The Struggle Against White Supremacy

Shahidi Islam - Theologian and Author

Peace to the Gods and Goddesses of the foundation;

Much love goes to New York City;

And mad respect to London;

Within history racism predates capitalism by over a hundred years, thereby making any Marxist analysis of racism inherently and fundamentally flawed.

Nevertheless I have considered a relatively unoriginal conception of White supremacy based on Marx that I am going to share.

The dialectic Marx saw between Capital and Labour and their personifications, is an economic fallacy based on a misinterpreting of the global power structure.

Power does not and never has resided in money, power resides in control.

Money is a means to gain control but strength or cunning are more effective means of gaining control.

Again, strength or cunning can steal money or money can be the means of getting strength and cunning but ultimately the goal is control.

The one with control can oppress, exploit, or demoralise; those who are under control are the powerless. Supremacy comes from power.

Power talks to the powerless from a higher position, therefore they are superior. The powerless, in the presence of the powerful are thereby demoralised.

To distinguish themselves from the powerless the powerful discredit them, which is heightened to the extreme in racial terms.

The Black person is undermined by their position of powerlessness in a world in which White people confront them as having power to their lack of power.

That which Marx, on an economic basis called alienation, the psychological bewilderment of labour to capital, on a racial basis becomes dehumanisation.

The racial group is stripped of their humanity in the presence of the superhuman race.

The conflict, and it is a real conflict, between Black and White, is one that does not end till White supremacy is overthrown in the concrete and not just in the words and jargon of the White establishment to give the illusion of equality.

The Western world was built on White supremacy, until the structural mechanisms are removed and not just the vocabulary and the institutions, we will just be living in a dubious equality.

To be sure, there is no racial struggle, there is only a Black struggle.

Not that other races do not experience racism but all have come to accept White supremacy as a given.

Even the Muslims do not fight White supremacy but fight modernity (something I myself also fight with a kind of Afrofuturism), but Black people – the radical ones anyway – know that there enemy is White supremacy and struggle against it.

Further, just as with for Marx Labour are their own gravediggers through the socialist revolution, so for Fanon the racialised are their own gravediggers through the nationalist revolution.

To Fanon, through the national struggle and national liberation the racialised effectively put an end to their racial subordination.

Fanon did seek a deracialisation but only under these circumstances.

To Fanon, deracialisation without the victory of the national struggle would have been like claiming classlessness without the victory of the socialist revolution for Marx.

However, we have had the victory of both the socialist revolutions and the nationalist revolutions without the aftereffects Marx and Fanon hoped for.

The problem in both cases was statism.

The socialist revolution was the overthrow of the capitalist state and replacing it with a workers’ state.

The nationalist revolution was the overthrow of the colonialist state and replacing it with the national state.

The workers’ states may have fulfilled Marx’s requirements but they could hardly be called classless societies and to try to call them such would be the most irresponsible dogmatism imaginable.

The same is true of the national states, they may have fulfilled, to some degree, what Fanon required – at least with regard to removing the colonisers from political power – but they could hardly be called deracialised societies and to try to call them such would again be being dogmatically blind.

Again, if you look at the African nationalists they got exactly what they were looking for; political independence and political credibility.

But it didn’t solve the real problems facing the Black people of the world, because they were fighting against the right enemy with a limited objective.

It does not negate your Africanness to call yourself Black; being proud to be Black whether from Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, or Europe is always credible.

To say that they are inauthentic because they call or consider themselves Black is to discredit a large section of the conscious community.

Not all conscious Afrikan people really believe that we must be called Africans to get respect from the Europeans.

They don’t want to call themselves African because it is an effective strategy to end White supremacy, they only want to call themselves African because the other nationalities are named after a geographical location.

The Indians are named after India, the Chinese after China, the Native Americans after America, the Arabs after Arabia – and Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Iraq.

But being named after a country or continent doesn’t add anything to their credibility.

The fact is, with the exception of China all these nations and nationalities are under the power and influence of America.

So the problem doesn’t lie in being called Black, the problem lies even deeper than that; for this cause we must not be shamed to call ourselves Black, because we know our enemy is White supremacy.

We are not fighting against White racism, which is an adolescent perspective of the militant, we are fighting against White supremacy; hence, we must call ourselves Black warriors.

By being Black warriors we thereby open the door to real power in the power struggle between Black and White.