An Abolitionist Response to White Supremacy

By Tracey Corder and Ramah Kudaimi

Below is an excerpt from “After the Insurrection | An Abolitionist Response to White Supremacy” published February 28th in The organizing publication The Forge.

In the weeks since the white supremacist attack against the Capitol, many elected officials and policymakers have declared that we need more robust laws to tackle “domestic terrorism.” But history is very clear that this framework will only further harm Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities. Anti-terrorism policy has deliberately destroyed Muslim communities across the globe and criminalized activism among Black, Palestinian, and environmental justice organizers. Such a framework cannot be repurposed to fight white supremacy.

Photo by Les Zaitz/The Oregonian via AP

White vengeance against Black communities, from Reconstruction to the Civil Rights Movement, has long been understood by its victims as an act of terror. But this understanding of terror has little to do with the “War On Terror” that has devastated Muslim, Arab, and South Asian (MASA) communities while making them default terrorism suspects. The shock that so many people expressed in the aftermath of the Capitol attack shows how terrorism is largely conceived of as a foreign problem — in need of a qualifier like “domestic” when it occurs by white perpetrators within the United States.

Metaphors like “Vanilla ISIS’’ or “Christian Taliban” obfuscate the ways white supremacist violence and ideology is rooted in U.S. history, from the foundational genocide of Indigenous people, to the Ku Klux Klan, to ongoing state violence against Black people. Violence to achieve and maintain white supremacy is the norm in this country. And while the desire to reclaim the label of terror — to use it against white supremacy rather than in service of it — is understandable, cracking down on “domestic terrorism” by funneling more resources into law enforcement will end up causing more harm than good.

There is no easy solution that can solve the longstanding issue of white supremacist ideology and violence. How do we create policies to rid ourselves of what is at the very root of the United States? Read the full article at The Forge.