against narratives of necessity

Posts tagged “confrontation

Smack a White Boy Round Two: CrimethInc. Eviction

originally posted to illvox in 2009. edited for terminology, formatting, spelling, and mechanics.


Note: this is a brief summary of the actions that took place, and in no way describes the situation in full

Dread locked white punks, crusties with their scabies friends, and traveling college bros swarmed a space on the dividing line of gentrification in the Bloomfield/Garfield/Friendship area late July 2009 in Pittsburgh for the annual CrimethInc convergence. Whereas previous CrimethInc convergences had been located deep in wooded areas, this particular one took place in a poor, black neighborhood that is being pushed to the borders by entering white progressive forces.

There were those that had experienced CrimethInc’s oppressive culture and people for years and others who had experienced enough oppression after just a few days. Our goals were to stop CrimethInc, their gentrifying force, and to end the convergence right then and there for all that they had done.

Just a few blocks away, eight anarchist/autonomous/anti-authoritarian people of color* gathered to discuss a direct confrontation. We arrived from different parts of these stolen lands of the Turtle Island. Some came from the Midwest, some from the Northeast, some born and raised in Pittsburgh. Altogether we represented 7 different locations, half of us [assigned female at birth (AFAB),] a variety of sizes, skin color, with identities of queers, trans, gender-queers, gender variants, and womyn. With little time and a desire for full consensus, we quickly devised a plan. A local APOCista offered safer space housing for unarrestables, parents, and children of color, we planned to extend that offer to the best of our abilities. We departed toward the convergence from our local apoc Pittsburgh friends with complete support.

Upon entering the convergence space, we each immediately began to fulfill our roles. One APOCista’s role was informing a mother of color and her child about the action and then offering safer space housing for the duration of their stay. This same APOCista also began informing other POC that were not already aware of our plan of what was about to take place and inviting them to join us or to remove themselves from the area if they chose. Some APOCista checked in with allies about our time schedule, also ensuring that there would be look outs for cops.

The majority of the CrimethInc kids were in the ballroom on the second floor watching and participating in a cabaret. A group of us began gathering attendees’ packs, bags, shoes, banjos, and such from the other rooms on the second floor and moving it all down the hallway towards the stairs. We had gone pretty unnoticed, mostly due to lack of lighting.

Once those rooms had been emptied, it was time for the main event. We gathered at the ballroom’s doorway furthest from the stairs following the final act of the cabaret.

“On the count of three. One, two, three!” one APOCista said.

“Get the fuck out!”, we all shouted.

And the eviction began. One apocer began reading ‘An Open Letter to White Radicals/Progressives’, while the others began yelling at the attendees to gather their things and leave. Irritated by their continued inaction after about 10 minutes or so, one of the people involved in the action shouted,

“This is not an act! Get your shit, or we’ll remove it for you!”

Some white people started grabbing their bags and heading towards the back, but most stayed and watched as we piled their possessions in the hallway. Of course, many of them stayed pulling back bags from our arms, physically restraining us, attacking us, creating blockades, and trying to engage in dialogue about what was happening. We were not open to negotiation and stated such. There is no negotiation for colonization. As we were approached with physical force one of us responded with,

“Don’t try to fight us, we are not pacifists, we will defend ourselves!”

[a couple of hours of moving bags, being forcibly moved, blockaded, physically and verbally attacked, and yes defending ourselves]

One apocista was pushed down stairs

one was pulled out of the room

one was picked up and taken out of the room

[an AFAB] persyn was almost punched in the face by a white male when 2 others pulled them back

[AFAB] persyn grabbed by a tall white man while others yelled get her

a mother of color came in to defend us and pull a poc organizer off one of us

poc organizers forcibly closing door on us, crushing our bodies and heads.

One grabbed a big board that was used to push us out the door.

After quite a bit of time and effort used by folks to get us out of that space, we remained standing.

The cops had approached, a call was made to one of us upstairs to inform us that there was a policeman outside and they were being talked to by a police liaison and the situation was under control. We looked around to see other people of color and a medium sized group of mostly cis white males that were left. While at this point mostly engaging in discussion with other POC and POC organizers some people convinced the remaining stubborn white people to leave, after telling the last white persyn there that they were not welcome in this space, the doors were locked and caucusing began.

After 20 minutes or so, most everyone had expressed their opinion, people were emotional, tired and the discussion ended. We removed ourselves from the space. One APOCista involved in the eviction conferred with a medic to try to regain normal breathing due to an asthma attack that had been taking place over the last 3 hours of the eviction. We all exited, we were greeted by friends, allies, and others that had helped us by participating in the action.

We said our goodbyes, and departed towards a local’s house to debrief and discuss the events that had just taken place.

Why was the CrimethInc. Convergence specifically targeted?

It had first been proposed by some Pittsburgh APOC that the convergence, its organizers, and its attendees be addressed initially by a boycott. There were APOCers from Pittsburgh who made a call for action and Smack a White Boy Round Two was proposed and some local APOCers gave 100% support for an action. This support for an action had much to do with the CrimethInc organizers’ disregard for the role they and CrimethInc attendees could play in gentrifying the neighborhood in which it was held. In email correspondence with one apocer that attended the convergence for its entire duration, the CrimethInc. organizers refused to address that they were organizing a white event (an event that, despite the attendance of a small handful of POC, was structured for white people, largely by white people, and as a white space). The organizers did not obtain the consent of any of the relevant communities before arranging for a convergence and went so far as to attempt to buy a building in a poor black neighborhood. By the lead of the white man specifically, white people are still invading, stealing, and colonizing. Organizers also implied that simply because they were no longer buying a space for the convergence, concerns about its impact on surrounding communities were invalid.

There were also apocers from around the country that had come to the convergence with no knowledge of the previous conversations that had taken place, yet were still appalled and disgusted upon entering the space. There were people from other cities that were on call and ready to come help take action once people attending the convergence and locals decided what kind of confrontation was necessary.

Despite concerns, a large mass of white people were brought to a site of gentrification and contributed to it, setting up a white space along Penn Avenue. People of color both within that convergence and within the communities it was situated were alienated. Many people of color attending the convergence were regularly silenced and disrespected. One wonders also how all the bros, overt perpetrators of white male power, can call themselves anarchists. Similarly, those who spearheaded and those who participated in the inappropriate jokes workshop, self-labeled though they may be, are no anarchists in our eyes. To the contrary, within the “movement” these people are some of the most overt perpetrators of oppression. Setting up “safe space” for racist, sexist, homophobic, and transphobic jokes is not anarchism, it is the continued violence of white-led oppression verbally embodied.

To all those who hide your oppressiveness and your privilege behind “anarchism,” as you can see, your perpetuation of white supremacy and patriarchy have not gone unnoticed. Throughout the convergence, you disrespected peoples’ gender identities, and lied to and ignored neighbors of color. And many knew full well that there were at least two perpetrators of sexual assault present at the convergence (which went against the convergence’s own policy), yet nobody said or did anything.

Why CrimethInc.?

CrimethInc has been/is the breeding ground for white anarchists. They encourage the culture of dropping out of society, which makes the assumption that the reader/attendee has that privilege and therefore their words speak only to those that have it.

Refusing to try to create a culture of calling people out on their shit allows for people in privilege to remain stagnant and thus creating “safe spaces” for the oppressors.

CrimethInc organizers have on many occasions attempted to try to dominate and control mass actions.

The furthering of our (oppressed peoples) silencing to create harmony to just sit back and deal with the oppressive behavior that we face within the “movement” for any oppression of that beyond class. The attitude that these oppressions are either irrelevant or not as important

Having no effective or serious anti-oppressive analyses or stance shows us that combating oppression is not in their interest

Why the White “Anarchist” Movement?

All of us who have participated in this action have interacted with white anarchists for good amounts of time in our organizing and/or lives. Our relationships with these folks have varied. But let us tell you this, not one of us has been unaffected by the racism within the movement. Don’t think these are isolated instances. White supremacy plays a role in everything. The anarchist scene reproduces the same oppressive social relationships we face throughout society, and furthers the notion that oppression does not exist within the movement. This silences many. [Note: watch Born In Flames]

We see this blatant oppressive behavior and failure to address privilege and each individuals role in the furthering of oppression [see the Memorable Quotes section for: internalized fascism].

Most of us have to spend our lives in unsafe spaces, and it is worsened with white peoples inability to help address oppression.

Euro-centric anarchism that also fetishizes people of colors struggles

Colorblind, Pretending we are all coming from an equal position

Failure to barely even question cultural appropriation.

Continuously fighting for the white issues in oppression. which has divided the feminist movement, gay rights movement and the anarchist movement in the US.

Failure to deconstruct white supremacy for what it truly is. meaning it’s not just about nazis.

The white race continues to be a parasitic force through cultural appropriation, colonization(they call it gentrification these days). They brought and continue genocide. Disease, slavery, starvation, capitalism, patriarchy, Christianity. Each and every white person benefits from white supremacy and the oppression of people of color. ultimately they will serve their own good. White anarchists tokenize/fetishize indigenous and other people of color. We are objectified and become something to be managed and be organized by whites, or educated by the white man. We are sexualized by the white queer anarchist movement. From the eco, feminist, unionist, student, communist, punk anarchists; in the end they show their white supremacy.

Things to address

APOC – the acronym stands for anarchist/anti-authoritarian/autonomous people of color. It is the name of different collectives and groups. it is also an individual identity, and a movement. Anyone who is such can claim the acronym APOC. For example, you don’t have to go to Bash Back! meetings to be in Bash Back, you don’t have to have an APOC group to be APOC.

Our autonomy – the different people who participated in the “eviction” came from all around the country to the CrimethInc convergence for their own reasons. some were hoping to see some change in the role that white supremacy plays, some went to “educate” white folks, some went to see friends, and some for the sole purpose of taking action.

Race traitor – there are rumors afloat that the term “race traitor” was used towards mixed people and other who weren’t participating. this is untrue. the word was used towards specific individuals and their personal history of posturing a role in upholding, defending, and ultimately furthering white supremacy. for instance, by the spreading the idea that it is because we are not doing enough, that it is our fault that we are oppressed.

Unnarrestability of individuals – this convergence was filled with an absolute disrespect for the unnarrestability of individual persyns, even when it was brought up repeatedly by them. For unarrestable people of color, this is serious! It has nothing to do with not being anarchist or punk enough and shouldn’t be thought of that way at all. Undocumented people especially shouldn’t have to beg to be protected by the anarchist community and those they call “friends”. Consideration of unnarrestability is the MOST basic thing white anarchists need to think about to have a mindset conscious of undocumented people. Keep your fucking community safe. Until then, you aren’t any kind of ally.

For the unarrestables that were “evicted” at this convergence, you spoke once and your voice was heard round the country, echoed throughout the community, people spoke in defense of you, and against this action for you. When we scream for support, we are not heard, and our struggles go unnoticed, because we are invisible from the get go.

displacement and oppression of white people… I won’t even give lip service this to this point

tactics – This was a direct action, whether anyone likes it or not the purpose was to end the convergence, and the convergence was ended effectively and efficiently. Disgruntled attendees speculating on better tactics or a better message is fairly useless – the purpose has been fulfilled

anarchist fox news, honestly, listen to yourself, can you not hear the white supremacy in your own voice?

Memorable Quotes

“While we were bein’ kicked out, I was looting the kitchen.” – white attendee

“This is the most racist thing ever”- white convergence attendee

“you’re taking advantage of anarchists because you know they wont call the cops” – organizer

“we don’t know that, answer me a question, how many snitches at snitch camp this year?”- APOCista

“race doesn’t matter” – white attendee

“we’re gonna have an orgy against this” – white attendees

“what are you still doing here, we’ve been doing the same thing before you came here, while you are here, and will continue after you’re gone” – a white convergence attendee

“we’re all from Africa” – white attendee

“you can’t smash patriarchy, you can’t destroy racism” – opposing POC

“what do you want me to do hate myself because I’m white” while crying {white guilt}

“look around almost all thats left is cis white guys”

in response to talk about genocide, rape,colonization, white people responded with “that wasn’t me”

“if you touch the puppets, I’ll fight you”

“j, I’m gonna be picking you up now, can somebody please help me pick j up {while trembling and screaming} I don’t want to drop them, people will think I’m racist” – white persyn

“somebody give me some mace, they need to get the fuck up outta here” – opposing POC in reference to apocista’s taking action

“we’re closing the door on you”, as they precede to crush our bodies between the door and door frame

“I live in this neighborhood!” – said by a few white people

“its a apoc black bloc performance about gentrification” after which many preceded to clap

“me? did I do these things, little Ian?” – little Ian

“but I gave you a ride” – white attendee

“lets organize a sit in against this!” – white attendees congratulating each other

“why are you oppressing us?” – said by white folks

“APOC owes me a week of my life and I’m gonna get it back” – organizer

“I have a crush on all of you poc, I like big booties” – read from the crush jar

“this temporary inconvenience is nothing compared to gentrification and its permanent displacement” – APOCista to the crowd

“wait, I worked with you in New Orleans!” – white attendee

“the neighbors liked our presence, and they are happy CrimethInc is here” – organizer

“you’re violating consent” – in response to taking action

“this is enough to call the cops” – said by multiple people at multiple times

“we’re all anarchists here we’re all fighting for the same thing” – white persyn

* “People of Color refers to those who self-identify as a persyn of color, whether it be yellow, red, brown, black or mixed skinned people. People of Color can include, but is not limited to African, South American, Central American, American Indian, Caribbean, Pacific Island, Southeastern Asian, Arab, South Asian, Pacific Islander, Mediterranean, Indigenous Turtle Island and Indigenous Australian descent.”

An Open Letter to White Progressives and Radicals

Bring it to the Yard: An Open Reply to White Progressives/Radicals

Smack A White Boy- DC APOC Reports Back!

We would like to extend the invitation for any APOCers that didn’t physically attack us to the 2009 Northeast APOC Conference August 6-9th in Philadelphia, PA.

NE APOC Conference 09

“We declare our right on this earth… to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.” – Malcolm X

 

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THERE’S SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT JERRY or, ON NUANCE

via Tumblr, August 2013


Jerry Koch, currently incarcerated for grand jury resistance and supported by many across the country, has contributed repeatedly to the perpetuation of rape culture, misogyny, and white supremacy within the anarchist / left radical community in New York. We are writing in solidarity with those who have been harmed directly by Jerry, those whose abusers and rapists Jerry has defended, those whose rape revenge tactics have been exposed and condemned by Jerry, those whom Jerry has publicly targeted for their feminism in ways that directly expose them to state repression and social ostracization, and those who have been harmed by comrades of Jerry’s at his direct instigation.

Our aim here is to publicly name Jerry’s violent and statist behaviors and to challenge the narrative of pristine martyrdom that has been built around his grand jury resistance. But we also wish to show that it is possible to be both in solidarity and in antagonism with people and movements. If we cannot hold this complexity, all fractions of resistance and revolt will be easily obliterated from the inside.

The state is not our only enemy: Misogyny, white supremacy, capitalism, and other forms of violence and domination replicate state structures on both broad and intimate scales, even within radical communities. Today, we see that grand juries are being used with increasing and alarming frequency to target radicals. This tactic of intimidation is not new, and neither is resistance to it. We unequivocally support all forms of non-cooperation with the state, and we recognize Jerry’s refusal to snitch as an act of solidarity. However, the solidarity he has demonstrated in resisting the grand jury does not wipe away his history of misogynist, racist, and counterrevolutionary actions.

We stand in opposition to grand juries while also denouncing rape apologists. We are in solidarity with Jerry’s grand jury resistance and we are against his disgusting, vicious, and destructive actions of the near past. We are comfortable in this contradictory position of solidarity and antagonism: It is the position in which we live every day. There are many of us here. We encourage all comrades to realize that you do not need to ignore someone’s destructive behavior just because they are under attack from an enemy. To argue that Jerry’s repression at the hands of the state trumps or mitigates his misogynist and racist actions is a grave political mistake.

In recent decades, grand juries have frequently targeted participants and leaders of Black liberation struggles. Jerry’s comrades and supporters have portrayed him as an heir to this legacy of Black resistance. This is preposterous and disturbing. Jerry has ignored race and gender entirely in his political positions and actions. He has actively oppressed people of color in radical communities and has never publicly acknowledged or taken responsibility for this, nor have his peers openly confronted him about his racist behavior. Jerry and his supporters have referenced the history of Black and Brown liberation in relation to Jerry’s incarceration without self-reflection or accountability, and in so doing they participate in a long legacy of appropriating, silencing, and watering down that history. Through their sloppy, de-politicized invocation of Black struggles, they contribute actively to the perpetuation of white supremacy – against which those struggles were and continue to be waged. They also reveal their true interest: the consolidation of a white revolution.

Supporting our comrades doesn’t just mean supporting them when they’re in a difficult situation. It also means confronting them when they are reproducing the very structures they purport to fight against. We must challenge ourselves and one another to do the work necessary to prevent ourselves from becoming unwitting allies of the state, capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy. We all make mistakes, but when any of us is allowed to consistently destroy and suppress true revolt, that person and their silent peers are all guilty.

Community support means standing by grand jury resistors and acting in solidarity with comrades who have experienced violence within the spaces we share. Get used to this uncomfortable position. It is the position of struggle.

For additional perspectives, check out the following resources, all available online: “Why Misogynists Make Great Informants: How Gender Violence on the Left Enables State Violence in Radical Movements”; “Betrayal: A Critical Analysis of Rape Culture in Anarchist Subcultures”; “The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Partner Abuse in Activist Communities”; and “Vikki Law: Resisting Gender Violence Without Cops or Prisons”.


“The Pitfalls of Liberalism”, by Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture)

from the book Stokely Speaks: From Black Power to Pan Africanism, 1969


Whenever one writes about a problem in the United States, especially concerning the racial atmosphere, the problem written about is usually black people, that they are either extremist, irresponsible, or ideologically naive.

What we want to do here is to talk about white society, and the liberal segment of white society, because we want to prove the pitfalls of liberalism, that is, the pitfalls of liberals in their political thinking.

Whenever articles are written, whenever political speeches are given, or whenever analyses are made about a situation, it is assumed that certain people of one group, either the left or the right, the rich or the poor, the whites or the blacks, are causing polarization. The fact is that conditions cause polarization, and that certain people can act as catalysts to speed up the polarization; for example, Rap Brown or Huey Newton can be a catalyst for speeding up the polarization of blacks against whites in the United States, but the conditions are already there. George Wallace can speed up the polarization of white against blacks in America, but again, the conditions are already there.

Many people want to know why, out of the entire white segment of society, we want to criticize the liberals. We have to criticize them because they represent the liaison between other groups, between the oppressed and the oppressor. The liberal tries to become an arbitrator, but he is incapable of solving the problems. He promises the oppressor that he can keep the oppressed under control; that he will stop them from becoming illegal (in this case illegal means violent). At the same time, he promises the oppressed that he will be able to alleviate their suffering—in due time. Historically, of course, we know this is impossible, and our era will not escape history.

The most perturbing question for the liberal is the question of violence. The liberal’s initial reaction to violence is to try to convince the oppressed that violence is an incorrect tactic, that violence will not work, that violence never accomplishes anything. The Europeans took America through violence and through violence they established the most powerful country in the world. Through violence they maintain the most powerful country in the world. It is absolutely absurd for one to say that violence never accomplishes anything.

Today power is defined by the amount of violence one can bring against one’s enemy—that is how you decide how powerful a country is; power is defined not by the number of people living in a country, it is not based on the amount of resources to be found in that country, it is not based upon the good will of the leaders or the majority of that people. When one talks about a powerful country, one is talking precisely about the amount of violence that that country can heap upon its enemy. We must be clear in our minds about that. Russia is a powerful country, not because there are so many millions of Russians but because Russia has great atomic strength, great atomic power, which of course is violence. America can unleash an infinite amount of violence, and that is the only way one considers America powerful. No one considers Vietnam powerful, because Vietnam cannot unleash the same amount of violence. Yet if one wanted to define power as the ability to do, it seems to me that Vietnam is much more powerful than the United States. But because we have been conditioned by Western thoughts today to equate power with violence, we tend to do that at all times, except when the oppressed begin to equate power with violence—then it becomes an “incorrect” equation.

Most societies in the West are not opposed to violence. The oppressor is only opposed to violence when the oppressed talk about using violence against the oppressor. Then the question of violence is raised as the incorrect means to attain one’s ends. Witness, for example, that Britain, France, and the United States have time and time again armed black people to fight their enemies for them. France armed Senegalese in World War II, Britain of course armed Africa and the West Indies, and the United States always armed the Africans living in the United States. But that is only to fight against their enemy, and the question of violence is never raised. The only time the United States or England or France will become concerned about the question of violence is when the people whom they armed to kill their enemies will pick up those arms against them. For example, practically every country in the West today is giving guns either to Nigeria or to Biafra. They do not mind giving those guns to those people as long as they use them to kill each other, but they will never give them guns to kill another white man or to fight another white country.

The way the oppressor tries to stop the oppressed from using violence as a means to attain liberation is to raise ethical or moral questions about violence. I want to state emphatically here that violence in any society is neither moral nor is it ethical. It is neither right nor is it wrong. It is just simply a question of who has the power to legalize violence.

It is not a question of whether it is right to kill or it is wrong to kill; killing goes on. Let me give an example. If I were in Vietnam, if I killed thirty yellow people who were pointed out to me by white Americans as my enemy, I would be given a medal. I would become a hero. I would have killed America’s enemy—but America’s enemy is not my enemy. If I were to kill thirty white policemen in Washington, D.C. who have been brutalizing my people and who are my enemy, I would get the electric chair. It is simply a question of who has the power to legalize violence. In Vietnam our violence is legalized by white America. In Washington, D.C., my violence is not legalized, because Africans living in Washington, D.C., do not have the power to legalize their violence.

I used that example only to point out that the oppressor never really puts an ethical or moral judgment on violence, except when the oppressed picks up guns against the oppressor. For the oppressor, violence is simply the expedient thing to do.

Is it not violent for a child to go to bed hungry in the richest country in the world? I think that is violent. But that type of violence is so institutionalized that it becomes a part of our way of life. Not only do we accept poverty, we even find it normal. And that again is because the oppressor makes his violence a part of the functioning society. But the violence of the oppressed becomes disruptive. It is disruptive to the ruling circles of a given society. And because it is disruptive it is therefore very easy to recognize, and therefore it becomes the target of all those who in fact do not want to change the society. What we want to do for our people, the oppressed, is to begin to legitimize violence in their minds. So that for us violence against the oppressor will be expedient. This is very important, because we have all been brainwashed into accepting questions of moral judgment when violence is used against the oppressor.

If I kill in Vietnam I am allowed to go free; it has been legalized for me. It has not been legitimatized in my mind. I must legitimatize it in my own mind, and even though it is legal I may never legitimatize in in my own mind. There are a lot of people who came back from Vietnam, who have killed where killing was legalized, but who still have psychological problems over the fact that they have killed. We must understand, however, that to legitimatize killing in one’s mind does not make it legal. For example, I have completely legitimatized in my mind the killing of white policemen who terrorize black communities. However, if I get caught killing a white policeman, I have to go to jail, because I do not as yet have the power to legalize that type of killing. The oppressed must begin to legitimatize that type of violence in the minds of our people, even though it is illegal at this time, and we have to keep striving every chance we get to attain that end.

Now, I think the biggest problem with the white liberal in America, and perhaps the liberal around the world, is that his primary task is to stop confrontation, stop conflicts, not to redress grievances, but to stop confrontation. And this is very clear, it must become very, very clear in all our minds. Because once we see what the primary task of the liberal is, then we can see the necessity of not wasting time with him. His primary role is to stop confrontation. Because the liberal assumes a priori that a confrontation is not going to solve the problem. This of course, is an incorrect assumption. We know that.

We need not waste time showing that this assumption of the liberals is clearly ridiculous. I think that history has shown that confrontation in many cases has resolved quite a number of problems – look at the Russian revolution, the Cuban revolution, the Chinese revolution. In many cases, stopping confrontation really means prolonging suffering.

The liberal is so preoccupied with stopping confrontation that he usually finds himself defending and calling for law and order, the law and order of the oppressor. Confrontation would disrupt the smooth functioning of the society and so the politics of the liberal leads him into a position where he finds himself politically aligned with the oppressor rather than with the oppressed.

The reason the liberal seeks to stop confrontation—and this is the second pitfall of liberalism—is that his role, regardless of what he says, is really to maintain the status quo, rather than to change it. He enjoys economic stability from the status quo and if he fights for change he is risking his economic stability. What the liberal is really saying is that he hopes to bring about justice and economic stability for everyone through reform, that somehow the society will be able to keep expanding without redistributing the wealth.

This leads to the third pitfall of the liberal. The liberal is afraid to alienate anyone, and therefore he is incapable of presenting any clear alternative.

Look at the past presidential campaign in the United States between Nixon, Wallace, and Humphrey. Nixon and Humphrey, because they try to consider themselves some sort of liberals, did not offer any alternatives. But Wallace did, he offered clear alternatives. Because Wallace was not afraid to alienate, he was not afraid to point out who had caused errors in the past, and who should be punished. The liberals are afraid to alienate anyone in society. They paint such a rosy picture of society and they tell us that while things have been bad in the past, somehow they can become good in the future without restructuring society at all.

What the liberal really wants is to bring about change which will not in any way endanger his position. The liberal says, “It is a fact that you are poor, and it is a fact that some people are rich but we can make you rich without affecting those people who are rich”. I do not know how poor people are going to get economic security without affecting the rich in a given country, unless one is going to exploit other peoples. I think that if we followed the logic of the liberal to its conclusion we would find that all we can get from it is that in order for a society to become equitable we must begin to exploit other peoples.

Fourth, I do not think that liberals understand the difference between influences and power, and the liberals get confused seeking influence rather than power. The conservatives on the right wing, or the fascists, understand power, though, and they move to consolidate power while the liberal pushes for influence.

Let us examine the period before civil rights legislation in the United States. There was a coalition of the labor movement, the student movement, and the church for the passage of certain civil rights legislation; while these groups formed a broad liberal coalition, and while they were able to exert their influence to get certain legislation passed, they did not have the power to implement the legislation once it became law. After they got certain legislation passed they had to ask the people whom they were fighting to implement the very things that they had not wanted to implement in the past. The liberal fights for influence to bring about change, not for the power to implement the change. If one really wants to change a society, one does not fight to influence change and then leave the change to someone else to bring about. If the liberals are serious they must fight for power and not for influence.

These pitfalls are present in his politics because the liberal is part of the oppressor. He enjoys the status quo; while he himself may not be actively oppressing other people, he enjoys the fruits of that oppression. And he rhetorically tries to claim the he is disgusted with the system as it is.

While the liberal is part of the oppressor, he is the most powerless segment within that group. Therefore when he seeks to talk about change, he always confronts the oppressed rather than the oppressor. He does not seek to influence the oppressor, he seeks to influence the oppressed. He says to the oppressed, time and time again, “You don’t need guns, you are moving too fast, you are too radical, you are too extreme.” He never says to the oppressor, “You are too extreme in your treatment of the oppressed,” because he is powerless among the oppressors, even if he is part of that group; but he has influence, or, at least, he is more powerful than the oppressed, and he enjoys this power by always cautioning, condemning, or certainly trying to direct and lead the movements of the oppressed.

To keep the oppressed from discovering his pitfalls the liberal talks about humanism. He talks about individual freedom, about individual relationships. One cannot talk about human idealism in a society that is run by fascists. If one wants a society that is in fact humanistic, one has to ensure that the political entity, the political state, is one that will allow humanism. And so if one really wants a state where human idealism is a reality, one has to be able to control the political state. What the liberal has to do is to fight for power, to go for the political state and then, once the liberal has done this, he will be able to ensure the type of human idealism in the society that he always talks about.

Because of the above reasons, because the liberal is incapable of bringing about the human idealism which he preaches, what usually happens is that the oppressed, whom he has been talking to finally becomes totally disgusted with the liberal and begins to think that the liberal has been sent to the oppressed to misdirect their struggle, to rule them. So whether the liberal likes it or not, he finds himself being lumped, by the oppressed, with the oppressor—of course he is part of that group. The final confrontation, when it does come about, will of course include the liberal on the side of the oppressor. Therefore if the oppressed really wants a revolutionary change, he has no choice but to rid himself of those liberals in his rank.

Kwame Ture
(aka Stokely Carmichael)


Kwame Ture was born Stokely Carmichael on June 29, 1941 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, the son of Adolphus and Mabel Carmichael. He immigrated to the United States in 1952 with his family and settled in New York, New York. He graduated from the academically elite Bronx High School of Science in 1960 and made the decision to attend Howard University. Howard University conferred on him a Bachelor of Science Degree in Philosophy in 1964.

It was while in Washington that Stokely became deeply involved in the “Freedom Rides,” “Sit-Ins,” and other demonstrations to challenge segregation in American society. He participated with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG). He later joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and was elected its National Chairman in June 1966. While in Greenville, Mississippi, he along with his friend and colleague Willie Ricks, rallied the cry “Black Power” which became the most popular slogan of the Civil Rights era. Consequently, he became the primary spokesman for the Black Power ideology. In 1967, he coauthored with Charles V. Hamilton, Black Power, the Politics of Liberation in America. That same year, Stokely was disassociated from SNCC and he became the Prime Minister of the Black Panthers, headquartered in Oakland, California. He soon became disenchanted with the Panthers and moved to Guinea, West Africa.

While residing in Africa, Stokely Carmichael changed his name to “Kwame Ture” to honor Kwame Nkrumah, who led Ghana to independence from Britain, and, Sekou Toure, who was President of Guinea and his mentor. For more than 30 years, Ture led the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party and devoted the rest of his life to Pan Africanism, a movement to uproot the inequities of racism for people of African descent and to develop an economic and cultural coalition among the African Diaspora.

In 1998, at the age of 57, Kwame Ture died from complications of prostate cancer. To the end he answered the telephone, “ready for the revolution.” His marriage to Miriam Makeba and Guinean physician Marlyatou Barry ended in divorce. He has one son, Bokar, who resides in the United States.