The colour brown: de-colonising anarchism and challenging white hegemony


By Budour Hassan

The appearance of the Egyptian Black Bloc in Cairo’s streets in January 2013 triggered gullible excitement in Western anarchist circles. Little thought was given to the Egyptian Black Bloc’s political vision – or lack thereof – tactics, or social and economic positions. For most Western anarchists, it was enough that they looked and dressed like anarchists to warrant uncritical admiration. Facebook pages of Israeli anarchists were swamped with pictures of Egyptian Black Bloc activists; skimming through the US anarchist blogosphere during that period would have given one the impression that the Black Bloc was Egypt’s first-ever encounter with anarchism and anti-authoritarianism. But as American writer Joshua Stephens notes, the jubilant reaction many Western anarchists have towards the Black Bloc raises unflattering questions concerning their obsession with form and representation, rather than content and actions. And in this regard, these anarchists are not different from the Islamists…

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  1. #1 by D.H.Fabian on August 2, 2013 - 1:02 am

    If you really want to take a radical approach, look back on politics since the 1980s. The issue today is class, not race. (America’s only values are monetary.) Since Reagan, the “masses,” the poor and middle class, have been deeply pitted against each other — and with good reason! Each time the richest few took power over the country in the past (Gilded Age, etc.), the poor and middle class united to push back, to the benefit of all. This time, we were deeply divided to ensure that there would be no push-back. Occupy put us at risk of changing that. But what began as a historic people’s movement was quickly redefined (largely by “liberal” media) as a middle class movement only. So, the rest of us walked away, and Occupy died. By now, the rest of us are disgusted with the class elitism supported by most “progressive” media. Just how much are they promoting class elitism today? There were recently a few mentions of Martin Luther King’s march on Washington. This was the historic Poor People’s March. This year, liberal media noted the march, while utterly excluding any reference to its name or meaning! Let’s not forget that Martin Luther King made a number of comments that would scare the pants off of today’s bourgeoisie. For example, he specifically noted that the majority of our poor were (and are) white, and that it’s in the best interests of the poor of all races to acknowledge this common ground, to unite to fight for needed changes.

    • #2 by Oakland Radicals on August 2, 2013 - 8:28 pm

      You have a point.. We do need to do a better job of explaining and defining the basic issue of class as an inherent point of global solidarity amongst all peoples… At the same time, the type of society that we are struggling for may be different based on our racial, and cultural backgrounds, and this needs to be allowed for in some ways Also, there is an understandable mistrust amongst blacks, of the intentions of white middle, and lower class based movement, as to whether such movements are able and willing to place the needs of black people on an equal level as their own interests.

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