The most influential piece of writing I've read that shapes and grounds my politics is The War Before by Safiya Bukhari. I still haven't read it in full, but chapter 5, "Enemies and Friends: Resolving Contradictions" is one I reference every single day in how I think and move.
Safiya said the most important thing we can do is be constantly interrogating not only other people, but ourselves. To kill our egos and subject everything we think, do, believe to criticism. If we can't acknowledge contradictions in ourselves, we can't deal with them in others.
She said we have to be willing to name + deal w/ contradictions to combat liberalism. I think about this in how much conflict aversion we see from folks who would rather ignore contradictions or go to their page and subtweet for validation than directly tell people they disagree.
She also said we have to know the difference between what is a contradiction and who is an enemy. And to understand how small and "incestuous" the "movement" is.
Most people the online left interacts with are not going to identify as leftists/communists/revolutionaries, and are still developing our politics yet everyone who doesn't perfectly align with whatever leftist values gets berated, shutdown or called a "cop", "op" or "fed."
I know where I've been guilty, but I'm also very explicit in saying that I'm not a leftist revolutionary. I'm just poor and I know some shit and I fight for people to center poor folks, and I absolutely believe anyone not doing so is our ops until shown otherwise.
But that, to me, is a power analysis I have to hold to avoid letting middle class leftists gaslight me into believing their middle-class centric "communism" is serving me and mine when it's not. Which is why I direct all my smoke upward, never at other poor folks.
That's also why I'm working to move away from the left spaces I'm in, from arguing with overwhelmingly middle class + academic "communists" condescending about what's liberation for poor folks, to spaces where I can talk about what I know, what I'm learning and what we can build.
Bc I'm arguing with people working in opposition of my goals and needs when I could be learning from and with people who actually want to hear me and be in space with me and share our knowledge to build communal networks toward freedom.
Anyway, these passages from chapter 5 are things I think we should all think about more, in how we move political and just among friends in general. I'll also be doing a reading and discussion of this soon.
"The movement- or what is left of it- has been bogged down in a quagmire of infighting, backstabbing, manipulation and oneupmanship. Those of us in the movement don't see it that way. But to the people outside looking in, this is what appears to be happening."

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More from @ninamonei

24 Nov
You love to type things and think because you typed them, they're true. Stop talking to me.
I promise there is no shortage of blame placed on Black parents and Black people individually for the systemic violences and abuses Black children experience. I don't know where y'all "we blame everybody but-" mfs be living, but that's not how this works... at all.
I don't know what world y'all live in where Black parents are not blamed every single time something happens to a Black child, but I assure you that's already the norm. This isn't some new, clever epiphany you just had.
Read 4 tweets
23 Nov
This reminds me of when @RezistansM was arguing with someone and he cited a study from like 2018 and they were like, "this is old" and Jamel was like, "... it's not a iPhone." 😭💀
"Your source is old" is my only rebuttal when I'm wrong now. Try me if you want, I will ruin all of our days!
This is so funny bc these niggas stay tryna flex their credentials like they're so much smarter than everybody else. I shoulda went to law school if this is all it takes to be a lawyer. I'm winning every case!
Read 4 tweets
23 Nov
My Black ass politics, beliefs and practices are communal. Anyone who follows me knows this, because I only talk about it all the time. I believe in care work, communal protection of Black children and revolutionary love as primary. We do for each other first, last, always.
In that conversation about servants people kept calling "care work" what stood out to me is people kept asking "well what's your solution?" Knowing fully well they didn't want to hear my solution. Bc when I gave it, they called it idealistic and unfair.
I said that care work is a communal practice, which means anyone caring for you and your family should also be considered a member of your community you have a responsibility to. If they are ensuring you have care to rest, you should be ensuring the same for them.
Read 6 tweets
22 Nov
Just introduced my daughter to the concept of actors/actresses playing more than one character. She is not impressed or pleased.
We've been watching Christmas movies bc that's my shit. She got really into the "Princess Switch" movies with Vanessa Hudgens and made us watch all three. I just put on another Vanessa Hudgens Christmas movie and she got all excited. "Yay, there's a new one!"
I told her this is a new movie w/ a completely different story and she's a different character.

Her: "We were just watching her in those movies."
Me: "Yeah, but this is a different story."
Her: "So I won't see the two dopplegangers?"
Me: "No."
Her: "😒😑🙁😐"
Her: "I hate her."
Read 4 tweets
22 Nov
Perhaps ask clarifying questions before writing a whole thread pretending to refute things I didn't say. I never said anything about where colleges live, nor did I say "neighborhoods." I said community for a reason + if you're unclear as to what was meant by that, you should ask.
First of all, while I didn't say college students live in the same place, them not living among the people they're organizing for is an issue. In my experience, people who move are those who can afford to move. Poor folks are more often to live in the same place until pushed out.
People on fixed incomes, in public housing, on section 8, in rundown complexes they'll stay in forever bc of rent control have seen the changes in their cities. If these are not the people you're building community around + organizing on behalf of, I'm not talking to you anyway.
Read 5 tweets
22 Nov
I know it doesn't feel like doing anything or doing "enough" and we all feel like we need to change the world today, but I cannot overstate the impact of just talking to people, in real life. It seems basic, but the fact so many people want to skip it shows how alienated we are.
We cannot get anywhere without rebuilding our communities, re-establishing communal ties, re-learning how to just BE with each other and lean on each other and understand our experiences as connected. Talk to your neighbors. Talk to people on the bus. It matters, I promise.
Talking to my neighbors after my car was impounded is how I learned they had been illegally impounding cars there. I found the tow regulations in my state and shared them with my neighbors. We complained + the property manager got rid of the tow company they were contracted with.
Read 6 tweets

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