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  • Kyle McMurtry

2020, What Must Be Done

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

So... the 2020 American presidential election. We, as oppressed people in Amerikkka, are indoctrinated to believe our only real choices are between these 2 sets of candidates - a white, racist, rapist, capitalist with an anti-Black, Black, capitalistic cop versus a white, racist, rapist, capitalist plutocrat with another white, racist, capitalist-adjacent. You all already know Trump is bad, but, contrary to most of these public purportions, he isn’t the “worst evil” per se, compared to a "lesser evil” Biden ticket. But I’ll get into that later.

Some people express such frustration when we critique any of these Democratic politicians, on the basis that anything is better than Trump, especially with the Dems who are ostensibly like us because of their race or gender. The reason I’m especially critical of Biden and Harris is because some oppressed people think these politicians genuinely care about the oppressed. I’m sorry to clear your vision to our sobering reality, but they don’t give a fuck about you beyond your ability to work to create wealth for the rich so they’ll get richer and you’ll stay disenfranchised and perpetually struggling.

When the newly announced vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris gets criticized, you, as a person of color, should not feel criticized. You and Kamala are not on the same team. In our global, capitalistic society, race solidarity is undermined by class solidarity. Gender solidarity is undermined by class solidarity. Capitalism, this method of organizing society where (1) the resources necessary to produce goods and services for human livelihood, are owned by private entities who seek profit from their control of resources, (2) the majority of people are gifted the dreams of Amerikkkan “freedom” - either work and get exploited by the rich, or die, and (3) markets (the institutions,, procedures, and infrastructure) are used to inequitably exchange and distribute the produced goods and services.

This class system is the historical result of development of a society where a few rich people hold essential control over the whole society. In the 17th century, this ruling class cultivated and utilized the concept of phenotype “races,” skin color, as a means of further exploiting. The idea and practice of whiteness was developed to justify the exploitation of Blackness (and other poc.) The ruling class whites enslaved African people despite those ruling class’ governing documents professing “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” At a certain point capitalists reached a limit for exploiting people within their national borders so they had to expand and justify their imperialism of violently exploiting people of color abroad. The internal exploitation still occurs and is maintained punitively through the prison and police system.

This necessity of violence, oppression, and exploitation to uphold capitalism has been reinforced by all the federal, Amerikkkan politicians, and for the presidents, one’s set of drone bombings of oppressed Black and brown people abroad is no less evil than another president bombing oppressed Black and Brown people abroad. This is why Biden and Harris aren’t much of a “lesser evil” than Trump. They all will uphold this ruthless, vile system of capitalism and perpetuate unjust violence on all oppressed people in the world. “Harm reduction” is a mistaken belief that harm will actually be reduced just because you may personally see it less. The only opportunity for our liberation is to completely demolish this system, not elect less evil people into it. The constructs are the real problem, and too much hatred that should be targeted toward the systemic structures is targeted toward individuals. Trump is a symptom and result of these systemic conditions; he isn’t the cause of them.

Kamala, too, represents the ruling class of the rich. Don’t have any misconceptions about that. She is not a politician for the people, and her record consistently proves that. She may be Black but her anti-Black policies were contradictory to the interests of 99% of Black people in Amerikkka by keeping non-violent Black and brown people locked up so they could be used as 21st century slave laborers. This goes for other ethnically oppressed peoples as well. She may be a woman but has a history of enforcing violent policies against trans women. In one case she maintained the denial of crucial medical treatment for an incarcerated trans woman, and others, forced trans women to live in cis mens prisons. Her politics are despicable.

No hope should be placed into the Democratic Party, no matter the representative they prop up in front of you. Both major parties represent the fundamental interests of the rich (the bourgeoisie, the ruling class, etc.), and those interests only want you alive and healthy enough to keep working to create wealth they can exploit from you. Ensuring you have anything beyond that cuts into their profits.

Just like the military and police, Kamala Harris has been an enforcer of state violence against oppressed people. I’ve seen too many people try making the argument that Kamala shouldn’t be criticized for her role as a prosecutor. These people are the same ones saying we need to get people from oppressed groups into positions of power within this oppressive system; and that our ancestors died for our right to vote… Would your ancestor have wanted a Black slave catcher instead of a white one?? I highly doubt it wouldn’t have made any difference for them.

We don’t want these oppressed people in oppressive positions of power. It does nothing to alleviate the physical, material conditions of our people. In fact, it can be considered ideological backtracking, because the image of those oppressed people in positions of power fools far too many into thinking actual progress occurred. Please don’t fall for that shit.

This goes for the notion Black Capitalism as well - the idea that we can achieve our liberation through just learning better financial habits on an individual level, or pooling our money together and only shopping at Black businesses. It may sound good on paper until you read the research papers analyzing the fact that Black people are too far removed from the structural, economic powers, and will never be able to achieve parity under capitalism; that Black Buying power has all this potential if it’s spent right is “popularly repeated mythology with no basis in sound economic logic or data.”

Another note on voting. It disappoints me when I see people arguing the “we all have to vote to get Trump out” crowd not know that in the last election Hillary had nearly 3 million more Americans vote for her over Trump…yet Trump still won. The electoral college is a blatantly rigged, anti-democratic institution that has no accountability. A similar situation could happen with this election, and I promise you’ll barely hear a word from establishment liberals about the need to abolish the electoral college. That means changing some of the foundations of this country, and the ruling class cannot allow that.

In a way, Trump’s presidency has been better for the prospect of radical changes in this country much more than Obombers’. Obama lulled the folks to sleep with his charming demeanor then committed atrocities while they weren’t looking (or while they chose to look the other way). Under Trump, however, the contradictions of this system are more apparent than ever. People are quickly realizing the truth of our conditions and that the only way we can improve them is by radically changing everything.

We’ve spent the last few months making progress in recognizing the need for radical developments. Calls to abolish the police are the epitome of that, and, although we’re far from a majority of this country of global oppressors being on board, the fact that so many have so quickly fallen for a set of presidential candidates who developed and enforced mass incarceration is so absurd. It’s even more ironic that Kamala came from the family of a Marxist professor who despises his child’s awful politics.

So, what must be done?

We must organize with revolutionary intent. Our only option to overcome these forms of oppression before the immanent and existentially disastrous effects of global climate change, wealth disparities, unprecedented mental health crises, is a socialist revolution rooted in and led by the oppressed. We can only free ourselves; liberation is not something that can be thrown upon people. It must be the oppressed leading the long fight to end oppression. We must start by going into our communities and building meaningful relations with the working class people in them. We have to be in the literal streets where we live, radically developing that community by spreading material support and revolutionary political education. The recognition of disillusionment of the current system and the need for complete transformation is of the utmost priority. The reduction of these seemingly concrete forms of oppression is absolutely possible. They were built by men and they will be unbuilt by men (and women, and nonbinary people). We can ensure every person has access to quality shelter, food and water, physical and mental healthcare, and an education based in conscientização. . Before we can effectively spread the ideological education, we have to ensure the people have their basic needs of life met. This is where the process of mutual aid comes into focus. Mutual aid is the practice of engaging in relations with members of your community for their survival. Mutual aid is not charity, there are significant differences.

We need direct action against the state and corporate rulers. We need to strike in strategic sectors of the economy, and I don’t mean this in the way of the ‘60s Civil Rights boycotts. Locally, boycotts may have promise, but for multinational corporations it’s so much harder, especially if they monopolize markets like Amazon, Walmart, Apple, etc. That’s why we need the revolution, to change the structure of those from one of billionaires owning and controlling to worker ownership.

We need to break the “peace”, not superficially protest within it. We must interrupt the ability of this system to keep running itself, and we, the workers, the source of energy for this machine, have that power. We need general strikes. We need intersectional solidarity. We need oppressed people in Amerikkka understanding their intimate connection with victims of Amerikkkan oppression overseas. We need an understanding that transcends racial, gendered, sexual orientation, ethnic, and nationality lines. Reformists will not achieve the change we need. Progressives will not achieve the change we need. Democrats nor Republicans will achieve the changes we need. This can only be done by revolutionaries. Oppressed people understanding the nature of their oppression and fighting back to end it, is a revolutionary act. Through this recognition and radical actions toward liberation, the oppressed become revolutionaries.

This is what must be done for us to truly begin to undermine the unjust conditions of our society and usher in the revolution we all deserve.

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