Every single empire in its official discourse has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort. And, sadder still, there always is a chorus of willing intellectuals to say calming words about benign or altruistic empires, as if one shouldn’t trust the evidence of one’s eyes watching the destruction and the misery and death brought by the latest mission civilizatrice.
Edward W. Said, Orientalism
Nonviolence is an inherently privileged position in the modern context. Besides the fact that the typical pacifist is quite clearly white and middle class, pacifism as an ideology comes from a privileged context. It ignores that violence is already here; that violence is an unavoidable, structurally integral part of the current social hierarchy; and that it is people of color who are most affected by that violence. Pacifism assumes that white people who grew up in the suburbs with all their basic needs met can counsel oppressed people, many of whom are people of color, to suffer patiently under an inconceivably greater violence, until such time as the Great White Father is swayed by the movement’s demands or pacifists achieve that legendary “critical mass.
Peter Gelderlos, Why Nonviolence Protects the State
Whenever I start feeling too arrogant about myself, I always make a trip to America. The immigration guys kick the star out of stardom. They always ask me how tall I am and I always lie and say 5 feet 10 inches. Next time, I am going to get more adventurous. If they ask me ‘what color are you?’ I am going to say white.
Shah Rukh Khan,
Bollywood superstar, on being detained at the U.S. Airport—twice.
The western bourgeoisie has prepared enough fences and railings to have no real fear of the competition of those who it exploits and holds in contempt. Western bourgeois racial prejudice as regards the nigger and the Arab is a racism of contempt; it is a racism which minimizes what it hates. Bourgeois ideology, however, which is the proclamation of an essential equality between men, manages to appear logical in its own eyes by inviting the sub-men to become human, and to take as their prototype Western humanity as incarnated in the Western bourgeoisie.
Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of The Earth
I am a lesbian woman of Color whose children eat regularly because I work in a university. If their full bellies make me fail to recognize my commonality with a woman of Color whose children do not eat because she cannot find work, or who has no children because her insides are rotted from home abortions and sterilization; if I fail to recognize the lesbian who chooses not to have children, the woman who remains closeted because her homophobic community is her only life support, the woman who chooses silence instead of another death, the woman who is terrified lest my anger trigger the explosion of hers; if I fail to recognize them as other faces of myself, then I am contributing not only to each of their oppressions but also to my own, and the anger which stands between us, then must be used for clarity and mutual empowerment, not for evasion by guilt or for further separation.
Whether one likes it or not, the bourgeoisie, as a class, is condemned to take responsibility for all the barbarism of history, the tortures of the Middle Ages and the Inquisition, warmongering and the appeal to the raison d’Etat, racism and slavery, in short everything against which it protested in unforgettable terms at the time when, as the attacking class, it was the incarnation of human progress.
Aime Cesaire // Discourse on Colonialism
Any action which does not mobilize the community toward the goal is not a revolutionary action. The action might be a marvelous statement of courage, but if it does not mobilize the people toward the goal of a higher manifestation of freedom it is not making a political statement and could even be counterrevolutionary.
Huey P Newton
What’s impossible to ignore is how many of the individuals diagnosed with mental disorders are essentially anti-authoritarians. This was potentially a large army of anti-authoritarian activists that mental health professionals are keeping off democracy battlefields by convincing them that their depression, anxiety, and anger are a result of their mental illnesses and not, in part, a result of their pain over being in dehumanizing environments.
He who is reluctant to recognize me opposes me.
Colonialism, simply, is the forced occupation and exploitation of a land, its people, and its labor, maintained to preserve a hierarchy within a society. Post-colonial theorist and psychoanalyst Frantz Fanon holds that hierarchies under colonialism are “[divided],” “first and foremost,” by “what species, what race one belongs to.” (Fanon, 5) He maintains that colonists, “the ruling species,” are “the outsider[s] from elsewhere, different from the indigenous populations,” and through colonial procedure construct a subordinate racial “other” (Fanon, 5) used to enforce and legitimate its position of dominance. Only from within this basic framework of colonialism does Suzy Lee Weiss become intelligible as a discursive product of colonial relations, an ideologue who derives her beliefs from those of her colonist forebears. In the way she so hastily and effortlessly resorted to deploying all symbolic markers of her tarnished “purity”—from the “lies” told about her whiteness’s intrinsic value, to the tongue-in-cheek pride for neo-colonial western philanthropy, and “ironic” embrace of laziness (which is only “laziness” insofar as it compares to her stereotyping of steadfast, overachieving, workaholic Asians)—to engender sympathy, Suzy Lee Weiss embodies Fanon’s description of the “totalitarian nature of colonial exploitation” in the way she frames herself as diametrically opposed to the “Native,” (Fanon, 6) the non-white. Suzy’s colonial eyes are only able to see minorities as the “quintessence of evil”; (Fanon, 6) their growing success representing “more than the absence of values” or the “the negation of values,” but to a greater degree the very “enemy of values” (Fanon, 6) itself. This juvenile understanding of relations of power, inchoate conclusions for why she was rejected by her preferred colleges, is why I argue Suzy Lee Weiss desires to be, and is perplexed by why she cannot remain, a colonizer in a post-colonial world. That she, a suburban white girl, understands her desire to sit at the throne of modern empire—symbolized by a seat in the classroom of an Ivy League college—as a desire in conflict with those of oppressed minorities, betrays the extent to which her world-view has been shaped and misshaped by bone-deep, fundamentally racist colonial logics. What she wants, like her forebears’ wanted, is to be able to achieve success completely unencumbered; to sit atop the ivory tower; to command national attention and honor for her accomplishments, even if and when her success comes as the result of systematic oppression.
From my essay: “’BUT WHERE’S MY STAFF?!’ A POST-COLONIAL FEMINIST DISMANTLING OF SUZY LEE WEISS: AMERICA’S STALEST CRACKER”
A single duty, a single objective: drive out colonialism by every means. And the most liberal among us would be prepared to accept this, at a pinch, but they cannot help seeing in this trial of strength a perfectly inhuman method used by subhumans to claim for themselves a charter for humanity: let them acquire it as quickly as possible, but in order to merit it, let them use nonviolent methods. Our noble souls are racist.
Jean Paul Sartre, The Wretched of the Earth (Preface)
The metropolitan Left is in a quandary: it is well aware of the true fate of the “natives,” the pitiless oppression they are subjected to, and does not condemn their revolt, knowing that we did everything to provoke it. But even so, it thinks, there are limits: these guerrillas should make every effort to show some chivalry; this would be the best way of proving they are men. Sometimes the Left berates them: ‘You’re going too far; we cannot support you any longer.’ They don’t care a shit for its support; it can shove it up its ass for what it’s worth.
Jean Paul Sartre, The Wretched of the Earth (Preface)
No one is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them.
The refusal, especially among liberals, to believe that pornography has any real relationship to sexual violence is astonishing. Liberals have always believed in the value and importance of education. But when it comes to pornography, we are asked to believe that nothing pornographic, whether written or visual, has an educative effect on anyone. A recognition that pornography must teach something does not imply any inevitable conclusion: it does not per se countenance censorship. It does, however, demand that we pay some attention to the quality of life, to the content of pornography. And it especially demands that when sexual violence against women is epidemic, serious questions be asked about the function and value of material that advocates such violence and makes it synonymous with pleasure.
Andrea Dworkin, “Pornography’s Part in Sexual Violence” in The New Terrorism
Miss,” however delicious its scent in the private house, has a certain odour attached to it in Whitehall which is disagreeable to the noses on the other side of the partition; and that it is likely that a name to which “Miss” is attached will, because of this odour, circle in the lower spheres where the salaries are small rather than mount to the higher spheres where the salaries are substantial. As for “Mrs.,” it is a contaminated word; an obscene word. The less said about that word the better. Such is the smell of it, so rank does it stink in the nostrils of Whitehall, that Whitehall excludes it entirely. In Whitehall, as in heaven, there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage.
Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas