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By Emma Rosenthal

An important discussion has inadvertently come to a head within the Palestine solidarity movement that focuses on the nature of solidarity, agendas within movements, white savior syndrome, the nonprofit industrial complex and alliance building and accountability. While the differences exposed by this discussion have been an issue within the movement for sometime, the discussion is long overdue. 

This all came to a  head when Alison Weir, founder of If Americans Knew, (IAK), and president of the Council for the National Interest, (CNI), responded publicly to the internal decisions, communicated to Weir in personal letters,  of two other Palestine Solidarity organizations; Jewis Voices for Peace (JVP)   and The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (USCEIO)  that it was inconsistent with their anti-racist human rights agenda to work with Weir or her organizations. Weir and her supporters were outraged over the decision by these two groups to dis-associate from her.

What is curious is the response of Weir and her supporters here  and here  including assertions that this was:  the act of zionist infiltrators,  McCarthyism,and that Weir was being silenced, censored and attacked (“by zionists”).  Most notable in the responses to these internal documents is that in calling out what both organizations believe to be in contradiction to their anti-racist principles, they were being “divisive” and “playing into the hands of the zionists.”

No one is silencing Weir. Not working with Weir isn’t silencing her. She is not entitled to every panel, conference and coalition. The definition of zionism* isn’t “disagreeing with Alison”.

With public recognition comes public scrutiny.  At the very least, books get reviewed, and to disagree with a particular author or to choose not to create a forum with or for that author isn’t McCarthyism or a personal attack or censorship.  Despite the protestations of her followers, no one is infringing on Weir’s employment, ability to travel outside the U.S., arresting her, blacklisting her,  keeping her from other forums or from creating forums of her own. She is not at risk for imprisonment, deportation or execution.  (THAT would be McCarthyism, a movement that singled out Jews and Blacks disproportionately.) In pointing that out, I would hope we could focus on fair and honest argumentation and avoid insults, ad hominem and strawmen. We should avoid terms that define a person in ways that they would not define themselves  and instead identify ideas and actions that are racist, white supremacist and zionist and explore their impact and significance.   In that context, a person who is truly anti-racist would want to check themselves out of concern that unintentionally they may have done harm. “I’m not racist but…” is not the response of accountability.  Furthermore “Alison doesn’t have a racist bone in her body” obfuscates the issue and avoids actual accountability.

It was Weir that made this discussion public,  but it is much bigger than her, or her organizations with implications for social justice activism and advocacy in general.  I hope in this article to inform that discussion in a deeper way than has been offered up until now, and I expect in its wake will come even more discussion and understanding, as well as unfortunate insults, ad hominems, strawmen and abuse. I would hope those who believe in their positions would chose to articulate  them in ways that add to our greater understanding and leave insults and derailing obfuscations to those whose positions have little substantiation beyond their own opportunism and bigotry.

This article will not focus on Weir in particular, but rather on the key issues, ideologies and contradictions  that fuel the differences of the current dialogue. Notably this discussion involves core assumptions and entitlements. Without the willingness to explore the root of these premises no one is qualified to then assert that racism isn’t an underlying factor, regardless of all good intentions and “better judgement.”

Divisiveness: or don’t talk about the elephant.

The assertion that those who raise the issue of racism (sexism, ableism etc) are divisive is a common defense against and a way of derailing any discussion of racism and oppression within social justice activism. But discussing already existing divisions doesn’t create them. Denial doesn’t make differences go away. A healthy movement should be able to air differences and account for them, determine which differences are deal breakers for forging alliances and which are healthy in that they allow for a diversity of opinions, experiences and voice.

Discussing Differences: Two Major Tendencies

There are two basic tendencies within what is broadly known as Palestine solidarity with implications in regard to U.S. global policy and social activism as well. One tendency, and the one that I identify with, comes from a tradition of anti-racist, anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist work, which often includes a critique of capitalism at its root. In no context does it see the U.S. as a neutral party, an agent of benevolence or the Great White Hope.  It views Western support for Israel as an extension of and consistent with western imperialism, colonization and conquest.  This tendency doesn’t deny the power of the zionist lobby (The Lobby), but sees that power not as an exception but rather as functioning well within the lobby system itself and the entire infrastructure of U.S. empire and capitalism.  Many of the members of this tendency, myself included,  have been attacked, surveilled and blacklisted by the The Lobby and the zionist establishment.  The problem isn’t with The Lobby in particular, but rather with the political structures that allows for powerful corporate lobbies to exist at all and with how The Lobby exists to support those systems.  This perspective asserts that The Lobby doesn’t just consist of  Israel, its Jewish U.S. supporters  or the self proclaimed “Jewish” organizations (the ADL, Stand with Us, AIPAC). It  also includes the vast number of Christian zionists and the Christian fundamentalist churches, the oil industry, the construction industry, the security industry and by no short measure, the arms industry, all of which profit quite favorably from escalating Israeli militarism.  (In the U.S, while there are less than 6 million Jews, zionist and anti-zionist, there are over 40 million Christian zionists.) Israeli brutality and militarism is consistent and in dialogue with, and developing alongside the growing militarization of police forces within U.S. cities, the prison industrial complex, and urban warfare as well as the militarization of the border with Mexico and U.S. empire.

Within this tendency though, and Weir points this out to JVP,  is the tolerance by some of “soft zionism”.  JVP should address internally as well as publicly its refusal to denounce zionism if it’s going to be consistent with its assertion that it does not work with racists. The attempt by “soft zionists” to present zionism as somehow consistent within a larger human rights narrative is impossible.  In my opinion, Weir is quite correct in this assertion.

The other tendency’s ideology is based in white supremacist assertions and ideology. This tendency sees the problem as an ethnic/foreign one, with one outside agent (Israel) with its internal agents (usually diaspora Jews, with little or no discussion of the vast number of Christian zionists) having “undue influence” via The Lobby, on the U.S. government. This tendency breaks down into two groups:  The first group espouses  outright ideological white supremacy: KKK, Nazis, David Duke, Stormfront, Ron Paul, Paul Craig Roberts, David Icke, Gilad Atzmon, among others, who identify particular Jewish qualities as the core issue and envision themselves engaged in an existential struggle against “World Jewish Domination” and the rising numbers of people of color. Generally they openly fear the growing number of people who are not white, both within occupied Amerika and the world at large, and are overt in their concern for the “eventual extinction” of white people.  They don’t actually care about Palestinians. They just hate Jews more and see Palestine as the front line of a global struggle against white annihilation. They use terms like Jewish power, Jewishness, ZOG (Zionist Occupied Government) and  the Hollowcause;  they doubt that there ever was a Holocaust but assert that if there were it was because the Jews brought it upon (them) (our) selves.

Then there are the neo-liberal/neo-colonialists, whose premise is also white supremacist,  in that they support ruling class interests that favor and promote white power and privilege.  They include Mearsheimer and Walt, Jimmy Carter, Kathleen and Bill Christison, Paul Findley, Anne Wright and Ray McGovern. Their concern is with particular market interests and U.S. foreign policy strategy.  They frame their concern in terms that are white supremacist because they assume U.S. largess and exceptionalism, like “American interests”,  “American core values, “American founding principles”,  “America’s good name and good will”  and the need to “appeal to middle (aka white) America”.  While Weir and her supporters painted all those who call out this inherent racism, as zionists, interestingly, zionism is not so much of a problem for most of this group, but rather the extent of Israeli (perceived) power and disobedience as a client state.  Many of the neo-liberals (including Paul Findley–who, as a U.S. congressman, never opposed South African apartheid, U.S. intervention in South and Central America or the Vietnam War) qualify their critique of Israel with support for a two state solution that would include a specifically Jewish state, run by and with particular advantage to Israeli Jews.  (In case you missed that, it’s essentially zionist, unless by zionist, one mean “Jews”.)  While The Lobby advocates a war economy, the neo-liberal objective is to create markets and promote industry and debt dependency,  which is difficult under extreme military conflict. We could refer to this group and their two state solution as Maquiladora (sweatshop) labor and Halal McDonalds. However to expand markets the neo-libs need the absence of war. They need a passive population to serve the interests of multinational corporations.

The adherents to ideological white supremacy and neoliberalism focus on what they see as the undue influence of Israel on U.S. policy and in many cases present the U.S. as the victim, even the ultimate victim of zionist brutality and aggression.  They are not, for example, offended or concerned that a U.S. spy ship  (the U.S.S. Liberty) was in the Mediterranean spying on Israel and Egypt,  because they recognize that as a significant right of “American” exceptionalism.  They don’t concern themselves with the fact that this was a military target and as such, not innocent, in the way civilians are innocent. They are offended that the ally they gave “so much money to” (bought and paid for) would bomb “our” spy ship.  They are not offended by settler colonialism, racism, apartheid, manifest destiny. The concern of this tendency isn’t with imperialist power, capitalism, hegemony or settler colonialism per se, but rather with what they see as the threat: Israel and by extension,  the Jews. Those who harbor ideological white supremacy locate Jews and Jewishness, as the problem. The neo-liberals focus on Israel: a foreign power, that exercises these systems of oppression outside of what they identify as (their) U.S. interests.

This is to say these two tendencies represent very different ideologies and motivations. One is a movement against racism, imperialism, capitalism and empire. The other sees Israel as an obstacle to imperialism, capital and empire, and rejects any suggestion that this agenda might be fundamentally problematic, supremacist and unjust. This is the root of the objection to Weir, IAK and CNI.  It isn’t personal, it isn’t McCarthyism (which requires the power of the state!). It’s simply a different and opposing politic.

White supremacist opportunism has colonized this movement, columbused* this movement, taken it on as its own, framing it in Amerikanisms, as if the Palestinians were superfluous to their own struggle. Senior Editor Gordon Duff of “Veterans Today”’ referred to Palestinian activists  as “Supposed Palestinian Activists.   Greta Berlin referred to Ali Abunimah, as “Ali Ayatolah,”  Atzmon referred to Palestinian activists  en masse as demonstrating “intellectual intolerance” and to Ali Abunimah as a Sabbath Goy answerable to his Jewish masters.  And many  Gilad Atzmon and Greta Berlin supporters disregarded a widely diverse call from Palestinian activists and scholars, that racism, including antisemitism* has no place in the Palestinian movement here and  here; as if Palestinians had no right to direct the message and the terms of their own struggle.

If Americans Knew, according to its own web page, states:  “she (Weir) founded an organization to be directed by Americans without personal or family ties to the region who would research and actively disseminate accurate information to the American public.”  This false and entitled “objectivity” disregards the politics of experience and pretends that only those not directly impacted negatively can be trusted to come to rational or objective conclusions and make legitimate assertions, or at the very least, to run and direct an organization intended to inform “Americans”. This is so essentially supremacist and in this regard, IAK provides the most ideological framework for stripping the Palestinian struggle of Palestinians and for disregarding the insights of Jewish anti-zionists when it comes to  navigating the distinction between real anti-Jewish racism and  false accusations of antisemitism against any and all critiques of Israel and zionism. One can scroll the pull down menu at the top of the IAK web page and barely find any mention of Palestinians at all. It’s truly striking and offensive – Palestinian struggle without Palestinians, where Palestinians, little more than statistics, with their “personal or family ties” aren’t to be trusted to direct the movement or present “objective” viewpoints. This is the job for the fair-haired Amerikan saviors.  who “read dozens of books on the topic.” 

In one recent statement Weir defends this segregated approach to organizing, citing the value of ethnic-specific organizations, though she doesn’t think anti-zionist Jews or Palestinians know what antisemitism is as she has yet to call out anything within the movement as antisemitic including Atzmon and a host of Holocaust deniers with whom she is closely affiliated and in Atzmon’s case, has publicly defended (against the better judgement of Palestinian activists). She claims that the ethnic makeup of her organization is important to reach a particular constituency. NO DOUBT!  and that’s pretty much the point. Unless one is reaching out to white Amerika to confront their racist entitlement,  from an anti-imperialist anti-racist perspective, one is just reinforcing their entrenched bigotry to the benefit of the ruling class,  especially if one uses language that reinforces that hegemony.

Opportunistic white supremacy advances an agenda in which the Palestinians are superfluous to the struggle and the movement. It pretends that since zionist organizations assert that all and any critiques of Israel and zionism are antisemitic, then nothing is. It uses the Palestinian struggle and other popular concerns to normalize and advance a U.S. imperialist agenda that is racist to its core, and to normalize it, even on the left, significantly on the left.  It is not only anti Jewish,  it is anti-black, anti-immigrant, anti-Native American, anti-Asian, anti-the global south, anti-Arab, anti- everyone the U.S. foreign and domestic policy has hurt, attacked, stolen from and killed, over the last hundreds of years.  Hiding behind scapegoats and particularly Jewish stereotypes to perpetuate an exceptionalism it only opposes when those who embody it are Jewish or “foreign”. The problem with Israel in this context obviously isn’t settler colonialism, or racism, or imperialism, or genocide. It’s the understanding that it is carried out by and for Jews.

But it isn’t. It’s being carried out by U.S. empire– a reality which is easily eclipsed by focusing on  Israel and the Jews, as if in the fight for human rights, U.S. interests were in any way noble. As if the U.S. had a good name to destroy, had core values that were virtuous, as if the U.S. ruling class had suddenly lost the ability or the will to advocate for itself. The appeal to middle (aka white) Amerika betrays and abandons every other movement for liberation and justice.  And this is a key difference: One tendency joins the Palestinian struggle to global struggles for human rights and the other tendency, to white Amerikan entitlement and empire. This is not a minor difference and in recognizing these fundamental contradictions one is not divisive. The existing division is wide, deep and longstanding.

That members of this second tendency may be Jewish or Black or from a group targeted by white supremacy, doesn’t preclude them from espousing and advocating white supremacy. White supremacy is an ideology, and as such can be advanced by anyone. Jewish and Black white supremacists provided a greater illusion of objectivity to the racist assertions.

To be clear, I am not saying we must work on every issue and for every cause. I am not calling out specialization and specification. Yet surely in deciding to devote our attention to one particular cause, we must not sell out others or sell short the larger issues of social justice and we certainly should not colonize causes for what is basically an imperialist objective.

Those within the second tendency have colonized this movement for their own white supremacist agenda, with no concern for the consequences of their analysis and refusing to consider the racist implications of their assertions. White Amerikans will not bear the brunt of any association of Palestinian liberation with anti-Jewish stereotypes and ideology. Victims of U.S. empire will, targets of white supremacy will, Palestinians and Jews will.  Palestinians most of all.

Zionism is racism not only because of the relationship it establishes regarding Jews and Palestinians, it is racist because it is a settler colonialist enterprise of U.S. and western empire.

Between ideological white supremacy and the neo-libs there is incredible overlap in both ideology and endorsement as well as in underlying core assumptions.  That members of these two groups not only express their entitlement to the support of the anti-imperialist tendency, but that they rely on and align with each other is not insignificant.

And there are a few leftist cheerleaders, or those who would have us think they are leftists, for example, Counterpunch magazine,  James Petras,  Cynthia McKinney and Cindy Sheehan who either advocate a Lobby exclusivist perspective or promote those who do to the exclusion of other points of view. These leftists also tend to promulgate conspiracy theories, many of which are rooted in traditional antisemitism and distract activists from supporting human rights and opposing U.S. empire. The promotion of unsubstantiated conspiracies as fact, makes addressing documentable grievances more difficult, as they get caught in the cacophony of the unbelievable. Conspiracism as a ruling class tool,  abandons documentation and material dialectics and replaces them with unsubstantiated accusations,  magic secret societies and outright lies. When Sheehan granted Mckinney and Atzmon quarter on her soapbox she not only refused to allow any other voice to counter Atzmon and the racism that Palestinians have rejected, she blocked and unfriended those of us who attempted a dialogue and critique in the form of comments.

European Christian Origins of Zionist Ideology

In response to two organizations declining to work with Weir, several of her supporters signed a petition defending her.   https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1oyHWpfZtMvDez5XThztcbRMbgzQqMnCibkVk4Rjh3Hw/viewform  Many of the leading names on the petition were predictable, and include many Holocaust deniers, former U.S. governmental officials and CIA and miltary operatives. If Weir doesn’t appreciate their support she needs to disassociate from them (and in some cases, endorsing them).  Endorsement is more than “guilt by association” it is complicity by affiliation and alliance.

I was especially surprised to see Lawrence Davidson’s name among the signatories. Davidson has done deep and considerable work documenting the European Christian fundamentalist origins of zionist ideology.  and   He documents that European Christians envisioned a Jewish state in historic Palestine centuries before Hertzl’s first pen or the founding Zionist Congress and well before the Irgun or Stern Gang set off their first bombs.  Davidson demonstrates how the European Christian interpretation of the Biblical texts has been used to justify western colonization and imperialism: manifest destiny, conquering the wilderness, Pilgrims, the promised land, a city on the hill.

It wasn’t Jews who named Zion National Park, who named Amerikan cities Hebron and Bethlehem.  zionism is essentially a Christian ideology, not a Jewish one. t is settler colonialism, arising as political zionism in the context of 19th century nationalism and imperialism, then promoted decades later to a desperate people after a genocide of catastrophic proportions. Zionism is simply one element of Amerikan empire. Israel’s conquest and domination of Palestine is one more notch on the bedpost of U.S. enterprise.

Follow the money. Just follow the money. I know, I know, the whole rich Jew thing makes that sound silly, but put that stereotype aside and FOLLOW. THE. MONEY. While it is my considered belief that there is no form of political zionism that is not racist, the extreme example we have today is the zionism of empire (Western and Amerikan), bought and paid for. To assert anything else, is only believable because of stereotypes of the powerful Jew, Jewish dominance and Jewish money. To keep asserting these is to give cover to empire, which in turn gives cover to settler colonialism, capitalism, apartheid and racism on a global scale.

A Call for Accountability

Could the neo-liberals at least dis-associate from Ideological white supremacy and admit that there may be SOME sectors of the Amerikan ruling class that benefit from this arrangement and that at the very least campaign finance and the lobby system are systemically, and not specifically flawed?  Could they argue their position vis a vis U.S. foreign and economic policy within the context of U.S. government? Fundamentally that’s rhetorical and unlikely, because their entire premise is one of exceptionalism, empire and obfuscation.

When Lobby exclusivists claim there are no U.S. interests they are hoping we don’t notice the blood money of criminal “justice” system, security, construction, oil and arms; (where 75% of the ‘aid’ money donated by empire to Israel must be spent on US defense product and the other 25% goes to Israeli companies which are floated on the NASDAQ).

“U.S. interests” is a corrupt and outrageous basis for human rights advocacy.  If we are concerned for Palestinian human rights, it must be unconditional and not dependent on entitlements, not zionist entitlements, and not Amerikan entitlements. IAK and CNI should be honest that within the ruling class they represent a sector that may not benefit from (current levels of)  U.S. support for Israel. But to deny any interest is just columbusing* the whole discussion; “We is smart, we is kind, we is important” and thus can retell and untell any story  to make “us” look righteous. But it’s not righteousness. A society that is founded on empire and conquest is hardly the moral authority nor is its support for a smaller version of itself so surprising. U.S. support for Israel is totally consistent with U.S. policy in general: to support those regimes that support U.S. corporate interests.  And this is the basis for those who make this challenge: IAK’s premise is racist on face, not just because of anti-Jewish rhetoric or stereotyping, though the whole assertion of its premise is believable because of anti-jewish stereotypes of Jewish power, money and control; it is racist because it ignores and denies the fundamental and racist similarities between these two settler colonialist societies, and abhors the smaller while vindicating the larger.  It asserts in its very name that IF AMERIKANS KNEW they would do the right thing. But Amerikans do know. They know about slavery, Jim Crow,  police brutality, racism  reservations, immigration laws, and the growing prison system. They know about cuts to welfare, education and social services. They know about drone warfare and “honoring the troops”.  A huge sign is visible from the 5 freeway in San Diego County at the Pendleton Marine Base that proudly states “No Beach Out of Reach.” Does that not offend most Amerikans driving by, or does it fill them with pride? Who could appreciate such an arrogant and murderous imperialist attitude toward all the beaches in the whole world?  Do Amerikans not know that?  At the very least, the powerful funders and founders of IAK and CNI know. The Christisons and Ray McGovern, CIA operatives for many years, have known.  So on what basis do we believe that IF AMERIKANS KNEW about U.S. support for Israel, that (middle) Amerikans would do the right thing, would act any differently than they have on any other issue of Amerikan racist entitlement? Perhaps in pointing fingers and blaming a fifth column of (Jewish) outsiders, they assuage their guilt and reinforce their white savior syndrome. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/03/the-white-savior-industrial-complex/254843/  When these organizations lead with “U.S. interests” how much confidence can we have in what “the right thing” might actually be? And if (middle) Amerikans really don’t know, how opportunistic is it to obscure U.S. historic and ongoing hegemony while calling on (middle) Amerikans to take on Israeli iniquity?

If settler colonialism is wrong, it is wrong. If stealing the best land, genocide, displacement, brutality, exploitation and militarism is wrong, if apartheid is wrong and Bantustans (modeled after Native American reservations) and extra-judicial executions, and false imprisonment, and lack of due process is wrong, if racism is wrong, if apartheid and border walls are wrong,  then there is no anti-racist basis for holding up the U.S. as a beacon, an example of magnanimity, as a paragon of justice. A human rights agenda that begins with Amerikan interests and harkens to some mythological and historically dishonest Amerikan goodness is a racist agenda on a racist premise, in its entirety, from the initial conquest, to ongoing policies toward indigenous Native Americans, to the racist criminalization system, wherein more people are currently incarcerated (in what is considered by many to be the new slavery—the privatized prison system) than were ever enslaved under Amerikan chattel slavery.  The focus on “the Jews” or on Israel, or The Lobby,  separate from or in contradiction to its benefactor, serves to obscure and exonerate capitalism and imperial predation. The racist impact and significance is much deeper and broader than antisemitism.

If their appeal to “middle America” is strategic, then they are lying to the “American people”, and appealing to their racist and jingoistic assumptions. If  the intention is truly to assert Amerikan exceptionalism, the basis is racist: It might be colonialist, it might be neocolonialist. Regardless of the motive, as long as the basis is western interests over regional self-determination  then  they are fighting racism with racism, and the result will always be racist.

If Weir and her supporters aren’t racist, then they as must we all, need to challenge entitlement, comfort, and the belief in their de facto goodness and rightness:  as white people, as Amerikans. If they expect Israel to be held accountable for systemic racism, then so too must Amerika.  For those who won’t, your double standards are showing, and yes, the words for that are entitlement, racism and supremacy.
______________________________

*Lexicon:

*Amerikan: I use this spelling to distinguishes between the U.S. and the American continent which consist of several nations and peoples. The U.S. is a settler colonialist entity, founded on a religious based doctrine of conquest and manifest destiny, contingent on massive and ongoing genocide, slavery and exploitation.

*Columbusing:  Staking claim to land and territory and then changing the narrative so that you’re a hero.

*Antisemitism: Racism against Jews, including Jewish magic, power, undue influence and wealth, Jews as outsiders, pariars. Antisemitism is an important (and ideologically central) aspect to ideological white supremacy and serves to distract the population at large from the problems of capitalism (wealth, undue influence, power) and blames those problems on the Jews.   Joseph Massad explains in detail. 

*Zionism: While the Second tendency (as described in this article) often define zionism along ethnic terms, or as anyone who calls out antisemitism, it actually refers to the belief in a specifically Jewish state, regardless of the ethnicity of the person who provides that support.

by Julia Wallace

-Dedicated to those who resist slavery: chattle, wage and prison

On this day of slavery-this Fourth of July-
Fredrick Douglass’ words challenge current lies.

Today we aren’t slaves but we still aren’t free.
Oppression still remains daily reality.

Wage slaves are slaves-we pay for food and shacks.
Frederick Douglass demanded “Freedom” from a system anti-Black

And Fredrick Douglass’ words ring truer now.
3 million locked up, Black and Brown then how…

How is a country “the land of the free”
with the most people in prison?  Its fallacy!!

The Civil War ended-slaves freed themselves-many.
Now are shackled behind bars and paid mere pennies

And jingoists yell, “If you don’t like it leave!
Go somewhere else!!” but there is no reprieve.

This country attacks all those who rebel.
Obey Uncle Sam or he’ll bomb you to hell.

The people are rising world round every day.
Keep doing that here. I won’t go away.

I will stay and fight your farce of July.
Your phony jubilation – Rotten apple pies.

Fight from inside the belly of the beast.
Disrupt the party. Spoil the feast.

The Government sings “It’s a home of the brave”!!!
A home for capitalists-a trap for wage slaves.

A home for bigots feeling safe in their system.
A home for the bullies and those who defend them.

For the oppressed and workers we are never at home.
Attacked by police, spied on by drones

Our wages are small, rent is too high.
There is no independence on the Fourth of July.

The brave have no home, no country or flag.
So keep your red, white and blue, that imperialist rag.

Celebrate the heroes who rebelled before us.
Like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.

Abandon the flag of stripes and stars
the butchers apron- Confederate bars. 

For the international struggle workers have no borders.
Take down the bosses, the pigs and the hoarders.

This Fourth of July read Fredrick’s word.
Freedom will be coming-act like ya heard.

But it won’t be under the flag of might.
Take the Amerikkkan flag and spark the fight.

*********************************
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Julia Wallace is a social justice activist, writer, grassroots organizer in Los Angeles where she works at revolution and is  a contributor to the Left Voice news.

By Bijan Bahmani

Information for those applying for covered California who have the old green card aka permanent resident cards that don’t have an expiration date and card number (light pink color card that only has an alien number).
Covered Ca has two required boxes when filing that require a card number and expiration date. Covered CA chat answered that the following place holders should be used.
Card number: 2229999999999
Expiration date: 12/31/9999

 Keywords:  obamacare health care, card number, green card, immigration, immigrant, california care, I-551, expiration date, card number (or “without card number” and “without expiration date”), Permanent resident card, resident alien card,  required fields, required box, boxes, required boxes /Covered CA, Covered California, covered california, covered ca. covered CA, 

Why We Cared about the Plantation and Needed an Apology:

A Letter to Ani DiFranco

By Indigo Violet

We bought your records, attended your shows, struggled with your white feminist and queer fans looking askance at us at your concerts. We thought you were an ally. And, now this.

What hurts for us feminists of color is that we went out on a limb to support you, and that in this historical moment when we say “Ani, please don’t have a retreat on an Old South plantation that glorifies its past. We can’t be there. We can’t do anything righteous there. We can only be hurt there,” you respond by lecturing us for being angry and bitter and by refusing to stand in solidarity with our pain. That YOU, the righteous babe, are re-enacting some of the most terrible patterns in white feminism hurts. It hurts because we’ve been organizing, writing, theorizing for years and years, trying to exorcise racism and white supremacy from our feminist movements, wanting white women to join us in that intersectional fight that would liberate us all. It hurts because we deal with racist assaults and racist blindness from the wider society ALL THE TIME, along with sexism, heterosexism, classism, queerphobia, transphobia, ablelism . . . We are living the legacy of the horror of this country. The horror is in the national consciousness that denies the facts of racism. The horror is in the law, economy, the education system, the prison industrial complex, in health care, our neighborhoods, on our streets, in our homes, our relationships, our psyches, and for those of us who are committed to struggle, it is in our politics and art. We’re trying to fix shit.

Imagine you’re a (black) girl just trying to finally come clean, knowing full well they’d prefer you were dirty (gracious— not bitter, not hurt, not angry) and smiling. . .

We need you to fix shit with us.

A friend, Premadasi Amada, wrote this on your Facebook fan page. This friend speaks my mind:

Ani DiFranco, with your insulting excuse for an apology you are now making your bed with all the white folks who are yelling at Black people and women of color: ‘reverse racism’, ‘stop whining’, ‘get over it’, ‘stop being angry’, etc.  Ani, you’re responsible for responding to and reigning in the disgusting expressions of white privilege and hate being spewed by your white fans. The time is now. Also, it’s unfathomable that anything about this has to be explained. You have enough Black women and women of color generally telling you what was wrong with it and how you what you did hurt. Which part of all that leads you to not say you are sorry? You need to listen and apologize rather than complaining and lecturing. This isn’t about you and your feelings Ani.

We need you to fix shit and say something different than what you said. If progressive white folks can’t fix shit, if feminist artists and activists can’t address shit for real, come clean for real about the intricate, longstanding and ongoing pain of race, racism, and white supremacy then there is no hope whatsoever for this America.

© Indigo Violet, December 31, 2013

Links to other articles on this issue:

“In a banner year for non-apology apologies, singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco non-apologized this weekend for renting out an old Louisiana slave plantation to host a songwriting workshop. The event, now canceled, was billed as a “Righteous Retreat” and charged attendees $1,000 to sleep in a tent for four nights and learn about “developing one’s singular creativity” while DiFranco and her friends led jam sessions. The “captivating setting” was to be Nottoway Plantation and Resort in White Castle, Louisiana, a 64-room, 53,000-square-foot antebellum mansion and sugar plantation”

http://www.motherjones.com/…/heres-why-everyone-mad-ani…

www.motherjones.com

The social-justice songstress has canceled the event—but the mess is of her own making._______________________________

“The decision had spurred angry posts across the web. Ninjacate wrote on Groupthink: “It really blows my mind that anyone in Ani DiFranco’s camp had to have it explained to them that luxuriating for a weekend at a site where mass murder and forced incarceration took place for centuries IS A BAD F—— IDEA. And I know this will seem like a stretch, (but I promise it’s not) I genuinely believe that this kind of attitude is directly related to the prevailing world-wide idea of anti-blackness.”
http://blogs.wsj.com/…/ani-difranco-cancels-retreat…/

blogs.wsj.com

Folk singer Ani DiFranco pulled the plug on a coming retreat at a former plantation outside of New Orleans after fans voiced outrage over the location of the event.

___________________________

“It’s not like I hadn’t given any thought to how it would feel to spend four days writing songs with my Ideas Colleagues on an infamous slavery site. We were going to bring really good vibes with us. Vibes of compassion, and also transformation, which as everyone knows is how you heal a plantation.

But there will be no vibes now. I am taking my vibes and my ideas and my compassion and I am going home to my Tempurpedic mattress because of your negative and unfortunate energy.”

http://the-toast.net/2013/12/30/note-from-ani-difranco/

the-toast.net

An open apology note from Ani DiFranco.

 

Christian Entitlement

Comments on an article, because there’s so much more to say on the topic.
By Emma Rosenthal

When an article was recently posted on  Christian “Privilege”   and then circulated on Facebook, I added a few of my own observations and experiences.  I kept coming back to the article to as more and more examples of Christian entitlement came to me.  So I decided it was time to put them into my own list.

This sort of bigotry is very much rooted in white supremacy, manifest destiny, imperialism and conquest. This isn’t really about “faith”, as the article that inspired my list, suggests. It’s very much about culture and domination.  Christian privilege extends to secular life and nonreligious practices. The article itself embodies Christian privilege, in asserting that non-Christians’ faith is the subject of marginalization.  One often does not escape these marginalizing attitudes simply by converting. Often persecution is cross generational, ethnic and racialized.

1. Tests, classes, schedules, the beginning of the school year, programs  will be considered  in scheduling in academic calendars so as not to conflict with your holidays and important events.

2. Negative opinions of your faith aren’t translated into actual policy or institutions that limit you or your access to opportunities and services.

3. The cultural aspects of your faith, or the faith aspects of your culture won’t be minimized, conflated or dismissed.

4.  You won’t be racialized and subjected to systemic racism (including government harassment, profiling, incarceration, genocide) because of your faith or lineage.

5. You won’t be assumed to be a 5th column, loyal to an outside entity.

6. Your religious identity or affiliation will be seen as an indication of virtue and not as dangerous, mysterious, magical, exotic, heretical, dishonest or untrustworthy.

7. If you are a teacher, you won’t be told “i don’t know how you can teach my child.” (i actually have had children pulled out of my class by their parents for this reason, and i’ve heard other Jewish teachers say the same thing. )

8. Your children won’t constantly be told by classmates that they are damned for all eternity and will burn in hell.

9. Because of your faith, you won’t be assumed to be good at some professions, dominating some and untrustworthy in others.

1o. (Despite evidence to the contrary, when it comes to global conquest) you won’t be accused of attempting  world domination and imposing your values, beliefs and religious mandates on the whole world.

11 People who carry out violent acts, won’t be assumed to be from your religious group, even when they are, and when they are, even when religion is the motivator for the act, it won’t be held against you and your entire group.

12. You can use the word crusade like it is a good thing, a generic word simply in reference to an impassioned campaign, as if it has no historic reference to brutality, murder, conquest or genocide.

13. No one asks you where your horns and tail are. (yes. that.)

14. You won’t be seen as a foreigner or outsider, no matter how many generations your family has lived in a particular geography.

15. Your secular appreciation of your holidays, traditions and events aren’t considered superfluous, extraneous or insincere.

ByEwuare X. Osayande

This article was originally published in
People of Color Organize! and is not currently available on that site. We are republishing it here, under the principles of fair use policies,  to make available this important contribution on the nature of anti-racism. -cafe intifada“My friends, I have come to tell you something about slavery – what I know of it, as I have felt it. When I came North, I was astonished to find that the abolitionists knew so much about it, that they were acquainted with its effects as well as if they had lived in its midst. But though they can give you its history – though they can depict its horrors, they cannot speak as I can from experience …”

    Frederick Douglass, 1841

In the past decade or so, we have witnessed the rise of critical race studies, even something called Whiteness Studies. With the rise of Whiteness Studies on college campuses across the country has come the resurgence of whites as so-called experts on all matters pertaining to race. Among the most popular of them is the anti-racist speaker Tim Wise, who has become a regular presence on the college lecture circuit as well as in the media in the past few years. He has even been deemed the leader of the anti-racist movement by some of these very media outlets.

As Black liberationist, abolitionist, anti-racist and social justice activists, we would be wise to use this moment to ask some critical questions of ourselves and the state of the movement for racial justice in the U.S. We are thus compelled to critically engage Tim Wise and what his apparent popularity represents both in symbol and substance. In so doing, we confront the two fundamental issues in this work of eradicating racism: internalized oppression and white privilege.

Wise’s popularity among liberal whites is not that surprising to me. What is surprising is the level of popularity he’s gained within segments of the Black community. Some have even gone as far as to view him as some kind of Great White Hope. What is most curious about this apparent Black fascination with Wise is that when I hear certain Black people and other people of color refer to him, they talk about him in the same way they would talk about the first time they saw a white guy dance, rap or dunk a basketball. By internalizing the stereotypes of Blackness as defined by the white racist imagination, we have, in turn, embraced a codified image of Blackness. Thus, when we see white people cross the race-tracks and engage in behavior that has been deemed “Black,” we react with a kind of cultural “shock and awe.” In the case of Wise it is a little more complicated than that. Wise isn’t being acknowledged for his ability to sing or dance “like a Black person” but for his willingness to cross the tracks of race discourse and out whiteness – the ultimate racial taboo.

There is this sense among some of us that because he speaks against racism, he must be all right. And as such, he has garnered the coveted “ghetto pass,” a symbolic gesture given to those whites considered “down” with Black people. But we have seen what happens when whites feel they are “in like Flynn” with our people; they get right racist and condescending (remember Bill Clinton during the 2008 Presidential campaign?). In effect, they become even whiter. Therefore, let us insure that Wise’s “pass” doesn’t enable him to bypass critical inquiry that could benefit the movement and, maybe, even Wise himself.

What this fascination fails to take into consideration is the fact that white people have been speaking out against racial oppression since the first slave ships docked in the colony of Virginia. We should be past such elementary appreciation. When we fail to hold whites who proclaim an anti-racist stance to a higher standard, all we end up with are whites talking about how bad racism is. Mouthing off against racism is not going to end racism, no matter how loud and boisterous the bombast becomes. We have to get beyond this almost worship-like praise for what, in the end, are but baby steps in the long march against white supremacy.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not have a problem with white people speaking out against racism or Black people acknowledging white people working against racism. But when that acknowledgment precludes or is prioritized over and beyond our acknowledgment of ourselves, then we have a problem. That problem is called internalized oppression, a symptom of the very system we are working to defeat. Therefore, Black people giving uncritical praise or consideration to our white allies actually works toward our continued oppression. Remember how some of our people who were blinded by whiteness used to say: “The white man’s ice is colder”? Well, it seems these days that that same internalized oppression is at play in some who believe that the white man’s anti-racist analysis is more accurate than our own.

When I ask such persons what makes Wise’s commentaries so unique or revolutionary, they become quiet. For in truth, there is nothing new in Wise’s analysis. If anything, it is an analysis born of the blood struggle for Black liberation and racial justice throughout American history. Our ancestors may not have used terms like “white privilege.” Instead, they just called it what it was and is: white supremacy. (Imagine a white anti-racist saying, “I’m going to use my white supremacy to help people of color.”) Nonetheless, white privilege has become the watch-word of the movement. Yet, for the most part, it has been used as a means for white anti-racists to point the finger at “those” whites or navel gaze and wallow in a guilt that doesn’t produce results. Overall, it has the tendency to takes us away from addressing the real issue head on – whiteness itself and the ideology of white supremacy that gives whiteness whatever power and meaning it currently holds.

In the case of Tim Wise and other leading white anti-racists, we can accurately pin-point the state of the anti-racist movement by unpacking the white privileges they, themselves, hold and benefit from.

The first of these white privileges is one I have already addressed: The ability to paraphrase and/or otherwise exploit the analysis of Black liberation struggle and have it received by others as though it were their own. In the past decade or so, there has grown a cottage industry of books written by white people talking about their whiteness and their awareness of racism. When these white authors fail to acknowledge the debt they owe to the blood struggle of people of color in this country as they often do, they practice a form of racism that keeps that history erased from the consciousness of this country. This enables the white establishment to bypass Black people and hold up their own as authorities on the race question.

Another white privilege Tim Wise and other white anti-racists carry is the ability to emotionally express their views about racism without having that expression dismissed as “angry” or “too emotional”. When Wise speaks passionately and fervently about racism, his expression is understood as a sign of a person standing up for what he believes. As such, it is championed even when he is derisive or sardonic in his remarks. When we, people of color activists, speak passionately about racism, we are maligned and ridiculed as being angry, militant, even hateful and dangerous. If we wish to be heard (let alone understood), we are expected to speak calmly and politely about our experience and analysis regarding racism. Otherwise we are demonized. White moral indignation is justified. Black moral indignation is vilified. This has long been the case.

The third white privilege that Tim Wise and other so-called white anti-racists enjoy is the privilege of being honored for their anti-racist work as their Black activist counterparts and other activists of color are denounced and derided. Case in point: Several years back I spoke at a school in Massachusetts for their annual Dr. King Day commemoration. As I spoke about King’s legacy and the ongoing struggle for racial justice, I was met with outright hostility from the students gathered in the auditorium. The following year I would be contacted by an Arab faculty member at the school. She would inform me that for that year’s King Day event, the school decided to invite Tim Wise to address the student body. She went on to inform me that Wise was received with profound admiration by the very same students that heckled me the year before. Isolated incident? Chance circumstance? To my knowledge, similar events like this have at occurred on two more occasions since.

On one of the other occasions, I was contacted by a Black student organization that had to petition a reluctant administration to gain the necessary approval to invite me to speak. Just one semester following my presentation they would inform me that Tim Wise had just spoken at their school, where he received the red carpet of administrative respect and welcome. When this occurred at a third school, a Vietnamese student emailed me and rhetorically but sincerely asked, “Isn’t this what Tim Wise is supposed to be against?”. In all three cases, persons and groups that reached out to me expressed a level of frustration at witnessing the hypocrisy of the institutions they were working at or attending.

Let me make it clear here that I am not airing this to complain about my personal experiences. I do it because I know that I am not the only one who is experiencing this kind of racism. I am also addressing it here because in one of the cases I’ve mentioned, it actually worked to undermine the efforts of students who had organized to hold their university accountable. Over a four-year period, I worked diligently with these students and their allies. During this time of dedicated training, they all became adept anti-racist activists. They were a small but formidable band of students ready and prepared to take the university to task on its stated and unstated policies toward students, faculty and staff of color. The very year they planned to confront the university administration with their agenda, word got back to some key university officials. And in true duck and cover fashion, the administration brought in Wise with much publicity to avoid addressing the students and their demands. The entire campus turned out and the university was able to present itself as champions of diversity. Thus, when the students brought forward their demands, the university was able to side-step them by claiming that they were on top of it given their experience with Wise. Of course they were lying, but the students no longer had leverage as the campus community felt that they had done enough by bringing Tim Wise to speak.

This is just one example of the ways that white anti-racists who are not in accountable relationships with activists of color can be used to work against the best interests of people of color, whether knowingly or not.

One of the student leaders of this effort would later ask me if I’d be willing to debate Wise. I informed her that I would welcome the opportunity to engage in a constructive conversation with Wise on the state, purpose and direction of anti-racist struggle. The problem with that is that Wise only debates individuals with views more conservative than his own. This way he can continue to promote himself as the most radical anti-racist voice on the scene when he is not – not even among whites. [Noel Ignatiev has called for the outright abolition of whiteness in the face of other whites’ calls for what essentially amount to a kinder, gentler whiteness. By so doing, Ignatiev is taking up the challenge to expose whiteness as a form of status within the capitalist system rather than as a biological or cultural reality, which is how it continues to get passed off as – even within certain so-called anti-racist circles. Such an assertion takes it cue from an observation James Baldwin made many moons ago: “As long as you think you’re white, there’s no hope for you.” If such an end were the aim of the movement, so-called white anti-racists could no longer go around claiming to want to use their white privilege for the good of the movement. Such a claim would be recognized as the nonsense it is.] Like Eminem in “8 Mile” taking on the Black rapper from the suburbs in his effort to establish his street cred and carry the “Blacker than thou” mantle, it seems that Wise takes on conservative intellectuals of color like Dinesh D’Sousa and Ward Connerly to prove he’s “Blacker” (more radical) than they are. That might impress some of Wise’s liberal Black bourgeois friends, but such side-show debates do nothing to bring us any closer to eradicating institutional racism.

It seems that Wise and other anti-racist whites have become higher education’s answer to people of color activists like me. As long as the dissidents are white, these schools are willing to practice the “tolerance” they claim to uphold as beacons of the liberal arts. It has even gotten to the point that nowadays it is not at all strange to see a white person giving the keynote speech for Black History Month. I honestly don’t think that is what Dr. Carter G. Woodson had in mind when he instituted the week-long celebration that would become Black History Month back in 1926. It is bad enough that February, the shortest calendar month of the year, is what Amiri Baraka calls “Black artist employment month.” Now we can’t even count on that. Like our people who are removed from the neighborhoods they grew up in as affluent whites gentrify urban communities, we find ourselves being removed from the one space our ancestors fought for on the calendar. And why is it so difficult for some of us to not see this racial switch as an attack on Black self-determination in much the same way as the current effort to dismiss Black History Month all together?

What can be deduced from these experiences is that there is clear benefit for those with white skin even in the context of anti-racist discourse. There is a distinct inequality in how we are perceived and treated by the white establishment. Despite Wise’s opposition to white supremacy and white privilege, he is a clear beneficiary of both. This is largely due to the fact that, evidently, he is not perceived as a threat to the establishment.

What does this say about Wise? What does this say about the state of the movement? What does this say about the state of racism in our society? White institutions can tolerate anti-racist discourse as long as it is spoken by somebody who looks like them. In fact, such staged discourse becomes a prime opportunity for such schools to present themselves as champions of multiculturalism and diversity even as they continue to enact policies and initiate professional and educational practices that discriminate against students, faculty and staff of color.

By definition, white privilege is not earned. Wise doesn’t have to do anything to gain access to the benefits assigned to the social construct of racialized whiteness. Even his apparent efforts to expose it have not caused the white establishment to banish him or treat him like a person of color. Given that Wise isn’t saying anything new or revolutionary in regards to how to eradicate racism, what accounts for his popularity and celebrity status and the fact that his calendar is filled with engagements for the next few years? His whiteness! The very thing he speaks against. Might this be the ultimate white privilege?

Now I am sure that there are some people reading this who might be saying, “Of course he can’t escape his privilege, we live in a racist society!” No argument here. All the more reason for him and those like him to be held accountable.

When grassroots Black activists speak honestly about racism at colleges across this country, we are not met with open arms by administrators and faculty. And most certainly our calendars are not full for the rest of the year let alone for the next three to five. When we speak, we are often met by the deaf ear of white denial. When Tim Wise speaks, he gets applause, standing ovations, awards and proclamations. The fact that schools can’t “hear” us when I and other people of color speak but will search out and roll out the red carpet for Wise is a statement to a kind of racism that doesn’t get discussed much – if at all – in our work. Despite all of the white anti-racist presentations given over the years at colleges and universities across the country, institutional racism at these schools remains intact. All the while, activists of color continue to be muffled and marginalized. Even in the ghetto of race discourse we remain tenants and never owners of an analysis that is ours to begin with.

One way that whites can be accountable is to stop being enablers to white supremacy by supplanting the voice of people of color with their own. We do not need white people speaking for people of color. Such talk is crass paternalism. My words do not need to be placed through a white filter in order for them to be understandable. Besides, there are some things that get lost in “translation.” If there is work for whites to do on this issue, then let it be work that addresses this deaf ear of white denial. This is a question of power. Whites that do not listen to people of color do not have a “hearing problem.” They fail to hear and to listen because they can. Those that promote the claim that white people speaking for people of color is a positive only coddle such whites in the comfort of their conformity to a way of life that denies, not just the voices of people of color, but our lives as well.

All of the aforementioned privileges taken together provide Wise a pretty formidable platform from which to attract the support of those of us who seek an end to racism. By supporting him, such persons are made to feel as if they are fighting racism. In this vein, he is able to make use of such support from those who will rally to his rescue when he calls on them to defend him with a bevy of “like” button clicks or a hail of 5-star reviews when he has occasioned a derisive remark made by the usual suspect – an avowed white supremacist. Really? Has this become the epitome of anti-racist activism? This would be laughable if we weren’t discussing something as deadly serious as racism. Such “cyber activism” is just another form of white diversion from engaging in actual activist work.

Must I remind us that people of color live our lives under daily assault? Clicking a “like” button is not going to stop the hail of gun-fire that snuffs out the lives of the Oscar Grants and Aiyana Joneses of our communities. Oscar Grant and Aiyana Jones were not militant activists. Jones was just seven years old for God’s sake! They were Black and, according to this system, that was sufficient. Until the movement confronts that realityhead on rather than cry about some nasty review of their book, I have little regard for their “anti-racist” activism. Such attacks from white supremacists should be expected in this work. If I had a dollar for every piece of hate mail I’ve received …. My point is that it comes with the territory. To make noise about it is just self-serving. And that is putting it mildly.

This imbalanced relationship between people of color activists and white anti-racists reinforces the power dynamic of white supremacy even within the movement. White anti-racists have been able to evade accountability on this front due to the fact that they wield power and influence over and beyond people of color activists by virtue of their white-skinned privilege. This is a fact that has dogged our movement since the days of Abolition. And to those who question my right to question Tim Wise or suggest that Wise is beyond critique, I say as Henry Highland Garnet said to the white abolitionists of his day, “If it has come to this, that I must think and act as you do, because you are an abolitionist, or be exterminated by your thunder, then I do not hesitate to say that your abolitionism is abject slavery.”

The fact is that someone like a William Lloyd Garrison, who did far more than Wise with far less than Wise, was critiqued way more harshly than anything I have penned here by his Black contemporaries. Maria Stewart, Frederick Douglass and others within the Black Abolitionist Movement always maintained an analysis that was independent of white abolitionists. Theirs was an analysis based on the life-and-death reality they faced on the daily. And they were quick to check the blurry vision of those who sat upon the lofty heights of their privileged status as whites no matter how well-meaning they may have been. To relinquish that right and responsibility now would be a disservice to my forebears and the example they have left for all of us.

This is a problem that our movement must address. This movement cannot challenge the institutional racism as it is currently positioned or personified. Our people’s movement for liberation and self-determination has resulted in the development of a community of whites who have amassed a working knowledge of the system of white supremacy. Many of them claim to possess a conscious commitment to eradicate racism. Yet there is a lack of critical direction or an expressed unwillingness on their part to take the direction from the lived reality of people of color movements for racial justice.

In order to resolve this, we must first question ourselves and address our failure to anticipate this trend and prepare ourselves for it. Instead of providing an agenda for white anti-racists to engage with us in authentic solidarity, many of us now just get giddy and tickled by the spectacle of whites talking about racism. Our lack of awareness of the lessons learned from past alliances with whites and our apparent unwillingness and/or inability to hold those whites who claim a commitment to anti-racist struggle accountable has resulted in a movement that is largely led by whites.

Black liberation theologian James Cone’s twenty-five year old observation remains true: “Wherever Black people have entered into a mutual relation with white people, with rare exceptions, the relationship has always worked to the detriment of our struggle. From the abolitionist movement of the nineteenth century to the recent civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 60s, whites demonstrated that they cannot follow but must always lead.”

I do not expect or anticipate Wise of his own volition to critically assess himself in the context of Black self-determination and people of color solidarity. Further, I don’t expect Wise to move beyond his lucrative lecture tours to organize a movement of whites that actually confronts systemic racism. After all these years that he has been on the scene, if he were to start such an effort, he would have done so by now. Even so, the fact remains that in the realm of anti-racist struggle, thousands-of-dollars engagements do not constitute activism. They might be materially enriching for him on a personal level, but for the cause he claims to represent, such talk is cheap. And please, lest I find myself inundated with emails from those who idolize Wise, let me state for the record that nothing I have written herein will have any detrimental impact on his ability to make a living. His bank account will not take a dive on the account of my critique. One thing is for certain, he will never have to contend with the daily concerns of activists of color who are attacked and marginalized for speaking our truths and challenging convention in society and within our own ranks.

I’d say it is high time to up the anti-racist ante. In the end, what actually is a white anti-racist? Who defines such? And if that definition comes from a white person, how is that anti-racist? These questions may not be convenient, but us closing our eyes to them doesn’t make the issues they speak to go away. And I am clear that I am not the only one asking such questions. There is an ever-widening circle of committed people of color and white activists that see the hypocrisies and inconsistencies that exist within this work. They, too, are trying, in their own responsible way, to address them. It is time that we bring these questions to the surface, not to denigrate each other, but to strengthen our will and resolve in the spirit of fulfilling our purpose as a movement: the eradication of systemic racism.

Until the movement as a whole is able to adequately address these critical concerns, and people of color are no longer being dismissed and having our truths overlooked or otherwise dissed by those that claim to be our allies, here is a word to the wise: Rather than talk about the white privilege of others, Wise would be wise to simply discuss his own. Not in some general, “I’m a white guy” way either, but in a way that addresses his particular privileges as a white guy talking about racism such as the ones outlined in this essay. There would be no more compelling argument.

Facebook claims it is taking hate speech more seriously. There’s a mechanism for reporting it. Those of us who repeatedly report it, know all too well that the most vile racism, sexism, ableism, white supremacy, personal attacks and bigotry seem to be just fine for Facebook. And the most innocuous comments in opposition seem to be the object of warnings and time outs.

I’m in Facebook jail right now—a 12 hour hold on posting or liking anything, including to my own wall.

What happened?  One of my FB friends posted a link to a page that was racist and homophobic  with the following statement:

“Here’s another hate page: https://www.facebook.com/kastrup.jessica?fref=ts
Unfortunately, it’s in German. It contains such gems as a reference to the “faggot [Schwuchtel]” Arafat who “died of AIDS”. I’ve reported it, as have several others, but like them I expect a reply from FB saying “this is not hate speech”. You can bet that similar sites defaming Jews and Judaism would (rightly) be removed immediately.”

and I commented

“not sure they would be taken down. look at the white supremacist crap that has been allowed to remain up, including attacks on Sylvia Posadas, Karen McRae, Elise Hendricks and myself.”

YUP that’s it. For all the rape jokes, dwarf tossing, racist crap that FB thinks is free speech,  for all of you who have reported some of the most vile personal attacks, who make a habit of calling out hate speech and get that insipid message that FB doesn’t find that the reported comment violates community standards, here it is—this is what it finds offensive:

“not sure they would be taken down. look at the white supremacist crap that has been allowed to remain up, including attacks on Sylvia Posadas, Karen McRae, Elise Hendricks and myself.”

I did take advantage of FBs option to appeal of their decision. I have not yet heard back from them.

In the online form to challenge their decision (see screenshot 3)

I replied to their question,  “what was deleted” I wrote: “i don’t have the text, as you have deleted it. I can send you a screenshot of what you told me was objectionable, but i fail to see how it violates your policies. ”

Where they ask, if I think this is an error, I wrote: “I can’t understand what was in error in that post. i posted that i and others had been targeted for posting against hate speech, and that those hate pages and those targeted were allowed to remain up, while other pages were taken down. seems a bit ironic. the only people named in that thread, were people who had been targeted with me and i am sure none of them reported me. it’s very outrageous that you would silence women who call out harassment. ”

My FB friend reports that FB later responded that it did not find the page he was calling out, to be in violation to FB standards.

So what happened? Well first of all, one of my friend’s FB friends had to have reported me, since that particular post was only visible to his friends. That is, someone found my comment or me objectionable and reported me, and it worked. FB jail for 12 hours.

This brings up a very important issue—one that Sylvia Posadas is painstaking about—calling out infiltrators, particularly populist white supremacists that attempt to infuse Palestine solidarity and social  justice with their racist ideology.  It also brings up the importance of having some idea of who the people are on your list. Some FB actvists just accept anyone onto their friends list, and this is the result—they troll your lists and report and harass your friends.

These are not people with whom we can dialogue. They are provocateurs and infiltrators.  Having friends reported like this has a chilling impact on dialogue. Too many activists have tolerated white supremacy and bigotry in the name of free speech, dialogue, diversity, tolerance, or your own need to have a long ass friends list.

If that’s you, pay attention. This isn’t summer camp. There are big forces opposed to the work we do, especially the work of Palestine solidarity, but social justice in general.  Know your friends, pay attention to what is happening on your wall. Stop allowing bullying and trolling where activists either have to accept abuse or spend inordinate amounts of time responding. Certainly don’t allow personal attacks on activists for raising pertinent issues, and again!!! know your friends

Screen shot A

We Removed Something You Posted We removed this from Facebook because it violates our Community Standards: not sure they would be taken down. Look at the white supremacist crap that has been allowed to remain up, incuding attacks on Sylvia Posadas, Karen MacRae, Elise Hendrick and myself.

Text: We Removed Something You Posted
We removed this from Facebook because it violates our Community Standards:
not sure they would be taken down. Look at the white supremacist crap that has been allowed to remain up, incuding attacks on Sylvia Posadas, Karen MacRae, Elise Hendrick and myself.

Screen shot B

This feature is Temporarily Blocked. You recently posted something that violates Facebook policies, so you’re temporarily blocked from using this feature. Learn more (link) To keep from getting blocked again, please make sure you’ve read and understand Facebook’s Community Standards (link) The block will be active for 12 hours more. If you think you’re seeing this by mistake please let us know. (link)

Text: This feature is Temporarily Blocked.
You recently posted something that violates Facebook policies, so you’re temporarily blocked from using this feature. Learn more (link)
To keep from getting blocked again, please make sure you’ve read and understand Facebook’s Community Standards (link)
The block will be active for 12 hours more.
If you think you’re seeing this by mistake please let us know. (link)

Screen shot C

Blocked from Adding Content You are trying to post content on Facebook that was marked as abusive. Please fill out this form if you think this content was blocked in erro. What did you try to post? If you were blocked while trying to share a link, copy and paste the entire URL here. Please explain why you think this as an error. Thanks for taking the time to submit a report. While we don’t reply to every report, we may contact you for more details as we investigate.

Text: Blocked from Adding Content
You are trying to post content on Facebook that was marked as abusive. Please fill out this form if you think this content was blocked in erro.
What did you try to post?
If you were blocked while trying to share a link, copy and paste the entire URL here.
Please explain why you think this as an error.
Thanks for taking the time to submit a report. While we don’t reply to every report, we may contact you for more details as we investigate.

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