I want things that disrupt the way that governments and societies operate, and so why would I be in favor of any presidential candidate?I’m tired, and that exhaustion is going to follow me deep into the 2020 presidential election. I’m not looking forward to being yelled at about voting for “the right candidate”, I’m not excited about being told that our salvation supposedly lies with a politician who will most likely continue to exercise imperialist policies and enact violent positions against Black and Brown peoples around the globe. I’m not happy or hopeful about any of it because I don’t believe in the United States government, I don’t believe that it is legitimate because it was founded upon colonialist, white supremacist, patriarchal ideals and policies. I’m certainly not looking forward to being told that representational politics are our salvation when I cannot trust anyone who thinks that working within a fundamentally white supremacist, imperialist and colonialist government is good for change and when those versions of incremental change are just forms of appeasement. I am not hopeful about Kamala Harris who as a prosecutor and senator harmed the poor, Black and brown folks, trans people, and sex workers. Her brown skin puts a slightly more pleasant and reassuring face on white supremacy and mass incarceration. She remains a neo-liberal, capitalist, imperialist who is paraded around as a representative of “the resistance” thanks to well-timed photos of her reactions and side-eyes at the more blatant fuckery of her republican colleagues. I’m not excited about Elizabeth Warren who time and time again, despite being called-in and called-out by Indigenous people here in the U.S., has used blood quantum to claim Native American ancestry and position herself as a more “diverse” choice. I’m not excited about any of it because I do not believe that any candidate is prepared to dismantle white supremacy, capitalism and the patriarchy. I’m not excited about the prospect of a woman candidate making the decisions to bomb, invade, maintain or create sanctions against other nations. There is no salvation in white feminism, carceral feminism, imperialist feminism. I want more than what governments are prepared to do: I want the dissolution of oppressions. I want all colonial powers to issue reparations and to return the lands and resources they stole. I want things that disrupt the way that governments and societies operate, and so why would I be in favor of any presidential candidate?
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In light of widespread misinformation about the realities of left-wing ideologies, below is a helpful cheat sheet outlining socialism, anarchism and communism.
With the current smear campaign being waged against anti-fascist forces in the U.S. by the Trump administration, the police force, and its loyal liberal following, it is especially important to have some basic knowledge about the differences between communism, socialism, and anarchism as broadly left-wing ideologies that have been historically important to anti-colonial struggles of the 20th century, and which continue to shed light on various social possibilities for the present.
Unsurprisingly, right-wing ideologues and the large swathe of liberals that protect and sustain their agenda often purposefully conflate, simplify, or paint over these concepts with a broad brush stroke. Any sort of ideology related to communism or socialism must be bad, since it is associated with Stalin and the “evil Soviets” of the 1960’s and 70’s. And any concepts related to anarchism or anti-fascism must be hell-bent on the destruction of property and nothing else.
These are some of the uneducated myths that swirl around the collective conservative-liberal consciousness, and they are myths that are rooted in a blind adherence to the status quo and fear of any sort of structural change to the way in which society is organized (which, under capitalism, depends on an extremely unequal distribution of resources and a system that exploits the labor of the majority so that a small number can benefit from the wealth this labor creates).