Sunday, October 16, 2016

Yes, White and POC Progressives Are Complicit in the Rise of Trump

White and People of Color progressives--

Y'all love to distance yourselves from the racism of Donald Trump and claim that defeating him at the polls will signal some kind of victory against racism, even though Black and Indigenous people have been telling you that y'all are racist as fuck for a minute. And y'all have been accusing us of being "racist" when we say that. 

You also accuse us of being "violent" when we claim that it's going to take more than nonviolent protest and electoral politics to address our ongoing genocide.

You say we're blaming the people who are "doing the work" when we address the racism you show us in our movement circles. You say that white/PoC liberal progressives are the very ones calling out and responding to racism. But if we're analyzing the racism we live among, callouts and critiques, important as they are, are only the second step. The first step we address should be the conditions giving rise to the thing that happened in the first place that made callout and critique necessary. Addressing that first thing-- the structure of antiblackness that is already there, the group psychology that leads to trigger pulls and crime bills and "anti-terrorism" policies-- in a permanent way should be occupying left discourses more than it is, even (especially) in a season of electoral politics.

Part of the problem is that, when push comes to shove, you go right along with the system you claim to radically oppose, whether by overlooking racism within your own communities, tolerating the ways that the politicians you vote for support u.s. empire, or policing Black articulations of the problem america itself causes for our very biological existence.

How long are you going to displace onto Donald Trump the responsibility for your inaction and unwillingness to put some skin in the game of radical Black and Indigenous antiracist struggle? 

Like y'all really had no idea there was enough racism in this country to raise a Trump to the Republican presidential nomination and possibly to having the nuclear launch codes?

Like, Really?

First, there's all the racism y'all know white people practice-- from stop-and-frisk to gentrification and neighborhood segregation to job discrimination to miseducation. All the antiblack shit people are finally identifying among east Asian American, south Asian American, and Latinx American communities, and y'all don't know nothing, huh? Y'all-- white progressives with all your Fox News-watching uncles and prison guard brothers-in-law? What about the antiblack stuff many families from Latin America and Asia bring with them when they immigrate? And you really thought boycotts and occasional protest marches and votes and letters to the editor would keep these forces in check when they are right there at your family reunions? Don't play us. We been dealing with this shit too long. We see the hustle.

For instance, it's great that progressive Chinese Americans spoke out against their communities' support for NYPD officer Peter Liang, who murdered Akai Gurley in the stairway of his apartment building. But the critique came after thousands of Chinese Americans protested in support of Liang, saying essentially that it was unfair that white police officers get to kill Black people with impunity but Asian American police officers like Liang do not. The protests were steeped in discourses that were uncritical of the model minority myth of Asian Americans-- commenting on how Liang is an immigrant who wanted to serve his community and country. (Cuz, you know, the only way someone can call themselves the "model" minority is if there's some other kind of "minority" who ain't so "model"-like, who is considered a bad kind of "minority." And, of course, that is always Black people. The model minority myth isn't just stressful for Asian American students and workers; more importantly, it's antiblack and used to justify things like police murders of Black people.)

The fact that a protest saying Liang had committed no crime was the primary psychic response of a mass of Asian Americans-- after Liang was convicted of manslaughter-- gives real insight into the implicit-- or unconscious-- thought processes that lead people to do the racist shit they do. And, in the final analysis, the racist structure saw to it that Liang served no jail time. Again, it's great that you protest. But what are you protesting against? Are you just against the moment-to-moment practices of a racist society, without critiquing the fundamentally racist society itself? What you're protesting against is the larger problem we Black and Indigenous folks, and our truly down allies, have to address if we are going to be free.

Look To Your Houses.

Let's get real about where this is coming from so we can formulate an adequate response to it. Trump already knew what played in Peoria long before he ran for office. He just cranked up the already rabidly racist discourse that the tea party, birther, and alt-right blocs have been using to get people into office. These elements have been militarized by u.s. military training and deployment. These elements have been energized by the first Black president. These elements have been galvanized against a queer folks- and poor folks-led Black freedom struggle vanguard that emerged in places like Ferguson, Baltimore, Oakland, Minneapolis, Charlotte, and New York in response to mass incarceration and police murder of Black people.

Lest we forget, this mass incarceration and militarized policing as responses to poverty, drug use, mental illness, and Black and Indigenous freedom struggle were founded by Nixon and Reagan, supported by Hillary Clinton, perfected by Bill Clinton, and sustained under Bush I and II and Obama. Not only were these presidents complicit but most of the expansion of the prison state was happening at state and local levels, especially under the auspices of organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council and with both Democrats and Republicans at the helm.

The status quo was already so violent for Black people and Indigenous peoples-- in our neighborhoods, on borders, globally-- that the musicians that we chill to find it important to talk about it, from Tupac to Manu Chao, Bocafloja to Lauryn Hill.

Here's the root of the problem: The u.s., including its progressive elements, is a fundamentally racist imperial formation built on land stolen in several successive massive genocides and founded on the principle that "all [people] are created equal" except the people who were being raped and held in chains outside the window of the house where Jefferson wrote those very words. But, hey-- at least it produced rock-and-roll, composed Hamilton the musical, and elected Obama twice, so i guess it evens out, right?

u.s. liberal progressives been loving iPhones but not concerned enough about the slave children in Congo who dig up the coltan and the hyperexploited Chinese factory workers who build them to take down the corporations that devalue the lives of billions of people. u.s. liberal progressives been loving their Priuses but have not been concerned enough about the Muslim countries the u.s. and its proxies bomb for the oil or the Indigenous women getting raped in the man-camps of North Dakota's oil country. But hey-- you get 50 mpg and cry during documentaries about coltan, so you're doing your part, right?

The real problem for which progressive white/poc people are (halfway rightly) blaming Trump is something in which the Democrats have long been just as complicit: a resurgence of a white supremacist vanguard that has long been active anyway. It was there in the police officer grampa who locked up Black and Indigenous freedom fighters in the 1960s as part of cointelpro, the army father who massacred and raped whole villages of people in Viet Nam, the loan officer sister who redlined Black people out of whole geographic areas and out of whole ways of building intergenerational wealth, the school teacher daughter who instagrams about how her Black students are "assholes" or how if she had 10 days to live she would "kill all Black people." white people and their junior partners (Latinxs, Asians, and many Indigenous peoples-- who, in many cases, bring antiblack sentiments from other countries if they have immigrated) have been knowing that the antiblack sentiments in their families were articulating into elements of a racist vanguard among their families and friends and communities, and they have been helpless to check its development. Well, the chickens have now really come home to roost.

Because you have collectively failed to address the racists you are connected to, the racism you are a part of, and the racists you are to the Black people in your midst-- that's why now an antiblack, anti-Latinx, Islamophobic neo-nazi misogynist is driving the political discourse. 


So don't wonder why now the only choice liberal progressives have is someone among whose chief foreign policy "successes" have been the torture and murder of an African leader to prevent him from developing a currency based on African gold that would have relieved African nations' debt to european colonial powers and the assassination of an Indigenous Honduran human rights and environmental activist. Let's not forget Hillary Clinton's initial responses not only to questions about "superpredators," but also her initial response and that of her chief proxy to Black Lives Matter when confronted about her and her husband's role in the growth of the prison industrial complex and police aggression. Again, focus on the initial response, not just the rearguard move of apologies and self-critiques that politicians perform after their racism is showing for all the world to see.

And let's not forget all the liberal progressive POCs who continually try to police Black statements of what the problem is, statements that could actually lead to formations ready to fight (nonviolently if possible, violently if necessary) for an end to the racist social order in which we live. If only you weren't busy trying to manage our "anger" and would actually listen to Black and Indigenous articulations of the freedom drive we have had since before many of you even arrived in this genocidal slave colony-- our movements could articulate into a threat to the murderous structure we live in.

I don't care if you blame Trump for his own performances of racism. He deserves it. But acting like we have to vote for Hillary Clinton to defeat that racism is jejune, myopic, and ignorant as fuck.

The tone of Trump's violently racist discourse is as old as this country, as old as european colonization of the americas. And Hillary Clinton has been down with versions of it too. And she probably still is, although not publicly. It is always there as long as this thing called america is there. Ending Trump's candidacy, just like defeating tea party candidates, does not alter the fundamental wellspring of racism-- a structurally antiblack order of which the u.s. is the anchor tenant.

Seize the Time

It is time to think about the next stages of history in which we must abandon this mystical and ahistorical dedication to the u.s. empire with its propagandistic lie that the only legitimate ways of making change are by electoral politics and petitions and the creation of ever more nonprofit organizations and nongovernmental organizations that rely on rapacious capitalists for their resources. 

It is time to listen to what Black and Indigenous people have been saying about america writ-large for 500 years and counting-- that it is the leader of a racist global empire and an enemy to the freedom of Black and Indigenous peoples everywhere.

It is time to admit that Black and Indigenous revolutionaries like Leonard Peltier and Assata Shakur-- still fighting for their lives-- had the correct analysis of what the problem is. It is time to continue their great work, build on that analysis, and act to bring down this racist structure so that we can build anew.

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