Why aren't there more people of color in the anarchist movement?

April 24, 2000

The following article is by New Afrikan anarchist prisoner ALi Khalid Abdullah, a black American activist currently in prison in Michigan, USA. ALi welcomes letters and can be contacted at:
Ali Khalid Abdullah #148130
Thumb Correctional Facility
3225 John Conley Drive
Lapeer MI 48446
Ali Khalid Abdullah

The Anarchist movement the world over is comprised of more whites than people of color. The vast majority of Anarchist writings are written by and published by whites. Further, the overall Anarchist movement, though it claims to be inclusive of all people, has shown itself to be less than what it claims.

The Anarchist movement must begin to examine and re-examine itself if we are going to build a movement that truly represents all people - if we are sincere about fighting against and ending all manner of racism and classism and kapitalism, which fuel racism.

The Anarchist movement must extend itself to working with the New Afrikan (Black) communities in Amerikkka, the Afrikan communities in Afrika and everywhere where there are people of color, be it in the U.K., Central or South America, the Caribbean Islands, or other places. This must be a reality or the Anarchist movement can not and will not grow but will merely be a small reminder of what could have been.

In Amerikkka, Blacks, Latinos and First Nation (Native American) people are experiencing treatment worse than other groups of people; yet, the overall Anarchist movement isn't making its mark in these communities. Anarchists aren't developing ties with Black leaders, activists and politically charged groups, and the lack of action on the part of Anarchists shows a clear CONTRADICTION to the direct principles Anarchists believe in.

The Black, Latinos and First Nation communities aren't being invited to the Anarchist table, aren't given support by Anarchists as a whole. Why? Why are people claiming to be Anarchists or anti-authority and yet are living segregated lives away from people who are daily abused by the very governmental and societal systems that we claim to hate? There is a problem here.

The Anarchist Action Collective in Eugene, Oregon, in the United States, sent me a flyer entitled "Why Anarchy" and it had ten points explaining why there is a need for Anarchy. In this flyer the fact was reported that there is a "deepening crisis at every level," but there was no mention of the NEED for Anarchists to get readily involved in the struggle of people of color. It did not openly state how Anarchists must challenge the racist policies of Amerikkka's practice of racial profiling, which result in attacks on Black adults and youth by the police and judicial system. It did not state that Anarchists have a DUTY and RESPONSIBILITY to unite with people of color and live away from the secluded white areas where few Blacks and other people of color live. Anarchists must do this if we are going to struggle day by day with our people in need. Knowing the problems yet not doing anything collectively or individually in terms of ACTION is the same as not giving a damn. Why should Black people, Latino people, First Nation people or Asian people work with, support and fight with anarchists when they aren't being consulted, acknowledged (with real intent), aided or supported in their plights and valued for the knowledge they have?

As an Anarchist and as a New Afrikan, I find it downright embarrassing for the Anarchist movement not to be more completely involved with the conditions of my people and working hand in hand with my people.

I find it sickening to read how Anarchists believe this and believe that but yet haven't any substantial numbers of Black, Latino, First Nation or Asian people within their collectives. Why hasn't the Anarchist movement taken on a more progressive and active role to reach these people? These people of color? And why do we only read and parrot what Anarchists of old have said and done when we have brilliant, articulate and committed Anarchists today who can be looked upon or read about and given the benefit of applying their ideas and methods?

If we don't break free from a basically white-concentrated group to a movement of all colors and representing all interests, then we will not be an effective movement and will choke on our past glorifications at the exclusion of others who could contribute, benefit and gain from the Anarchist movement here in Amerikkka and around the world.

There has to be a "re-thinking" in our approach, in our overall views. Where there is the most oppression is where anarchists should be. Where there is the most repression is where the Anarchists should set up bases and propagate - win minds to our cause, aims and objectives. We do not need to be posted up in hideaway holes in isolation from the most disenfranchised or the dispossessed. What has made Anarchism not appeal to many people of color is the very lack of action I am speaking of. Sure, there are some people of color who are Anarchist and believe in its principles, but we are relatively few. This must change!

It is often said and suggested that "Anarchists are increasingly more militant." However, when I look and see the racist police gunning down Black people - New Afrikan people - I have to ask "Where are the Anarchists in mass protest?" Yet, I always read or see on the news some mask-faced white person claiming to be an Anarchist throwing a damn brick or bottle through a Macdonalds Restaurant. I can always read about a mass group of people claiming to be and-authoritarian and taking Direct Action to save some trees, wild life or some environmentally blighted area (which is important), but why aren't they this passionately active when it comes to the complete inhumane treatment of fellow human beings who just happen to be people of color? There is something majorly wrong with this picture. It is slanted. It is skewed and if I can see it, surely millions of other Black and Latino and First Nation people can see it.

Many, many people are incarcerated, especially here in Amerikkka.There are close to or over two million people in prison, jails or juvenile facilities. Disproportionately, the vast MMORITY of these people are people of color, mainly Black and Latino. There are many professed Anarchist/ anti-authoritarians who aren't reaching inside these prisons to either work with us known anarchists or to establish ties with politically active/conscious prisoners so they can be utilized in the struggle. This is sad. A sad statement, yet one which is true and must be discussed openly if we are to change our present day thinking. There are Anarchist prisoners scattered all over the world who aren't getting the real support they need. This says much about where we are headed as Anarchist anti-authoritarians.

In Spain, there are many Anarchists languishing in prisons under totally inhumane conditions. These brave and dedicated prisoners are staging hunger strikes and open rebellious protests hoping to draw the attention of Anarchists globally. Are you listening?

In Germany, we have an anarchist comrade, Thomas Meyer Falk, who is in total isolation. Living in a cold, damp prison cell. He needs help. Is the Global Anarchist Community listening?

In Italy, Anarchists are repressed and arrested for all manner of trumped up charges... Is the Global Anarchist Community listening?

In Mexico, Anarchist students are protesting the government's attempt to privatise education - are you listening? In Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, and, and, and - Anarchists are subject to brutality, murder, beatings, incarcerations... Are you listening to those of us who languish in prisons and jails still believing in the spirit of Anarchy yet getting little to no support? It is vital that the Anarchist Collective World Wide begins to make the words ANARCHY and ANTI-AUTHORITY mean what they say by ACTION! But again I say, this movement cannot and will not be totally effective until the overall Anarchist Collective includes, endorses and has more people of color deeply involved. Anarchists must reach out to the people needing the most help and work diligently with them.

Posted By

Oct 29 2005 23:10


Attached files