Black anarchism

Black anarchism is a political ideology applied to a group of people of African descent who identify with the principles of anarchism. These people include, but are not limited to: Ashanti Alston, Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin, Kuwasi Balagoon, kai lumumba barrow, Greg Jackson, and Martin Sostre. Critics of the ideology suggest that it broadly eclipses important political differences between these multi-varied thinkers, and incorrectly presents them as having a shared theory or movement. Ultimately, Black Anarchism is a term that many of these individuals do not (or did not) all accept.

Regardless, the individuals to whom the label has been applied all oppose the existence of the State, the subjugation and domination of black people and other ethnic groups, and favor a non-hierarchical organization of society. In general, these individuals argue for class struggle while stressing the importance of ending racial and national oppression, opposing white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, and the state. They have generally rejected narrow or explicit forms of "anarchism" that ignore issues of race and national oppression, a deformed "white, petty-bourgeois Anarchism that cannot relate to the people" and that refuses to deal with issues of race saying, "No, don't talk about racism unless it is in that very abstract sense of we-are-all-equal-let's-sing-kumbayas-and-pretend-the-color-of-our-skin-does-not-matter" anti-racism.[1]

Ashanti Alston (who has explicitly used the term "Black Anarchism") also argued that: Black culture has always been oppositional and is all about finding ways to creatively resist oppression here, in the most racist country in the world [the United States]. So, when I speak of a Black anarchism, it is not so tied to the color of my skin but who I am as a person, as someone who can resist, who can see differently when I am stuck, and thus live differently.[2] He added that, as an anarchist, he viewed black nationalism as progressive yet also as deeply limited: "Panther anarchism is ready, willing and able to challenge old nationalist and revolutionary notions that have been accepted as ‘common-sense.’ It also challenges the bullshit in our lives and in the so-called movement that holds us back from building a genuine movement based on the enjoyment of life, diversity, practical self-determination and multi-faceted resistance to the Babylonian Pigocracy. This Pigocracy is in our ‘heads,’ our relationships as well as in the institutions that have a vested interest in our eternal domination."[3]

Most recently, activists and scholars have emphasized the importance of Black Anarchism in the formation of histories surrounding the Black Liberation Army, Black Panther Party, and other modes of the Black Radical Tradition beginning with slave rebellions in the European colonies of the late 18th century to the present-day. In "As Black As Resistance: Finding the Conditions of Liberation", activists Zoé Samudzi, William C. Anderson, and Mariame Kaba describe the necessity of Black Anarchism in current political struggles: "Black Americans are residents of a settler colony, not truly citizens of the United States. Despite a constitution laden with European Enlightenment values and a document of independence declaring certain inalienable rights, Black existence was legally that of private property until postbellum emancipation. The Black American condition today is an evolved condition directly connected to this history of slavery, and that will continue to be the case as long as the United States remains as an ongoing settler project. Nothing short of a complete dismantling of the American state as it presently exists can or will disrupt this.”[4]

See also


  1. Pedro Ribeiro|Reflections on APOC and the fate of Black Anarchism
  2. "Black Anarchism" Archived March 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Anarchist Panther
  3. @narchist Panther Zine, October 1999, Edition 1, Volume 1
  4. Samudzi, Zoé; Anderson, William C.; Kaba, Mariame (June 5, 2018). As Black As Resistance: Finding the Conditions for Liberation. Chico, California: AK Press. ISBN 9781849353168.
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