Black anarchism

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Black anarchism opposes the existence of the state, the subjugation and domination of black people, and favors a non-hierarchical organization of society. Black anarchists seek to abolish white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, and the state. Theorists include Ashanti Alston, Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin, Kuwasi Balagoon, Kai Lumumba Barrow, Greg Jackson, Shaka N'Zinga, Roger White, Martin Sostre and many former members of the Black Panther Party. Anarchist people of color is a network of non-white anarchists.

Ashanti Alston stated:

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.

—Ashanti Alston, "Black Anarchism", Anarchist Panther1

Black anarchists have criticized the traditional anarchist movement on the grounds it has traditionally been dominated by white Europeans. Black anarchists oppose the anti-racist conception based on the moral universalism of the Age of Enlightenment, which is proposed by the anarchist workers' tradition. Black anarchists argue that it is not adequate to struggle against racism, and that it disguises real inequalities by proclaiming a de jure equality. Pedro Ribeiro has criticized the anarchist movement by declaring that:

It is a white, petty-bourgeois Anarchism that cannot relate to the people. As a Black person, I am not interested in your Anarchism. I am not interested in individualistic, self-serving, selfish liberation for you and your white friends. What I care about is the liberation of my people.

—Pedro Ribeiro, Senzala or Quilombo: Reflections on APOC and the fate of Black Anarchism2

Pedro Ribeiro has expressed concern that the traditional anarchist movement is racist and seeks to suppress the black voice:

We now call ourselves Anarchists. We say we want the end of all chains and the extermination of all oppression. Yet, in the Anarchist "movement", black folk and other folks of color are still in the senzala. We are still having to disguise ourselves, call whitey "Massa" and chain ourselves to the wall. 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" racism. While there might be nobody yelling "die, nigger, die!", you can hear a very clear “shut the fuck up, nigger, just shut the fuck up".

—Pedro Ribeiro, Reflections on APOC and the fate of Black Anarchism

Black anarchists are influenced by the civil rights movement and the Black Panther Party, but seek to forge their own movement that represents their own identity and is tailored to their unique situation. In contrast to black activism that was based on hierarchical organizations, black anarchism favors organic development through communication and cooperation to bring about an economic and cultural revolution. Alston's @narchist Panther Zine stated:

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.

—Ashanti Alston, @narchist Panther Zine3

See also


  1. ^ "Black Anarchism" Anarchist Panther
  2. ^ "Senzala or Quilombo: Reflections on APOC and the fate of Black Anarchism",
  3. ^ @narchist Panther Zine, October 1999, Edition 1, Volume 1

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