The Drones Have Come Home to Roost
With fear that an authoritarian regime has taken over the headquarters of Neo-liberalism, there is much talk about building a united front. The former occupy co-opter now progressive celebrity, Van Jones, has gone as far as to say we should forget the left and right binary and unite as Democrats and Republicans against authoritarianism. While I am all about smashing binaries, when political statists discuss such a thing it more often than not means creating a movement in the middle. Which if we look honestly at the political climate of the United States the middle is the continuance of the same failed policies that have allowed for many of Trump’s actions that are now being protested. Yes, the Muslim ban that has left those stranded is horrendous, and should be fought. However, we should also be further questioning the State’s legitimacy in facilitating the authorization of migration and travel.
Every day feels like we wake up to a new terrifying bit of information on how the world we know is becoming more hostile to every form of life. Yet, it must also be said that as black people we have lived in that world of constant threat. It didn’t take too long for our ancestors to see that once they were kidnapped and forced into enslavement that America is a pretty fucked up place. This is also true for people who are indigenous to this continent, those who have already lived in fear of deportations due to George Bush’s policy that was exacerbated by liberal sweetheart President Obama. The countless families throughout North Africa and the Middle East who live in terror of drone attacks and bombings.
While I can be empathetic to liberals recent discovery that America is not the great place they thought it to be. When people ask for blanket unity against Trump, they are asking for blanket fixes. Which completely ignore the violence and hierarchy that afforded them the ability to live in the bliss of ignorance for so long.
This is more than just a debate on tactics. This is a core difference of beliefs on how we should live and facilitate our coexistence.
How are we supposed to find solidarity when our political ideals are fundamentally different. What is being requested of us is not unity, but instead political assimilation.
As I’ve stated previously in other articles such as Fuck Trump, But Fuck You Too: No Unity With Liberals, going to events like these poise a real threat to anyone who is not willing to play into pro-cop party politics.
When calls of unity are made the request is not one of mutual aid. Instead it is a demand for us to remain silent and follow the prescribed guidelines that were decided by whatever liberal that organized the event. These actions are not a sincere call for unity, because if they were then we would be brought to the table as equals. Critiques of the use of permits and pro-police inclusion would be heard. Leadership would not be forced upon those who do not want to perpetuate hierarchy. If this was really about unity then those who are anti-statist, anti-authoritarian, and horizontal would not be thrown under the bus whenever we decide to use tactics that expand past marching and civil disobedience.
What is also frustrating is where were all these calls for unity when we were getting our asses beat in the street by the police? Those same “good cops” that are thanked by liberals for respecting your right to walk on a sidewalk and carry a sign. Where was the need for unity when we were getting teargassed and the masses were sitting at home thinking “well that’s what they get for not complying with the police”?
My political thought reaches far beyond the next four years but instead to what we are going to do for the next four generations. How are we going to ensure that we no longer live in an environment where those with power can enforce the hierarchy of violence whenever they please. How do I move forward so that even if I may never know what liberation feels like at least those who have yet to be born will be closer to that first taste.
We are constantly told to keep pushing towards reform. This leaves us in a position where we are solely reacting to state sanctioned government violence. We are told we must ask for permission to protest. That we must stay inside an imaginary line that has been set by the police, through the assistance of the events organizers. We are told, that if we don’t comply, that then when we get tear gassed, are shot with rubber bullets, and/or have a fascist try to run us over with their car, well then that we simply deserved it.
We must understand that the crisis we are currently in is far greater than just Trump. This is about representative government, white supremacy, hetero-patriarchy, capitalism, and authoritarianism.
Most Americans have been avoiding this moment, but we can no longer be the dog in the burning room saying “it’s fine”.
American exceptionalism has allowed for genocides and mass murder to take place and be consistently ignored. Well at least until Hollywood’s favorite lefties make a film about it and it wins an Oscar.
We are dealing with the reality of living in country where most of the people prefer to remain apolitical. That discussing politics is only allowed during election season and even then it is a limited conversation of whether or not you are team red or blue.
And now, after ignoring years of outcries over the expansion of both the surveillance and the police state, of crimes that have been committed throughout the world in the name of defending “our freedoms”, the drones have come home to roost.
This is not the time for uncritical unity, this is the time for deep self-reflection and self-accountability. This is a time for us to be honest on what we as individuals are really fighting for and realize that it is not all the same thing.
As someone who is tired of seeing the same failed ideas attempted, I’m going to be focusing on building alternatives with those who are interested in supporting those ideas.