Open Letter to Those Participating in Elections During This Uncivil War

Perhaps you are running for office in this nation, with its ancestral slave black population, in which those empowered by the state to enact justice have been using their power to advance a white supremacist agenda of black genocide in the forms of lynching and public executions.

Or you are supporting a particular candidate running for office in this country, your mood somewhere between rabid excitement and terrified desperation.

And here we are, in this inconvenient Uncivil War. It could be argued as a war to assert the supremacy of whiteness via all economic and social systems. I’m sure it could be argued as a class war via all racial and gender systems as well. Regardless, there are casualties. Black people, yes. And indigenous and immigrant and brown people. Any of us can experience sudden death by state authority. Or the longer death – having our families separated, being brutalized, tortured, imprisoned, etc.

Perhaps you are not directly impacted by this war, so if you’ve made it this far, right now you find yourself asking ‘What war?’. And even when the stories and pictures and videos cross the path of your attention, you think, ‘the cops would never do that unless the person was disobeying’. And you generally avoid thinking about all this black death and trauma too much because you yourself aren’t racist, you just (insert racism).

Since black folks got here, our electoral participation (which now includes gaining the top office) has not liberated us, much less kept us safe. Still, we are working every possible strategy for the sake of our lives, our children’s lives.

So at minimum? You/your candidate’s platform needs to explicitly state what y’all are going to do to change the conditions of black and brown people in the immediate future if y’all achieve power.

If achieving power isn’t actually probable for your campaign, if you are running to raise issues and challenge the status quo, then the precision of racial justice analysis in your platform has to be excellent, because it’s up to you to pull the eventual winners towards significant impactful commitments.

Do not expect civility and deference. Maybe in some mythical peaceful election time that would make sense…but this is a time where our lives are on the line, are being lost daily. It’s a wartime, in denial of itself, with constantly changing rules.

Those who are working to assert that black lives matter are soldiers. We are advancing a front line that exists inside your head, inside the collective consciousness of this country. That line says that your silent compliance carries the same burden of guilt as overt acts of racist violence – it’s all part and parcel of the same thing, self-supporting. If you are quiet on these matters then we absolutely cannot be, because we are in a fight for our lives.

If the only way you’ll speak and act on our mortality, on structural racism, is in response (positive or negative) to direct action, we will continue to disrupt, and act, and to support and escalate that action in others.

Don’t wait to be acted on. Come correct.

And also too?

Do take time to mention how you’re going to navigate us through the now inevitable global climate devastation (especially if your heart is like…’But all lives matter!’)

Your friendly post-nationalist