What's the point of being Black and political on Al Gore's Internet?

I wasted around 300 words over the last day in back-and-forths discussions on the Fediverse about the ramifications of "voting blue no matter who", the ideology that voting for Democrats with no means of accountability for their failures, aggressive amnesia and weak follow-through; largely from a wave of seemingly white-presenting folks. It's hard to ascertain as most avatars weren't of themselves or were heavily rasterized but I understand why the such is done. I'm going to waste another 4,000 words explaining why I did that. I'm definitely letting down Scott with this, as I only have so many things I can type in my life. Being a Online Person as well includes my resistance to just ignoring some people and needing to course-correct when the heading's awry.


Getting this out of the way, since moving to Florida, I've registered as a poll worker and have been actively working to bring awareness to other political parties in a state that's largely controlled by its wealthier class. This is not easy work as even my accent alerts people to my Northern "not-from-here" nature and requires a level of care and compassion that mirrors that of labor organizing. I don't also expect it to change this year or in the next five. I deeply understand and have experienced that change not only takes time but massive amounts of effort, pain, setback and concessions in some places. I don't have any particular set of labels that can capture me and I'm overly confident that if I did pick, that some of them, like "communist", "anarchist", or "Pan-Africanist"; it'll make those who are ardent supporters of the system of bipartianship clutch pearls and curl lips up in disgust and disdain (You animal! Have you no decorum!). Having these stances taught me that this is a long game, in the same way that Reagen's administration set the blueprint for Obama's which gave Trump his ultimate launching pad. I have to provide this background because the nature and breadth of the replies I've gotten online have mirrored that of the parentalistic condescending that I've seen from those who are effectively die-hard Americans who believe the country can't do any wrong and if any was done, it's for the greater (white male) good for the Nation. And that's actually scary!

I'd like to quote Klein's latest book as she mentioned the need for community building even in sticky moments. She speaks at length about how the rise (or rather, the rebranding) of fascism has enveleoped itself in the Western world as the underlying engine of neoliberalism and because of the safeties many enjoy within it, that it's difficult to see when, we ourselves also embrace these stances. Leftists have been routinely pushed to the side (in the best situations, others are in prison or have been extrajudically killed), not solely because of their stances towards a truly equitable, dare I say equalitarist, society, but because of the need to protect one of the most profitable forms of propery that exist: whiteness. This property transmutes itself even away from racial monikers; it exists in patriarchy as manifesting the conqueuer, the colonizer and the authority of the spaces everyone else exists in. In gender essentialism, it demands binaries as without it, it can't force submission and dominion over others (like women and non-gender-conforming folks). In the realm of bodily autonomy, it robs us all of consent and agency; forcing us to be subject to private governments of many shapes, some in workplaces and others in society's hidden behavioral adjustment instutitons. There's many other angles in which we can examine this but it's extremely dangerous to ignore how these reveberate down into our everyday interactions and exchanges: why women never feel comfortable in gyms or in comic books stores, why Black people will not enter gun ranges or parts of Mississippi or even why the farce of DEI being the means of a few's liberation as it holds the banner of Black capitalism; effectively the modern day reward system for respectability politics after the Black Power Movement.

What's the Beef then?

My disdain is not with liberal people; thought definitely neoconservatives. I do believe that liberal people have bought (heavily) into the Western myth that the only way through is by accepting a number of people to be routinely kept as collateral damage, as long as it's not them. Arundhati Roy, in "Things that Can and Cannot Be Said" said something similar about human rights and justice: "the idea of justice-even dreaming of justice-is revolutionary. The language of human rights tends to accept a status quo that is intrinsically unjust-and then tries to make it more accountable. But then again, the catch-22 is that violating human rights is integral to the project of neoliberalism and global hegemony". This coupled with the (over)use of statistics to drive change is something Angela Davis, in "Are Prisons Obselete?", as mentioned as "the abstraction of numbers that plays such a central role in criminializing those who experience the misfortune of imprisonment". She expands why even the conversations about prison abolition have diluted down into reform (and the basis of reform gave way to things like the SuperMax prison, making prison even more horrendous of a system). These things can be mapped to many things like poverty, housing, education, health and the swath of systems that routinely optimizes for the safety and protection of whiteness over anything else. Using only numbers allows us to distant themselves from the (in)direct harm that our lack of action, the choice to remain ally in name only, causes on a daily basis. And with the persistent nature of corporations involving themselves heavier into state politics like Microsoft defending anti-humane behaviors for border control under many presidental administrations or McDonalds, among others, using modern slave labor as prisons are allowed to "sell prison labor" using the loophole in the 13th amendment, liberal folks need to come to understand that liberalism enables and encourages this violence. It exploits the already-existing violence of these many axis of oppression and exacerbates it for profit and profit alone. The harm is the foam that's wiped off the dog's mouth.

One doesn't have to go far to see that the impact collective reaction that arose when Black people demanded more from a state versus that of wealthy white people storming the country's capital, how the State immediately saw non-white people as an affront to its safety, whereas state officials aided in the latter behavior. If it's not clear, this is called institutional racism. And on a smaller scale, we see this being reinforced by things like routine attacks on community attempts for autonomy that combat food injustices exacberated by neoliberal politics. What leftists tend to do instead is continue to rebuild, like forming cooperatives around housing, food and services so people have options out of the cursed duopoly that we live under. Roy mentions how instead of governments upholding what existed before, that "this .. rise of corporate-funded NGOs in the modern world, this notion of corporate social responibility, it's all part of a New Managed Democracy". That it effectively turns "what ought to be people's rights to education, to health care, and so on, into chritable activity avaiable for a few. Peace, Inc. is sometimes as worrying as War, Inc. It's a way of managing public anger. We're all being managed, and we don't even know it". This came to be as the natural evolution of neoliberalism in America (and throughtout the Western world as deindustralization in the United States led to FoxConn rising in China and Taiwan and Monsanto in India).

But Biden Is Our Best Hope!

Whenever I read this or it's told at a table, I have to imagine that we, when we go to speak to others about candidates, that we revoke any sense of alignment with feminism and anti-misogynistic stances we parade online in our bios, that the #BLM parotted out is for show and that deep down inside, many want the United States to be the greatest hegemony to ever exist and to spread its eagle wings across the globe, completing the misson of manifest destiny. The nature of electoral politics today are an extension of what Debord calls the "Spectacle", or the use of media by the State, corporations and the elite. We rely on it to not only be heard or seen but to project our stances, beliefs and alligences. It skyrocketed about 60 years, during the belly of the radicalization around the globe and got more controlled by states and companies everywhere about 40 years ago when we had the modern template of anti-immigrant sentiments rise with endorsements of our current president, extended from housing to healthcare. The aggressive amensia (or lack of knowledge, as I had to grow to learn this) that occurs scares me because it makes me wonder about those who are twice my age who feveretly fight to maintain these spaces because it's our "best hope". Who's "we" in that sentence? This administration doesn't even want me dead anymore, it's not profitable. They'll mule cis Black women and men to death but will murder queer trans people at higher rates without acknowledgement, all the while remaining silent on what corporate mechanisms that back this. And with the transmutation of whiteness, anyone can catch the hands of the State, if you're just broke enough. Boeing, Microsoft, General Dynamics, Palantir, Westingtonhouse, Minnesota Mining, and weapons dealers have a deep interest in mass murder, home and abroad, and they rely on neoliberalistic politics to obscure and distant their relationship to government. It's, on one hand, an amalgamation of these things aforementioned, and on the other, the same logic that existed when the country was founded by wealthy slave holders, patriarchial defenders of setter colonialism and everything we love to love about this country. In true millennial fashion, I hate it here.

How does this relate to the Internet?

We can go on about the Nixon administration's expansion of ARPANet, how the apparatus was designed to share information and how today, the majority of the public connected Internet operates for militaristic purposes but that's not "fun", nor is that something we can really grasp (or capture in this post). Instead, we should focus here more on, instead of expanding our sense of understanding of our neighbors (let alone the world, seriously, what the fuck?), how it encourages those who cling to whiteness to reinforce and defend their stances. We've seen this on smaller scales like the creator of Ruby on Rails defending the demise of DEI from a thinly-veiled racist standpoint, founders of Substack defending speech that's the child of the violence of American chattel slavery and Western racial violence or even people going ten-toes down in denial about AI and its (continued) abuse of African people. When these systems work to defend one's alignment with whiteness (which manifests itself with the pursuit of capital by any means necessary, irregardless of the harms it causes for what fleeting or speculative "good" it might bring), it reminds me of how larger systems that we live under, like the means of accounting were derived from Europenn slavery of Africans, Indigineous peoples of Turtle Island and Asiatic people. In Accounting for Slavery, it's made clear how "slavery did not undermine management and accounting. To the contrary, by the end of the eighteenth century, practices on many plantations were becoming heavily standardized". This standardization is what gave us modern accounting. Accounting was a critical component in forming modern computing: the beating heart of managing and distributed the extreme violence that we see in places like Palestine, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Haiti, India and mainly non-white-presenting (or semi-white) countries that are used as wells for resources for the West. The Internet has accelerated and justified globalism and the cost of it has been horrendously and ignorantly high.

What does this have to do with the Internet? If I choose to remain on it, to keep using keyboards built with this violence, screens made in places where people get breaks after a few days, motherboards that prevent moms from being home, then I'm going to use every fucking keystroke and volt to explain why this violence exists and radiate the need for people to not only demand more for people but to actually fight for a better world.

"Okay but, Biden's Our Best Hope"

None of the above might immediately make sense in terms of why I'm so staunctly against Biden if it's difficult to see how our work, our involvement and our choices actually matter. Especially when you have more space and authority under these systems, by choosing to obey and comply, you gain some security for yourself - sure - and unintentionally or not, endorse the harm of others. We're seeing more people in the industry return to the critical lens it once had that was dampened by the dot-com boom/bust by labor activists in the space. I find that those pushing against the narrative are the bravest and more honest folks, by choosing not to comply, you're explictly repeating to the establishment that built and created everything mentioned above that you do not consent. The act of reclaiming consent - from where we work to who we vote for - is one of the difficult things we can do and I'm saying this a person who, as a masculine presenting person, benefits excessively from the lack of understanding of this on a broader scale. I'm more likely to be listened to than my fellow queer or trans folks who have been fighting against for longer because I present as a man. So my anger, when I see other men, especially that of white ones, come to me, saying I'm wrong for not wanting to defend an establishment that wants people dead for profit, I'll respond accordingly. But again, I only have so many keystrokes and wasting it on people who are too committed and benefit way too much (until they've experienced some medical malaise, hoping not) from it is an affront to my ancestors who just cut to the chase. Frankly, if I was the head of some public school and repeated these points, the same folks would have pulled a Rufo and the establishment would have cut y'all checks. Keep it a buck.

Who do we vote for?

Deadass, I do not care. At least not as much as liberals do. I don't care because the options provided are the same ones in 2020 as it was for liberals on my case in 2000 and in 1996. What I'm more interested is not what bugs the elite but what matters to real people (wealthy people effectively merge into this big ball of JP Morgan-Chase-BofA-BofE in my brain). People need food, care, housing, safety. Who's making these moves? As I'll repeat and as others have said, I am not voting for Joseph Biden in 2024. I've thrown my energy since 2018 into focusing on local politics and community building. Biden will not know my name when police decides that I fit their Negro quota, but my neighbor will. Biden does not aim to improve the social security nets that my family relies on despite what capital I redistribute from working in tech, but socialists have shown up and provided masks and food to my family's neighbors when Biden decided to "end the pandemic". I'm deeply vested in working with people who understand the crisis at end and I no longer have any air or energy for people who need to pretend that we, and our issues, don't exist because the government said they don't. I'm invested in working with folks who engage people directly and understand their day-to-day. What I tend to notice in what people want is some sort of "quick fix". This shit isn't going to flip over night or even over a year because you voted for "Genocide Joe" to return to office. We need to demand better.

Vote for someone you can see. Someone you can talk to. People who don't have direct ties to corporations to fund policies against the American populace. Be fucking real. And this is specifically for the people who replied constantly saying it's our last, best and final: as someone who's sat on bargaining tables, that phrase means nothing to me when I know that we can win big.

The title I wanted to use for this was really, "what's the point of not being a white cishet man on Nixon's Internet" but the words "cishet" especially next to "man" tend to upset these people more than systematic violence practiced via misogynoir, transphobia and good ol' Christofascist nationalism. I'm also not expecting to "change minds" or "move hearts" with this. You can reply if you'd like, I don't have to read it (thank Lwa). Like a friend said, "no more manifestos, ... we making demands and teaching each other".

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