The U.S. in its current format, was built upon the introduction of the industrialization period in history. And, this period, which ushered in the development of the capitalist system, was fueled/financed specifically from seed money supplied through the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the free labor produced from kidnapped Africans. The original and developing capitalists understood that it was necessary for them to create a justification for this vicious and brutal maintenance of power. They knew that many of the original “rank and file” Europeans who came and existed here after colonialism had served as the initial indentured servants before the institutionalization of enslaving Africans. These initial bourgeoisie understood that they had to create a story that would provide a reason why Africans had to be kidnapped and enslaved. A story that would explain why the lands of the Indigenous people had to be viciously stolen. They needed a story that would soak up any empathies these Europeans had for any suffering that we experienced. That story was the myth of white supremacy.
The belief that Europeans were just mentally and spiritually superior (as well as physically as it relates to contact with “savage” people) served to sooth any thought that we deserved any better. This thinking served to reduce us down to the level of value reserved for roaches. Most people have no issue stomping out the life of a roach and most Europeans have been conditioned to be equally as disconnected about African and Indigenous lives being stomped out.
With this thinking becoming institutionalized in education, popular culture, and even faith practice in this society for centuries, it has become such a standard element in this society that most people are not even consciously aware of how this thinking manifests itself, but there are clear examples. The practice of brutality as it relates to killing African and Indigenous people over the last several hundred years has been so normalized in the fabric of this country that lynchings were spectator sports. What we mean is for hundreds of years, from the plantation era up through the 1950s, the concept of hanging a living human African being from a tree and watching the life ebb out of them. The practice of setting a living human being on fire. Ripping their limbs out from their bodies. Cutting our babies out from their stomachs. Using us for target practice. Mutilating our genitals as sport. Using our mouths to hit golf balls off from. Using our living babies as bait for crocodiles. All of these heinous acts and more were considered public entertainment in this country no different than seeing a basketball, baseball, soccer, or football game, etc., is viewed today.
This common public spectacle of us being brutalized would still be a regular thing today had it not been for two social developments. Although lynchings still continue to this day, the public element of this violence began to cease primarily because of the development of the African independence movement in Africa. Developing political parties in Africa, from the Convention People’s Party in Ghana to the National Congolese Movement in the Congo, the Democratic Party of Guinea, etc., began to engage in struggle for their freedom and independence. When Ghana became the first country to escape direct European rule, Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, was clear that Africans everywhere, inside and outside of Africa, are one entity. Denouncements about violence against Africans in the U.S. began to become a regular element of Nkrumah and other African leaders statements in international United Nations and smaller delegation meetings. Constantly during the late 50s, African leaders began to call out the U.S. for the contradiction of claiming to be the center of freedom and democracy while treating large segments of its population like animals. There are many examples of this, but one we will use is the independence of Guinea in 1958. On the Democratic Party of Guinea delegation to the U.S. in early 1959, the Africans made repeated efforts to convince U.S. state officials that their reason for coming to the U.S. was not to accept any of the aid packages the U.S. was attempting to shove down their throats (to bride them against landing in the Soviet Union or China’s camps). Instead, Sekou Ture made every effort to explain that their concern was dignity and respect. Not just for the newly independent people of Guinea, but for all Africans everywhere, including the millions born and living in the U.S. Of course, at first, U.S. officials were not able to digest what these confident and dignified Africans were attempting to convey. The end effect of this international pressure - Guinean independence meant a new level of negotiations that would be required to access their vast bauxite reserves which are essential for aluminum products produced by companies like Kaiser Aluminum – was the U.S. having to come to grips, at least on a cosmetic level, with what these newly independent Africans were concerned about. To address this, the Eisenhower regime began to force state attorney generals to prosecute the people carrying out these public lynchings. By 1960, the spectacle of a public lynching and all public violence against us had all but disappeared. As was stated, private lynchings still continue, but the image of the U.S. being a country that encouraged this public violence against the African masses was effectively diminished after the decade of the 50s.
Along with that social development, in 1981, an African woman in Alabama, U.S., who sued the Ku Klux Klan over them murdering her son, received a settlement that awarded her millions of dollars of the land and property owned by that KKK chapter. This was a landmark decision just in the sense of it being the very first time white supremacists were forced to suffer real consequences of any level for engaging in violence against us. This development certainly made a further contribution towards forcing the white right to change their tactics.
Fast forward to today, white supremacy and the dehumanization of the African masses is alive and well. It doesn’t have to manifest itself in public lynching events any longer. Instead, racists have institutionalized code language and practices where they have learned to say things like “law and order” which is code for “we need to suppress these African people.” It doesn’t matter if 90% of the protesters are white, the imagery is the same imagery it has been for 500 years; the specter of the African slave rising up to rape white women and overrun the plantation. No public lynching event, but hundreds of whites driving big tire HEMI trucks emblazed with TRUMP signs. Thousands of whites showing up at protests armed to the teeth under the guise of protecting property. As in the case of the teenager in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S. who shot the two white protesters, no one drives out of state, armed, to protect a business they most likely never utilized. These are the actions of someone anticipating the opportunity to employ violence against a perceived foe. These people believe that death is the suitable result for the destruction of property while simultaneously believing that the destruction of property is never a justification for protesting death. This is the legend of the white vigilante, in the spirt of the KKK, showing up to keep the African slaves in their proper place. Again, the fact many of the protesters are white is completely ill relevant because in the eyes of these white supremacists, those whites are out there protesting on our behalf. So, to them, they see those whites the same way they see us. And, this is also not something new. There have always been those whites who desired to stand on the side of justice. There have always been those people who made the decision to stand against the dominant white society. And, for making that decision, those whites have faced the full wrath and violence of white supremacy. Whether its Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwener in Mississippi in 1964 or Anthony Huber or Joseph Rosenbaum in 2020, the way in which the broader white community responds to their deaths is key in understanding the consistency of this unfortunate phenomenon. In all cases, the dominant narrative is to blame the victims for being there. To question their motives and actions. The vitriol aimed at the Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S., victims is the same type of vitriol that was aimed at the Mississippi civil rights workers almost 60 years ago. The fact they are all white is ill relevant. To the European community, these white people were standing up for African justice and to do that is to stand up against the very foundation that this backward system is built upon. Anyone who dares do that is subject to death in the minds and hearts of these people.
And the hatred this white right (or liberal so-called left) has for those whites who buck the system against them is nothing compared to the anger these whites hold against us for daring to assert our humanity. It’s the same anger that’s always been directed against us. That anger stems from the reality that capitalism has been, and continues to be in a severe state of decline. For any doubters of this, all one has to do is look at the last six months and how quickly this “strong economy” came crumbling down to its knees. Capitalism’s instability has dripped down to the white masses. No longer able to depend upon the system to placate the white masses, the ruling classes have skillfully reached into their old bag of tricks and curtain called us again to be the scapegoats for even the slightest drop of European discomfort. If white people are suffering, or even perceive themselves of any potential suffering, its our fault. We are the cause of all of their problems. They are completely conditioned to never look at the system. Just us. Consequently, this reality continues to increase their misdirected contempt at us. And, the result is the history of this country is ripe with examples of Africans being brutally terrorized for things as simple as not stepping off the sidewalk in deference to white people. Or, even touching white people. Or, in the case of Emmet Till, being incorrectly accused of whistling at white people.
The premise, the conditions, the results, all the same, whether we are talking about 150 years ago or today. In the eyes of this country, we have never mattered and despite whatever happens to us, any effort we make to challenge it, will always be met with impatience, deflection, and violence. During slavery times, all efforts by abolitionists to expose the brutality of slavery were always met with denials, refutations, and violence. During the 100 years of racial segregation, whatever efforts were made by proponents of justice, civil rights activists, etc., were always met with denials, counter arguments, and violence. Today, any efforts we make to point out the contradictions of any social ill that is based on principles of white supremacy, will always be met with denials, counter arguments, and violence.
There is no difference in essence. Only in form. The social norms of today make public lynching a little more difficult than it was 100 years ago so what has changed is the form in which white supremacy is implemented. Old racist stereotypes that have existed since white supremacy’s creation have been repackaged. Africans are dishonest and lazy. Dangerous and susceptible to violence. That everything we have we owe to white supremacy and the capitalist system, meaning European Judeo-Christian society. These old racist narratives are playing out through code language today by criminalizing us to present an image that all we want to do is carry out destruction for no logical or justified reason. Anything we do is wrong, illegal, and immoral while anything they do is justified and legal. There were no exceptions to this is 1820 and there are no exceptions in 2020. The absolute only differences are today the perpetrators of this fraud can wrap themselves in the U.S. flag and in the Bible. They can do this without even mentioning us by name because everyone has become trained to interpret these symbols as rallying calls against us. They no longer have to post that the “n - - - - rs are rising up against the slave plantation” like they used to. Yes, we know some of them still do it that way, but the point is they no longer need to. Today, all they have to say is “we are protecting America” and after 500+ years of conditioning, everyone knows from that point forward exactly what they are talking about. They have to protect this European empire from us, the people who strive to take it down. To steal what the pristine white people have worked so hard to achieve. Something they believe we are incapable of achieving. Any white people engaged on our side are just extensions of us to them.
What’s happening now during this pandemic and for the foreseeable future, is that these contradictions have again come to the forefront. There are millions lining up to challenge the power structure and police terrorism has become the hot point of this struggle. There are millions who are dedicated to protecting the U.S. empire at any cost and for them, the struggle against police terrorism is the point where they feel they can attack this threat against their beloved empire. The capitalist ruling classes, of course, understand things on a much more advanced level. They understand that the empire is built on our exploitation. So, for them, their essential task is keeping the minds of the masses of white people away from understanding anything concrete about what’s happening. Their strategic approach is to pull from the old playbook on white supremacy. It has worked effectively for five centuries so there is absolutely no reason for them to think about changing that strategy now. So, their message is for white folks to get armed. Intensify support for police repression against us. See protecting the empire as their personal responsibility and whatever they do to us in the process of carrying out their patriotic mission, its justified. Its nationhood. Its right by God. And, whatever Africans and other colonized people who foolishly fall prey to their vile rhetoric and adopt it as their own, this is just bonus points.
The mold is cast. They have the open season on hunting us that they have been waiting for and history demonstrates that they will not be hesitating in using it. And, as present events illustrate for us, when they attack and kill us they will be protected to the highest levels imaginable. Any of us who continue to deny reality and act as if we have rights under this system are going to be subjected to the worse experiences you could even attempt to conjure up.
What all this will mean for us is we have to get ready. Just showing up at marches is not going to be enough and doing that could become extremely dangerous everywhere. Emotional appeals to morality were ineffective during slavery, segregation, etc., and they will be useless now. As Kwame Ture warned us “nonviolence is an effective tactic when you can convince your adversary that their actions are wrong. The problem with this approach is it depends upon your adversary having a conscience when America has none!” Crying and complaining to the instruments of this system are not going to serve us. The only option we have to keep our families and communities safe is to organize to protect ourselves. Consistent with the narrative articulated in this piece, white supremacists haven’t “infiltrated” police departments as liberal media constantly harps these days. White supremacy and police has always been and will always be one and the same. Our salvation will come from our organized efforts, nothing else. If we wish to avoid continued terrorism being meted out against us, we will have to come together to stop this ourselves. This requires everyone getting engaged in organizations complete with political education processes and community defense projects to help us be prepared. Our history is full of our people who understood these realities even centuries ago. The information on Seminole Indian alliances with African maroons is something that very few have studied, but these relationships existed to protect us against these terrorists. Organizations from the Lumbee Indigenous Groups in Mississippi to the Deacons for Defense in the same geographical region serve as very positive examples of us standing up against white supremacy to fight fire with fire. An unspeakable number of lives were saved by the efforts of these organizations. If we want to survive now, we have to adopt this same spirit of self-determination and take it to a new level of organization just as our enemies are doing with their white supremacist approaches.