How does the world stop white people?


Donald Trump may destroy America.  But the bad news is: he may also destroy the people who are already being harmed by America.

If we are philosophical materialists, we may wish to avoid judgments (the way we want things to be) and focus instead on the objective phenomena of the world (the way things actually are, in measurable, observable terms).  But one of the truly evil things that this racist capitalist system in the United States has done is occupy stolen land while oppressing a stolen people– Africans– on this stolen land.  It’s like Blake Simons (@BlakeDontCrack) tweeted yesterday: “Stolen people on stolen land.”

So if we are arguing that America may soon “get what it deserves”– meaning white people in America, because we created this racist settler colony in our own interests– what we may be ignoring is the fact that anything that happens to white people is going to happen to Africans/Black people and all so-called people of color … and probably worse.  White nationalists, the “alt-right” and Republicans (six and six of one and a half dozen of the other) want to make this a White Country (that’s what “Make America Great Again” means).  And if America were to become that white— making it even more boring and mediocre, and even farther from being great– then it wouldn’t be such a problem to argue that we should get what we deserve.  But how can white people receive a taste of our own medicine without everyone else getting poisoned in the process?  How can Europeans enjoy some of the genocidal violence that we’ve been dishing out for over five hundred years without inflicting even more suffering and damage on Black and brown people here and around the world?  When we consider these questions, it seems we would need to file this whole scenario under “Be Careful What You Wish For.”

My unpopular opinion is that “white genocide”– although it is clearly another lie cooked up by reactionaries– could actually be a good thing for people and planet … just as long as getting rid of whites doesn’t include me, my family, my white friends and anybody else who may be “a little racist, but is a fairly decent person.”  Obviously, that’s not how it works.  I’d be wiped out too … and my family, and my “nice” racist neighbor.  But this rather morbid take on things hopefully illustrates a useful point: for centuries, Europeans have committed genocide against the majority of humanity, stealing their land, resources, labor and culture; as a result, most of these things flow in our direction– that of the global minority of whites– and, throughout this process, we haven’t bothered to differentiate between who is “good” and who is “bad” among those whom we oppress.  Maybe the whites whose “best friends are Black,” or who have a Black spouse or partner, or a Black child, would want to spare their loved ones from the carnage of capitalist oppression– or maybe not.  What we know for sure is: whites have always put ourselves first, second, and last, and we will do almost anything to avoid the sort of violence and oppression that we impose on everyone else.  That’s why “white genocide” is such a ridiculous myth (almost as far-fetched as the mythological belief in “America” being a “free” and “equal” country): in order to escape even the slightest decline in our middle-class lifestyle, white people will support mass incarceration, gentrification, “dumb” (and “smart”) wars against fictional bad guys, murders by the police, lies by the media, deportations, cuts to programs for the needy, globalization, torture, the “War on Drugs” … and the list goes on and on.  And, of course, genocide against Indigenous peoples is still going on too.

So if whites can’t change our behavior, and learn to live with everyone else, instead of trying to steal all their wealth and power, then what is to be done to save people and planet from us?  How does the world stop white people?  We pollute everything.  We hoard resources.  We bomb any country that looks at us funny.  This can’t go on.  If we whites fail to evolve and become more progressive in our behavior and attitudes, then all that’s left to do is to get rid of white people– otherwise, we will still be dead-set on destroying the global population, and perhaps the globe itself.  We’ve already poisoned the water, earth and air.  But we steal even more land from the water protectors– who have the interests of humanity at heart– and now we are poisoning that water too.  Whites can’t seem to stop ourselves.  So what can stop us?

Keeping in mind that we are materialists, and that we also try to approach these problems in dialectical terms, it seems we might find the resolution to this particular problem– that is, white people, whiteness, capitalism, and “America”– within the problem itself.  Chairman Mao Tse-tung demonstrated this dialectical reality when he said: “We are advocates of the abolition of war, we do not want war; but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun.”

One thing whites are very good at is war: war and violence.  We also collect a lot of guns.  We are armed to the teeth.  There is the rather convincing argument that this situation cannot end well– not for whites or anybody else.  When there are too many whites with too many guns in an increasingly destabilized and volatile global situation, the rest of humanity is put at even greater risk (not to mention the animals).  But whites have a tremendous capacity for violence.  In fact, we’d probably kill each other off– white-on-white crime– if we didn’t get together to kill those whom we consider “savage,” “inferior” and “uncivilized.”  If white genocide did become an actual thing, it would be on account of white cisgender boys and men with loaded guns and fragile egos acting out their toxic fantasies– somewhat along the lines of World War I, World War II, and … well, we can read just about any history book on Europe in the 19th century, or 18th century, or before.  In short, white people are killers.

So how can we use our capacity for violence “to get rid of the gun”?  What we know as a matter of fact is: a lot of white people have a lot of guns.  But we might make the judgment that the wrong white people have the guns.  Some of them aren’t even white, they’re just fighting in the interests of white people and whiteness (and capitalism).  They’re in the police departments, the military, or they’re armed “security” guards– securing the property of rich whites on stolen land.  Who can feel safe around that?  White people.  Even white women (cis and trans), white gays, white liberals.  We pose for pictures with the cops during marches.  And yet these are usually the very whites who say they (or we) are against guns.  Guns are for “mean people”– conservatives, Trump supporters, uneducated “rednecks” in pickup trucks.  And, even if we don’t say it out loud, we probably lump Black and brown members of “gangs” in with all the mean whites who own guns (whether they actually belong to gangs or not).  But we’re also the first to call the police whenever Black people, whose neighborhoods we are so kindly and gently gentrifying, become just “a little too rowdy” for us– and that’s when the white capacity for violence really kicks in, not only on account of the cops who roll up with guns firing at any Black person in sight, but due to our liberal, “progressive” white mindset.

There seems to be an entire segment of the European colonial population in the United States– which is to say, white people– who hate guns, won’t even look at them, can’t bear the mere mention of them, and yet– amazingly enough– are fine with all the benefits that these guns have brought and continue to bring to our lives.  This is quite the disconnect.  Do whites on the left really believe that all this wealth and power, and all this land, just happens to be ours on account of … our college degree?  Our subscription to The New York Times?  The fact we watch MSNBC instead of FOX News?  Either way we still enjoy the white lifestyle– wealthy or middle-class or working class– on account of the “political power [that] grows out of the barrel of a gun” (once again, Chairman Mao).  If we don’t hold this belief, then we must think the people of the world enjoy being oppressed, and enjoy having their labor, resources and lives stolen from them for our benefit.  That’s probably the most white supremacist thing that we could ever think.  And that’s one of the great obstacles standing in the way of our political consciousness on the white left: we want the benefits of imperialist violence, but we also want the clean conscience and the ideological purity of being “progressive” and separate from the blatant racism (and misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, ableism and Islamophobia) of the white right.

Malcolm X said, “I’m for peace, but the only way you’re going to preserve peace is be prepared for war.”  Now, you might think the next thing that will be argued here is for whites on the left to starting arming ourselves, buying as many guns as we can.  But that’s only a reaction to the problem.  Most of us can’t afford to buy guns anyway.  Guns are big business.  And one of the (intended) effects of guns being so costly– not just the guns but the licenses and so forth– is that only the people with most of the wealth can afford to own these guns (legitimately own them, according to the state’s laws).  So this further criminalizes Black people and people of color: colonized people.  Meanwhile, the white colonizer can stock up on every gun imaginable, and go to gun ranges and walk around in broad daylight carrying a gun.  And the white liberal will say, “That’s your constitutional right, and we don’t want to take away your guns, we just want to have more background checks.”  White people on the left will spend all day looking down our noses at right-wingers and then, the next day, defend their freedom to be dangerous to humanity– just not to us, apparently.

You can’t “be prepared for war” unless you first define your enemy.  European leftists need to make a choice about which side we are on: whiteness (and white people) or the side of humanity and planet.  And then we can say, “Yes, as a matter of fact, we do want to take away your guns– people who are that violent shouldn’t have guns.”  That would be divisive.  And that’s the point.  Europeans still won’t divide the white identity– we stick together, which is nothing but white supremacy.  Any time a white country is attacked, no matter how violent it has been, what is the first thing white people do (regardless of our politics)?  We say “We are France”– or whatever the white country is– and change our Facebook profile pictures to show the French flag.  We almost never do this when people in Kenya, Nigeria or Iraq are attacked.  In fact, when George Bush attacks Iraq we go out and buy an American flag.  It’s because, above all, we identify with our whiteness (sometimes called “patriotism”).

The last thing the world needs is more white people with more guns.  The argument here is that whites on the left must be moved closer and closer to revolutionary consciousness.  Right now, we wouldn’t know what to do with guns.  We can’t be trusted.  So whites who identify as “progressive” need to be politically educated, and gradually moved toward a mindset that is aligned with egalitarian and humane principles.  And then we can change our behavior.  Malcolm X also said: “Once you change your philosophy, you change your thought pattern. Once you change your thought pattern, you change your attitude. Once you change your attitude, it changes your behavior pattern. Then you go on into some action.”

And so white people need to change our philosophy, from one that is based on the hypocritical ideals of capitalist democracy to the truly egalitarian principles of socialism: the political philosophy of dialectical and historical materialism.  Because once we recognize the hypocrisy of whiteness, capitalism and “America,” then we can move against the enemy of humanity on our own terms.  Right now, too many European colonizers in the United States would rather protect a reactionary white person’s “right” to destroy the world than to protect the world from the reactionary system that empowers this white person to destroy.  As a result, the white left has no power.  At least, we have no power that can be differentiated from that of the racist, patriarchal imperialist system of capitalism.  The white left enjoys this power, and is content to remain ideologically “pure,” while not moving against the reactionary forces who are destroying the majority of people on the globe.

So the goal right now is not for us to pick up the gun, even if this is how to get rid of the gun.  The goal is to change our philosophy, and then we will have the knowledge to recognize the primary dialectic that exists between the oppressor and the oppressed, and the colonizer and the colonized.   This requires an objective understanding of the world and a view that isn’t clouded by our own desires for comfort and security.  At the same time, once we gain an understanding of these contradictions in the world around us, then we can make this judgment, and state it in unapologetic terms:

No– the police and the military should not have guns, or any weapons.  The police and military shouldn’t exist at all.  They need to be abolished, along with prisons and detention centers.  The colonizer must be disarmed.  The Ku Klux Klan should be afraid to step outside their houses.  Richard Spencer shouldn’t be able to show his face in public without another fist landing on it.

And we don’t even need guns to accomplish this.  We need a change in how we view the world, and then we can organize according to this political philosophy and move as a mass force against the enemy.  People– millions of people.  That’s how we gain the power to solve this problem.  But right now, we can’t know the answers to this problem– the problem of whiteness, capitalism, colonialism and “America.”  We learn it by getting together, and organizing around principles that are anti-white, anti-capitalist, anti-colonialist and anti-ameriKKKan.

Once we have done that, we don’t know what could happen next.  It could be a very dangerous situation for the ruling class.  Some windows could be broken.  Some white supremacists may not be able to speak at your university.  Things might burn.  Because one thing we do know: white people are terribly violent.  It’s just that right now our violent behavior is endangering the rest of the people on the planet, and the planet itself.  So the key is to redirect that mass force, to use that white capacity for violence against whiteness itself, and then gradually move toward a goal where we no longer have the power to oppress.  We move against the police departments and the military– starting by changing our view of them.  They are the enemy and must be abolished.  If we don’t believe that, we just want to say that we oppose guns and violence while benefiting from the genocidal violence of capitalism.

But we won’t have any action– positive action– until we change our philosophical view of the world and ourselves.  With Trump in office, we may be running out of time to change our philosophy– and Trump seems fairly determined to bring this thing down.  It seems we should take advantage of that determination.

How does the world stop white people?

Terrorism and Capitalism: Condemning the Evil of All Reactionary Violence


It seems odd to me that we can call some of the violence in the world today “senseless,” “evil,” “extreme” and “irrational”– or the ableist word “crazy”– while the most devastating type of violence is considered business-as-usual.  And this latter type of violence is capitalism.

By “we” what should be meant is: “we white people.”  Because capitalism was created by whites and for whites.  And capitalist power is about creating a monopoly.  So capitalism has nearly monopolized violence.  As a result, other types of violence have become more irrational, extreme, individualistic and evil, because people are reacting to a reactionary system of world domination.  Capitalism is pushing down more and more on the masses of the people– an unbearably great weight on the global population– with most of the wealth and power in this oppressive relationship belonging to Europeans (not only in Europe, but in its settler colonies: the United States, Canada, Australia, Israel and wherever whites take up space).  And out of this pressured situation, where the imperialist military and its local colonial forces (police departments) commit most of the violence, it follows that sporadically there will be unprincipled, evil and isolated occurrences of this other kind of violence, which is usually called terrorism.  Never mind that the biggest terrorist on the globe is capitalism.

But we white people have normalized this type of reactionary violence– the capitalist type.  In fact, we pay tribute to capitalist violence at baseball games and other public events, removing our hats at the sight of the “American flag” as someone attempts to sing that ugly song called “The Star Spangled Banner.”  We likely don’t consider what sort of violence has been committed by white people in order to plant that flag on the stolen lands of Indigenous peoples, as part of an empire whose wealth and power have been created by stolen African labor, lives and resources.  To white people, this violence isn’t terrorism.  It’s patriotism.  We compartmentalize these two types of violence because our very existence on this continent (and Hawaii) depends on the far more devastating violence of white supremacist, patriarchal, imperialist capitalism, which includes transphobic violence against trans women of color who are terrorized night and day by this global system of power.  White people not only fail to condemn this far deadlier form of violence, but we celebrate it during national holidays, with another one coming up on Monday (if God wills).  Memorial Day– who do we believe deserves to be remembered?

The reason white people can compartmentalize these two types of reactionary violence– terrorism and capitalism– is that we are conditioned by capitalism to regard reality only in terms of “good” and “bad,” rather than examining the material or objective basis for these judgments.  This view means the “good guys” can do almost no wrong.  As long as John Wayne wins the fight it doesn’t matter what the objective reality of the situation might be– he’s John Wayne, he’s the good guy, that’s the whole point.  But the situation really boils down to the fact that the good guy has more power, probably because he has the gun and is quicker or more willing to use it, as well as his fists.

And this power that whites possess and celebrate has gone to our head.  That’s why there is such a strong tendency among whites to mistake victory for peace.  Just because one side is victorious in a conflict, and the other side appears to have given up their fight, this doesn’t mean there is peace.  It only means there is total domination by one side.  In other words, it means genocide, slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarceration, police murders, atomic bombs, drone attacks, sanctions, globalization, neocolonial rule– things that are the opposite of peace, and actually mean greater force or oppression.  It means the United States of America.

The “good guys” (USA!  USA!) let this power go to their head, and then they– or we— look the other way when it comes to the daily violence of allowing children to starve, or drink poisoned water, or suffer without proper medical care.  A white woman, Betty Shelby, who is the police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma who gunned down a Black man, was recently allowed to walk free.  But this doesn’t matter to white people.  As long as we see ourselves as the “good guys”– as decent, hardworking, loving “Americans”– we will fail to recognize what it means when a system of power allows such violence to continue.  The attacks in England, Brussels, and Nice were evil– we can make that judgment– but they were outside the dominant system of power, and so they were obviously illegal.  But it’s an objective reality that Officer Betty Shelby’s violence was part of the reigning system of power– capitalism– and she could legally or legitimately fire her gun at an unarmed Black man, killing him, and go back on the job this week.  The institutions of the capitalist system– especially the media– condition whites to normalize this kind of violence in our minds, in much the same way we normalize the violence of the U.S. military, immigration agents, G4S, Wall Street and all the “legitimate” violence that makes our middle-class white lifestyle possible, or any existence at all on this occupied continent.

It’s a lot easier to call violence “senseless” or to say it is “extremism” than to examine the material or factual basis for this violence.  But whites in “America” aren’t concerned with facts.  What we need is our conscience to be comforted and our actions to be justified after all the violence we have committed against Africans, Indigenous peoples and so-called people of color– the majority population of the globe.  And right now we have the power to shape our own comforting narrative here in the United States.  But if we keep supporting a system that terrorizes everybody else for own comfort and security, we should expect more violence in reaction to this reactionary system.

It’s not that we can’t have our own judgments about examined phenomena in the objective world.  These perspectives are inevitable, and even desirable.  If we believe humans are just going through the motions, like the mechanical objects that we create, and that nothing really matters, and there is no good and evil, then we lose the need to struggle for justice and to fight in a righteous cause.  Without moral authority– whether it comes from religion or another source– we may no longer feel the urge to feed the hungry, to care for the orphan, and to change the way things are.  Without our own subjective identity (as all identity is) we may surrender whatever agency or power that has been granted to us by God.  It looks like this is already happening to many people.

At the same time, it seems we ought to check our values and our judgments of the world against the objective laws of nature and determine how these are aligned.  It’s strange to say we value freedom, equality, peace and justice in this country when the material reality so frequently is at odds with our subjective idealism.  Then again, it’s not so strange when we consider that we have been conditioned by capitalism– particularly as white people– to hold one ideal in our head while the ground beneath our feet, and the productive forces it supports, so completely contradict this ideal.

Perhaps if white people had less power, less wealth, and took up less space on colonized territories then our ideals might align with our material situation.  Until that happens, it seems white people in the United States will continue to condemn one type of violence (terrorism) while enjoying the material gains of a far greater type of evil and reactionary violence: patriarchal, genocidal, exploitative, imperialist capitalism.

Terrorism and Capitalism: Condemning the Evil of All Reactionary Violence

“Making Possible the Perfect Flowering of [Our] Personality and Faculties”


If the haves and the have-nots were to switch places, and suddenly the poor were to become very rich and the rich were to become very poor, then we might expect the have-nots (at that point) to behave in much the same way as the haves are behaving right now: exploiting workers, marginalizing entire identities (Black, transgender, disabled, undocumented), bombing countries, shooting unarmed people, and acting just plain evil.  And then we might ask: why move against the wealthy and powerful when those with less will act the very same way once they have gained more wealth and power?

And this is why it’s odd that people think socialist revolution is scary.  Because the scenario above is actually what capitalism requires us to do.  Capitalism can’t exist without haves and have-nots.  If you own the factory, you need workers to produce the things you sell.  If the worker doesn’t like working in your factory, maybe they can try to find another job– or they can start their own business.  But as long as you have employees working to create profits for you, you don’t care one way or the other: if the same productive forces are there (becoming more and more productive), then their names can change forever.  And, as a result, capitalism will call you a “job creator,” like you’re doing people a favor by enjoying the fruits of their labor.  Of course, you were the “genius” who came up with this profitable idea, but the things you needed to dream up this business model– or to do anything else– were actually quite unoriginal: food, water, housing, clothing, education, healthcare, and (of course) land.  And so here you are today, counting your cash, whether you were wealthy yesterday or poor, and the workers are still there producing the basic necessities of life for your benefit.

What capitalism doesn’t want is the workers to start saying that they are working for their own benefit.  Because capitalism can’t function without profits.  It just wants the workers to take their wages and spend them on the things that they produced, becoming “consumers.”  This is where capitalism tells us all the action is, economy-wise: the consumer “voting with their dollar.”  If there is a high demand for a product among consumers, then this particular industry hires more workers, or pays higher wages to existing workers.  And if the demand is low, the profits fall, the workers are laid off, and then they are expected to move to some other industry that is more profitable.  But let’s say one of these workers has courage, drive and vision, then maybe they will start their own business and meet a demand of consumers that hasn’t been met yet.  So they leave their job and go on to bigger things.  They become one of the capitalists.  But the workers are still necessary, and so is the unequal distribution of resources.

In this situation, the hunted becomes one of the hunters.  The employee turns into the owner or the boss who can now enjoy the benefits of exploited labor.  And the system of capitalism encourages us to believe that somehow this all just magically works out in the end.  But the basic necessities for our survival haven’t changed.  People still need access to the same resources, whether they are the boss or the worker.  It’s not as if the employee, who is now a successful entrepreneur, no longer needs to eat or have access to housing.  There is a strong chance that they are going to eat more and live in a bigger house, now that they own the business.  And someone has to work to produce these benefits.  In fact, a whole lot of people– an entire class– must work to sustain the existence of the capitalist class.  And so this individual’s success story hasn’t changed the overall arrangement of society, except to make it more oppressive.  They have climbed out of their own personal hardship by stepping on the people in their class.

Capitalism can’t exist without haves and have-nots, but it goes even further than this class antagonism: capitalism also can’t exist if the have-nots become conscious of their class interests.  The few who are the haves want us to believe that, as individuals, we can climb out of our oppressive situation and join them, if we only work harder, dream bigger or enjoy a bit of good luck.  So the exploited workers– who are the vast majority of the people– begin to identify with the exploiter.  They aren’t conscious of their own power as a class, although they are more numerous and therefore stronger than the wealthy few.  And capitalism requires that they remain in this unconscious state, otherwise the oppressed masses may begin to ask the question: why are we barely struggling to get by while the owners and bosses are making all these profits off our work?  As long as we identify with the capitalists, and with “America” and with the political category of “whiteness,” the masses won’t ask this question.  And this allows the ruling class to stay in power– by keeping the people in an unconscious state about our own identities and interests.

So capitalism wants us to believe we are living in a static situation.  That is, we struggle month after month and we never get anywhere.  We’re on a treadmill.  The situation never changes, so we just grow old (if we don’t get sick at a much younger age and die) doing the same things over and over.  And capitalism wants us to believe the situation would be the same under socialism, except perhaps a different group would be oppressing and exploiting us.  Why change systems and go to all that trouble when life will still be difficult under the new system?  It may even get worse.  Under capitalism at least we have some chance of enjoying a better life.  “All systems are bad.”  “People are people.”  “Just change your attitude.”  Capitalism convinces us to deal with our situation in this way– the world is static, while the individual has the power to transform their own relationship to the state of things in the world.

Yet this view is entirely false.  We know that if we keep struggling toward a certain goal then we will make progress.  It may take longer than our own lifetimes, and it will certainly take more than one person, but capitalism wants us to forget this is precisely how the United States was built.  All this wealth and power, and all this land, didn’t come about because one person– someone who had that “pioneer spirit”– decided to turn their vision into a reality.  The United States, as a settler colony of Europe, required the people to get together (usually white people), and to focus on their class interests, or their national interests, in order to achieve success.  There couldn’t have been any progress for the colonizers from England and Europe if we hadn’t become conscious of our identity as a class or nation.  This growing class consciousness required our support for the military and the legal system of this country, and not only its government but most of the institutions in this society, such as private businesses and their owners.  And it was out of this mass of support, with many people working toward one goal, that the United States (at least its white population) was able to struggle toward greater wealth and power.  If this progress for whites meant slavery, genocide and colonization waged against Indigenous peoples and Africans, and against most so-called people of color, it’s because whiteness, capitalism and “America” go together like a hand and a glove (or a head and a hood).

But what happens when white people are no longer enjoying the same level of benefits that we once experienced in previous decades of “upward mobility” in the United States?  Too bad.  Capitalism still expects our loyalty to this system.  So if you’re an impoverished white person, or you’re just having a hard time paying the bills and surviving from month to month, you’re still expected to give the same support to the capitalist system as the generations before you who used to go to college, get decent jobs, and gain access to affordable healthcare, comfortable retirement, clean air, clean water, free parks and all the other things that cut into profits and therefore, at some point, became expendable– just like you.  And yet you’re still loyal to capitalism, “America” and whiteness?  Why?

Most whites won’t ask this question because we still believe our whiteness can bring us the benefits of capitalist empire.  We watch the evening news and see what is happening in Latin America, Africa and Asia, and in each “bad part of town” in this country– where most of the brown people live.  If we’re supporters of Trump, we may try to blame our own struggles on Black and brown people around the globe, especially “illegal aliens,” “thugs” and Muslims in this country.  But even if we don’t support Trump, as white people in the United States, we continue to identify with the oppressor.  We give our loyalty to the American flag, the military, and the image of middle-class white “decency” and “morality”– to all the idealism or mythology of the imperialist, capitalist ruling class.  And we do this because we believe that capitalism can still deliver a better lifestyle for us, with maybe only a few reforms– perhaps more taxes on the wealthy in the “1%.”

We sustain this illusion about capitalism because we don’t have class consciousness.  Instead of recognizing that society– as a part of nature– evolves, and so our consciousness must evolve with it, we buy (quite literally) into the static view of capitalist society, believing things will go on in much the same way.  And whites hold out the hope that America will be “great again” (for us at any rate).  Instead of struggling in our own interests, and creating new identities out of this struggle, whites cling to the ideologies of the ruling class, and imagine we too can join them at the top of this oppressive arrangement at some point.  And we probably blame ourselves if we can’t find a good job, or pay for school, or afford to see a doctor, or plan for a decent retirement.  We probably don’t ask why the capitalist ruling class can grow wealthier and wealthier while our own standard of living is going down.  And if we do ask, we’re told that things would be worse under socialism, because the have-nots would be just as oppressive as the haves are today.  So we might as well eat junk food, watch TV and try to escape the problems of the world.

However, if we recognize that societies evolve as part of a dynamic process, and our struggles are also part of this process, creating the tensions or antagonisms necessary for transformative change, then we can become conscious of our class, and we too can change how we approach our struggles.  Instead of struggling for our bosses and rich people, we can channel this energy back into our own class identity.  We can stop blaming ourselves for not getting ahead, and stop blaming “illegal aliens,” gays, transgender people, Muslims, Black people, or all the above, and focus on the real opponent in this antagonistic relationship: the capitalist class, or the haves.  We can stop being ashamed of working class people, and stop being afraid of socialism and then ask ourselves: why aren’t the rich, who are so few in number, scared of us?  Then the have-nots can get together and start making demands.  Rather than clinging to a murky vision of the self-sufficient, unique individual who only needs to work harder or dream bigger in order to get ahead, we can unite as a singular mass force that now has the power to move against a system which doesn’t respect or even recognize our differences at any rate– except to make greater profits off them.

But we don’t simply want to switch places with the rich.  If we’re conscious of our class, then that becomes our identity.  It’s the current system of capitalism that wants us to identify with the wealthy class, always hoping to join their tier of society, so that it can become even wealthier off the further exploitation of the workers in the lowest tier.  That’s why we need class consciousness.  The point of socialist revolution isn’t to turn the poor into the rich, or the rich into the poor, or (as some have claimed) to make everyone equally poor.  The goal of socialism is to implement egalitarian principles which will eventually– through mass struggle– erase all the tiers of the class structure that currently exists.  We begin to conceive a society where the people rise or fall as one, even as we respect and nurture our differences.  Freedom based on the exploitation of another human being becomes inconceivable.  We begin to recognize that each person deserves to reach their fullest potential, and that they can only enjoy this personal success through institutions and structures at the systemic level that promote this egalitarian aim.  It is socialist power, not capitalism, that allows each individual to blossom and develop, because the latter always requires the many to crush the few in the selfish scramble for a better life.

And so we might ask: why crush each other for the benefit of the capitalist class, when we can fight for a system which doesn’t require this oppressive relationship?  As long as we’re struggling, why not struggle for socialism, and for principles that are truly humane and egalitarian?

Sékou Touré, the socialist revolutionary leader of Guinea-Conakry, answered this question a few decades ago when he wrote:

For how can one reconcile unity of the people with the diversity of individuals? There is no need to puzzle over this dilemma for long. One simply has to keep in sight the idea of unity as a social instrument in order to determine the limits of individual liberty and those of unitary action. In fact this contradiction is inherent in society itself, for although society is indispensable to the life of man and makes demands upon him, thus limiting his freedom, it liberates him on the other hand from all the restrictions with which the forces of nature weigh him down, by making possible the perfect flowering of his personality and faculties. We must substitute for the interminable futile quarrels which surround the notion of liberty a realistic conception of social man, — that is man, linked to society by the life pact, — not man on his own but the element and product of society.

“Clearly certain concepts regarding the individual cover up a deliberate intention to enslave and exploit one man by another.

“Man as a biological unit has his sole opportunity of further developing his being through association with other men, which, by laws of multiplication increases his capabilities. There is only one possibility for his evolution and that is through the socialization which he must accomplish with his fellow men.”

“Making Possible the Perfect Flowering of [Our] Personality and Faculties”

“F.D.R. was a fascist.”– George Jackson on the Fascist State That Is Already Here


George Jackson wrote Blood in My Eye in the final months of his life before he was murdered by the state and its prison guards on August 21, 1971.  And it is through his life, his death and his writings that George Jackson taught us the meaning of fascism.  He warned the world: “The police state isn’t coming– it’s here, glaring and threatening.”

During the “Trump Era” many people– whites in particular– worry that a police state is coming and that Donald Trump’s presidency may lead to fascism.  But we can learn from George Jackson that fascism is already here in the United States, as it has been for quite some time.  It’s just that working class and middle-class white people may not have experienced the violence of the fascist state, not yet.  But George Jackson said: “We blacks have lived with terrorism for decades.”

How do we know that a fascist system of power is already here?  One way we can know that fascism already exists is by recognizing the forms of protest taking place against an increasingly violent state.  And we start by recognizing why people are protesting: out of all the imprisoned people in the world, one in eight is a Black man in the United States.  Statistics prove– or we can simply pay attention to the people directly affected– that the incarceration of Black women and girls has been on the rise since the 1990s, and Black girls and femmes in schools are the frequent targets of what has come to be known as the “school-to-prison pipeline.”  Every 28 hours another Black person in the U.S. is murdered by law enforcement or white vigilantes.  The police killed 1156 people in 2016, and at least 333 people so far this year.  At least eight Black transgender women have been murdered so far this year.

Of course, George Jackson experienced first-hand the brutality of the police, the injustice of the courts, and the violence of the prisons here in this settler colony of Europe called the United States, and so he was able to say definitively: “That’s me, the colonial victim.  Anyone who can pass the civil service exam today can kill me tomorrow.”  That was in 1971.

In 2017, with so much state violence on the rise, what are the forms of protest which may indicate that fascism is already “here, glaring and threatening”?  The people march, hold up handmade signs and chant because the capitalist state is so oppressive that they have no other way of making their voices heard or proclaiming that their lives matter.  In a bourgeois democracy, in which the few at the top grow wealthier off the violent exploitation of the masses, the people are almost entirely powerless.  They may confuse power with influence, but it’s the capitalist class that controls the means of production, and therefore their lives.  George Jackson recognized this material reality when he wrote:

“Fascism has established itself in a most disguised and efficient manner in this country. It feels so secure that the leaders allow us the luxury of a faint protest. Take protest too far, however, and they will show their other face. Doors will be kicked down in the night and machine-gun fire and buckshot will become the medium of exchange.  … The establishment does everything in its power to ensure that revolutionary rage is redirected into empty outlets which provide pressure releases for desires that could become dangerous if allowed to progress.”

And we know that peaceful protesters are already being attacked by the police, and are pepper sprayed, teargassed, falsely blamed for crimes they didn’t commit, their bail set at egregiously high amounts— and this is the reaction of the system and its adherents that occurs when oppressed people use the nonviolent approach advocated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and exercise their constitutional right to march and speak out.

However, if the fascist state– from its perspective– inflicts “too much” violence on the people and their peaceful demonstrations, an equal and opposite reaction of violence may begin to develop and move against the state.  George Jackson observed, “Even the totalitarians must be supple and responsive if they are to survive.”  So the aim of fascism is to create the appearance of a free society where the people are allowed to speak out– as long as they stay between the lines and don’t go “too far.”  And the most dangerous threat to the fascist state is the possibility that its legal violence will become so oppressive that not only will it create an equal and opposite reaction, but this opposing force will move beyond just a reaction, and will become revolutionary: an organized mass movement to transform and qualitatively change the existing system of power.  As George Jackson said, “The power of the people lies in its greater potential violence.”  Because, once an oppressed and colonized people have recognized this power contained within their mass force, then a revolutionary consciousness will begin to develop.  And the aim of the fascist state’s violence (which is all very legal) is to delegitimatize this potential violence originating among the masses of the people.  George Jackson said, “Revolution is illegal.  It’s against the law.”  The fascist state’s power may allow peaceful demonstration– up to a point– but it will not tolerate any real threat to its oppressive rule.

George Jackson wrote, “The ultimate aim of fascism is the complete destruction of all revolutionary consciousness.”  Therefore, any organization of authentic revolutionary energy coming from below is rechanneled or absorbed by the ruling class above.  And one of its methods for redirecting this potential threat to its power is through “legal” and “free” elections.  George Jackson said, “One has to understand that the fascist arrangement tolerates the existence of no valid revolutionary activity.”  However, the fascist arrangement will tolerate and even encourage the participation of socialist candidates on the left who can take advantage of the rising revolutionary energy of the people– populist leaders who emerge from the United States Senate (an institution of repressive bourgeois power) and talk about “revolution” to huge, cheering crowds.

These populist leaders arise out of increasingly volatile conditions in the global arrangement of power, when great wealth has accumulated at the top in “the 1%,” and “the 99%” are afraid and angry, and extremely disgusted with rich people.  This “1%” is the  ruling class which once gave them jobs, healthcare, education and all the benefits of capitalist empire.  During such a crisis of imperialism, as the benefits of global oppression dwindle, the promise of reform and the illusion of radical change must be created by the oppressive bourgeoisie of the United States, even through its “progressive” leaders.

George Jackson wrote: “The essence of a U.S.A. totalitarian socio-political capitalism is concealed behind the illusion of a mass participatory society.”  Oppressed people may believe that by exercising their right to vote– the same as exercising their right to free speech and their right to peaceful assembly– they will be able to reform a system that is increasingly unstable, with fewer and fewer benefits reaching the white middle-class in particular, as well as the white working class who may actually want socialism, but just for themselves and not for these oppressed populations (Africans/Black people, Indigenous/Native peoples, Latinxs and so-called people of color in the United States).

The aim of fascism is to destroy all revolutionary consciousness.  So the ruling class, feeling threatened by the angry masses whose frustration grows louder and louder each day, may at some point allow a popular leader to arise from its totalitarian, capitalist institutions (for instance, the United States Senate) and who will give voice to this anger and frustration.  The National Socialist German Workers’ Party– or the Nazi Party — was forced by volatile and revolutionary conditions in Germany to call itself “socialist” because the people were demanding actual socialism.  The Nazi Party emerged because the authentic socialist movement in Germany had been weakened by its own contradictions.  As C.L.R. James noted: “With every failure of the Left the Right increases in audacity. The Nazi terror increased.”  James also wrote: “It is only when capitalists see that the workers, disillusioned by capitalist bankruptcy, may seize power that they turn to Fascism as a last expedient.”  And so the German proletariat’s revolutionary energy was absorbed into the rise of a popular fascist leader, Adolf Hitler.  George Jackson wrote, “Fascism must be seen as an episodically logical state in the socio-economic development of capitalism in a state of crisis. It is the result of a revolutionary thrust that was weak and miscarried.”

Fascism is an attempt by the existing ruling class to destroy the authentic “revolutionary thrust” of the oppressed masses and to exploit their desire for socialism during a period where “capitalism is in a state of crisis.”  During this period of crisis, the state itself, and its system of power, which has been held together by class antagonisms between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, is about to fall apart.  Lenin wrote:

“The state is a special organization of force: it is an organization of violence for the suppression of some class. … The state is a product and a manifestation of the irreconcilability of class antagonisms.  The state arises where, when and insofar as class antagonisms objectively cannot be reconciled.  And, conversely, the existence of the state proves that the class antagonisms are irreconcilable.”

The aim of fascism is to re-form this “special organization of force”— the state— on terms that benefit the existing ruling class, or the bourgeoisie, which has organized violence in the form of state power in order to suppress the proletariat.  As these class antagonisms become more and more volatile, the capitalist state appears to be on the verge of falling apart, and revolutionary energy begins to build in the suppressed classes, threatening to transform the political system and thereby impose its own rule.  Fascism is an attempt by the bourgeoisie to resolve these contradictions through a greater concentration of state power.

George Jackson said: “From its inception the fascist arrangement has attempted to create the illusion of a mass society in which the traditional capitalist ruling class would continue to play the leading role.”

In this “fascist arrangement,” popular leaders emerge from the “traditional capitalist ruling class”— the U.S. Senate– promising drastic reforms which will benefit the “mass society” by “sticking it to the rich,” the “fat cats,” or “the 1%” at the top.  And such leaders are allowed to arise on account of a weakened socialist movement, or a mass revolutionary force that was unable to deal with its own contradictions and resolve them in terms that would benefit the oppressed classes rather than the state.  As observed by George Jackson: “Elections and political parties have no significance when all the serious contenders for public office are fascist and the electorate is thoroughly misled about the true nature of the candidates.”

George Jackson wrote, “It follows that where fascism emerges and develops, the anti-capitalist forces were weaker than the traditional forces.”  The capitalist forces are only able to exploit the people’s wish for true socialism– by promising “radical” changes to the existing system, with bigger government and more programs that benefit the “poor” through higher taxes on the wealthy– because the anti-capitalist forces were internally weakened by their own contradictions (racism, sexism, transphobia, misogynoir, opportunism, liberalism, and in-fighting among revolutionary organizations).  And one of the main obstacles in the anti-capitalist fight for power is individualism and self-interest, as George Jackson pointed out: “To fight effectively, we must be aware of the fact that the enemy has consolidated through reformist machination the greatest community of self-interest that has ever existed.”

Another weakness that we can recognize in anti-capitalist forces is when white-led labor unions and socialist movements sellout Africans/Black people and so-called people of color and, instead, show loyalty to the totalitarian, imperialist state.  The white working class in the United States has a long history of this reactionary behavior, and over and over again, the white left has allowed the traditional capitalist power to destroy revolutionary consciousness.  This happened in the 1930s, during “the Great Depression,” when the white left allowed Franklin Roosevelt to rise to power, and especially during World War II when labor unions turned against (and agreed to turn in) potential communists in the workers’ movement.  And so, George Jackson would accurately note: “F.D.R. was a fascist.”

The New Deal was a set of reforms to the fascist arrangement which allowed the capitalist class to stay in power.  For example, the Social Security Act of 1935 originally excluded most Black workers in the South.  The reformists in Washington permitted the lynchings of Black people to continue.  The FBI and the surveillance state also became more powerful, targeting socialist organizers and artists.  But this trend toward fascism is illustrated perhaps most effectively by the loyalty of the “American” working class to the racist, imperialist bourgeoisie, and by the white progressives who joined the U.S. military by the millions in a deadly effort to preserve the existing state rather than to overthrow it.  Any real threat to the oppressive totalitarian arrangement– coming from the working class– was redirected and reorganized on terms of the existing ruling class, through the white progressives’ feelings of patriotism, their allegiance to “America” and its flag, and their metaphysical belief that, as soldiers in the uniform of empire, they were “saving the world for democracy.”

George Jackson wrote in Blood in My Eye:


The failure of the white working-class movement, on account of its contradictions, allowed the capitalist class to grow more powerful and oppressive in the decades that followed, as the United States and Europe expanded their violent exploitation of the global proletariat through neocolonial rule.  Through the expansion of the fascist arrangement, the greater benefits of empire were directed by the state toward the white working class and toward upwardly mobile middle-class whites, who were now completely loyal to “America.”

While this loyalty to “America” led to a rising white nationalist consciousness among the European colonizers of the United States, the fascist arrangement remained internationalist, as George Jackson noted: “One of the most definite characteristics of fascism is its international quality. … At its core, fascism is an economic rearrangement. It is international capitalism’s response to the challenge of international scientific socialism. It developed from nation to nation out of differing levels of traditionalist capitalism’s dilapidation. The common feature of all instances of fascism is the opposition of a weak socialist revolution.”

Inside this nation, the white working class has become– particularly since World War II– the shock troops of fascist rule.  As long as white workers are promised a greater share of imperialist loot– more healthcare coverage, more infrastructure, better jobs, better retirement plans, longer vacations– they will tolerate or support almost any level of fascist oppression by government and business.  White workers will support gentrification, mass incarceration, the criminalization of sex work, the silencing of Black women’s voices, the increasing exploitation of workers in Africa (even children), deportations, and any other fascist violence, if only they will receive more of the benefits of this capitalist oppression.  The result of this loyalty to “America” and to the colonial privileges of “whiteness” has been the rise of President Donald Trump, and his leftist counterpart, Senator Bernie Sanders, as well as a pseudo-“Resistance” on the white left of the United States that mainly uses its power to verbally attack “liberal” Black people on social media (especially Black women).  Yet most of this “Resistance” to capitalism is just the fear of white colonizers losing power to colonized communities– to Africans/Black people and people of color, who are the majority population of the world and will soon become the majority in the United States as well.

George Jackson wrote:

“The shock troops of fascism on the mass political level are drawn from members of the lower-middle class who feel the upward thrust of the lower classes more acutely. These classes feel that any dislocation of the present economy resulting from the upward thrust of the masses would affect their status first. They are joined by that sector of the working class which is backward enough to be affected by nationalistic trappings and the loyalty syndrome that sociologists have termed the ‘authoritarian personality.'”

White workers– who have been exploited for decades by the capitalist system of the United States– find expression for their frustrations in the reactionary institutions of the bourgeoisie, such as its police departments, military, right-wing media, and political campaigns.  And this loyalty to the repressive authority of the state is largely the result of the white supremacist ideology which permeates the European population– rich, poor, and in-between.  The white “members of the lower-middle” feel the “thrust of the lower classes more acutely,” and out of this sense of being threatened, display greater loyalty to the fascist state.  Rather than organizing against the wealthy ruling class, these “shock troops of fascism” throw in their lot with the existing arrangement of power, whether they support reforms on the right or reforms on the left.  Either way, they oppose the upward force– the potential revolutionary thrust– of colonized communities, and the challenge to their own colonial status coming from the rising revolutionary consciousness among Africans, Indigenous peoples, Latinxs, Palestinians and the global majority.

Each time a socialist revolutionary movement has been defeated, through its own weaknesses and contradictions, the international fascist power has grown stronger and stronger.  So what went wrong?  Mainly, we didn’t pay attention to Black women.  No joking.  White socialists in the United States should have supported Claudia Jones, rather than allowing her to be deported.  White socialists in the United States should have paid attention to Black organizers who were mentored by Ella Baker, rather than allowing them to be murdered or forced into exile.  Whites should have given greater attention (and more resources) to Ella Baker, Gloria Richardson, Audley “Queen Mother” Moore, Fannie Lou Hamer, Assata Shakur, Marsha P. Johnson, Elaine Brown, and Mabel Williams.

And today, authentic revolutionary consciousness is to be found, not so much among cisgender white men, or among any whites (cisgender, transgender, gender nonconforming), but among queer and trans people of color, Black women and Black femmes.  By paying attention to the voices, lives, art, ideas, truths and experiences of Black trans women– and paying them for this work— the white left can avoid the mistakes of the past, and this time organize a stronger movement to overthrow the fascist, capitalist state.

“F.D.R. was a fascist.”– George Jackson on the Fascist State That Is Already Here

Resources for Remembering the Black Panther Party’s Action on May 2, 1967 at the California State Capitol

1967: members of the Black Panther Party at the California State Capitol exercising their right to bear arms in protest against the Mulford Act (supported by Governor Ronald Reagan)


Black Panthers and the need for gun control (a counterrevolutionary view of the Mulford Act)

Black Panther Party Members Protest Gun Control Act 1967 – Sacramento, California

Black Panther Executive Mandate #1 (May 2, 1967)

Text of Executive Mandate Number One:

“The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense calls upon the American people in general, and Black people in particular, to take careful note of the racist California Legislature now considering legislation aimed at keeping Black people disarmed and powerless while racist police agencies throughout the country intensify the terror, brutality, murder, and repression of Black people.

“At the same time that the American Government is waging a racist war of genocide in Vietnam the concentration camps in which Japanese-Americans were interned during World War II are being renovated and expanded.  Since America has historically reserved its most barbaric treatment for non-white people, we are forced to conclude that these concentration camps are being prepared for Black people who are determined to gain their freedom by any means necessary. The enslavement of Black people at the very founding of this country, the genocide practiced on the American Indians and the confinement of the survivors on reservations, the savage lynching of thousands of Black men and women, the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and now the cowardly massacre in Vietnam all testify to the fact that toward people of color the racist power structure of America has but one policy: repression, genocide, terror, and the big stick.

“Black people have begged, prayed, petitioned and demonstrated, among other things, to get the racist power structure of America to right the wrongs which have historically been perpetrated against Black people. All of these efforts have been answered by more repression, deceit, and hypocrisy, As the aggression of the racist American Government escalates in Vietnam, the police agencies of America escalate the repression of Black people throughout the ghettos of America. Vicious police dogs, cattle prods, and increased patrols have become familiar sights in Black communities. City Hall turns a deaf ear to the pleas of Black people for relief from this increasing terror.

“The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense believes that the time has come for Black people to arm themselves against this terror before it is too late. The pending Mulford Act brings the hour of doom one step nearer. A people who have suffered so much for so long at the hands of a racist society must draw the line somewhere. We believe that the Black communities of America must rise up as one man to halt the progression of a trend that leads inevitably to their total destruction.”


Black Panthers, the NRA, and the Contradiction of Guns in the U.S. — by Ahjamu Umi of the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP)

May 2, 1967, Sacramento, CA

A Seminal Event Remembered (Los Angeles Times, 2007)

Armed Black Panthers in the Capitol, 50 years on (Capitol Weekly)


50 Year Anniversary – Black Panther Party Shuts Down Sacramento!

RiseStronger! (Sacramento)


Seize the Time : The Story of the Black Panther Party — Bobby Seale


[read more]


Revolutionary Suicide — Huey P. Newton

“When I gave Bobby his instructions, I impressed upon him that our main purpose was to deliver the message to the people. If he was fired upon, he should return the fire. If a gun was drawn on him and it was his interpretation that the gun was drawn in anger, he was to use whatever means necessary to defend himself. His instructions were not to fire or take the offensive unless in imminent danger. If they attempted to arrest him, he was to take the arrest as long as he had delivered the message. The main thing was to deliver the message. In stressing these points, I told him that if he was invited in or allowed inside the legislature, he was to read the message inside, but if it was against the rules to enter the legislature, or if measures were taken to block him, then he was not to enter, but to read the message from the capitol steps.

“The Black Panther troops rolled out for Sacramento early on the morning of May 2. As soon as they left, I went to my mother’s house. I had promised to mow her lawn that day. But I took a portable radio along and put it on the front step to listen for news; in the house I turned the television set on and asked my mother to keep an eye on it.  Then I started mowing.

“About noon a bulletin interrupted the radio program. It told of brothers at the capitol with weapons. My mother called out to me that all channels were showing the event. I ran into the house, and there was Bobby reading the mandate. The message was definitely going out. Bobby read it twice, but the press and the people assembled were so amazed at the Black Panthers’ presence, and particularly the weapons, that few appeared to hear the important thing, They were concentrating on the weapons. We had hoped that after the weapons gained their attention they would listen to the message.

“Later, another bulletin came on saying that the brothers had been arrested, Bobby for carrying a concealed weapon — although he was wearing his gun openly on his hip. Some of the other brothers were charged with failing to remove the rounds from the chambers of their guns when they put their weapons back in the car, I got on the phone and finally made contact with one of the Black Panther women …

“Looking back, I think our tactic at Sacramento was correct at that time, but it was also a mistake in a way. It was the first time in our brief existence that an armed group of Black Panthers had been arrested, and it was a turning point in police perceptions. We took the arrests because we had a higher purpose. But it was not until then that the police started attempting to disarm the Party. They leveled shotguns on the brothers, handcuffed them, and generally pushed them around. I had given orders not to fire unless fired upon. Maybe the order should have been to fire on everybody in there; then they would have realized we were serious. But our purpose was not to kill; it was to inform, to let the nation know where the Party stood. The police, however, took it to mean that the Party was only a front with weapons, that we would not defend ourselves. This attitude caused a number of problems for us, and it took some time to restore caution to the police after Sacramento. Now, everything is as it used to be, because they know they will have a fight on their hands if they try to attack us.

“Sacramento was certainly a success, however, in attracting national attention; even those who did not hear the complete message saw the arms, and this conveyed enough to Black people.”


The Revolution Has Come : Black Power, Gender and the Black Panther Party in Oakland — Robyn C. Spencer



It’s About Time: Black Panther Party Legacy & Alumni


Elaine Brown:

“The position of the Black Panther Party was that black people live in communities occupied by police forces that are armed and dangerous and represent the frontline of forces keeping us oppressed. We did not promote guns, but rather, the right to defend ourselves against a state that was oppressing us—with guns. There were innumerable incidents in which police agents kicked in our doors or shot our brothers and sisters in what we called red-light trials, where the policeman was the judge, the jury and the executioner. We called for an immediate end to this brutality, and advocated for our right to self-defense. Today, the brutal police murders of Sean Bell in New York and Oscar Grant in Oakland are just two examples of how little has changed. The gun-control discussion could result in policies that further criminalize and target black people.”

The Burning Spear newspaper:

“It must be mentioned that the 1967 Mulford Act was passed and signed into law, by then-governor, Ronald Reagan as a direct response to disarming the members of the Black Panther Party and ending their police patrols, where BPP members would carry loaded guns as they responded to scenes of police arresting Africans.”




Black Panthers at California State Capitol


Resources for Remembering the Black Panther Party’s Action on May 2, 1967 at the California State Capitol