My Collected Writings on the White “Left”

In mid-June 2011, following some questions/comments on my use of the phrase white “left”, I found myself for a second time writing an article examining the term and my definition of it. Before I wrote it I had intended to more or less re-post the original article I had written on the matter back in November, 2010. However it quickly grew into something much bigger. I found myself all of a sudden writing a multi-paragraph entry on the white “left” which in turn sparked further discussions and comments. These additional discussions lead to the writing and posting of three more articles dealing with specific questions/comments. If one counts the articles and polemics that were the context of the original definition (and where I first seriously began to use the phrase), my writings on the white “left” reached eight articles in the same number of months. This doesn’t even include related materials I have also written.

Because of this they are scattered throughout this site and you have to go searching for them in order to find them. So I have collected them all here for ease of access for those interested in checking them out.

For some context on how this all began, one needs to go back to November 2010. During that time I was involved in some very heated polemics with a primarily white (as well as cis and hetero male) anarchist collective in my city known as Anti-War @ Laurier, or AW@L. They began over the group’s treatment of a close friend and comrade after she critiqued them for the handling of a particular dinner/event. Then, about three weeks later the same collective trotted out another event, this time styled as a Native solidarity event, though lacking in input from actual Native people. I again called them out it. That article was the first real time I made serious use of the phrase white “left.” However, I quickly learned that the term was not as easily understood as I thought it was (and in hindsight, I can see how people were easily confused), so I wrote another article outlining a basic definition. Soon thereafter the polemics concluded in one final long article outline lots of problems with the collective, including a more in depth outline of how they are settlerist and colonizing in their activism around Native struggles.

So that set the groundwork for me to begin to look more indepth at the white left. After joining up with the Uhuru Movement, which has long been critical of the opportunist and parasitic stance of the “white” left”, and reading the writings of others with similar analyses, I felt I was theoretically mature enough to be ready to pen my own critique of the white “left” based on those readings and others as well as personal experiences.

The articles that follow below are the result of all of this. Enjoy.

The Context of the Original Definition*

The Original Attempt at a Definition

  • What is the White “Left” (this was put out between the 2nd and 3rd polemical articles as several folk in the local community objected to the term. In particular, one of the lone POC in the anarchist collective seriously objected to my labeling of them as white “left” because she is not white. My response was that one does not have to be White to be part of the white “left”. Also, this definition remains fundamentally the one I use now, though I have refined it and elaborated upon it as a result of my political growth since the time of the original articles).

The Second Wave of Articles

Further Articles

These articles were not part of the core writing series, but they cover many of the same topics and ideas and try to build on them further.

*NB: these original articles come from a transitional political period in my life. They were written when I had only recently left behind my own involvement in the settler/white ‘left’. Until only a few months before the writing of the polemics I had been involved with the post-Trotskyist “socialism from below” trend.

At the time I was undergoing a rapid reassessment of views on almost every topic. It began with a deep and thoroughgoing reexamination of my thoughts on the Chinese Revolution that eventually lead to a brief fliration with Maoism, in particular the trend that the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada is part of. However, this time period was before I had read the work first of J. Sakai and later Chairman Omali Yeshitela and related thinkers and their critiques of the white ‘left’. As such, I put them up with this note in mind so that readers can recognize the development in my thought since then.

  1. Hi Rowland,

    I love your blog, and I love this collection.

    I’m a radical feminist coordinating for DGR Ontario (just starting up at the moment).

    I was wondering if it would be alright with you if I linked to this collection under the Anti-Oppression Resources section on our site?

  2. That would be no problem at all. Go right ahead.

  3. That’s great! Thanks a lot. It’s some great writing.

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