Why Cis/Het White Men Are What’s Wrong with America

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Kwame Ture said:

“When you face an enemy, you must demystify the enemy. The enemy is a man just like you; the enemy is a woman just like you. … Demystify the enemy.”

It’s easy to blame white men– specifically, cisgender and/or heterosexual white men– for the problems in “America” today.  Almost two-thirds (63%) of the white men who voted in the U.S. presidential election supported Donald Trump.  Beyond statistics, it’s not difficult to recognize that much of the economic inequality and systemic violence found in “America” today exists on account of one segment of the population: cis/het white men.  White men have become a frequent target for criticism or ridicule by progressives who are women, people of color, gay, transgender, and working class (or all the above).

But why are white men– cisgender/heterosexual white men– the problem with “America”?

Is there anything inherently wrong with the European/white male identity?

If we think the answer to this question is “yes,” we are actually disrespecting Africans/Black people, Indigenous peoples and all so-called people of color.  By claiming that the white male identity is problematic in itself, we are really saying that “race” is determined by inherent characteristics, and that “race” is something more than a political category.  What this answer seems to indicate is that white men are powerful because they are “bad.”  Therefore, Africans/Black people, and all people of color lack power because they are “good.”  This becomes a patronizing and unscientific point of view.  Sure, it may be good to be “good” (in a moral sense), but it’s not good to be weak; it’s never good to lack power.  And if the main explanation for the unjust, unequal, oppressive and violent amount of power that cisgender, heterosexual, white men have is simply that they are “bad,” this means they will always have more power, as long as they exist, while people of color will always have less power.  This viewpoint mystifies the enemy.

This mystification of the enemy may be one reason that the term “white supremacist” can be misleading.  The only thing supreme or superior about white people is that we have more power.  If we think this makes us inherently better, it’s probably because we’re insecure.  But take away our unequal share of wealth and power, and we’re nothing.  Because there isn’t anything magical or mystical about power.  Societies are constantly changing, evolving, with one class seizing power from another class.  The only question that is difficult to answer about power is how to seize it.

And the reason white men are the problem with “America” is that they have too much power.  But this isn’t an accurate statement either.  We have to go one step further:

What’s wrong with “America” is America.

America is the problem.  The United States of America is what’s wrong with society.

And when we say the United States of America is the problem, we mean the racist, patriarchal and capitalist settler colony of Europe that sits on top of stolen Indigenous land, sucking the resources, labor and lives out of the majority of the world’s nations.  What we mean is that America is an extension of capitalism, the system that has controlled the global economy since the 1400s.  Capitalism is the enemy.  And “America” is the monster that imperialist capitalism created– primarily for the benefit of white men.

But it’s a mistake for whites who aren’t cis/het white men to blame the white guys for all the oppression that humanity has been going through for the past six hundred years.  White women want to blame the white guys– and if they are white feminists, they try to blame all men, regardless of “race.”  White trans people want to blame the white cis guys too.  White gays want to blame the straight whites, especially straight white guys.  The cis/het white guy– especially if he has money– seems to be the favorite target of criticism by white progressives in these marginalized identities.  Everybody likes to go after the straight, cisgender white guy.

The problem with this view of white men isn’t that they are getting picked on too much.  This view– that white men are responsible for most of the systemic oppression in the world– is mistaken because it ignores the material reality of how power works.  It’s true: capitalism was created by cis/het white men and for cis/het white men.  But white guys wouldn’t be able to control the entire global economy just on their own.  Because this would require some superhuman, magical power.  There are still too few of them as an overall percentage of the world’s population.  In fact, white men are a shrinking part of the American population.

This is where white women come in (cis or trans).  The majority of white women also voted for Donald Trump.  And there is nothing magical or mystical about why white women also supported Trump: it’s power.  It has always been about power.

Socialism is a system where the producers of a society equally share power.  There is no hierarchy under socialism, other than the dictatorship of the proletariat: that is, under socialism the capital class (which produces none of the resources in a society, but only benefits from the fruits of the working class’s labor) is powerless.  Members of the capital class may feel oppressed about this new social, political and economic arrangement, but systemic oppression is not subjective.  It’s not about feelings.  In order to share in the power of the socialist system, the bourgeoisie must disappear as a class and join the proletariat.  Once the bourgeoisie has disappeared, another qualitative change in society takes place, and then we have reached the point of communism: no classes, no property, no borders.

Capitalism, on the other hand, is a system that requires an unequal share of power within its hierarchy of classes.  European men created capitalism for their own benefit, but they have always used class antagonisms within the tiered structure of capitalist society to consolidate and expand their power.  Through systemic rewards and punishments (“the carrot and the stick”) individuals within each tier of the bourgeois social structure act out of self-interest (or self-preservation), further oppressing members of marginalized groups in order to get ahead.

Capitalism is built on this individualistic opportunism.  But the individual has no power on their own: their power to oppress comes entirely from the ruling class.  And as long as the ruling class is making greater and greater profits, all individuals in all classes below it are “free” to oppress marginalized identities– “free” in the ironic sense (irony having been banished from “America” some time around 1776).  This is the “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” embedded in the ideology of bourgeois (capitalist) democracy: the freedom to take advantage of the racist, patriarchal power structure for one’s personal gain.

This means white gays are empowered in much the same way as white straights to get ahead by aligning themselves with the homophobic power structure.  There are some areas where white gays are marginalized within the capitalist hierarchy.  But this vulnerability that white gays experience in relation to the inherent homophobia of capitalism doesn’t erase their whiteness.  And the same is true for white women overall, including white trans women.

In one sense, all whites are white men.  When it comes to the question of power, and how we use any of the power that we have in order to advance on an individual level, all Europeans are cis/het white men.  Why?  Because we all want what they have.  Having what white men have means comfort and security for us too.  And all whites are incentivized by the racist, patriarchal power structure of capitalism to act white.

Whiteness, as a political identity, is based on power– and, more specifically, on the unequal share of power that white men have created for themselves.  So, when it comes to power, all white people– by acting white— are playing the part of white men: cisgender, heterosexual white men.  There’s nothing else to whiteness but a grab for more and more power, and the wealth that goes along with this power.

The “American” identity is a nearly perfect disguise for all white people here to act white– to play the role of the cis/het white guy.  Except we call it “patriotism” (this sounds less like “white supremacy” or “white nationalism”).

In fact, the “American” identity allows– or rather, empowers– many people of color to play the role of the white guy as well.  However, we won’t criticize people of color in this analysis, and not just to “stay in our lane.”  It’s an objective reality that Africans/Black people did not create this system.  Indigenous peoples did not create this system.  Certainly queer and transgender people of color (QTPOC) did not create capitalism.  So the complicity is not the same for people of color in the systemic oppression perpetuated by “America” as it is for whites.  Even as “America” has become more “inclusive” it has done so to consolidate and expand the power of the current system, not to restore land and resources to Indigenous peoples, Africans, and all other colonized communities.  And any quantitative change in the condition of people of color that takes places under capitalism is based on a shift in systemic oppression to some other segment of their colonized community, or some other community altogether.  This is why so many people in countries terrorized by European imperialist capitalism come to the United States and want to be “American” as well: power.  Without its greater share of wealth and power, at the expense of the globe, the U.S. settler colony would be nothing.  Whiteness would be nothing.

The problem with “America” is not cis/het white men.  The problem with “America” is America.  Capitalism is the enemy of the world (people and earth), and the United States would be nothing without the system of power that holds its illegitimate borders and unjust class hierarchy in place.  Whiteness, cisnormativity, heteronormativity, and toxic masculinity sit atop this hierarchy of capitalism, assuring through genocidal violence that this profitable and rigid structure remains unchanged.  But any identity– and any individual– that throws in their lot with the racist, patriarchal power structure, is empowered to oppress.  Capitalism harms the white woman– transgender or cisgender– at the point of transphobia and sexism, but, at the same time, capitalism arms her to oppress, and to further benefit from the exploitation of colonized communities, at every other point of her identity that is not a specific category for her marginalization.

There isn’t anything magical about being transgender, or woman, or gay, or even working class, that makes a white person’s whiteness suddenly go away.  Whiteness is built into the system of capitalism, along with transphobia, sexism, homophobia and class oppression.  And these forms of oppression are inseparable from “America” itself.  To be “American” and to “act white” is to perpetuate at least one of these forms of colonial oppression.

The solution to the problem of cis/het white men is the same as the solution for everyone else (because that’s how socialism works): a total transformation of the system of power resulting in an equal share of power by all.  Cisgender, heterosexual white men may have farther to step down from their colonial status, but a rejection of the “American” identity, accompanied by material support for the socialist revolutions led by colonized peoples, is the first important step– for white men, and for all whites who (up to this point) have been playing the part of the white man, enjoying many of the same benefits of capitalist oppression that are inherent to this system (and not to the European male identity).

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Why Cis/Het White Men Are What’s Wrong with America

Peace Is Bread: The Science of Socialism

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Socialism, in the simplest terms, is the marriage of the ideals we seek—freedom, justice, equality and peace—with their material fact.

Socialism is the synthesis of these two contradictory forces that exist within the capitalist system during the present stage of history: while, in our hearts and minds, we want freedom, justice, equality and peace, at the same time—even the most ardent defenders of capitalism must confess—these principles are not the reality for our bodies, and do not tangibly exist for many people, in regard to our ability to have access to the resources that are necessary for any person to feel or think at all.  Under capitalism, democratic ideals are contradicted by material fact.

There is a gap in capitalist democracy between 1) the stated principles of the Constitution (and other key documents of this system) and 2) the lived experience of the masses who struggle under its rule.

Advocates of the capitalist system argue that any system is going to be flawed.  “That’s life, ” they say.  For them, equality and inequality are all a matter of good luck or bad luck, of blessings from above, or their absence.  Advocates of capitalism may even go so far as to say that we should free ourselves from all systems, and all labels (sorry, Adam and Eve, no names for anything!), and from all centralized forms of government.

We might call this argument “bourgeois privilege”—the privilege of the white colonizer.  Having received the material benefits of capitalism, which have been accumulated over many generations, European colonizers (whites) in the United States are at liberty to ignore the [white supremacist] structures and institutions that have elevated us to our current status.  We are literally free to turn our backs on the oppressive reality of the system that made our colonial status possible in the first place.

In a libertarian reverie, we may honestly believe that all systems are bad, and that any constraints on the individual are some form of tyranny; but, if we would just look at what’s beneath our feet, whites may notice the material reality of our situation: that we exist on stolen indigenous land.  Without this land, we have no power to grow or shoot our own food (these are just a few images from the bourgeois libertarian fantasy, supported by actual proletarian labor), to build our own houses, and to find any of the materials for our clothing, our medicine and other necessities of life.  In order to do any of these things for ourselves– with “the government off our backs”– first we need land.  And how did we grab this land?  Through a system: a collective of power based on the shared interests of European settlers and expressed through military aggression.  Without genocide against indigenous peoples, we have no land.  Without land, we have no basis for our ideals of freedom, justice, equality and peace.

Under capitalism, it is impossible to resolve this contradiction between stated values (the things we believe in our hearts and minds) and material reality (how we actually live).  Socialism is the resolution to this contradiction.  Freedom in a socialist government means we are free to gain access to resources.  And, not coincidentally, justice and equality also mean access to resources, and it is through this access there is peace.  All these ideals (or their negations) meet within the material reality because access to resources—or control of the means of production—is the basis of rule: the rule of any class under any system of government, socialist or otherwise.  This is an inescapable, scientific fact.

We may agree or disagree about many topics and hold the widest variety of opinions, but there are certain things that all people need before we can have opinions, or do anything.  We need food.  We need water (clean water).  We need clothing, housing, education, and healthcare.  And it’s almost impossible to obtain these necessities on our own.

Education is a good example.  How can a person teach themselves language, and how to read and write?  Without a system of power, we would have to reinvent the wheel every generation, as well as the word for “wheel”.  What’s more, every individual in each generation would have to teach themselves the basics of life, starting from scratch.

Let’s say you want to drive a car.  Without the accumulated knowledge and power of the masses, and the system they have created, we could imagine this scenario: first, you would have to figure out how to design the car, then get the materials for it, then build it, and then build the road.  We know this isn’t possible.

But the libertarian view wants us to pretend such an unrealistic scenario is possible.  Why?  Because the libertarian ideology originates in the bourgeoisie and petit bourgeoisie, which exists off the labor of the proletariat.  Members of the bourgeois class may wish to justify their further exploitation of the actual producers within a society while they are enjoying the benefits of this production, and while they are then turning their free time, talents, and accumulated knowledge and wealth into even more benefits.  Since the capitalist system stands to grow stronger, and gain more power, from this viewpoint, it’s understandable that the libertarian or individualistic ideology would be accepted as valid, when in fact it has no basis in reality.

The socialist ideology simply states that— in order for actual peace, liberty, justice and equality to exist—the producers of material necessities in a society must control the means of production.  The workers who produce the food, clothing and other necessities for a society are empowered under socialism to distribute their own productions among themselves.

Under capitalism, food and all other products of human labor are first commodified by the ruling class and are then sold back to the workers at a higher price than the actual wage value of these products.  If the capitalist class were to sell these commodities back to the workers at the same price that they paid the workers for them, there would be no profit.  And these profits, by definition, go back to the capitalist class—the class that doesn’t actually produce any of these goods.  What sets the capitalist class apart is that it owns the means by which the workers produce these goods—these necessities for living.

Under socialism, the workers own these means of production.  Since there’s no profit motive, inequity is dis-incentivized.   Capitalism is a system that incentivizes inequality: it must sell the products of the workers’ labor back to the masses at a higher price than the wages that it has reluctantly paid the workers to produce these commodities.

Without any system at all, there wouldn’t be any means to produce the material necessities of life.  So the libertarian view is both unrealistic and dangerous.  It’s unrealistic because the reality is that the individual is dependent upon the masses of people for everything (to paraphrase Kwame Ture).  And the libertarian view is dangerous because it encourages a greater movement toward oligarchy.  Its ideological thrust results in the few who started out with more gaining even a larger share while the many lag further and further behind.  As this distance increases, the few are preoccupied with dreamy notions of “liberty” and “justice” rather than any consciousness of the unequal portion of labor’s production that they consume.

When libertarians and conservatives aren’t ranting against all systems they are engaged in crusades against “big government.”  Reactionaries on the right (as well as some reactionaries on the left) romanticize the small business owner, the entrepreneur, the farmer, the rancher.  What they fail to recognize is the connection between government and business under a bourgeois system of power.  For instance, higher taxes on corporate profits and on the incomes of the wealthy are, in effect, the capitalist system’s payment to itself.

Liberal reactionaries fail to recognize that the current government still belongs to the capitalist ruling class, even with more regulations, higher taxes and more programs that benefit the “poor.”  Under capitalism, the rich are rich by design and the poor are poor by design—the latter are, in fact, impoverished, not just poor.  Because poverty could be eliminated overnight if all private property were simply given back to the people.  The reactionary government—whether liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican—exists to maintain the unequal, unjust, violent and oppressive relationship between the owners of property (the bourgeoisie) and the workers who produce the actual wealth of a society (the proletariat).

Reactionaries try to set up an imaginary antagonism between government and business because this blurs the actual dialectic of bourgeois society: the class antagonism between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.  For instance, Republicans move against “big government” and attempt to dismantle the programs of the welfare state.  Democrats (if they aren’t too “New” in their fiscal conservatism and quest to compromise on every issue) try to defend these programs.  Yet both sides basically agree: a revolution by the workers would be a bad thing.

Higher taxes to support the welfare state are capitalism’s attempt to put down any potential rebellion from the masses of workers, who otherwise might recognize their own power.   And yet Republicans and Democrats argue back and forth as if there is an actual or material disagreement between them about the basic power structure of society.   The only difference between Republicans and Democrats is the degree of oppression they wish to allow.  And Democrats only wish to allow less oppression against the masses of people when it benefits them (the Democrats)—that is, when they are seeking to gain votes from the workers.  Since the workers possess no actual power under capitalism, Democrats run back to the capital class as soon as the election is over (who paid for their campaigns in the first place).  The only time Democrats display any real concern for the masses is when we show signs of revolt.  Then they become quite useful to the ruling class (who otherwise regard them as the hypocrites they are), because it’s during times of imperialist crisis that the Democrats promise to the suffering masses more reforms and more programs—anything except real power.

Socialism is true government by the people and for the people, at the material level.  Unless the system is meeting the needs of each individual at the level of access to material necessities, the socialist government isn’t functioning.  But the incentive to withhold necessary resources from the people is removed under socialism.

On the other hand, capitalism cannot exist without inequality.  The “capital” of capitalism requires a gap between the wage value of what the workers produce and the capital value of what the rulers own.  Since capitalism requires this gap, it chooses to produce commodities that may be of no actual benefit to a society—and quite the contrary, these commodities may have a very negative effect on the people and on the planet.   Under capitalism, the owners of wealth seek to accumulate greater wealth either through selling a larger quantity of an inexpensive commodity produced through suppressed wages (such as fast food), or a smaller quantity of an expensive commodity that the producers, with their low wages, couldn’t possibly afford (leading to gentrification).   Capitalism incentivizes unhealthy lifestyles, crime, dishonesty, greed, selfishness, pollution, abusive personal relationships, and countless other forms of injustice, inequality and violence.

A socialist government recognizes that peace comes in the form of a loaf of bread.  Where hunger exists, there is no peace.  Under socialism, the ideal must reflect material fact, and the material fact must reflect the ideal.  Socialism requires something like a mirror image, or a marriage between the principles we hold in our minds and the bread we hold in our hands.  So the productive forces of a society aim toward meeting the material needs of the population before doing anything else– with the profit motive nowhere to be found on the socialist system’s list of priorities.

The capitalist system, on the other hand, causes a divorce to occur between the stated principles of the people and their material conditions.  The engine of science under capitalism may drive toward some social benefits, such as some benefits in the development of medicine, but capitalism must discourage any recognition of the science of governing.

The ideological thrust of socialism encourages every individual in a society to work toward one thing: the well-being of that society.  And this driving force begins with the acknowledgement that government itself can be a science.  If one wishes to heal the wound of a single patient, there is a science for this.  If one wishes to heal the wounds of an entire community, there is also a science for that: socialist government.

Capitalism wants us to disregard the scientific basis for governing.   Capitalism wants us to believe that socialists are just dreamers.  But there is, in fact, an objective reality to governing, as there is to any other aspect of nature.  Capitalists are ideologically disconnected from reality because they think everything else in nature has a scientific explanation but, when it comes to human society, we must be living on another planet, or in some other realm of this planet, where magical “invisible hands” are sufficient for meeting our needs—so they end up saying, if we are starving, and cold, we just need to work harder, or pray harder, or die.

But there is a way to make sure nobody goes hungry.  There is a way to make sure nobody goes homeless.  There’s a way to make sure everybody receives a good education and has access to good healthcare.  It’s called scientific socialism.

Peace Is Bread: The Science of Socialism

Trump Did Not Win Because of the Working Class!

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Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont recently said, “The working class of this country is being decimated– that’s why Donald Trump won.  … And what we need now are candidates who stand with those working people …”

Bernie Sanders is wrong, which is not surprising.  Not only is Senator Sanders a member of one of the most racist, patriarchal and imperialist institutions in history, but he represents one of the whitest states in this settler colony called “the United States of America.”

Vermont is second only to Maine in the whiteness of its population– 96 percent.  While Black people make up just 1.2% of Vermont’s overall population, they make up almost 11% of its prison population— and the rate of incarceration against Black people grew faster in Vermont between 1993 and 2007 than in any other state.

Of course, Bernie Sanders already lost his bid for the Presidential nomination in the Democratic Party (the party of corporate interests) quite a while ago.  But a lot of people– a lot of white people anyway– still seem to care what he has to say.  And that’s alright.  Not all white supporters of Senator Sanders are “Bernie Bros” who verbally abuse Black women like Imani Gandy.  But support for Bernie Sanders, when it comes from the progressive belief in the creation of a system based on principles of egalitarianism and justice, should be taken to the next level.

Each of us becomes politically conscious at different stages of our life and no one starts out thinking like Kwame Nkrumah or Che Guevara.  Support for Bernie Sanders is a good starting place to develop a socialist analysis.  An understanding of Pan-African/African Internationalist dialectical and historical materialism may begin with Bernie for a lot of people in this country, especially white people who have never really organized an effective revolutionary movement against capitalism (unlike Africans).

So we can still learn many things from Bernie Sanders.  And one thing we can learn from him is the unavoidable limitations that exist in the political analysis of a cisgender, heterosexual white male Senator who represents one of the whitest states in “America.”

Senator Sanders’ viewpoint is that he wants people to move away from “identity politics.”  But this very argument is evidence of Senator Sanders’ class status within the dialectic between the white colonizer and colonized “people of color.”  His inability to recognize the basic connections between class and “race” in this settler colony is a reflection of Senator Sanders’ identity.  It is for this reason (among others) that a revolutionary movement of the true global proletariat should not and, in fact, cannot be led by a white person– not Bernie Sanders, not Jill Stein, certainly not Elizabeth Warren, not any white person (transgender or cisgender, queer or straight, woman or man, working class or wealthy).

The capitalist State is using its water cannons and tear gas on the Indigenous protectors of water at Standing Rock– in freezing weather.  What do we mean when we say these attacks are being waged by the capitalist State?  We mean: the United States, a settler colony of Europe that continues to steal land, labor, resources and lives from colonized communities, both inside and outside its illegitimate borders.  And the Indigenous identity has everything to do with these attacks.  The fact that Indigenous peoples face some of the worst economic conditions, including vast “food deserts” on land that rightfully belongs to them, has everything to do with their identity— whereas working class white people are not impoverished on account of whiteness.

The hundreds of attacks on individuals in marginalized communities since Trump’s victory nearly two weeks ago have been aimed primarily against “people of color”: Black people/Africans, Latinxs, Muslims, immigrants of color, at all their intersections of identity (a large percentage of Muslims in the U.S. are Black/African, as well as part of the immigrant population).  Identity has everything to do with the reason for these attacks by Trump’s supporters.

So far this year– under a Democratic President– at least 26 transgender women have been murdered in the United States, the overwhelming majority of whom are Black trans women or trans women of color.  Identity has everything to do with the murders of trans women of color, as well as the lack of access to resources that causes the average life expectancy of a trans woman of color in the U.S. to be just 35 years.

The problem with Bernie Sanders’ analysis is that he is situated– like all white people– in the colonizing class of the “American” empire.  Whiteness itself is a class within the hierarchy of colonial, capitalist oppression.  That is, white people share the same interests based on our white identity.  For instance, it’s in the interests of whites to live on the stolen land of Indigenous peoples.  As individuals, Europeans wouldn’t have any power to exist in North America.  We had to get together and form a system of power– including the military and police– that would reflect these interests.  This violent system of power allowed Europeans to escape the poverty and oppression of Europe.

And why has the “New World”– and then the United States– been able to provide economic, political and social opportunities that were not available in Europe?  Because this particular system of power is supported through the land, labor and resources of the true proletariat of the world– colonized Africans, Indigenous peoples, and the majority of humanity outside Europe.  Without the enslavement of Africans, the U.S. would not have been able to provide the “unalienable rights” of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to whites.  This was– and still is– raw opportunism on the part of European colonizers.  It’s no wonder that Bernie Sanders opposes reparations to Black people.

If our analysis of class struggle in the United States begins with the assumption that the United States itself is a legitimate power, and not an empire built on the exploitation and genocidal oppression of Africans, Indigenous peoples, and the true global proletariat, then we have completely missed the point.

Senator Sanders, from where he is situated in the dialectic of oppressor/oppressed or colonizer/colonized, is unequipped to provide the correct analysis of class and “race” in this country.  Because the correct or materialist analysis of capitalist oppression must go beyond the illegitimate borders of “America,” and its flag, its military, its holidays (like Thanksgiving).  A correct analysis, instead, recognizes that the truly proletarian class does not consist of white “Americans,” but exploited Africans in Africa who produce the cocoa, bauxite, oil, and diamonds for our consumption.  The true proletariat are the enslaved children in Thailand who produce peeled shrimp for the enjoyment of whites in the U.S.  The proletariat is made up of the millions of Africans in “America” who are locked up in its prisons– prisons in Vermont, and all across a continent whose wealth and power were created by stolen Black labor, resources and lives.

Once we correctly view the dialectic of the oppressor and the oppressed on a global scale, we will recognize that the call for all “Americans,” particularly working class whites, to unite with Trump’s supporters, is simply an attempt to blur the inescapable divisions created by capitalist oppression.  Bourgeois politicians like Sanders and Warren (members of the reactionary institution that is the U.S. Senate) want us to erase the real distinction between the colonizer class and the colonized class.  If we overlook the material reality of this dialectical relationship, perhaps we will ignore– or continue to ignore– our complicity in the oppressive relationship that whites have with most of the people on the planet, and the planet itself.

Are working class whites struggling?  Of course– that’s how capitalism works and has always worked.  Yet the European colonizers– working class or otherwise– who support Trump actually recognize more clearly than white liberals the value of whiteness itself.  Trump’s supporters recognize that the defense of “America” is the defense of whiteness.  They understand that “America” means white supremacy– that’s why they want to “Make America Great Again.”  Trump’s supporters want to eliminate brown people. And how is this different from what “America” has been doing all along?  How does this belief go against the State’s attacks on Indigenous protectors of water that are happening right now– under a Democratic president?

Trump won because white people are defending whiteness and all the political, economic and social power that whiteness represents.  Yet Bernie Sanders is trying to blur the fundamental dialectic of the capitalist system.  Those of us who oppose Trump, and his supporters, and the system they are defending, need to do better than follow the incorrect understanding of material conditions that Senator Sanders continues to promote.

Trump’s supporters actually have a better understanding of this fundamental divide than most whites on the left seem to have.  Whites on the left want to pretend that whiteness doesn’t matter.  We don’t want to recognize our complicity in capitalism’s ongoing murder and theft of Africa and the world.  We try to separate our white identity from our economic struggles as members of the white working class.  Whites on the left don’t want to be racist, so we avoid becoming conscious of the divisions in a racist society that are necessary to bring us material benefits at the expense of everyone else.

It’s very likely that President Donald Trump and the capitalist system will exploit the inability– or blatant unwillingness– on the part of liberals inside the white nation to recognize the connections between class and race, and the complicity of whites (liberal, conservative or otherwise) in colonial oppression.  Just as European colonizers have done from the very beginning, we will seek to improve our own economic, political and social standing at the expense of Africans and all colonized peoples (the majority of the world).  Unless we are very clear about the primary dialectic of bourgeois society, whites will end up siding– once again– with the white supremacist, reactionary force against the true global proletariat.  And what is this white supremacist, reactionary force?  “America.”

The call for “Americans” to come together, to unite, to focus on economic issues that affect all of us (especially working class “Americans” within the white identity) is, in reality, a call for European colonizers to expand the oppressive power of the white supremacist, capitalist system that is the “United States of America.”

Trump is #NotMyPresident.  Capitalism is #NotOurSystem.  And AmeriKKKa is #NotOurIdentity.  Not unless we continue to follow Bernie’s lead.

Trump Did Not Win Because of the Working Class!

Feminist Current, or White Feminist Past?: More Transphobic Violence from Meghan Murphy

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I’m happy to say that Meghan Murphy has already blocked me on Twitter.  But it still seems like a good idea for me to look at her website Feminist Current once in a while and see what type of white feminist violence she’s up to– a type of white feminism that includes her own brand of Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism.

Right at the beginning of a recent article, Meghan Murphy goes out of her way to tell us that Juno Dawson is a “transgender columnist” for Glamour.  Notice how she doesn’t say “transgender woman”– just “transgender.”  This is a trick that Meghan Murphy uses a lot– she always makes it a point to avoid saying that transgender women are women.

In the second paragraph, Meghan Murphy writes:

“It was only last year that Dawson ‘came out’ as a transwoman, but this hasn’t stopped the writer from dictating how women should be approaching their ongoing fight for liberation from male oppression. In fact, the entire column essentially describes the ways women are doing their own movement wrong, indeed rejecting basic feminist tenets and failing to recognize that maybe — just maybe — feminists who’ve been at this for many decades now have thought this through a little more than Dawson has.” [her emphasis]

The term “transwoman” is once again Meghan Murphy’s attempt at subtly telling us that trans women aren’t real women like cis women are.  She writes “their” instead of “our”– being sure to make “the writer” the other.

For Meghan Murphy, feminism seems to be some kind of war over conquered territory.  She writes “women are doing their own movement” as if this territory has to be protected.  And while there’s no denying that Glamour is a bourgeois magazine, the only reason to go after June Dawson in such a condescending, violent tone is to inflict harm from above.

Because that’s what we’re talking about here: the power that capitalism gives white cisgender women to define womanhood and then to use harmful language in defense of this definition.

Meghan Murphy’s power has been threatened, so she uses the power that capitalism has provided her in order to strike down— at trans women.

To be clear, white trans women are empowered to do the same thing– toward Black trans women, and transgender women of color and colonized peoples in general.  That’s the dialectic– the relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed.  And, in this case, Meghan Murphy is defending the reactionary ideology that promotes white cisgender womanhood as the default for all womanhood within the capitalist system.

More condescending language follows as Meghan Murphy dismisses Juno Dawson’s words as “cute”:

“That Dawson clearly thinks it’s cute to reduce feminist analysis of sex-based oppression to ‘toilets’ relays [sic] not only ignorance, but a deep disrespect for women and our rights.”

Again “our rights”— Meghan Murphy is clear that Juno Dawson isn’t simply showing internalized misogyny through this “deep disrespect for women” (because, you know, transgender women aren’t women, in her book) but that Ms. Dawson is some other sort of creature, or thing, despicable, disposable.

Since the larger system of capitalism already regards trans women in this violent context of erasure, Meghan Murphy is simply aligning herself with the reactionary force of the oppressive system.  If that’s feminism, it’s definitely old school– old, white, obsolete.  That kind of feminism should have gone out after Angela Davis gave us Women, Race & Class— but Meghan Murphy’s website (brought to you, or me, by “Goliath: An Original Amazon Series”) is bringing back the ghosts of white feminists past.

Meghan Murphy is a TERF.  You know, like George Wallace was a segregationist.  If you do something that a term describes, that’s what you are– even if it hurts to be called that term.  For instance, white people are racists.  It hurts.  But as long as we benefit from a racist system (capitalism) at the expense of everyone else, whites will be racist.  If it hurts so much, we should organize to dismantle this oppressive system– a system built not only on racist oppression and class oppression, and sexism, but also on transphobia.

One of the jobs of socialists and radical revolutionaries– who aim to get at the root of things, to paraphrase Angela Davis– is to engage in self-criticism.  Sometimes the language of resistance can be harsh, but wherever we’re complicit that harshness should be directed at ourselves.

Meghan Murphy, a white cis woman, constantly directs her harshness outward– her gun aimed at some hazy target called “men.”  Not only cisgender men, or white men, or men with money– or all the above.  Just men.  And when her words are questioned by anyone– or at least by me– Meghan Murphy says she doesn’t have time to be politically correct, then blocks me.  Apparently she believes it’s political correctness– not necessarily a bad thing– to say that women can have penises and men can have vaginas, and some individuals are gender nonconforming.

I’m not sure why Meghan Murphy is in such a hurry to attack Laverne Cox, Imani Gandy, Juno Dawson or any other person who gets in her way, when capitalism is the real enemy.  But she has plenty of time to write toxic sentences like these:

“Socialists ‘exclude’ capitalists from their activism just as feminists exclude anti-feminists from theirs. We do not prioritize the issues or concerns of males in this movement because this movement is not for men — it is for women. If that makes males feel left out, so be it. Not our concern.” [her emphasis]

The only point such language seems to have is to destroy.  And, as Huey P. Newton said: “Repression breeds resistance.”  If you attack transgender people, and attempt to destroy us, then you should expect a counterattack.  It’s the only way we’ll survive your attacks.  And that’s the point of these words that are aimed right back at Meghan Murphy– stop the transphobic violence.

But this isn’t really about Meghan Murphy.  It’s about a system that empowers her to say:

“Feminists do not have any interest in preventing people from peeing. What they are interested in is both challenging the idea that gender is innate and the idea that one becomes female simply by saying so, regardless of their biology and socialization. They are also interested in creating and maintaining safe spaces for women and girls, who are subjected to male violence on the daily, across the globe.” [her emphasis]

This type of language– used by Meghan Murphy or by anyone else– is extremely dangerous to transgender women, particularly trans women who are the most marginalized by racist, patriarchal capitalism: trans women of color.

It’s not just Meghan Murphy’s tone that’s wrong– she’s free to sound as mean as she wants (it might be fun to see how far she goes with it).   Her science is wrong.  Her social science and understanding of Marxist theory– dialectical materialism– are wrong.  The definition of gender is an expression of power as determined by a class (in this system: her class, and mine; that is, the shared political, economic and social interests of white people).   The reason her definition of gender has to be defended is that it is simply an expression of systemic power.  Otherwise– why fight it?

[Cis] Women and [cis] men have separate bathrooms because the dominant ideology of the present society is that of European imperialist capitalism. There isn’t anything inherently necessary in this separation.  But reactionaries like Meghan Murphy must defend it, and co-opt language like “safe spaces,” because this system must always defend its oppressive institutions and structures from revolutionary resistance.  Transgender women are women and we just need to use the bathroom.  We resist.  Meghan Murphy reacts.  We will resist some more.

We live in a society where a woman who is discovered to have a penis could end up dead right after this discovery.  To me, feminism is about defending her right to live, the same as any woman’s right.  For Meghan Murphy, feminism means siding with those who have a reactionary fear of trans women.  She writes:

“If a girl sees a penis in a change room or bathroom, she will feel afraid and harassed. This is not ‘mean,’ nor is it about disliking or expressing prejudice against trans people, it is an unpleasant material fact.”

Material facts are neither pleasant nor unpleasant– they just are.  It’s a judgment– on her part– whether a fact is unpleasant or pleasant– whether a penis on a woman is frightening, or not frightening.  It seems to me, Meghan Murphy is simply reacting to the fears that capitalism exploits rather than seeking to transform society.  I doubt we are seeing very many vaginas or penises in any restroom, but Meghan Murphy’s irrational fear sounds closer to the words of cisgender men she would disapprove of– like Mike Huckabee- than those of a feminist who is truly committed to dismantling capitalism.

Meghan Murphy writes:

“Transwomen [sic] most certainly deserve safe spaces — including bathrooms — but this need not come at the expense of women’s safety.”

We should avoid language suggesting that all the transgender women are white and all the Black people are men (to borrow from the title of the well-known book).  At the same time (as we remember that Black trans women are trans women and women too), imagine Meghan Murphy writing:

“Blacks most certainly deserve safe spaces– including bathrooms– but this need not come at the expense of white people’s safety.”

It’s easy to see what’s wrong with this picture.  Meghan Murphy is defending the cisnormativity of a system built on racism, sexism, transphobia and class oppression.  She is aligning herself with the enemy of progress.

Meghan Murphy writes at the end:

“We’ve been at this for about a century now, after all.”

But Sojourner Truth didn’t live in that century, and neither did Harriet Tubman who, in 1863, led armed forces in a battle at the Combahee River in South Carolina, from which the feminist organization the Combahee River Collective took its name.  Along with the organization S.T.A.R.– founded in 1970 by revolutionary trans women of color Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera– it would seem Meghan Murphy’s brand of feminism isn’t so current as to include that type of feminism.

But the system that TERFs support has been at it for more than five centuries– since Europe invaded Africa and the Americas.  White people (men, women, cis, trans, gender nonconforming, agender)– it’s time to stop living in the past.  Let’s bring our feminism up to date.  Dismantle transphobic capitalism.

Feminist Current, or White Feminist Past?: More Transphobic Violence from Meghan Murphy