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Yes, APOC is Maoist (in a sarcastic tone)

category north america / mexico | anarchist movement | other libertarian press author Thursday June 19, 2008 04:54author by - Anarchist People of Color Report this post to the editors

Our movement needs more people who ‘get it’ speaking and writing on matters of race and autonomy. No one can offer the perfect theory, but together we can build something that is a lot better than the mess we have today.

It is time for people of color who profess to be anarchists to come out of the closet.

It is also time to confirm the beliefs of many white anarchists.

The secret is out. No point hiding it any longer.

Yes, the conspiracy theories are right.

Yes, it is true. You caught us.

Try as we might to keep up the charade, our maneuvering was no match for your stellar deductive skills and impressive sleuthing, mighty white anarchist.

Yes, we supporters of discussions of race as it relates to anarchism, of anti-authoritarian egalitarianism, of challenging the white supremacist system are Maoists.

Not only are we Maoists, but we are reverse-racist proto-Maoists intent on sullying your super-white scene in the name of Bob Avakian or, better yet, Carl Dix. We are red-flag-waving sub-Maoists singing “The Internationale” as we are in your bases. We are dirty pseudo-Maoists because, though we might agree on several points politically, our disagreements with you are seen as just cause for you to be as dismissive and McCarthyite as John McCain having prison-camp flashbacks.

You win. Convinced?

The tongue-in-cheek confession is intended to highlight the need for anarchists to write more on race and anti-authoritarianism, and for those who disagree to step up the level of debate.

Anarchists of color face much criticism — rightly and wrongly, thoughtful as well as hateful. As a young tendency with developing ideas and passionate people speaking out as revolutionaries against the state and white supremacy, many mistakes happen. Some views are not as expansive as to resolve every question. We do not have answers for everything, of course. Theory around contemporary ideas of anarchism and race is still evolving. There are still debates about how critical class, a notion popularized by Marx long ago, is in the dynamics of race; of skin privilege related to people of color; and numerous other issues. As much as has been written associated with anarchists of color, much has yet to be written.

Still, even when the theory gets clearer, like most of anarchism, how people fashion the ideas becomes, for good and bad, a matter of personal choice. That phenomenon is simply reality.

A few things are certain. White supremacy and a history of colonization have impacted Black people and people of color around the globe, in complex ways that are not spelled out in absolutes, and in which white supremacy has coddled plenty of surrogates. The world is a multi-textured place where solutions are not neat and tidy. Contrary to some opponents’ claims, anarchists of color do not argue the world is all black-and-white, nor that race is static. Instead, we argue that race and white supremacy are important to discuss, and that anarchism as a whole should take such issues seriously.

You might think such a view was a cry for butchering baby seals.

Virtually every anarchist of color has been open in her or his disdain for Maoism. Even among those who encourage an understanding of Mao Tsetung, all are critical of Maoism and Communism. These facts are, obviously, avoided so to isolate APOC’s advocates. Accusing anarchists of color who see the impact of white supremacy of being Maoists is a stall tactic, meant to bad-jacket ideas rather than create a real discussion.

As exposed in “An Open Letter to White Progressives/Radicals” and other pieces, a sophisticated ideological framework supports white supremacy. Fomenting fear is undoubtedly part of the equation.

In truth, oppressed people are organizing because they see the need to make a larger connection, beyond the comfortable spaces of progressive political venues. Yet, so long as we as people of color permit the majority to define us and our politics, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

So yes, APOC and its supporters is/are Maoists, reverse racists and savages out to eat innocent white children, so long as anarchists of color fail to popularize our views and speak for ourselves.

For people of color as well as whites to venture forth in new ways that expand the discussion around anti-authoritarianism and race is a challenge to which we can collectively rise. Not just reacting to the polemics posted at, which are written to agitate in support of APOC. Writing about how bad anarchists of color are, as many anonymous and not-so-anonymous rants amply show, is a very easy thing to do. Anarchism needs those really ready to look at ideas and put forward a new vision that expands our understanding of race and freedom.

As Ashanti Alston puts it,

“I see the biggest limitations being around our fear of grappling with race, gender, and class. I think it’s the thing in the U.S. history of struggles that has kept us divided, and I think it’s the most difficult thing for us to confront and prepare to work through. I think when it comes down to it, if we can do better on that, we could propel forward, but those are the messy things. It’s our fear of dealing with the messy things that holds us back. One thing I think is important, and this is from my background too, people are afraid of consequences.”

Our movement needs more people who ‘get it’ speaking and writing on matters of race and autonomy. No one can offer the perfect theory, but together we can build something that is a lot better than the mess we have today.

Those whites who genuinely understand the potential for racial justice perspectives in the anti-authoritarian milieu should get regard for their courage and grasp of the importance of a principle. However, those individuals, in some cases well meaning, who accuse anarchists of color of what they themselves are most guilty, and willfully distort our views are only stepping up their attacks as anarchists of color grow in numbers and ideas. Presenting the challenge that anarchists of color do to traditional anarchist orthodoxy should make such insidious forms of “debate” as red-baiting no surprise.

We can, and must, do better.

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