From “Ally” to Comrade
towards a revolutionary anti racism as white people
“The Black movement needs allies in its battle against the racist Capitalist class — not the usual liberal or phony “radical” support, but genuine revolutionary working class support and solidarity, otherwise called “mutual aid” by Anarchists. The basis of such unity however must be principled and be based on class interest, rather than liberal “guilt tripping,” “do-gooding” or opportunism and manipulation by liberal or radical political parties. The needs of the oppressed people must be the most important consideration, but they want genuine support, not fakery or leftist rhetoric.” -Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin in “Anarchism and the Black Revolution”
Before we begin, I’d like to first thank our comrades of color who deserve all the credit for what I’ve expressed in this writing and for my overall political education. Thanks so much for those who have stood by me through my bullshit and brought me to where I am today. I may not be able to directly cite sources for every thought I’ve expressed here, but they are most certainly derived from personal relationships with folks who don’t get nearly enough credit for their labour. That being said, this article is meant to be part of a much larger conversation we as white folks desperately need to be having with each other.
We as self proclaimed anti racist white people are simply not doing enough. In fact, there are those of us who claim to be allies to movements of liberation who are often actively standing as obstacles to liberation through the use of performative actions in support of reformist policies. So many of us have #BlackLivesMatter in our twitter bios while standing in support of the police who carry out attacks on marginalized communities. There are those of us who show up to protest actions with hope to to land on the news, or who only attend to post pictures on facebook. Those committed to the fight against white supremacy need to be having more conversations on how we stomp these tendencies out of our spaces once and for all.
“You can’t have capitalism without racism.” -Malcom X
What does it mean to be anti racist? Anti Racism is only anti racist in name if it isn’t backed by action against the white supremacist / capitalist system. No longer can we call ourselves anti racist and expect a pat on the back or a good job. This is an illegitimate system founded and built upon the genocide of indigenous nations and chattel slavery and therefore can not be reformed. To truly be anti racist, one must acknowledge this, and carry out actions with this in mind. In that case, we have to ask ourselves, what actions should we be taking to confront white supremacy?
The first thing we have to make clear is that whiteness as an identity must be completely discarded if any sort of progress is to be made. If we are to understand whiteness we have to first have a working understanding of colonization, as whiteness is a direct product of it. It’s because of this that whiteness is the lens in which we see our world in. Whiteness as an identity and tool of colonizers only exists in order to other non white folks and exploit them. Chris Kortright in “Colonization and Identity” said this on the topic of the colonist that resists:
“He dreams of a new social order where the colonized stop being colonized, but he does not see a transformation of his own situation and identity. In the new harmonious social order he will continue being who he is, with his language intact and his cultural traditions dominating because though he hates the oppression of colonization he too buys the theories of Social Evolution. In other words, he hopes to continue his identity within the abstract concepts of the dominate culture with a situation where the dominate culture would not exist. He calls for a revolution, but refuses to conceive that this revolution would result in the overthrow of his situation and identity. It is hard to imagine or visualize one’s own end, even if it’s to be reborn as another; especially if like the colonized, one can hardly evaluate such a rebirth.”
As white people, it may be hard to imagine a world in which white identity ceases to exist given that our current reality is built around that identity and privilege, but we must fight for it every day of our lives in order to move forward. Those of us who claim to stand against racism while clinging to white identity are therefore enemies of any movement for liberation. In order to discard white identity we have to learn to shut the fuck up, and both listen to and amplify marginalized voices. To be invested in this struggle, we have to learn that this is not about us, and we have to do what is asked and needed of us by communities of color.
Our affinities and organizations also have a responsibility to supply movements and communities with the tools they need for both liberation and survival. For example Redneck Revolt, an organization of white working folks in opposition to white supremacy, and the John Brown Gun Club recently raised funds to get a Black Lives Matter chapter in Kansas armed. We have to also be providing for material needs where we can such as food, medical aid, legal aid, etc. If you are able, consider donating to the John Brown Solidarity Fund. https://www.redneckrevolt.org/support
The John Brown Solidarity Fund raises funds for armed/militant community defense projects organized by folks of color. The money goes towards their ongoing logistical and material needs as well as any other needs that may come up in their organizing.
Most importantly, our anti racism is merely performative if we are not abolitionists. There can be no conceding on this point, just as with the abolition of whiteness and capitalism. It is no secret that police forces were initially formed as slave patrols, that the thirteenth amendment created a new channel for slavery within the prison system, and that these institutions remain to be the enforcers and protectors of white supremacy. Knowing this, it’s unacceptable to be working towards anything short of the dismantling of these structures along with the state in it’s entirety. There are many of us who will come to these conclusions as they move away from reformism, but may not immediately grasp the weight of abolition. Some may want abolition but think it will come about somewhat similar to reform, through democratic means, and this just is not true. Abolition will come about through direct conflict with the state.
My point is, we as anti racist white folks must replace performative protest with concrete action. This means a diversity of tactics, such as political education, community self defense, worker’s organizing, financial aid, and direct action. We as white people must weaponize our white skin privilege in order to carry out direct attacks on white supremacy, and anything short of this is complicity.
“These men are all talk. What is needed is action - Action!” -John Brown