The same chattel slavery system that birthed capitalism, and disbursed Africans all over the world, doesn't exist today, but the exploitative apparatus perfected by that system still motors along in an effective fashion. Trade relationships are controlled by capitalist powers so that poor countries are forced to adhere to a system that they will never benefit from. Science and technology, keys to independence for oppressed Africans and other people, are kept under lock and key by the imperialist countries. Africa is very much the richest continent on the planet, yet African people have absolutely no means to harness those riches. So columbite tantilite, or coltan, is a mineral ores that serves the purpose of being able to hold an electrical charge once ground down into powder. This mechanism is at the center of digital technology as this mineral ore is used to transmit communication technology in cell phones and computers. In other words, no coltan, no cell reception. No coltan, no internet. That's why this mineral ore currently sells at a rate of almost $400.00 per pound U.S.D. on the world market. It can be found most readily in mines in Central Africa. So, while multi-national corporations rake in billions from exploiting coltan, the only exposure the masses of African people have to this phenomenon is being able to get a "job" mining the mineral ore by hand, developing respiratory problems and black lung in the process, and dying a painful and miserable death. The very same scenario can be painted by looking at how oil, rubber, uranium, bauxite, manganese, zinc, and other minerals are developed. Or, one can get a sense of the exploitation systematized in the production of cocoa by looking at the process through the eyes of youth in Ghana who recently produced a poster that said "when you eat a chocolate bar, you are eating my skin." The U.S. currently imports 70% of its cocoa products from West Africa.
These devastating systems of exploitation require several things to be in place. First, there must be a very strong component of oppression against the African masses. Not just the masses in Africa, but African people everywhere. Why? Because the continuance of this highly profitable system of exploitation can only be ensured by the assurance that the masses of African people cannot revolt against capitalism. Thus the militarization of police, the proliferation of military presences in Africa, and the continued mass incarceration of African people. Along with that comes the 500 year narrative that African people are less than human which nurtures criminalizing and dehumanizing African people. All of this is just business as usual by the capitalist system as a worldwide practice, but the other component that is absolutely required in order for this process to work is the construction of national identity that justifies the pillaging of people's land and those people's continued exploitation. This national identity is prevalent throughout Europe and certainly within the U.S. One example is the constant tactic of pulling on the emotional thread of people to sympathize with those who have served in the U.S. armed forces as evidenced by primitive movies like "The Sniper." This tactic really isn't about generating any compassion for military vets. If that existed, the logical first step would be to do something about the hundreds of thousands of them who stand on street corners and off ramps begging for food and money. Instead, this tactic is all about creating support for any U.S. military agenda. Creating unquestionable support at best and plausible deniability at worst. This is all accomplished by perpetuating this concept of American Identity. The belief that there is such a thing and that it is a privilege to have it. Everyone has been programmed about American identity. This is an identity that has to be reserved for people who are free. People who work hard. People who believe in God. People who represent the best of what the world has to offer. You don't have to believe all of those things to be American, but the idea is to have some component there that appeals to you. The truth is American identity is really none of those things. Instead, it is a manufactured identity that seeks to insure the people who embrace it are ideologically committed to entitlement regardless of how much of an evil empire this country is. Even so-called progressive people fall victim to this. It isn't uncommon to attend so-called progressive events and hear people talk about "our government" or "we do this or that" or the "founding fathers," Even the Occupy movement was based in large part on the concept that the capitalist system was "broken" as if to suggest there was ever a time when it functioned in an equitable fashion towards African and other oppressed peoples. Don't the people saying and believing these things understand that the rhetoric of democracy doesn't eliminate the reality of exploitation?
With all the talk of defining "how to be a white ally" this is without question the missing link to the discussion. How can you be an effective ally to African, Indigenous, Palestinian, and Asian people when at some point of your consciousness you believe America is a thing? The America you identify with is the society that was stolen from the Indigenous people and built on the backs of African people. It is maintained by exploiting everyone worldwide. There is no way to claim allegiance to a system like that without turning your back on the masses of people on the planet. Without in fact siding with the enemy. The capitalist system is depending upon you to do just that because it's very survival is dependent upon this happening. It's up to everyone to prove them the liars that they are. As I watch all of these events unfold, the irony for me is I just released a 542 literary fiction book entitled "The Courage Equation" that I started writing five years ago. The book highlights many of the exact contradictions I'm discussing in this piece. The story takes a very bold perspective on the questions raised in this post and because its completely outside of conventional wisdom, and therefore beyond the comprehension of the simple minded who haven't even bothered to read my book, some of those misguided souls have criticized it for it's approach e.g. a white woman as the main character. Now, I need to state that I'm not thin skinned. In fact, I welcome criticism from those who have read the book, but I'm not getting that critique from those who have read it because they understand the message in the story. The main character lives in Africa and is devoted to participating with African people in the struggle for African liberation. She has given up her American citizenship and she speaks out and organizes against American imperialism. She is also involved in an organized effort to retaliate against white supremacist violence. Now, I realize the road my character is traveling is not a road most Europeans are going to be able to take, nor would we want them to even if they could, but the reason I wrote the story that way was to hopefully raise the question that a new way of thinking and acting is necessary if a different result is to be achieved.
So, leave this post with this thought. White people and anyone else who considers themselves an American. If you have a sincere desire to see fundamental change occur, you have to make the commitment to engage a movement to abolish American identity today. This backward oppressive identity is nothing except a facade to justify institutional racism and the continuance of capitalist oppression. Until Europeans take the forefront of denouncing this identity, it will be impossible to break the psychological hold this system has over us. European people have to begin to redefine who you are. For us, it's clear. We are Africans in America (or wherever) fighting against capitalism. Who are you? If you can define this question in the positive then you can move to address other related questions like how to begin talking to other white people about these questions. If you can begin talking to white people then the conscious climate can begin to change. Maybe you can start by beginning to believe that white people can evolve. That is the other point of my latest book. I believe in all of humanity so I do believe in anyone's capacity to evolve and grow in consciousness if they are willing to do the work. My fictional character is an example of that. Do white activists believe this change is possible? Or do you believe white people are demons? Now is the time for you to decide and make movements to address this question so that we can begin to radically change this world we live in. We're doing our work with African people, but in some ways that are unavoidable, we are still waiting on you to understand this point and do something about it.