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vimeo.com/.../250182002

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    As individuals, our racial identity is so intimately inscribed
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    into the ways that we see and experience the world,
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    and other people in it,
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    that it's often taken as a natural and unchanging fact of life
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    Race is a social construction,
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    meaning that the stigmas and divisions associated with it
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    are born out of political and cultural,
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    rather than purely biological factors.
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    But it's also a material reality
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    – one that plays a central role in shaping the ways
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    that power operates in a specific society.
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    Given the current wave of racist
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    and nationalist reaction sweeping the globe,
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    it is important that anarchists
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    develop a shared understanding of race,
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    and the role that it plays in constructing
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    and reinforcing oppressive hierarchies.
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    So... what is race, exactly,
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    and what do anarchists have against it?
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    Well, a broad definition would be to say
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    that it's a particular type of caste system,
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    or a way of classifying people into rigid social hierarchies,
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    based on perceived ancestry
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    and intimately associated with notions of nationalism,
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    citizenship and class.
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    Most commonly associated with the global system
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    of European colonial dominance known as White Supremacy,
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    race has other close parallels,
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    such as India's varna system,
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    the ethnic constructions of Hutu and Tutsi
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    in Rwanda and Burundi,
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    and even religious sectarian divides
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    such as those found between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland
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    or Sunnis and Shia in several Middle Eastern countries.
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    But while race can, and does assume a variety of different forms
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    based on local demographic and political factors,
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    it has always been, and remains to this day,
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    a cross-class alliance
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    – a way of binding the ruling class
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    and a segment of the exploited classes
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    through a compact of shared identity,
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    in order to project force against those who fall outside of it.
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    Or to put it simply,
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    it's a way that states manipulate large groups of people
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    into believing that they have more in common with their rulers
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    than with the fellow ranks of the oppressed.
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    An early precursor of modern concepts of race
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    lies in the idea of the barbarian,
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    which was developed independently by the rulers
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    of a diverse number of early states,
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    ranging from the Shang Dynasty in ancient China,
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    to the Greek and Roman Empires of Eurasia,
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    and Aztec and Inca Empires
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    of modern-day Central and South America.
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    By dehumanizing different ethnic groups
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    outside their borders as barbarians,
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    rulers were able to mobilize armies
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    and rationalize the enslavement of captured populations.
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    Centuries later,
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    the rise and spread of powerful monotheistic religions
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    added a new dimension to the construction of race,
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    as the ideological conception of the barbarian
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    was given new weight
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    by the introduction of the notions of “pagan” or “infidel”.
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    Religious dictates calling for the forced conversion of non-believers
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    sanctified new wars of conquest,
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    waged by the armies of Christianity and Islam.
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    Fearing the expansionary rise of Islam
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    which by the 11th Century had spread
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    deep into the heart of European Christendom,
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    the Catholic Church teamed up
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    with feudal elites to launch the Crusades,
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    a series of holy wars spanning nearly four hundred years
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    and planting the seeds of ethnic, national and sectarian rivalries
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    that continue to this day.
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    In the final years of the Reconquest of Spain,
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    the Catholic Church ramped up popular sentiments
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    of anti semitism and Christian hysteria
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    by launching the Spanish Inquisition
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    – a bloody purge and forced conversion of Muslims and Jews
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    that provided a horrific new laboratory for the development of race
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    as an internal system of division and social control.
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    The Spanish Reconquest was completed in 1492,
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    and was followed in quick succession by
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    Christopher Columbus' accidental invasion of the Americas.
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    Believing the so-called “discovery” of the New World
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    to be sign of divine providence after their holy victory against Islam,
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    Spain launched the colonization of the Americas
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    with a brutal religious fervour,
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    waging a genocidal campaign of extermination
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    against the continents' original inhabitants,
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    alongside mass forced conversions
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    carried out by Jesuit and Franciscan priests.
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    In the decades that followed,
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    Spain was joined in its pillage of the Americas
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    by Portuguese, Dutch, and French colonialists.
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    They were soon faced with a labour shortage, however,
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    after working many Indigenous slaves to death
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    and killing millions of others through diseases like smallpox.
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    So, beginning in the early 16th century,
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    Portuguese merchants established the transatlantic slave trade,
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    a grotesque process of racial dehumanization
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    whereby millions of people were kidnapped from West Africa
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    and shipped across the ocean to slave-trading posts in the Caribbean
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    and Portuguese plantations in Brazil.
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    Britain joined the fray in 1607
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    and quickly set to work expanding the transatlantic slave trade,
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    establishing the vast southern Plantation system
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    and kick-starting a process of unprecedented
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    mass European migration.
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    Within Britain's thirteen American colonies,
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    a new pact of racial supremacy was forged
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    between settlers of mixed European descent,
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    based on their shared experiences of killing Natives
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    and subjugating Africans.
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    This new system, white supremacy,
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    provided all white men with a share of the spoils
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    stolen through genocidal territorial conquest
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    and an economy built on slave labour.
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    It also happened to make a small number
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    of those white men unimaginably rich,
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    setting the stage for the rise of capitalism.
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    Despite ongoing controversy regarding her own racial identity,
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    one of the most comprehensive descriptions
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    of how white supremacy functions in the United States
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    was written by Andrea Smith,
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    who identified its three supporting pillars as:
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    Slavery/Capitalism,
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    Genocide/Colonialism
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    and Orientalism/War.
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    The first pillar, Slavery, rests on the commodification of Black bodies,
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    and to their need to be controlled through force and imprisonment.
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    The second pillar, Genocide, rests on the need for Indigenous nations
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    to disappear or assimilate into settler society,
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    in order to justify white people's claims to the lands
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    that they currently occupy.
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    The final pillar, Orientalism,
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    based on earlier conceptions of the barbarian,
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    conjures up the image of outside forces
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    seeking to infiltrate and destroy society,
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    whether they take the form of Islamic terrorists,
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    hostile foreign states,
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    or simply the spectre of “illegal immigrants” in general.
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    Over the centuries, these three racial archetypes
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    have been deeply ingrained in the white psyche.
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    And so when Black people cry out that their lives matter,
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    Indigenous people assert claims to their traditional lands and culture,
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    or refugees fleeing wars and poverty
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    demand their rights to political asylum,
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    it is unsettling to the power structure that these pillars prop up.
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    The response of states and rulings elites
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    will always be to attempt to reinforce these pillars
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    by fanning the flames of white paramilitary reaction.
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    For anarchists who seek a new world
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    built on the destruction of the state and capitalism,
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    our task is to help to knock out the pillars that these systems rest upon.
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    For some, this will mean severing the false bonds of whiteness
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    and joining the resistance
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    of those who have long struggled under its yoke.
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    Treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity.
Title:
vimeo.com/.../250182002
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Video Language:
English
Duration:
06:18

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