Anarkata Politics

Image description: blue background, with a Black man wearing an American flag shirt. A reference to Ferguson, he tosses a tear gas canister. The smoke from the can billows out behind him, in briliant purple and blue plumes. Above, the words ‘Anarkata Politics.’ To the left, ‘Anarkata Freedom School Black August Kritical Kickback Series Thursday August 13th’ 13th’

Overview of kickbacks and the spatial guidelines – Kritical Kickbacks are chill, accessible, nonhierarchical, chance to get in touch w anarkata principles through political education, mutual aid, or both. Since we push ourselves to an Anarkata frequency here, we want to center the most marginal among us, guard the lane against harm in the space, keep ourselves to that wavelength and not reproduce any transphobia, ableism, religious bias, fatphobia, or any oppression.

Overview of this particular kickback – this particular Kickback is a flash through of the Politics section of the Anarkata Statement. The Statement is a document that lays out a mosaic of African-centered methods and understandings drawn from a range of Black radical traditions into an anti-hierarchical and intersectional way of moving. The Politics section offers a way to analyze all oppressions in conversation with each other

Purpose: all our Kickibacks are about reframing Black August away from centering cis, abled men

Does anyone know about Black august?

Black August is a revolutionary tradition that began in the 70s. Emerging in California prisons, the founders of Black August sought to honor the life of George Jackson, who died a political prisoner. Black August commemorated several other militant radicals, freedom fighters, through study, solidarity, struggle , and spiritual discipline. Over the years, the Black August tradition has come to honor the many deaths and births of Black revolutionary ancestors and political formations, from across the Diaspora, which all somehow converge during this month, including the start of the Underground Railroad on august 2nd, the Ferguson Uprising on august 9th, the designation of a red, black, green flag for all Black people by the UNIA on august 13th, 1920, and more. As Anarkatas, we move through Black August in the spirit of Marsha P Johnson, who was born on the 24th. Centering the vulnerable and overlooked in this tradition helps us bringing to light aspects of Black radicalism we need to examine more deeply.

Personal introductions 

  • Hierarchy is any social relation that makes us vulnerable as Black people to structural oppression, exploitation, etc.
  • Different from white anarchism that defines hierarchy in a generalized sense
  • We center African struggles. For us, any power relationship, whether externally imposed, or that developed internally, which history has shown to keep us vulnerable to oppression—Anarkatas call that a hierarchy. We have to resist all of it.
  • ”This includes whorephobia, transmisogynoir, ableism. Ableism that is racialized helps criminalize Black [people’s] bodies.”

 Had to move to another call

”We were talking about ableism.”

”We were talking about the connections between ableism and Blackness, and ableism and Anarkata tradition. It was profound for me to hear that the Statement was written by trans and gender nonconforming and disabled people so of course those populations are centered.”

  • States are formalized hierarchies. They benefit the ruling class, protect ruling class interests. The modern government system is what we mean by a “State.” These systems are not universal, not common to all of human history. It developed in Europe, during the process of transitioning from religion and feudalism to secularism and capitalism. That process of transition was based in gender violence, ableism, and colonial violence. The modern definition of ”human” was first created out of this process. Through the State, subjecthood and rights (to property) are accorded to the new capitalist ruling class, using gender violence and colonialism to prop up their road to power. Along the way, appeals to the idea of “human” were made to incorporate cishet white abled men more broadly into this project, and these ideas also coopt any nonwhite people who hold onto cisheteropatriarchal, white, and ableist value systems. Furthermore, at some point States became tied to the idea of a nation, which uses the idea of ”sovereignty.” State sovereignty was clarified in the Treaty of westphalia to stabilize relations between Western oppressor nations as they moved along with colonizing our lands. Under the State, the nation/sovereignty concept further intensifies that what it means to “human” is capitalist, patriarchal, white, and ableist. Humans are only valuable in terms of how they can reproduce the nation in both material and immaterial ways; those who challenge these values and who resist anyone benefiting from the capitalis/colonial mode of social and economic production are discarded or demonized. 
  • ”How do we apply Sylvia wynter’s perspectives on Man to understanding neoliberal multiculturalism?””
  • We can think about her notion of ”reterritorializaton.” Basically think about cooption and neocolonialism. Recognize that anticolonial movements have used the State system to challenge white power. But the State structure was formed by colonizers for their material interests. This historically meant that by and large they have interrupted the process of State reclamation on our behalf to service their interest. They disrupted many anticolonial movements and sneakily impose their material interests instead. Then we have flag independence, but the Black masses are still subjected to the authority of Black faces in high places. These traitors represent themselves as us but within a capitalist and colonial world system. 
  • Thinking about Kamala harris. ”I dont get excited about some city’s first mayor, cop, DA, because i know what the job entails. These positions do not allow them to be radical.
  • ”Black people should be able to imprison Black people too” [someone joked]
  • ”Black excellence is… Black complicity in the colonial scheme.”
  • ”It is exhausting… many people i have been talking to become deradicalized forreal talking about we ”shouldnt hold her to the same standard. It aint about an individual moral standard… it is about her ideology. She is complicit.”
  • ”People actually overlook what politics look like in a capitalist system.”
  • ”Career politicians with billionaire donors dont represent the people and often corporate interest is in direct opposition to the people’s interest.”
  • ”I feel like authoritarian entities will never understand or accept the revolutionary potential in the Black masses. They will either squash or ignore it.”
  • Quote from How We Roll: Suggestions for Organizing as Anarkatas:

At the end of the day, Anarkatas should always understand that, as Modibo Kadalie once said, State policy… is [like how the] moon’s light is actually a reflection of the sunlight being bounced off… [T]he government structure and its ‘reforms’ or ‘progress’ are always only going to be responses to the fires of radical activity being launched by the masses. We may assume that this process implies a shared interest between rulers and the ruled (that they listen to us), especially if we live in nations with a ‘representative’ democracy.”

  • ”The power from below perspective is gonna look at these figureheads critically and look at their allegiance to Man and to antiblackness.”
  • ”An anarkata perspective makes you aware of the accountability you have to have to the movement. [be] aware that figureheads are not cultural norms we want to replicate in our movements.”
  • Capitalism is working against us, upheld by ecocide, genocide. We are coerced into a position where we can only access our needs through a system of racialized class rule. If we turn to the nonnormative economy to survive, or we resist the mainstream economy itself, we are criminalized, because the State helps keep everything in check. It upholds this rigged set up that benefits the people at the top. Along with other institutions (like religion), we are coerced so that all our relationships can be about producing commodities for the market and enabling them to make more profit. Our relationships are also forced to be about further reproducing colonial and cisheteropatriarchal society, even if the labor that is coerced here isnt paid a formal wage or is stolen through violence, humiliation, etc.”
  • ”When I think of Man in relation to the State and relation to capital… [resisting] these things is criminal. It is impossible to separate capital from whiteness. The police protect property.” 
  • ”In marxist terms, our struggle was called ”primitive accumulation.”
  • ”Fanon said, you are white because you are rich. You are rich because you are white. Marxism has to be stretched in the colonial context. In marxist terms, the economic base and the cultural superstructure are connected. Sylvia wynter helps us tie that together through her ”gaze from below” anti-colonial perspective on Man”
  • ”Ecocide is a very important point for me… People would differentiate Man from animal by bringing up [the idea of] ”reason.” When separating Man from nature, this was developed to justify colonialism. It also has antiblack implications.”
  • ”Wealth is the result of organized, protected robbery” said Fanon. We continue to be robbed of our lands, our lives and bodies, as well as our various forms of labor [and our time], which is a set up maintained through genocidal and ecocidal coercion that the State upholds, so that the only way we can get to our needs (and barely) is through them. This all serves their power and profit seeking.”
  • Capitalist exploitation unfolds in colonial and gender violent ways, impacting laborers in the third world, as well as prisoners, sex workers, and even emotional labor or other forms of labor that arent necessarily formally recognized or even waged elicited largely from Black women and other maGes and disabled folk.
  • ”Even our other relationships are being reduced to market logic, or pushed out because of the market logic.”
  • ”Clout culture reflects this in a unique way. So many of us are literally forming relationships or moving in community as a way to market ourselves! Capitalism is so insidious. Radical movement is reduced in this way too. Our relation to the planet is not just coerced into this idea that the capitalist market is the only way, our everyday relationships to each other are being pushed around [market thinking] in a deeper way.”
  • ”The way the platform is organized… it is like broadcasting and advertising yourself.” [on how social media enables assumptions about capitalist relations to live in the individual more deeply] 
  • ”It is possible to organize effectively and build relationships on social media. The way we move [as Anarkatas] was formed around common principles of being anticapitalist, anticolonial, however. The Statement, these Kickbacks, flow from that.”’
  • ”We have other ways of transmitting our traditions, but they are also forcibly being commodified right now. It is apparently not real if people cannot make a side hustle on it. It puts us in a position that is difficult when we are trying to connect.”
  • ”This is why it is really important to bring an anti-capitalist analysis even as we resist colonialism, so that we can look at the material and make sure capitalist logics are not showing up in the work we want to do.”
  • ”Exploitation of labor is unique for Black experience when alot of us are pushed out of the formal wage system, and our very bodies and experiences are reduced to a resource for folk to exploit for various forms of both material and immaterial gain in order to justify their colonial/capitalist relations. Especially for disabled Black folk, like when we used for inspiration, and Imani Barbarin talks about it on twitter, like how that inspiration lets capitalism off the hook because now these videos or stories are used to celebrate the individual achievement of a disabled person while not looked at how they have had to navigate a fucked up, exploitative system to get to their needs. ”
  • [check in – How is everyone feeling? This is alot of information]
  • ”From the perspective of the Anarkata turn, we really think of ecological struggle and black struggle as intertwined, and it starts from this colonial formulation of a divide between human and nonhuman. The State had alot to do with how that was framed. This is how we understand that oppression of Afrika and Afrikan people are at the heart of it all. That is why our modern understanding of ”human” (a State subject) came from experiments that colonizers did through demonizing fatness, disability, gender variance, and not just our hair texture, skin color, and other features (including our culture) among Afrikan people. This was used to justify reducing us to this almost earthly resource. This was to make sure we could keep being hyper exploited in various ways (for material and other forms of gain) under capitalism.”
  • ”This process impacts Black queer/trans and disabled people in particular ways, especially because it has hypersexualized us and that is used to ascribed criminality to us, and uphold intense State repression and medical violence against us.”
  • The Anarkata Statement on ableism:

“The oppression of all Black people, the negation of Black humanity, and how it engenders queerphobia, anti-fatness, human-centrism— is all figured through disablism. When colonizers built a ‘scientific’ framework over the Euro-Christian biases they used to dehumanize us, the brutal experiments practiced on our body parts, whether we were dead or alive, in order to define the Human as a being ‘able’ to have rulership within capitalism/the State, relied on disablist understandings of Afrikan ‘difference.’

… Anarkata maintains that disability justice is about the bodily autonomy of our people outside of slavery and imperialism. Disability justice says that our destitute conditions are not because something is innately wrong with us and our bodies/minds, but because violent, hierarchical structures force us out of our capacity to meet our needs. Anarkatas affirm that we will never be free until all Black people, especially disabled people, are free to practice bodily autonomy and meet our needs with the full support of the Black community. Anarkatas push disability justice because we know our support will and can come from us, not the State. This support will recognize our whole persons and selves however we are shaped or may change and work to affirm us, by us, for us. This support will push us beyond subjection to the State and capitalism’s reduction of us to an inhuman labor resource by calling us to reclaim our full selves and struggle for our needs by our own hands. This support is ecopolitical because in striving to meet our needs we will then need restoration with our environment, in order to get the material means of survival in that environment. And we will need to understand our biology and neurology within the complexity that is the ecological world, beyond reductions imposed by our class/colonial enemies. Anarkatas say that disability justice is ultimately about people power in its clearest sense, and see it as central to all of the political positions we espouse here.”

  • ”Demonization, hypersexualization of Black people, especially Black women, is the basis of the gender system in the modern world. The fact that when gender is assigned for us, it involves these racist tropes, is because white society is telling on itself about exactly how they even came to formulate this understanding of what human gender is. It came from violence against Afrikan people and Afrikan people’s lands. This perspective impacts Black cis/het people, even though they identify with their gender assignment. But it impacts Black gender/sexually variant folk the most. From an Anarkata perspective, in fact, it hits Black trans women the worst who are scapegoated as the hallmark example of whatever savage inhumanity that Black gender/sexuality is supposedly evidence of in the minds of white people. Colonizers have always wanted to push genocide against Black trans and queer folk in Afrikan life, due to the fact that historically many of us have been sites of cultural and spiritual cohesion and strength. That’s why there is that religious demonization. The transphobia is a divide and rule tactic and respectability politic to aid in imperial conquest, because it undermines and erases important leaders in community.”
  • We cannot center cis/het people. We talk about this power from below, this anti-hierarchy perspective, about moving through the struggle of those who been reduced to this earthly resource, treated like dirt, and if we talking about the logics of gender that were used to justify enslaving us and owning us like land/soil… [w]ell, Black trans people are at the bottom, are on the front lines of this experience, and so Anarkata centers the QmmuniTy and this means cis/het people resonating with an Anarkata frequency are not at the center.” 
  • ”Cis people are a guest in Anarkata, as one of my comrades once said.”
  • Talked about how cishet people upholding the gender binary and thinking it is pro-Black is eugenicist.
  • ”Cishet people misunderstand that Black power is a material struggle. Europeans did not get to where they are because of their gender and sexuality; they imposed a gender system in order to clear off and suppress populations on the land and resources they want to steal. Their power comes from that material hold on the earth and over our bodies and exploitation of labor; so freeing those things frees us. Assuming that Black liberation comes from the heteropatriarchy, how much babies a ”nation” can produce is a misunderstanding of how oppression works [white power is not based in the nuclear family, but in capitalism, which the nuclear family services]. They use this to then make it seem like Black feminism and Queer/trans liberation and tools of white genocide against Black men [when it really just challenges capitalist investment that nuclear family aspirations uphold].”
  • ”So they are tying our liberation to the nuclear family, ahhhh” [referring to how cishet people discuss the idea of a ”Gay Agenda”]
  • ”In Uganda where my fam is from, my auntie will argue being gay is derived from colonialism. Not only is there a history of querness in Uganda, but the anti-homosexuality law passed by the parliament was made and backed by Texan evangelicals! It cant be any more colonial than that.”
  • Toni Morrison said racism is a distraction, queerphobia is a distraction too because now we have to argue and dig up histories of queerness in the Continent because they have been wiped out. 
  • Gender binarism is not a vision of blackness that is global, or Pan African. Blackness is not monolithic. Understanding queerness is pivotal to understanding the diversity of Pan African liberation struggle and diversity of Black experience. The vision is incomplete, which makes it ”assailable. Im not interested in a revolution where the merest tint of an aberration can throw us off. It does [benefit] us to listen to the most marginalized. It makes our logic unassailable.”
  • ”This is why the Combahee River Collective taught us that ”if Black women are free, everyone gets free.” If you center the most marginal, that is the roadmap to areas of need. If the rejected stone is the chief cornerstone, then when you tug on it, that’s how you get the wall crumbling down.”
  • ”What is the theory of the invisible committee? How do Anarkatas view that?”
  • ”The invisible committee is a european anarchist practice, small anarchist cells that will link up with other groups to pull off larger actions, but are not a formation. They are much more loosely affiliated, somewhat transitory. They refuse to organize as well defined groups… and to engage on the oppressor’s terms.”
  • Host talked about the idealist tendencies of white anarchism. There is alot of discussion in the notion of invisible committee about negating the self or not trying to play on the oppressor’s terms, but these notions are very abstract, not grounded. These ideas can be applied in many ways. Negating the self could mean then denying one is a settler; and not trying to play on the oppressor’s terms could mean that one has to be pacifist since oppressors use violence. The starting place for how they analyze what they are going against, is concepts. The starting place for how Anarkatas analyze what we are going against, is what actions we have to take to transform our material struggle. It is different.”
  • ”They lack real visible connection to the work itself. It is a belief you have to be real cloak and dagger. They deny the validity of having a diversity of tools in your toolbox. These are people who wanna mask up at every turn. These are the people overly concerned with security culture but dont do shit to root our predators in their midst. These are the people who believe any type of community connection is abhorrent. They move from place to place… but they dont think about how their lack of familial or community basis… is aided by their whiteness and being able to move without being thought of as suspect. And at any point they can get a job if they wanted to.” [talking about white anarchists using the invisible committee model in the US]”
  • ”These are examples of what distinguishes Anarkata from white anarchism or ”anarcrakka” politics. Anarkata very much has more material commitment.”
  • ”Their whiteness is a corporeal prerequisite to their fluidity.” [talking about insurrectionary white anarchists who prioritize fluidity as a concept in and of itself]
  • ”It is not that [they] dont have a self, it is that your self was subsumed into whiteness.”
  • ”If they dealt with the material… they would have to come up with the conclusion that they are the problem.”
  • ”It is not that you lack a coherent self that undergirds your transiency as a white anarchist, it is your privilege under capitalism and colonialism. Transiency for black people aint a game, it is a material problem. Anarkatas look at the material.”
  • ”White anarchists are great with these utopian ideas. They want to reject a coherent self. But as a Black person, where other selfhood is imposed on me, I need to define myself for myself.” [talking about how Anarkatas have to prioritize our history of struggle]
  • ”Many anarkatas arrive at anarkata through other tendencies. I learned through Black Marxist Feminists. I still value that.” [on what distinguishes Anarkata. We didnt arise purely from traditional anarchism. Our tendency is more expansive.]
  • ”There is no immediacy on a white analysis of what is theoretically important to argue about. That is why we arent spending so much time talking about the Paris Commune. We do take the long view thinking about the future, but we are also looking at the immediate conditions.”
  • ”Dreams and reality are opposites, action synthesizes them” (Assata Shakur) Our focus isnt on concepts alone but how we actualize what we are fighting for.”
  • ”We hold each other to a narrative and a praxis, not a party [or persona].” [talking about why we arent going to be focused primarily on venerating particular theorists in the anarchist canon]
  • ”It’s no wonder they get so fatalistic, everything is so eschatology. Like the reason i love anarkata is that we fighting in the moment, we have a presentism to make liberation an ongoing reality of struggle through the relations we create. Bringing creation into existence like wynter said. But white leftists are waiting for the second coming of Marx, some singular event they can speculate about.”
  • ”Theoretical debates are not unimportant. The Statement does say that we work to consolidate a revolutionary proposition around Black cultures of opposition. We should be trying to sort out what world we propose in place of the world we are trying to oppose. But thas a process. We are consolidating something, so that is an ongoing project. We somewhat have a vision, but the conditions change so we also have to update. That is why we dont get stuck in worshipping one particular figure. The only reason eurocentric leftists continue to get hung on theoretical debates and venerating one person is because they dont want to keep doing the work of updating our understanding. Because they arent really trying to do shit.”
  • [some people in the Kickback stepped out]
  • We talked about spreading leadership capacity, inviting folk to come for other Kickbacks or even host some of their own.
  • Concluding remarks: the Anarkata Politics section is a layered document: we start with an anarkata perspective on hierarchy. Hierarchy is defined in terms of the broader history of Africa. We move to talking about the State as a formalized hierarchy. We move to understanding capitalism as the basis for how the State operates. We talk about colonialism/imperialism as at the heart of how capitalism forms. We discuss how the oppression of Africa and development of antiblackness is central to colonialism and imperialism, and therefore to capitalism. You cannot understand colonialism, capitalism, the violence of the State, and the problem with hierarchy without us. From that Black/African liberation lens, we then understand how the modern notion of human came to be: Man was articulated in Europe as a State subject with ”rights” in a developing capitalist and colonial world founded on gender violence and systematic ableism. This idea of European ‘Man’ as human justifies the systems of exploitation and the impact they have on the environment and all life forms. This idea is naturalized by processes of gender policing and ableism. Black trans women are impacted the most by this. We look to liberation of all of Africa and African people with these insights in mind. We understand that domination under capitalism and colonialism is most effectively resisted from a disability justice and queer/trans liberation lens.

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