College-educated individuals have led much of the current movement against police brutality.
These leaders have been heavily exposed to the watered-down politics of the paid and funded nonprofit consultants that presently dominate college campuses.
Corporate consultants have institutionalized “diversity” and “privilege” programs dedicated to an apolitical understanding of racism. Pontifications about “White privilege” and “microaggression” have relegated the struggle against racism to a practice in racial sensitivity.
Confront the structure
So while White supremacy has been understood correctly by the leadership of the new movement as an unjust system responsible for the murders of Black Americans such as 12-year old Tamir Rice, the movement has yet to confront White supremacy as a power structure dictated by the interests and contradictions of U.S. capitalist development itself.
Luckily, NBA celebrity LeBron James and a mob of White terrorists have emerged onto the political scene to provide useful instruction on the class character of White supremacy in America.
The non-indictment of the police officer who murdered Tamir Rice prompted activists to demand LeBron James conduct a one-person strike of the Cleveland Cavaliers. James answered the call with a plea of ignorance. He chose to protect both his privileges and those of his bosses by refraining to comment on the blatant injustice of the Tamir Rice case. For LeBron, class loyalty trumped Black loyalty.
Less than a week later, an angry mob of armed White ranchers occupied a federal wildlife reservation in Oregon. The corporate media labeled the ranchers “armed activists” and not domestic terrorists. The FBI has flirted with the possibility of “peaceful” negotiations between the feds and the occupiers.
These so-called government adversaries have been treated with all the rights and class privileges afforded to the majority of White Americans. Rather than being gunned down as Mariam Carey was when she crossed federal property, the gun-toting White mob has seen their actions protected by the very government it claims to protest. (Editor’s note: Carey, a 34-year-old Black woman who was allegedly mentally ill, was shot dead on the U.S. Capitol grounds in 2013 after a short car chase.)
The Oregon occupiers and the LeBron debacle highlight the class contradictions of White supremacy in the U.S.
White supremacy was established just over three centuries ago to crush class rebellion in the English colonies of North America. “White” identity provided European settlers with privileges and rights that were stripped from Africans or indigenous peoples. This included a modicum of economic relief, although most Whites owned little to no property decades into the formation of the United States.
Today, White economic relief has been eroded by the world capitalist crisis. White workers, especially White men, have been thrown out of the capitalist labor force in startling numbers. The Oregon occupation is an expression of class grievances. White Americans have taken up arms to demand the U.S. government bring back the racist, imperial privileges that have been the foundation of its existence.
LeBron James, on the other hand, represents a more sophisticated and nuanced development within the skeleton of White supremacy.
The system of White rule concocted a Black misleadership class in the 1960s and 70s to stifle and ultimately destroy mass support for revolutionary change. In response to national liberation struggles throughout Africa during the same period, the colonial powers propped up and supported a class of native Africans willing to do the bidding of the former occupier.
Athletes such as LeBron have been methodically woven into the Black misleadership class milieu.
His plea of ignorance was an expression of loyalty to White supremacy and a betrayal of the masses of Black people.
There has been no obstacle greater to social transformation in the U.S. than White supremacy and the collaborationist Black leaders that help manage it. The structure of White rule has driven an irreconcilable wedge between the oppressed and social transformation.
In this time of peak capitalist crisis, White Americans have organized themselves to protect the spoils of domestic and global plunder. Black misleaders have used all of their energies and acquired resources to direct genuine struggle into the racist, capitalist state. The Oregon occupation and the ignorance of LeBron James are manifestations of these co-occurring realities.
History will not be made by White mobsters or Black professional athletes. The class contradictions of capitalism and White supremacy simply won’t allow it.
History will be made by the actions and ideas of the masses. The organization and development of a mass movement for social transformation is the only action that can force poor Whites and rich Black celebrities and misleaders to consider and act in the interests of the oppressed. Until then, expect the LeBrons and Bundys of the world to side with the powerful.
Danny Haiphong is raising funds for a film project on the Black Panther Party. To contribute, go to Indiegogo.com. Contact Haiphong at email@example.com.