Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements

Chicago based abolitionist organizer Charlene A. Carruthers shares her experiences of movement building with BYP100 as well as experiences practicing transformative justice in Unapologetic.

Throughout the book Carruthers reflects on her place in the movement as a Black lesbian leftist:

“There are few places in US politics for people like me. I am a leftist and I am not white or a man… I believe capitalism should be dismantled in favor of an economy that is people- and planet-centered… I believe that Democrat and Republican Party politics impede this.”

Learning from History

Carruthers does not shy away from reality, and calls democratic politics out as she sees it:

“If we are willing to hold on to the symbolism of Obama’s presidency and its progress, then we must also contend with its violence and regression. Barack Obama was a war president and led an administration that deported more undocumented immigrants than any previous one.”

That being said, it is not just mainstream political figures Carruthers implores us to learn from, she also challenges readers to really reflect on Civil Rights icons as well:

“We romanticize the Black Power movement while questioning the role and significance of Black women and queer leaders. This game, just like our lives, is full of contradictions. These contradictions should, however, be recognized and not contribute to a collective amnesia regarding Black movement history. We can hold all those truths in order to make more informed and strategic decisions as a movement.”

Radical Action to Remove Racial Capitalism

While much of the book shares organizing strategies, Carruthers also dives into political education as well:

“Capitalism with ‘Black’ in front of it won’t liberate our people. Capitalism is by definition tied to the subjugation of African-descended people.”

Some might think working toward abolishing capitalism is too big of a step, Carruthers responds:

“When liberals say we need change in moderation I hear “not you” and “not yet”.

How we Build Movements

Throughout the book, Carruthers stresses that organizers and activists should be driven by self interest, never “selflessness”, or selfishness:

“Community organizing toward liberation requires people in ongoing and substantive public relationships with each other, people who have shared interests, to work toward shared goals. When people have no stake in the work, they not only lose interest but can also be prone to marginalizing those with whom they claim to be in struggle.”

Carruthers ends Unapologetic with “the mandate for Black people in this time”:

“To avenge the suffering of our ancestors

To earn the respect of future generations

To be willing to be transformed in teh service of the work.”

-Mary Hooks

midwestern librarian, writer, activist. subscribe — http://eepurl.com/cZoiG9

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