Cracks in the Gray Concrete: The White Transgender Identity Leveraged Against Whiteness



One of Karl Marx’s main contributions to social science was his demonstration that societies (because they are part of nature) evolve in much the same way as the rest of nature does– that is, on account of their internal contradictions.

In the natural world, contradictions– between two struggling and opposing forces– hold an object together, allowing it to move and to develop, either transforming it into a new object or causing it to disintegrate.  But how is society similar?  Marx demonstrated that the forces of progress in society are not based on ideas but on the extraction of materials from nature and their use in the production of resources necessary for sustaining life, which, in turn, leads to the development of ideas, culture, and everything else in society.

In other words: the development of society is based on work … and workers.  At the foundation of a society’s growth and development is the contradiction between those who produce life’s necessities (the workers) and those who control the means by which these necessities are produced (the owners).  The latter have power yet they are dependent upon the work of the former in order to gain greater power and to keep the existing structure of society in place.  As the strength of the workers’ productive force increases, through increasing oppression by the owners, the producers become conscious of their power to transform society; and then they move to overthrow the political, economic and social basis of their oppression, and, in the process, they transform the system of power.  This is called revolution: a qualitative change in society, as it leaps forward to the next stage of history.

So, now a question may arise: is there any reason a working class, cisgender, heterosexual white man in today’s society would be less revolutionary than a working class Black or Brown person, particularly if they are transgender or queer or a woman (or all the above)?  My answer is: yes and no.

First the “no” answer: there isn’t any law in the natural or material world which states that a working class person will be more politically conscious on account of their identity, if they are Black, trans, queer, or a woman (or, again, all the above).  In fact, there isn’t any requirement by nature that such a person would possess revolutionary consciousness even on account of their status as a worker.

Revolutionary consciousness isn’t guaranteed by systemic oppression, whether it’s based on strictly economic terms (which are, actually, never just about economics) or it’s based on one’s identity as a woman, a gay person, a “person of color,” a transgender person or some intersection of these identities.

It isn’t an automatic thing that people will become revolutionary, because people are not automatons.  Nearly all of us absorb on a daily basis the ideologies of the ruling class through the institutions that it controls.  We buy into the values, beliefs, and the views of the wealthy class, based on how much money and power we have, and also based on our ability to climb higher up within the existing structure, an ability which we may use no matter who we need to step on during our ascent.  The contradictions of the larger society are present in each class level and, furthermore, in each individual who is part of their class.  The ideological force of the ruling class works upon our many lives, and our internal contradictions, because– if we wish to survive, and gain access to resources– we must go along with its dominant force.  However, some people must continually resist these ideologies in order to survive, because this stronger force is mostly seeking to exploit them, and prey upon their weakened condition, a condition which has come about because the ruling class has stolen their power and is now out to destroy them: they become useless to the system, utterly unnecessary for its purposes of more power and control.

And this is why the answer is also “yes”– a working class, cisgender heterosexual white man may be less revolutionary than a transgender woman of color, although their political analysis is the same, and although their income and “net worth” are fairly close.  This may be true, in fact, even when a Black trans woman, trans Latina, or trans Indigenous woman has more money than the working class cis-het white man (or woman).

Marxist theory demonstrates that societies evolve and move– or what we might call “make progress”– on account of the antagonistic relationship between the ruling class and those whom it rules.  This dialectical struggle, in Marxian terms, is between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.  However, since we’re talking about capitalist society, and a global economic system that has existed for over five hundred years (ever since Europe began its invasion of Africa and the Americas), we’re also talking about the political category of “whiteness” and the power of this identity over those who are not identified by capitalism as “white”: African, Indigenous, Latinx, Arab and (generally speaking) “people of color.”  This too is a dialectical struggle, just as patriarchy is a key class factor in the political, economic and social arrangement of capitalism.

So far we have been trying to speak in objective terms.  Objects are held together by their contradictions.  Societies change in much the same way: increasing class antagonisms between the owners of production and the actual producers eventually lead to revolution, or a complete transformation of systems.  However, people aren’t objects.  People are subjects.  They may be objectified by a system of power and its ruling class, yet their humanity itself struggles to remain intact.  Members of objectified classes remain subjects just by surviving and living, as a people, as a community, and as an individual inside their community.  And when a people becomes conscious of their oppression, they do so not as objects that are launched forward as the engines of social change, but as humans who think, feel, hurt, love, hate– and who create an identity.

And this is why cisgender heterosexual white men– and, to some extent, all whites in general, are not forces for revolutionary change.  Revolution requires a subject– a revolutionist.  If you’re European, you’ve already had your revolution; especially if you’re a white settler in the United States: a monarchy was overthrown, and an old system of power was tossed out, and then you seized control of the colonies, not as the colonized and the enslaved, but as the colonizer and the slaveholder.  This was a bourgeois democratic revolution, which meant progress for the white population, but which also came at the expense of Indigenous peoples on their occupied lands, and at the expense of Africans stolen from Africa who have been forced to produce the riches and power of the growing “American” empire across these occupied lands.  This was our revolution.  And this struggle of the ascendant white, bourgeois settler class is still going on.  Because revolutions don’t end when the war is over, or even when the new constitution has been written– this is where revolutions truly begin, and the real work of preserving the existing social structure.

For this reason, working class whites are among the most reactionary people on the planet.  And if they are cisgender, heterosexual, Christian (or atheist/agnostic) “able-bodied” men, their status as a reactionary subject of social changes grows and grows with each layer of identity or political category.

But white people in general– regardless of economic status, sexuality or gender identity– are a reactionary force within nature because we seek to preserve and expand an existing system: this capitalist democracy on occupied land which was created through violence and can only survive through greater violence, not only against kings and “tyrants,” but against potentially revolutionary forces from below.  And the potential forces of revolution in this global economic system are Africans, Indigenous peoples, and Latinxs– the actual producers of white wealth and power.  Without their work, and the resources extracted on their land, capitalism could not exist, and neither could the political identity of white people.

It’s not that a cisgender heterosexual white man can’t be revolutionary; it’s just that it’s typically not in his interest to be a subject of struggle and resistance.  This patriarchal, racist, capitalist system has been created for his benefit, and for the benefit of all whites.  As a result, we might ask: what’s he struggling against anyway?  The cisgender heterosexual white man in the United States is struggling against King George III, and against rebellious Africans and Native peoples who may threaten to overthrow his system, his power: which is capitalism.  Again, this is our revolution: a capitalist democracy, a great leap forward from feudalism and the “Dark Ages” of Europe.  It’s the revolution that created the United States, not the socialist state which may threaten our own wealth and power.  Our subjective struggle, as part of the white identity, is to escape the oppressive forces of an earlier age.  How?  By stretching across a continent, and by extracting the labor, resources and culture of the global proletariat, either through chattel slavery or through wage-slavery, while these productive forces (the working masses whom we oppress) create progress for “America,” or what we call “upward mobility” and “peace and prosperity.”  Why should a cis-het white guy fight against a system created and expanded for his benefit?  Why would whites overall gain a revolutionary consciousness when we are the main beneficiaries of capitalist rule?

And we can take this analysis one step further: as subjects for revolutionary change, a cisgender heterosexual white man can only be who or what he is.  The same is true for any white person: transgender, gay, disabled, a woman.  Even if we support Africans who are struggling for freedom from this system of oppression, a white person (no matter how revolutionary) cannot be the subject of an African struggle.  This seems to be an obvious point.  Yet it’s not so obvious to European or white revolutionaries who believe that– just by learning the right theory, or aligning with oppressed people in the right way– we can join forces with African or Black revolutionaries and be part of their fight.  No, we are simply taking up additional space.  The only people who can liberate Africans are Africans: “We Are Our Own Liberators” (to quote the title of Jalil Muntaqim’s book).

Whites can align with Black Power by paying back some of the wealth we’ve stolen (in the form of reparations and material solidarity).  But our identity as white people dictates– whether we’re conscious of this fact or not– that our interests will be aligned with our own empowerment.  And it’s not even that white socialists will have the wrong theory.  Or the wrong identity which (to some extent) can’t be “wrong.”  We just can’t be the subjects of a struggle against a system of power built for the benefit of our identity: whiteness.  Mostly, cisgender heterosexual white men must get out of the way.  Whites must get out of the way, and it doesn’t matter (very much) how right we are.  Right or wrong, we have more power, as part of the political identity of whiteness, because our elevated status has come at the expense of oppressed identities.

In fact, many individuals in oppressed classes and communities also have the wrong ideas.  Capitalism has taught them to exploit, hurt and even kill people who belong to marginalized identities within their own class or community, so that they can climb over the bodies of their victims on the way toward the enjoyment of more wealth and power (for themselves, not their communities).  And how could such a thing as “African power” or “Indigenous power” teach individuals in oppressed communities these violent ideologies?  European power destroyed their societies, for the benefit of whites– including “liberal” or “progressive” whites who support gays, and trans people, and are “anti-racist.”

The progress of capitalist democracy, with its greater wealth and its increasing recognition of human rights, has created poverty and chaos for the rest of the world.  This is one of the internal contradictions of bourgeois society: as our consciousness of humanity grows, and we begin to recognize the inherent worth of each person in this society (through schools, media, nonprofit organizations, and other institutions controlled by capitalism), the distance between our progressive values and the objective status of whiteness (which is based on colonial genocide) also grows.  Then we rush to join forces with colonized communities in their movements against white supremacy and patriarchy, while simultaneously enjoying the benefits of a racist, sexist, transphobic system of capitalist exploitation.

In effect, anti-racist and revolutionary whites often try to be a self-negating force, yet revolution is about gaining more power because you have less.  Revolution is about struggling to reach our highest potential as a person, through the growing consciousness that self-fulfillment and development can only happen under a system which empowers and encourages the identity of the subject to flower– that is, through mass movement and revolution (positive action for a positive identity).

I spent most of my life– as a transgender woman– self-negating my identity.  I don’t need or want to practice any more self-negation.  Whites who align with Black liberation by (apparently) sacrificing the self out of their wish to contribute to the greater empowerment of Africans and Black people may be more successful in this endeavor if they haven’t struggled just to live as their authentic self: the subject, and the contradictions that hold it together, may have been resolved to the point where the fight for their own success is no longer primary.  It may be easier for such an individual to be a generic white person (if that’s even possible), and just to bury their resolved and apparently solid self beneath a selfless role as an ally or accomplice in the cause of African revolution.  What goes on beneath the surface of this white person is their business, but my business is to find soil that allows my identity to blossom and flower.  Self-negation is not an option when the subject is a transgender woman who never felt she could grow in this poisoned ground of capitalist “America.”

Of course, Africa must be free.  Black people must have power.  And, as the subjects of their own struggle, as their own liberators, Africans and Black people will be free.  And they will be free not just on account of having the correct theory, or even through the correct practice of this theory, but on account of the fact that they are Black, they are African– that is their identity.  Freedom and power are always predicated on the existence of some liberated subject, some identity who has been empowered.  The concept of “freedom” doesn’t exist outside history and nature, and neither does “race” or identity.  A subject conceives the idea of freedom, just like identity conceives everything else, including itself.  So the only question is: who is the subject?  Black people conceive Black liberation, because Black people conceive Blackness.

One might argue that Black people aren’t even “black”– that is, they are not the “race” that has been conceived by this racist, patriarchal global economic system: capitalism.  Prior to Europe’s invasion of Africa more than five hundred years ago, Africans defined the African identity.  European power violently disrupted and qualitatively changed the ability of Africans to define their own identity.  Europe did this by stealing their resources and labor– the basis of the ability to self-define.  So, Africans were objectified by white colonizers as “black”– and were called many other names as well, all but their own.

However, Africans have resisted, survived, and blossomed into their own self-defined identities: Africans became Black, which is absolutely not the same as the white definition of “black.”  Blackness, like the transgender identity, began as a negation of identity, a definition of the subject which was imposed on an entire community by an objectifying outside power.  Blackness is a process of becoming.  Any time a Black person or an African resists, struggles, survives, succeeds, or is destroyed– and any time they express joy, anger, pain, sorrow, or experience anything as a Black person– they are contributing to the identity of Blackness, which belongs solely to Black people.  The good thing about being Black– in a global economic system that is violently anti-Black– is anything you choose to be is Black.

However, even if we support the empowerment of Africans everywhere in the world, whites and “non-Black people of color” (“NBPoC”) will never be Black.  This may seem to be an obvious point, even when we don’t hold the mistaken (and racist) wish to be “black.”  But it doesn’t seem so obvious to the legions of white saviors, white allies, white accomplices and all non-Black people who appropriate “blackness,” and “black” revolutionary consciousness, not realizing that authentic Black identity and empowerment can only come from Black people/Africans.

The correct theory can educate us about objective reality.  Yet it doesn’t change the subject who has been educated.  It doesn’t change their history and their political identity, and how these have been shaped by the capitalist system of power.  As long as capitalism is still allowed to exist, whiteness will exist, as well as white supremacy.  And what is the source of white supremacy, or whiteness (since both are the same thing)?  White people.  Whites can only be white, according to historical and material factors beyond our control.  This is particularly true of white people in the United States.

Revolution is a process, a series of quantitative changes, as the subjects of this struggle move toward a qualitative change to the system of power: and this also makes revolution a process of becoming the very subjects who can wage this struggle.  This is why Black culture and the Black identity– embracing Blackness– are so important to resistance against a racist system– by Black people.  Capitalism not only negates Black power; it negates Black people, and Blackness.  At the same time, capitalism not only creates power and wealth for white people; it creates white people and affirms our identity.  We’re everywhere.

But once the question of identity is resolved or settled, then the racist system, as well as the white people created by this system, can settle on a continent– as settlers.  Due to the superior power of capitalism, white “Americans” believe identity is static, to the point where it becomes irrelevant to the empowered subject: “I’m just a person.  An American.  We’re all the same.”  This static irrelevance of identity is one of the benefits enjoyed by the white settler in the U.S., although their ability to enjoy “generic” personhood may be considerably less if they are transgender or belong to some other marginalized identity within the colonizing population.  The very system that benefits the European (or white) transgender woman also moves to negate them, because their exchange value to capitalism is worth less than the “default” identity of the cisgender white woman or cisgender white man above her.  This creates a contradiction.

Revolutionary consciousness for a white transgender woman may lead to the recognition that her identity is also a process of becoming.  A crack has appeared in the solid grayish white structure of the bourgeois colonial class.  This weakness can be exploited and leveraged against the larger structure of capitalist society.  Such a division can be gradually increased by any member of the colonial class in this society whose own identity runs against the ideological force of the ruling class.

Nothing guarantees that the struggling subject will ever reach this point of consciousness.  But they may be more likely to reach some level of revolutionary consciousness than the colonizer whose identity is in closer alignment with patriarchy.  The unresolved subject who is the transgender woman, and whose identity is in the process of becoming, rather than in some perceived state of being (legitimatized by the State), may choose to leverage this division within the white identity against itself, and struggle to resolve their identity on terms outside the existing system of power.

There’s no rule or law of nature that says enslaved Africans– once robbed of their culture and identity– were required to become Black at any point, as opposed to the “black” identity that a white supremacist system forced on them.  In terms of an objectifying force of colonial oppression, being defined as “black” was not a choice.  By definition, this identity was imposed on Africans by the white capitalist power.  However, Blackness (also, by definition) became a choice of the subject who is resisting a racist power which attempts to lock them into a static, negative role for all time.  Historical and material realities have compelled each oppressed people either to give up their identity (and their very existence), or to resist as subjects of their own struggle and thereby create their own self-defined identity– in essence, to engage in the revolutionary process of becoming their fullest selves.

European transgender women– who are part of the oppressor white nation or class– have the responsibility to resolve the contradictions of our identity (that is, to become our fullest selves) by moving against the existing system of power, even as we simultaneously benefit from it.  That is, if we value human rights, European trans women must exploit those cracks that have opened up in the grayish white edifice of capitalist society as it attempts to negate our identity.

Of course, this struggle is a choice for European or white transgender women.  And it seems most European transgender women will choose to side with capitalism and its dehumanizing force, especially if this means enjoying greater wealth and power for ourselves.  Even so, our negated identities have put our humanity at odds with capitalism in such a way that, if we choose, we could engage in the process of becoming subjects for revolution by using our identity to move against the system (just as it is moving against us) as we aim to resolve our own being or personhood outside its existing class structure.

Can a cisgender heterosexual white man engage in this same process of revolutionary struggle?  Sure.  But as a solid being whose identity has been resolved within the capitalist class structure, what exactly is he resisting?  He may have the correct theory and he may confirm this theory with correct practice.  Yet people are not empty vessels simply moving from Point “A” to Point “B.”  And if our struggle consists mainly of going around and showing solidarity with this identity and that, then we might ask: what is inside our own identity which needs to be resolved– through revolution– and is also in the process of becoming?  We can’t be solidly attached to that solid gray concrete block and just show up in solidarity with various identities, participating in their struggles to resolve the contradictions of society on their own terms, as revolutionary subjects.  Or maybe we can.  But, whatever their theory or their practice may be, it seems such an individual would just be taking up additional space.  Identity matters because Black people– who have chosen to become Black on their own terms, rather than just being “black” on the terms of their objectifying oppressor– are the only people who can be Black, and therefore be free and Black.

Marxist theory may lead us to believe– at least if we are white– that there are generic workers and generic capitalists, and it is only the class antagonisms between these two soulless forms that can determine revolutionary change in society.  Yet capitalism has never involved generic participants on either side of the dialectic: it has always been about the oppression of Africans by Europeans, women by men, transgender women by cisgender people, as well as the exploitation of impoverished workers by the wealthy, exploiting owners.  This is true of Marxist theory even if Marx didn’t say it himself.

The conclusions of Marx himself are less important than the method of argumentation by which he reached these fluid, ever-changing conclusions: the dialectical and historical method, with material or objective reality as its basis, applied to each identity and circumstance and defined according to their subjective goals.  If we look at Marxist theory through this lens, perhaps we can locate the fissures in the current society, the cracks in the gray concrete block of capitalism, and then choose to leverage our contradictory identities against this larger structure, in order to bring the whole thing down.

And if we are transgender, our identity should allow us to recognize these cracks in the grayish concrete: but how to organize our identity, and how to use this mass force as a tool for qualitative change … that is an another question, and one that is far more difficult for the white trans woman to answer.


Cracks in the Gray Concrete: The White Transgender Identity Leveraged Against Whiteness

At Long Last Love … or Power?


A person’s humanity shouldn’t be a puzzle that we try to solve.  Who you are, how you feel, and what you experience is your own business … to share or not to share, according to your wishes.

This is especially true when we consider the condition of a person who has been subjected to systemic oppression.  The subject’s story is their own.   Why?  Because the alternative to this approach would be something like stealing a person’s wallet and then checking in on them every five minutes to see how they feel about it.  Does it hurt?  Are you angry?  Instead of figuring out how to give the wallet back, we go about trying to solve the puzzle of what it’s like to be a person who has been robbed.  Or perhaps we’re only worried that the subject’s anger will be directed at us, and so we’re merely monitoring the situation.  Is their rage growing?  Has it reached a boiling point yet?  Next, we explore our own feelings in reaction to the perceived situation (because they may not be as angry as we believe, or their rage may be greater than we could ever imagine).  But we continue to ask ourselves: Do I feel angry too?   Do I feel fragile?  Do I feel threatened?  Guilty?  Nothing at all?  Nothing … then perhaps nothing is wrong.  Thus we go back and forth, checking in on how they feel, checking in on how we feel about their feelings, and mostly ignoring the larger, objective context of the situation that encircles both of us, and all of our subjective responses to it.

Feelings are not a problem to be solved.  Anything related to a person’s identity is not a problem.  It’s not like fixing a car.

For example, “race” is not a problem, as far as the way it relates to the individual who is part of that “race.”  How they feel, what they experience, even how they identify is their own business.  The same is true for a person’s gender identity, sexuality and religious beliefs, as well as a person’s disabilities, or what they have experienced performing sex work, or how it feels to be economically exploited (and, of course, these last two frequently go together).

While their feelings are of the utmost importance, there’s no need for us to check in on what it’s like to be an oppressed Black person, especially if they are a Black woman, a Black transgender woman, a queer transgender working class Black woman.  As the subject of her own narrative, the oppressed person here shouldn’t be required to explain her story, identity, feelings and every detail of her life … to anyone, and, particularly, not to her objectifier: the white person who belongs to the oppressor class in this colonial situation.  Because this is the context which encircles these two: two subjects, two people, but one who has been objectified and one who is the (typically) unconscious objectifier.  This is the context of colonialism.

A dialectical relationship exists between the oppressed and the oppressor, and while our feelings are of the greatest importance, the struggle between the two is about objective class antagonisms, not just feelings or personal truths.  The former (that is: the oppressed) may be fully conscious of their experience of oppression (or they may not be) but the latter is typically unaware– politically unconscious— of the violence they create, and from which they benefit.  This, in fact, makes them even more dangerous, and more likely to commit violent mistakes.

The first error committed by the oppressor happens when they approach this colonial relationship as a problem that will only be solved if they can examine, untangle, and figure out exactly what the other-ed person is going through: how it feels to be oppressed, violated, robbed … as if understanding them will make the pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

The oppressor can never understand the oppressed.  The one with more power– power which has come at the expense of the one who has been deprived of power– cannot know how it feels to experience powerlessness.  It doesn’t matter how many times they tell us (under the threat that, if they refuse, they may “alienate potential allies”), the oppressor will never “see eye to eye” with one who has been objectified for their benefit.

Each person in this colonial relationship is the subject of their own experience, with valid feelings, and humanity that is equal and self-evident.  Yet the oppressor and the oppressed exist on two separate planes within the colonized territory, as the weight of white supremacy, patriarchy, and class exploitation pushes down on the subject below and the subject above enjoys the material benefits of this objectifying class dynamic.

It is not a static situation: as this circle of the colonized territory undergoes numerous quantitative changes, the classes (and those within each layer of class) similarly react to these shifts (these class antagonisms), and, therefore, all individuals who are subjected to this force experience many changes day after day.

So the question is: how could we possibly ever measure and record each subject’s feelings– painful or joyful– as they go through countless quantitative changes in reaction to the antagonistic elements of a violent, class-based world economic system?   What would even be the point?  A teacup falls off a shelf, crashing to the floor, after the shift of massive tectonic plates.  How did the object feel as it shattered on the ground, following yet another crisis of global capitalism?  “Was it an earthquake, or simply a shock?”  “Or is what I feel the real McCoy?”

The problem of race (and racism) is not the problem of the victim whose humanity has been objectified by this racist system– the system of capitalism that invented race and racism for the purpose of colonial control.  The problem for the victim of racist violence is that they have been robbed.  And they shouldn’t be required to tell the thief how it feels to be robbed.  The people who benefit from this theft shouldn’t ask the person who has been violated to describe– in “heartbreaking,” “tragic” detail– what it feels like to be subjected to racism.  That’s their own business.  Our business– if we belong to the colonizing class– is to solve the problem of white supremacist, capitalist violence, not at the level of feelings (as important as these are), but at the level of mathematics: addition and subtraction.  The colonizer has added to our objective power by subtracting objects from the colonized.

White supremacy is a myth (obviously).  But our mistake is that we attempt to solve the problem of white supremacy on its own mythological terms, by checking in on how the person subjected to racism feels about their situation, and then how we feel in reaction to their response.  I imagine they feel awful.  But if the point is to end racist violence, and not simply to bathe in an ocean of subjective reality (is the water too cold?  too warm?  or just right?) then the one who benefits from white supremacy ought to admit, at the outset, that it’s more enjoyable to have power than not to have it.

It’s far easier for the objectifier if we only talk about our racist feelings, or their absence, and then about the objectified person’s experience of pain and trauma, or its absence (whew, what a relief!  I thought they were mad at me).

The same is true of misogyny, transphobia and all forms of systemic oppression.  It’s not very difficult to argue that “#TransRightsAreHumanRights.”  We can say that we oppose transphobia, misogyny and racism, and also say (because we are good people) that we support equality, freedom, peace and justice.  But what happens when white people find out that Africans/Black people (cis and trans) want power?  And want control of their own resources and lives?  And what if this means that we need to end up with less, because we have been stealing their wealth, land, resources, culture and lives?  All the sudden we say, “Well, no, that sounds like too much.  That’s a different story.  More violence won’t solve anything” … except to make “our” neighborhood “safer” tonight when we call the cops.

White supremacy is based on the mythology that Europeans are superior to Africans and everyone else in the world outside Europe.  But the solution to ending white supremacy isn’t to be found in unraveling the complicated mysteries of its mythology– it is simply a question of mathematics.  One wallet (or world) stolen: thus, Europeans have added one, and Africans have none.

Do you want to end racism?  Solve “the race problem”?  Then give the wallet (or the world) back.  When that happens, everyone will be on an equal plane, because a socialist system will enforce these egalitarian principles– or whichever system that the people of each decolonized territory chooses for itself.  A decolonized globe means the wealth and power of Europeans (whites) would no longer be based on subtracting wealth and power from Africa, as well as the Americas, Asia, Australia, and the islands of the world: that is, all of the territories outside Europe (including its settler colony, the United States).

The struggle to end systemic violence isn’t just a constant search to plumb the mysterious depths of each oppressed subject’s feelings, taking their temperature, and recording their daily reactions to this violent system in order to learn how tragically awful it must be to live as an African, an African woman, a Black transgender woman.

“Getting to know you, getting to know all about you”: that won’t work.  That’s also violent.  Because (for goodness’ sake!) oppressed people are sometimes our children, our partners, our parents, “some of our best friends.”  Simply getting to know the oppressed subject better won’t end oppression.  Intimate knowledge can actually lead to more opportunities for the oppressor to inflict pain.

But the oppression of person by person doesn’t exist at the individual level, teacup next to teacup on the shelf.  The violence of capitalist oppression occurs through massive shifts at the class level, as part of a dynamic (not static) colonial situation which, inside its all-encompassing system of rewards and punishments, elevates the white self while threatening greater violence against each colonized subject– each person, because people are not teacups, or objects, even as capitalism treats them as if they are.

If we wish to end systemic violence, and white supremacy, the colonizer shouldn’t try to figure out “race” and racism by treating the identity of the racialized person as if they are the problem.  The problem is colonial capitalism, which has objectified their identity.  If we merely want to learn how this violent objectification feels, believing that being more neighborly with our victims will improve the situation, and learning about them will make us more empathetic, we may be committing extra violence, as we further objectify them: examining, probing, poking around, with a lovingly concerned look on the colonizer’s face.  That’s not love, that’s violence.  And it’s violent for the colonizer to expect the colonizer to love us: that’s just the same as using a person, breaking them, discarding them, then asking someone we’ve treated like a teacup (or an object) to love us.

But if we are truly motivated by feelings of love to put an end to the oppression and exploitation which has caused so much pain (or any feelings the oppressed may be experiencing), then we must overturn this system, and return these stolen resources.  We must support the global struggle of all colonized peoples to gain– not acceptance and understanding from us but– power for themselves.  Perhaps at that point we will be able to say, this is the real McCoy: at long last power.  And maybe love too.

At Long Last Love … or Power?

Content Versus Container: The White Subject Struggling Against Objective Whiteness


A person’s ability to hold two contradictory views at the same time, without compromising over principle, is an indicator of their revolutionary consciousness.  Of course, this is not the only indicator of revolutionary consciousness; nor is it the most powerful.  The most powerful revolutionary thinking occurs at the mass level, for it is only at this level, when it is organized, that societies and systems of power can be transformed through struggle.  However, this aforementioned ability is still revolutionary because it indicates that a person is striving to be objective.  They aren’t attempting to be objective about their interests or their values, because such an aim would be both impossible and undesirable.  A person struggles to be objective so that they can understand the world as it is, and not merely as a reflection of their own desires.  This goal allows them to take control of phenomena in the natural world and then make these move in the direction of their own choosing, according to who they are (their identity), and what they want and what they believe.

When we argue that objective reality exists, this isn’t the same thing as arguing that people are objective about reality.  What we’re saying is that reality exists independent of human will.  There are objective laws of the natural universe which still apply with or without our permission.  Our desires, interests and values, as well as our ideas, are not the basis of these natural forces.

We can contrast this materialist view of reality with one that judges a thing to be true based entirely on how this thing makes the subject feel.  According to this view, the subject believes that they are at the center of the universe– in a manner of speaking– because the validity of everything is measured against how they feel about it.  Is it good or evil?  Does it make me happy or sad?  The subject is constantly judging phenomena, and struggling to gain control over the situation, based solely on reactions to certain characteristics of these phenomena as they pass through the filter of their identity, or the medium of their desires and values.  And then they form their ideas based on these reactions.  This is called subjective idealism, and it is an indicator of reactionary thinking– or political unconsciousness.  It cannot lead to a mass movement which will transform societies and systems, because, according to this subjective idealist view, each individual is isolated in a universe of their own creation.  The individual lives and dies inside their own head, and, therefore, they can’t get together as an organized political force: the objects to be controlled and transformed do not exist outside the sphere of their own existence.

This subjective idealist view of the universe leads to dogmatism, which is the antithesis of revolutionary analysis.  Revolutionary analysis recognizes that matter is constantly going through change: objects are not static, but fluid, and they are held together by their internal contradictions.  So truth is not a singular viewpoint– it is the object itself, which is constantly evolving and moving.  Likewise, there may be infinite viewpoints of this object, and each can be valid, because they are all observations of the same object from different angles– and even the observer is going through changes.  So if an individual claims to be objective and to have all the answers, they are probably engaging in dogmatic behavior: the thing that they claim to know has already changed, and they have changed too, and (in any case) their view of this thing was always just directed on one path– from “eye” to object– toward its truth.

Kwame Nkrumah said, “Any compromise over principle is the same as an abandonment of it.”  So if an individual or an organization– or a system of power like capitalism– tells us we can only be objective if we compromise our principles, and then they try to confuse us about being “open-minded” and “progressive,” we can recognize (if we are revolutionaries) the falsehood of their argument right away.

Capitalism lies all the time about the difference between objective reality and subjective reality (and it lies about everything else, as Kwame Ture said).   Capitalism deliberately confuses these two types of reality, because it is in the interests of the racist and patriarchal ruling class to do so (interests which, of course, are not objective).

Capitalism says: you are free to do whatever you want to do, and especially to buy whatever you want to buy, and to pursue your individualistic dreams of a better life.  Then capitalism says: the only way you can achieve these dreams, and buy more stuff, is if you compromise over principles.  You have to play by capitalism’s rules: the exploitation of people by people, using violence against the majority so the few can enjoy the fruits of their labor.  But what if you refuse to go along?  Then you’re closed-minded.  You don’t believe in freedom and democracy.  You’re judgmental.  You just want tyranny.  And you must support one of those oppressive, authoritarian regimes and “dictators” like Fidel Castro or Sékou Touré, in countries where people are forced to drive old cars.

Capitalism is a backward system, and so– it (un)naturally follows– that this system will promote backwards thinking.  Capitalism will tell you that objective reality is subjective and subjective reality is objective– well, no; actually, it will just tell you to buy a new car, while shouting at you in a TV commercial, right after shouting at you to buy a new TV.  And that’s the whole point: buy more and more stuff, no matter who you have to step on to accumulate it (particularly if they are Black or Brown).  Go after your own individual desires, because this means greater profits for the ruling class.

But what do we know about the objective reality of human existence?  For everybody?  We know that we all die.  And, contrary to what those annoying beer commercials may tell us, we will get old– if we don’t die first.  Gloomy thought.  But this gloom doesn’t make it any less true.  We can avoid facing this reality of death or old age within the natural process, and that’s also natural.  But capitalism tells us (especially if we’re a middle-class or wealthy white person in the United States): “Your life matters more than the life of the African worker in the mine, or the life of the African/Black person in the prison, or the life of the Indigenous person on the reservation.”  Of course, capitalism doesn’t tell us these subjective truths in such words, but instead cloaks them (like a white sheet) in what it says is the objective reality that there are universal human rights which must be protected (through bombs and continually larger defense budgets), and that it’s absolutely necessary for “law and order” to be enforced (through police departments, prisons and the U.S. Constitution).  Yet these truths are just reflections of the interests, values, and ideologies of the capitalist ruling class, who wish to fool people into thinking they are the objective necessities for life itself: no, they are only necessary for elevating white lives, so that we can enjoy a higher “standard of living,” at the expense of oppressed and exploited African and Indigenous lives.  As Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party, has stated: capitalist “law is the opinion of the ruling class.”  So what this white supremacist system of capitalism has convinced us is an objective necessity is, in reality, a value judgment of the colonial class, and is merely an expression of our will to power.

However, if our principle is that no person exists to be exploited for the benefit of someone else– just as no nation exists to be oppressed for the development of an oppressor nation– then our judgment of the situation will be: capitalism is the enemy of humanity.  And there can be “no compromise over principle” when it comes to this judgment.  Capitalism says: “Well, sometimes it’s okay to exploit and oppress people; especially, if you are the one who benefits.  Don’t be a purist.  There’s good and bad in every system of power.  Suppose there’s a violent revolution, and it doesn’t turn out the way we planned?  All that fighting for nothing.  So don’t be dogmatic or hardheaded about it.”

Yet this dogmatism about reality doesn’t come at the level of our principles or our system of belief.  We are only being hardheaded if we refuse to recognize objective reality, and, instead, judge the truth of every observation through the filter of our own desires.

Our arguments about what we want and what we believe, and who we are, and where we wish to go, aren’t the problem (at least to ourselves).  When it comes to how we feel in our heart– “it just feels right”– these truths are never up for debate … unless we have had a change of heart and now want to revise our entire value system.  Revolutionary dialogue– or the dialectical process of argumentation by which thesis and antithesis are transformed into a synthesis– is a debate at the level of objective truths: facts.  And the goal isn’t merely to change minds, or systems of belief– it’s to change a system of power.  This means, we already know where we want to go– toward a society based on egalitarian principles– but the debate is: how do we get there?  And, in this dialectical process, we are not just debating about the ideas in our head, as we react to each opposing argument by saying we agree or disagree.

Maybe we do have a significant disagreement about something the other person has said, but the question is: is it about principles and ideas or is it about facts?  If the disagreement is about principles, then the person has done us a favor by identifying themselves as an opponent of who we are and what we believe.  If the disagreement is about ideas, then we can proceed to argue, but– as materialists– we will be examining the objective basis for this disagreement.  We aren’t just reacting to what they said by immediately moving against it.

And this is where the ability to hold two contradictory views at the same time– without compromising over principle– can indicate revolutionary consciousness.  Our values are still important (to us anyway).  Our feelings are valid.  But can we move beyond behavior which simply reacts to an opposing point of view, if this comes from someone who shares our values (at least in this specific area), and who recognizes the validity of not only our feelings but our entire being?

If we can’t do this, capitalism will win (again).  Because capitalism wants to boil everything down to a question of an individual’s desires and values, and then it empowers some individuals to fulfill their desires, and impose their values, based on a tiered class system of overlapping political categories.  So, if an individual is a white, heterosexual, Christian, “able-bodied, ” cisgender man, the freedom or ability they enjoy to express their personal values, and experience self-fulfillment, is based on the empowerment of their entire class.  Even if they don’t believe that their feelings and values– and their very lives– matter more than the person in the oppressed class, capitalism will still recognize the validity of who they are, and promote their interests, at the expense of those whom the ideology of the ruling class is moving against (because it has the power to do so).

In this context– the context of colonialism– it’s not the thought that matters so much as the thinker, or what the receptacle of these ideas is, and where this container for holding subjective reality is situated in the objectively stratified class system.  We may believe it’s the content of our brain (within our body) that shapes the world, or at least our own little cozy corner of it (our dream home in the suburbs); but the body itself is protected or violated, and uplifted or oppressed, based on class factors that are beyond our control, and are independent of our will.  Whiteness is going to be elevated, whether we like it or not (and if we say we don’t, we’re still saying it as a white person whose thoughts, beliefs and wishes always have greater value under capitalism than the thoughts, beliefs, wishes and the very lives of Black people– so take that with a grain of salt too).

This objective reality of class even applies if the subject is a white socialist revolutionary.  Whiteness carries its own weight.  Whiteness is weight.  As the outward container for an individual– holding the content of their ideas, values, dreams– whiteness will be protected and elevated, and this will continue to be an objective reality (a fact) while a white supremacist, patriarchal, capitalist system still has power and while the United States is allowed to exist.

If we are white, and we wish to change this system of power, it seems necessary that we show the ability to hold contradictory views, even (or especially) when these views go against our own class category.  And one contradiction we immediately confront is: a white person is always just a white person, no matter what ideas we hold in our head (an objective reality); at the same time, the white political identity is not all that we have to be, and there is more to our being than this class category (whiteness).  Although, if our identity is entirely aligned with whiteness, and particularly “American” whiteness, we will react to any threat to this essence of our being as an attack on the subject, on me.  On the other hand, if we recognize that, while we are objectively white, there is the possibility of gaining a new, transformed identity and finding our humanity through some radically different course, then we– the subject– will no longer be loyal to whiteness itself.  Then we can attack whiteness even if it means moving against the objective truth of who we are.  But until we have tackled this contradiction– which is: right now, we’re white (we have no choice), but we don’t have to be (if we overthrow racist capitalism)– it seems that our ideas will always begin and end at the boundaries of an identity (a body) isolated by its category of class, and elevated through the colonial exploitation of Black and Brown bodies.

We may not be able to transcend whiteness today, but we don’t have to give in to the capitalist lie that whatever you say and want as a white individual is universally valid– mainly because whiteness alone is valid to capitalism.  The point is to struggle against the contradictions of the objective white identity by leveraging those areas of the subject– who we are, what we want, what we believe– that run counter to the power of a system (capitalism) that elevates this white body containing our beliefs, wishes and very being.  Thus transformed, we can then transform society, even as its objective transformation is necessary to change us.  Holding contradictory views, without compromising over principles, may be one effective way to achieve this goal.

Content Versus Container: The White Subject Struggling Against Objective Whiteness

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?

Jake Tapper Tweets “Shakur is [BLOCKED]


Calling a man a “mansplainer” or a white a “whitesplainer” shuts down dialogue with our opponents, turns off many people in power, alienates a lot of would-be (or wanna-be) allies and probably accomplishes a lot of other good things as well.

Whenever a man (especially a white cis man) begins to ‘splain something– anything– what he really wants is people to care about all the stuff he’s saying, whether they agree or disagree with him.  In fact, he might enjoy having an argument.  So the point of calling him a “mansplainer” is: we don’t care what he has to say.  At all.  We don’t want to argue with him, have a dialogue, or have anything to do with him.  At all.  We just want him to go away.

Jake Tapper is that kind of guy.  I couldn’t care less what Jake Tapper has to say about anything.  And what he has to say about Assata Shakur ranks somewhere below what Skip Bayless has to say about, well, anything– and that’s as low as it gets.

The problem with white people (myself included) isn’t that we have the right opinions or the wrong opinions– we simply take up too much space telling the world what we believe they ought to know.  CNN had a whole show based on this premise– “Crossfire.”  As beneficiaries of capitalist empire, and the exploitation of the global proletariat, white people enjoy nothing more than sitting on top of this globe, spinning and arguing the hours away.  It beats work.  Back and forth, back and forth.  But as long as we have the microphone, and the stage, we don’t care.  Just give us the chance to share our indispensable views with everyone.

It doesn’t matter that 99% of the time the words coming out of our mouths are simply regurgitated capitalist education, reinforced by the workplace, media, politicians, maybe the church, and a thing that some other white guy (Thomas Jefferson?) said last week.  Originality and empire don’t go together.  A white man critiquing Assata Shakur is not the most predictable thing that white people could do– that would be trying to murder a Black woman, then charging her with a crime she didn’t commit, then throwing her in prison after multiple trials and, finally, putting a price on her head after she escaped.  That’s the history of whiteness right there.  A history that makes it very predicable for a white man to attack her on Twitter.  Jake Tapper probably didn’t even need to formulate a coherent, rational thought in advance– he just felt that itch that a white man with too much wealth and power sometimes gets, and the fingers did the rest: tap, tap, tap.

A thoughtful response would say that Jake Tapper is an apologist for white supremacist, colonial capitalism.  But Jake would very likely enjoy debating that point, at length.  So, in short, he’s a mansplainer.  I blocked him years ago, because his very presence on TV and the internet is a source of annoyance.  He irritates me simply by not being a void.  There’s an outline where his vacated presence is that could be filled with a million more deserving people, but white guys like him are always getting in the way.  So the best thing is to get him out of the way, and focus on the real enemy: capitalism.

Of course capitalism hates Assata Shakur.  Assata Shakur has more humanity in her left thumbnail than capitalism has in its entire history.  She loves her people.  Capitalism hates Africans.  Capitalism is built on the murder and theft of Africans.  Everything she is, capitalism is not, because Assata Shakur represents the true meaning of “We the People” in a society that demands we only think in terms of “me,” and forget the people.  Capitalism will never forgive Assata Shakur for being a free Black woman who has chosen to align her own freedom with African liberation– the freedom of Black people.  As long as she remains out of its clutches, capitalism and all the mindless mansplainers and whitesplainers who choose the side of capitalist oppression will be miserable.  And then will try to make everyone else miserable too– which is also a key part of the history of whiteness.

So the question is: why should we– even if we are white– forgive capitalism for making us complicit in the murder and theft of Assata Shakur’s people, and all oppressed communities around the globe?  Hands off Assata– yes!  And hands off the world, white people.

Jake Tapper Tweets “Shakur is [BLOCKED]

It Happened One Century: Capitalism, Whiteness, and the “Scientific” March Toward … Nothing


Charles Darwin (1809-1882), an Englishman, and Karl Marx (1818-1883), a man from Germany, and Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), an Austrian man, formed their key theories within a span of one hundred years, or less.

All three of these cisgender men were Europeans whose lives overlapped during the 19th century.  Like all Europeans (including white settlers in the United States and other settler colonies), these three men gained the ability to form their theories through many centuries of imperialist, capitalist domination of the entire globe by Europe.  The resources that were extracted from colonized lands in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Australia, as well as the islands of the world, became the basis for the accumulation of knowledge in the so-called West, including the intellectual contributions of Darwin, Marx and Freud.  As the profits of the Western world grew, through increasing exploitation of Africans and the majority of the global population, and through greater and greater violence (war, senseless destruction, chaos, and terror) waged by white nations against nations outside Europe, this growth in material benefits additionally allowed all whites to enjoy (albeit unequally) the intellectual benefits of empire.

Very few whites (myself included) could describe in meaningful detail the theories of Darwin, Marx and Freud.  Most of us also don’t know how to describe the way an atom is split (in reference to a later contribution to science).  We don’t know how to build an atomic bomb or a nuclear missile; but everyone who is identified as “white” knows how to enjoy the material benefits– the wealth and power– gained by the West through its ongoing threat to destroy people and planet with nuclear weapons.

Furthermore, Europeans or whites everywhere in the world (not just in Europe) can enjoy a sense of progress, a symbolic march toward accumulated knowledge through “our” scientific discoveries, inventions, technological advances, greater economic development, and higher “standard of living.”  The vast majority of whites couldn’t describe this knowledge, but our conceptions of ourselves– and of everyone else– are nevertheless shaped by some vague awareness of scientific progress.

The scene in our collective imagination unfolds, like the plot of a movie: along with scientific progress comes more wealth [for the Western world, that is] and more recognition of individual [white] rights.  The stage (or set) for all this imagined “Progress” is illuminated as the demands of an “upwardly mobile” white population put additional pressure on the ruling class to grant us not only the comforts of capitalism, but also safety from the violence of the imperialist state (which is a prerequisite for capitalist rule).  We have become the star of our own show, and the white individual is launched to the stars by the productive forces of the Black and Brown masses (mostly invisible to us, except for the occasional maid or porter).

As we ascend to the stars under the banners of imperialism– the Stars-and-Stripes, the Union Jack, the Maple Leaf, the Star of David and other assorted, sordid flags of white nationalist rule– the white population experiences a sense of increasing distance between the modern, scientific, middle-class (often cisgender) binary man or woman, and the hordes of Black and Brown people around the globe: those who are underdeveloped, superstitious, “Third World,” oppressed by cruel religions and authoritarian governments, and who make up one homogeneous mass of suffering that must be saved by the forever charitable, humanistic, and scientifically-advanced European.  Never mind that the main source of their oppression is the European.  Because one of the benefits of colonial capitalism– along with greater wealth and power, and a stronger sense of scientific and social progress– is the comforting belief that dark-skinned populations (in “ghettos” or reservations at home, and in jungles or deserts abroad) are the source of their own suffering, through their religion (usually Islam), and their “dictatorships,” and their lack of food, medicine, clothing and other necessities of life.  Of course, we could simply ask ourselves: where does our food come from, as well as our clothing, and other material necessities?  But that’s not in capitalism’s script.  Capitalism empowers the European to ignore this reality; and so the white population goes on believing that “sub-Saharan Africa” is poor on account of Africans, not us.  And, until we are forced to believe otherwise, whites will continue to blame Africans and so-called people of color for their own oppression, while enjoying the material benefits of the colonial exploitation of their labor, land, resources, culture and lives.

There aren’t any negatives or drawbacks to being the oppressor.  If we wish to gain more humanity, or greater knowledge of the oppression which we create, we can just pay for that too.  Corny screwball comedies directed by Frank Capra may have taught us that it’s fun to be poor– or at least it’s not so fun to be rich, because, after all, the rich are required to pay those high taxes (and they are not such bad people either, so don’t organize to rise up against them and seize their wealth and power).  But, while “that’s entertainment”– sleeping in a haystack, singing “The Man on the Flying Trapeze” with a bus full of white people– we still recognize, back in the real world, that it’s good to have wealth, it’s good to have power.  That’s primary.  Everything else comes second– after me, and mine.

And in order to promote the ideal of me and mine, it’s important to have symbols or myths.  So the mythology sold to the white masses by the assembly line productions in feudalistic Hollywood– such as It Happened One Night, Gone with the Wind, and Casablanca— is as important to the shaping of the white settler’s class consciousness (or collective unconsciousness) as our vague awareness of the intellectual productions of Darwin, Marx and Freud.

We don’t need to understand Darwin, Marx and Freud; we don’t need to read them either; we can simply be aware that the great men of Western science have made it possible for us to enjoy these flickering, pretty images passing across our segregated screens, big and small.  For these confirm our own elevated class status and complete our humanity.  Just as whiteness is but an approximation of actual humanity, the images of pearly-skinned, beautiful ladies and gents on the silver screen are “good enough for jazz”– in fact, Paul Whiteman and Bing Crosby are good enough for jazz too, as opposed to real jazz.  The important thing is the enjoyment of power, white power: that is the essence of whiteness, and white people.

So there are no disadvantages to being the oppressor (that is, the one who enjoys greater power by violently taking this power from the exploited masses).  Whiteness means power.  The power of the oppressor.  Whiteness means comfort, security and the enjoyment of our subjective ideals regarding “secular,” “humanistic” and “universal” progress, entirely free from religious “superstition.”

Now, if all this power also means white people are converted, or, as it were, upgraded into machines, we can live with that– just program us to be happy.  A thousand commercials on television will keep telling us that we are happy, until we believe it (well … after we buy their commodities; otherwise, forget it, Jack).

Fueled by all the technological advancements of the “First World,” as well as the cheap gas in our shiny new cars, the white population– coddled, insulated, affirmed, though occasionally threatened with capitalism’s big stick– ascends to the stars.  In material terms, we sit on a mountain of wealth, resources and land– the products of exploited labor and lives: Black and Brown people, the majority of the world.  Yet, through our subjective idealism, we also believe in our own spiritual worth, our individual value.  And this intrinsic value of the person (or “the person,” as defined by the “ideal” cisgender white) must be respected at all times– it must!

Such respect for the value of the individual person, means that, if fifty white people can enjoy a long life– clean hospitals and schools, wide streets, large houses, good jobs, and the sort of idyllic retirement promoted by countless advertisements for prescription drugs– and this lifestyle only comes through conditions brutally imposed upon thousands, millions, of “filthy,” “backward” Brown people, and through endless war and economic exploitation waged against them by capitalism, then so be it.  That’s part of the mythological force of white supremacist and imperialist capitalism– the belief that we must remain “nonviolent,” and uphold the ideals of the Constitution, while the power of the bourgeois State destroys– thoroughly erases– the lives of the exploited, proletarian masses, most of whom are Black and Brown.  Bourgeois mythology requires that we respect the freedoms and the life of one white person, even (or especially) if this means erasing the lives of a thousand Africans in the global proletariat.

But this is the language of Karl Marx– bourgeoisie and proletariat.  How is Marx part of the problem?  Why is he included in the mythological thrust of these Western ideals sold by capitalism and whiteness in the commodified form of “Progress”?  Because it’s not the actual knowledge taught by Marx that matters to the white population, any more than the actual knowledge taught by Darwin or Freud matters to us.

In the same way that whiteness is an approximation of humanity, white people simply want– or demand– some hazy, vague notion of “science,” as an indistinct affirmation that we are making progress.  The more indistinct, the better.

For instance, we want the “socialist” Senator Bernie Sanders– a U.S. Senator, from Vermont, yet– to save the United States [white people] from the clutches of mass superstition, hate, and ignorance, as part of some vaguely “progressive” movement toward a government that resembles the “model” systems of Scandinavia (and other white countries of the West).  Never mind that Sweden– like Vermont– benefits from imperialist violence against Africa.

The machine doesn’t want Marxist socialism– in fact, its blinking blue lights determine that Marx probably went too far— but the “model” person (cis, white, middle-class, blue-eyed) does want their own individual white personhood, or their approximated humanity, to be affirmed by science as part of that march toward some indistinct Western ideal.  This becomes the March for “Science” as defined by the great men (and sometimes the great women) who have left the Dark Ages of old Europe (not to mention the dark masses of the world today) in the dust, for good.

This ideological distancing of the colonizer from the colonized, while the violence of their shared material conditions increases, is– to the colonizer– entirely good.  Again, there are no drawbacks to Europe’s murder and theft of Africa and the globe– to the European colonizer at any rate– because whiteness can afford the therapy sessions to deal with its guilt, and resources necessary to weather the contradictions of a turbulent bourgeois society that grows ever more violent, more oppressive, more uncertain, for everyone involved– which is everyone, even the white settler.  Yet the European colonizer in the U.S.– provided they are wealthy enough– can simply buy greater peace of mind, while the violence of the conditions around them also increases.  But wait …

What if this march toward a “progressive future”– as vaguely symbolized by Darwin, Marx and Freud– has also been accompanied by the loss of meaning for all symbols, all truths that vibrate and reveal themselves beneath the surface, beneath the literal or objective level taught by the cisgender European scientist/industrialist?  Is the result also the loss of faith in sacred texts, with no feeling for their religious texture?

Here we are: a wealthy, “advanced,” bourgeois society whose class psychology– its mass consciousness of well-being– has been built on the symbolism of progress (“with liberty and justice for all”), and this society has suddenly had the rug– the magic carpet of the white man’s dreams– pulled out from under it, because now nothing matters.

Materially, yes, the European colonizer ascends to the stars, riding– not a magic carpet– but a system of racist, genocidal exploitation (capitalism); then, as he reaches out to touch the benefits of whiteness, they crumble into dust, because the architects of this universe (or “universe”) have demonstrated that, for all his riches and power, he is just dust.  He’s nothing but a speck lost in the stars.  Nothing.

Those marble statues of Freud, Marx and Darwin have reduced the white person– himself but an approximation of humanity– to a series of meaningless processes, reflexes, impulses, levers that go up and down, eyes that blink without any significant thinking going on behind them, nothingness in the middle of nothing: a void inside a void.  Such a fate was designed– by the same European intellectuals, and great men of “Western progress”– exclusively for the exploited masses of Black and Brown people.  Objects designed for commodification and export.  Just things.

But the joke’s on you, Jack– you created a secular, scientific, advanced world (at least in your own elevated imagination) only to find that you have painted yourself into a cramped, isolated corner of the universe.  And there you stand, up against the wall, while white paint is dripping from your paint brush onto your shoes, and you look like a damn fool.  You tried to reach for the moon (and the stars) by stepping all over the oppressed populations of the globe, and you ended up with nothing but two bloodstained hands on an empty white body by a matching blank wall.


It Happened One Century: Capitalism, Whiteness, and the “Scientific” March Toward … Nothing

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