It is despicable that we’ve lived in a culture that deems you a failure if you don’t conform to white supremacist, capitalist values – and no, you cannot have one without the other, because capitalism requires white supremacy in order to work. This is on top of the class structure that is another essential aspect for capitalism to work.
It’s even more despicable to me that anyone has the inhumane gall to continue DEFENDING this system when they can plainly see just as the rest of us do – the harm and death the US Empire causes, and in fact, RELIES upon. It’s undeniable, and anyone saying otherwise has sequestered themselves into the regime’s echo chambers that tell them what they want to hear. But even that is a choice, to remain in ignorance.
I find myself emotionally detaching from those who defend this cruel social order, because I know we are going to be lost to one another sometime in the probably not distant future. The wheels of history continue spinning and we have to decide which side we want to be on: socialism or barbarism. Those choices are more than performative philosophical differences, and the divide it causes will only continue to widen and intensify further in the near future – in our lifetimes. So if someone is willing to keep defending this burning dumpster of a social order:
I have to accept that they may well betray me – possibly not even intentionally, but their ignorance blinds them to seeing how they could do just that.
I have to accept that they cherish capitalism even more than they do their relationship with loved ones, or at least with me.
I have to accept that they could be killed by reactionaries because they won’t take seriously the antifascist work I’ve done for over a decade now.
I have to accept that they may die from a lack of preparedness for climate emergencies, because they chose to believe sensationalized pseudoscience and the charlatans propagating it.
I have to accept that they may die from Covid-19 because they think public health actions are “Communist plots” and that vaccines will give them the Number Of The Beast (Christian mythology) instead of helping protect them from a deadly pathogen.
I have to accept that they are likely racist, perhaps due to their ignorance that comes from only having been educated about the history of their nation with a highly propagandized narrative structured to condition them to think “white is right” and to aspire to Bourgeoisie values.
I have to accept that they are at the very least tolerant of (and possibly may even embrace) injustices, particularly toward already-oppressed peoples, that could be avoided by changes in policies, spending, behaviors, and community enforcement, because they simply want to keep living their lives in a familiar way, even if it harms other people (directly or indirectly).
I have to accept that when we finally arrive at the giant fork in the road ahead here in the US regime, there’s a good chance that these people I care about are going to head in the direction opposite of me.
I have to accept that they may help get me arrested, tortured, raped and even killed, because they think the police & all of the alphabet agencies can be trusted.
I have to accept that the above could happen because they don’t take antifascism seriously and unwittingly give my personal information to chuds.
That This Is All Avoidable Hurts The Most
It hurts me to acknowledge all of these truths, but it’s necessary work. It is heart-wrenching to think about. But I do think about it, by necessity, because I’m trying to observe my own material & historical conditions in my relationships to help guide me in those.
What hurts the most? It’s all avoidable. But these people I care about refuse to take their blinders off and look at the real world around them. They’re comfortable in their lives and fear how they might be negatively impacted by any massive changes in our social order, and that to them is sufficient justification for letting other humans (and many other species) continue needlessly suffering and dying. They are so unwilling to confront and control their fears through deprogramming from imperialist, white supremacist indoctrination, they are willing to offer up others as human sacrifices on the altar of their comfort.
As a member of the vanguard, I recognize that I need to exercise patience with the masses, but I find my patience with those in my own life who have continued to reject their opportunities to begin addressing their political/social brainwashing by, for instance, learning something about US history they were deliberately not taught, or being shown unsustainable contradictions in this capitalist system. I have to accept that many of those who I love will never change their minds or their habits, because they are comfortable.
Excusing Injustice To Remain Comfortable Is Fascism
I myself cannot be comfortable in this capitalist, white supremacist hellhole. I’ve asked my entire life why injustices are tolerated, because it is clear that humanity is capable of addressing those effectively, and many of us want to, and are willing to put our money and our labor to work in our communities to try to do that.
I’ve received answers in the context of the Jehovah’s Witness cult that I was raised in – “Because Earth is the proving grounds for God’s Universal Sovereignty, where Satan challenged his authority in the Garden of Eden, and we are all being tested until God’s Great War Of Armageddon. Our job is to help separate the “sheep and goats” here on Earth through our door-to-door preaching work. When the Last Days Of This System Of Things arrives, there will be signs like increased earthquakes, flooding, natural disasters, plagues, wars, and God, Jesus and their army of Angels will do battle with Satan and his Demons until they lock them up for a 1000 years. Loyal servants who died over the course of human history will be resurrected into new bodies and can rejoin their loved ones (if they made it too). Then mankind will restore the whole planet to Edenic conditions, as our bodies return to a physical state of around 25 years old (if you were older than this) and we will become perfect during those 1000 years, at which point everyone will be tested by releasing Satan et al temporarily and they will attempt to tempt humans into betraying God again. Anyone who does dies forever along with Satan and his Demons, the rest of the loyal people live forever in a paradise. So, you see, no injustice experienced by any human (loyal to God, some conditions may apply) will ever be outweighed by the joy, contentment and love they will feel in that paradise. So don’t worry at all about what’s going on right now to countless people in suffering. The best thing you can do is go get them to join our religion.”
Obviously, I found that explanation unsatisfactory, and it was one of the reasons I left the JW cult. They forbade voting in candidate/party elections. The left local issues like school tax millage elections as a “matter of conscience,” with the admonition that registered voters were called to jury duty, and Jehovah’s Witnesses could not serve on juries because they said no human is fit to judge another. They also said we couldn’t get involved with or give money to environmental causes, because to do so would show a “lack of faith” that Jehovah had the power to undo the damage puny humans did to the planet! Also if you have extra money to be throwing around, you should be putting it in the contribution box or sending it to the Society HQ, not spending it on “worldly” causes which were corrupt and pointless. But enough of them.
I’ve also been told “humans have been trying how to make a better world since there were humans, just accept your place in the system and do your best, because nobody has the answers.” One former co-worker (a sales manager) used to rant about how “that old haves and have-nots argument has been going on forever, it’s tiring, and people just need to know their place and if they want a better one, they gotta bootstrap their way to it, it’s not easy, BELIEVE ME I KNOW, MY LIFE HASN’T BEEN EASY STREET, but the hard work is all worth it!” He was a native of one of the Grosse Pointes, if I recall correctly.
Another argument has been to tell me that voting is what will make a difference, and what I really needed to do was get involved in organizing with the Democratic Party, because we can fight for changes from within! Bernie Sanders and The Squad are exemplary of what happens when reforms are attempted. The only changes are that the “progressive” “changemakers” are either corrupted or contained by the DNC on behalf of the ruling class. In other words, once they get into office, they no longer work on behalf of the people who elected them into it. I can see the electoral patterns repeating over and over in my own lifetime, and my pursuit of learning real history has given me perspective that helps me to see these repetitive electoral and political patterns preceded my birth by generations. Knowing this, I can only see attempts at reform the same way George Jackson did, as he wrote in Blood In My Eye,
If one were forced for the sake of clarity to define fascism in a word simple enough for all to understand, that word would be “reform.”
If you’re a Socialist and you haven’t yet read George Jackson, especially if you are in the US, please do. His insights are so important to the historical and material conditions we live in, and particularly for those of us who are white, who grew up in the middle class, it is perspective we desperately need in order to have a clearer understanding of the experiences of Black Americans. George had a gift for synthesizing his own experiences, history, and political theory that was successfully used by revolutionaries elsewhere and instructing us all on how those same principles could be adapted and applied here in the US Empire.
The Fascists Have Been In Power All Along And They Won’t Be Voted Out
The US Regime has used so many underhanded tactics to manipulate voting laws, gerrymandering, voter protections, voting access, voter suppression – all to insure the election outcomes that most favor the ruling class. And any would-be reformers who manage to get into office are quickly brought to heel by the Establishment. We need only look at “The Squad” – which has become another mechanism the ruling class uses to exploit people anxious for good leadership. When people are tricked into thinking that political change takes a long time and have lived in a social order rooted in Idealism, they are willing to accept performative platitudes as the full service their politicians can provide. This is why we need to talk instead in terms of material and historical conditions – tangible, real things that have happened and are happening. The actual way things are, and what can be done. And we can do much more beyond just voting and waiting on politicians in the service of the upper class – that sees the rest of us as disposable lives on their profit altar.
I have to accept that not everyone will see things this way. This is reminiscent of my exodus from the Jehovah’s Witness cult in so many ways. I realized we’d all been duped back then, too, but the power of the cult’s indoctrination and propaganda meant that most of the people I’d grown up with in that cult stayed in it and remain until this day. I couldn’t change their minds, and just the same, I won’t change the minds of everyone in my life today as I endeavor to show them all the ways we’ve been subjected to the same cult brainwashing methods the JW’s use – except these have been used by the upper class that rules this country and owns the government.
And just as it was back then, trying to remain in close touch with those who see you as “apostate” to their belief system means they will feel obligated to reign you back in “to the fold” or to refuse to discuss your new understanding of the governing element in your lives. Back then it was just the Watchtower Society (now called JW dot org, due to multi-million dollar court settlements from victims of JW pedophile cases) that governed my life – and it was so central to my existence, I didn’t even see the “human government” I happened to live under as being of any import. But I’ve come to realize just how much the JW leadership and Capitalists have in common in terms of how they control large masses of people and convince us into doing their will, often with little to no benefit to ourselves, and more often, harm is incurred in the process. But those at the top always thrive. Such is the case with pyramid schemes, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Capitalism are both that type of structure.
Despite All Of This, I Continue To Have Hope
I suppose I am still holding out hope that more of the people I know personally, care about, and who haven’t yet opened their eyes to the harsh truths we collectively face will do so sooner rather than later. I don’t invest in those hopes too much, though, because they’ve all witnessed the same horrors I have and continue to believe that capitalism is the best way of life available to humans. Something would need to change significantly for them to see a reason to look outside of the blinders. Probably most of them won’t ever do it. But even if one does, that’s one more comrade helping us work toward not only a livable, but a better future. So my hope is not rooted in any particular individuals, but rather, in the chance that someone, or hopefully several someones, will finally take the step to get off of the capitalism hamster wheel and help us build solidarity and dual power in our communities through collective actions. Meantime, I keep working on mutual aid, political education (my own and then sharing what I learn), food sovereignty, and self-development to be a better comrade with my comrades doing the same kinds of work themselves. This is how the world changes and humanity evolves: cooperation. And that is why I have hope, because of my comrades and the revolution we are building.