First, we should dissect the word "allies." Some people don't like the word. I get that. Use accomplice, partner, whatever word you like, my point here is that the concept is overwhelmingly nonexistent. Whatever word you prefer to define Europeans who are engaged to support the African liberation struggle, or any struggle of colonized and oppressed people, the defining force of that word should be a people who help lessen the load for oppressed people who are fighting for freedom. By lessen the load, we don't mean doing anything for us. We have never asked for that, because that's never been what we need. By lessening the load, we mean providing material support to our efforts. For example, if you have someone who you are providing support in their efforts to complete an education, it would be reasonable to define "support" as you helping them study, creating conditions where they could concentrate, or helping eliminate other life stresses that could potentially distract them from focusing on the educational tasks at hand. The argument here, is that the vast majority of Europeans who wear the "ally" mantle do none of those things to support our struggles. In fact, most of them behave in ways that add more stress and pressure to our condition. And when we say most, we mean most. Practically all of them. In truth, with the quality of "allies" we have today, we really don't need any enemies.
I realize these statements are going to sting to some people. This is especially true since white feelings are clearly the most important element to most Europeans in the majority of their interactions with oppressed communities.
Look at the practical reality. With even a cursory study of oppressed communities, its pretty easy to figure out what our communities need and don't need. We don't need the purely egotistical and entirely subjective focus most so-called "allies" have on centering their perception of our struggles ahead of even our own articulated and lived experiences dealing with oppression. We don't need advice on how to wage our struggles from people who have no experience engaging in the struggles we engage in. And, those things provide a glimpse into the primary problems with this so-called "ally-ship." Most Europeans, the majority of them, see oppression through the eyes of capitalism and white supremacy. What this means is they view it through a racist dysfunctional perspective that we as oppressed people are helpless victims. Consequently, although they tell themselves (and you see them saying this all the time) to listen to oppressed people, their practice clearly indicates they have absolutely no intention of doing so. Oh, they will listen provided the perspectives we articulate line up with what they already believe, but the minute we are talking about things they don't want to hear, and I mean the literal second we do this, they immediately abandon this "listen to brown people" mantra as if they never said it. Usually, examples of this behavior are exhibited when we have the audacity to call them out on their racism. Since much of these people's ethos is tied up in their vision of themselves as being apart from the capitalist oppression process, their fragile egos cannot tolerate the slightest suggestion that they pose even the most minimal potential of being a part of the problem we face. As a result, since their primary concern is their sense of self, not our liberation, then, their focus is in protecting their fragility, not acknowledging how they perpetuate the system that oppresses us. Most Europeans who consider themselves - enlightened - on white supremacy are so engrossed in their self image that they are completely unaware of how quickly they prioritize themselves over our suffering. Clearly, this behavior does not enhance our struggle one bit. Actually, it drains the capacity of our people.
Keeping in mind our example of supporting the person pursuing an education, another example of "ally" dysfunction is in how these people believe they are honoring activists/organizers by attempting to use us to mentor them through their fragility, liberalism, and overall lack of spine. Look, no one is saying we shouldn't provide direction and help to those who are sincerely trying to engage this work. What we are saying is if we are a struggling people, with extremely limited resources, if you are truly our friend then you have to be thinking about how to replenish our scant resources, especially if you are part of the reason we cannot maintain them. In other words, if you rely on us to help you sort out your analysis, figure out how to solve problems, etc., then why aren't you thinking about ways you can support our efforts, instead being content to be another drag on what limited energy that we do have?
The reason why I'm qualified to take such a critical view of these so-called "ally" efforts is because unlike most of these people, I practice what I preach. I've participated with sectors of the oppressed community on all levels. The Indigenous people's of the Western hemisphere. The Palestinian struggle. The Filipino struggle. The struggles of the LGBTQ communities. The women's struggle. Even efforts by European people to organize their work. And, the way I engage with these communities is in providing support to their efforts, whether that be security, security training, financial support, logistical support like loaning out my sound equipment, generator, etc. I'm not just going to these communities pulling on the organizers, draining their energy in helping me figure out myself. I hear all types of things while doing this type of work. I've been at women's events where people have said all men are dogs. Instead of acting like most European "allies" and deciding at that point that what is most important is my pain at being called a dog (centering myself above the suffering of women), I take it stride. From my perspective, I would think it strange if women didn't see most men as dogs. If I'm struggling to my full capacity to challenge and dismantle how women perceive us through my work with them and other men, then there should be no need for me to center myself the way these European "allies" do. What I'm saying is you will never see me on social media arguing because a woman (for example) is calling out men. What you will see is me taking that in and reaffirming the necessity for me to work harder to change the narrative. That's a sincere effort to be a true accomplice, ally, whatever you want to call it. There are examples all around us. There are even examples within the European community. Without embarrassing anyone, I'll just mention a dedicated European who lives in Oregon. This person focuses their attention on educating other Europeans about white supremacy and their need to support African liberation struggles. This person writes extensively about the suffering of our people and why Europeans need to be responsible for challenging that oppression, and (in their words) providing reparations to African people. To me as a Pan-Africanist, reparations without a focus on Africa is off point, but that's not relevant to the sincere work this person is doing, all while never centering themselves in the consistent work that they do. This person, and others like them are out here. The fact most of these so-called "allies" don't see them and attempt to emulate their healthy behavior is further proof that these people are not nearly as interested in supporting us as they are in validating themselves.
If you are still asking how and what a good "ally" looks like. I direct you to my ongoing character in my fictional works; the European woman named Boahinmaa (Bwa-hen-maa). She is an activist/organizer living and working among African revolutionaries who have accepted her as one of their own. She isn't some dysfunctional white clone who listens and follows anything any random African does (like many of these so-called "allies") Instead, she sees her role as that of searching out and finding resources to support the genuine African liberation struggle. Her mission? To always make sure at the end of the day that she is providing more to the African liberation struggle than she is taking away. She understands that African revolutionaries define their struggle, not her. She recognizes that her role is to become uncomfortable in learning how to understand the best ways to support our work. Not, stopping at the point that our work doesn't coincide with her vision of our work.
Translating my fictional character to real life, this means how many of these so-called "allies" spend five minutes thinking about how they can provide not what they want to provide, but what we need? How many of them spend five minutes thinking "they are doing this work. They lack resources. I have access to other Europeans. I'm going to raise some gas money for their work. Not once. Not only when they asked to do it, but I'm going to do it on an ongoing and consistent basis." Gas money. That means not coming to our events spending our energy asking if you can be in our spaces and taking up space in the process. That means coming to the event with the gas money. Once you get there, you will easily be able to ascertain whether it is a place you should be and you can act in accord, after you present the gas money. If you carry that out with integrity and consistency, I can guarantee you that you won't need to wonder long whether you are welcome. And, don't be simple and interpret this as saying all you can do is raise money. You should raise money, but there are so many examples of this that even a child could dissect, interpret, and implement.
If some of you want to salvage this "ally" title than start acting like you are here to support African liberation struggles. Provide us what we need which is simply two things; material support, consistent material support, and your ongoing efforts to organize Europeans against this backward system. If you didn't know before, that's what we need. If you are not doing these two things on a consistent basis, you are no friend and "ally" to us. More than likely, you are just a politically correct speaking version of your cousins who put white sheets over their heads. At any rate, at the end of the day to us, the results are more or less the same.