Why Don’t More (White) People Want Socialism?


If socialism is so wonderful, why don’t more people want it?

Short answer: whiteness.  The longer answer (because that’s my style) goes something like this:

According to Marxism, socialist revolution was supposed to happen first in an advanced industrialized nation of the West.  This isn’t just because American, English and French people think they (or we) are the center of the universe (although we do).  And, of course, Karl Marx– a German– was going to focus on Europe.  But Marx and Engels believed that socialist revolution was supposed to happen in England, because its political economy had already undergone such a quantitative advance in the socialization of labor.  The class antagonisms that exist between the exploited workers and the industrialists had already reached the point of such tension in England that something had to give.  Soon the English proletariat would rise up, seize the means of production from the bourgeoisie, and then the workers of the world (or, at least, of Europe) would unite to lose their chains: a global revolution.  But that didn’t happen, not yet.  Does this indicate that Karl Marx was wrong?  Not necessarily.

Because along came Lenin in Russia, except, he was living in Germany.  Germany was behind England in terms of its process of industrialization, but its conditions for revolution seemed to be ripening and growing ready to be made to fall (which is a stolen line from Che Guevara).  Russia was decades, if not centuries, behind Western Europe.  It was feudalistic, backward– far from the stage of bourgeois democracy which is supposed to precede socialist revolution.  And, speaking of Che Guevara, Cuba was another territory that hadn’t been significantly industrialized, according to Western standards: it was a puppet state with many peasants whose brutal dictator was controlled by a great empire just to the north of this small island (great in its capacity for genocidal violence, not civilization).  But that was a bit later.

In 1917, a century ago (my skills in math are remarkable), Lenin was still in Germany when factory workers in Russia had the nerve to skip that whole “capitalist democracy stage” and went ahead and suddenly rebelled against the czar and started forming soviets.  So Lenin jumped on a train and rushed to where all the action was.  C.L.R. James gave some amazing lectures on these events.  I’m basically stealing these observations from him.  At any rate, the workers in Russia obviously admired Lenin a great deal– he had dedicated his life to revolutionary struggle and socialist theory– so they thought he would tell them to do something different.  But he said, “No, keep doing what you’re doing.”  (Not his exact words, of course– they were in Russian, and brilliant).  And then Russia became the first socialist state (it was never communist, by the way, because actual communism has never existed in this world).

We could look next at socialist revolutions in China, Vietnam and (finally) get around to Africa.  But one thing is clear: Germany hasn’t had that revolution.  England most certainly hasn’t had it.  And the United States, the most “advanced” and industrialized capitalist nation (or empire) in the history of the world, seems to be a couple thousand years away from socialism.  So what happened?  Again: whiteness.

What has emerged over the course of the past century, since 1917, is a global dialectic that is divided in two different ways, both of which contradict each other.  The first unity of opposites is the Marxian concept of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat– the capitalists and the working class– and these are the class antagonisms that exist in almost every nation of the Western world, and also in many areas of the so-called Third World.  This is the struggle of the oppressed masses against the oppressive few at the top: the 99% versus the 1%.

However, cookie-wise (or globe-wise), there is another unity of opposites– or dialectic– holding together the world economy today, while also threatening to make it crumble.  But this dialectical struggle isn’t just one hundred years old.  It started at least five centuries ago when Europe invaded Africa and the Americas and eventually the entire globe, an imperialist attack which led to the creation of a world economic system: capitalism.  And within this global economic system, the class contradictions of capitalist society are not simply the wealthy industrialists versus the workers, or the rich versus the poor.  It is the white world parasitically existing at the expense of its host: Africa, as well as the rest of the world outside Europe.  Thus, Frantz Fanon wrote: “Europe is literally the creation of the Third World.”

Frantz Fanon was an African socialist revolutionary and philosopher who was born in Martinique, a colony of France.  He contributed to the revolution in Algeria, a colony of France.  C.L.R. James was an African socialist revolutionary and scholar from Trinidad– the same as Claudia Jones and Kwame Ture (formerly known as Stokely Carmichael).  Another great African scholar and revolutionary who contributed to socialist struggle was Walter Rodney, from Guyana.

On the African continent, one of the most important contributors to socialist struggle was Amílcar Cabral, who organized revolutionary forces in the small, impoverished colonies of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde that had been terrorized for decades by the vicious Portuguese.  Portugal gave this same racist, capitalist treatment to the African people of Mozambique and Angola.  But these “poor little countries” in Africa are hardly worth mentioning; that is, if we believe in that white supremacist notion that only scale matters: large good, small bad (or at least too insignificant to notice).  Our focus is forever on white nations, or just one, the United States.  But if a nation in Scandinavia, or another European nation like Germany, is doing something that sounds “socialist,” we’re all ears.

Whites think we have no use for Africa and her impoverished former colonies in Ghana, Guinea-Conakry, Congo, and Burkina Faso.  We can be forgiven if we can’t find these African countries on a map, because capitalism wants to erase them from our racist education in the bourgeois schools that it controls.  What is less forgivable, so it seems, is the belief that whites in the U.S. have no use for these “poor little countries” in Africa.  This belief is not only inhumane, it is also just not true; because, the reality is, these countries in Africa are small and poor, while the U.S. is large and rich, precisely due to the fact that we are using them“Europe [including its settler colony the United States] is literally the creation of the Third World.”  By which we mean: Africa.  That’s the dialectic.

Furthermore, some of the most important revolutionary scholars and contributors to socialist struggle have come from these territories of Africa, leaders such as Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso, Patrice Lumumba in Congo, Ahmed Sékou Touré in Guinea-Conakry and (perhaps the greatest scholar and revolutionary leader of all time) Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana.

Scale does not determine importance.  And this is especially the case when we talk about justice and equality.  These principles are the antithesis of the notion that only those who are the largest, the loudest, the most powerful deserve our attention.  This is why Maurice Bishop, an important socialist revolutionary on the small Caribbean island of Grenada, wrote that “we are not in anybody’s backyard” (namely the backyard of the U.S. under the Reagan regime).  To quote Maurice Bishop at length:

“We are a small country, we are a poor country, with a population of largely African descent, we are a part of the exploited Third World, and we definitely have a stake in seeking the creation of a new international economic order which would assist in ensuring economic justice for the oppressed and exploited peoples of the world, and in ensuring that the resources of the sea are used for the benefit of all the people of the world and not for a tiny minority of profiteers. Our aim, therefore, is to join all organizations and work with all countries that will help us to become more independent and more in control of our own resources. In this regard, nobody who understands present day realities can seriously challenge our right to develop working relations with a variety of countries. Grenada is a sovereign and independent country, although a tiny speck on the world map, and we expect all countries to strictly respect our independence just as we will respect theirs. No country has the right to tell us what to do or how to run our country or who to be friendly with. We certainly would not attempt to tell any other country what to do. We are not in anybody’s backyard, and we are definitely not for sale. Anybody who thinks they can bully us or threaten us clearly has no understanding, idea, or clue as to what material we are made of. They clearly have no idea of the tremendous struggles which our people have fought over the past seven years. Though small and poor, we are proud and determined. We would sooner give up our lives before we compromise, sell out, or betray our sovereignty, our independence, our integrity, our manhood [sic], and the right of our people to national self-determination and social progress.  Long live the revolution!”

If socialism is so great, why does a “small” and “poor” country like Grenada want it, while people in a large and rich country like the United States do not want it?  It is precisely because we are large, wealthy– and white.

The reason why colonizers in the United States (which is to say, white people) don’t want socialism is that, whenever this wealthy capitalist empire experiences yet another inevitable crisis, it can simply rob the people of Africa, Latin America and Asia, as well as “people of color” within its illegitimate borders, and [snaps fingers] just like that the white “working class” once again has jobs, has “upward mobility,” “Morning in America,” “peace and prosperity,” and has a quaint fixer-upper home in Northeast Portland next to a Whole Foods and a Starbucks, across from another Starbucks.  In other words, as long as the white population (with all its classes: wealthy, middle-class, working class, poor) can sit on top of the oppressed classes of the world, we won’t need socialist revolution, and (therefore) we don’t want socialism.  Well, except the brand of socialism marketed by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders– we yearn and burn to have a piece of that pie.

But that pie (which is to say, the world economy) has been divided in two contradictory ways: one is the usual division between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots.  The other is the divide between Europe and Africa, the colonizer and the colonized.

As long as the capitalists of the Western world can keep robbing the people of Africa, Latin America, and Asia (as well as various islands from Puerto Rico to Hawaii to the Philippines), the contradictions of capitalist empire will be held in check: and the white working class will continue to get our check.  We may not get the raise we wanted, and our healthcare benefits may be slashed, and it may be harder to go to college (or pay off our debt), and it may appear that those “Golden Years” of retirement will have to come after age eighty, but we’re still getting paid, regularly– because Africa is getting robbed, regularly.  And the more restless or anxious the white population in the U.S. grows– stewing in the white supremacist juices of our subjective idealism (or patriotism)– the more the U.S. (and Canada, Australia, Western Europe and Israel) needs to rob and murder the brown people of the world– to keep us happy.  Or at least not so unhappy that we begin to think socialism is a good idea.

Malcolm X recognized this reality more than fifty years ago when he talked about the Bandung Conference that had been held in the mid-1950s.  In 1963  Malcolm X said:

“In Bandung back in, I think, 1954, was the first unity meeting in centuries of Black people. And once you study what happened at the Bandung conference, and the results of the Bandung conference, it actually serves as a model for the same procedure you and I can use to get our problems solved. At Bandung all the nations came together … from Africa and Asia. Some of them were Buddhists, some of them were Muslims, some of them were Christians, some were Confucianists, some were atheists. Despite their religious differences, they came together. Some were communists, some were socialists, some were capitalists– despite their economic and political differences, they came together. All of them were Black, brown, red or yellow.

“The number-one thing that was not allowed to attend the Bandung conference was the white man. He couldn’t come. Once they excluded the white man, they found that they could get together. Once they kept him out, everybody else fell right in and fell in line. This is the thing that you and I have to understand. And these people who came together didn’t have nuclear weapons, they didn’t have jet planes, they didn’t have all of the heavy armaments that the white man has. But they had unity.

“They were able to submerge their little petty differences and agree on one thing: That though one African came from Kenya and was being colonized by the Englishman, and another African came from the Congo and was being colonized by the Belgian, and another African came from Guinea and was being colonized by the French, and another came from Angola and was being colonized by the Portuguese– when they came to the Bandung conference, they looked at the Portuguese, and at the Frenchman, and at the Englishman, and at the Dutchman, and learned or realized the one thing that all of them had in common–they were all from Europe, they were all Europeans, blond, blue-eyed and white skins.

“They began to recognize who their enemy was. The same man that was colonizing our people in Kenya was colonizing our people in the Congo. The same one in the Congo was colonizing our people in South Africa, and in Southern Rhodesia, and in Burma, and in India, and in Afghanistan, and in Pakistan. They realized all over the world where the dark man was being oppressed, he was being oppressed by the white man; where the dark man was being exploited, he was being exploited by the white man. So they got together on this basis–that they had a common enemy.

“And when you and I here in Detroit and in Michigan and in America who have been awakened today look around us, we too realize here in America we all have a common enemy, whether he’s in Georgia or Michigan, whether he’s in California or New York. He’s the same man– blue eyes and blond hair and pale skin– the same man.”

Later on in 1964, as a Sunni Muslim, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz’s views of the white man changed somewhat (although not as much as the attempted liberal whitewashing of his legacy might want us to believe).  But Malcolm X not only made the religious pilgrimage to Makkah as a Sunni Muslim.  He also met with President Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana: the greatest Pan-African socialist revolutionary and philosopher of all time.  And even prior to that meeting, back when “the chickens [of imperialism?] had come home to roost,” Malcolm X had begun to recognize that whiteness is equated with capitalism.  He would say, right before the capitalist system of the United States murdered him: “You can’t have capitalism without racism.”

So Malcolm X, as an African in America, had a view of this racist, imperialist and capitalist situation which allowed him to recognize how the global dialectic was divided: by whiteness and by capitalist oppression.  And Africans in America are situated (trapped?) today in such a manner that a wealthy, privileged white colonial population remains a massive weight upon them, supported by their (still unpaid) labor, resources, culture and humanity, as well as the stolen land, labor and resources of Indigenous peoples, and (beyond the illegitimate borders of the United States) the land, labor and resources of the world.

If white colonizers don’t want a better healthcare system (even just some reforms to the existing system of bloodsucking insurance companies), then colonized African people are forced to go along with our racist attitude that anything associated with a Black President (or anything that might benefit Black people) can’t be good.  If white colonizers don’t want funding for Planned Parenthood, then African women can just … die.  If white colonizers want (yet another) mediocre rapist and white supremacist as our President, then Trump is our man; and Black people and “people of color” are stuck with all the negative consequences: deportations, an outlandish wall, travel bans on Muslims, cuts to programs, and, well, the same war on Africa that President Obama was waging, just on a greater scale (so, at last, “worthy” of criticism from liberals).

In this oppressive colonial situation, the main contributors to socialist struggle in the United States have been African/Black revolutionaries, going back to Claudia Jones, and the African Blood Brotherhood, and moving forward to W.E.B. Du Bois (particularly after he married Shirley Graham Du Bois) and then the Black Power movement in 1966 and the Marxist-Leninist organization founded the same year in Oakland, California by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale: the Black Panther Party.

Now, it seems to me, that the unique positioning of African people in the U.S. would lead white progressives to pay more attention to the contributions of Black revolutionaries and scholars in this settler colony, if not the contributions of Kwame Nkrumah, Frantz Fanon and Africans around the world.  Yet we keep getting caught up again in that whole problem of scale.

Compared to a bourgeois “socialist” campaign led by a U.S. Senator, a couple of young Africans in Oakland, California forming an organization for self-defense called the Black Panther Party may not seem like much– at least, to the white population that made the creation of such an organization necessary.

Compared to a bourgeois “feminist” campaign led by an ex-Senator and ex-Secretary of State– a white woman in the ruling class responsible for the murders of countless Libyans, Haitians, and at least one activist in Honduras, Berta Cáceres– it would appear that the Combahee River Collective of Black feminists, gathering forty years ago to write their (not so) famous Statement, is a fairly insignificant movement, not worth (white) attention.  Of course, any white woman (trans or cis, queer or straight) who identifies as “intersectional” in their Twitter bio (next to “I”m With Her”) probably owes far more to the Combahee River Collective than to the Democratic Party.

But the aim of capitalism is to mislead us and to make us think that socialism is “pretty good, I guess” … just not the kind of “repressive” socialism in Cuba (“Wasn’t Castro a dictator?!” ), and just not the kind that requires a violent overthrow of systems and regimes– you know, like the way the United States came into existence.  Maybe we want the kind of socialism that Sweden has (Sweden doesn’t have socialism) but our main focus is on “taking America back from” … well, the party that just told their base that they were taking America back.  Back and forth.  “Things go in cycles.”  “Things will get better.”  And so, for now, let’s go to Starbucks.  Which one?

Capitalism wants us to believe that our individual happiness lies (“lies” being the operative word) in changes to our mindset, and by rearranging our mental furniture as we hoard the materials of the world through the brutal exploitation of Africans: brown people.

Capitalism wants us to believe that success in our personal lives is simply an individual choice– just be yourself, work harder, dream harder, read my self-help book (that is, buy my self-help book).  Anything but radical changes to the overall system.  Because white people can literally afford to buy into this subjective idealist belief, and claim to support nonviolence while still benefiting from imperialist violence against Africa and the globe.  We don’t want socialism because– materially and historically– white people are situated in a racist system of colonialism and capitalist exploitation which allows us to avoid this objective reality, and pursue instead some lazy-hazy ideal that is sold to us on our widescreen high-definition TVs.  Except now we need a TV with a wider screen, because– according to this racist bourgeois view– scale is everything.  Bigger is better.  Wider is better.  Whiter is better.

If you want a new TV, you go to Walmart (provided you’re wealthy enough to buy it).  If you want the rewards of the Hereafter … well, “for you is your religion and for me is my religion.”  But if you want to find treatment for your broken arm, you go to a doctor who has the medical knowledge to treat it (again, if you can afford to, while we’re struggling to survive under this inhumane system of capitalism).  And if you want to put an end to systemic oppression, and replace capitalism with a system based on humane and egalitarian principles– which is socialism— then you need the scientific theories of dialectical and historical materialism, as demonstrated (not invented) by Karl Marx and V.I. Lenin.

Africans in America have been situated in such a manner– both materially and historically– that they are far more likely to recognize the necessity for scientific socialism and revolutionary struggle than white people are.  One thing Africans and people of color don’t want– because nobody in history has ever wanted it– is to be oppressed.  And that’s probably why it’s far more likely that Africans in America, and in Africa, and everywhere in the world, along with all colonized people, would want socialism, while white people are voting for Trump (or Clinton or Sanders).

Socialism is recognized by oppressed people as one realistic way to end their oppression.  Simple as that.  White people don’t want socialism because, for the most part, we aren’t oppressed.  Socialism is a way to get white people off the backs of oppressed people.  It’s a way to get power.  And the oppressed people of the globe recognize that, once we get Europe and white people off our backs, and have power, we don’t want the people who look like us to continue oppressing us the same as the colonizers did.  So socialism is a system that can prevent that.  Of course, this system will not work all that effectively while there is still neocolonialism.  And while there is Western imperialism, there will be neocolonialism.  So the oppressed people of the globe recognize: we need to get rid of the whole world economic system.  We need a global revolution.

White people don’t think in these terms.  We say, “I want a better job– just for me.”  “I want a bigger house– just for me (and my family, because my [cisgender] kids are mine too).”  “If I can have a long and happy retirement, then let the bombs fall on Somalia.  Go ahead, deport a few more ‘illegal aliens,’ if it helps me.”

For whites, it’s all about the individual, or personal property, because that’s how we are taught in the capitalist institutions of the United States.  And socialist revolution means that you might have to give up some of those individual rights that allow you to express your unique personality, and explore your infinite appetites, fears and dreams– at the expense of an African worker in a mine, a field, a factory, or a prison.  So let the multinational giant corporation G4S gather up the brown people of the globe and erase them– out of sight, out of mind, the same as in our gentrified neighborhood– because in the United States, if something hasn’t happened to you, or me, then it hasn’t happened at all (or at least it doesn’t matter).

Socialism sounds pretty good, as long as we– the parasitic, colonizing white population of the United States– don’t need to give up anything for it, and don’t need to struggle or organize, and, instead, can simply sit back and wait until the next presidential election.


Why Don’t More (White) People Want Socialism?

Free Your Mind … And the Decolonization of Land Occupied by Whites May Follow



Capitalism wants you and me to believe that being oppressed is only a matter of a person’s opinion of us.  And it’s only when we are easily offended, or we’re preoccupied with “political correctness,” that we may start to feel oppressed (and then feel the need for safe spaces).

But the power to oppress comes from a system.  And the system of power in the United States is capitalism.  This is also why systemic oppression isn’t based merely on the oppressor’s opinion of you and me, or even on the feelings of an oppressed person.  And, furthermore, this is why “anti-racist activism” or “the fight against white supremacy”– as well as the fight against sexism, transphobia and homophobia, or patriarchy– has to be connected to a fight against systemic power, and (most accurately) a fight for power.

We can’t see or touch white supremacy.  It’s an idea.  Yes, ideas do count.  But to illustrate why they are not primary, while material reality is, perhaps we can try doing this: let’s close our eyes and think of the most wonderful idea in the world.  Maybe it’s something we’ve always wanted.  Hold out our hand.  Keep thinking about it … keep thinking … now open our eyes and look at our hand.  Is it there?  No.  So we could have a thousand thoughts, beautiful thoughts, or ugly thoughts– for instance, we could imagine dominating the entire globe through white supremacy.  That’s the ugliest thought of all.  But it would just be an image in our mind until we had power, and that power would require a system— a world economic system.  Otherwise, without power, nobody would allow us to impose our ideology on them.  So the fight isn’t against white supremacy, or patriarchy; it’s against the global system of power that forces these violent ideas on people.  And this system is capitalism.

However, to argue that the fight against white supremacy is a fight against a white supremacist system– capitalism– still doesn’t go far enough.  What’s a system without land?  What’s a system without a population that supports it?  After all, if the majority of Europeans (whites) didn’t want capitalism, there wouldn’t be capitalism.  But that’s not entirely correct either.  Because the few at the top– the wealthiest, the most powerful– might have something to say about our wish to replace their system, and they would say it with bullets and the usual violence from the police and military.  Nevertheless, they (the few at the top) still need the loyalty of these individuals in the police departments and the military, and in every other institution which they control.  And as long as the majority of whites can enjoy some of the benefits of capitalist exploitation, we won’t move against the rich few at the top of this power structure (most of whom are white), even as we also experience some of its oppression.  So the whole power structure of the capitalist system remains in place to perpetuate its ideologies, and it does this only on account of a national structure: a state.

This means, oppression is more than an idea, and is certainly more than an opinion, for it is based on a system of power; yet its power goes beyond the system as well– systemic oppression gets its power from a nation, the United States of America.

Of course, the United States is not the only white supremacist, patriarchal nation in the world.  Canada is racist.  Australia is racist.  Most of the nations in Europe are racist, including the countries of Scandinavia that are frequently praised by white liberals in this country, nations that are described as the “model” for the type of system that the white left wants here.  And why are all these nations white supremacist?  It’s not just because the majority of their populations are white people.  It won’t be long before whites in the United States are a minority.  Whites are already a global minority.  So what is it then that leads the “white countries” of the Western world to be racist?

The power that systemic oppression gets from a state or a nation– in the U.S., England, France, Sweden, Australia, Israel– is part of the overall imperialist design of the white identity.  Whiteness constitutes a national identity.  But in order for this identity to have any power, it needs not only a system but a state.  Whiteness needs defined borders.  That is, borders defined by the white ruling class and supported by the white population of each country.  In the United States and Canada, these borders do not benefit the populations indigenous to North America: they don’t express their interests or their national identities.

So the United States is itself– as a nation-state– an imposition of white rule, of European colonization.  That’s why capitalist interests– or what might be considered “mainstream politics”– are more accurately called white nationalism: Republicans, Democrats, even white socialists and white anarchists.  These groups in the United States are white nationalists because they only get their power– even the power to move against the state– from a nation imposed by Europeans on occupied Indigenous land.  The power that whites in the U.S. have to do anything only comes through the imperialist domination of Indigenous peoples, Africans, Asians, and all colonized populations around the globe.

The resources, land, culture and labor of the world sustain white existence in the United States, and this political arrangement only gains its power from the national— or white nationalist— expression of our collective (class) identity and interests.  This expression is the imperialist state itself: the United States.  In order to get the things we need to survive and develop, and to experience “upward mobility” and the “American Dream,” whites need the United States of America, we need a nation; because only a nation— through all its institutions, and not just those of the government– has the power to subjugate the masses of the world.

So racism isn’t just about opinions, or feelings or “free speech.”  Racism is also more than an ideology which sort of floats– invisibly– in the mists of our memories, a kind of ghost from the past, still haunting us with its history of slavery, genocide, Jim Crow and atomic bombs.

Capitalists argue that we should stop “living in the past”– racism is over, they say, and the “original sin” of the United States has been forgiven, blotted out, and corrected at every level of government and business … if only those annoying “protesters” and “activists” would shut up and go away.  But a movement against white supremacy is not a movement against the echoes of voices from the past, the ghosts of history, or even what the white individual holds in their mind today.

Capitalism wants us to boil down all the material elements of racism until they evaporate and are merely part of our imagination: ideas, feelings, opinions floating in air.  You can’t fight against air.  When conceived in these terms, nobody can recognize, or at least agree on, what this “white supremacy” actually is and looks like.  And the same goes for a system.  Even if we have the ability to look out the window, we still can’t see a system of power.  As a result, “the fight against the system of white supremacy” doesn’t mean a great deal, whether we support this fight or oppose it.

But we know what the United States is.  We immediately understand what it means to live in this nation.  We know this nation has boundaries.  And all the land inside these boundaries belongs to the United States.  How did the United States get this land?  Through violence– white supremacist violence.  You can’t make any other argument.  Indigenous peoples– then Mexico– had this land, and Europeans wanted it, so we took it.

The problem wasn’t just that Europeans wanted land outside Europe, or that we created an ideology to express this imperialist desire; the problem was– and is– that Europeans possess a national power structure– a state– which can harness and direct all the violent energy of the white identity toward the ultimate aim of greater and greater riches– more comfort, more security– expressed in the visible institutions of whiteness, as well as by white people themselves … actual whites, millions of us, walking around (if we’re able) on occupied land: the United States of America.  This is the destiny made manifest in the shape of a nation, a nation created only through European imperialism in the form of capitalist state power.

But how do we persuade the white masses to oppose not only white supremacy, but the United States, which is the most violent nationalistic and imperialistic expression of white supremacy?  Particularly when our identity– whiteness– is based entirely on power, white supremacist power?

Whiteness is power.  It’s easy to oppose racism when it’s out there as a disconnected idea, or it is isolated to the alt-right, the Ku Klux Klan or the Trump administration.  But when white supremacy is recognized as integral to our identity as white people, and especially as white “Americans”– Europeans on occupied Indigenous lands– then it becomes far more difficult to argue that we oppose not just the hateful ideas in the head of that racist over there, but an entire identity, an entire nation: the United States.

At the same time, once we know who the enemy of humanity is, we can achieve clarity: a clear opponent and a clear idea of what needs to be done to this opponent.  If the United States were defeated, racism would no doubt still exist, because the world has been imbued with a white supremacist system’s violent ideologies for over five hundred years, and not just the world’s European population.  Capitalism will cause any individual in any “race” to exploit their own people, especially if this means they can escape capitalist exploitation themselves.  So capitalist oppression isn’t just about skin color or national origin, and it’s also not just about the color of a particular flag that is flying above a region: the “local” capitalist government can reproduce the former colonizer’s oppression even more successfully under this new flag, with a ruling class that looks like the masses whom they oppress, because there is no longer clarity about who the real enemy is, and the struggle for power isn’t just against some outside force.  The struggle would seem to be against themselves.

And that’s the issue for whites in the United States– we cannot conceive that our opponent is, well, ourselves.  Capitalism has divided us in such a way that we are loyal to whiteness.  Except, since it makes all but a few of the most blatant racists feel uncomfortable to say we are “loyal to whiteness,” instead, we say that we are loyal to the United States: a nation built on the subjugation and colonization of Indigenous peoples and Africans by whiteness, by us, the white population.

Saying “I’m a proud American” is the same thing as saying “I’m a white supremacist”– it just may sound less offensive to our ears.  But if we don’t oppose the United States, then we’re loyal to whiteness, and to white supremacy, because at no time in history has whiteness existed separately from white supremacy.  The English existed as English, the French as French, the Dutch as Dutch, but white people– particularly “white Americans”– only exist through capitalist empire, and the nationalistic expression of the idea that whites are superior, and should therefore occupy land outside England, France, or any other place in Europe.

And this is why whiteness is all about power.  No white person could survive in North America for a day without a system that allows the European settler to take up space, to pursue life, liberty, happiness, and wealth, thousands of miles away from Europe, supported by the productive forces of African workers who make this dream-like pursuit a reality on Native land– Africans who come from, and (quite often) still live on, conquered African land, the same as they live in the Caribbean, Central America, South America and all over the world.   It’s the same global reality across the map: whiteness means power because it is empowered by the imperialist state to take this power from Africa.

But is it even possible to move against ourselves, by moving against whiteness, and capitalism and the United States of America?  Yes, it is absolutely possible.  And we do this through our opposition to the United States.

Like everyone else on this continent (and Hawaii) whites need capitalism to exist.  We enjoy more of its benefits and less of its violent exploitation than any other (or other-ed) population does, particularly Indigenous and African people.  But there’s only one system: whether it is setting out to feed us, give us access to water, and to employment opportunities for more wealth, or it is dead set on starving us, poisoning our water, and destroying our neighborhoods and land.  At some level of its tiered class structure, each individual depends on the system of capitalism, even as it robs them, murders their children, and beats them in the street– realities that are experienced far less frequently, and violently, by whites than by Africans in this class-based society.  So if our target is merely capitalism, we are moving against the source of everything we need to survive until a more humane and egalitarian system has replaced it.  That is, socialism.

And you can’t have socialism as long as this country, the United States, still exists.  Not if it’s going to be socialism based on truly humane and egalitarian principles.  Furthermore, just as a white person– like everyone else on this continent– needs capitalism to exist (even if it is killing many of us), capitalism needs the United States.  So if the United States still exists, the basic outline of the capitalist class structure will remain in place.  The boundaries of white supremacist imperialism would remain.  The population within these boundaries would continue to demand the wealth and resources of the world to sustain it.  What would this socialism mean to the Navajo nation?  Shouldn’t the Navajo nation have the power to determine for themselves which system they want?  So, while it’s certainly possible for capitalism to exist without the United States, it’s far more practical to dismantle the capitalist system (particularly the wealthy class and its oppressive ideologies) when the United States has been dismantled, and has been broken into many little pieces or territories, as Indigenous and African people determine for themselves how to govern each fragmented region of a continent undergoing the incremental process of decolonization.

This means Europeans (whites) who are anti-racist and anti-capitalist can move against the source of systemic oppression on three fronts.  The first front of this movement of anti-colonial resistance is the breaking up of the United States, by discovering its weakest points and those areas that might be liberated sooner than others (perhaps because the organized forces of liberation among oppressed people there are stronger).

Anti-racism and anti-white supremacy are part of a process that is tied to anti-colonialism, and to, as it were, the untying of the United States: “untied states.”  This anti-colonial process requires quantitative change: one area of the occupied land breaking off, even if it’s not in the apparent interests of the revolution.  Just break it up, bit by bit.  Alter the map of empire.  Some region, no matter how large or how small, splitting away from the United States, weakening its overall capacity for colonial violence is a victory for revolution.

The second front of this movement of anti-colonial resistance is support for a totally liberated and united Africa under an all-African socialist government.  And why should white people make the empowerment of Africa our concern, unless we love the Red-Black-and-Green, and raising our fist in the air, and unless we believe Kwame Nkrumah was a pretty cool guy?  You know, typical white appropriation of culture– the stuff our dreams are made of?

But whatever our motives are, imagine what it would mean to the world if a socialist Africa could be a counterweight to the capitalist United States?  Right now, capitalism spreads across North America (and Hawaii) under the murderous colors of the red-white-and-blue.  Its own contradictions are fairly stable, in terms of a settler population that is unified by interests, ideologies and a national identity.  So the United States (and Canada and the entire Western world) has been able to take this stabilized internal force (of the bourgeois, white nationalist identity) and use it to move against Africa and the globe, including so-called people of color in the imperialist countries.

And, in fact, the U.S. has been able to use divided and destabilized populations as a force to move against themselves, and against their own interests (which is defined as neocolonialism, as well as bourgeois, patriarchal oppression within a colonized community).  But a unified Africa could resolve its contradictions on its terms, and therefore better resist the outside power of the United States and the West.  Therefore, if we wish to weaken the power of the capitalist, white supremacist forces, we should support the growing strength and unification of Africa, the same as we support the eventual disintegration of the United States.  From within, and from without: a racist entity unable to inflict violence on the globe, and also unable to hold up under the counterweight of global resistance.

The third front in the movement against the connected forces of colonialism, capitalism, and white supremacy– as materially expressed in the national form of the United States– is the creation of European identities who are free from the white or American identity.  This part of the movement can only gain momentum through the implementation of the other two parts, all of which are connected to their dialectical counterparts: a stronger Africa and a weaker United States will inevitably create the necessity for new European identities which have resolved themselves outside the previously stable forces of colonialism, capitalism, and white supremacy (along with whiteness itself) as currently formed in the American national identity.

Right now, it isn’t necessary to create this new identity because the United States, while weakening every day, is still relatively strong … on account of its violence against Africa and the world.  But if we wish to evolve beyond this oppressive relationship between the U.S. and the globe, and attain a level of humanity where the few do not exist off the violent exploitation of the many, then our goal should be to further expose and increase the contradictions of the white or American identity, while simultaneously supporting the struggles of Black people/Africans to establish their own bases of power.

One way or the other, at some point the colonizers will be confronted with our violent behavior and we will be forced to make adjustments to our loss of power.  But what can we do today?  We shouldn’t attempt to join revolutionary Black or African organizations, but colonizers can begin to create identities that are at least somewhat less dependent on the American/white identity.

Perhaps we can begin to imagine spaces where we’re no longer “white” or “American,” and therefore (as a matter of scientific necessity) no longer dependent upon the violent, colonial occupation of Indigenous and African spaces.  And such a vision requires the obliteration of the “American” ideal, even if, currently, we only burn the map of the United States in our collective imagination.  For this may become the beginning of many fires to its oppressive institutions, which, imaginatively ignited at first, can free– if not the land then our– minds from the ideological grip of white nationalist capitalism.

Free Your Mind … And the Decolonization of Land Occupied by Whites May Follow