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.