From Anarchist Studies
Thank you to those who have responded to the Beyond Anti-fascism, But Not Without It statement/call put out by the Perspectives on Anarchist Theory journal collective. Clearly there are many people pursuing this conversation in a variety of networks. Stay tuned for pieces coming from Perspectives on the Institute for Anarchist Studies website and possibly in our 2018 Beyond the Crisis print issue.
In the meantime, here are some links shared by some respondents.
The first is called The Leftist Undercurrents of Anti-Blackness: An Open Letter to White Radicals, posted by Merricat on Medium.
“The really ghastly thing about trying to convey to a white man the reality of the Negro experience has nothing to do with the fact of color, but has to do with this man’s relationship to his own life. He will face in your life only what he is willing to face in his.” — James Baldwin
“In an anarchist sense, we are the impetus of uncentralized ecological improvements and abolitions on material and ontological aspects of society; there are many more non-white ecosystems than there are white communities, and thus our range in both suffering and experience is broad as a workers’ survivorship. In a socialist sense, we non-whites happen to be the vanguard of misery, and thus, the vanguard of international revolution.
So the question remains: How is it that a white middle-classed anti-fascist can identify with one of us poorer, racially unentitled folk and yet uphold a system of white supremacy with capitalist and even slaveocracy-like motives?
They cannot, and they never will be able to.
Yet here we are, most non-whites having already voiced our preference of what you may call communism and socialism over our current capitalist society, and yes still suffering, more than you, in a variety of separate ways I ought not be obliged to detail. Still, I conclude that agreement upon the theory of these industrial-economic strategies is the only common string we need.
Again, white people cannot, and they never will be able to identify as non-white while we all live under a doctrine of white supremacy. Yet they persist in showing up, albeit sometimes and somewhat ineffectively (Occupy), to do what they believe is best they can. The answer to the above question then is that while a white radical can only identify as anti-fascist, or anti-imperialist, they are not constituently anti-racist. In fact, most telling key word in this identification is “white,” and also the fact that white people haven’t addressed slavocracies (especially that of the Arab slave trade being a blueprint to chattel slavery) as a parent of capitalism. This most often stems from Marx’ viewpoint that slavocracies were not capitalist, though they could, have, and continue to exist in capitalist societies via machinations such as the pattern wages in proportion to race contemporary ghettos, mass incarceration, and the prison-industrial complex. It may also be an assumption based on the false idea that ancient slavery of Africans had nothing to do with their skin colors, although primary sources from the rarely spoken “Arab Slave Trade” proves this wrong as well. This brings us to the conclusion that racism is not a necessary characteristic of capitalism, but has also existed without capitalism. It also exposes the need-a-cause, radical chic performative activism of whites who vocally espouse Black liberation; we must not be convinced that the ontologically privileged are willing to undo themselves and redistribute their power just because we asked them to.”
(To read the whole essay, click on the title above the quote.)
Another piece, also by Merricat and posted on Medium, is called New Maroons (an introduction): Black Survival and Self-Defense as Revolutionary Progress Against Racism and Colonialism
“It must be understood that New Maroon is not an organization, it is a praxis. However, New Maroons may organize in ways they see fit, as long as they follow these tenets. In this way, New Maroons will practice a liberating autonomy and self-determination in what must be a horizontal fashion. New Maroons have the opportunity to not follow these tenets, and thus cease being New Maroons.
New Maroons understand that when governance ceases to serve the People and instead exploits the People at every turn, they are entitled to dissolve it and replace it by another by any means necessary. New Maroons also understand that any state is susceptible to corruption and therefore anti-blackness. New Maroons are aware that time and time again, ballot “elections” have failed the People at every turn. New Maroons understand that the People have lost trust in governance, and seek to answer to this breech in the security of their well-being. To hinder the fertility of corruption, New Maroons seek to dissolve states the moment they fail The People. They are an immunity to statism.
New Maroons understand that the currently existing hierarchy of Black/non-Black is more direct and therefore efficient a means of addressing Black autonomy than any other available.
New Maroons understand that in order for the Black/non-Black categorization of hierarchical classes to produce any new way of existing, we must confront the identity forced upon us (ontologically, and socioeconomically) by understanding that they are Black first; a Black person can not address the oppression of Black people whilst including themselves as an oppressed Black person, without first admitting that they are Black and not color-blind to the unbalanced oppressions Black people face on a global scale — from underdevelopment to non-representation, from tokenhood to poverty and socioeconomically-induced illnesses. By proxy, this also means that an attack on any single Black person is an attack on all Black peoples.
New Maroons understand that self-reliance and self-sufficiency are necessary tenets within the framework of the Black/non-Black dichotomy. These ideals are constituent characteristics of Black survival and self-defense, encompassing the entire range of knowledge of the body and mind required to assist Black peoples in surviving, to be implemented at every stage of life, regardless of identity within the Black population. New Maroons understand that survival also involves knowledge of the Earth, and what it has to offer us as a neutral player in our lives.
Thus, survival must involve knowledge of the land, sea, horizon, and sky: what it is made of, what one can make of it, what lives on it, what dies on it, what can it support or destroy, what can its constituents and existences be used for or known for, who lived on it, where those peoples are if they still are at all, and most of all, what it can do for Black survival and autonomy. New Maroons, then, must expect each other to be working in coalition with one another.
Cooperation is a necessity in learning and sharing useful information that will benefit Black survival and self-defense. Co-operation between industries, fields of expertise, learnings, access to information, goods, and services ranging from mental health to agriculture must be readily available to all Black peoples, especially the New Maroons. Not only must this information be readily available, but also constantly practiced in order to develop a cooperative culture of survival and self-defense. It must then go without saying that it is the duty of New Maroons to seek out those who could provide this information for Black survival and self-defense. Each individual New Maroon is expected to maintain thorough knowledge of a skill, whether it be identifying plant life/wildlife, gunsmithing, teaching mindfulness, or soap-making — anything useful to survival as a Black person in an anti-black world. If a New Maroon is not able, they ought to be in the company of those who are.”
(Go to the link in the title to read this whole piece).
Finally, longtime anarchist, former political prisoner, theorist, and organizer Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin has been going through a lot lately, including financial difficulties, transportation issues, and medical expenses. Casey Goonan is calling on folks to do fundraising for him. Casey writes: “Lorenzo’s life’s work opened a path forward for anti-capitalist, anti-racist, and anti-patriarchy organizing in geographies where the non-profit and academic industrial complexes have thoroughly co-opted the progressive-to-radical Left. He needs to survive. White supremacy must be abolished—both external and internal to progressive and radical movements in the global North. This internal racism needs to be placed at the center of our analysis and movement building politics, and smashed. This is happening in disparate pockets, but it needs to happen on a mass scale, and Lorenzo’s writings show us the way!
First, his book, the Progressive Plantation, and second his Anarchism and the Black Revolution. These two texts are invaluable, and have been re-circulating once again as the new Black protest movement has ebbed and flowed over the past five years, and since antifascist organizing has entered new levels of visibility in the ‘mainstream.’ To quote a recent post of Lorenzo’s:
“I have been thinking about my life now more than ever, the older I get. I don’t know about you, but after ‘life’ in prison, then organizing for 50 years with various movements, fighting the KKK in Tennessee, Georgia, and other places, existing in poverty for most of my life, and just generally working to help someone else instead of just myself, there is not much more that I fear, but a lot that I wish I could still do.”
Please consider contributing to building this campaign. It can be decentralized organizing (preferably). We can do things in our own autonomous capacities. We just need to keep Lorenzo alive! His intellectual and political leadership is invaluable. If you can help, please send a donation to email@example.com via paypal.com ”
If you would like to write on the subject of Beyond Anti-fascism, But Not Without It (a nod to Black anarchist Ashanti Alston), or know of good things that have been published on this theme, drop us a line, at: PerspectivesOnAnarchistTheory@Gmail.com