Activist, a poem

Philosophy is dead.

May theory reign supreme.

For we don’t reflect,

We plan,

We vote,

and we care.

We are your neighbors, your daughters and sons,

We are nothing to fear,

Yet we are everything you hate.

We are hear and we are loud.

We are and will be hear

until this work is done.

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The Professional Protester Episode 51 : Reparations Must Be More Than a Single Transaction

https://youtu.be/pP6fLVdwaNI

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.

The Professional Protester Episode 50 | Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Private Prisons

https://youtu.be/yw-DiLG2PoE

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.

Russiagate Does Nothing To Solve Our Actual Problems

Before I say anything else, let me just say that I do indeed believe there was some form of collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government that had influence on the 2016 election. I am however not a conspiracy theorist nor a liberal apologist, so I do not think that this collusion changes the fact that Trump’s victory and the victory of all fascists is born out of institutionalized racism, institutionalized patriarchy, and economic disparity.

Even though they have found more conclusive evidence that there was some kind of direct collusion, I really just don’t care and can’t ever care about Russiagate the way that so many loyalists to the Democratic Party do.

I am not saying that the FBI should stop the investigation, au contraire. I believe that anything that inconviences the Trump administration is well worth the time. However I am not dependant on a racist organization like the FBI to be the one to oust what is arguably the most publicly racist president since Nixon. No matter what the FBI does to inconvenience Trump, it will never change the fact that the FBI was born out of prohibition laws that were racist and disproportionally enforced against Italian immigrants. Nor can anything make up for the blacklisting of freedom fighters like Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King Jr.

I also think that the interference in our election is a bit of the U.S. getting a taste of our own medicine. If you do not like a competitive superpower interfering in the affairs of your state, then I can introduce you to some people from Egypt, Chile, Libya, El Salvador, and Honduras who would agree with you. Any conversation about democracy and foreign interference in elections that does not include a conversation about Salvador Allende is another tedious case of American acceptionalism.

No, my lack of interest in the Russiagate fiasco is as such; even if Robert Mueller develops a rock solid case, even if the House moves to impeach Trump, even if Pence decides not to pull a President Ford and not pardon Trump, none of these things will end the problems the nation and world faces that gave us Trump.

There is a harsh reality that Russia obsessed liberals need to face, that even if the investigation is a success in ousting Trump, it will not be the end of Trumpism. Trump has opened the Pandora’s box that has always been subtly hidden by the right wing. We can expect the unsubtle racism and sexism of Trump from every Republican candidate in the forseeable future. We can expect to see more reactionary populist rhetoric from future candidates. We can expect to see more inexperienced billionaires running for president. The sad truth is that the fascist wing of conservatism is the new normal for conservatives, and Trump resigning or being jailed will not end that. The foundation for this was laid down by his Republican predecessors, but Trump built his tower on it and until the right wing is eradicated it is here to stay long after he goes.

I must also point out that Trump falling because of Russiagate does nothing to solve the problems our country, and for that matter the world, faces. Will Trump’s impeachment attack the corporations responsible for our climate crisis? Will Trump resigning finally give the overdue reparations to our Indegenous and black comrades? Will Trump doing time end queerphobia or sexism? Will it protect sex workers? Will it stop police brutality? Will give us the healthcare we need to survive? Will it insure employment for the struggling masses of my gaslit generation?

The answer to all of those questions is a simple and straightforward, no. Now do not misunderstand me, I am not against the Russia investigation nor am I against the idea of this man doing time. I do however feel that people who think that Trump’s fall will be the end of the hatred he has unleashed, that his fall marks the end of all our nation’s woes, are being delusional.

Let the FBI focus on Trump, to whatever it may avail. Let the rest of us focus on ending the climate crisis, let us build a community where police stop slaughtering black people and detaining brown children. Let us get healthcare to every living being. Let us stop the everlasting genocide of the indeginous. Let us organize and defend sex workers, trans people, and women’s health. These are issues that can not be solved by simply blaming Trump and Russia.