Will’s recent piece, “Privilege Politics is Reformism” has brought about many charged conversations online, in person and also in the comments section. Conatz puts it well when they say that the challenges such a piece faces is on the one hand, “the assault of privilege politics warriors circling [their] wagons,” and on the other hand, the “white class reductionists/’social war’ reductionists missing the point when they say they agree.”
Yet, this piece has also managed to carve out some space and language for those of us who don’t fall into that dichotomy, those of us who see sex, race, gender, disabilities and class struggle as inseparable. It has helped us find one another. Those of us here in BOC aspire to form multiracial and multigender organizations and communities that support the leadership, development and militancy of oppressed people, recognizing our varied expressions and the challenges involved in such projects. We believe in the possibility of transformation through collective struggles for liberations. Hopefully we can grow forward into more conversations around healthy organizational practices that can navigate the tension of both being products of an oppressive capitalist society, and being self determining agents of change shaped by common struggle.
We compile some responses to the piece here by fellow comrades who are active organizers. Black Orchid Collective members do not agree with all the premises and conclusions of the pieces but post them here because these are useful and healthy debates.
Invisible Man has written a response entitled “Be Careful With Each Other, So We Can Be Dangerous Together.” Like the original piece, Invisible Man draws heavily from the traditions of Malcolm X, Fanon, CLR James and the Black Power movement and come to different conclusions. They pose questions to the original such as, why should we assume that the white militants we organize with, are not white supremacist? Why should we assume that they do not inherit the white supremacist ideology that has placed them above all non-white people? Should non-white militants organize independently so that they can gain sufficient power and strength? Are such organizations an expression of racially oppressed people’s self liberation? They further discuss the experience of non-white people when they address the racism of white organizers, to question the possibility of multiracial organizations.
Here, Suzy X also engages with this piece and points out the tendency of some organizing circles to glorify arrestable actions over other forms of resistance. What are the consequences of this? Does this reproduce militancy as gendered and ableist? Is it true that non-street actions are necessarily “less arrestable?” and by implication, less militant? Why is there today such a distinct separation between street actions (deemed arrestable) and community programs? What was the tradition of the Free Breakfast program or the Young Lords takeover of Lincoln Hospital? How have revolutionary community programs differentiated themselves from today’s non profit industrial complex?
Suzy X brings up thoughtful and important questions, ones that can help us clarify ways forward in the Decolonize/Occupy movement. Relatedly, do planned arrests erase the self activity and militancy of those others who had not deemed themselves “arrestables,” but who do also take courageous direct action when push comes to shove? In this “All Power to the Positive” podcast, our comrade Matt E also has a fresh perspective to offer regarding this.
Finally! Here are the links!
1) Be Careful with Each Other, So We Can Be Dangerous Together by Invisible Man
2) A response by Suzy X
Looking forward to more conversations!