BY: Christian Noakes
Toward Material Liberation: Safeguarding the Uprising from Liberal Opportunism
On paper, Liberals agree with the revolting Masses that silence is a consent for and participation in the prevailing racist order. However, Liberals often stop short of actually confronting this system head-on. They speak in vague platitudes meant only to console themselves and cultivate an anti-racist façade towards the Masses. Saying that racism is bad is not enough to actually create material change through the dismantling of racist social relations.
They refuse to confront racists and favor instead to participate in meaningless spectacle which shows how unwilling they are to materially change anything. This tendency was recently on full display when Democratic Party leaders held a photoshoot in which they “took a knee” in appropriated Kente Cloths.
Liberals actively support racists and denounce anyone willing to take these people head on.
They say the solution is to vote. Voting in bourgeois elections, by itself, is absurd. It is, however, revealing of the true nature of Liberals when one considers who they would have us vote for—racists. Since the current uprising has begun, they have been trying to siphon off all revolutionary energy to support politicians such as Joe Biden—a key architect of the racist Crime Bill of 1994 that lead to the further oppression and criminalization of Communities of Color. Biden was also a fierce opponent of bussing and the desegregation of schools in the 1970s which he announced in Congress would bring about the creation of a “a jungle, racial jungle.”
All of this reveals the true character of electoral politics in the US, and the Dictatorship of a fundamentally racist Bourgeoisie which it safeguards. The Liberal “opposition” to the racist order is a farce as they are merely wolves in sheep’s clothing. To quote Malcom X, “the white Liberal differs from the white conservative only in one way: the Liberal is more deceitful than the conservative.”
We have to confront not just the idea of racism but the actual racists that act as jackbooted foot-soldiers who are essential to turning racist ideologies into material reality. To overcome centuries of oppression and begin to build a society of and for the people requires something that neither so called “conservatives” or Liberals are willing to give up—power. As Huey P. Newton, Minister of Defense for the Black Panther Party, once said, power is “the ability to define phenomenon and then make it act in a desired manner,” (The Black Panthers Speak, 61). True people’s power is the ability to conceive of our own world and to construct it into material reality.
It is the responsibility of all those that are truly anti-racists to reject the Politics of Respectability that uphold and cement oppressive material conditions.
The ends of the current uprising are not to be seen as just a means of comforting the affected communities nor bringing about mere reforms. The only acceptable solution is the real and radical change necessary to bring about justice in a country founded on and perpetuated by the worst injustices known to humankind. For this to be possible, we have to confront those that perpetuate racial inequality—from politicians to our own families. It is not, and never was, the time to ask nicely or to be content with performative gestures that are just a band-aid meant to console in the short term while leaving the oppressive state apparatuses intact on the backs of working and oppressed people.