Filed under: Anarchist Movement, Anti-fascist, Capitalism, Critique, Featured, US, White Supremacy
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“We will know better for people. We will be a good elite.” – Richard Spencer
Across the spectrum of the Right, the various factions have celebrated the coming to power of proto-fascist billionaire, Donald Trump. Alt-Right boards refer to him as /ourguy/, Alex Jones calls him “our candidate,” Fox News sings his praises, and according to most polls, the vast majority of Republicans still support him.
But with the passing of the new Tax Bill, across much of American society, there is not only a growing crisis of legitimacy in Trump, but a growing class anger against him, as the new tax overhaul amounts to nothing less than an enormous wealth grab from poor, working, and middle class Americans towards the richest and most powerful, and by design the bill will mean sweeping cuts to medicare, medicaid, and social security. Thus, while the Right celebrated Donald Trump as a return to what Ann Coulter described as identity politics for white people, the enormous and growing dejection against Trump which includes many whites, is developing as a response to a very real, class war.
the enormous and growing dejection against Trump which includes many whites, is developing as a response to a very real, class war.
And it is this reality: the realization that poor and working-class whites have fundamentally different interests than elite ones, that terrifies the Right and the ruling class overall. It scares them because in this realization is the possibility that poor and working whites will find common interests with the vast majority of the world’s population regardless of race, gender, and sexuality, and begin to take action. After all, it was this same fear that led to the creation of a racial caste system and the notion of whiteness itself that is endemic to the Americas.
This is why it is incumbent upon working-class and poor whites, to reject and attack white nationalism and white identity politics for the basket of bullshit that it is. But moreover, recognize its overall project, the strengthening of white supremacy, patriarchy, and racial domination in American society in the face of both a growing anti-colonial and anti-capitalist resistance as well as the growing crisis of neoliberalism.
The centuries have past but the question remains the same: will we defend the plantation of slavery, exploitation, and genocide – or take part in burning it to the fucking ground?
The Growth of White Identity Politics and the Push to Save White Supremacy
Ironically, those who graduated through Gamergate and proclaimed so loudly that they were against all identity politics, have in turn become its most steadfast defenders. This embrace by the Right is often framed in terms of the culture war as well as an intense pathological feeling of being under direct attack from all of society simply for being white. And as with many things on the Right, this notion is backed up by a variety of conspiracy theories that claim that powerful forces are attempting to attack white people and drive them into non-existence. While these half-baked narratives differ, they are similar in that they always supplant an analysis of power, race, and class with a conspiratorial vision of a group of secretive elites that in turn acts as a puppet master to various forces, be they State or non-State agents.
It’s also telling that these fears always boil down to conspiracies and hoaxes, not material conditions. From “white genocide,” to the idea that “ANTIFA” would behead all white people on November 4th, to the Breitbart sponsored lie that refugees are mass raping people in Sweden, it seems the attack on whiteness is never real and tangible, but always a fast approaching possibility, but when examined, falls flat when fact checked.
With the benefits of whiteness starting to fall, there is a rush across the Right to redraw the ‘Western’ project and whiteness itself by way of defining who is included within it and more importantly, who is not.
But the largest false notion created by the Right is the idea that we now live in a post-racial society, structural racism and racial caste does not exist, and that moreover, those that suffer the biggest form of prejudice are actually white people. It is this tenant that underlines all facets of white identity politics. Of course, if anyone actually looks at reality, a much different picture comes into focus. Native, Latino, and African-Americans live less longer, are systematically excluded from access to everything from healthcare to housing, are more likely to suffer from systemic and crippling poverty, are subject to environmental racism and pollution, and are killed by the police and are incarcerated at higher rates than whites. Despite the ending of slavery and the destruction of Jim Crow, neoliberalism has only further entrenched racial division within our society and strengthened the racial caste system that defines American life.
But ironically, the selling of the ideological package that we live at an end of history in terms of race relations according to the Right, is also coupled with the decline in what W.E.B. DuBois referred to as “the wages of whiteness.” Meaning, as the Right is advancing the idea that people of color should stop complaining and that whites are the real victims as an identity, at the same time, in terms of actual physical material conditions and even life expectancy, the lives of many poor and working-class whites are degrading; a trajectory that has grown under neoliberalism and is now being accelerated by Trumpism.
With the benefits of whiteness starting to fall, there is a rush across the Right to redraw the ‘Western’ project and whiteness itself by way of defining who is included within it and more importantly, who is not. Some draw the line around race, others gender, while others simply against one specific group, like Muslims or ‘immigrants,’ but the project remains the same: in the face of the collapse of the American empire, whiteness can only be saved by defining who the Other is, once again.
Against the Racial Order of America, For Class War
The Right promotes white identity politics as opposed to a class analysis for an obvious reason – it wants to preserve a system of white supremacy, a colonial creation meant to help cement control by the ruling class over a multi-racial majority.
As the Americas were colonized, elites needed a way of dividing the emerging groups of slaves, workers, indigenous people, and indentured servants from each other. In short, they needed a way to break potential class solidarity in the face of amassing power and wealth of colonial elites, politicians, landlords, and bosses. Also, with the growth of racialized slavery in the American South, the elites were also presented with another problem, how to keep a much larger slave class in line, when they in turn were surrounded by large bodies of poor, indentured, landless, indigenous, and displaced people. Thus, whiteness began as a project of carrots and sticks, as racial codes were created that forbade everything from intermarriage to blacks owning firearms, while at the same time offering privileges and powers outlined in law.
In doing so, the State created a legal framework in which a vast array of people from a wide variety of cultures, regions, religions, and political persuasions were in turn made white. To go against this new order meant coming up against the power of the State; but also to join with it meant the privilege of not only owning slaves as property, but being able to engage in active patrols of black populations, police black movement, and hunt escaped slaves. This in turn led to the creation of the modern police force, as well as a system of white supremacy that at its heart is a cross class relationship between ruling white elites and middle, working, and poor ones; a relationship is both material as well as psychological.
Throughout American politics, a central question has been how to manage and continue this system, either through the continuation of slavery through others forms, or through the advocating of a multicultural version of racialized capitalism that allows for increasing representation of oppressed groups within the ruling structure. But as the crisis of both neoliberalism as well as the growing threat of ecological collapse has continued, different variations of State management have shown themselves unable to smoothe over the fundamental contradictions within society, let alone deal with the looming variety of crises that threaten to tear it apart.
From it’s Libertarian fantasties of markets as States, to fascist conceptions of a future dictatorship ruled by a small group of elites, each dystopia presented by the Right is simply an extreme extension of the world that we already exist in today.
In the face of this reality, the far-Right in both the US and also globally has been positioned to appear as having a pseudo-revolutionary stance against neoliberalism, despite the fact that one thing should be clear to everyone: the Right also has nothing to offer. From it’s Libertarian fantasties of markets as States, to fascist conceptions of a future dictatorship ruled by a small group of elites, each dystopia presented by the Right is simply an extreme extension of the world that we already exist in today. While some have noticed the gaze to the Left by some within the Alt-Right in order to capture the imaginations of white workers, in reality the drive by fascists to ‘oppose’ capitalism is the same as it has been since the formation of the first fascist organizations: to take capital out of the hands of the big capitalists and put it in the hands of an authoritarian State.
This is why fascist and Alt-Right groups contend that their future society will feature instead of class struggle, class collaboration, a world in which workers and bosses work together in harmony, “for the good of the nation.” And if anyone gets out of line, the State holds all the guns, and will be pointing them directly the workers to go back to work. Meet the new boss, even worse than the old boss.
But it’s these actual real differences between those that are exploited and excluded and those who are in control, that white supremacy attempts to erase. Both in terms of trying to establish a connection between wealthy and powerful white people and poor ones, and attempting to divorce relationships between people of a similar class position that are of different colors. In short, to make the majority of whites think that their enemies are below them, and their allies are above them.
In the United States, we face not only the threat of growing authoritarianism, but moreover, the survival of the system of management and governance that is white supremacy. As the mask continues to be pulled off of Trumpism, we have an opportunity to organize and create new relations, struggles, and forms of life. In the end, our lives depend on it. Let’s make it count.