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Capitalism’s Social Justice See-Saw

The US doesn’t invest in mass organized political education for its citizens and beyond that, it has systematically underfunded and underdeveloped it’s public educational system. This means that when laws, measures, executive orders are passed that provide protected status to trans folks, for example, they are extremely nebulous in nature, often only address small symptoms and not root causes, and beyond that are subject to being quickly overturned with a mood swing, new people in power, or ballot measures voted on by a still mostly reactionary populace.

The reason this keeps happening is that the overall consciousness of US society hasn’t been changed or raised. So edicts come down from the top saying, “ok trans people are people who are protected now” but no systematic, mass work is done at the grassroots to help folks understand why that protection is necessary or to educate them about the origins and consequences of their biases. Like that political education work is happening in pockets – and most often led by queer and trans folks themselves who are forced to undertake the work of justifying their existence as a means of survival – but it’s nowhere near nationwide or mass-based and reactionary views about gender identity (among many, many, many other things) still vastly outweigh progressive ones.

Until there’s social justice oriented political education that is mass-based, organized, and mandatory over the course of entire generations – like what happened in Cuba after it’s revolution or in Venezuela after Chavez came to power – there’s always going to be this seesaw between progressive but top down political measures and the overall still reactionary consciousness of the people of the United States. 

The rub is: a settler-colonial capitalist nation-state like the United States is never ever going to invest in educating the masses of people. It’s in the interest  of it’s ruling class to keep us in the dark and fighting amongst ourselves. It’s easier to exploit and oppress a miseducated populace and exploiting and oppressing us helps the settler-capitalist ruling class keep and consolidate its power.  That means the responsibility for engaging in this kind of political education work on a systematic and mass basis falls to those of us who are fighting for revolution and to create a new society. 

And this is right now work – that ‘it’ll all work out after the rev” line that always comes up when we talk about patriarchy or gender contradictions or the systematic oppression of queer and disabled people ain’t it. In order to build the mass, transnational oppressed and colonized people’s movement we need to destroy capitalism and imperialism once and for all we must prioritize addressing the internal divisions that our oppressors exploit to keep us harming each other.

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Onyesonwu Chatoyer is an African woman marooned in the United States, organizing to defeat capitalism, colonialism, and imperialism. She is an organizer with the All-African People's Revolutionary Party and the All-African Women's Revolutionary Union, an editor with Hood Communist, and also serves on the national committee of the Venceremos Brigade.

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