Black anarchism

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Black anarchism is a loose term sometimes (and only recently) applied in the United States to group together a number of people of African descent (mainly from a Black Panther Party background) who identify with anarchism. They include Ashanti Alston, Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin, Kuwasi Balagoon, Kai Lumumba Barrow, Greg Jackson, and Martin Sostre. Critics of the term suggest that it elides major political differences between these individuals, incorrectly presenting these individuals as having a shared theory or movement, while imposing a label that these individuals do not all (or did not) all accept.

The label should also not be confused with "black anarchists," since the majority of anarchist people of colour or of African descent historically or worldwide have never used this label, nor identified with something called "black anarchism".

The individuals to whom the label has been applied all oppose the existence of the State, the subjugation and domination of black people, and other groups, and favor a non-hierarchical organization of society. In general, these individuals argue for class struggle while stressing the importance of ending racial and national oppression, opposing white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, and the state. They have generally rejected narrow or vulgar forms of "anarchism" that ignore issues of race and national oppression, a deformed "white, petty-bourgeois Anarchism that cannot relate to the people" and that refuses to deal with issues of race saying "No, don't talk about racism unless it is in that very abstract sense of we-are-all-equal-let's-sing-kumbayas-and-pretend-the-color-of-our-skin-does-not-matter" anti-racism.[1]

None of these positions are unique to so-called "black anarchism."

Ashanti Alston (who has explicitly used the term "Black Anarchism") also argued that: Black culture has always been oppositional and is all about finding ways to creatively resist oppression here, in the most racist country in the world [the United States]. So, when I speak of a Black anarchism, it is not so tied to the color of my skin but who I am as a person, as someone who can resist, who can see differently when I am stuck, and thus live differently.[2]

He added that, as an anarchist, he viewed black nationalism as progressive yet also as deeply limited: "Panther anarchism is ready, willing and able to challenge old nationalist and revolutionary notions that have been accepted as ‘common-sense.’ It also challenges the bullshit in our lives and in the so-called movement that holds us back from building a genuine movement based on the enjoyment of life, diversity, practical self-determination and multi-faceted resistance to the Babylonian Pigocracy. This Pigocracy is in our ‘heads,’ our relationships as well as in the institutions that have a vested interest in our eternal domination.[3]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Pedro Ribeiro|Reflections on APOC and the fate of Black Anarchism
  2. ^ "Black Anarchism" Anarchist Panther
  3. ^ @narchist Panther Zine, October 1999, Edition 1, Volume 1

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