disturbance or agitation created by the guilt associated with so much violence against so many who have been exploited and destroyed.

*

Humans are essentially the same: each person is one body, with heart, mind, and soul; a finite weight with a finite lifespan.  Systems of power and class hierarchies within these systems are the main difference in humanity, other than cultural experiences and worldviews that go beyond material necessities of food, water, clothing, housing, and education.  The machine itself has created the materialist dialectic: Europe and the rest of humanity.  White bodies are viewed by this machine as more valuable, and so are white psyches, so they must be protected at all costs, along with the trajectory of ever-increasing profits through the additional violent suppression of “non-white” bodies (the majority of humanity).  Not only must white bodies be protected in order for the capitalist machine to function, but the collective white psyche must be protected– without hurting profits.

And so the displaced humanity of the world, the objectified, othered masses of brown people outside the whitewashed consciousness of the colonizer must be handled in such a way that the threat of their actual bodies (either real or perceived) is diminished, but also in such a way that the violence necessary to suppress their disposable bodies does not harm the fragile white mind.  When the military strikes against brown bodies on “foreign soil,” the collective white mind is convinced that such violence is necessary against evil people (hardly even human), and we’re formed (rather than informed) by the machine that its targets are carefully chosen, and that “America” (which exists on soil that is foreign to white bodies) must always be a source of pride: “Thank the troops,” “USA! USA!,” and so on.

When the police in the United States strike against unarmed Black people, the machine’s official narrative (on the media and from politicians) must be one that justifies this violence, protecting the fragile white mind, even as this violence benefits all white bodies.

When transgender women of color are locked up in detention centers, to be brutalized by cisgender men, this violence by the machine must be hidden, and the lives and bodies of its victims erased.

Protecting white property interests and fragile white psyches is big business, just as it has been since the first slave ship left Africa.  In the current age, the corporation G4S is a good example of this big business, for it is one of the top five largest corporations in the world.

*

Capitalism has always profited off Black pain.  And capitalism has always attempted to humanize the monster creating this pain– usually through dehumanizing the people suffering it.

First there was chattel slavery.  Then there was Jim Crow.  And now there are prisons, the police, detention centers, state surveillance, and white vigilantes (who are taken to Burger King following a killing spree inspired by the white supremacist programming that is essential to capitalism’s maintenance and growth).

Without attempting to sound fatalistic or defeatist, the police and other white supremacist murders of Black people and (in general terms) people of color are going to get worse.  That may not even sound possible, things are so bad already.  But the police don’t murder Black people just because the police are evil.  Prisons don’t exist simply because the United States is evil.  White people don’t support these institutions, either actively or by passively looking the other way, merely because we’re evil.

These violent institutions exist because they are profitable, or are designed to protect profits– and as resources grow more scarce, increasing profits must be protected, and,  therefore, systemic violence will increase.  As neighborhoods are further gentrified and white people scramble to buy these finite resources that we can barely afford (if at all), the police and military perform the function of the bulldozer, the machine within the machine whose task is to push mounds of humanity out of the way, making room for whites.

The capitalist system must protect its profits.  Goods and services– and gadgets– are becoming more and more expensive.  Who can afford them?

White people have grown accustomed, during these six past centuries, to being upwardly mobile and having access to things we need and want (the distinction between these two blurred by a million television commercials).  We’re scared.  What if we can’t live the “American Dream” like our grandparents did?  So we scramble to grab what we feel we’re entitled to as whites, and as Americans (the American identity being, essentially, a white and therefore a white supremacist identity).  And we support a system that makes this scramble to grab finite resources easier– easier for white folks.

However, in this process of colonial domination, a certain trace of guilt may enter the collective conscience of white people.  And so we need a fix for that too.  And the capitalist machine has this fix.  It packs brown people away in prisons– out of sight, out of mind (for whites).  Just as the capitalist machine shoves indigenous peoples onto reservations, and colonized Africans/Black people into so-called “ghettos.”  Out of sight.  Out of mind.  The overwhelming suffering of people around the globe is filtered out by ABC World News Tonight– whose world?  The world of the white mind.

White people sit on the stolen land of indigenous peoples, the blood and bones of genocide beneath concrete, asphalt, and expensive parks in the forest we hike in as an escape from the sterile, lifeless world that we’ve imposed on people, animals, plants– everything on the planet.

One would think our collective psyche might be in danger of breaking down at any moment, with so much death and suffering around us and beneath us.  Yet European colonizers (whites) go to the mall instead, or argue about sports, or bourgeois politics.

Even so, one’s faith in universal humanity may be strong enough to believe that, not too far beneath the surface, even white people feel the horror of the system that we created.

But, rather than facing this horror, whites hire G4S to shove it even further from our collective mind.  And the horrors of European imperialist capitalism will increase.  Because the profits are increasing, and capitalism must always squeeze more profits from earth and people.  And this leaves white people scrambling to maintain our material advantage, shoving our humanity to even more remote corners of our collective mind.

This effort to push out our guilt, created by the global terror of European imperialist capitalism, agitates our soul, and this agitation must be masked by more … stuff.  White people need to keep buying, keep killing, buying, killing: buy, buy,  buy, kill, kill, kill and kill, still killing.  And then we change the channel, or scroll down the Facebook page.  The white psyche must be protected at all costs.  As for our humanity– capitalism couldn’t care less about that.

How does one remain human within this inhumane machine?  How do we respond to the latest murder of a Black woman by the police?  How do we feel— deeply, truly, humanely– when we learn of the latest murder of a Black trans woman by any cisgender man who is performing the same sociopolitical function as the police– to enforce white supremacist, patriarchal, capitalist ideology and interests?  How do we FEEL?  In this system, how do we maintain our humanity, while the bulldozers of imperialist capitalism prepare to shove heaps of broken lives into the corners of our collective mind, in every corner of the globe?

Capitalism treats humanity like garbage, even dehumanizing the minority on the globe (whites) who benefit from this colonial genocide.  When a beautiful life is stolen from us, a young Black woman whose eyes still look back at us from a Facebook post or a tweet, then everything should stop until there is justice.  Regular programming should be canceled.  Baseball games should be canceled.  Flights should be canceled.  Businesses should close.  Because somebody’s life has been takenWe aren’t we acting?  Can we even feel anything?  But the machine, right on schedule, goes right on churning out products for consumers– that is, for those who can afford these products, and right on churning out death and disposal for everyone else.

We can’t have a community when systemic violence is considered business-as-usual.  The beneficiaries of European imperialist capitalism’s violence against the globe cannot have a community.  Because we have lost our humanity. How can we go about our lives as if nothing has happened when yet another beautiful Black trans woman has been murdered?  Capitalism attempts to normalize this.  It attempts to justify it too– as white supremacist, patriarchal, colonial capitalism has always attempted to justify its genocide.  And so the fragile white psyche is protected, as well as the increasing profits of this machine.

I have no answers, only prayers.  I pray God will have mercy on humanity.  I pray that the oppressed peoples of the globe will be freed from the system of European imperialist capitalism. I pray we will learn to turn off our televisions, turn off our phones, stop buying, stop selling, stop driving around in our cars like nothing has happened when another person of color– specifically, a Black person– has been murdered.  I pray we will learn to take care of one another.  I pray we will protect trans women, especially trans women of color.  Protect Black trans women.  I pray we will have the patience and honesty to pause and reflect on what this machine– capitalism– is doing to the world.

I pray for socialist revolution.

 

 

 

Remaining Human in an Inhumane System