There are clues yelling at those of us who are well versed in evaluating the psychology and sociology of white supremacy. The large crowds at demonstrations and all of the things mentioned above are extremely positive, but if we truly desire qualitative changes, we have to engage in a critical assessment here. Our argument is that there’s really only one way that African lives will ever really matter. This system is built on the dehumanization, exploitation, and murder of African (and Indigenous) people. Since we know this, we also know there’s no way our lives can ever really matter as long as the system that enslaved, colonized, and exploits us is still intact. To suggest that both things can exist at the same time i.e. we can be respected and have our lives matter, while the capitalist system – which manufactures and facilitates our lives not mattering – continues unchallenged, is illogical. It would be the same as saying an abuser can present a convincing presentation of love and respect in public while continuing to abuse the other person behind closed doors. In other words, that’s still defined as an abusive relationship.
This isn’t an argument to suggest that all of these hundreds of thousands of people are insincere. The reason why their efforts have so much potential is because I’m sure sincerity is dominant in most of what we are seeing. What is being suggested here is that the capitalist system is insidious. Its eats naivete for breakfast. Those clues I mentioned? The actions of police pretending to support demonstrations is nothing except a public relations stunt to suck the anger out of protesters by convincing them that the system is on their side. The same with businesses displaying those signs. The business owners probably believe they are doing something good, but the truth is if they really believed that African lives mattered, it wouldn’t have taken a physical threat to their businesses for them to display those signs. There are a few businesses who have always displayed signs like this, but we all know those businesses are clearly in the minority. Many of those businesses displaying those signs now are places I’ve walked in before and when I did, I received the same “what are you doing here” stares and interactions that characterize the African experience. So, they may mean well on some levels, but the reality is businesses do what best serves their economic interests. And, business interests and African lives is like oil and water, despite the continued tired efforts of the black capitalist crowd to try and prove otherwise.
What we should be shooting for is a clear message in these demonstrations that the only way to support African lives is to respect the rights of African people to have self-determination. That means abolishing not only police – which are merely a symptom of the overall problem – but, abolishing the entire capitalist system which is the reason why our lives have to matter today in the first place. We all know that discussion is not being had at any demonstrations. At least not in any dominant way. Instead, we are talking about police body cams, defunding police – whatever that means – and electing more bourgeoisie politicians who will join the never ceasing list of bourgeoisie politicians who have done absolutely nothing to address this problem. More cameras that they will continue to find ways to turn off before they brutalize us. More police who may not be funded to be at schools, which is good, but will still be funded by our tax dollars, which is bad. So, instead of brutalizing our youth in the school, they will do it a block away once the school funding is taken away. Any and everything except the conversation we need to have which is how those hundreds of thousands of Europeans, Africans, Asians, Indigenous people, etc., can continue to claim to support African lives while simultaneously supporting an exploitative capitalist system that fuels the murder of African lives?
The answer is most of the people demonstrating are doing it to feel like they are contributing to solving a problem they don’t like. They are out there because they wish to feel like they are a part of a solution and not the problem. And, kudos to all of them for that. Its important that people be out there, but the insidiousness of the capitalist system demands that those of us who are aware of its tricks are out here also, doing everything we can to expose it. So, we organize, write, and engage to try and get people to recognize that our contributions cannot be centered on doing things that make us feel better about the oppression. We have to step up our game so that we are doing things that move us towards eradicating the causes of the oppression. How many of us are willing to confront that? And, if you attack the people trying to explain all of this to you, which is what usually happens, despite it being pointed out in reasonable and humanistic ways, then you are a part of the problem.
The signs, the shirts, chants, and the smiles I get everywhere I go right now are nice, but if I don’t smile back its because I’ve seen this movie before. I’m not interested in helping someone’s efforts to validate that they are a good person. Nor should I be. I’m ready, and have been ready for a long time now, to address the problem. And, that problem is this capitalist system has got to go. And, along with capitalism going away, anti-colonial and anti-neo-colonial struggles have to flourish. The way that happens is African people unite and organize for Pan-Africanism i.e. one unified socialist Africa. While that happens, Indigenous people struggle for their unity and the return of their lands. While that happens the Irish people run the British out of Ireland. While that happens, the Palestinian people smash the Zionist state and reclaim their lands. While that’s happening the Filipino people run the neo-colonialists out of the Philippines. And, while all of this is happening, the masses of Europeans on earth fight to provide unconditional support for all of those anti-colonial and anti-capitalist and imperialist struggles. And those Europeans do that not by crying about us being brutalized. They do it by organizing around the correct concept that they are Europeans committed to eradicating capitalism and imperialism. They denounce the lie of American democracy and freedom. They stop repeating the lie that “this is not who our country is.” They start saying that this is not only what this country is, its what its always been. They run up to beat me in burning the U.S. flag. They denounce any loyalty and connection to this evil empire. If they really believe in African lives mattering, they have to be willing to grapple with those contradictions. At some of the smaller town demonstrations, I’ve seen people with U.S. flags. That’s like Jewish people waving the Swastika and saying its in support of Jewish lives. Most of these Europeans at these demonstrations are not ready to do any of these things just like many of the colonized people, including Africans, are not ready to support our own struggles. The reasons why this is, people have to figure out if we are ever going to move beyond this point in any real way.
Until all of those things happen, all we are really doing is getting high on each other to avoid the real problems which means those problems will continue. And, another year or two down the road, we will go through this process again, and again. Believe it. The capitalist system is planning on and depending upon this cycle repeating itself. They are even figuring out how they can profit off of it while it runs it course. At some point, we have to wake up and recognize that we are chasing our tail, over and over again. Then again, there’s no real threat to us individually when we chase our tails. And, we get a good workout from that which makes us feel pretty good. For some of us, maybe that’s all that matters.