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.

Tags: 
Share
up
25 users have voted.

Comments

thanatokephaloides's picture

A long time ago, being someone's ally meant that you were in strong solidarity with that person and were willing to fight like hell for hir out of the senses of siblinghood and moral obligation. The sentence in the USA's Declaration of Independence:

"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

source

is one of the best demonstrations of humans genuinely allying themselves to each other ever written.

Of course, today's neoliberal/neoconservative power-bearing classes have made ally and its derived terms into yet more words completely drained of their meaning, just like democracy, liberal, progressive, etc.

Today, not only are we not allowed these nice things themselves, but increasingly, due to this mangling of the language itself, we can't even talk about them, either.

Ack. Barf. Pthui.

Diablo Bomb

up
22 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@thanatokephaloides That's kinda 'nuff said. It's just another way to re-educate Americans into their new assigned role as soldiers in eternal omniwar.

This is to say nothing of the ridiculous, even horror-movie-like levels of narcissism it clearly implies: I am the center of all cosmos, and anything you think, do, or say that deviates in any way from your purpose as my servant bound by ancient blood-debt is a crime against me. I will give you nothing. I will drain you of everything you have. How can you be anything other than gratefully contrite???

These people are the fucking Borg. At least Scientologists can work well enough with others to make movies (and anyone who thinks that's easy should heed the tale of Harold P. Warren!).

up
8 users have voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

Howdy, fellow MSTie!

up
4 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal ...somebody made it into a video game???

up
1 user has voted.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

You made my day.

Thank you. It's grim around here--politically, that is. Kate's doing great.

up
1 user has voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

mimi's picture

in 1957 for reasons I don't remember anymore. Someone in class called out for having a good gang beating of one kid on the schoolyard. So they ganged together and beat that kid up violently and nobody knew why they did it and joined in.

From then on I considered an ally group a gang group. From gang to gangster isn't far.

"you are either with us, or against us" - says who?

Thanks for the John Lennon song.

up
12 users have voted.
mimi's picture

but couldn't resist to show you a so-called ally, which seems to be a slave, at least to my eyes.
Trump appears to ask Melania to smile during photo op at chapel that infuriated church leaders

Free Melania, where are her Russian aliies?

Oh shit.

up
4 users have voted.

to develop a business model for ally-ship for hire. Patterned on a synthesis of Uber and Facebook the perfect ally's can be deployed in a strategic phalanx, along with social media, and can be targeted precisely to move opinion and legislation. Utilizing independent contractors (and of course volunteers) for demonstrations unburdens corporate of legal liability and after the IPO sufficient funds should be available to broaden data gathering, fundraising and advertising revenues. Depending on circumstances there should be exploration into having "red" and "blue" franchises, along with racial, ethnic and sexual identities.

up
9 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@Snode  
I’ll take the “pizza Hawaii and spam musubi combo” myself …

How soon can you work up a pitch and be ready to meet with venture capitalists?

up
3 users have voted.
ggersh's picture

Caitlin

If you’ve heard the waking up story, you would expect no such thing. You would understand that racial disparities never left the nation in question, and that the establishment which still keeps J Edgar Hoover’s name on the FBI building has no intention of doing anything about the police force’s role in it. You would understand that the role of the police is not to protect and serve the people but to protect and serve the empire, in the exact same way that this is the role of the military. You would understand that the empire is no more likely to voluntarily dispense with the violent tactics of its increasingly militarized police force than it is to dispense with its air force or nuclear warheads

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/06/03/we-are-watching-the-story-of-ame...

up
12 users have voted.

this time it's different

empty suit on Kapernick

"“Kapernick needs to think about the pain he’s causing military families."

the distinction you are making with your choice of words or 'labels'. I think that we have moved beyond that concern though and are, as Dr. Carr says in the video below, on the "precipice". It seems that this is a set up in the sense that TPTB are moving forward intentionally towards marshal law. 'Which side are you on' is a phrase that now, in these times, means that there is no weak, half-hearted middle. That middle declares itself to be on the side of the status quo, even if it does not know.

up
9 users have voted.
Cassiodorus's picture

@randtntx as a result of the current, compounding crisis, he said: "there's going to be a police state." I don't have that review, unfortunately, but I've found a longer version on YouTube:

Now, I'd like to have a Q & A with Robinson, in which I could ask about why, for instance, the popularity of anti-lockdown protests stood at maybe 10% tops. It's also hard to see Robinson predicting the great support one sees in this country right now for the protests, even among significant segments of America's police forces. Robinson also might have to factor-in the tentative nature of Trump's popular support in his analysis. Rather, "fascism" as Robinson calls it represents an owning-class fantasy about the "fascism" they want to do, rather than any serious securing of a mass base for what they're doing.

But, yes, they want a police state, because (as Robinson said) such a state appears as their primary route to profitability in this era as well as a way of dealing with the vast sea of humanity they've made surplus. The conditions for this police state were laid out nearly two decades ago in the regime of George W., who is now the darling of all the nice liberals because he criticizes Trump and all. They were solidified further with the regime of Barack Obama, who was the kiddies' pal already. But I'm sure it's my white male heterosexual privilege that allows me to criticize these allies because all the nice allies work to defeat Trump, right?

"Rights" got to be so important, then, amidst the general struggle for survival in current conditions. In such conditions what's necessary are social formations like Food Not Bombs. I used to be the go-to for a Food Not Bombs. Allyship will just end up being a hindrance; if you want to join Food Not Bombs, round up your friends, get into a kitchen and start cooking.

up
7 users have voted.

"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh

@Cassiodorus @Cassiodorus and Congress just gave away $4 trillion to the richest among us. The rest
received nothing substantial enough to help. The future for most Americans looks grim. That future is not even a month away when rents are due and evictions begin. So it really is about survival.

So, as you say, can we focus on the necessary solidarity and figure out a way forward. Chris Hedges thinks the next play in the playbook is to create heightened divisiveness along lines of racial, ethnic, or religious differences (or whatever works) as was done in Yugoslavia.

All I know is now I see our young people in the street being brutalized by the police. I don't know if these protest are the best action for our young people to take. I just wonder if they are being triggered intentionally and then set-up.

up
6 users have voted.
Cassiodorus's picture

@randtntx y'all going to have to have as your MOVEMENT PREREQUISITE any of these three propositions:

1) End neoliberalism

2) End capitalism

3) End the "inverted totalitarianism" managed democracy schtick.

if you want my participation. Otherwise everyone will be busy with co-optation all the way up to the point when the military forces crush the movement. And there won't be any point to it. I don't mean to be the white male hetero heavy imposing the party line on the not-so-privileged out of my own white male hetero privilege here, but politics is politics. What's the hip slogan these days? "You do you."

When they crushed Occupy Los Angeles in 2011 they took the arrested people and put them in a bus and handcuffed them to their seats and let them sit there for twelve hours. You had people pissing and sh*tting in the seats, no bathroom breaks. I got out before the National Guard was sent in, like an army marching down the streets of downtown LA in hazmat suits. Good old Barack Obama -- he co-ordinated that. Then later he gave us the current Republican governments. The Repubs will be just as bad, if the chain of command holds, which it might not.

I really am not exposed to demo speeches these days. Is it so far about Black Lives Matter, and that alone? Is anyone talking anticapitalism? Does anyone participating in any of this stuff know the history of Black Lives Matter? At least some of the public spokespeople for Black Lives Matter were co-opted. And its goals were too narrow anyway. The old goals look even narrower today, so hopefully broad-minded people have started to take charge. How are they going to curb police brutality when Congress just awarded indefinite trillions of dollars to the super-rich and their corporations while giving a few of the rest of us some peanuts? The elites clearly want a police state to keep everyone down who they didn't pay off, so the rest of us can't just want everything to stay the same. Like I said, I don't get to hear or read the demo speeches. I live in southern Oregon, in a relatively sparsely-populated part of America.

Anyway thanks for popping in! I hope a Food Not Bombs finds you between now and the end of summer. I put their logo on my calling card.

up
5 users have voted.

"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh

@Cassiodorus
Faux news is fixated on the looting and burning. This is probably all Trump has been watching.

Other media outlets have been showing nonviolent protests and talking about outsiders coming in to discredit the nonviolent protests. Media sources have shown significant acts of violence done be young white men who do not seem to be part of the protests.

The only topic anyone seems interested in is the chronic violence against African Americans. Problems of homelessness, evictions and elderly packed into nursing homes suffering from the virus have not been mentioned. The joblessness situation has not been mentioned. Police attacks on non-black people are not being discussed. Alternatives to calling police for mental health issues has not been discussed. Saying "All live matter" is still racist according to DK and others.

Most of the protesters are young enough to be a low risk from the virus, but they will spread it widely to others. Allies should have each other's backs, but this seems to be a single-issue alliance. When the number of cases of Covid-19 explode the next month or two Trump and pals may blame the protesters. It would have been a problem anyway because of the premature, uncoordinated opening but there are images of protesters packed together with a lot of people not bothering with masks.

The deliberate violence against journalists is making them back away from criticism of the police violence although they are showing video of it. A lot of cameramen are being physically attacked and some apparently arrested along with reporters.
Protesters are complaining about their own first amendment rights being infringed, but not commenting on attacks on media.

up
3 users have voted.
Cassiodorus's picture

@ScienceTeacher Hopefully a lot of the protesters understand this and plans are being made accordingly.

Footnote: I have no problem with "Black Lives Matter." "All Lives Matter" is just tone-deaf. Perhaps at some point, though, everyone will realize that Black Lives also need to Matter when it comes to being allowed COVID-19 treatment without bankruptcy, when it comes to an equal right to housing and a livable income.

And I'd love it if the chain of command collapsed because Trump issued an illegal order.

up
1 user has voted.

"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh

@Cassiodorus
When BLM first started white racists pushed back with the phrase "White lives matter". This was widely and doubtless correctly understood to mean "ONLY white lives matter". It was obviously intended to be racist.

Then the political correctness enforcers announced that good-hearted people who said "All lives matter" were also racist and should lose their jobs and be denied future employment.

Sacramento Kings television play-by-play announcer and KHTK radio host Grant Napear has been placed on administrative leave by KHTK for comments made on Twitter, per Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee.

The tweet was in response to a question from ex-King and current free-agent NBA center DeMarcus Cousins, who asked the broadcaster his thoughts on Black Lives Matter:

Grant Napear @GrantNapearshow

Hey!!!! How are you? Thought you forgot about me. Haven't heard from you in years. ALL LIVES MATTER...EVERY SINGLE ONE!!! https://t.co/DfzKl3w0jm

NBC Sports Bay Area also released a statement, per Kings insider James Ham:

"Our company values and honors inclusion and equality. Racism, injustice and violence run counter to everything we stand for and cannot be tolerated in our society. Grant Napear's recent comments on Twitter do not reflect the views of NBC Sports California. We've spoken to Grant's employer, the Sacramento Kings, about the matter."

This issue is one of the political correctness traps used to engage in legal employment discrimination. At a job interview for a teaching position at a small private school I was asked if I believe that "disabled childrens' lives matter". I noted that every kid is special and valuable. I spoke about helping kids find their strengths and find ways to meet their goals. The principal kept trying to get me to repeat that "disabled kids' lives matter" or at least to say yes to that statement. This would have been "racism". It is "racism" to say "X lives matter" if the word X does not equal Black.

The school was saving money by having several classes covered by aides instead of paying teachers. Refusing to hire an older teacher would be age discrimination, but trapping me into "racism" would have given them an excuse not to hire me. Fortunately I had other options and did not have to work there.

Surely BLM does not actually mean that ONLY black lives matter.

Indian and Hispanic kids are more likely to be killed by cops.
Their lives matter.
I have a right to care about them even if I do not dare do it openly for employment reasons.

People suffering with serious mental illness are more likely to be killed by cops.
They matter, too. Even the white ones.

Homeless people are at much greater risk of violence and death from actions by law enforcement.
Homeless people are also human being and deserve to be treated like fellow human beings--even the ones who happen to be white.

Even "deplorable" "po' white trash" should not be killed if they can be arrested without violence. The few white guys who are wrongfully killed are also 100% dead.

People in nursing homes do NOT deserve to be exterminated.
Their lives matter.
Many government policies have been deliberately putting them at risk.

The people in the protests are not even making a pretense of physical distancing. I have watched hours of video from around the country. Quite a few of the protesters are not wearing masks. Clearly BLM does not care about the lives of older people. Trump and associates are likely to point this out when the epidemic starts getting out of control in the next two months.

up
2 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@randtntx

when I say that I won't line up behind the CEOs of Fox, Black Rock, and Goldman Sachs. Regardless of what anti-racist talking points they happen to be disseminating this week.

I expect people to say "But things are so bad, you can't remain on the sidelines! Which Side Are You On? Silence Means Consent!"

I'm not on any side that includes the people who have been running this place for the past forty years, seeing as how they got us here.

up
12 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

I won't line up behind the CEOs of Fox, Black Rock, and Goldman Sachs. Regardless of what anti-racist talking points they happen to be disseminating this week.

I expect people to say "But things are so bad, you can't remain on the sidelines! Which Side Are You On? Silence Means Consent!"

I'm not on any side that includes the people who have been running this place for the past forty years, seeing as how they got us here.

It's too bad that this passage is longer than c99 will allow for a sig line.....

Wink

up
5 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal who would assume CEO's of Goldman Sachs, Fox, or Black Rock, are on their side. The idea is ludicrous.

up
4 users have voted.
thanatokephaloides's picture

@randtntx

I don't know anyone who would assume CEO's of Goldman Sachs, Fox, or Black Rock, are on their side.

Each other!

Bad

up
3 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides a safe bet.

up
2 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

Thank you. I feel a little less alone.

up
6 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

Plenty of people I love and respect think it's wonderful how "leaders" are lining up in opposition to Trump and in solidarity with George Floyd.

There's even people here who tell me that asking why George Floyd matters but Eric Garner didn't is overthinking things. I should just cheer, because we're winning. The powerful are criticizing Trump and justice is on the move. Except the powerful are the ones who have been overseeing these atrocities, either covering up for them or celebrating them, for years. Trump is a toxic piece of shit that needs to be flushed, yes. But I lived in D.C. too long to get fooled by the removal of a sin eater.

Oh, by the way? Others who are lining up to proclaim their disgust at Trump and their solidarity with BLM are generals:

https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/06/04/generals-denounce-trump-plan-mattis...

They don't think it's a good idea for Trump to send the military into the streets to crush a civilian protest. But nine years ago it was fine to do so. No generals had a problem with the nationwide military crackdown on Occupy. Now they have a problem?

These are the same people who think it's all right for the POTUS to have the power to assassinate anybody he wants. Who think torture is all right. Who think it's all right to murder people in the Middle East by the hundreds of thousands. But they're OK now.Even "Mad Dog" Mattis is our friend.
He spoke out against Trump, saying he was a threat to the Constitution! So he must be OK, right?

James Norman Mattis (born September 8, 1950) is a retired United States Marine Corps general who served as the 26th US secretary of defense from January 2017 through January 2019. During his 44 years in the Marine Corps, he commanded forces in the Persian Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan, and the Iraq War.

As a major general, Mattis commanded the 1st Marine Division during the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the Iraq War.[32] Mattis played key roles in combat operations in Fallujah, including negotiation with the insurgent command inside the city during Operation Vigilant Resolve in April 2004, as well as participation in planning of the subsequent Operation Phantom Fury in November.[46]

In May 2004 Mattis ordered the 3 a.m. bombing of what he alleged was a suspected enemy safe house near the Syrian border, but was in fact a wedding party and resulted in the deaths of 42 civilians, including 11 women and 14 children. Mattis said it had taken him 30 seconds to decide whether to bomb the location. Describing the wedding as implausible, he said, "How many people go to the middle of the desert to hold a wedding 80 miles (130 km) from the nearest civilization? These were more than two dozen military-age males. Let's not be naive."[47] The occurrence of a wedding was disputed by military officials, but the Associated Press obtained video footage showing a wedding party and a video the next day showed musical instruments and party decoration among the remains.[48] When asked by the press about footage on Arabic television of a child's body being lowered into a grave, he replied: "I have not seen the pictures but bad things happen in wars. I don't have to apologise for the conduct of my men."[49]

up
5 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Cassiodorus's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal "We want virtue-signaling! We want virtue-signaling!"

up
3 users have voted.

"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Cassiodorus

What do we want?

Virtue signalling!

When do we want it?

NOW!

up
3 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Cassiodorus's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal I'm using it.

up
0 users have voted.

"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh