Open letter to Progressives: You’re Doing it Wrong and It’ll Cost the Democratic Party

Open letter to Progressives: You’re Doing it Wrong and It’ll Cost the Democratic Party

Originally posted in Daily Kos.
Open letter to progressives: You’re doing it wrong and it’ll cost the Democratic Party

Aug 10, 2015 2:34pm PDT by TealBomb

Christian Taylor, 19. Amber Monroe, 20. Tyrone Harris, 18. Andre Green,15.

Those are just a few of the black people murdered last weekend. I’m sorry that your pep rally was interrupted but WE ARE DYING BY THE DOZENS in the streets. Have some perspective.

When you posted about BLM activists having “no strategy;”
When you ranted about not understanding BLM activists’ tactics;
When you railed about how Bernie is “the BLM candidate;”
When you lectured BLM activists because they “are working against their own interests;”
Did you also post about the anniversary of Michael Brown’s murder and the Ferguson uprising?
Did you also rant about the 314 black people that have been killed by the police since August 2014?
Did you also rail about the 12 trans women killed this year, almost all of whom still haven’t seen any justice?
Did you also lecture other progressives about how their privilege and comfort comes at a cost to others?

Did you do anything at all that would have actually helped the movement? Or were you so focused on advancing your candidate that you missed the very real human impact of hearing “progressives” boo when confronted with Black Lives Matter in “their” space?

If you support Black Lives Matter activists up until they do something you don’t agree with, then you were never really in solidarity. If you support the Black Lives Matter movement but have never done anything to challenge systems of privilege and power, then you aren’t actually an ally. You are part of the problem.

At every single point of transformative change in this country, disruption has been key. Making your problem the entire country’s problem is how social movements have advanced time and time again. Illustrating the moral dilemma is what makes the crisis real to those not directly affected or purposely obtuse. Being uncomfortable is the catalyst to moving this country forward.

Now white progressives, this is important: You don’t hold the moral high ground. You don’t get to decide the strategy of an oppressed group. Not everything is about you. And every time you talked about your frustration at being momentarily inconvenienced by Black Lives Matter, you show how white supremacy is benefitting you. This isn’t your issue, right? You’ve done enough, right? Why are these uppity black folks still bothering you with this mess, right? That’s what you sound like. And I’m being generous.

Posting that you don’t understand the strategy behind a tactic exposes you as clinging to white supremacy. Allies don’t decide the strategy of an oppressed group, they support the strategy said group develops. Period. Stop telling us that we need your validation of our humanity. Because that’s what you’re saying every time you talk about “strategy.” You can house your privilege in a thousand ways but ultimately, telling people to shut up because you don’t like what they are saying and how they are organizing makes you an oppressor. Get it together, progressives.

So let’s get down to how your willful ignorance is going to affect the Democratic Party.

Black women are self-organized. We belong to professional and Black Greek organizations. We are leaders in our places of worship. We are the storytellers and communicators of our families and our people. Black women worry about whether we/our families/our friends will see another day or become yet another hashtag on Twitter.

 And thanks to Sanders’ supporters, we are seeing that the Democratic Party cares more for our votes than our humanity.

Black women are the most reliable progressive voting bloc. From the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections to 2013’s gubernatorial race in Virginia, black women showed up at the polls en force. In 2012, young black women had the highest voter turnout of all voters ages 18 to 29. Black women’s participation that year contributed to the turnout rate of black voters surpassing that of whites voters for the first time ever. We have brought one election after another home for the Democratic Party and are poised to continue this trend.

Still, we are treated as fringe to white voters. We are told to accept what is given (Bernie’s platform), remain silent (booed when taking over white spaces) and to suffer in silence (post-racial society rhetoric)–all because talking about race and white supremacy is uncomfortable. Our humanity is an inconvenience.

Black women are leading the Black Lives Matter movement. Whether it’s reporting from the field, articulating the moment or organizing communities, black women are on the frontlines. By being condescending towards their strategy, by booing when confronted, by drawing lines around where we can communicate our anger, you are distancing yourself from our most important issue: Making America value black life.

I absolutely believe that Bernie Sanders is the most progressive candidate running for president right now. But I also believed that of President Barack Obama and I was disappointed time and time again. Movements cannot count on a candidate. They have to be visionary and aggressive in ways candidates cannot be. Movements clear the field for laws and policies, not the other way around. The work of Black Lives Matter is lifting us all. Get out of the way.

The target when taking over Sanders’ podium isn’t the candidate; the target is the thousands of people in those auditoriums across that country that still cannot fathom why saying “All Lives Matter” is dismissive.

This election isn’t as important as Black Lives Matter. You either agree that black people are in a state of emergency and you pitch in or you don’t and you are part of the problem. But, if progressives continue to throw a tantrum over Black Lives Matter disrupting a white supremacist system, then you will be the reason black Democrats stay home on election day. Not Black Lives Matter activists.

Keep fucking around. I’ll write in Deez Nuts in 2016.

— Evil Willow. (@thewayoftheid) August 9, 2015

Quick note about the author before you begin commenting:
-I’ve voted up and down the ballot in every election since I was 18.
-Before coming to Daily Kos, I spent almost a decade organizing field campaigns and building “the Obama coalition (read: eligible voters that the Democratic Party only talks when they need something)”
-I have a line item in my personal budget for candidates.
-I stopped working to watch FiliBernie. I clapped a lot.
-My student loan debt is out of control and I would like to buy a house but I consider that to be a “want,” not a “need.”
-I should want to support Bernie but I will not negotiate my humanity with his supporters or anyone else.