dagNotes: Notes On Whiteness, White Power, Capitalism & Anti-Capitalism
Bear with me fleshing out some language.
This is the mistake they* make: that whiteness is a quality we can sense, that it’s in some significant way material. That we can examine it and eradicate it without transforming society. It’s talked about like it’s a simple sin, a mistake, a form of revisionism, or an act, sometimes rising to a crime. We use words like transparent and opaque. We excuse its appearance as careless at best, mistaken at worse. We outline it as if it were a structure, like an organized cell.
Whiteness and White Power are now you see it now you don’t like part of a tacky magician’s act: white power is the reappearing thing itself, whiteness the object pulled out of a hat. Or, the result of birth. As in, I was born this way. What can I do about it.? A matter of rhetoric. Or worse, I’m not white. I’m free from guilt. I can do no wrong. Or, the not-white other who can actually claim he’s the hope himself for change simply for being not-that and nothing else.
White power isn’t material. It’s culture. It’s in the spirit of place: Great Britain, America, Europe. It hovers above the wreck of The Enlightenment. It infuses western religion with a sense of dominion over human being. It’s power is an idea that people have faith in but cannot utter. It’s a refusal as much as it is testimony or plan. It resists its own narrative but calls on the narrative of its individual constituents for proof of their allegiance to a man-made purpose. Seek self-help. Confess your sins. Do it alone.
Whiteness is powerful in the same manner Capital is self-valorizing. It’s the result of doing being. We let it happen because it’s how we tell the story of Nature organizing human action. It’s History itself. We shouldn’t romanticize it, manipulate it, look at it as a tragic formation of ideas. It’s not the debris in the rear-view mirror. It’s always already forgotten. It’s essential to character and habit.
Yet, it’s a wreck after all. A mess. On the other hand, it’s an order of being that instills within individuals a sense of duty to individualism that profits community regardless of location and direction. It’s purpose without purpose. It’s a dumb notion of Freedom based in the liberty to freely exploit. Dumb because it ignores the essential goal of its labor: to destroy everything first and then myself. It’s dumb because it ignores all science that it relies on in favor of the imaginary representations of reality in fanciful ideological formations. One wouldn’t be too mistaken to infer that individuals’ labor in white capitalist societies is to prove the value of its ideological assumptions about individual labor in white capitalist society.
White power is the will to expend everything first at the expense of Myself. (It’s always My Self in relation to others.) Forget the stupid medieval notions of the sin in the king’s hoard–the old king who takes everything for himself condemning his realm to rot and ruin and finally becoming the festering dragon protecting its useless treasure. The capitalist’s goal is nothing less than a barren landscape heaped with useless gold coin. (Ron Paul, I’m thinking of you.) The white power mad capitalist has nothing to protect. His goal is nothing less than the purposeful extinguishing of all natural resources for nobody but himself.
I often wonder how anyone would think it’s possible for me to do everything I want for myself and benefit others by so doing. The notion that such human action is possible must be based in the idea the Nature as it organizes us will infinitely provide resources to expend. It’s patently stupid thought.
This is the end of Ron Paul’s notion of Liberty, of Hayek’s Liberal Social Order. It’s the Republican reason for stalling government to promote corporatism. It’s the hope behind Obama’s neoliberalism. It’s not “Yes We Can” after all, it’s “Yes You Should Have Some, Too”.
Fleshing out the character and habit of whiteness is one manner to better understand white power. We can see it, in a way. White power, on the other hand, is a part of the practice of contemporary capitalism. No matter where you find it, what’s most conspicuous about it is its whiteness-for-itself. Capitalism uses white power as a kind of warrant for the free market (like I’m a free man,) as if its promotion were the point all along, and by simply doing things in the free market is to not be a slave.
I suppose this is why to be anti-white power, to be anti-fascist, to be an environmentalist, to be anti-racist, to be feminist, is necessarily to be anti-capitalist. To say otherwise is to accept white power, to embrace white ideology and its absurd ideological framing of societies.
*“They” are capitalists: liberals, progressives, activists. Of course, conservatives, corporatists and fascists.