White Privilege // Whiteness Studies

FWD: This is Your Nation on White Privilege
Jude Paul Dizon | September 30, 2008 – 3:13 am
Tags: racism, whiteness

Ch-ch-check this out y’all.

From: http://www.redroom.com/blog/tim-wise/this-your-nation-white-privilege-updated
Author: Tim Wise

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you’ll “kick their fuckin’ ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action…

And so on and so forth. The post is on the ‘Young People For’ (YPF) website. YPF is a project of the US-based group ‘People For the American Way’, and was “established in 2004 as a strategic, long-term leadership initiative… to invest in the next generation of leaders and build a long-term national network for young progressives”.

The opinions of two young progressives regarding the recent protests at the RNC have been published in ‘From Slingshots to Solutions: Goals for Organizers’ (The Nation, October 1, 2008). The authors are Calvin Williams (‘Fellowship Coordinator at Young People For’) and Matt Birkhold (editor of ‘Elements: The Monthly Publication of the National Hip Hop Political Convention‘). Their analysis identifies the RNC Welcoming Committee as being responsible for the repression of the protests: “…the actions of a small group of anarchist activists provided justification for excessive law enforcement tactics, including the use of concussion grenades, tear gas and mass arrests. A few stray activists damaging property and using violent direct action ultimately resulted in repression for other groups caught between the battle lines.” The spoiling tactics of the violent anarchists, they argue, can be usefully contrasted with the protest activities of the Southern Christian Leadership Coalition, and those of the Civil Rights Movement.

Williams and Berkhold’s critique obviously has quite general applications but is of particular relevance in the context of an exploration of the concept of ‘whiteness’ given that the antics of the Welcoming Committee, they argue, has particular ramifications for activists and communities ‘of colour’: “Down the line, such tactics may be used to justify investigations of local organizers and their communities. In particular, non-white communities and activists of color will likely bear the brunt of police and state repression at levels greater than before the convention.” Or to put it another way: “White privilege is when you can damage property and use violent direct action without regard for the consequences for non-white communities and activists of colour”.

Well, sorta.

In fact, eight members of the Welcoming Committee — white privilege notwithstanding — have been arrested and charged with terrorism, and if found guilty, face up to 7 1/2 years in prison (Protesters or terrorists? Charge raises question, Amy Forliti/Associated Press, October 5, 2008). As an aside, Williams and Berkhold explicitly base their tactical considerations, in part, on a generalised strategy of reliance upon the state. Thus, in terms of ‘Tactical improvement’ they argue: “Tactical escalation will more effectively challenge decision makers and institutions while creating new opportunities for moving power and support in our favor. As referenced earlier, the SCLC employed tactic escalation strategies to create the conditions necessary for state intervention. SCLC members were successful in escalation because of their ongoing collective reflection on their campaign’s failings and assessment of which tactics would achieve political intervention.” For anarchists and other radicals, this approach is obviously problematic.

Whiteness Studies

Oz Conservative — a blog by an “Australian traditionalist conservative” — wrote in September 2007:

Ten years ago there were no such courses. Now “whiteness studies” is being taught at over 30 American campuses [Source (presumably): ‘Whiteness Studies’, Chris Weinkopf, FrontPageMagazine.com, June 25, 2003]. In Australia too there are academics teaching this subject; in 2003 they formed their own whiteness studies association. So what is it? In short, it’s a field of studies based on the theory that whites invented the idea of biological race in order to oppress indigenous peoples and to benefit from unearned privileges.

Oz Conservative argues (see also Unpacking whose privilege?, September 22, 2008) that the effect of Whiteness Studies upon (white) students is pernicious. He cites the case of one student who, upon undertaking her studies, then “took a frightening journey into Australia’s violent history… The path was at times very distressing. My study journal was often wrinkled with tears.” Another academic relates how her students experience a range of negative emotions in response to her teachings. (Unfortunately, Oz provides no citations.) Beyond this, Whiteness Studies is dangerous because it is ideologically incoherent, and a product of the failings of liberal modernism — chief among them, in this context, the failure to acknowledge that race is a ‘biological fact’ and not a ‘social construct’ — which in turn produces unacceptable political consequences: a genocidal imperative to destroy the white race. And of course, some advocate just that. For example: Abolish the White Race – By Any Means Necessary (Race Traitor, No.1, Winter 1993):

The white race is a historically constructed social formation – historically constructed because (like royalty) it is a product of some people’s responses to historical circumstances; a social formation because it is a fact of society corresponding to no classification recognized by natural science.

The white race cuts across ethnic and class lines. It is not coextensive with that portion of the population of European descent, since many of those classified as “colored” can trace some of their ancestry to Europe, while African, Asian, or American Indian blood flows through the veins of many considered white. Nor does membership in the white race imply wealth, since there are plenty of poor whites, as well as some people of wealth and comfort who are not white.

The white race consists of those who partake of the privileges of the white skin in this society. Its most wretched members share a status higher, in certain respects, than that of the most exalted persons excluded from it, in return for which they give their support to the system that degrades them.

The key to solving the social problems of our age is to abolish the white race. Until that task is accomplished, even partial reform will prove elusive, because white influence permeates every issue in U.S. society, whether domestic or foreign.

Advocating the abolition of the white race is distinct from what is called “anti-racism.” The term “racism” has come to be applied to a variety of attitudes, some of which are mutually incompatible, and has been devalued to mean little more than a tendency to dislike some people for the color of their skin. Moreover, anti-racism admits the natural existence of “races” even while opposing social distinctions among them. The abolitionists maintain, on the contrary, that people were not favored socially because they were white; rather they were defined as “white” because they were favored. Race itself is a product of social discrimination; so long as the white race exists, all movements against racism are doomed to fail.

The existence of the white race depends on the willingness of those assigned to it to place their racial interests above class, gender or any other interests they hold. The defection of enough of its members to make it unreliable as a determinant of behavior will set off tremors that will lead to its collapse…

Whiteness Studies Down Under

In Australia, the peak body for the promotion of the study of whiteness would appear to be the Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association (ACRAWSA):

ACRAWSA is an exciting and growing social and cultural network of researchers who recognise that whiteness operates through institutions, ideology and identity formation to secure political, legal and economic privileges for white people as a collective leaving many Indigenous and other people racialised as ‘non white’ collectively disadvantaged and dispossessed of material, cultural and intellectual resources.

Thus far, the Association has organised two conferences — The Borderpolitics of Whiteness (2006) and Whiteness, Race and Reproduction: Bodies, Nations, Knowledges (2007) — and a third (Re-Orienting Whiteness) is to take place in December, 2008. As is normally the case with academic conferences, attendance is restricted, both by way of subject matter, but also, and moreover, cost: those registering their attendance late — “after 5 October 2008, subject to change” — must pay $250 (full rate) or $180 (postgraduate/unwaged/community). Of course, it’s possible to sneak in to one or two seminars (and to thereby possibly present the organisers with the opportunity for a fulsome debate on ‘The Borderpolitics of Academic Discourse’ while ‘Re-Orienting’ the poors in the direction of the nearest Exit. On the other hand — and in all fairness to ACRAWSA — their journal is available online.) Note that a handful of racist malcontents on Stormfront have declared their intention to provide some free entertainment for conference attendees.

See also : ‘Tripping Over the White Fantastic’, Joshua T. Wiley, The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 2, 2008 (“A job candidate in sociology whose research focuses on race finds that he’s not what search committees were expecting”) | ‘Judgment Day’, Mark Oppenheimer, The New York Times (Magazine), September 19, 2008 | Lynching to Belong: Claiming Whiteness through Racial Violence, Cynthia Skove Nevels, A&M University Press, 2007, Review by John Barnhill (Southwest Journal of Culture) | Anarchy 102 : Race (April 10, 2007) | Racism, rednecks, and if only these were brains (January 9, 2007)

    A QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE

    One hears a lot of talk about privilege in anarchist circles these days. “Male privilege”, “white-skin privilege”, “first-world privilege” and similar phrases come up regularly in discussion, but with no real analysis to back them up, as if everyone should understand exactly what is meant. And, indeed, it is not so difficult to figure out what is meant by these phrases. Their clear implication is that if the oppression and exploitation one suffers in this society is not as intense as that which another suffers, then one is privileged relative to that other person. But such a conception of privilege is useless from an anarchist and revolutionary perspective. It only has meaning in relation to the reformist concept of equality before the law, which is always equality of exploitation and oppression. For those of us who have no interest in rights, but rather want the freedom to determine our own lives and so find the only equality worth pursuing to be equality of access to all that is necessary for determining the conditions of our existence—that is, for those of us for whom the destruction of the social order and the revolutionary transformation of reality are the essential first steps toward making our lives our own—a very different concept of privilege must be developed.

    We live in a class society. This has been true since the accumulation of wealth and power into a few hands gave rise to the state and capital. The few who rule determine the conditions under which everyone exists, institutionalizing social relations that maintain and expand their control over wealth and power. The ruling class structures these relations in such a way that the survival of the exploited classes depends upon their continued participation in the reproduction of these relationships, thus guaranteeing the continuation of class society. Thus, it can be said that the ruling class structures social relationships in such a way that the continued reproduction of society will always privilege the ruling class and its needs. In any class society—thus, in any society in which the state and the economy exist—only the ruling class can be truly said to have privilege.

    But the ruling class does not impose itself upon a passive populace. The history of class society is always the history of class struggle, the history of the exploited trying to take their lives and the social conditions under which they exist back in order to determine them for themselves. Thus, it is in the interest of the ruling class to structure social relations in such a way as to create divisions within the exploited classes that cloud their understanding of the nature of their struggle and of their enemy. The ruling class accomplishes this through various institutions, identities and ideologies such as nation, race, gender, occupation, sexual preference and so on. It is not hard to see how the ruling class uses these structures for its ends. It grants people in specific social categories particular “privileges” defined in terms of that category. But being granted a privilege by those who define your life on their terms is not the same thing as having privilege. This becomes especially clear when anyone who is not of the ruling class steps out of line. Their so-called privileges can quickly disappear.

    Furthermore, these “privileges” granted by the ruling order to people in certain social categories among the exploited actually do amount to nothing more than a lessening of the intensity of exploitation and oppression experienced by these people relative to others. Thus, men are less likely to be sexually harassed and assaulted than women and tend to receive greater compensation for the same level of exploitation at the job. White people are less likely to be harassed by cops or to be charged with felonies for victimless crimes and sentenced to years in prison than non-white people and find it easier to get a job. Heterosexuals generally do not have to worry about being beaten or ostracized because of their sexual preference. The list could go on, but I think the point is clear. All of these so-called privileges are nothing more than a minimal easing of the conditions of exploitation experienced by people in these specific social categories. They are intended to convince these people that they have more in common with their exploiters than with those not granted the same “privileges” and to convince the others that their real enemy is not the ruling class, but rather those granted a less intense level of exploitation.

    In this light, moralistic calls to recognize one’s own privilege and give it up are meaningless. They serve no purpose in the creation of a revolutionary project aimed at the destruction of all rule. As we have seen, the so-called privileges enumerated in the mea culpas of guilt ridden radicals are really nothing more than means for constructing social identities that serve the ruling class by producing artificial divisions among those they exploit. So if we want to move the revolutionary project of destroying all rule and privilege forward, then our task is not to give up some phantom privilege that has never really been our own, but to expose and move beyond the artificial identities that smother our individuality and cripple us in our battle against the ruling order. Since only the ruling class truly has privilege, the destruction of privilege will only occur when we destroy all rule.

    ~ Anonymous, Willful Disobedience, Vol. 2, No. 8

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2020 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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15 Responses to White Privilege // Whiteness Studies

  1. Darrin Hodges says:

    “As is normally the case with academic conferences, attendance is restricted, both by way of subject matter, but also, and moreover, cost”

    In other words, only rich white Marxists can attend.

  2. @ndy says:

    Rich white Marxists are an endangered species Darrin; middle class academics with an interest in: —

    Indigenous perspectives on whiteness
    The politics of apology/assimilation/sovereignty/restitution/power
    Whiteness in the colonial/settler colonial encounter
    Whiteness in non-colonial contexts
    The gendered privileges of whiteness
    The chronology of whiteness: visibility/invisibility
    Cultures, representations, borderlands, bodies, transformations
    Refugees, asylum, immigration, inclusion/exclusion
    Does whiteness even matter?

    — and post-grads, on the other hand, will likely constitute the bulk of the audience. Conference organisers are also providing some potential subsidies to those wishing to attend. “Some funding is available primarily to support Indigenous participants and postgraduate students from Australia and overseas.”

    In this sense, the conference is unremarkable.

  3. cwilliams says:

    Hey, this is Calvin Williams (one of the authors of the quoted article). This is an amazing critical analysis of both the article and referenced organizing theories. Matt and I actually debriefed with several other activists and organizers who share a similar analysis as you have provided. I think the major point of contention was the passage “actions of a few justifying police action” (paraphrased) as it is reported that surveillance and suppression was taking place well prior to the protests itself. Unfortunately, that passage I believed undermined the intent of the article in that we were proposing a need for public/private critical reflection that focuses beyond actions of the state, and instead provides a reassessment of the strategies, tactics, and activities employed by activists to achieve a specific goal.

    I had a great conversation this past Friday night with a member of a group that participated in the Seattle WTO protests and his analysis was that while the state has shifted its activities and tactics employed on protesters, the methodology of the organizers/activists has not.

    I would love to engage more with you about your critique of privilege. I’ve approached this in a previous post “Taking the Race out of Racism” (basically flipping the question of racism if it is based on socially constructed artifices of race and reified through class systems). Let’s continue this dialogue.

    Thanks again for the analysis.

  4. @ndy says:

    G’day Calvin,

    Thanks for your comments.

    ‘A Question of Privilege’ was originally published in Willful Disobedience (Vol.2, No.8) around 2001 (I think). It also contains a brief essay titled ‘The Responsibility for Repression’, which is useful in this context. I think that both essays — and your own — are of most relevance in the US context, but have more general relevance to social struggles elsewhere, including, of course, Australia (where I live).

    The second essay makes specific reference to “attacks against the projects of capital [that] have been largely centered on projects that infringe upon and destroy wild areas, exploit animals or involve the development of genetically engineered organisms. The methods used in these attacks are generally fairly simple, using materials easily accessible to anyone, and are applicable to a wide variety of situations. It should, therefore come us no surprise that the state would try to suppress this tendency through criminalization and repression.” In the intervening period, the US Gub’mint has embarked upon what is often referred to as the ‘Green Scare’, and a number of individuals have been victims of it. It bears on ‘anti-summit activism’ to the extent that both these attacks and public protest which aims at disrupting summit meetings may be considered to be “attacks against the projects of capital”, and to the extent that both are framed in terms of (domestic) ‘terrorism’ and the state’s fight against it.

    Regarding what the participant in the Seattle protests related to you, I think they’re most likely correct, and this is true not only in the US but elsewhere. In my view, the state has developed a fairly standard repertoire for containing and then eliminating the kinds of activities that took place in ‘Seattle’, and this development can be witnessed in subsequent major anti-summit protests, from those in Washington and Melbourne (Australia) in 2000 through to those in Genoa (Italy) and Quebec (Canada) in 2001. These include, among other things, the development of zoning and pre-emptive strikes against organising projects (especially convergence centres) within the context of increasingly militarised police action. A major complicating factor has been the emergence of The War on Terror, the introduction of repressive legislation, the naming of and the framing of reportage of much protest activity as constituting a low-level form of domestic terrorism, and the intensified surveillance, infiltration and disruption of both ‘radical’ and ‘moderate’ groups and projects. In short, the state has acted, on the one hand, in such a way as to foreclose the possibility of militant protest and, on the other, to further increase the penalties attached to those engaged in such activity.

    Regarding the references in your article to repression and assuming responsibility for it: my usual response is a) allow the state to assume responsibility for its actions and b) surveillance and repression (or suppression) is always taking place, although its nature varies considerably. (In this context, the various privileges associated with ‘whiteness’ are especially germane.) That said, I fully agree with you that the kinds of public/private reflection you believe to be worthwhile are indeed worth pursuing. Beyond this, this is partly how I would define a social movement; that is, a social movement consists of a body of people engaging in regular and systematic activity of this kind, and it’s important not to allow the state to determine such agendas.

    On the Seattle protests themselves, one of the best accounts I’ve read is Five Days That Shook the World and the best film Breaking the Spell. Also worthwhile is a film by Jessica Lawless, which attempts to employ critical race theory in examining the protests and related media coverage:

      Paint it Black: Anarchism, Race, and the Mainstream Media (2001)

      Looks into the mainstream media’s portrayal of anarchists and anarchism, and what it means for a revolutionary movement that is not fundamentally concerned with black liberation movements to represent itself through the color black in a country where racial stratification and injustice continues to be one of the most pervasive forms of social oppression.

    More later!

    Cheers and beers,

    @ndy.

  5. @ndy says:

    Framing the ‘RNC 8’
    Sam Stoker
    In These Times
    October 8, 2008

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The city that became a battlefield between police and protesters, who took to the streets during the Republican National Convention (RNC) in early September, is now embroiled in a new fight — a legal battle over freedom of speech and assembly.

    In an unprecedented application of Minnesota’s version of the federal Patriot Act, eight members of the RNC Welcoming Committee, an anarchist organization, each face up to seven and a half years in prison for charges of “conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism” for their alleged roles in RNC protest activities.

    The charges against the eight individuals, now known as “The RNC 8,” follow a yearlong investigation in which the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department, with the help of state and federal agencies, used an undercover agent and two paid informants to infiltrate and collect information on the organization.

    On Aug. 30 and 31, the weekend preceding the RNC, the investigation culminated in a series of preemptive raids on several homes in the Twin Cities that the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Lawyer’s Guild (NLG) have condemned.

    “The scariest thing about this is that no one is accused of actually doing anything, they have been charged with conspiring,” says attorney Jordon Kushner, an NLG member who is representing defendant Luce Guillen Givins. “What is worse is they are labeling people advocating traditional civil disobedience as terrorists. In my opinion, the intent of this is to stifle people’s desires to exercise their First Amendment rights.”

    According to the sheriff department’s application for a search warrant, authorities initiated an investigation on Aug. 29, 2007. Based on publicly available information on the organization, police determined there was “reasonable suspicion” that the RNC Welcoming Committee was planning to engage in “criminal activity” in the days leading up to, and during, the RNC.

    During the course of the investigation, agents placed the RNC Welcoming Committee under surveillance and infiltrated the group. The preemptive raids were executed on “probable cause” derived from informants’ claims that the homes contained incendiary and explosive devices, as well as allegations that members had discussed kidnapping delegates and sabotaging airports.

    During the raids, police seized property and jailed eight alleged leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee. They were not charged until Sept. 3, the day before the convention ended. The second-degree conspiracy to riot charge carries a maximum five-year penalty, however, the additional state Patriot Act charge of “furtherance of terrorism” allows for a 50 percent increase in the maximum penalty.

    In a Sept. 3 statement, president of the Minnesota Chapter of the NLG, Bruce Nestor, who was at the scene of the raids, said police found no evidence of incendiary or bomb-making materials, and instead seized common household items such as computers, paint and hatchets for chopping wood, among other things. Nestor also noted that allegations that the anarchists intended to kidnap or sabotage airports came from paid informants.

    “Based on past abuses of such informants by law enforcement, the National Lawyer’s Guild is concerned that such police informants have incentives to lie and exaggerate threats of violence and to also act as provocateurs in raising and urging support for acts of violence,” the statement said.

    Givins, one of the RNC 8, says she wasn’t surprised police cracked down on protesters, but believes the nature of the arrests has serious implications.

    “If the police are able to preemptively shut down dissent, people will be afraid to have even simple political meetings,” she says.

    Kushner says he fears a return to ’60s-style police infiltration of radical groups.

    “We haven’t seen this kind of police activity since the Chicago 8,” he says, referring to the arrest of eight organizers during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. “What has happened with these criminal charges is very extreme and dangerous because people are being prosecuted for political reasons.”

  6. vents says:

    yeah but to be fair it’s 8 years later & the whole summit hopping/activism thing is pretty much wank for the most part, yeah?

    /troll

    okay have at it!

  7. @ndy says:

    two words: australian. hip-hop.

  8. vents says:

    the revolutionary proletariat is not laughing

  9. @ndy says:

    Give up Activism

    In 1999, in the aftermath of the June 18th global day of action, a pamphlet called Reflections on June 18th was produced by some people in London, as an open-access collection of “contributions on the politics behind the events that occurred in the City of London on June 18, 1999”. Contained in this collection was an article called ‘Give up Activism’ which has generated quite a lot of discussion and debate both in the UK and internationally, being translated into several languages and reproduced in several different publications. Here we republish the article together with a new postscript by the author addressing some comments and criticisms received since the original publication.

    One problem apparent in the June 18th day of action was the adoption of an activist mentality. This problem became particularly obvious with June 18th precisely because the people involved in organising it and the people involved on the day tried to push beyond these limitations. This piece is no criticism of anyone involved – rather an attempt to inspire some thought on the challenges that confront us if we are really serious in our intention of doing away with the capitalist mode of production…

    Give up Activism: Postscript

    Many of the articles printed in the Reflections on June 18th pamphlet repeated almost to the onset of tedium that capitalism is a social relation and isn’t just to do with big banks, corporations or international financial institutions repeated almost to the onset of tedium that capitalism is a social relation and isn’t just to do with big banks, corporations or international financial institutions repeated almost to the onset of tedium that capitalism is a social relation and isn’t just to do with big banks, corporations or international financial institutions. It’s an important point and worth making, but ‘Give up Activism’ had other fish to fry.

    capitalism is a social relation and isn’t just to do with big banks, corporations or international financial institutions

    Therefore the conclusion reached by these other articles was the point of departure for this one – if it is true that capitalism is a social relation based in production and in the relations between classes then what implications does this have for our activity and for our method of attacking it? The basic kernel of the piece and the initial idea that inspired the writing of it is the ‘Form and Content’ section. It had occurred to many people that there was something a little odd about a ‘day of action against capitalism’. The original inspiration behind the article was an attempt to pin down what it was that made the idea appear a little odd, incongruous, contradictory…

  10. vents says:

    lol @ america

  11. vents says:

    scientific socialism?

  12. luce says:

    hey. i’m one of the rnc 8- luce guillen-givins- and was just searching through blog and other internet coverage of our case, and came across this post.

    i like a lot of what you say in this post, and don’t want to mitigate that fact by the criticism in this next sentence. nonetheless, i’m actually a person of color AND one of the rnc 8- i.e., i do not have the white privilege referred to in the nation article you reference, or in your analysis of it- and i’d appreciate it if you and others interested in subverting racist tendencies within radical organizing would quit obscuring my very existence as an anarchist person of color by painting me the same shade as my comrades for the ease of constructing a less nuanced critique.

    luce

  13. @ndy says:

    G’day luce,

    I (obviously) don’t know any of the RNC8. My apologies for implying in the above post that the eight individuals are all white, and I’m happy to acknowledge your status as a person of colour. I mistakenly assumed, on the basis of the analysis by Williams and Berkhold, that the RNC8 were (all) white; “White privilege is when you can damage property and use violent direct action without regard for the consequences for non-white communities and activists of colour”; the alleged actions of RNCWC being offered as one possible example of this privilege. This is (obviously) not the case. I would beg to differ, however, on the subject of my wanting to construct a less nuanced case. Rather, I would prefer to deal with these and related issues in all of their complexity.

    For example.

    One question that occurs to me in this context is whether or not the racial or ethnic status of the group of anarchists in question (or any group of people, anarchist or not, who espouse some form of direct action which exceeds the bounds established by groups such as the SCLC) alters the general thrust of their analysis. In other words — presumably — if the eight charged were all people of colour from the local community, then they would also — presumably — be more cognizant of the potential impact of their actions on their local communities. If so, they would also be in a position to defend their actions from accusations of acting from a position of racial privilege. And yet, I suspect that the same kinds of criticisms that have been directed at the alleged actions of the RNCWC would be applied in any case. Certainly, the question of what might be the potential consequences of pursuing any particular strategy need to be taken into account by anyone committing such acts; on the other hand, the means by which a particular community is able to formulate a particular view, and for that view to be communicated to those engaged in such actions, seems to me to be unresolved…

    In any case, I wish you and the other members of the RNC8 the best of luck in defeating state repression.

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