Thursday, August 13, 2015
Being a Progressive Ally Means Being All In
I want to address for a minute the idea that the Black Lives Matter movement somehow has singled out a particular 2016 Democratic candidate and is using unfair tactics to raise awareness of their cause at his expense: well, I don't care.
The economic justice campaign of former Independent Socialist Bernie Sanders and the social justice movement, Black Lives Matter, are both progressive movements worthy of anyone's time and consideration. I believe that economic justice matters--it matters whether anyone actually has bootstraps in the first damn place to whether they are ever able to pull themselves up by them. People gaining access to the various means of economic security--whether that means good jobs or a good and fair environment to attempt entrepreneurship, need some kind of security that what they are doing will be profitable to them according to their labor, and that their effort will not be robbed from them by rent-seekers.
I like Bernie Sanders. I find him a frank and refreshing voice, and I think he gets what labor is and the value of it, and the rank shitassery of the rentier class in trying to devalue labor. I think he is pretty good on civil rights because he gets what justice means--he's not a bad guy. When his stans talk about his support--about fifty years ago, of Martin Luther King and the original civil rights movement, I get that he has not wavered from that stance.
But I recognized as a feminist a while back that being an ally means always re-upping. You don't just get dealt in one time, you throw yourself in, every time. Being an ally means always listening to the marginalized. It means understanding why they have to yell to get heard. It means knowing when to let them be heard, and to try and let their message, get to be your message also.
I think Sanders gets it, and has modified his campaign to show how he gets it. What I think is needed, though, is that a lot of white progressives get what being all in means.
I want people to know the name Charnesia Corley. What happened to her has been done before. I want them to understand that what happened to Christian Taylor is so not-uncommon that no one thought anyone would bother about it.
Disrupting a political rally is bullshit compared with virtual rape of black women and murder of black men. There is nothing to compare, there. On one side is inconvenience, and on the other side is death or something terribly degrading. I invite anyone with questions about the tactics of the BLM movement to just consider that worse is done to black people by duly constituted authorities any day of the week. That is an urgent problem.
I get why BLM comes off as shrill. I get why they are angry. I think they should be, and I am. Being an ally should mean getting with their anger, too, no matter where they express it, because they are harmed anywhere and everywhere.
I am all in for Black Lives Matter. They matter everywhere. I don't care about politics--I just don't want my brothers and sisters shot up or choked out for the dumb reason of color. I expect more.