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Yesterday a confrontation at a vigil between Chelsea Clinton and a Muslim woman who was in mourning over the Chirstchurch massacre went viral. The video shows that the woman stood up to Clinton for being present at the vigil after Clinton’s comments about Ilan Omar opened up a massive wave of islamophobic attacks against Omar. Clinton never apologized to Omar.
Clinton can be seen in the video listening to the women, but it is clear she is not actually registering the woman’s objections to her presence, or she is actively ignoring them. Clinton simply nods and gives a “non apology” that would make her parents proud.
Clinton replies to the woman’s complaints with, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” repeatedly. At one point in the video a comrade of the Muslim woman angrily asks Clinton, “What does that even mean?” To which Clinton gave no answer.
My dear reader, as a white male with a middle class background, please trust me when I say that I know what “I’m sorry you feel that way” means.
“I’m sorry you feel that way,” is, to be frank, a backhanded white people way of avoiding an actual apology. The objective of using those specific words is intentional, the purpose is to make someone think you apologized to them without actually apologizing for anything. It is annoying and backhanded, I have seen people in my white family do it all the time and it is one of the whitest things a person of privilege such as Clinton could do.
When someone says “I’m sorry you feel that way,” instead of just, “I’m genuinely sorry,” they are not apologizing for their actions but making it seem that you are the one who should be apologetic for yours. I can vouch on good authority that “I’m sorry you feel that way,” is Clinton’s passive aggressive way of saying “I did nothing wrong, you should stop bothering me.” There is a word for this, gaslighting.
Of course Clinton’s followers leap to her defense while ignoring the reality that defending a white woman who upset a Muslim in mourning just after a mosque shooting is in of itself an act of white supremacy and Islamophobia.
I got into several twitter debates already about this. Many said that the woman’s attack on Clinton, “wasn’t graceful.” This is the same kind of argument you hear from city council members or local politicians who get shouted down or cussed out by Black Lives Matter supporters when there is a police involved murder of a black life. Mayors and city councils are faster to get upset at a black person for saying “Bitch stop killing us!” because swearing in city council chambers “violates decorum.” Instead of focusing on the message, which is the “stop killing us” part of that sentence, these selective solidarity liberals focus only on the method.
Instead of focusing on the message of this woman, which was “your comments about Ilan Omar perpetuate this kind of slaughter and you have yet to apologize for it,” she is blatantly ignored because the woman spoke to Clinton with intensity and anger. Anger that was completely justified, especially since Clinton and the liberals who left Omar vulnerable to islamophobic attacks have yet to apologize.
To be in a position where you are more concerned with an oppressed person’s delivery of their message rather than with their actual message is the epitome of white privilege and Clinton and her supporters fail to see that.
Aside from saying that the woman was “not graceful” other’s have said that her rebuking of Clinton was a staged act because the woman was wearing a Bernie Sander’s “College for all, Medicare for all” t-shirt. Some tweets even read “Who wears a political shirt to a vigil? It was clearly staged.” Once again we see an act of white supremacy here. To tell a Muslim woman, or anyone for that matter, what they should wear in their time of mourning is not only bad optics, it is belittling and dehumanizing. This is not about her wearing a Bernie shirt, it is about the fact that she felt used and ignored and vulnerable, a vulnerability which Clinton enabled with her rhetoric. Does any of that matter to liberals? No, because they don’t like what she was wearing when she did it.
Other defenders of Clinton have argued that “she was an invited guest,” and she didn’t “deserve” to be called out because she “came to the vigil in good faith.” First of all, the Clintons, or any capitalist for that matter, has never done anything in “good faith.” There is always an ulterior motive to anything the capitalist class does. Clinton was not there to mourn with muslims, she was there to be seen mourning with muslims.
It should also be noted that there is nothing to be suprised about here. The Clinton’s have a long record for both enabling white supremacy and using the optics of black or brown people’s issues to make themselves look good. Clinton being present at the vigil is similar to her father going on Arseno Hall or her mother moving to Harlem, it is a chance to be seen amongst an oppressed group without actually doing anything to help them. Let us also not forget that Hillary bragged about having slaves at the Arkansas governor’s mansion (prison labor was in fact used during their entire stay) or her infamous “superpredators” comment. Nor should we forget the crime bill signed into law by her husband which has perpetuated the modern day Jim Crow of prison labor to increase exponentially. Clinton being at that vigil was an attempt to use non white people for optics, period.
There is no excuse to defend Clinton on this one, yet of course liberals will do it because liberals will do anything to protect their identities as the progressive and understanding ones, even though their desire to carve out a progressive identity is coming at the cost of black and brown lives and is inevitably perpetuating the very forms of hatred they claim to be against.
To suggest that this act was staged because the woman was wearing a Bernie shirt is belittling and reductionist to her sense of mourning. To give the woman instructions on how she “should have” approached Clinton is an act of white supremacy. To defend a white woman who perpetuated Islamophobia with her rhetoric instead of listening to a Muslim woman’s righteous outrage is in of itself further perpetuating Islamophobia and therefore is an act of perpetuating white supremacy. This shows that liberals only express solidarity when their capitalist narrative is agreed with. Liberals claim they want to stand in solidarity with muslims, but clearly it has to be the right kind of muslims I.E. not ones who support Bernie Sanders or criticize Israel.
This whole situation sums up why we must abandon liberalism and why we must embrace socialism and communism, however we must do it from a place that actively rejects Islamophobia and all other forms of hatred. If socialists are to be the the active agents against white supremacy that we claim to be then we must also actively work to reject Islamophobia. This means we must not fall into the liberal trap of being selective with our solidarity. We must stand with muslims whether or not their stories or perspectives agree with our narrative. We should actively be incorporating their perspectives into our narrative and dialectic. A failure to do so would in-turn perpetuate white supremacy. We also must not reduce our Muslim comrades to just being victims in need of our help. The woman in the video is clearly not someone who needs a patronizing helping hand, but rather she is clearly an active agent in resisting the oppression that is Islamophobia as are most of the muslims in places such as Palestine who are actively fighting against their oppression.
The woman in the video had every right to confront Chelsea Clinton and Clinton clearly has no remorse for what she said and did to Ilan Omar and she refuses to see how that affected not just Omar but muslims as a whole. Those leaping to Clinton’s defense are actively defending white supremacy and are either being belittling or selective in their solidarity. Socialists must show support for muslims but that does not just mean attacking Clinton or supporting muslims who fit our narrative. It must mean that we elevate the narratives of Islamophobia’s greatest victims. To over come white supremacy we must be actively incorporating all of the realities of oppression into our analysis. To forsake Islamophobia or perpetuate it is to perpetuate the same white supremacy that prevents black families from getting justice and is splitting child and parent at the border.
Clinton had no business being at that vigil, liberals have no business defending her presence, and socialists must make it our business to be active agents in ending all dimensions of white supremacy, we can forsake nothing if we are to be active agents against oppression. If you disagree with me, well then, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Yes here I am!
I know you can see me.
How else will you get into the coffee shop?
You’ll have to step over me.
A lump or a mound of garbage,
To you that is what I appear to be.
I know that’s how little I am to you.
I know that’s why you step over me.
I am in fact treated like garbage.
Thrown out and unwanted, even in public space.
But what is one to do
when they have no home, job, or place?
My rags are an eye sore,
I’m no fool you see.
There was a time when I to
would have been the one to step over me.
Recently Bernie Sanders caught some flak when Julian Castro “called him out” on his comments on reparations. Bernie said reparations has to be more than just “writing a check.” Julian Castro countered with “Why wouldn’t you want to compensate people who were property?”
Putting aside that this completely misrepresents what Bernie ACTUALLY said, I feel this is demonstrative of the difference of how socialists and abolitionists approach reparations versus how liberal capitalists approach social justice as a whole
Reparations for slavery cannot be reduced to a singular transaction. Even if we wrote every black person in the U.S. a check, what would that do to solve the problem of police murdering black children? How would simply giving everyone a check bring us abolition of the modern day system of Jim Crow and slavery that are our prisons?
Ask yourselves this, we cut everyone descended from slaves a check, then what? Where is that money likely to go? Statistically speaking it is most likely going to go towards paying off student debt, medical bills, mortgages, or most likely to pay the vampire that is rent! Once that money is spent, what happens after the fact? Will their be restorative justice for those who have been imprisoned for too long? Will police who kill with a sense of trigger happy racism be brought to justice? The money dolled out would create a small degree of economic stimulus, I will concede that, but what would that do to alter the systemic issues that paralyze the working class, most of whom I might add are black women?
This is a symptom of the liberal capitalist, reducing civil rights and justice to a matter of transactionalism. Look at the narrative they take when discussing the suffragette or civil rights movements. Too often I here that the right to vote was “given” or “conceded” to women and black people by the powers that be. NO! I challenge that!
These victories were not “given” to women or people of color from powers above them, it was taken by them and it was taken rightfully so! What happened in both the suffragette and the civil rights movements was that oppressed people 1.organized 2. took mass militant action 3. took power using their mass collected power. It was not transactional the way that neoliberals would have us believe. These rights were not granted from on high, they were seized from the bottom up! This idea that rights and justice are simply a transaction is perpetuated by capitalists who think that you can throw some pocket change at an oppressed populace and then go “See, racism is over!”
No, reparations cannot simply be reduced to a single transaction, that is problematic for many reasons mostly in that it infantilizes black people and dehumanizes the issue of racial justice. Justice is much more than financial transaction and neoliberal capitalists need to learn that.
I am sick and tired of the constant gaslighting that socialists of all schools are forced to deal with.
Constantly we are told by the people who have never been apart of our organizations what we stand for. Every day pundits who hate us will misrepresent us and sometimes even the most well intentioned progressives will perpetuate the stigma that “communism” is a dangerous word. Many liberals will say to us “I like your principles but I don’t like socialism because…” and then they will proceed to give some tedious illogical diatribe that will mistakenly call Putin a Soviet or end in some other illogical fallacy.
The conservatives claim we are terrorists who hate freedom, despite Leftist groups like the YPG and YPJ liberating cities such as Raqqa from ISIS. They claim we hate Americans despite the Soviet Union being the allie’s key to victory in World War II, effectively ending the holocaust I might add.
I am no anarchist, but I despise the people who call Black Block anarchists terrorists or “excessively violent” when the people making such accusations support fascists like Trump or drone enthusiasts like Obama.
So, in an act of solidarity across the spectrum of leftism, be you a Berniecrat, a Black Block Anarchist, a loyal tankie, or a run of the mill DSA member, I implore you to no longer let others tell you what you believe.
We are leftists, we are not talking points to be used as fodder for pundits who are out of touch with the realities of living in our modern, vampiric economy. We know what we are and what we are not and we cannot, must not, let those outside of our ranks be the ones who define us.
I for one will no longer allow the gaslighting of leftists to go by unquestioned. We will not be told what our own beliefs are nor will we let anyone speak for us but ourselves.
We are not threats, we are not dangerous. We are your neighbors, your coworkers, and in some cases your children. We are teachers and nurses, graphic designers and web technicians. We are state workers and we are janitors. We exist in all dimensions and in all classes of life that are outside of the billionaire bourgeoisie. We are people, and we deserve to be treated as people.
So when Fox News or Pelosi loyalists try to tell us what we are or what we are not, put out the gaslight with the raging wave that is our collective power.
I am a socialist, a communist, and a proud member of my organization. I will put out my gaslight and start a new fire, a fire that will rage and burn down the oppressive systems and state that doom us.
Do not let the gaslighting of the left continue. Put out that light and let the fire that is our rage spur a new flame, the flame that can guide the specter of communism to victory in the dark days that we live in.
Do they wrap the coffins of martyrs in fake news?
Pipe bombs and alienated labor,
all because of misinformation.
Get help or get a gun
but only turn it on yourself.
Life is not black and white
but our options sure are.
The literary gatekeepers say they want “edge.”
They want the “best.”
Yet all we read is fluff pieces
about some racist grandma yelling in her office.
And some shlock about a garden with a friendly bumble bee.
When you remember that bees are dying, the poem loses heart.
Winning the presidency.
Such are the times we live in,
Such will the time be
Where our children die.
As a white person I am hesitant to say who is and is not an authority on the subject of racial justice. With that said in this weeks video I make the case that Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is not to be trusted on the subject, especially in the wake of the announcement that Stephon Clark’s killers will not face charges.
When I served as the Research Committee chairperson for Sacramento DSA, upon researching campaign donations from private prisons to California politicians, I discovered that in his 2010 race for state senate Darrell Steinberg accepted almost $4000 dollars from private prisons.
Private prisons are one of the main enablers of the prison industrial complex, I.E. the new Jim Crow and modern day slavery, and can count on I.C.E as one of their largest clients. Anyone who has accepted their money is not to be trusted.
Officers Terrance Mercadal and Jared Robinet of the Sacramento Police Department will not be charged with the murder of 22 year old Stephon Clark.
Stephon Clark was shot 8 times in his grandmother’s backyard on March 18th, 2018. He was unarmed and he leaves behind a widow and two children.
The announcement came yesterday when Sacramento District Attorney Ann Marie Schubert held an hour long press conference after an almost year long “investigation.” Schubert’s office has investigated 30 cases where police have used deadly force against unarmed people of color, most of whom have been black. No charges have been filed in any of these cases. Members of the community felt the announcement was filled with implicit bias and was merely an hour long justification of the murder.
Black Lives Matter Sacramento has been putting pressure on the DA’s office since Clarks death by hosting weekly demonstrations outside of her office. Upon announcement of the investigation’s conclusion BLM Sacramento mobilized members of the community to hold space in front of the police station on Freeport Blvd. The event was peaceful and nonviolent, as have been all BLM organized events, and was a very somber gathering. Members from multiple groups showed up to the demonstration to show support including members of the Democratic Socialists of America, Sacramento Acting Congregations Together, Party of Socialism and Liberation, Allies of Black Lives Matter, and several others.
Near the end of the gathering, Antifascist activists burned a series of Blue Lives Matter flags.
There were other demonstrations as well. Members of Sacramento state’s Black Student Union have also begun a sit in at Arden-Fair Mall, effectively shutting down business operations for the weekend.
While both events were going on, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg did not make an appearance at the gathering of the community but instead hosted his own press conference addressing the issue. The Mayor has claimed that he wants to hear all sides about this issue so that the community will heal. The Mayor’s position on racial justice might be compromised however because records on followthemoney.org show that in his 2010 election to the California State Senate Steinberg accepted $4,000 in campaign contributions from Correctional Corporation of America (now called CoreCivic) which is one of the largest private prison companies in the United States.
Protests and actions demanding justice for Stephon Clark and an end to police violence are likely to increase in the weeks to come.