My first concern as I watched throngs of fascist-led Trumpians tear into the Capitol on January 6 was for the safety of the frontline workers of color who maintain the Capitol. It was disappointing to me, but not surprising, that the media did not seek their thoughts on the assault. I am Mexican American, a retired federal worker. My job was as a custodian for the majority of my more than 30 years in civil service.
When have we ever not been seen as extraneous by the powers-that-be, exploited and marginalized. Racism, like its twin sibling sexism, governs our daily lives. No amount of reform can purge these malignancies from the system they are rooted in. They are mainstays of capitalism.
The looming threat of fascism is embedded in the inequalities of capitalism and is rising up to squelch dissent and impose a straitjacket on all our civil liberties. The social movements, most recently the Black Lives movement, fight against the racist police state. We of color know the cops aren’t there to protect us. My fear of the police began before I reached adolescence. As a child of eight, I was viewed with suspicion and presumed guilty of crime where there was none. Over the years, I have been stopped numerous times, had my life threatened, been maced and knocked to the ground while protesting rightwing bigotry. These bad boys and girls in blue exist to preserve, protect and maintain the status quo. They are the servants of the 1% and as such relish using the gun or the club on us.
What can we do to turn the tide of fascism? What power do we have as working people? I believe in fighting for reforms but I have seen them being eroded since the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s. The two major political parties derail us, lull us into believing in the capitalist economic system that oppresses us and turns us away from revolution. I believe the humane world we all yearn for is attainable if we see through the myths we have been fed. Schools taught me to believe in the virtues of living in the land of the free. Racism inculcated me with feelings of innate inferiority. Living with racism taught me to fight back. Activism and my socialist feminist studies have allowed me to see through the web of misbeliefs and false morality that permeate and uphold every aspect of our institutions and sustain the rule of the elite.
The attempted ultraright-led coup on the Capitol, the waving of the Confederate flag, t-shirts emblazoned with Camp Auschwitz and shouts of “sieg heil” shook belief in the system and highlight the dire need to fight back, to marshal our forces.
The workers’ movement is the ultimate target in the fascist crosshairs. Unionized and unorganized workers need to come together with other communities under threat, like Blacks, Asians, Latinos, Native Americans, Muslims, Jews, women, LGBTQI+ people, immigrants, refugees, people with disabilities, and leftists. Black women are essential leaders. They have always challenged the system and fought the divide-and-conquer tactic of sexism intended to weaken the Black struggle for liberation. We need to reject ideologies of separatism and of belief in the status quo. A multiracial movement can break the capitalist chokehold on our lives and usher in real humanity. It is unquestionable that the Black struggle coupled with a social movement aimed for socialist feminist revolution is the antidote and the road to freedom.
Gil Veyna is a member of the National Comrades of Color Caucus, a joint body of the Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women. The caucus studies the issues most affecting people of color and proposed actions for the two organizations in order to advance the fight against the inequalities, injustices, and divisions caused by capitalism.