How does the world stop white people?

Earth

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

TDesk

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”

Sekou_Toure

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”

Whites as Super-Allies — or Super-Rats?

AudreyRats

I don’t have a problem with identifying as an “ally” to Black liberation.  But if you’re a European like me (which is to say a white person), you may prefer “accomplice,” “race traitor,” “revolutionary” or some other term.

Those other preferences are quite understandable because “white ally” has become sort of a bad thing in the minds of many people.  The term “ally” might be yet another thing that white people have ruined.  But just because there are bad allies, this shouldn’t mean that the term “ally” can only be a negative thing– perhaps there can still be good allies.

And it seems to me that using the term “ally” can be a helpful way to remind ourselves that the revolutionary struggle of a group of which we are not a part requires that we not attempt to force our way into this group.  Just because we are an ally to one group, in their fight against systemic oppression, this doesn’t mean we can’t have our own fight for our own identity.  But what seems to be happening at times is that a lot of middle-class cisgender “able-bodied” white people get so caught up in the movements of Black people– and oppressed or colonized groups in general– that they approach revolutionary struggle in idealist terms, as if caring about a movement is enough to make someone part of it.

Revolutionary struggle isn’t about being a good person or living up to some lofty vision for humanity, although these ideals can be part of the process; revolution is about power, it’s about taking back what is yours and overturning a global economic system (capitalism) in order to achieve this goal.

All white people benefit from the global economic system of capitalism (albeit unequally); so how are we going to be part of a fight against ourselves?  When push comes to shove, we’re likely to abandon any movement in which we do not have something at stake– as in, something material, not an ideal.  And socialist, anticolonialist revolutionary work really means that white people should end up with less– less power, less wealth, less land.

I doubt that white people are ready to die– or kill– in order to give back the land, resources and power that Europe has stolen from the populations of the globe for over five hundred years.  We may not even be ready to die– or kill– in order to destroy the capitalist system which is exploiting so many white people too.  Why?  Because capitalism and white supremacy are very much connected, and on some level we still recognize, even as we suffer, that we also enjoy some benefits of the current system’s violent subjugation of those communities who are not part of the white identity.

By whatever name we call ourselves, it seems there is a danger of white people turning our involvement in the liberation struggles of Black people/Africans, Indigenous peoples, Palestinians and all oppressed or colonized groups into a kind of competition.  And whites have a tendency to do this– to be excessively competitive on an individualistic level– not because we are inherently bad people, but because we’ve been conditioned by our class status (our whiteness) to behave in ways which benefit the capitalist power structure.  This means, even when we’re advocating for the liberation of a colonized community, white people are still part of our class and our own white identity, and therefore bring to our advocacy everything that goes along with the political category of whiteness, a category tied to colonial oppression and capitalist oppression.  Any effort to become the greatest ally in the world (or the greatest accomplice or the greatest race traitor in the world) may turn into a sort of short cut to getting around our deeply ingrained racist attitudes and behaviors, and the result is that we’re not a super-ally but a super-rat.

Who is the super-ally/super-rat?  The super-rat is the white ally who takes up too much space on social media, as well as space at rallies, protests, marches and other events.  The super-rat turns allyship with Black liberation into an individualistic thing, as if they are building a personal brand off the very real suffering and trauma of colonized peoples.

The super-ally who is really a super-rat attempts to achieve a sort of ideological purity, distancing themselves from the “uneducated,” “hateful,” “problematic” and just plain awful masses of white people.  They laugh at the white liberals.  They mock the white socialists.  They share memes of white nationalists getting punched.  Such fun.  And they share a lot of memes created by Black people for Black people.

And so, in the process, the super-rat seems to be trying very hard to be part of something that they treat as fun, as a kind of club.  They seem to be trying to get an invite to the cookout.  And, as an added benefit, in the meantime they may possibly be building up their Twitter follower count.  They become “one of the good ones.”  And having achieved this elevated status, with all this purity, they probably grow arrogant– because an obsession with purity, as well as an attitude of arrogance, is deeply and historically connected to whiteness and colonialism.  So white people who are allies (by any name) then become– not super-allies, but super-rats.

How do we avoid becoming super-rats?  I don’t know the answer to that question.  What we’ve been told is that we need to join an organization that’s fighting for racial justice, or fighting against capitalism (basically the same thing: because, if it’s truly anti-capitalist, and truly anti-racist, it must be both).   But it seems to me that an anti-racist, anti-capitalist organization of white people– “white allies”– should be based on something more than just whites getting together, especially getting together to help oppressed people.

If we don’t need an organization on a very personal level, and depend on it for our own empowerment, then we’ll probably end up getting sidetracked by various arguments about ideologies, theories, strategies, tactics and hurt feelings.  These arguments are likely going to occur in any situation, but if we don’t feel that the transformative change we are trying to create in an organization is also for ourselves, we probably won’t have any incentive to tough it out when things grow difficult (as they will).  And why should we?  White people already have capitalism.  We already have whiteness.  So we can leave an anti-capitalist, anti-racist group at any time and go on with our lives.  This isn’t a luxury that a greatly oppressed and colonized community has, either in the figurative sense or the literal.

So hopefully we can join organizations– or form organizations– which truly reflect our own interests, identities, values and visions of the future world.  It’s not that organizing should be an entirely enjoyable experience.  It should create discomfort– great discomfort.  However, if we’re just a bunch of white people in a room who happen to be white, and also against racism– and even against capitalism as well– we basically have no positive reason for getting together.

What is whiteness without the stolen wealth and power of racist capitalism?  We are already a problem the moment we enter the room at a white privilege conference just to sit on folding chairs on occupied Indigenous land.  This is a distinctly white problem: colonial occupation– as well as the mere existence of the United States.  And our guilt concerning this material reality will probably be ignored in that space … or it may possibly be indulged (but never transformed into positive action).  And so it seems disingenuous, in the latter case of indulging our white guilt, for us to spend hours and hours talking about how awful white people have been (and continue to be) and then believe we can sustain this self-abnegation and self-abasement over any beneficial period.  We will burn out.  We will develop thick protective layers around our injured class consciousness, which may then express themselves in ways that are far more subtle– and still just as racist– as the very white people who seem to be the most problematic.

One of the great problems that whites have created in our so-called relations with Black people, or any colonized community, is that we treat their identities as an escape for whatever is negative in our lives.  This may be guilt.  It may be boredom.  It may be anger at the injustice and inhumanity of the capitalist system.  But we dive down into the “Other” that is the “Blackness” in our white imagination, getting our hands dirty, working up a sweat, really trying to experience the opposite of whatever it is that is weighing on us.  White cisgender men seem to do this by rapping, using AAVE, wearing clothes associated with young Black street culture– they are escaping into perceived Blackness as a rebellion against something in their own lives, only to emerge at some point performing whiteness (or what is also their perception of whiteness) by wearing a suit and tie and working on the thirtieth floor of a skyscraper in Manhattan.  They’re still the same white person, still enjoying the same benefits of white supremacy and colonialism– before and after– but pseudo-Blackness filled their need at one point and whiteness (which is always fake) filled their need at another point.  At the end of the day, they are just a rich white cisgender boy.

White women (transgender and cisgender) also run the same risk in our alignment with movements for Black empowerment and liberation.  We may believe that we need to experience that hideous phrase or concept called “tough love”– that is, allow ourselves to be knocked around a bit by the negative energy coming at us from the Other.  It’s like going into the dark in order to conquer the fear of the dark.

Except the political, cultural and historical identity of a people– a community– goes far deeper than that binary understanding in the proud white colonialist’s imagination.  And it doesn’t seem helpful to “humble ourselves” in this situation in order to get beyond this superficial level of understanding.  An individual is humbled (passive)– it’s a greater force moving against them that does this, because, if they can humble themselves, they may still have the power that can lead to arrogance.

In short, white people aren’t going to be able to relate to many aspects of Black people and their lives, and we won’t be able to understand their experiences of anger toward us, no matter how much we absorb this perceived negative force and “take one for the team.”  Instead, it seems we should just move against capitalism, destroy the colonial power structure, and if people don’t like it– or us– well, we did it for ourselves at any rate.  We brought this thing down for ourselves.  Not for Africans and Indigenous peoples, but for us.  Because history shows that they have their own struggles covered.  They don’t need us (except maybe the reparations we owe).  It’s the white population– particularly in the United States– that hasn’t learned how to engage in revolutionary struggle.  I believe part of the reason for our failure has been the fact that, again and again, we have used our whiteness as a basis for organizing, sometimes disguised as the reactionary identity of “American.”   Or whites try to join and identify with movements created by and for Black people and all so-called people of color.

Revolutionaries seek to recognize objective phenomena in nature– in both historical and dialectical terms– and then make these phenomena move in the direction of their choice (to paraphrase Huey P. Newton).  But while the revolutionary struggle of the organized masses must be based in the material reality of scientific socialism, it is just as important for there to be a subject of this struggle.   Who is struggling against capitalism?  It’s idealistic to say all of humanity (somewhat like “All Lives Matter”).  Capitalism has divided us– or divided us from them.  Because capitalism created the reactionary political category of whiteness and its racist, colonial status.  Whites will lose our whiteness when we lose our power, as well as our wealth (at whatever level that we enjoy it within this system of imperialist exploitation imposed on the globe).  But if we can discover a positive way to move against our whiteness right now, rather than attempting to escape into some ideal of “Blackness” in our imaginations (which we have created in part to punish ourselves and lash ourselves for our many sins of racism), then such an identity of positive resistance can become a beginning to the new identity which may emerge in a post-colonial, post-capitalist global society.

How do white people who are allies (by any name) keep from becoming super-rats? Actually, rats aren’t so bad, as rats.  But people ought to be people, not rats, or super-rats.  And as long as we cling to the white identity (as well as the ameriKKKan identity in this racist settler colony, the United States), Europeans will lack humanity, and won’t be people in the fullest sense of the word.  And the who who is organizing may possibly start acting out again like dirty double-crossing rats (that’s Cagney not Audrey).  Right now, we may not be people who are super, as far as our humanity is concerned, but by becoming anti-white, anti-capitalist, and anti-colonialist, perhaps “whites” can become regular, halfway-decent people.

Whites as Super-Allies — or Super-Rats?

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

BloodInMyEye

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:

UScauseofwar

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 Here Already

Whiteness is a concrete block.

Block

We can’t have revolution unless we want it.  And why should we want it?  Because a world economic system based on a few people growing wealthier and more powerful off the imperialist oppression of the masses shouldn’t be allowed to go on any longer, and the only way we can transform this system (capitalism) is through revolution.  At least that will be our view if we believe the lives of people matter, not profits.  And if we wish to put an end to transphobia, racism, sexism and all other forms of systemic oppression, then we must transform– not reform– the capitalist system.

However, our wish to transform this system is based largely on where we are situated within its hierarchical class structure.  If we’re white, cisgender and middle-class our situation is less urgent because the interlocking forms of capitalist oppression weigh less heavily upon our lives than on the lives of Black trans women, who are the most marginalized by this society.

Our consciousness of the overall situation (and not just our own situation) is shaped by our class status, and how we have been empowered by capitalism to gain access to the necessities of life: food, water, housing, clothing, education, culture, and protection from the state.  Because classes in the capitalist society are arranged according to a hierarchy, our personal ability to gain access to the benefits of our class will be based on the exploitation and subjugation of people in the classes below us.  Whatever level of safety and comfort we enjoy in our own class comes from systemic violence against people in oppressed classes.  And this elevated situation shapes our view of ourselves and of the world, and also determines what matters to us.

If something matters to you, then it matters.  Or, at least, it matters to you.  This thing could be an idea, an identity, a religion; it could be your family, your country, or just your desire to do something like go to the movies or watch a football game on TV.  It’s your life.  However, if you want the power to express an idea, to protect your family, or to sit comfortably at home in front of the TV, then these things that matter to you have to be connected to the same (or similar) interests of those around you and defined by your class.  You may not share the same exact interests with your neighbor, but both of you might need money for food, or for a television.  You can watch whatever program you want to watch on the television, once you are able to buy it, but first you need to get some money, and in this society that usually means having a job.  Since nobody wants to starve, or live in wretched conditions, or (in general) be shoved around, they will do just about anything necessary in order to be empowered to gain access to food and other resources that sustain life.  And so they get together with other like-minded individuals and, based on these shared class interests, they form a system of power.

Now, if this system of power that we’ve created and continue to support leads to some people having more and a lot of other people having less, then what we end up with is a society with different levels of classes.  Each level of class is stacked on top of the other.  But it’s not even as simple as that because cisgender women who may belong to one class– for example, the middle-class– will still have less than cisgender men.  And it’s not just based on wealth and income.  They may be denied the right to an abortion and other necessary healthcare that affects their specific identity, even if they share many of the same economic interests.  And, of course, access to healthcare and abortion are economic interests.  Anything that costs money in a society where money expresses the exchange-value of commodities is going to be an economic interest.  So cisgender women have less power than cisgender men, even when they’re in the same class, and transgender women (also in the same class) have less power than cisgender women.  Transgender women have greater difficulty gaining access to surgeries that are often necessary for life itself, and perhaps can’t even find a job, or housing– and all of these things require money in a society where it definitely matters how much money you have.  This is true for almost anybody.  So our lives begin to be measured by their connection to commodity values, and how much money we have, because– whatever we say matters to us on an individual level– we can’t say it, or even think it, until we’ve been empowered to gain access to the resources which allow us to speak, think, or do anything at all.  And this happens on the class level– the systemic level.

Under capitalism, the question of “what matters” to each of us is perpetually locked into place by class, with each collection of class interests stacked on top of the other, like concrete blocks which jut out in the air, and with all these layers weighing upon those identities who are the most marginalized, who feel the greatest force upon them because they are situated at the highest concentration of weight.  In concrete terms (bad pun), this weight is money, but it’s also anything else that gives us power.  Whiteness is a concrete block.

Whiteness is a visible expression of class interests, of “what matters” to a vast group of individuals who have become a class; and this expression– whether we choose to recognize it or not– is a great weight pushing down on the masses who are not identified (by us) as “white.”  As we jut out beyond the general alignment of a class-based society, we may experience a sense of freedom, with no weight above and no weight below, nothing but our subjective expression of “this is what I want.”  And so we may believe that such an individual experience of liberation is possible for anyone else who wants it.  Yet, as we are thinking this, our individual weight is being sustained by the mass of concrete that pushes down on all the levels below it within the overall structure of society.  And this weight is created only through a unified force– a large number of individuals getting together saying “this is what we want” or “this is what matters to us.”  If we don’t believe this to be the case, then we must believe that some people– large numbers of people– don’t want to experience freedom, and don’t even want to live.  And perhaps we do believe this.

If we believe there are identities who simply don’t want to be free, and don’t even want to survive and have access to necessary resources, then what we really believe in is white supremacy, as well as transphobia, misogyny, homophobia, ableism, and the inherent inferiority of large numbers of people.  And this is pretty much the exact ideology expressed by capitalism, which controls the world economy: the few at the top should always be richer, and should perpetually enjoy the benefits created by the toiling masses below them.  The small concrete slab that sits on top of this entire society must justify that it has more, while so many people have less, by continually enforcing ideologies of white supremacy, transphobia, sexism and all other systemic forms of oppression.  And who experiences the greatest weight– or violence– within the global system of capitalism?  Black trans women.  Their identities are situated under all these connected forces of capitalist violence.

So, if we don’t hold the elitist, racist, sexist and transphobic view that there are identities who simply shouldn’t exist, or at least shouldn’t live as freely as we do, then we must believe in revolution.  And then it’s only a question of making us conscious of our belief in revolution and conscious of the principle that each person is an end unto themselves and not a means toward the goal of the oppressively violent class at the top, which is greater profits.  That is, if our principles are truly egalitarian we will believe in socialism.  And we will support revolution as soon as we recognize that people can only be free and equal through socialist revolution.  However, we can only have this revolution if we want it.

This isn’t the same thing as saying we can always avoid violence if we choose to avoid it.  At some point, the violence of the capitalist system will reach white people on a mass scale, and we won’t have any choice about it.  Billions of people can be denied resources, justice and power for only so long.  Keep pushing down and eventually you will create an equal and opposite force– and perhaps a greater force, and when this force moves against you, then the violence experienced by everyone else, over hundreds of years, will hit white people like a ton of bricks.  Because people aren’t inanimate objects, things that will inherently allow themselves to be exploited, shoved down, destroyed– they want the same things as anyone else, and if we keep denying them these things, their subjective force of resistance will react violently and strike back at their oppressor.  We have a choice about revolution, but we don’t have a choice about reactionary violence.

Here is an example, taken from the new documentary LA25 which covers the events in Los Angeles twenty-five years ago: the beating of Rodney King by pigs in the LAPD, the murder of Latasha Harlins, a fifteen year old Black girl, by a Korean store owner, the verdict in the trial of the Korean woman and then the verdict in the trial of the pigs, and the rebellions that followed.  After the verdict (not guilty) in the trial of the pigs who beat Rodney King, gangs in Los Angeles had come together to fight against their common enemy– mainly, the white man, as well as the white man’s system (capitalism) that had denied Black people justice and freedom for so long.  So we’re talking here about individuals who had been situated in an oppressive society in such a violent manner– bad schools, no jobs, no decent housing, no decent healthcare, no justice from the courts, constant brutality from the police– that some Africans (Black people) in Los Angeles were already going through the worst violence imaginable.  And they had been taking this vertical reactionary violence and (re)directing it at each other in gangs, in horizontal forms of reactionary behavior aimed at their own community.  However, for a few days, white people were forced to experience some of that reactionary violence that Black and brown people had been experiencing all along, coming from individuals who had been hardened by these oppressive conditions imposed by the racist capitalist system.  So white people were dragged out of trucks and cars, as they were trying to drive through the Black part of the city, and were beaten down in the street.  These individuals who were reacting to violence with violence had said (in so many words) “Let Black people go by, and let Mexicans go by.”  Instead of aiming their violence at each other, they started aiming it at white people (and Koreans).

So identity matters.  People all over the world are crushed every day by various forms of violence.  But white people are protected from a great deal of this violence, particularly violence that comes from the state– from capitalism.  Our white skin protects us from the police.  Our whiteness probably gives us a job.  Being an African– in Africa, in Los Angeles, or anywhere else in the world– means not being protected from the violence of the capitalist state.  It means being denied money, resources and justice.  There’s this whole global economic system built on the exploitation of the many for the benefit of the few.  At some point, the violence of capitalism will begin to hit white people, even wealthy and middle-class white people, whether we say we believe in justice, freedom, equality and peace or not.  The ideas in our head won’t save us.  The identity of whiteness which has empowered us to hold these beliefs and ideas– and has positioned us within the class structure to believe and think anything at all– may no longer insulate us from those whose identities this oppressive system has been moving against.  And once this society begins to break down and fall apart our identity will determine how much reactionary violence we may absorb, the same as the majority of humanity is already absorbing on account of the police, the courts, the military, G4S, media, schools and all the institutions of government and business within a global economic system controlled by the racist, sexist, transphobic capitalist class.  We won’t be able to escape this violence just because we feel like it, any more than Africans, Indigenous peoples, Palestinians, and Latinxs have been able to escape it, as they certainly have wanted to do.

In this inevitable breakdown of the capitalist power structure– all those blocks of concrete stacked on top of each other– it seems important to recognize that the violence hitting us is most likely going to come from white people on the right-wing.  And by “white people on the right-wing” we can also mean cops, current or former members of the military, immigration agents, and anyone else with a badge and a gun.  White people on the left are entirely unprepared for this violence because we have too much faith in what is considered “legal” and “constitutional.”  First you get power, then you define what is legal or illegal, and what is constitutional or unconstitutional.  The racist, sexist, bourgeois “Founding Fathers” grabbed power– through violence– then they wrote a constitution and created a legal system.  There’s no reason the police, the courts, or any other part of the capitalist ruling class must follow their own rules.  We can recognize this reality in the cases of all the pigs who murder unarmed Black people and then the legal system “fails” to charge them with a crime.  “Fails” because it succeeds– succeeds in perpetuating white class interests.  The pigs are just enforcing the ideologies– racist, sexist, transphobic, capitalist– that keep rich white cisgender men in power.  For the most part, the police will only be charged with crimes if they stop enforcing the rule of the white supremacist bourgeoisie.  Violence is law and order in ameriKKKan society– as long as this violence is directed at certain identities who are deemed a threat by the reactionary ruling class.  Because nobody wants to be treated unequally, and the ruling class is reacting to the threat of a violent reaction.

And violent reactionaries are another reason we might want revolution.  The people we should fear (if we’re going to fear anyone or any thing other than God and His will) is the population of whites on the right-wing who are armed and extremely dangerous– dangerous not only because they are armed with guns, but also with the toxic ideologies of racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, white feminism, and capitalist greed.

And these aren’t the only whites whose behavior and views may suddenly matter a whole lot to us, whether we want them to matter or not: any system built on all these forms of violence, that towers over the carnage of slavery, Jim Crow, genocide, imperialist wars, mass incarceration, deportations and police murders, is bound to create killers among the populations who benefit the most from this exploitative, dehumanizing system: white boys, white men, cisgender men who go into schools and  workplaces and shopping malls with guns and start murdering people right and left.  These ideas behind clear blue eyes didn’t just appear out of clear blue skies– the lone shooters, the random terrorists, were conditioned by the ideologies of a capitalist system built on violence on the most extreme scale.  And most of these terrorist killers are white cisgender men because capitalism was violently built to benefit white cisgender men.

But what if Latin America, Asia and especially Africa were to take control of their own resources, and refuse to be violently oppressed for the benefit of the capitalist ruling class, and the white population in the U.S. (conservative and liberal) who receive the greatest share of these benefits of imperialism?  If oppressed peoples in this global economic system were to grab even a fraction of power over their own lives, there would be chaos in the streets of the white world– beginning on Wall Street.  People would lose jobs on a scale never before imagined– by whites at any rate, because this time the “economic downturn” or “correction” wouldn’t just hit Black and brown people.  This economic crisis would hit white people, even wealthy whites who have impressive gun collections, who have been conditioned to view impoverished people– especially “poor” people of color– as inferior, subhuman, “thugs,” “aliens,” and who have connections in the police departments and offices of defense contractors.  And when people start losing access to healthcare, and lose their homes, and are going hungry, what happens?  In a society as racist, misogynistic and transphobic as ameriKKKa is, with as many guns as it has, and as little regard as it has for humanity, we may not even begin to imagine what could happen … unless, perhaps, you are Black woman in ameriKKKa.  Especially a Black trans woman.

So one of the aims of revolution is to protect the people, particularly the most endangered and marginalized: to feed the people, house the people, and provide healthcare to the people.  Those who belong to the white identity don’t want or need any of this protection right now, and don’t need to organize to gain access to these resources, because capitalism– a system built on increasing marginalization and violence against the oppressed masses– already gives these things to us.  Or steals them for us.  And we are empowered to receive these benefits on a collective level, on account of our whiteness.  So whites just want more— our class status conditions us to believe we should have access to “the American Dream,” and an upwardly mobile lifestyle, even if this means greater exploitation and violence against already marginalized identities.  However, if this world economic system of capitalism, based on violence, were to break down, even whites would need protection from the system and from those individuals  who are the most loyal to it: the racist, sexist, transphobic, Islamophobic reactionaries, with wealth, power … and guns.

This means revolutionaries don’t have to encourage or discourage violence.  The violence will happen either way.  Those who want revolution– that is, want to protect the people from violence– simply try to educate the masses about the importance of recognizing this violence.  The violence just is.  The question is: how do we organize these violent forces, particularly during a period of great volatility and chaos, and direct the violence away from oppressed identities and at the source of their oppression?  How do we get used to the idea of violence, educating ourselves about what this violence means, while making white people stop being so violent?

How do we make the concrete block of whiteness conscious of the violence that is already there?  Because, right now, white people are empowered to believe that we can just have happy nonviolent thoughts, and vote for liberal Democrats, and engage in long conversations (usually one-sided) about race relations, and white privilege, and getting along without any divisions, and then all these problems will disappear.  Right now, white people– as a mass of collective interests, as an unconscious concrete block– believe that we don’t need to transform society but only reform it.  And so the violence that empowers us to hold these beliefs in our heads continues to weigh down on the masses of Black people and all oppressed peoples in the United States, Africa and around the world, day after day.

But what do we do if we are knocked off this lofty position by forces beyond our control?  When imperialist violence begins to hit you and me like it has been moving against oppressed peoples, what will the white population do?  Will we move as reactionaries or revolutionaries?

Whiteness is a concrete block.

Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren and the Oppressive System of Capitalism Supported by White Colonizers

Obama

After Donald Trump won the election last November, the African revolutionary Dhoruba Bin-Wahad said in an interview that Barack Obama would become the next “Frederick Douglass until the day he dies.”  Dhoruba Bin-Wahad added: “He’s going to be the leader of Black America.”

In a sense, Barack Obama–from 2009 to 2017– was always the President of Black America.  As a Black person, Barack Obama was the leader of his community.  However, as the occupant of the White House, and as the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama was connected to the racist power structure– capitalism– which is responsible for oppressing his people.  And this created a contradiction:

On the one hand, Barack Obama was expected to be better than the 43 white presidents before him.  And Obama was expected (by white people at any rate) to be better than most of the white people in this country, because, after all, our behavior has been atrocious, despicable, and indefensible.  And one measurement of this deplorable behavior on our part is our support for all those presidents prior to Obama and the oppressive system of power that we wanted them to lead.  But Obama was supposed to be different, right?

No– because, on the other hand, President Obama was just another President, and now he’s just another ex-President— similar, in many respects, to the white, cisgender men prior to him who get multi-million dollar book deals and give speeches for hundreds of thousands of dollars and who travel the globe like rock stars.

And it’s racist for whites to expect Barack Obama to behave any differently than the ex-Presidents before him– which is to say, better than those dead presidents who appear on the paper he may be accumulating in massive quantities in the years ahead.

Whites always expect Black people to show more morality than we show.  But that’s not how it works– we need to be better.  Whites need to be better.  Whites need to do better, and stop expecting Black people to show us the humanity and conscience that we lack.  Just think about this: white people voted for a mainstream, middle-of-the-road Democrat who supports Wall Street and “smart” wars– after we had murdered Black and African leaders like Dr. King, Malcolm X and Patrice Lumumba, and imprisoned Assata Shakur, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Dhoruba Bin-Wahad.  So, if whites want an ex-President– and therefore a President– who doesn’t rake in the checks like many of his predecessors have done previously, then we should support a socialist revolutionary leader who resembles Robert F. Williams or Dr. Kwame Nkrumah (the latter having been overthrown by a CIA-backed coup in 1966).

Instead, Barack Obama came to represent the fundamental contradiction of “America”: even when a Black President saves the economy (benefiting the white population the most), and, over the course of eight grueling years, serves the interests of the capitalist system far better than most of his predecessors ever did, this system of power still remains so racist to its very core that the white population turns around and votes for Donald Trump.  And those whites who don’t support Trump still expect Obama to display greater morality than that which the system and its main beneficiaries– whites– have displayed.  That’s some kind of gratitude.

But it’s understandable that whites in the United States won’t get this contradiction because everything that we’ve accumulated– all our wealth, power, comfort and security– has come through genocidal, colonial, white supremacist aggression against Black people and the majority of humanity.  For eight years, Barack Obama was boss of that system of violence.  But, since he’s Black, he remains separate from the capitalist system– both in the minds of right-wing reactionaries (who, in spite of having grown wealthier under Obama, still despise him because he’s Black) and left-wing reactionaries (who would rather attack the Black ex-President with words than focus on the oppressive system that empowered him in the first place, mainly for the benefit of whites).

Whether we’re on the right or the left, whites can’t just let a Black person live.  We can’t just let Barack Obama leave office and enjoy himself like the ex-Presidents before him.  We need him to give us something that we lack in ourselves, the same now as in 2008 when whites wanted the candidate Obama to ease our guilt about racism– so that capitalism could then proceed with its racist projects of globalization, gentrification, police brutality and prisons, and so “good, kindhearted, decent, hardworking [white] Americans” could grow wealthier in this post-racial society [sic].

There’s one system that controls the world economy: capitalism.  And the leader of this system– and of all the “free world” [sic]– is the President of the United States.  Under the capitalist system, our favorite baseball players earn $25 million per year (at least), our favorite hip-hop stars rap about all the money they are making, and even the ACLU can rake in millions of dollars off whites who wouldn’t pay a dime to support the survival and well-being of Black trans women.  Nearly everybody is trying to get paid in some form or another under this system.  And when they get paid, they might think they can then use some of this money to help out the people around them.  Obama could do the same– he could give millions of dollars away almost as quickly as he gets these millions.  Who will be complaining then?  Not the whites who may be given a grant to study … whatever (we’re always getting grants to study problems that Black people are already telling everyone about, without funding).

Obama’s white critics are caught up in what is considered good money or bad money.  But, in the words of the hip-hop star Future, there is “blood on the money” no matter where it comes from and where it goes.  The whole capitalist system of power is based on the oppression of Africa and African people all around the globe.  So, if we seriously oppose this system of oppression, it seems we should focus on the cause, not on the effect, and we should go to the source of the oppression.  Because, although Barack Obama was once “the most powerful man in the world,” he was only empowered on account of the system, which only gains its power from the masses— in this case, white people in the United States (who became the majority population on this continent through colonial genocide).

Kwame Ture said:

“You can’t love God and love the Devil at the same time.  It’s like loving the dollar and loving your people at the same time.  … If you want to help the people, there’s no money involved.  The only thing involved is death, torture and pain—that’s all, Jack.  The reward is in the doing. … If you want money you’ve got to bow down to the laws of capitalism.  And the first law is that in order for America to remain rich Africans must be exploited.”

But Kwame Ture was an African revolutionary, not an ex-President of capitalist ameriKKKa.  If white people– on the right or the left– truly supported the liberation of colonized Black people and Africans, then we might have some reason to criticize Barack Obama and his high speaking fees.  But this support for revolution means we would have recognized that Africans in America are a colonized people.  And we would also have recognized that Barack Obama was the leader of the Black bourgeoisie of the colonized African people, all of whom (rich, poor, and in-between) are oppressed by the white colonial class (rich, poor, and in-between).

In other words, it’s not our business what Barack Obama does in relation to the Black community.  White people elected Obama to be the leader of capitalism— the system that benefits us by oppressing all Black people and Africans, who are colonized by capitalism.  From the white perspective, when we voted for Obama, all we did was just elect another bourgeois Democrat for President.  Because, if we’re against war and we’re against economic exploitation, whites need to support a complete change to the system of power, not just a change to who is the temporary leader of this system.  But if we enjoy the comfort and security gained from capitalist oppression, then white people can just keep on voting for Presidential candidates like Obama, Hillary, Bernie, Trump and the rest.

Chances are, if you live in the United States then you depend on this system for access to all the resources that help you survive.  And the expectation that Black people ought to be poorer than whites, just because the system is devilish, is white supremacy itself.  It’s easy to criticize Black people for trying to get ahead when white people got everything we have through genocide, slavery and colonization– even if it’s not a lot, that’s still how we’re empowered to exist on this stolen continent.

Whites created the capitalist system, not Black people.  And whites benefit the most from capitalism’s ongoing oppression of the global proletariat.  So why should we place greater blame on Barack Obama when most of us live so securely and so comfortably in the United States on account of this oppressive system of power?  Why do we do this? Because, as usual, whites are racist.

And this includes Elizabeth Warren.  Using the ableist language of “giant blind spots,” Elizabeth Warren, a white woman and a member of the U.S. Senate (the most violent, elitist, reactionary institution in the history of the globe) tells us that Obama doesn’t know about “the lived experiences of most Americans.”  But Senator Warren doesn’t know what it means to live as a Black person in America.  There isn’t any white person who knows this because all whites belong to the class of colonizers, benefiting from the systemic oppression of colonized Africans and Black people.  Senator Warren doesn’t know “the lived experiences” of Black women, transgender or cisgender.  White women can’t know because our “lived experiences” are shaped by where we’re situated in the class structure of a society that is simultaneously racist, sexist and transphobic.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is effectively attempting to erase these overlapping identities– Black, woman, and transgender– because she incorrectly understands class as only a question of economic exploitation.  And this is her agenda, which (like the agenda of Senator Bernie Sanders) is at odds with communities of color in the United States, because Senator Warren enjoys the class status of whiteness.  The colonial identity of whiteness is what empowers her to promote this agenda.  Any time a bourgeois politician– especially a liberal– tries to boil down the question of systemic oppression to a whitewashed, one-size-fits-all type of economic hardship, you can be sure that the “most Americans” they are referring to are white people.  Basically, they are fighting for white interests.

Once we begin to recognize the connection between race and class in the global system of capitalism then we may be able to understand how Barack Obama represented two intertwined contradictions of bourgeois, colonial society: as President of the United States, Barack Obama was a leader for white interests … because this country sure wasn’t founded in the interests of Africans, Indigenous peoples and the majority of people in the world.  Obama’s Blackness put him at odds with the white supremacist system that had (sort of) put him in charge.  Meanwhile, as an African in America, Barack Obama was a leader of colonized Black people.  As leader of the system that governed their lives, Obama– the “leader of Black America”— had gained access to the power structure of the United States, which, although racist, perhaps he could use to benefit his people.

It’s up to Black people whether they want to say Obama had their interests at heart or if he was a neocolonial leader who, as head of a white-controlled system, was fighting for white interests.  In either case, only Barack Obama’s community can hold him accountable if he decides to go and grab a slice of the American pie.  He’s only doing what any person under this system in the United States is expected to do: get as big a piece of the “American Dream” as you can get.

Barack Obama is obviously very loyal to America.  He loves this country.  So if white people believe this is wrong, it seems we shouldn’t blame Obama for supporting a country that was built off the colonial exploitation of African people– we should target the system itself.  After everything that Obama as done for America, he deserves the biggest paycheck from this country that he can get.  And if white people do not like to see Obama getting paid while so many people suffer, perhaps we ought to recognize that his speaking fees are a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the billions upon billions of dollars that head our direction on account of colonial violence against Africans and most of humanity.  Or maybe we do recognize the reality of this violence already and we simply want Obama to lead us out of this oppressive system.  But the only people who can do this are the revolutionary masses of the global proletariat (most of whom are Black and brown) and their leaders (not Bernie or Elizabeth Warren).  If white people started paying African revolutionary organizations and leaders, instead of supporting the government’s efforts to destroy and kill them, then maybe someday we will replace a system based on colonial exploitation (capitalism) with a system based on egalitarian, humane principles (socialism).

Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren and the Oppressive System of Capitalism Supported by White Colonizers