I'm not your ally
I am going to go over the critiques of "allyship" here. But they're not my main focus. My main focus is that I'm not your ally. I don't buy into "allyship." In fact, as more and more people say "I'm not your ally," I expect, the various groups who depend upon the support of "allies" will have to rethink their strategies and their tactics, and focus instead on the solidarity that is a prerequisite to dealing effectively with the rule of the 1%.
Anyway, since I started out with the critiques of "allyship," let's go over this one, from a Black gay man in Philadelphia:
What I have realized is that too many allies conduct themselves as service providers: They show up only when there’s an immediate need, they require me to explain the problem again and again, and they may or may not actually fix anything.
In other words, allies are more trouble than they’re worth.
Ernest Owens is not an ally. Ernest Owens is someone who might, from time to time, be respected by people who call themselves allies, though, belonging to at least two oppressed categories. The piece gives six reasons why allyship isn't worth it, and here's in my opinion the biggest one. It's number four if you're following Owens' list:
4) Allyship treats advocacy as a transaction rather than a moral obligation.
Being an ally has presented itself as a part-time, temporary action rather than a lifelong mission. I cannot begin to count how many times I’ve attended public demonstrations and heard people tell themselves that just showing up was an example of them being an ally.
So isn't that what's happening now around the world? Everyone's up in arms because of the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd, but this is to protest a situation ONLY NOW that went south a LONG TIME AGO. They're the perfect allies. Here's a piece explaining the larger situation:
US police shoot almost 1,000 people dead every year, figures show
Protests, heightened public awareness, reforms and increased officer training have little effect on annual total
Now I think that the article really just scratched the surface as far as solutions are concerned for its non-mention of defunding the police. Something obviously needs to be done, but that isn't my focus here. After all, if I were a good ally, I wouldn't be telling anyone what to do. Allies don't advocate. From a critique in ROAR magazine titled "From charity to solidarity: a critique of ally politics":
According to ally politics, in order to undermine whatever social privileges you benefit from, you must give up your role as a primary actor and become an ally to the oppressed. A good ally learns that if you can never understand the implications of walking through this world as an oppressed [fill in the blank with a person on the receiving end of a specific oppression], the only way to act with integrity is to follow the leadership of those who are oppressed in that way, support their projects and goals, and always seek out their suggestions and listen to their ideas when you are not sure what to do next.
Ally politics, therefore, is no politics at all. Instead of actual virtue, which would demand that each and every one of us, regardless of social identity or oppressed status, have an OPINION about what a better world would look like and about what to do in order to get that better world, ally politics demands virtue-signaling, finding a way to say "I worked with a Black/ gay/ transgender rights/ feminist/ etcetera group, or at least I voiced a nice opinion about them." And, hey, virtue-signaling is something even a predatory capitalist elite can do. But, for ally politics, having an opinion about what has to be done is "telling others what to do," and so it's definitely out of the question as an option to pursue. If you want to be an ally, that is.
Of course, having an opinion is no state of paradise either. You could have the wrong opinion, and you could go through life with confirmation bias, believing only those opinions which satisfied your preconceived notions of what the world was about. But I'm not an ally, and so, instead of renouncing my opinions and replacing them with liberal guilt so that others of oppressed status can be confirmed in their biases, I seek to engage people in earnest discussion, with the aim in mind of finding a situation-appropriate opinion to have while at the same time being open-minded about the possibility that I could be wrong.
In fact, one reason I'm not an ally is because my current opinion is rather unlikely to be shared by those with whom I interact. We are, in short, likely to disagree. I'm unlikely to have a lot to say that's productive to those who think they can end race-based or identity-based oppression while keeping a predatory capitalist elite in power. But, hey, I'm sure it makes me totally privileged, male, hetero, and white, the whole nine yards, to argue that real change will come only with a sea-change which ends the capitalist system, which ends hegemonic neoliberalism, or at least which changes the system of (as Sheldon Wolin called it) "inverted totalitarianism" which allows us to pat ourselves on the back for participating in politics as long as the same rotating sets of predators stay on top every year. Anything less than that sea-change, as I see it, is something less than survival. It's socialism or barbarism.
Another thing I'd think if I were an ally would be that I was part of a "movement." But I don't think that. I do agree that there is "movement" in American politics, but all of what I've seen is "movement" backwards, which is how we got to the climate-change COVID-19 police state economic collapse moment under President Buffoon all at once. So, no, I don't ally myself with any movement -- I'm here to ask John Lennon's question: "How can I go forward if I don't know which way I'm facing?" Like I said above, I'd like to be shown wrong.
So, no, I'm not your ally. Stay as you are.