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Mar 22, 21

Accomplices Not Grammys: Against Woke Theatrics

A critical response from Indigenous Action to the recuperation of Accomplices Not Allies at the most recent Grammy awards.

“Accomplices Not Allies” remains an indictment of artificial declarations of “allyship,” it is not a prop for woke theatrics.

Those who call for “justice” and “freedom” yet only offer solidarity on the condition that it doesn’t interfere with the rewards they gain from colonization and other systems of oppression are essentially frauds. There’s no other way to put it.

Since we authored the provocation Accomplices Not Allies in 2014 we have witnessed its extraordinary proliferation and co-optation. We are not surprised that liberals would gravitate towards any sense authenticity, their insincerity is such that any truth can be manipulated and used to camouflage and maintenance of their privilege(s). Like the uncritical opportunists that they are, “truth” can only ever be lost on them. Their vocation isn’t truth or justice its the fomentation of illusions and confusions to keep the exploited and oppressed divided and befuddle with false promises, and a permanent defeatism disguised as their opposite. Because though they know the authentic among the oppressed and colonized cannot obtain justice from their colonizers, and oppressors. They equally know that they themselves, as opportunists, collaborators, and co-oppressors can obtain justice as “rewards” under Capitalist Settler Colonialism. It is quite literally the medium of exchange, as “justice” means, just us. It presupposes a necessary maintenance of the status quo, though perhaps under more decorative and beautified terms.

This next example in a long legacy of activist theatrics and self promotion displayed at the Grammys is no exception.

We would otherwise enjoy ignoring the grandiose elitist auditory spectacle but we felt a particular sting when the music stopped and this uncomfortable statement attached to our initial analysis was made, “It’s time that we demand the freedom that this land promises…We don’t need allies, we need accomplices.”

We are compelled to clarify that stolen land offers no promise of freedom. This is the great historical lie of colonial invaders whose promises of freedom and democracy were fulfilled through genocide, theft, and slavery. This is what “freedom” and settler “democracy” on stolen lands encompasses. Lest we forget that the very concept of American “Democracy” and “Representation” were misappropriated, stolen and corrupted by the very violent psychopaths from the Indigenous subjected to that violence and colonialism.

We want to make it clear that we demand nothing from the rulers of an empire of lies built by and upon stolen lives. That the call for action was made to Biden and not for people to continue to rise up and fight for liberation underscores the uninspired insincerity and incomplete aspirations of the statement and chant “until freedom.” To make such a call makes any alignment let alone accomplice-ship impossible. But we don’t expect that such nuance would come from, let alone be in the awareness level of the Grammys or from liberal activists in the spotlight on a stage or in the streets gripping the megaphone. These ARE “Ally’s” that still seeks legitimacy in this performance: a staged militant aesthetic with liberal demands before an elitist audience, the crowd applauds, then it’s business as usual, not the actions, behavior or stance of Accomplices, but more accurately the actions of traitors or as Malcolm X put it, by liberal Foxes in service to Wolves. A meaning we have a sense of history and nuance to understand, but can be critical enough to actually KNOW how our four legged and furred relatives really are. We don’t think they’d mind the analogy, after all, since they ARE our Accomplices and we are Theirs. This pattern of rhetorical spin and misrepresentation has been the typical way that the non-profit industrial complex and professional liberalism/activism in militant dress has pivoted and weaponized Accomplices Not Allies and most calls for radical solidarity against the very movements it claims to support. They literally are the very people who Accomplices Not Allies is describing and critiquing.

We’ve experienced this in our own struggles and we’ve witnessed it with the Black Lives Matter movement, we authored the original provocation to expressly point out this fact. Lest what we say now be twisted further by these pathogens called Allies, or any other disguise, to be clear, we unequivocally support BLM in its militant rebellion against white supremacy and state violence. Solidarity of BIPOC communities is essential in our collective struggle towards total liberation. Yet most declarations of “accomplice-ship” (as some movement entrepreneurs now regrettably call it) are interpretations of the original piece that are really just moves towards co-optation and counter-insurgency in service of all of our on going colonialism, genocide and enslavement. In a world where the facts of our daily lives are materially abject and tangibly self evident there is nothing to interpret, there is no history, no need for follow-up, it’s what we live.

If you are not directly challenging or unsettling power with actions that break the bonds, laws, and social order that are our permanent condition of colonial genocide, you are not OUR accomplice. Though you indeed are someone’s. Yet our power is with the people, our ancestors, and sacred lands.

We invite you to read the original zine, determine your position, implicate yourself and act in anti-colonial struggle.

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