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Understanding the Role of Police Towards Abolitionism: On Black Death as an American Necessity, Abolition, Non-Violence, and Whiteness

{Photo credit: Ashley Landis/AP}

By Joshua Briond

In Blood In My Eye, the late great George Jackson writes: “the purpose of the chief repressive institutions within the totalitarian capitalist state is clearly to discourage and prohibit certain activity, and the prohibitions are aimed at very distinctly defined sectors of the class—and race— sensitized society. The ultimate expression of law is not order—it’s prison. There are hundreds upon thousands of laws, yet there is no social order, no social peace. Anglo-Saxon bourgeois law is tied firmly into economics[…]Bourgeois law protects property relations and not social relationships.”  And while thousands across the country take to the streets to protest state violence, in the aftermath of the public lynching of George Floyd, we have been seeing the structural reality the likes of George Jackson (amongst other Black political prisoners and revolutionaries) brilliantly and elegantly theorized on and experienced, once again holds true.

In this moment, it is crucial to understand the role of the police at their core, as merely a hyper-militarized bottom of the barrel armed force of the ruling class. Our ruling class owned media tries to portray both state and federal level police as neutral actors enforcing public safety—when in fact their role has always served to disrupt (radical) political activity by any means necessary. The past few days have sprung speculation regarding the police and media conspiring and exporting counterinsurgency—which is clearly happening. But what if, instead, we saw policing under white supremacist capitalism as inherently and in a constant state of counterinsurgency—because such an act is how empire sustains itself—especially if we know that, historically, police have surveilled, repressed and infiltrated individuals, organizations, and political parties that they have deemed ideological enemies because their interests represent a legitimate threat to the capitalist white supremacist status quo.

“Power responds to all threats. The response is repression. If the threat is a small one, the fascist tactic is to laugh it off, ignore it, isolate it with greater the corresponding violence from power. The only effective challenge to power is one that is broad enough to make isolation impossible, and intensive enough to cause repression to affect the normal lifestyle of as many members of the society as possible[…] Nothing can bend consciousness more effectively than a false arrest, a no-knock invasion, careless, panic-stricken gunfire.”

—George Jackson (Blood In My Eye)

The issue is not simply “police brutality.” But, the mere existence and functionality of the inherently anti-black, subservient to capital institution of polic[e/ing]. “Police brutality” like many liberalized frameworks, individualizes structural oppression and power. Such framing leaves space for reformism, as if there’s only certain aspects of policing that needs to be readdressed. It’s an undeniable fact that technically “not all cops kill” but instead of moral posturing, we can focus on the political and ideological functioning of policing in service of whiteness, capital(ism), and settler-colonialism, as being in direct contradiction of the lives and well-being of racialized, colonized, and working-class people. Focusing the problem on the mere existence of polic[e/ing], as an institutionalized direct descendant of chattel slavery previously branded ‘slave patrolling,’ we’re able to discuss the inherent (racialized & class-based) violences within the institution at-large. And it allows us to reckon with the entire institution instead of individual actors, their political or moral standing, as well as individualized notions of “justice” in the face of terror, violence, and death at the hands of the police. “Justice” under this racial capitalism, is an impossibility—an ideological liberal mystification. The scarcity in the realm of political imagination that [neo]liberalism champions leads to a reality in which many people’s analysis and understanding of “justice” is merely individualized imprisonment and tepid-at-best liberal reforms. Advancing our collective understanding beyond the individual “bad” or killer cop toward an understanding of structural violence, is crucial to building an abolitionist politic grounded in empathy and community.

We have been bombarded with dozens of videos and photos of cops kneeling, crying, giving impassioned speeches, and public displays of some of the most shallowest forms of performative solidarity—an age-old tactic wielded to “humanize” officers and neutralize the perceived threat in the protesters, while also attempting to control the media narrative —only for these same cops to turn around and within minutes unleash terror on the self-proclaimed “peaceful” protesters as they chant and march in-advocacy for the ending of Black terror and death at the hands of the police. If the mere pleading for the ruling class and its on-the-ground agents to stop massacring Black people with impunity is enough of a crime to be met with chemical warfare, “rubber” bullets, harassment, beatings, and mass imprisonment—what does that say about the functionality of these institutions?

When we see agents of the ruling class in militarized “riot” gear, oftentimes comment sections filled with disapproval, American liberals claiming “they look like they’re in war,” and viral tweets from imperialist veterans not-so-subtly declaring that type of militancy should be preserved for Black and brown people and countries abroad—and not home. We must counter these liberal narratives by highlighting that there is no significant political, ideological, or moral difference between domestic police and the military. Both serve the same class and ideological apparatus and represent an occupying force wherever they’re stationed. The military predominantly operates as the global police of the world, or as George Jackson would call it the “international wing of repressive institutions.” But, when the domestic police are overwhelmed, they call in their big brother (US military) to help fight their battle—hand-and-hand as enemies of the people—in a mission to terrorize and politically repress racialized, colonized, and working class people. So when Trump says “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” and grants the military immunity to terrorize and shoot protesters that is nothing more than the head of empire simply carrying on the legacy of terrorists-in-chief before him, reaffirming the purpose of the mere existence of the military, as fascist enforcers of capitalist, colonial, and imperialist violence and their right to do what they already do to colonized and oppressed people in third world and global south countries.

We must realize that we mustn’t give cops, in all forms, the benefit of the doubt or go out of our way to plead to their conscience—in which most, if not all of them lack—because their articulation of the situation at hand, as evidenced by their preparedness and tactics, is that of war. And in all of its possibly well-meaning glory, going into battle with the mindset of pleading to their (lack of) conscience or going out of your way to prove you’re one of the “good” and “peaceful” protesters—through chants and other means—won’t stop the terror of chemical warfare that will transpire when the political performance ends. The police are uncompromising in their belief in the current oppressive social order, they have legally, morally, and politically pledged their lives to it, and we must be uncompromising in our fight towards tearing it down and building anew. There’s a reason cops show up to even the most “peaceful” of protests with militarized riot gear prepared at any moment to immobilize activists, organizers, and journalists while conspiring with the media apparatus to demonize protests and all of its participants.

 “The political act is defined as criminal in order to discredit radical and revolutionary movements. A political event is reduced to a criminal event in order to affirm the absolute invulnerability of the existing order.”

 —Angela Davis (If They Come in the Morning)

The nearly non-materially existing dichotomy between “good protester” and “bad protester” or “non-violent” and “violent” are not only useless identifiers, but an unfortunate fundamental misunderstanding of the structural powers that be, at-large. The ideology of Black liberation is inherently violent to the forces of capital and white supremacy. We must move beyond the media fueled tropes rooted in colonial moral posturing, that serves no one but our ruling elites. History has shown us, it does not matter whether or not you’re a “good protester” or “bad protester,” “non-violent” or “violent,” and/or “innocent” or “guilty.” If you are for liberation for Black people, you are a threat to the interests of capitalism and white supremacy, and must be systemically repressed, by any means. To fight for the liberation of Black people, especially but not limited to the skin that has historically marked criminality, makes you an enemy of said nation who’s global economy is predicated on the terror and death of the colonial, namely Black, subject. Liberation, and the pursuit of it becomes a racialized affair under a system of colonial and imperialist domination in-which whiteness—a system of racial othering—is exclusively depicted as proximity to power and capital, which Black and other subjects of said domination have neither. It is crucial for the sustainment of this moment that we, first of all, not allow media political discourse to divide and conquer the wide variety of effective tactics that have been wielded by activists and organizers since the beginning of time; while also collectively understand the functionality of police and prisons as they are: inherently anti-Black politicized tools of the ruling elite to maintain their hegemony.

“The legal apparatus designates the Black liberation fighter a criminal, prompting Nixon, Agnew, Reagan et al. to proceed to mystify with their demagogy millions of Americans whose senses have been dulled and whose critical powers have been eroded by the continual onslaught of racist ideology. As the Black Liberation Movement and other progressive struggles increase in magnitude and intensity, the judicial system and its extension, the penal system, consequently become key weapons in the state’s fight to preserve the existing conditions of class domination, therefore racism, poverty and war.”

—Angela Davis (If They Come in the Morning)

Our understanding of non-violence should be that of an organized and meticulous tactical approach exercised by the oppressed, as opposed to a moral philosophy, endorsed and preferred by the ruling class and its agents. We never hear the ruling class, advocate for non-violence with their singular approach when they are hegemonizing and tyrannizing oppressed peoples across the globe, while being cheered on and thanked by many of its citizens. Non-violence, as a moral philosophy, in a society where violence against the marginalized is the norm—where millions are incarcerated, houseless, subjected to state sanctioned violence, and live in poverty—is, in and of itself just another form of colonial physical and ideological subjugation and therefore, violence. But, so much of non-violence is predicated on the premise of legality—despite its social and political limitations. Laws are only laws because we, whether knowingly or not, coercively consent to them. At any given time our government can utilize and maneuver the boundaries of legality and illegality as applicable to the material interests of the ruling class. What we’re seeing on live display is the state and all of its willing agents and participants are very much willing to terrorize and self-detonate than grant Black people even the slightest bit of freedom; and history has shown us it is not only appropriate but necessary to meet them with the only language that they understand.

As Kwame Ture has noted, public pleas and non-violence only works when your opponent has a conscience, and the United States of America has none. Therefore, we must move beyond public outcries for vague calls for “love,” “unity,” and “peace,” waxing poetic, and pleading for our oppressors to somehow manage to adopt a conscience and do what goes against the very ideological and economic foundation of all their colonial institutions: stop terrorizing and killing us. We must move beyond the cycle of inaction and emotional appeals, through stagnantly and continuously debating the semantics of ‘Black Lives Matter’ and other moral and political posturing, when the reality of our situation is clear: Black lives can never truly matter under captivity of white supremacist capitalism and colonial patriarchy that directly and consequently begets Black oppression. How can it, when Black death is a necessity of racial capitalism and the institutions (such as policing and prisons) that exist to uphold it? So instead of public appeals to the ruling class and its agents to recognize the “humanity” in those relegated to slave; we recognized the reality in which racialized terror and violence is quite literally the point—as the mere existence of Black lives are in direct and inherent contradiction with the forces of capital—and a necessity for the continued maintenance of the current white supremacist capitalist, imperialist, (settler-)colonial order. It is crucial for us to remember that these institutions, namely policing and prisons, that continue to so violently persist, are merely an extension of European colonialism and slavery.

“…with each reform, revolution became more remote[…]But if one were forced for the sake of clarity to define [fascism] in a word simple enough for all to understand, that word would be ‘reform.’”

—George Jackson (Blood In My Eye)

The only realistic solution to a reality in which anti-Black terror, violence, and death is an inevitability to the functionality of a system, is abolition. Yet, ironically enough, the lack of political imagination, beyond the electoral strategy and reformism, and the inability to envision a world, or even country, devoid of police and prisons is rooted in (anti-Black), racialized colonial logics of the biologically determined criminal, slave, and savage. The notion that an (uncivilized) people must to be, at all times, patrolled and policed, or else chaos and violence would reign, has been used as a justification for countless structural violences on the part of European peoples since the origins of colonialism. If we know criminality is inherently racialized, one must ask themselves: when you envision the criminal and/or “evildoer,” what do you see? What do they look like? More than likely it is someone who is non-white and/or poor. This is something we have to seriously grapple with, even amongst abolitionist circles. The vast majority of people who, for whatever reason, are incapable of envisioning a world without police and prisons, are simply unwilling to interrogate the dominant ideological apparatus that we have all, in one way or another, internalized.

Emphasizing the largely classed and gendered based nature of crime, is of the utmost importance. Crime is not an “inevitable” aspect of society, but an inevitable reaction to socio-economic and political structural forces at-large; specifically poverty being an inevitability of capitalism while sexual, gendered, and domestic violences are an inevitability of colonial patriarchy. If we combat the systems, we combat the social reactions.

Another thing we’re witnessing is white people moralizing the looting, destruction of, and “violence” towards inanimate objects (despite the fact that white history is that of constant looting, destruction, and violence) as result of their moral, spiritual, and political ties to land, property, monuments, and capital built on genocide and slavery. Whiteness being so inextricable to the foundations of capital(ism) and ultimately property, inhibits white people’s ability to extend such an empathy to the lives of Black people. Property and capital, being so inextricable to the foundations of whiteness and the construction of race, as a whole, ushers in the reality in which they become God-like figures. White people’s existence on this planet and their understanding of the world makes so much more sense once you realize that, white people, globally, are the police. Whiteness allows and entails them the “monopoly on morality” to be such a thing. Whether it’s with foreign affairs, and their paternalistic analysis of non-white countries, which ultimately leads to the justifying the actions of their imperialist government—even from “socially conscious” white folks. Or, in the case of how they overwhelmingly believe they maintain the prerogative to dictate the ways subjects of white oppression retaliate against said oppression (though, to be fair, they technically do). But, the point is: the entire logic of whiteness, as a deliberately political and social invention, makes it such a construct that’s—under white supremacy—inseparable from the role of the state. therefore, white people assume these roles as agents of the state globally—whether subconsciously or not.

And, of course, this is why we have been subjected to countless imagery on social media of white people (and those aspiring to be white by-way-of proximity to capital, power, and “respectability”) putting their bodies and lives on the line to protect capital (and physical embodiments of it) and private property—in a way that they would never sacrifice their bodies or even time for Black lives and liberation. Such an imagery should serve as a spit in the face to not just Black people, but all persons concerned with our liberation from the chains of capital. If persons of the white race are willing to put their lives on the line for their god: property and capital, but wouldn’t bother doing such a thing for Black people: what does that say about how they see us? We’re beneath inanimate objects on the hierarchy of things worthy of protection. But, it also just goes to show that as much as the white American is willing to die for property relations and capital—by any means necessary—we must be willing to live and die for our collective liberation. Let this be a moment in which we’re reminded that if there’s ever scenario in which our ruling elites are ever in-need of more armed protectors of the white supremacist status quo there will be countless ordinary white people, at the front of the line, fully prepared to live out their white vigilante idealizations and sacrifice their lives and bodies to save settler capitalism.



This was originally published in 2006 on the New Afrikan Black Panther Party’s website.

The economic nature of racism is not simply an aside… Racism is a fundamental characteristic of monopoly capitalism.”
George L. Jackson, 1971


Many people believe that racism – indeed the very concept of race itself – develops automatically when groups of people with different complexions, hair, and body types are brought together.  This is not so!  Actually, the concept of race is barely 500 years old.  The common people have been programmed into accepting “race” as a normal and natural thing, to prevent them from questioning, investigating, and challenging the ideas and roots of race and racism. Race and racism are the inventions of a specific social class, and devised to serve a specific social purpose.  The creators are the oppressor capitalist ruling class, and the purpose is to divide the laboring class that the capitalists exploit against themselves.  This is because, if united, the workers pose the single greatest threat to the capitalist class monopoly over social wealth, power, and control. A dispassionate study will show that in every situation where race has arisen to become a sharp dividing social factor, the hands of the capitalists can be seen pulling the strings, and it is only they who benefit from the conflicts.

George Jackson clearly recognized this.  He pointed out that while white racism, the dominant form of racism in Amerika, expresses itself as:

“…the morbid traditional fear of Blacks, Indians, Mexicans, [and] the desire to inflict pain on them when they began to compete in the industrial sectors.  The resentment and the seedbed of fear are patterned into every modern capitalist society. It grows out of a sense of insecurity and insignificance that is inculcated into the workers by the conditions of life and work under capitalism.  This sense of vulnerability is the breeding ground of racism.  At the same time, the ruling class actively promotes racism against the Blacks of the lower classes.  This programmed racism has always served to distract the huge numbers of people who subsist at just a slightly higher level than those in a more debased condition (in the 1870’s the strikes frequently ended in anti-Chinese or anti-Black lynchings)…Racism has served always in the U.S. as a pressure release…”

The sole concern of the capitalist class is to secure and increase their profits and power. They do not care whom or what they damage or destroy to accomplish this, nor do they care what nationality or complexion the people are whom they exploit, only that they keep the exploited workers unable to unite and mobilize against their conditions of exploitation.  Racism has been the capitalists’ most effective method of accomplishing this. Here in North Amerika, the game began in the late 1600’s.


The first laborers exploited in North Amerika under British colonialism consisted of Afrikan, European, and Indian slaves and indentured servants.  The concept of ‘race’ did not exist then. The laborers were all equally oppressed and exploited of their wealth-producing labor by the capitalist plantation owners and thus saw each other as equals. They lived, labored, loved, suffered, bred, bled, escaped, and died together. They also repeatedly rebelled and revolted together. But because they lacked a unifying leadership and vision or control over resources, they were unable to come together en masse to wage a united revolution to overthrow the plantation elite and the British colonial government that served and backed the elite. This all changed in 1676 when Bacon’s Rebellion occurred.

The leader of the rebellion, Nathaniel Bacon, was a young plantation owner. He had left England to settle in the British colonies in 1673, and was appointed to the Council of British Colonial Governor William Berkeley. The colonial government’s principal concern (as with any capitalist government) was to maintain stability in the colonies while protecting and expanding the holdings and wealth of the ruling class. To achieve this, Berkeley promoted developing trade relations and peace with the Indians who lived on surrounding lands. Bacon, however, promoted running the Indians off their land to expand the colonial settlements. In defiance of Berkeley’s policies, Bacon independently organized and led poor farmers who lived on the outskirts of the colonies (most of whom were recently freed indentured servants), on murderous terror raids against nearby Indian communities.  But instead of fleeing, the Natives responded with counter-raids against their attackers. Bacon, unable to match the Indian counter-attacks, sought but was denied military support from Berkeley.

Bacon then turned on the established colonial ruling class and Berkeley’s government. He armed and organized the colony’s Afrikan and English slaves with promises of freedom, and in 1676 led them in revolt against the colonial rulers. The revolt succeeded in overthrowing the colonial ruling class and government, and captured the capitol at Jamestown, Virginia.

However, six months into the revolt, and at the height of his power, Bacon died of influenza.  Bacon’s Rebellion, deprived of its leader and organizer, collapsed, and the colonial ruling class and Council quickly regained control, though not without a determined last stand by the core group of rebels, principally composed of Afrikan slaves. It was at this point that the plantation elite and their reinstated government realized the immense danger and power of a unified working class. Consequently they decided to ensure that no united revolt like Bacon’s Rebellion occurred again.  Their solution was to split the lower class by permanently enslaving one sector while winning the loyalty of another sector, inciting its fear and contempt against and using it to police the enslaved sector. To divide, agitate, and rule was the plan. This they accomplished by inventing the concept of race and dividing the lower class along racial lines.

Laws were immediately passed that established the categories of “negro” (Spanish for “black”), and “white” as distinct racialized social statuses. In 1682 legislation was enacted that made slavery a permanent and hereditary status for all “Blacks,” and over the next several decades slavery and indentured servitude of ‘whites’ were phased out. Further laws were passed that forbade and penalized positive social interactions between the races, particularly escapes, marriages, and procreation.

The poor white men made up the body of the colonial militias and, beginning in 1727, were conscripted into manning slave patrols under fines and other penalties if they refused. This plantation police force was the forerunner and grandparent of today’s urban police forces that continue to be concentrated against people of color to repress them across Amerika with violence and terror. In most areas, the slave patrols came to outnumber the black slaves.  A variety of minor privileges were also granted to the poor whites, including tiny plots of land to live on – at the Indians’ expense – a musket, the authority to kill rebellious Blacks, tax exemptions, and other benefits for manning slave patrols, greater leniency in the eyes of the law than Blacks, voting privileges, etc.

By inventing the social category of “white,” and granting the lower class Europeans a share in power over the super-exploited and enslaved Afrikans, the capitalists created a scheme that caused the poor Europeans a false sense of privileged class unity with, and a confused loyalty toward the ruling class which was the source of all of the lower classes’ poverty and misery.  By selling out their own class interests to the elite, the poor whites made a deal with the devil that saw them focus their frustrations on Blacks instead of the capitalists, and thus ensured that they would remain an impoverished and exploited class, just a step above the Blacks.

To ensure the dedication of the slave patrols, and whites in general, in repressing and containing the black slaves, the ruling class generated a paranoid fear of slave revolts and especially of “Negroes with guns.” From every pulpit, and every center of white social gathering and influence, Blacks were depicted as always plotting to revolt with the aim of murdering all whites indiscriminately (men, wimyn, and children), molesting white wimyn, and subverting  ‘good’ white Christian civilization with Black “heathenism.”  Both the political and religious institutions were, and remain today, proponents of racism and white fear of Black revolt.

The church hierarchy, which was tied in with the ruling elite, also added fuel to the fire of racism by theologizing the myth of white racial superiority over all other races, claiming that whites were the Creator’s “chosen people” destined to rule over all others as a divine right, and that slavery was a punishment ordained by the creator for Blacks as the “Curse of Canaan.”  It was through these combined methods that “white supremacy” and the very concept of the “white” and “black” races were born and spread, and remain today normalized concepts that divide the lower class to further the interests of the wealthy elite.

The capitalists found race and racism such effective tools for manipulating and undermining the working class that appeals to race and racism, (overtly and subliminally), have been their generalized method of subverting working class struggles and manipulating workers to serve as mercenaries and mindless cannon fodder in fighting capitalist wars. To solidify lower class support, the capitalists who were struggling to break free of British control appealed to poor whites to fight the Amerikan Revolutionary War (1775-1783), to achieve an independent “white nation.” The Declaration of Independence expresses this in its statement “When…it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another.”  Because of the racialized identity of “whiteness,” the colonists had come to identify themselves as a different “people” than the English.

From such wealthy elite notables and “Founding Fathers” as Benjamin Franklin (in 1751 to John Jay), James Madison, Jedediah Morse (to Andrew Johnson in 1864), they all emphasized in public and in private letters that Amerika was to be a “white nation.”  (See Steve Martinot, The Rule of Racialization, 2003). This was specified in one of the first legislative acts of the independent Amerikan government – the Naturalization Act of 1790 – that stated that the U.S. was to be a “white republic.” The “White” racialized identity which had its origins in the Virginia colony, was subsequently adopted into European thinking and served as it had in North Amerika, to rationalize European colonization of people of color in Asia, Afrika, Australia, and elsewhere, and to alienate the European working class from uniting with the super-oppressed peoples of color.

The Amerikan capitalists used the same device to justify their brutal and genocidal seizure of Indian and Mexican lands to expand their agricultural empire. They won the allegiance of the poor whites by promoting these actions as white “Manifest Destiny,” as the duty and calling of whites to conquer “inferior” peoples, and by giving out free land grants. These same appeals are used today in pursuit of U.S. conquest and repression of people of color, only the concept of white supremacy and” Manifest Destiny” have become so ingrained and normalized in the collective white Amerikan mind, that they need not be explicitly stated.  Moreover, to do so is politically incorrect and unwise in today’s world where people of color have proven unwilling to accept overtly expressed racist oppression, (witness the national independence struggles of the 20th century against European colonialism that swept Asia and Afrika; the urban uprisings, civil rights, and New Afrikan, First Nation, Mexican, and Puerto Rican liberation struggles in Amerika, the worldwide opposition to South Afrikan Apartheid, etc.).

Therefore, the white supremacist appeal today is made and pursued more clandestinely and with greater sophistication, using such code words as “spreading democracy,” “fighting terrorism,” “fighting crime,” “preventing the spread of Communism,” etc.  But any objective analysis quickly reveals that these policies, backed by extreme state violence, and demonizing labels such as “criminal,” “terrorist,” etc., are consistently applied to non-white peoples, and it’s the white U.S. population that’s appealed to in order to back these policies. That the national identity of Amerika remains that of a white nation is revealed by its population being still classified by race, with panic arising anytime the elites claim some ‘other’ race like Latin Amerikan immigrants are threatening to overrun the “white majority,” or that Blacks are a danger to the stability and moral integrity of Amerika.

White racism caused many whites, (especially of the lower class), to become so consumed and intoxicated with the myth of their racial superiority, their right to repress and contain Blacks and others’ ambitions, and the idea that their own poverty and lack of power was somehow the fault of Blacks, that they’ve resorted to confused, fundamentalist reactionary violence to subvert every effort of Blacks to improve or challenge their own conditions.  Thus, Black political and economic struggles and gains have frequently been followed by reactionary white violence, or the rise of far right-wing white terrorist groups, like the Ku Klux Klan and Knights of White Camellia for example, the white mobs that attacked Blacks in Massachusetts (1850) and Philadelphia, Boston, and Cincinnati (1830’s) to repress the Black vote; the frequent lynchings during Reconstruction (1865-77), white riots against Blacks communities when Blacks moved in large numbers to Northern and Western cities to fill industrial jobs in the early 1900’s, mob attacks and violence to repress civil rights struggles in the south during the 1950’s and 60’s, etc. This reactionary fanatical racial violence and conflict occurs always upon incitement of the ruling elite, to divert and neutralize the danger of revolt of any sector of the working class against their class exploitation and political impotence.


The divide and rule scheme was further refined based upon the claimed proposals of a Caribbean slave owner, Willie Lynch, to a gathering of plantation owners in Virginia in 1712.  Lynch proposed not only instigating sharp division between Blacks and whites, but among the Black slaves as well, by playing on minor differences between them to generate envy, fear and distrust.  He proposed that the “black slaves should trust no one except the plantation elite.  That they should be hostile toward themselves and that hostility should be maintained between them and the lower class whites.  Lynch put it this way:

“Gentlemen, I greet you here on the banks of the James River in the year of our Lord 1712. First, I shall thank you, the gentlemen of the Colony of Virginia for bringing me here. I am here to help you solve some of your problems with slaves.  Your invitation reached me on my modest plantation in the West Indies where I have experimented with some of the newest and still the oldest methods for control of slaves. Ancient Rome would envy us if my program was implemented. As our boat sailed south on the James River, named for our illustrious King, whose version of the Bible we cherish, I saw enough to know that your problem is not unique. While Rome used cords of wood as crosses for standing human bodies along its old highway in great numbers, you are here using the tree and the rope on occasion.

“I caught the whiff of a dead slave hanging from a tree a couple of miles back. You are not only losing valuable stock by hangings, you are having uprisings, slaves are running away. Your crops are sometimes left in the fields too long for maximum profit, you suffer occasional fires, your animals are killed. Gentlemen, you know what your problems are; I do not need to elaborate. I am not here to enumerate your problems, however, I am here to introduce you to methods of solving them.

“In my bag here, I have outlined a number of DIFFERENCES among the slaves, and I take their differences and make them bigger. I use FEAR, DISTRUST, and ENVY for control purposes. These methods have worked on my modest plantation in the West Indies and it will work throughout the South. Take this simple little list of differences, and think about them. On top of my list is “AGE,” but it is there because it starts with an “A”; the second is “COLOR” or “SHADE”, there is INTELLIGENCE, SIZE, SEX, STATUS ON PLANTATION, ATTITUDE OF OWNERS, WHETHER THE SLAVES LIVE IN THE VALLEY, ON THE HILL, EAST, WEST, NORTH or SOUTH, HAVE FINE HAIR or COARSE HAIR, or is TALL or SHORT. Now that you have a list of differences, I shall give you an outline of ACTION – but before that I shall assure you that distrust is stronger than trust, and envy is stronger than adulation, respect or admiration.

“The Black slave after receiving this indoctrination shall carry on and will become self-refueling and self-generating for hundreds of years, maybe thousands.

“Don’t forget you must pitch the OLD BLACK MALE vs. the YOUNG BLACK MALE, and the YOUNG BLACK MALE vs. the OLD BLACK MALE. You must use the DARK SKIN SLAVE vs. the LIGHT SKIN SLAVE and the LIGHT SKIN SLAVE vs. the DARK SKIN SLAVE. You must use the FEMALE vs. the MALE and the MALE vs. the FEMALE.

“You must also have your white servants and overseers distrust all Blacks, but it is necessary that your slaves trust and depend on us. They must love, respect, and trust ONLY US.

“Gentlemen, these kits are your keys to control. Use them. Have your wives and children use them. Never miss an opportunity – if used intensively for one year, the slaves themselves will remain perpetually distrustful. Thank you, gentlemen.”

These methods of dividing slaves and Blacks versus poor whites can clearly be seen still in operation today, and the effects still remain with us – the distrust, fear, and envy. While the lower classes have come to love, emulate, and depend on the predatory capitalist class, its wealth, luxury, and artificial prestige, are all obtained through the labor, powerlessness, and poverty of the working class. Yesterday’s chattel slaves are today’s wage slaves: only the slave class today has grown to include all races and nationalities.


Kwame Nkrumah observed that the same game of racial divide and rule was played when capitalism took root in Afrika:

“The close links between class and race developed in Africa alongside capitalist exploitation. Slavery, the master-servant relationship, and cheap labor were basic to it. The classic example is South Africa, where Africans experience a double exploitation – both on grounds of color and of class. Similar conditions exist in the U.S.A., the Caribbean, in Latin America, and in other parts of the world where the nature of the development of productive forces has resulted in a racist class structure. In these areas, even shades of color count – the degree of blackness being a yardstick by which social status is measured.

“…[A] racist social structure…is inseparable from capitalist economic development.  For race is inextricably linked with class exploitation; in a racist-capitalist power structure, capitalist exploitation and race oppression are complementary; the removal of one ensures the removal of the other…

“The effects of industrialization in Africa as elsewhere, has been to foster the growth of the bourgeoisie, and at the same time the growth of a politically-conscious proletariat. The acquisition of property and political power on the part of the bourgeoisie, and the growing socialist and African nationalist aspirations of the working class, both strike at the root of the racist class structure, though each is aiming at different objectives. The bourgeoisie supports capitalist development while the proletariat – the oppressed class – is striving towards socialism.

“In South Africa, where the basis of ethnic relationships is class and color, the bourgeoisie comprises about one-fifth of the population. The British and the Boers, having joined forces to maintain their positions of privilege, have split up the remaining four-fifths of the population into “Blacks,” “Coloreds,” and “Indians.” The Colored and Indians are minority groups, which act as buffers to protect the minority whites against the increasingly militant and revolutionary Black majority. In the other settled areas of Africa, a similar class-race struggle is being waged.

“A non-racial society can only be achieved by socialist revolutionary action of the masses. It will never come as a gift from the minority ruling class. For it is impossible to separate race relations from the capitalist class relationships in which they have their roots.

“South Africa again provides a typical example…It was only with capitalist economic penetration that the master-servant relationship emerged, and with it, racism, color prejudice and apartheid…

“Slavery and the master-servant relationship were therefore the cause, rather than the result of racism. The position was crystallized and reinforced with the discovery of gold and diamonds in South Africa, and the employment of cheap African labor in the mines. As time passed, and it was thought necessary to justify the exploitation and oppression of African workers, the myth of racial inferiority was developed and spread.

“In the era of neocolonialism, ‘underdevelopment’ is still attributed not to exploitation but to inferiority, and racial undertones remain closely interwoven with the class struggle.

“It is only the ending of capitalism, colonialism, imperialism and neocolonialism and the attainment of world communism that can provide the conditions under which the race question can finally be abolished and eliminated.”

Kwame Nkrumah, Class Struggle in Africa, 1970


World War I (1914 -1918) was a competition between the European imperialist countries for access to and control over the abundant natural resources and markets of the Third World colonies. The war generated a boom for the war industrialists, particularly the Amerikan steel and manufacturing industries that were producing and selling weapons, machinery, and spare parts needed by the European elite to supply their armies, (which were manned by the working class of course). When the U.S. entered the war in 1917, the mandatory draft created a large shortage of white industrial workers. Laborers were needed. With promises of plenty, southern Blacks were drawn by the industrialist’ job recruiters into the Northern and Western cities to fill the vacant jobs. The poor migrant Blacks were also a welcomed replacement, since they would accept work at much lower wages than the white workers would tolerate, thus increasing the capitalists’ profits by lowering labor costs.

The war’s end in 1918 saw the return of the whites in need of employment.  A strong working class movement was already underway in the U.S., which had the capitalists in a panic. They feared working class revolution, like the one that had just succeeded in overthrowing the capitalist class in Russia in 1917. To offset a united radical struggle of the working class poor, capitalist agents within the trade union movement incited the whites against the Blacks, diverting their attention away from challenging capitalist class oppression and toward the Blacks who’d “stolen” their jobs and were driving down wages.

This appeal to reactionary race hate to channel the anger of white workers away from challenging working class exploitation provoked racial violence against Blacks, which culminated in widespread white race riots in the “Red Summer” of 1919. These riots saw over 20 incidents of white mobs converging on Black neighborhoods to gang rape Black wimyn and girls, and murder and maim Black men, wimyn, children and the elderly indiscriminately.

Fast-forwarding to today, we now see an identical situation of competition over jobs along racial lines taking place between Blacks versus Mexican and Latin Amerikan migrants. Under centuries of colonial and neo-colonial policies, U.S. capitalists with government backing have robbed the fertile land and resources and crushed the economies of their countries, imposing imperialist policies that have violently driven millions upon millions off their native lands and into complete insecurity, poverty and beggary. In desperate need of jobs to provide for their families, many are forced to migrate to Amerika, to fill jobs that pay starvation wages or deprive them of benefits enjoyed by ‘legal’ workers. Their predicament duplicates that of Blacks who were forced to migrate to the northern and western cities from the south in search of employment upon being pushed off the land by Klan terror, and being otherwise compelled to live in impoverished servitude.

But instead of struggling alongside these migrant workers today, Blacks have been incited by imperialist agents and propaganda to assume much the same repressive role as the white workers during the early 1900’s. We perceive these migrants to be “stealing” “our” scarce jobs, government benefits and housing, and driving down wages. Consequently a virtual war has been taking place between Black versus Mexicans and Latin Amerikans on the streets and inside U.S. prisons. Much of the violence, which begins inside the prisons where these ‘races’ are forcibly confined in miserable close quarter, spills over into society.

In just 2005, over 300 race riots occurred in the California prison system alone, mostly between Black versus Mexican and Latin Amerikan prisoners. These conflicts have been exposed repeatedly as incited by the imperialist controlled prison guard unions. So, once again, the capitalists, whose greedy ambitions are the cause of massive poverty, job shortages, land theft, and forced migrations of both Blacks and the Native peoples of this region of the world, (who must risk their lives to cross borders created by the capitalists and white racism), have the commonly oppressed people, who are all victims of class and national oppression, warring amongst themselves.


The game of racism was not only created and used to play working class whites against people of color. It was also used between whites, and with the same purpose of undermining working class struggles against capitalist class exploitation. Indeed it was the principal method of whipping up mass hysteria in support of fascism in Western Europe during the early 1900’s. And contrary to popular deception, the U.S. capitalist elite and government supported its purpose and function, which was to suppress working class revolution. There is an extensive although repressed record in proof of this.

The tendency in mainstream circles and of the ruling class propaganda industry has been to paint German Nazism, for example, as a sort of odd latent German anti-Semitism, which was brought to the surface by a “mad” leader (Hitler), who by luck and guile found himself in power. This, however, runs counter to the actual fact that the German and Amerikan capitalists consciously and deliberately financed and pushed Hitler into power to suppress a working class revolution that was threatening to take power. The capitalist Great Depression had disillusioned the workers across Europe about the promises of capitalism, and they were looking with hope to the example of Russia, (Socialist Russia being independent of the imperialist countries was not affected by the Depression). The capitalists also feared that the destabilized middle class would join forces with the lower class workers to overthrow their economic and political control. They opted to play the race card.

By inciting “Aryan” racism – blaming non-Aryans for Germany’s economic crisis, which was actually caused by the capitalists – the Nazis won over the confused German middle and lower class and youth to subvert the working class movement and re-channel its momentum toward attacking sectors of German society that were classified as non-Aryan (“inferiors” and “degenerates”). Violent repression was thus targeted against the German Communists and radical youth, who were leading and organizing the workers’ struggle, and the Jews, Slavs, Poles, Gypsies, gay and disabled people. Overt fascism, like pure racism, was a desperate political strategy of capitalist class control.

Just as the method of allying the majority white Amerikan working class to back the capitalist class’s designs has been, by rallying them under the banner of a racialized “white nation,” so too did the German capitalists do the same using the Nazis to rally the German workers’ support under the banner of a racialized “Aryan nation.” And as intended, this incitement of racist sentiments divided a once united working class against itself, whipped up hysterical and irrational mass support for the ruling class’s designs to smash working class struggle and to back the capitalists’ aims to expand and colonize other nations, in this case not only nations of colored people but Europeans as well. Under the spell of a purely invented racism, the German masses proceed to back the Nazi war machine that saw them kill and die by the millions and carry out acts of the most savage brutality recorded in history – and all by and against white working class people.  As said, the U.S. government and business community supported Hitler and Mussolini before World War II. See for example:

  1. Christopher Simpson, The Splendid Blonde Beast: Money, Law and Genocide in the Twentieth Century. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1995. pp. 46-64;

  2. David Schmitz, Thank God They’re On Our Side: The United States and Right Wing Dictatorships, 1921-1965, Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1999, Chapters 1 and 3;

  3. David Schmitz, The United States and Fascist Italy, 1922-1940, Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1988;

  4. John P. Diggins. Mussolini and Fascism: The View from America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1972.

U.S. government internal documents explain the class-based reasons for the warm Amerikan business support for fascism that are detailed in these books. In 1937, for example, a report of the U.S. State Department’s European Division described the rise of fascism as a natural and commendable response of “the rich and middle class, in self-defense” when the “dissatisfied masses, with the example of the Russian revolution before them, swing to the Left.”  Fascism, thus, “must succeed or the masses, this time reinforced by the disillusioned middle classes, will again turn to the Left.” The report also stated that “if Fascism cannot succeed by persuasion [in Germany], it must succeed by force.”  (See Schmitz, The United States and Fascist Italy, 1922-1940, p. 140).  U.S. Ambassador to Russia, William Bullitt “believed that only Nazi Germany could stay the advance of Soviet Bolshevism in Europe.” (Daniel Yergin, Shattered Peace: The Origins of the Cold War and the National Security State, Boston, MA: Houghton-Mifflin, 1977, p. 26).

The Amerikan charge d’affaires in Berlin wrote to Washington in 1933 that Amerika should back the Nazi Party as the hope for Germany. He stated that Nazi policies “appeal to all civilized and reasonable people.” Amerikan Ambassador Frederic Sackett noted that “it is perhaps well that Hitler is now in a position to wield unprecedented power.” (See Schmitz, The United States and Fascist Italy, 1922-1940, pp. 174, 133, and Chapter 9).

U.S. corporations like Ford Motor Company were totally approving of fascism; financed and profited from the Fascists states, and participated in plundering Jewish assets under Hitler’s Aryanization programs.

“Many U.S. companies bought substantial interests in established German companies, which in turn plowed the new money into Aryanizations or into arms productions banned under the Versailles Treaty. According to a 1936 report from Ambassador William Dodd to President Roosevelt, a half-dozen key U.S. companies – International Harvester, Ford, General Motors, Standard Oil of New Jersey, and DuPont – had become deeply involved in German weapons production…

“U.S. investment in Germany accelerated rapidly after Hitler came to power, despite the Depression and Germany’s default on virtually all of its government and commercial loans. Commerce Department reports show that U.S. investment in Germany increased some 48.5 percent between 1929 and 1940, while declining sharply everywhere else in continental Europe. U.S. investment in Great Britain…barely held steady over the decade, increasing only 2.6 percent.”

Christopher Simpson, The Splendid Blonde Beast: Money, Law and Genocide in the Twentieth Century, supra, p. 64.

The U.S. government did not in fact unanimously declare European fascism an avowed enemy until it attacked U.S. interests. And even then Amerikan business interests still backed the Fascists. In fact, Prescott Bush, (grandfather of George W. Bush), and his father-in-law, George Herbert Walker, were the Nazi’s financers and traders through periods of the Jewish Holocaust, after their attacks on Britain and France, and even after the bombings of Pearl Harbor in 1941. It took the seizure of their Union Banking Corporation by the U.S. government in October 1942, under the Trading with the Enemies Act, to stop Bush and Walker.

Prior to WWII U.S. support for Italian Fascism was much the same. In December 1917, the Wilson administration expressed that the rising labor movement posed, “the obvious danger of social revolution and disorganization.”  Mussolini’s Black Shirts solved the problem with violence, referring to Mussolini’s October 1922 march on Rome, which smashed Italian democracy. The U.S. Ambassador noted with approval that the Fascists carried out “a fine young revolution.” With government backing, the racist thugs bloodily repressed working class agitation. The U.S. embassy noted, Fascism was “perhaps the most potent factor in the suppression of Bolshevism in Italy.” In a February 1925 report, the embassy also approvingly observed that the Fascists had smashed the workers struggle through “restricting the right of free assembly, in abolishing freedom of the press and in having at its command a large military organization.” It was also stated that “between Mussolini and Fascism and Giolliti and Socialism, between strong internal peace and prosperity and return to free speech, loose administration and general disorganization, Peace and Prosperity were preferred.” (See Schmitz, See Schmitz, The United States and Fascist Italy, 1922-1940, pp. 76-77). These approving pronouncements are as undemocratic as one could get. It should also be remembered that when these official champions of capitalism talk about “disorder,” and “peace” and “prosperity,” they’re speaking about these things from the perspective of their capitalist bosses in containing, repressing, and controlling the exploited workers, and against the workers’ struggles to gain control over the society’s economic and political institutions and power.

The U.S. business press spoke openly in support of Fascism. Fortune magazine, for example, devoted a special issue to Fascism in July 1934, and in its article “The State: Fascist and Total.” It commented approvingly that “the purpose and effect of Fascism is to un wop the wops,” and any views by Amerikan people that the Italians should resent Fascism, “is a confusion, and we can only get over it if we anesthetize for the moment our ingrained idea that democracy is the only right and just conception of government.”

The rise of counter-revolutionary racist Fascism in Europe was accompanied by an attendant rise of far right-wing racist counterrevolutionary elements in Amerika. The Klan for example saw a resurgence, and its membership swelled as never before in the 1920’s.

Clearly when any struggle arises from within the ranks of the working class, the capitalists incite a corresponding rise of racist elements to divide and counter the up-thrusting masses and their challenge to capitalist domination. In essence, racism, and its most fundamentalist political and military form (namely fascism) are purely counter-revolutionary tools of the capitalist class used to sabotage working class struggle by dividing, inciting and turning the working class against itself.


Racism has also been used to divide exploited Blacks against themselves to further imperialist interests. One outstanding example occurred among the people of Rwanda and resulted in the genocidal war of 1994, which saw hundreds of thousands murdered while the imperialists sat by and watched. Until the Belgians entered Rwanda with imperialist aims in 1916, the Rwandans were a united people. The various ethnic groups shared the same language and had for centuries cooperated, supported, and sustained each other. The Hutu were 85%, the Tutsis 14%, and the Twa 1% of the population. The Hutu raised crops, the Tutsis tended herds. Economic relations between them were based upon the Hutu exchanging their surplus of vegetables for surplus Tutsi livestock. Their economies also sustained each other in that the Hutus set aside land for the Tutsis to graze their animals on. The manure of the animals in turn provided fertilizer for the Hutu crops.

In 1918 the European imperialist League of Nations “awarded” Rwanda to Belgium as a colony. This Afrikan country presented a source of great wealth to the Belgian King Leopold, in the form of vast forests of rubber trees. Rubber was in high demand in the industrial countries due to the recent invention of the inflatable tire. Like the agricultural capitalists of Amerika, the Belgians needed a local slave class to work the rubber plantations and a local middle level force to police them. The colonial Belgian government, along with the Catholic Church played the race game to produce the desired result. They opened mission schools to only the Tutsi and forbade the Hutu from receiving an education.  In the schools, Rwandan history was rewritten to project the Tutsi as the racial superior of the Hutus. The myth was taught that the Tutsi were a partly Caucasian Hamitic people because of their having taller statures, thinner features, and lighter complexions than the Hutu. Identity cards were issued which classified the entire society as Hutu, Tutsi, or Twa.

The Belgians treated the Hutu with the most savage brutality to enforce their submission. Millions upon millions resisted and were massacred, while millions more had ears, noses, and limbs cut off. Tutsi chiefs were appointed by the Belgians over the Hutu to serve as agents to this brutality. The Tutsi, like whites in Amerika, were pleased to be identified as allies of the ruling powers and to believe the myth of their racial superiority. Consequently, the Tutsi also lived in perpetual fear of Hutu revenge if the Hutu ever came together in revolt.

When the national independence struggles against European imperialism began to sweep across Afrika in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the educated Tutsis took notice and agitated for Rwandan independence. In turn the Belgians backed the Hutu to repress the Tutsi. Rwanda still won independence from Belgium in 1962, but this saw the Hutu take control of the upper levels of government. The Tutsi remained in the lower ranks, continuing to control the educational system, church, and livestock. The Hutu however took much of the Tutsi land upon taking power. Many of the Tutsi fled.

A 1973 coup saw a new Hutu government take power which changed the status of the Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa from racial to ethnic groupings, and sought to democratically restructure the ethnic groups within social institutions according to their numbers. This meant a larger share for the Hutu in the economy, church, and educational institutions. Thousands of Tutsi lost their jobs and fled the country. A few years later the government turned sour, state property was privatized, and the economy collapsed. In addition to droughts and famines, the imperialist International Monetary Fund imposed a neo-liberal structural adjustment program that totally devastated the country. The Tutsi were repressed and another wave fled Rwanda, to refugee camps in Uganda.

The genocidal war of 1994 was the result of the exiled Tutsis returning and seeking to regain power in Rwanda. The imperialists, including Amerika, were fully aware of preparations for the genocide before it began, but sat by as events unfolded. This “race” war, like many other race based conflicts, saw “respectable” people engaged in the murderous frenzy: teachers, doctors, nurses, journalists, and clergy. Husbands killed wives, friends killed each other, gang rapes were frequent, etc. Such is the result of race hate, racism, and the violence they spawn. Over 500,000 were killed in a matter of just a few months.

The entire “racial” division in Rwanda was, like that here in Amerika, created by a ruling capitalist elite, whose power and profits were served by dividing a previously united people along racial lines, granting one sector a share of relative power and elevated social status, and a sense of racial connection to the ruling elite, so to use it to repress and control the other sector that is super-exploited by the ruling capitalist class. While in reality the entire divided people are collectively exploited by the ruling capitalist class.


For a people, like Blacks in Amerika, who have endured centuries of brutality, degradation, disrespect, indignity, powerlessness, and being labeled “inferiors” based solely upon skin color, the desire for respect became and remains very strong. This desire for respect has left many Blacks vulnerable to the appeals of reverse racism. Reverse racism is here defined as a belief in Black superiority and white inferiority. But, for Blacks in Amerika, who have no independent access to or control over any institutions of power or productive wealth, the features of reverse racism take place primarily in their minds, as they lack the means to exercise any dominant or comparable power over those they claim to be their inferiors, namely whites.

Reverse racism first took root on a large scale with the teachings of Marcus Garvey, who preached the beauty and high culture of Blacks. In colonizing Afrika, beginning in the late 1800’s, the European imperialists used racism to alienate their country’s own oppressed working class from the super-exploited Afrikans, and to rationalize their brutal colonial oppression of Afrikans. To give a scientific gloss to their racism doctrines, the imperialists commissioned novelists and intellectuals to develop theories to support their claims of European racial superiority and African racial inferiority. These European and Amerikan writers claimed that Afrika, when discovered by the white man, was a land of backward, ignorant savages upon whom they had bestowed the benefits and blessings of Christianity and white civilization.  Garvey reversed these false and degrading European histories and views of Afrikans. He countered that ignorant, murderous, pillaging European savages attacked Afrika out of jealousy over our power, prosperity, and having achieved the highest level of civilization yet known. Neither version was objectively true. However, Garvey’s teachings had an electrifying effect on Amerikan Blacks. In only a few years millions of Blacks joined his universal Negro Improvement Association, supporting his “back to Afrika” movement. Garvey’s teachings offered Blacks a new basis for pride, self-esteem, self-confidence, and respect, all tied into a messianic notion of Black racial superiority. By turning the teaching of white supremacy on its head, Garvey brought together the largest Black organization in U.S. history.

Following his arrest and exile, and the collapse of his UNIA, Garvey’s doctrine and its Black capitalist underpinnings became the common doctrine of Black organizations that sought a large following. Most notable was the Nation of Islam, which was founded three years after Garvey’s deportation. Indeed, the NOI absorbed many who came under Garveyite influences, including some of the NOI’s most influential leaders like Malcolm X whose parents were Garveyites. The NOI, however, enhanced and gave a theological twist to Garvey’s doctrine, (much as the white church had done with white racism), by posing Blacks as the Creator’s chosen people and whites as spawns of the Devil. The NOI’s teachings were enhanced even further by its excommunicated member Clarence 13X, in his youth-based Nation of Gods and Earths, (formerly the 5% Nation), which promotes the Black man as god and whites as the actual devil.

Another proponent of subjective reverse racism was Dr. Khalid Muhammad, another excommunicated member of the NOI, who led the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) up until his death in 2001. Dr. Muhammad steered the NBPP far away from the class-based ideological and political line of the original BPP and in the direction of race-based anti-white politics, the NBPP’s present path.

The New Afrikan Black Panther Party – Prison Chapter (NABPP-PC) distinguishes itself from such race-based politics as promoted by the NBPP, as we are proponents of class struggle and the revolutionary nationalist liberation struggles of those oppressed by imperialism. We recognize that the capitalists created and use race divisions to perpetuate conflict within the oppressed lower class sectors, and that racism and the race blame game serves the interests of the oppressor class and undermines the interests of the oppressed. This is proven historical fact. Furthermore, as revolutionary New Afrikan nationalists, we realize that there is a contradiction between race and nationalism, and moreover, that there is no nation composed of a single race. All existing nations, like the Indian Nations here in North Amerika, include whites and mixed bloods, even though there are contradictions. It was the policies of white colonialism created by the ruling class that produced these contradictions, and indeed the New Afrikan Nation. In this regard, we say all people of Afrikan heritage, regardless of skin tone, are part of a single Afrikan- New Afrikan Nation…A Pan-Afrikan Nation. Indeed most “Blacks” in Amerika are mixed bloods, mixed with white and/or Indian bloodlines.

We therefore move beyond the black and white dogmatism – Native Americans have always done this in adopting any “race” of people into their nations who embrace and respect their heritage and culture. All non-chauvinistic nations have done this. We also accept that nationalities can overlap and are not merely an either/or situation. People the world over embrace multiple nationalities, and so can New Afrikans. One can be Venezuelan and New Afrikan, or Lenape and New Afrikan, etc. This concept becomes practical revolutionary internationalism that has all oppressed nationalities struggling for both national self-determination and united multi-national anti-imperialist cooperation.

In the context of national liberation, we must remember that nationality is itself a temporary form of social organization and identity. It is a means to an end and not an end in itself. The nation is a product of social-historical development, and will wither away in time. Our orientation as genuine revolutionaries is to the whole of humynity and the future classless and nation-stateless society. Getting from here to there involves national liberation struggles and security issues. As Mao Tse Tung observed, “Proletarian nationalism is applied proletarian internationalism.” It involves uniting all who can be united at each stage of the struggle. From our point of view, the key question is building alliances between the oppressed nations within the U.S. and abroad and the multi-national proletariat.


World suffering and oppression, poverty, and want are not caused by race, but by national and class exploitation and oppression at the hands of the monopoly capitalist class. However, as repeatedly pointed out above, race and racism have been a principal tool and weapon of this class used to keep the oppressed workers of the world divided and warring among themselves, to  divide, agitate, and rule. Toward the end of their lives, both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. came to realize that basing struggle against oppression on race without challenging capitalist economic exploitation was a losing battle. And it was at that point when they began to agitate to have their followers struggle against capitalism, imperialism, and colonial oppression instead of exclusively focusing on race, (merely struggling against white oppression), that they were murdered.  George Jackson pointed this out:

“It’s no coincidence that Malcolm X and M. L. King died when they did.  Malcolm X had just put it together…You remember what was on his lips when he died, Vietnam and economics, political economy. The professional killers could have murdered him long before they did. They let Malcolm rage on Muslim nationalism for a number of years because they knew it was an empty ideal, but the second he got his feet on the ground, they murdered him.”

Fred Hampton, Sr. summed it up perfectly in his November 1969 speech delivered at the University of Northern Illinois and aptly entitled “It’s a Class Struggle Goddammit!” Fred stated:

“You know a lot of people have hang-ups with the [Black Panther] Party because the Party talks about a class struggle. And the people that have those hang-ups are opportunists, and cowards, and individualists and everything that’s anything but revolutionary. And they use these things as an excuse to justify and to alibi and to bonify their lack of participation in the real revolutionary struggle. So they say, ‘Well, I can’t dig the Panther Party because the Panthers they are engrossed with dealing with oppressor country radicals, or white people, or hunkies, or what have you.’  They say, these are some of the [reasons] why I am not in the struggle. We got a lot of answers for these people. First of all, we say primarily that the priority of this struggle is class. That Marx, and Lenin, and Che Guevara, and Mao Tse-Tung and anybody else that has ever said or knew or practiced anything about revolution, always said that a revolution is a class struggle. It was one class – the oppressed – against the other class, the oppressor. And it’s got to be a universal fact. Those that don’t admit to that are those that don’t want to get involved in a revolution, because they know as long as they’re dealing with a race thing, they’ll never be involved in a revolution. They can talk about numbers; they can hang you up in many, many ways…

“[We] never negated the fact that there was racism in Amerika, but we said… the by-product, what comes off of capitalism, that happens to be racism. That capitalism comes first and next is racism. That when they brought slaves over here, it was to make money. So first the idea came that we went to make money, then the slaves came in order to make that money. That means that ‘through historical fact, racism had to come from capitalism. It had to be capitalism first and racism was a by-product of that.”

Like Malcolm X and MLK, and not even a month after giving this speech, Fred Hampton was assassinated, shot in the head while asleep in bed, by Chicago police (in collaboration with the FBI), in a well-orchestrated hit.  Coincidence?

The imperialists’ hired guns made no pretenses about murdering Fred. No attempts were made to conceal their involvement by using puppets or agents. They used forces in government uniform, and a Black cop pulled the trigger at that. So what made Fred so threatening that the capitalists’ guns would go to such open extremes to neutralize him? It was because Fred proved to be a much greater danger to the ruling class than all other leaders of the Black Movement combined. He was not only an exceptional organizer and inspirational leader and teacher of New Afrikans, but he could turn the most reactionary of white workers into revolutionaries.

It was Fred’s work that led to the formation of the Young Patriot Party (YPP), a revolutionary party of poor redneck white Appalachian youth whose symbol was a confederate flag with a red star emblazoned on it. Fred’s approach was to appeal to class instead of being sidetracked by race. He walked into a redneck Hillbilly bar in Chicago when they asked, “What are you doing here?” he said, “I’m here to organize the Niggers.” They said, “No Niggers come in here,” and were ready to fight. He said, “Oh yeah?  Well the way I see it, they work y’all like Niggers, treat y’all like Niggers, and make y’all live like Niggers. So that makes y’all niggers in my book, and I say it’s time to get organized and deal with this shit!”

In another 1969 speech Fred pointed out:

“We got to face some facts. That the masses are poor, that the masses belong to what you call the lower class, and when I talk about the masses, I’m talking about the white masses, I’m talking about the Black masses, and the Brown masses, and the Yellow masses, too. We’ve got to face the fact that some people say you fight fire best with fire, but we say you put fire out best with water. We say you don’t fight racism with racism – we’re gonna fight racism with solidarity. We say you don’t fight capitalism with no Black capitalism; you fight capitalism with socialism…

“We have to understand very clearly that there’s a man in our community called a capitalist. Sometimes he’s Black and sometimes he’s white. But that man has to be driven out of our community, because anybody who comes into the community to make profit off the people by exploiting them can be defined as a capitalist. And we don’t care how many programs they have, how long a dashiki they have. Because political power does not flow from the sleeve of a dashiki…”

From within the Chicago chapter of the BPP, Fred was the leader of a growing multi-racial, multi-national, anti-imperialist united front that included the BPP, the Puerto Rican Young Lords Party, the Students for a Democratic Society (before the Weathermen faction took over), and the Revolutionary Youth Movement II.  He even worked to politically develop apolitical street gangs. The imperialists realized, as did the southern plantation owners, in the wake of Bacon’s Rebellion, that the greatest threat to their power is the united resistance of all elements of the oppressed laboring class. “In order for capitalism to continue to rule, any action that threatens the right of a few individuals to own and control public property must be prohibited and curtailed whatever the cost in resources…whatever the cost in blood…The national repressive institutions (police, National Guard, army, etc.), are no less determined.” (George Jackson).  It was because of the genuine threat that Fred’s revolutionary practice posed in bringing together the divided “races” into a united movement to combat imperialism that he had to be liquidated.


The position on race presented here is not to say that New Afrikans or “Blacks” should abandon or hand over our liberation struggle to the initiative or control of whites, nor that our struggle in this regard should depend or wait upon the cooperation of those who identify as “white.” Quite the opposite: We are our own liberators!

New Afrikans are an oppressed and colonized nation within Amerika. As such, reforms cannot secure racial and social equality for us. Nor can whites identify with and recognize the conditions we suffer under – no one knows our oppression, the forms it takes and the liberation we desire like we do. We are a people with a history, a culture, and an identity that is our own, and was forged over centuries of common experience and oppression. It is therefore our place and no one else’s to claim those things as uniquely our own and develop them to their highest potential as a people. In order to have any security as a people and not be dependent upon the whims of any other sectors, we must contest the basic means of our survival and governance. If we are not able to defend our own destiny and selves, we are not free.  And if we do not break free from the conditions of our colonization, we leave ourselves open to further colonization under any number of reformed conditions and methods.

Merely joining up with Amerikan whites cannot ensure this because our oppression exceeds theirs. We must be able to assert and protect our economic and political rights whether whites support us or not. Self-determination is the essence of our achieving liberation, and it is our right and duty to run our own organizations and liberation struggle. As the victims of racism only we know best how to resist it. But overall, we are oppressed as a nation and must free ourselves as a nation. In doing so we will destroy the basis of our colonized condition within the Amerikan Empire.

In aid of our struggle, the advanced sectors of white Amerika should work to destroy the notion of white skin privilege and white national chauvinism, which are the underlying national identity of Amerika. They must aid us in protecting our democratic rights and the democratic right of all peoples, including their own. In turn, we must join up with the entire multi-ethnic, multi-national, and multi-racial working class, radical youth, and progressive elements in a United Front Against Imperialism, to smash the overall imperialist system.

Imperialism is capitalism is colonialism. The defeat of imperialism requires the liberation of the colonized and neo-colonized nations on which imperialism feeds. But we must also remember that imperialism is capitalism, capitalism on a global scale that enslaves and profits off not only the workers of the non-industrialized nations and oppressed nationalities across the world, but also the workers of the industrially advanced capitalist countries. To defeat capitalism we must join together in a united struggle of the entire working class of all nations, ethnicities, and “races” in a United Front Against Imperialism, and to ultimately overthrow the capitalist political economy and its ruling class’s power, privilege, and domination over social labor and wealth. Without a repressed working class under its thumb, capitalism cannot exist. Therefore, the entire working class must deny the capitalists its labor power.

Political forms of organization to lead the whole working class are necessary, and we support them. The advanced and anti-imperialist whites must also struggle against the fanatical and backward white supremacist elements like the Klan, Neo-Nazis, etc. These elements represent overt fascism in embryonic form, who will be backed by or handed state power to suppress and divide any working class and national independence struggle that arises to challenge monopoly capitalism, as the elite are wont to do, (and Western Europe in the early 1900’s stands as a glaring example), when their power is threatened from below. They will move the most rabid racists into positions of political and military power to attack and smash revolutionary and progressive elements and incite and engage in a divisive race war. They will certainly also incite the fanatical Black reverse racists to turn on and attack Black revolutionary elements. They will justify such actions with claims that those who collaborate with any whites are “sell-outs.” To them all whites are the enemy, as they have no concept of class struggle and will back dictators and sub-fascists like Haiti’s Papa Doc Duvalier and the Congo’s Joseph Mobutu, so long as they have black skin.

To the reverse racists it’s all about a racial contest, and their backward thinking enables them to be used as imperialist agents to attack and kill the revolutionary elements. This is how Amilcar Cabral was assassinated in 1973.  Cabral was Afrika’s leading revolutionary, a Pan-Afrikan and anti-imperialist theorist and fighter of the 1960’s and 1970’s.  He effectively led the people of Guinea Bissau against the greatest odds, in a successful national independence struggle against Portugal’s colonialism.

Cabral emphasized that race must not be the basis of his country’s independence struggle; that he did not confuse imperialism and colonialism with the color of people’s skins, but desired to see economic, political, and military power in the hands of the working people so to free his country of all oppressive forces, be they white or black. In fact, his position and showing of solidarity with the white workers of Portugal generated a general uprising of the lower classes in Portugal that nearly saw a revolutionary overthrow of power there. He was also able to turn other white nations against Portugal’s colonial policies in his country. It was this uprising and international support coupled with the political and armed liberation struggle of the people of Guinea Bissau that ultimately forced the Portuguese military and colonial administration to abandon Guinea Bissau and return to Portugal to suppress the revolt there.

In turn, Portuguese agents inside of Cabral’s party assassinated him. Those Black agents, Cabral’s fellow countrymen, were opponents of his class-based struggle and were incited to murder Cabral because of his collaboration with “whites” and his being of mixed Afrikan and Portuguese blood. The Portuguese imperialists used proponents of reverse racism to kill the man who had led Afrika’s greatest national independence struggle, freed his people from a savage and brutal colonial existence, and even offered his country’s support to the struggles of New Afrikans here in Amerika. There are valuable lessons to be learned here.

The imperialists have used reverse racists many times in attempts to derail many other revolutionary movements of people of color and to assassinate key leaders. Such racialist elements were used to murder Malcolm X.  The FBI used such elements as the United Slaves Organization to assassinate key members of the BPP, Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter and Jon Huggins in January 1969. Indeed in many cases, such as during the national independence struggles in Angola and Mozambique during the 1960’s and 1970’s, the elements who promoted anti-white ideology ended up becoming open collaborators with and agents of the very “white” imperialist powers they were supposed to be fighting. For example, Holden Robert’s UPA/FNLA (Uniao das Populacoes de Angola/Frente Nacional de Libertacao de Angola), became open agents of U.S. imperialism in Angola, and Jonas Sivimbi’s Unita became open agents of the Portuguese imperialists in Mozambique. These groups became agents of their imperialist sponsors and turned their arms away from fighting the colonial forces and declared war for them against their own people’s revolutionary forces, namely the MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) and Frelimo (the Liberation Front of Mozambique).

At no time and in no place has playing the race card or the racial blame game ever won any people freedom from oppression. But what it has done is generate most every known major genocidal war that has occurred over the past several centuries, from the genocidal extermination of tens of millions of Native Amerikans to the genocidal attacks on Afrikans by Arabs in Southern Sudan today. The racial game produces only a back and forth cycle of bloodshed, carnage, and misery between competing racial groups. For its blind participants, racism offers nothing positive except a subjective and superficial sense of belonging to a group which professes to be “superior” to another group and the destruction of the natural compassion and sanity that would otherwise prevent humyns from brutalizing and massacring innocent people. And it’s a double-edged sword: one “race” victimizes another and is in turn victimized, or another “race” becomes the target of the victim. The complicity of many Jews today in Anglo-Zionist race-oriented genocidal policies against Palestinians and other Arabs is an outstanding example of a people who were once victims of racial violence in turn victimizing another innocent people in the name of race and claims of “God-given” right. And all to advance the wealth and power interests of a capitalist elite.

For white and Black supremacists here in Amerika, a race war would not prove beneficial to either “race!”  It would only produce a cycle of mutual slaughter of members of both races. No one would be “liberated” as a result, but multitudes of loved ones, friends, and colleagues on both sides would be brutalized, butchered, maimed, massacred, and displaced. In the race hate game no one wins – there is simply no way for a sane mind to romanticize it. But in a unified struggle of the oppressed classes and nationalities against imperialism, the very source of world suffering, misery, and racism itself can be uprooted and power turned over to those who can be trusted to use it properly, namely the oppressed masses.

In the fevered minds of racists, their fanatical howlings about violent repression or annihilation of “inferior races” sounds like fun: that is until the bloodshed begins and they find themselves on the receiving end of counter-violence that quickly spins out of control. To many racist southern whites, the brutal enslavement of New Afrikans seemed like a fun enterprise: that is until revolts like Nat Turner’s turned the guns back on them. At that point a massive Black and white abolitionist movement sprang to life to end slavery. There are simply no superior and inferior races. Indeed the very concept of race is an invention. A comrade put it this way in a letter to me:

“Racism is the spawn of colonialism and is based on lies. The technological edge the Europeans took advantage of came late in the game. Much of it was borrowed from other cultures like gunpowder from China, or the lanteen sail from Afrika, and potatoes from South Amerika. The combination of these elements and the ability to use them to establish global hegemony created the illusion of white supremacy.

“In reality, we’re all pretty damn equal. Even the difference between smart and dumb people is not so great. No one of us is really all that smart. Is capitalism smart? We let the nastiest men run the show by the nastiest means and hope that it will work out alright for the rest of us. Is that smart? We’ve got all these gadgets running, but the sum of it is we’ve burned a hole in the atmosphere and the ice caps are melting.

“Even the idea of Communism is not so brilliant. It is just common sense. Ants work together for their common welfare. The genius lies in overcoming our own stupidity to do what is necessary to survive, and this will be a big struggle and one we could lose. There is a time factor in our getting our collective act together.

“The good news is that all the elements necessary for our survival as a species are present. We just have to sort out our political-social organization, and deal with the nasty men.”

Even mainstream sources now admit that the concept of race is today a scientifically unsustainable concept. That the “theories” invented centuries ago to validate the idea are invalidated by today’s science. The Merriam Webster Collegiate Encyclopedia (2000) defines and dismisses the notion of race thusly:

“Race: Term once commonly used in physical anthropology to denote a division of humankind possessing traits that are transmissible by descent and sufficient to characterize it as a distinct human type (e.g. Caucasoid, Mongoloid, Negroid). Today the term has little scientific standing, as older methods of differentiation, including hair form and body measurement, have given way to the comparative analysis of DNA and gene frequencies relating to such factors as blood type, the excretion of amino acids, and inherited enzyme deficiencies. Because all human populations today are extremely similar genetically, most researchers have abandoned the concept of race for the concept of the cline, a graded series of differences occurring along a line of environmental or geographical transition. This reflects the recognition that human populations have always been in a state of flux, with genes constantly flowing from one gene pool to another, impeded only by physical and ecological boundaries. While relative isolation does preserve genetic differences and allow populations to maximally adapt to climatic and disease factors over long periods of time, all groups currently existing are thoroughly “mixed” genetically, and such differences as still exist do not lend themselves to simple typologizing. “Race” is today primarily a social designation, identifying a class sharing some outward physical characteristics and some commonalities of culture and history.”

This same text goes on to admit that racism is a creation and tool of colonialism:

“Racism:  Belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that some races are inherently superior to others. More broadly, the term refers to any racial prejudice or discrimination throughout the era of European colonialism, the British viewed imperialism as a noble activity (“the white man’s burden”) destined to bring civilization to the benighted races, while the French invoked the notion of mission civilistrace, their duty to bring civilization to backward peoples. An influential modern proponent was the Comte de Gobineau, who held that the so-called Aryan was the supreme race. His most important follower was Houston Stewart Chamberlain, whom Adolf Hitler credited with supplying the “scientific” basis of the Nazi’s racialist philosophy, used to justify the persecution of Jews and other non-Aryans. South African society was built on the principle of apartheid, or racial “separateness.” Today the general trend is away from racism, though the problem of racist thinking remains intractable.”

Although this mainstream reference work totally avoids pointing out what social-economic class invented the entire racial concept and its birth and role here in North Amerika, it does make clear that both “race” and “racism” are today proven to be scientifically baseless and live on solely as psycho-social concepts. So why then do the Amerikan political and economic rulers still classify Amerikan citizens by race? It is obviously because they desire to maintain its role as a divisive undercurrent to be appealed to and whipped into hysteria when their power and privilege are threatened from blow. Thus, the national identity of Amerika remains that of a “white nation.”

The concepts of race and racism, like a deeply ingrained backward superstition, are so deeply embedded in the social psyche and are so deeply influential on social attitudes and behaviors, that they cannot be simply ignored. The oppressed “races” must collectively struggle against racial oppression and domination, while the conscious members of the oppressor races must struggle to conquer the myth of racial superiority within their own “racial” groups. Reverse racism must also be countered. In confronting racism we must be aware of its counterrevolutionary nature and the forms it takes in the minds of those who embrace it consciously or subconsciously. George Jackson gave an insightful analysis on this point. He stated:

“Racism is a matter of ingrained traditional attitudes conditioned through institutions. For some, it is as natural a reflex as breathing. The psychosocial effects of segregated environments compounded by bitter class repression have served in the past to render the progressive movement almost totally impotent.

“The major obstacle to a united left in this country is white racism. There are three categories of white racists: the overt, self-satisfied racist who doesn’t attempt to hide his antipathy; the self-interdicting racist who harbors and nurtures racism in spite of his best efforts; and the unconscious racist, who has no awareness of his racist preconceptions.

“As Black partisans, we must recognize and allow for the existence of all three types of racists. We must understand their presence as an effect of the system. It is the system that must be crushed, for it continues to manufacture new and deeper contradictions of both class and race. Once it is destroyed, we may be able to address the problems of racism at an even more basic level. But we must also combat racism while we are in the process of destroying the system.

“The self-interdicting racist, no matter what his acquired conviction or ideology, will seldom be able to contribute with his actions in any really concrete way. His role in revolution, barring a change of basic character, will be minimal throughout. Whether the basic character of a man can be changed at all is still a question.”

As Comrade George pointed out, our struggle demands that we acknowledge and recognize the three categories of racists. However, we must also acknowledge and recognize that the reverse racists also fit into these three categories. And in answer to George’s question whether there is a possibility of changing the basic character of the “self-interdicting racist,” we think yes. The Marxist recognizes that there is a dialectical relationship between our social practice and how we think. That reactionary thinking can be corrected through revolutionary social practice. But that practice must also in turn be guided by and committed to correct ideology.

Our Comrade Tom Big Warrior analyzed the process very well in a discussion we had some time ago concerning a New Afrikan brother with whom I was struggling to break out of a deeply ingrained hatred of whites. This brother’s views had been imbedded in him at a very young age by a now deceased grandfather, whose memory he held with the highest respect. While he could not refute my arguments against race-based hatreds, he also felt powerless to change his feelings. Here is Tom:

“I understand what you’re talking about with the brother who has deeply rooted hatred of whites. I’ve got brothers in my nation who have the same issues regarding Blacks, particularly among the hillbillies of mixed white-Native heritage. It was bred into them from a very young age and reinforced by their social practice (or lack of it) with Black folks.

“Hell, everybody in Amerika has been brainwashed on race. I know I have been affected by it, but I’ve got the advantage of both a theoretical understanding and a lifetime of positive social interaction with people of all ethnic backgrounds (and particularly Black Comrades), so I can identify and throw away feelings that come from racist programming as they come up.

“I think the key with this brother is to get him to see that his feelings are part of the slave mentality he (and his grandfather) were programmed to have to keep Black people from throwing off their oppression. If you can’t inspire meek submission and self-deprecation, you can inspire hate and fear, (which is the next best thing), and this leads to alienation and division.

“”The greatest threat in the South was unity between the Blacks and poor whites, who had common class interests. So the big landlords played them against each other by promoting blind hatred and racism.

“If he can grasp that his feelings are chains upon him causing him to act against the interests of Black people and working people in general, (that he is falling into the role of a “Nigger” set for him by “Mr. Charlie”), he will see that it must be overcome so he can be a “true Black Warrior” and a genuine revolutionary.

“We feel the way we feel because we think the way we think. Changing our thinking changes how we feel.  In fact our feelings expose how we think at the deepest levels. Sometimes we think we have something all sorted out and understood, but then a feeling pops up to show us that we are still in process, and we have to keep struggling to grasp the idea more firmly.

“If the brother wants to be a revolutionary, he can’t be liberal with himself. He has to recognize that white people must be won to support Black liberation and make proletarian revolution. Unless this is done, Black people will continue to be oppressed, and the imperialists will keep running the show.

“He has to decide if he wants to be part of the problem or part of the solution. The MC5, the house band of the White Panther Party, had a song where the singer shouts out, “It takes 5 seconds to decide and determine your purpose here on the planet, 5 seconds to decide if you are going to be a part of the problem or you are going to be a part of the solution – KICK OUT THE JAMS MOTHERFUCKER!”

“This is just what they were talking about – this mental/emotional programming that jams up our ability to make revolution. Ain’t nothing to do but kick it out, get rid of it, to get to what needs to be done.

“When you reason with him he says, “Yeah, yeah you’re right, Brother,” because you can’t reasonably argue for racism. But he’s not willing to let go and backslides right back into it. As if counter-revolution was his purpose on the planet.

“It’s time to invoke the 5 second rule. Time for him to make a commitment and stop being liberal with himself. The world can’t wait for us to get serious about revolution.

“If he really wants to honor his grandfather’s memory, he shouldn’t let the wounding that was done to him and other Blacks go on another generation. You can’t play the blame game and win.

“The pigs didn’t kill Fred Hampton because he was good at organizing Black people, but because he could turn redneck Hillbilly crackers into Red revolutionaries, which he did with the Young Patriot Party – that’s true history.

“He was a better revolutionary than Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and Eldridge Cleaver put together, and he is the one we should measure ourselves and our praxis by.

“It is our practice that determines our thinking, but there is a dialectic between theory and practice called praxis, in which theory becomes the determining factor.

“This is different than idealism, which Marx was struggling against. This is what Mao was talking about when he said ideological and political line will determine everything. It is the difference between Utopian socialism and our Scientific socialism.

“We begin with a concrete analysis of concrete conditions and from this developed theory, then apply our theory to practice, then sum up our practice to strengthen and advance our theory, then go back to practice, over and over getting sharper and sharper. That’s praxis.

“That’s how a bush-wah intellectual, or a peasant or a lumpen can transform into a proletarian revolutionary without working in a factory or even ever seeing one. It doesn’t happen spontaneously, it takes struggle.”

When we truly recognize that the capitalists are at the root of racism, that it is a tool and weapon invented and used by them to preserve their power and privilege and to keep the lower classes divided, oppressed, miserable, and powerless, then we must also recognize our revolutionary duty to rise above racist and reverse racist programming.  This is a difficult task that demands concrete practice.  It is because of the depth of race-conditioning that the liberation struggle of New Afrikans and other oppressed nationalities cannot be dependent upon white cooperation, however, that cooperation should be sought and developed in process to build a United Front Against Imperialism. True liberation from national oppression compels destruction of the imperialist system. Otherwise, the monopoly capitalists will continue to derail independence struggles by allying themselves with racialist and comprador elements within the bodies of the oppressed nationalities and races, push them into positions of power, and then use them to subvert the liberation struggles and bring the masses back under imperialist control. This is the essence of neocolonialism and the method used by the imperialists to undermine most all of the national independence struggles of the last century.

In that it’s the capitalist institutions that create, perpetuate, and benefit from racism, (indeed they need to preserve it to maintain their elevated power and status), they will assuredly mobilize resistance against all genuine efforts to build class-based racial solidarity. They will use the most rabid of white racists, and incite many New Afrikans, Natives and other people of color to fall out on the reactionary side, and the more intelligent reactionary, (reverse racist and comprador), leaders will encourage this. Our movement must be prepared to confront and counter such measures. We must set an example of promoting class unity and solidarity. It will also occur that some people will vacillate between the revolutionary and reactionary sides and that the dividing line won’t be static and clear-cut. The task of winning people politically will ultimately decide victory.


It should be clear by now that those of us who play into racism act as agents of our own imperialist oppressors, (whether consciously or not), and we aid in continuing our own oppression and want. In fact, we increase and intensify our own oppression and misery by inciting and perpetuating hatred, humiliation, insensitivity, and violence not only against the other race(s), but also in turn against our “own” race. It’s a cycle that no one benefits from except the oppressor class that sits at the top laughing at what fools we are, while their power and wealth remain secure form any real challenge. It is on this basis that the New Afrikan Black Panther Party – Prison Chapter promotes, unites with, and supports the White Panther Organization and all anti-imperialists of all nationalities and all oppressed peoples in a common struggle against imperialism. We welcome the WPO as fellow comrades and Panthers within the democratic centralism of our aspiring Vanguard Party.

All Power to the People!

The Creation of White Supremacist Ideology

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States of America. He is one of the founding fathers of America and the author of the Declaration of Independence. He believed that Black people were inferior to White people.

Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States of America. He is one of the founding fathers of America and the author of the Declaration of Independence. He believed that Black people were inferior to White people.

Hotep (Peace)!!!

Take notes!!!!!!!

Brother Malcolm X (Omawele El Hajj Malik El Shabazz), the Black nationalist freedom fighter and human rights leader of the 1950s and 1960s, said that the oppression of Black people and people of color are due to a world-wide conspiracy of White supremacy. I have spent almost a year preparing to go back to college to finish my masters and PhD graduate studies in history. Because of Malcolm X’s lucid critiques of the world’s movement to dominate and subjugate Black people, and people of color, I want to compete my studies and research on the ideological creation of White supremacy in America and in the world. I will also centered my studies and research on Black people’s reaction to White supremacy in America and in the world to fight against White hegemony. White supremacy is the idea that White people, and their culture, religion, language, philosophy, mores, norms,values, names, economic systems, and history; are inherently superior to all Black people and all people of color. This concept of White supremacy develops as White people began to establish capitalism, exploit cheap labor in Afrika, and acquire indigenous people’s land in the Western Hemisphere of the world. Consequently, the system of racism, a falsified concept of Whiteness, colorism, Europeanization of the Black mind, destabilization of Afrikan countries, the capitalist exploitation of Afrika and Black people, mass incarceration, the oppression of people of color, biological warfare, the neutralization of Black leaders, the disaccreditation of Black nationalism, and Black self- hatred have its foundations rooted in White supremacy. The philosophy of White supremacy was used to justify the European Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, the holocaust of the enslavement of Black people (Maafa), the Arab Slave Trade, European colonialism in Afrika, US Cointelpro (the United States Counter intelligence program), racial violence toward Black people, police violence in the Black community, institutional racism, apartheid, the sexual exploitation of Black Women, the emasculation of Blackmen, the creation of the n-word, White cultural domination of Black people, and segregation. Over the centuries, White supremacy has targeted Black people, and Afrika, to point of creating the conditions for us to be the victims of social and economic disparities for generations. The authors of White supremacy come from from all walks of life in Europe and America, particularly from professional fields, such as intellectuals, political leaders, judges, lawyers, scientists, Professors, educators, historians, theologians, and philosophers.

Let me give you some example of Whites supremacist books and authors I have collected in my research.

One of the White intellectuals that contributed to the ideology of White supremacy is named Dr. George Botsford. He was a Oxford trained Professor at Columbia University. He wrote a book called-A History of the Ancient World. His book was published in 1914 by the McMillan Publishing Company. By the way, the McMillan Publishing Company is still in existence today. The McMillan Publishing Company has produced millions of books used in public schools across the United States of America for the decades.



However, on the same page of his book, he argues that Kemet (Egypt) was once the greatest and the most important civilization in the world. But he only sees Kemet primarily and totally as a White civilization. He does not accept the fact that Kemet was a Black autochthonous civilization in Afrika. Dr. Botsford writes, “so far as our knowledge goes the Egyptians were the first civilized people. They invented a system of writing as early as the fifth millennium (5000-4000 BC). We may say then, that the history of the world begins at this time.”

Unfortunately, America’s premier Egyptologist James Breasted in 1944 would continue a White supremacist argument that that Kemetic (Egyptian) people, and the inhabitants of the Nile Valley, were White people, not Black people. He writes in his book called, Ancient Times, on page 12, that they “were dark-skinned, but nevertheless physically they belong to the great White race.”

Years later, during the movements for Black liberation around the world, White supremacists were still fighting to maintain White hegemony on the earth. In 1965, Oxford University history professor and scholar, Hugh Trevor- Roper, wrote in his book, The Rise of Christian Europe in page 9, “undergraduates demand that they should be taught the history of black Africa. Perhaps in the future, there will prove to be some African history to teach. But, at present there is none, or very little; there is only the history of Europeans in Africa.”

But before Dr. George Botsford and James Breasted entered the picture to discredit the Black origins of Kemet and Nile Valley civilizations, White supremacists were already working to remove Black people from the annals of history, particularly Afrikan History. In their book, Types of Mankind: Ethnological Research, social scientists J. C Nott and George R. Giddon present a White supremacist argument that Kemet and the Nile Valley were products of White people. In 1971 on page 77, they write, “both in Egypt and in Nubia, was originally populated by a branch of the Caucasian race.”

Some of my research has brought me to some of the world’s most famous leaders and thinkers of European descent. Unfortunately, they helped to create White supremacist ideology that will work to prevent the world from seeing and treating Black people as human beings.

For instance, during his famous debates with incumbent Senator Stephen Douglas for the US Senator seat in Illinois. Candidate Abraham Lincoln, by 1860 he will become the sixteenth US President, explained to the crowd: “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races … I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races from living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be a position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

Legally, Black people had no protections of constitutional freedoms or rights in the courts of America. Roger B. Taney, a Chief Justice in the US Supreme Court ruled on the famous Dred Scott case of March 1857, saying “They [Black people] had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold, and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever a profit could be made by it. This opinion was at that time fixed and universal in the civilized portion of the White race. It was regarded as an axiom in morals as well as in politics.” Since Dred Scott was taken to two freed states (e.g. Wisconsin and Illinois), he sued for his freedom in the US Supreme Court. Unfortunately, he lost his case. The US Supreme Court ruled against him. Powerful White people on the benches of the US Supreme Court did see Black people as human beings. The case was dismissed and Dred Scott was returned to enslavement. Later in that same year, Scott’s previous owners bought him and set him free.

Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, one of the founding fathers of America and US democracy, wrote that “all men are created equal,” and yet enslaved more than six-hundred Black people over the course of his life. Although he made some legislative attempts against American slavery, and at times bemoaned its existence. He also profited greatly and directly from the institution of slavery. In fact, he helped to write the language of the US constitution that protected slavery until 1865. Reading his writings, Thomas Jefferson did not view Black people as equals. He wrote that Black people are inferior to white people in his book called-Notes on the State of Virginia. He writes, “Comparing them [Black people] by their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination, it appears to me that in memory they are equal to the whites; in reason much inferior, as I think one could scarcely be found capable of tracing and comprehending the investigations of Euclid: and that in imagination they [Black people] are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.”

George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), German European philosopher and political theorist, wrote in his book called, Philosophy of History, “Africans have no conception of God or of a higher level of consciousness other than mere flesh.”

Reverend Buchner H. Payne, an American theologian, said in the 1867, “God is light, and in him was no darkness at all…. And if God could not be the father of the Blacks, because he was White, how could our Savior, being the express image of God’s person….carry such a demand of color into heaven, where all are White, much less to the throne.” As quoted by John G. Jackson in his book called-Ages of Gold and Silver page 218.

Reverend Dr. Henri Junod, a Swiss Protestant missionary, wrote in 1931 that Black people, “are an inferior race, a race made to serve.” As quoted by J.C. DeGraft-Johnson, in his book called-African Glory page 51-52.

Arnold Toynbee, Oxford trained historian, wrote in his book, A Study of History in 1947, “the Black races alone have not contributed positively to any civilization.”

Cecil Rhodes, British imperialist, creator of the Rhodes Scholarship, and founder of the De Beers diamond company, believed that Black people were inferior to White people. His White supremacist movements led to the colonization of South Afrika by Europeans. Whites took the lands and resources of Black people. Europeans began renaming parts of Southern Afrika Rhodesia. But Black people fought back European hegemony in Afrika. Black liberation movements rose up on the continent to free Black people from European colonialism. When Black people came to political power, they began renaming Rhodesia to Zimbabwe and Zambia. But before the liberation of Southern Afrika, Cecil Rhodes was the dominating force in that area of the world. He once said, “the native [Black people] is to be treated as a child and denied franchise. We must adopt a system of despotism, such as works in India, in our relations with the barbarism of South Africa.” (Magubane Bernard M. The Making of a Racist State: British Imperialism and the Union of South Africa, 1875–1910. Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press.)

Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States. He served in the White House from 1913 to 1921. But before becoming the President of the United States, he was once the 34th Governor of New Jersey and the former President of Princeton University. President Wilson was a politician, lawyer, and an academic. He once said, “[Reconstruction government was detested] not because the Republican Party was dreaded but because the dominance of an ignorant and inferior race was justly dreaded.”

I must stop there folks. Unfortunately, there is more on the history of White supremacy. I plan to write and lecture extensively about this subject.

However, I must state as a side bar note, there are many White intellectuals and scientists that presented the real facts on Black people, Afrikan History, Afrikan culture, and Afrikan spirituality, European History, world history, and American History. White scholars such as Herodotus, JeanFrancois Champollion, Basil Davidson, Count C.F. Volney, Charles Darwin, Dr. Louis S. B. Leaky, Dr. Donald Johanson, E. A. Wallis-Budge, Gerald Massey, and Leo Frobenius, to name a few. Unfortunately, their works are not presented in the main stream.

For example, Count C.F. Volney went to Kemet (Egypt) with Napoleon Bonaparte’s team of European scholarly professionals in 1798. At this this time Napoleon was the Empire of France, but he had an interest in the ancient world. They discovered that Kemet was a great Black civilization in Afrika and that she influenced the world. Volney writes in his book, Voyages on Syrie Et En Egypt on pages 74-77, “all have a bloated face, puffed up eyes, flat nose, thick lips; in word, the true face of the mulatto. I was tempted to attributed it to the climate, but when I visited the Sphinx, its appearance gave me the key the riddle. On seeing that head, typically Negro in all its features, I remember the remarkable passages where Herodotus says: “as for me, I judge the Colchians to be a colony of the Egyptians because, like them, they are Black with wooly hair……” In other words, the ancient Egyptians were true Negroes of the same type as all native-born Africans. That being so, we can see how their blood, mixed for several centuries with that of the Romans and Greeks must have lost the intensity of its original colour, while retaining nonetheless the imprint of its original mould. We can even state as a general principle that the face is a kind monument able, in many cases, to attest or shed light on historical evidence on the origins of peoples…..But returning to Egypt, the lesson she teaches history contains many reflections for philosophy. What a subject for meditation, to see the present barbarism and ignorance of the Copts, descendants of the alliance between the profound genius of the Egyptians and the brilliant minds of Greeks! Just think that the race of Black men, today our slaves and the object of our scorn, is the very race to which we owe our arts, sciences, and even the use of speech. Just imagine, finally, that it is in the midst of peoples who call themselves the greatest friends of liberty and humanity that one has approved the most barbarous slavery and questions whether Blackmen have the same kind of intelligence as Whites!”

But in conclusion, White supremacy did not come out of osmosis. White supremacist ideology was create by “credible” White intellectuals and leaders. White supremacy laid the foundation for today’s system of racism, a falsified concept of Whiteness, colorism, the Europeanization of the Black mind, the destabilization of Afrikan countries, the neutralization of Afrikan centered Black leaders, the capitalist exploitation of Afrika and Black people, mass incarceration, the oppression of people of color, biological warfare the disaccreditation of Black nationalism, and Black self-hatred in entire countries, in human beings, in Universities, in Colleges, in Egyptologists, in anthropology, in public schools, in private schools, in theology, in philosophy, in history, in literature, in western religions, in politics, in the Democratic Party, in the Republican Party, in slavery, in US reconstruction, in segregation, in government, in medicine, in European colonialism, and in science. White supremacy has created social and economic disparities within the Black community, and within the world Afrikan community, for generations past and present. This is why in Afrikan History, Black people began to justifiable fight back through Afrikan centric scholarship, Afrikan centered organizations (i.e. the Universal Negro Improvement Association, the Moorish Science Temples of America, the Nation of Islam, the Organization of Afrikan Unity, the Organization of Afro-American Unity, the Us Organization, the Original Black Panther Party, the Republic of New Afrika, Congress of Afrikan People, the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations, the New Black Panther Party, the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, Black Lives Matter, etc) Pan-Afrikanism, Black nationalism, Civil Rights, and Black Power. White supremacy is why we as Black people are still locked into a struggle for freedom, justice, equality, reparations, and a Black agenda in America and in the world.

-Bashir Muhammad Akinyele is a History Teacher, Black Studies Teacher, Community Actvist, Chairperson of Weequahic High School’s Black History Month Committee in Newark, NJ, commentary writer, and Co-Producer and Co-Host of the All Politics Are Local, the number #1 political Hip Hip radio show in America.

Note: Spelling Afrika with a k is not a typo. Using the k in Afrika is the Kiswahili way of writing Africa. Kiswahili is a Pan -Afrikan language. It is spoken in many countries in Afrika. Kiswahili is the language used in Kwanzaa. The holiday of Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26 to January


Revolutionary Daily Thought

“just as it was time for slavery to end, it was also time for women and men of colour to refuse the language and images that associated darkness with evil, and whiteness with good.” – T Morris Chester

Guns Don’t Kill People, Settlers Do: The Second Amendment and the Myth of Defense


“Our nation was built and civilized by men and women who used guns in self-defense and in pursuit of peace.” – Ronald Reagan
“If you are coming to the idea of resistance as a resolute no to the Empire, then armed self-defense is as much a yes to liberated life as the yes of community gardens.” – Ashanti Alson
Many of the households where I grew up in rural Missouri have at least one good hunting rifle in their collections of firearms. Every November, most families here-usually the father and son, but sometimes the father and daughter-will go deer hunting, not only for sport but also for the meat it provides households. They will often say hunting is the reason they own firearms.

Several years ago, I was invited to go target shooting at the property of a long-time acquaintance. He was proud of his expansive and comfortable set-up: he owned several dozen acres of land in the country with a nice three-bed, two-bath home and a stable income to support it all. His property, in other words, allowed him to be a gracious host for friends, neighbors, and acquaintances looking to shoot guns, improve their marksmanship, and build community and comradery.

When I arrived, there were 15-20 men armed to the teeth, strutting around with ARs slung tightly around their chests and handguns of various calibers holstered on their belts. Their wives were inside preparing food and tending the kids. As the men-some dressed in army surplus gear, others still wearing their work clothes-blasted away at various targets, the property owner began talking to me about why he loved his home(stead) so much. It was, in his words, “out in the sticks, good and far away from all of that inner-city mayhem.” After showing me a sample of his extensive gun collection, spread out before everyone on the tailgate of his truck, he continued his white-to-white conservation with me:

“Yeah, I have all this firepower because I gotta protect my property and family when, you know, shit hits the fan, and all them inner-city people dependent on government hand-outs are left high and dry and start coming out here where the pavement meets gravel looking to loot food and other things.”

It was clear he wanted me to understand that he had guns to defend against, in his eyes, Black people coming to loot his home in the event of a “societal collapse,” and that he’d be ready with an arsenal of firepower to repel them. That is, gun ownership for him was about using violence to defend his property-as-whiteness from racialized populations whom he recognized were deliberately excluded from the formal economy and corralled in inner-city ghettos. His guns were the lynchpin for maintaining this line between the “good guys” like himself-the productive worker, the property holder, the respectable law-abiding citizen-and a zombified surplus population marked for death. This metaphor is telling: of all the firearms he showed me that day, he was most proud of some recently purchased specialty ammunition with the tagline: “Supply yourself for the Zombie Apocalypse.” Guns and zombie rounds animated the fantasy of defending whiteness by mowing down a racialized surplus humanity on the gravel roads of rural Missouri.

I heard this fantasy many times growing up in such hyper-masculine spaces, in which it is taught that the man of the house has to be prepared to defend his home(stead) from perceived criminal (racial) threats and maintain order in his home . True men are providers and protectors; anything less, and you’re an emasculated loser. In this way, the property holder was simply being a good patriot and male leader by preparing for the moment when, in his eyes, he would use guns in self-defense against the racialized poor. From this perspective, all the patriots out there that day sharpening their firearm skills claimed to be doing so for reasons of self-defense. Each saw himself as a Josey Wales , John Wayne, or Dirty Harry, or (more recently)  American Sniper or Rick Grimes, neutralizing racialized criminal threats encountered on the Indian frontier or spilling out from the Black ghetto.

People will often say hunting is the reason they own firearms, but the underlying structural reason, whether acknowledged or not, has more to do with white settler fears of racial rebellion. Indeed, the NRA-the most politically influential gun organization-isn’t powerful because it has a lot money to spend, but rather because it markets gun ownership as a means of reinforcing white settler sovereignty. Gun ownership is about staving off the loss of the white settler’s power, honor, and privilege, which the global economy no longer respects and the state, it is believed, tramples in its accommodating of the marginalized. Despite the rhetoric, gun ownership has never been about hunting or defending democracy against authoritarianism, which white settlers are ready to embrace if it maintains their power.

In other words, the fear of the dispossessed challenging their subjugation drives gun ownership and gun culture among white settlers in the United States-not hunting, a tyrannical government, or, as I argue, reasons of self-defense. American gun ownership has its structural roots in the desire to uphold and reproduce colonial and racial hierarchies and to maintain the power and benefits received from such hierarchies, putting guns in the hands of white settlers with fantasies of nostalgic redemption through violence. Make America Great Again, indeed.

At its core, then, gun ownership for white settlers is about using tools of violence to defend the political category of white settler sovereignty, which is to say, using guns to harm, kill, or terrorize colonized and racialized people in order to keep them unfree-as their freedom means the dissolution of these categories of power and honor. Historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s recent book Loaded (2018) argues that the history of the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms was fundamentally the state-granted right of settlers to arm their households and form voluntary militias in order to seize Native land and/or police enslaved Black people. Gun ownership today maintains what Dunbar-Ortiz contends was the founding vision of the settler state to distribute its monopoly of violence to its settler-citizens in order to carry out campaigns of dispossession and secure white property against threats of rebellion:

“Settler-militias and armed households were institutionalized for the destruction and control of Native peoples, communities, and nations. With the expansion of plantation agriculture, by the late 1600s they were also used as ‘slave patrols,’ forming the basis of the U.S. police culture after enslaving people was illegalized.”

In fact, joining a militia was less of a right than a requirement of settlers; in some cases, particularly at the state level in the South preceding the Constitution, service in the militia or arming one’s household was required by law. Dunbar-Ortiz explains this history:

“European settlers were required by law to own and carry firearms, and all adult male settlers were required to serve in the militia. Militias were also used to prevent indentured European servants from fleeing before their contracts expired, in which case they were designated ‘debtors.’ [. . .]. In 1727, the Virginia colony enacted a law requiring militias to create slave patrols, imposing stiff fines on white people who refused to serve.”

These state laws fed into the Second Amendment to enshrine the imperative of gun ownership at the federal level. Requiring participation in counterrevolutionary violence was thus written into the law directly. Today this duty to defend settler dominance continues not through state laws requiring militia membership but through informal gun ownership. The Second Amendment deputized settlers to use violence to steal land and people-in short, to expand empire.

Building on Dunbar-Ortiz’s analysis of the Second Amendment, I want to suggest that we understand gun ownership as a material practice through which white settlers engage directly in the work of counterrevolutionary violence that consolidates and maintains U.S. liberal democracy. It is a way of strengthening settler democracy that promises empowerment and redemption. Firearms are the tools and symbols of a larger counterrevolutionary policing that binds settlers together despite contradictions of class in their mutual support of upholding colonial and racial hierarchies. Through gun ownership of today-what was, earlier, participation in militias-the white settler defends the state that in turn ensures his sovereignty and superiority.

In this way, the settler state depends on deputizing its settler-citizens to be the police of dispossessed populations, just as the settler relies on the state upholding his rights of property, or his “pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.” This is why gun ownership is seen as fundamental to liberal freedoms. The Second Amendment is upstream from the other amendments precisely because counterrevolutionary policing maintains the public order of civil society in which liberal freedoms can flourish.

There are three conclusions, then, I would like to discuss that follow from the claim that Second Amendment-sponsored gun ownership in the United States is counterrevolutionary violence harmonizing intra-settler relations. The first is that self-defense belongs to the oppressed and never to the oppressor. From a structural prespective, there is no such thing as white settler self-defense. The second is that gun culture from the 1960s onward serves as an important site at which settlers organize politically across class and gender lines to protect whiteness in response to marginalized peoples’ demand for freedom and neoliberalism’s attack on labor. The third is that the practice of community self-defense among those targeted by colonial violence radically undermines the ideology of white victimization through which counterrevolutionary violence is legitimated.
Guns and White Victimization

Perhaps the best example of how counterrevolutionary violence is coded as white settler self-defense is the now iconic Gadsden Flag. From its inception during the American Revolutionary War to its revival and proliferation in right-wing gun culture in the years following 9/11, the Gadsden Flag, with its image of a rattlesnake and phrase “Don’t Tread on Me,” illustrates how the effort to maintain white settler power in the face of marginalized peoples’ demand for freedom is branded as self-defense. The coiled rattler signifies a defensive and victimized position, but one that is deadly if provoked. The Gadsden Flag serves as an important symbol for those identifying as patriots, law-abiding gun-owners, and defenders of the Constitution because it supports a larger ideology that holds that white America is under attack by minorities (and the federal government taken over by minorities in the post-Civil Rights era) whose commitments to equality have turned into the discrimination against, exclusion of, and attacks on whiteness.

Some of the earliest versions of the Gadsden flag, as many patriots will mention, is Benjamin Franklin’s drawing of the colonies as a snake divided into sections underwritten by the ultimatum of “join, or die.” Yet the tyranny the colonies were fighting against wasn’t simply taxation without representation, but more broadly the right to expand its own empire rather than remain merely another exploited colony-to form a state strong enough to defend the colonists’ pursuit of wealth from Native and Black rebellion. Indeed, Jefferson makes this clear in the Declaration of Independence when he argues that the Crown had prevented the colonies from clearing the lands west of the Appalachian Mountains of “merciless Indian savages” and encouraged slave insurrection in the colonies.

The rattlesnake represents a white settler body politic that feels continuously threatened and anxious about defending its power over conquered and subjugated populations. It claims to take up a position of self-defense when this position is actually one of stopping the efforts of marginalized people to free themselves from structures of violence. The fetish of Franklin’s coiled rattler as the iconography of settlers coming together through counterrevolution suggests there is unity and strength precisely through this position of shared white victimization. If disjointed by cleavages such as class or gender, they will be overrun by the dispossessed, but if unified in their mutual opposition to the dispossessed, white settlers will flourish despite such intra-settler contradictions.

This fear of insurgency-from-below justifying the use of counterrevolutionary violence helps explain the emergence and proliferation of right-wing gun culture in the years following the 1960s to the present. As theorist Sylvia Wynter has argued, the global anti-colonial rebellions of the mid-20th century that empowered and inspired national liberation struggles in the United States sent shocks throughout the white-settler body politic. These rebellions ended in the settler state granting concessions to colonized and racialized groups in the form of civil rights legislation, the dismantling of legal forms of racial apartheid, and the overall turn away from overt, codified forms of white supremacy to new forms of colorblind racism. Black, Brown, and Native militancy terrified settlers, compelling concessions as a means to pacify their militant struggle.

It was these attempts of federal government to conditionally include marginalized groups that led white America, using a zero-sum logic, to feel betrayed and abandoned. As a result, white middle- and working-class settlers gave up defending the welfare state as long as it was also going to include nonwhites. In this moment when the state seems to accommodate nonwhites-an act that failed to respect, in the eyes of white America, the colonial and racial divisions binding together settlers-gun ownership became much more meaningful for white settlers looking to hold the line of these divisions where the state had, it was believed, given up doing so.

During Obama’s presidency, this fear that the state had abandoned white settlers by catering to marginalized people had a resurgence. Gun purchases were at an all-time high and patriot community-building became widespread, which is to say, gun ownership and patriot communities were seen as necessary measures for saving the original and founding vision of a white settler republic from a federal government that was believed to have sided with the very people whose demands for equality would unravel the sovereignty and power of white settlers.

Militias such as the Oathkeepers and Three Percenters emerged during these years and embodied the view that it is the job of “true patriots” (white male settlers) to save white America from a state that has gone rogue in its perceived embrace of “open-borders” multiculturalism. The Constitution and the Second Amendment are sacred for such groups because they authorize freedom-loving citizens to form militias to restore the founding colonialist vision of the United States.

For all the wrong reasons of preserving their power, such groups actually have a perceptive understanding of the Second Amendment as a law authorizing counterrevolutionary violence. For them, guns are not about hunting or even self-defense, but about the right to ensure colonial and racial rebellion is controlled and that state power is recaptured in ways that it abandons neoliberal multiculturalism for more direct forms of settler-colonial white-nationalist capitalism. Indeed, it is not surprising that Oathkeepers and Three Percenters show up to police Black rebellions or put down antifascist counterdemonstrations. They see themselves as an extension of the police, the National Guard, and border patrol. Like the KKK of yore, these militias, filled with current and former police and military, believe they fulfill the original function of the state-under the Obama years seen as liberal and weak-in putting down racial rebellions. Gun culture, then, serves as a symbolic yet very material compensation for the state’s support of neoliberal multiculturalism and the dismantling of welfare capitalism. Just as credit is offered in place of decreased wages, gun culture supplies compensatory ammunition to bolster the value of whiteness in the face of deindustrialization, increased intra-settler inequality, and globalization’s attack on U.S. nationalism.
Arming the Police, Arming White Supremacy

It is important not to forget that support for counterrevolutionary violence extends far beyond patriots and right-wing gun culture. Liberals who call for gun regulation but fully support the police and militaryand their work of upholding mass incarceration at home and imperial violence abroad support the same structures of violence celebrated by the gun-nuts such liberals love to disparage and against whom they define their commitments to nonviolence. The difference is a choice between a monopoly of state violence in repressive state apparatuses or the distribution of state violence among individual settlers and citizen militias. In other words, patriots believe the violence should be democratized and liberals believe it should be concentrated in the hands of state institutions. While one wants to stand alongside the police and military, the other wants the bloody work to be accomplished without getting their hands dirty. Avowed and disavowed to varying degrees, both support counterrevolutionary violence to protect settler democracy. In this way, liberals, despite their pacifist posturing, are not any less supportive of colonial violence than their gun-nut counterparts because they call for a strengthening of the settler state and a disarming of the populace, which will only make marginalized people more vulnerable to killings and incarceration.

This is a view that has the audacity and class privilege of asking marginalized people targeted by state violence, and its extended forms of vigilante violence, to appeal to the same state for protection. While patriots take up actual weapons to target marginalized people, liberals weaponize gun control policy to the same ends of putting people of color in body bags or cages. The only gun control that would reduce gun violence would be disarming the police, the military, domestic abusers, and anyone with ties to white nationalist and misogynist political groups, along with demilitarizing schools and campuses. Whether they are appealing to the Second Amendment or asking people to trust the authority of the police and military, white settlers on the Left or Right demonstrate that the violence they commit, fantasize about committing, or have no problem with the police and military committing for their protection is necessary for their redemptive vision of liberal democracy. It matters not if this vision is a return to when liberal democracy more forcefully upheld colonial and racial hierarchies, or some future point at which this violence and policing ensures genuine equality of opportunity for people believed to be formerly colonized and enslaved.
Community Self-Defense

While it may be easy to oppose right-wing white victimization and liberal support for state violence, it’s still very hard for many to accept the premise that marginalized peoples, those targeted by such violence, have the right to use any means necessary to defend themselves and their communities. Yet we have to see, as Malcolm X made very clear, that the only people who have the moral authority to lay claim to the use of force as a means of self-defense are the people targeted by colonial violence in first place. The struggle to get free, gain control over one’s life, and have a say in the governing of one’s community is always a struggle of self-defense rather than aggression or provocation. The meanings of self-defense in settler society are purposely inverted to legitimate counterrevolutionary violence and to discredit the self-defense actions of communities struggling to get free.

Robert Williams emphasized this point over and over again while organizing armed community self-defense to protect the Black community against KKK violence in Monroe, South Carolina in the 1960s. In Negroes with Guns , Williams explains:

“The Afro-American militant is a ‘militant’ because he defends himself, his family, his home and his dignity. He does not introduce violence into a racist social system-the violence is already there and has always been there. It is precisely this unchallenged violence that allows a racist social system to perpetuate itself. When people say that they are opposed to Negroes ‘resorting to violence’ what they really mean is that they are opposed to Negroes defending themselves and challenging the exclusive monopoly of violence practiced by white racists.”

When a relationship between people is asymmetrical, meaning it is structurally impossible to rectify or reconcile, the violence that defends this power imbalance appears legitimate while anything that would take power away from the oppressor or build power for the oppressed registers as illegitimate and irrational violence.

With the same force, then, that we can acknowledge the illegitimacy of the notion of white settler self-defense, we should recognize the legitimacy of marginalized peoples’ right to self-defense. As theorist Chad Kautzer argues, “our understanding of self-defense must, therefore, account for the transformative power of self-defense for oppressed groups as well as the stabilizing effect of self-defense for oppressor groups.” What this looks like is, on the one hand, disempowering, delegitimizing, and disarming institutions of white settler violence such as the police, patriot, and other white-nationalist gun culture groups, and on the other, using a diversity of tactics to create and maintain community self-defense networks among marginalized communities. Community self-defense, as a theory and praxis, can help produce identities, relationships, and habits necessary not only to deter and prevent violence and build/protect power, but also to delegitimize the ideology of white victimization so crucial to white settlers’ use of violence to defend their power. This framework reveals who is fighting a war of counterrevolution and who is fighting a war of liberation, whose fight is legitimate and whose is illegitimate.

In this way, community self-defense helps clears the way for matters of seeing where allegiances lie in a war that has been ongoing for over 500 years. For those picking up a gun to defend property that sits on stolen land and that has value through an economy built by and through stolen people, it becomes clear they are arming themselves to kill and die for colonialism and anti-Blackness. For those calling for peace between the oppressor and oppressed, community self-defense forces their hand, exposing where their allegiances actually lie: in support of colonial and racial violence. For those told that their struggle to exist, to be free, to control their own lands and bodies is irrational and illegitimate, they prove through community self-defense that it is irrational, let alone careless, to think that the structures of violence holding them captive or targeting them for elimination will be destroyed through peaceful negotiation and compromise.
This was originally published at Pyriscence .

Making Amerika White Again

The choices made by white men, who are prepared to abandon their humanity out of fear of black men and women, suggest the true horror of lost status.

Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin White Masks and the Social Sickness of Racism

 by Miguel Morrissey

Racism is rampant and unspoken, denied and obvious. In a country of diverse terrain, we nonetheless remain connected via media, social utterances, and responses to certain events. It is easy to say “I am not a racist” or to believe in the choice of not being a racist. One sees an embarrassing figure on a news outlet and claims “I am not that! I am not a racist.” But what if it’s not as simple as choosing? At the sight of the structures that be—the disproportional numbers concerning incarceration, the far too many murders committed by our protectors, the lack of infrastructure in communities of color—it is obvious that the state of things is profoundly racist. Yet to admit to oneself anything of the sort meets a resistance equally profound. Perhaps it is a resistance of psychological significance. Perhaps our society as such suffers an unconscious ailment. Unfortunately, the people marginalized due to this illness too frequently remain the objects of cathartic violence. The situation Frantz Fanon depicts in —through the personal retelling of traumatic objectification and through analysis of the productive and reproductive effects of collective catharsis—is by no means a situation simply of the past; it is but one manifestation of a social psychosis whose traumatic impulse is the repetition of the narrative of domination and submission.The Traumatized Object

Objectification is achieved literally. Beginning with the most personal, Fanon points out “In the white world the man of color encounters difficulties in the development of his bodily schema. Consciousness of the body is solely a negating activity. It is a third-person consciousness.”[i] The external stimulus of a child who says “Look, a Negro!” has compelled a physical reaction for the objectified person. One becomes disoriented, and one has to evaluate one’s own “bodily schema.” Most importantly, one sees their own body as an object, free floating in space, a separation between self and world. This hyper-awareness of one’s body produces traumatic effects. It produces a self-objectification, where one feels oneself as an object, and the more this is repeated the more objectification seems an acceptable thing. This is the daily ontological crisis experienced by bodies lacking ‘presence.’ In Fanon’s situation, the experienced lack is of whiteness. As a parallel, for the woman, the experienced lack is of the penis. The significance of this lack is completely imagined. But for the traumatized object, it is felt as a reality. “Look, a Negro!” is akin to saying ‘Look, a monster!’ or better yet ‘Look, a funny picture!’ In being forced to confirm his own bodily presence, Fanon is forced to ask himself, ‘Am I really here?’ Yes, one sees oneself as present, yet one concurrently feels empty of the qualifications to experience being through others. One is stripped of everything but a bodily schema.

Furthermore, when one seeks a psychoanalyst for treatment, the method is to trace the symptom back to the trauma. But Fanon shows us the reverse. He shows us trauma that produces a symptom that reproduces more trauma. Objectification is thoroughly achieved, inside and out. Fanon continues: “…assailed at various points, the corporeal schema crumbled, its place taken by a racial epidermal schema. In the train it was no longer a question of being aware of my body in the third person but in a triple person.”[ii] His play on words is important here. There is a difference in experiencing oneself in the third person and experiencing triple consciousness. The traumatized object is not only objectified literally but is broken into different modes of being. Consciousness is split. One must exist in a sense for oneself, yet differently in another sense, as seen by an opposing world. And, thirdly, one must exist to fulfill the other’s idealization of them. One can imagine the dissociative effects of this daily double-trauma. How can one know oneself if one has to constantly relive a shattered existence? To see oneself as a broken object in the distance, to begin to accept this position of nothingness, is the tremendous accomplishment of a psychotic society whose obsessive compulsion is domination.

Rationalization in a sick society can only be a failed attempt. Fanon confesses the cyclic series of psychological self-realizations he encounters. Faced with the task to defend himself against hate, he rationalizes but soon realizes he faces the insurmountable. He writes: “I had rationalized the world and the world had rejected me on the basis of color prejudice. Since no agreement was possible on the level of reason, I threw myself back toward unreason.”[iii]Rationalization is met with the irrationality of racism, and the colonists in this situation will go through pseudo-intellectual and pseudo-scientific hurdles to defend themselves from an intellectual attack and from any level of self-critique. The racists are irrational as a means of defense against their own inhumanity. One cannot argue with an other that cannot argue. Regardless, rationalism cannot triumph an ignorance of self-infliction, a repression on the side of the oppressive psychotics. Further, through Fanon’s heartfelt “regression” to unreason, Fanon finds himself reinforcing “the Negro Myth.” Now, he functions as the exotic, poetic, spontaneous, emotional child for the white man to savor and to save. Now, the white man’s reason triumphs unreason. A ridiculous cycle of domination, where the traumatized object, both intellectually and ethically, can never be right. Fanon continues: “Thus my unreason was countered with reason, my reason with ‘real reason.’ Every hand was a losing hand for me. I analyzed my heredity. I made a complete audit of my ailment. I wanted to be typically Negro—it was no longer possible. I wanted to be white—that was a joke.”[iv] Through a more profound and multi-faceted achievement of rationalization, Fanon seeks to carve out his own space for activity, to come into being and to resolve the ontological crisis of what it means to be a black man. But every victory is met with laughter. Even the empowerment through historical material, is met with “real reason.” The racism of colonial presuppositions is not founded on any history but its own. And now we return to the terrific irrational defense against the reality of colonized people. It is a lose-lose scenario for the traumatized object. Every stroke of brilliance is met with collective hysterical laughter. Too loud to be heard.

Sublimation is prohibited. The empowerment of a creative realization of self for the traumatized object is met with profound resistance. Fanon quotes Sartre: “negritude as an antithetical value is the moment of negativity…that it is intended to prepare the synthesis or realization of the human in a society without races. Thus negritude is the root of its own destruction, it is a transition and not a conclusion, a means and not an ultimate end.”[v] To hear this from a revered ally is nothing short of devastating for Fanon. Today, with the advantage of living a number of decades after this statement was written, the proposition of the universal as the answer is suspect. Does blackness have to connote a passive negative component in a larger process of history? Or is there room for an active difference, with agency, where one’s conclusion does not have to be “overdetermined?” The black person by this logic is overdetermined. As an antithesis, s/he does not get sublimation. And s/he does not get an existential crisis. S/he does not become anything. But best case scenario, the world does not care about race anymore. Viewing negritude and such movements as this “negative moment” is in direct opposition to creating a liberating space for a different type of human being, to the sublimating empowerment of a different self-knowledge. This logic is a product of the very same sickness of self-affirming sameness and othering. Is the utopian ideal of a universal “world without races” not an impossible tyrannical nightmare?[vi]

To close the chapter, Fanon invokes an example of an amputee who advised him to accept his victimhood. He writes: “I am a master and I am advised to adopt the humility of the cripple. Yesterday, awakening to the world, I saw the sky turn upon itself utterly and wholly. I wanted to rise, but the disemboweled silence fell back upon me, its wings paralyzed. Without responsibility, straddling Nothingness and Infinity, I began to weep.”[vii] Blatantly and perhaps subconsciously, Fanon rejects functioning as an object of sympathy, castrated into an overdetermined, fixed objecthood. Standing at the edge of a cliff, in losing oneself to the ‘night of the soul,’ one realizes something beautiful. The future has yet to be decided. The traumatized object’s attempt at a liberating sublimation is met with the utmost resistance. Perhaps such a resistance signals a frantic anxiety. A step towards the psychotic society’s treatment. “…straddling Nothingness and Infinity,” Lack and Presence, Destiny and Freedom, one thing is absolute: the idea of a differently empowered human cannot be tolerated.

Collective Catharsis

The social sickness begins with repression. Fanon elaborates on the infantile dimensions of the phobic: “In the phobic, affect has a priority that defies all rational thinking. As we can see, the phobic is a person who is governed by the laws of rational prelogic and affective prelogic: methods of thinking and feeling that go back to the age at which he experienced the event that impaired his security.”[viii] By “prelogic,” Fanon is commenting on the irrational presuppositions of racism that are produced through the regression to childish modes of thinking and feeling. The psychotic racist is confronted with a body that is different from oneself, and in the colonial situation, s/he repeats the “prelogic” of a traumatic infantile state. The colonizer returns to a state before repression as a defense because racism is not rational. If the family unit is a model for the social, that is to say, if the authority of the father is transferred to the authority of the country, an impairment of security and a repression at an early age must manifest in some way in the presence of others. Here, the black man becomes the object of a transfixed phobia due to a repression at a ‘prelogical’ phase. But what is the nature of the repression? In a chaste, white patriarchal society, perhaps it is oedipal. The father’s prohibition against incest is an unnecessary and traumatic “discourse-desire”[ix] that continues as a vicious cycle through generations. This fantasy recreates itself through the collective unconscious. Fanon continues: “The white man who ascribes a malefic influence to the black is regressing on the intellectual level…Is there not a concurrent regression to and fixation at pregenital levels of sexual development? Self-castration? (The Negro is taken as a terrifying penis.) Passivity justifying itself by the recognition of the superiority of the black man in terms of sexual capacity?”[x] The stereotype concerning penis size undoubtedly remains today. The evoking of imagined attributes is not as simple as a mere scapegoat complex for an early impairment of security. A level of guilt is involved. Fanon points out the paradoxical masochism from the oppressor who participates in “self-castration.” In other words, the white man regresses to a state of submission, quite possibly a repression concerning the fear of castration from his father. Whatever the origin of this genital fixation, a sexual repression is realized in the regression to a ‘prelogical’ absurd and imagined drama of penis-envy.

The cathartic symptom of repression manifests as the projection of “the Negro myth.” Fanon writes: “The civilized white man retains an irrational longing for unusual eras of sexual license, of orgiastic scenes, of unpunished rapes, of unrepressed incest…Projecting his own desires onto the Negro, the white man behaves as if the Negro really had them…the Negro is fixated at the genital; or at any rate he has been fixated there.”[xi] The meaning of this absurd genital drama becomes clearer. The black man and woman are hyper-sexualized. They function as props, substitutive objects of a certain symbolic impotence that is merely imagined. The black man is a giant penis, and the white man’s desire to create a drama of penis-envy is projected on the black man’s body to validate a collective phobia of merciless othering. The exotic fantasies the colonist projects onto bodies functions both as a defense to sexual trauma and a defense to their own ruthless inhumanity.[xii] Furthermore, the colonial collective catharsis of projected and reinforced fantasy goes deeper. Fanon continues: “…without thinking, the Negro selects himself as an object capable of carrying the burden of original sin. The white man chooses the black man for this function, and the black man who is white also chooses the black man. The black Antillean is the slave of this cultural imposition. After having been the slave of the white man, he enslaves himself.”[xiii] The consequences of cathartic projection become palpable. It produces an infernal cycle of self-renunciation and self-loathing. ‘To be white is to be good; to be black is to be bad.’ becomes ‘To be good is to be white; to be bad is to be black.’ This is the violent force of collective catharsis. Something deeply repressed explodes with the impulse to recreate, to force a traumatic situation. Half-aware of the devastating effects, horrified yet unsatisfied. The result is not just for the black man and woman to embody lack but to embody evil itself. By means of a violent projection, the psychotic phobic creates a psychotic society.

More specifically, the projection of “the Negro myth” is an unconscious repetition automatism to recreate a master/slave relation; mimesis is the means of domination. Fanon writes of the white man: “As soon as possible he will tell me that it is not enough to try to be white, but that a white totality must be achieved. It is only then that I shall recognize the betrayal.”[xiv] The betrayal of which Fanon speaks is the promise of the colonizer—bearer of enlightenment, beauty, purity of the soul, becoming—that assimilation is possible, and if one submits, one can have these things too. The colonized person must live like the colonizer, but one is never fully assimilated and respected by the homogenous group. There is always a discrepancy that distinguishes who is master and who functions as ‘naturalized’ slave, serving as the mirrored lack to affirm white identity, to affirm presence, presence of whiteness. ‘I have it and you don’t.’ What is disguised as a dependency complex is only a falsely ethical defense towards the repetition automatism to recreate this traumatic domination scenario. Fanon writes:

The eye is not merely a mirror, but a correcting mirror. The eye should make it possible for us to correct cultural errors. I do not say the eyes, I say the eye, and there is no mystery about what that eye refers to; not to the crevice in the skull but to that very uniform light that wells out of the reds of Van Gogh, that glides through a concerto of Tchaikovsky, that fastens itself desperately to Schiller’s Ode to Joy, that allows itself to be conveyed by the worm-ridden bawling of Césaire. The Negro problem does not resolve itself into the problem of Negroes living among white men but rather of Negroes exploited, enslaved, despised by a colonialist, capitalist society that is only accidentally white.[xv]
The psychotic phobic seeks a “crevice” in the skull of the other. The eye is not a mirror for the phobic but an emptiness to project fantasy upon and into. This is the means for the phobic’s attempt to fill themselves through the imagined “crevice” of the object. S/he does not see a “correcting mirror” in the different eye because the feared object must serve as lacking in this presence to justify enforced mimesis. But the eye of the other cannot be reduced to a “crevice” for brutal self-affirmation. It offers a striking difference that creates a space for self-correction, for ‘reflection.’ To experience being through others does not have to be a relation of lack and presence. We are sick to formulate it in these terms, and the enactment of mimesis with its means of noninclusive assimilation cannot be justified ethically if the phobic sees “that very uniform light” in the different eyes of a different human. Further, with the works of art Fanon enumerates in this passage, there is a genuine respect for that which we do not know. That possibility for difference that is met with resistance. It is resisted because the relentless repetition automatism, that continues to reinforce itself at every margin. There is us and others, winner and loser, an economy of sameness forever by its very ‘monetary’ nature only concerned with stratification, the end circumstance, by this traumatic metric, this neurotic defense from the untraceable prehistoric master, remains domination. At another vulnerable moment Fanon writes: “I can imagine myself lost, submerged in a white flood composed of men like Sartre or Aragon, I should like nothing better.”[xvi] In a psychotic world, it hurts to experience being through others. But such is the paradox of difference.Lastly, it is necessary to address the justification of violent projection by ‘Nature.’ Fanon writes: “Jung locates the collective unconscious in the inherited cerebral matter. But the collective unconscious, without our having to fall back on the genes, is purely and simply the sum of prejudices, myths, collective attitudes of a given group.”[xvii] Violence as “inherited cerebral matter” involves a lot of washing one’s hands of responsibility. The same genetic model can be used in reverse. Such logic can be used to validate that the stereotypes for black people and “the Negro myth” are true and verifiable. It can be used to inscribe false determinants. ‘Nature’ justifies the domination of women. ‘Nature’ justifies the non-inclusion of trans and queer people.

‘Nature’ justifies ongoing white supremacy. It justifies cathartic projection. With the black athlete, the smart asian, it is easy to say, ‘They are like so by nature.’ If one seeks to find the most blissful ignorance, look to the many misconducted scientific revelations. Fanon continues: “[In Jung’s view] the myths and archetypes are permanent engrams of the race. I hope I have shown that nothing of the sort is the case and that in fact the collective unconscious is cultural, which means acquired.”[xviii] There is nothing natural about our so called ‘human nature.’ There is nothing biological about domination. There are only creatures exposed at the onset to a preexisting contagion. Further, there is nothing inherently aggressive about the libido. It is not a ‘sexual’ drive to dominate but to grow and to exist. This misinterpretation of a ‘natural’ aggressiveness of the libido is an elaborate defense to the paralyzing fact of a traumatic origin that is altogether unrecoverable. Traumatized by the psychotics, enacting the repetition of an imagined relation, an imaginary and presupposed law to the order of things, the winner-loser dream can only destine guilt and discontent.


As his final example in the chapter entitled “The Negro and Psychopathology,” Fanon remarks on one particular instance of neurosis. A young woman experiences certain spasmodic tics due to a trauma during childhood. Her father “an old-timer in the Colonial Service,” a notable detail, would listen to black music involving the playing of the tom-tom drum and percussion past her bed time. As a child, she imagined being surrounded by black savages, and her siblings would tease and scare her for it, reinforcing trauma at the level of the family unit. As a defense mechanism, she imagined vivid circles expanding and contracting as part of her hallucinations. Fanon writes: “…the defense mechanism had taken over without reference to what had brought it on…My presence on her ward made no perceptible difference in her mental state. By now it was the circles alone that produced the motor reactions…”[xix] And so the destructive symptoms remain, ghosts of a traumatic origin, an origin of an infantile and obscured nature, one from the family unit that omens catharsis in the social body. Collectively, a toxic fission, we birth our own destruction.

Is domination and submission not a compulsion that reproduces itself through tics in everyday life, such as walking faster on the sidewalk for no apparent reason, or the physical act of talking over someone? To concede, it seems absurd that the father, by nature, dominates the child whom rightfully experiences the fear of castration from him. If we continue, the Oedipus complex would seem an impressive and notable elaboration of such waking-dream-work.[xx] But we continue to make such nightmares real. Racism’s impulse to oppress, and the impulse of oppression itself, are not by ‘nature’ and are not by choice; but by the reality of an inherited illness. Perhaps confronting this social sickness, speaking of it in the harsh terms of domination, fearlessly, without illusions of empty humanism, and with the utmost critical view of ourselves, is the first step to healing.

There is truth to the simplicity of self-work. And perhaps work in this precise sense is my only answer. The phantom of an anxious master who dominates in fear of being dominated will continue to haunt us, so long as we are traumatized at first contact with the structures that cradle us. So long as we forget the embarrassing figure on a news outlet is a mirror of the self. So long as I forget to tell myself “That is me.” And so long as we forget to remind ourselves that our world is sick.

[i] Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks. London: Pluto, 2008. Print. p. 81.[ii] Ibid. p. 84

[iii] Ibid. p. 93.

[iv] Ibid. p. 101.

[v] Ibid. pp. 101-102.

[vi] Today, the vision of our founding fathers[?] here in the United States is honored with the utmost reverence. But, of course, the question arises: democracy for whom? Simply put, there is always an excess to the populace that remains excluded on the basis of difference. Does the adherence to the transcendental beauty of such an ordered, uniform society not seem like a product of the age-old self-justified tyrannical universal, that defends itself against its own injustice with a symptomatic amnesia? A dream of democracy with the nightmare of enslavement?

[vii] Ibid. pp. 107-108.

[viii] Ibid. p. 120.

[ix] Luce Irigaray elaborates on the “seductive function of law itself” as introduced by the father as a “desire for a discourse.” (Irigaray, Luce. Speculum of the Other Woman. Ithaca, NY: Cornell U, 2010. Print. pp. 37-40.)

[x] Fanon, p. 136.

[xi] Ibid.

[xii] For a contemporary example, the projection of xenophobic myths onto bodies exhibited particularly by certain white working class populations is a similar double-defense. ‘They’re stealing our jobs and are lazy’ implies a level of insecurity towards one who may do a ‘better job.’ This symbolic impotence is projected both as a defense to insecurity and as a defense to the cruelty of xenophobia. And, the same is the case with homophobia. ‘The way they have sex is wrong’ and better yet ‘Marriage is between a man and woman,’ is a projection of the symbolic impotence, of having sex the ‘right’ way and perhaps of the tradition of marriage itself. Does “Till death do us part” not sound like a terrifying prospect? A repressive contract, to be sure.

[xiii] Ibid. p. 148.

[xiv] Ibid. p. 149.

[xv] Ibid. pp. 156-157.

[xvi] Ibid. p. 157.

[xvii] Ibid. p. 145.

[xviii] Ibid. p. 145.

[xix] Ibid. 162.

[xx] Freud in his early masterpiece includes a number of dreams by children concerning death-wishes for their parents. Though these dreams can be agreed to containing oedipal jealousy, one can also interpret them much more simply as containing a frustration towards a parent’s excessive desire to prohibit. Perhaps seeing an oedipal drama where one does not exist is Freud’s own ‘elaboration.’ (Freud, Sigmund, and James Strachey. The Interpretation of Dreams. New York: Basic A Member of the Perseus Group, 2010. Print. pp. 266-288.)

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