Honoring the Passing of Elizabeth Betita Martinez (2021)

By Chris Crass (July 2, 2021)

Honoring the passing of justice movement veteran, elder and one of the most important mentors of my life, Elizabeth ‘Betita’ Martinez.


Of two Latina staff members of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in the 60s, and founding leader of the Women’s Liberation movement and the Chicano/a Power Movements in the 70s.


Her organizing was rooted in a vision of building multiracial working class power – for example, in the 90s translating Black History educational materials into Spanish and developing Black Freedom movement literacy programs in Latinx communities as both antidote to anti-Black racism, and to forge alliances for racial, economic, and gender justice.


Her mentoring and support for younger generation organizers of color was already legendary – developing leaders, strategists and alliance buildings. I knew I wanted to figure out anti-racist/collective liberation organizing in white communities and I hoped she would mentor me and help me grow as a leader. She took on so much more.


Her vast experience organizing, her movement journalism, her bringing people together to build movement together, all of this was so incredible. And it was also her deep belief in young people and encouragement to experiment and grow.


She would often say – “I will pass on as much as I can about what I know and what I think, but I also want to learn from you and what you and your generation are thinking, what you’re doing, what historical reference points guide you.”


And in the late 90s, as a crew of us were building Catalyst Project and developing new ideas/approaches for anti-racist/collective liberation organizing, ‘Betita’ and her leadership was crucially important


At a time when guilt and shame were prevalent in anti-racist work in white communities, when the end goal often seemed to be getting white people to know how racist they were, and then saying “stop being racist”.


Catalyst started talking about organizing white people from a place of love, that white supremacy as a system dehumanizes white people and turns us into weapons against communities of color to maintain ruling class power, that white anti-racists didn’t just need how to move back and listen, but also move forward and lead (learning the nuance of when to do either).


One long night I was talking with ‘Betita’ about this approach to anti-racist work in white communities, she said, “Look, so much of this work is focused on making white people feel bad about racism, and it’s not working. If you all think you can organize white people in a way that inspires them and helps equip them to be effective anti-racists, and you talk about love and collective liberation, do it, experiment.” And then she said, “What can I do to help this happen?”


I shared with ‘Betita’ that one of the barriers was that the narrative of “white people are racist and therefore problematic” is so strong, that it’s hard to get momentum for a narrative that “white people can be effective and powerful for racial justice and collective liberation, that white supremacy hurts us all, differently, but creates damage nonetheless, and that we need to all get free.”


‘Betita’ said something that energized me and Catalyst and gave us political space to operate. She said, “I believe in what you all are doing. I organize in Brown and Black communities, and I know how important it is to have large numbers of white people support and join that work. If you all think you can get large numbers of white people into this work, and want to try different approaches, I have your back. I will vouch for you, you can use my name regularly and publicly as supporting what you’re doing, I’ll be an advisor, I’ll publicly support what you all are doing – even if I don’t totally understand it, because I’m not trying to organize white communities. I want you all to be successful and i’ll show up as often as I can to help with your work.”


‘Betita’ believing and supporting me and Catalyst was monumental and it all flowed from her lifelong organizing and vision of powerful multiracial movements.


Years later, ‘Betita’ was at a Catalyst event where there were hundreds of white people learning about Black and Brown movement history, where white people were raising money for Black and Brown organizing, and learning how to organize in white communities for racial justice – and she said “This is what I hoped you all would do, and it needs to keep growing, and you just let me know how I can help.”


I love you ‘Betita’ Martinez.


I am so grateful for you, your leadership, your mentoring, your laughter and sense of humor, your encouragement to try and build.


A Prayer for Black Futures and Collective Liberation

By Chris Crass (February 20, 2020)

While Elizabeth Warren was destroying Bloomberg from jump at the Democratic Debate, I was doing bedtime with River and August (but I watched what I missed right away and Warren was incredible).

We read Freedom Soup, a gift from their aunt Rahula S. Janowski, and it’s a beautiful picture book about a Haitian Grandmother telling her Granddaughter about Black people fighting back against the ruling class and leading the Haitian Revolution against slavery and colonialism. The Grandmother is preparing Freedom Soup, denied to enslaved people before, as their family and friends come together to celebrate.

“They won!” River said with excitement.

“It’s like the Civil War.” my little four year old August says.

“Yes, in the Civil War, thousands and thousands of Black people fought back against slavery and freed themselves, just like in Haiti. And the revolution in Haiti both scared racist people in power, and inspired people here who had been forced into slavery, to fight back – before and during the Civil War and they were a major part of ending the slave system here.” I shared.

River asked questions about the Civil War and August mentioned how families were divided on different sides of the Civil War – as they’re learning about it in his pre-kindergarten class.

“Malcolm X had his family separated when white supremacists burned down his house.” River said, and his eyes got big as he starts making historical connections. River did a Black History Month project on Malcolm X last year and is learning more about him this year.

“What else do you know about Malcolm X’s life?” I ask and River goes over a handful of moments in his life, while August and I listen.

“And Harriet Tubman fought back against slavery too.” River adds. He continues, “She freed herself and then freed lots of other people from slavery and helped them get to a country where slavery was illegal.”

“They covered themselves in hay”, August jumps in. Which leads to a conversation about the Underground Railroad and how people used hay to cover themselves up riding in wagons and other ways people hid, as well as the Black and white abolitionists who hid people in their wagons, boats, and houses.

River read a kids book about Harriet Tubman – a book I’d been asking him periodically if he’d like to read for a couple of years, and he had said no, but now he was the one who brought up Harriet Tubman, he was the one who wanted to learn more. August and I snuggled and read stories about Frozen.

Before they both went to bed, we talked about how important it is that it’s Black History Month, and that a Black man named Carter G. Woodson, who lived here, in Kentucky, two hours away from Louisville, in Berea, taught history and created Black History Month and that because people fought and organized for justice, we now have Black History Month in our schools. Racism doesn’t want us to know these histories, but people fought back, just like in our book Freedom Soup, that aunt Rahula gave you.

I prayed last night with gratitude for all who have fought back, who have brought leadership to and participated in the vast efforts to make Black History Month a reality and who continue to expand what is possible, expand what kids and adults are learning, and making Black History Month part of movements for Black Futures where there is racial justice and collective liberation. And movements to end the malnourishment of white people’s souls and historical knowledge by white supremacy, so that white people rise up against this death culture too, and can get inspiration from the Haitian Revolution, Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman and Black and white abolitionists, inspiration to get free.

Chris Crass on collective liberation
Chris Crass on collective liberation

Trump’s Executive Order on Anti-Semitism and Our Responsibility to Resist It

By Chris Crass (December 16, 2019)

Throughout history, anti-semitism has been used by ruling classes to culturally position Jews to be seen as “above” other oppressed and exploited people, to be seen as the ones really pulling the strings. For Jews as a concept and actual people, to then be targets of other working class and poor people’s anger and resentment.

Ruling classes have promoted and used anti-semitic conspiracy theories of power, to obscure who actually has power and how power operates systemically – systems can be resisted through popular movements, conspiracy theories fracture the energy that could be put into resistance, into a thousand mazes.

Trump and other white supremacists champion the state of Israel not out of solidarity or respect for Jewish people, but for what the military power of Israel can do to advance U.S. empire’s interests against Palestinian, Muslim and most Jewish people – all of whom are subhuman in the eyes of the white supremacists.

The executive order of Trump to equate Jews as a nationality and Israel their state, is not to protect a single Jewish life. Only ask “why are the right wing racist forces of Trump and others. more concerned about non-violent campus-based movements for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel’s apartheid system against Palestinians, then they are about white supremacist attacks on synagogues around the country by people in their own ranks?”

Trump does not love Jewish people. Trump does not oppose actual violent anti-semitism. Trump and other white supremacist want to practice the strategy of anti-semitism, by weaponizing Jewish identity to attack the Left, pit Jews against other oppressed and exploited people, and use Jewish lives as shields to cover their continued consolidation of power.

We must fight anti-semitism, be in solidarity with and look to leadership of Jewish people and organizations fighting this executive order – and remember that Israel does not equate to Jewish people, the international movement for Palestinian self-determination is a human rights effort, not anti-semitism.

We have a responsibility to remember the long history and current reality of Left Jewish leadership – from the anarchist and socialist labor movement to the Civil Rights and anti-war movements to going to jail today in mass civil disobedience against ICE concentration camps under the banner “Never Again”, to remember, as Trump and the white supremacists want to erase Jewish culture and history and equate being a Jew as being a defender of apartheid in Israel and therefore useful scapegoats and pawns that serve the racist rights agenda.

We grow more powerful, more powerful then we ever imagined, every moment and every day we refuse their divide and conquer strategy and embrace and build cultures of vibrant solidarity and work for collective liberation.


Notes From Conversations With White Men Committed to Anti-Racism and Feminism and Struggling to Love Themselves/Ourselves

By Chris Crass (December 12, 2019)

“I’m struggling to find my grounding, to feel grounded and good about who I am, while I’m learning about all of this history, learning about people who have looked like me in the past and look like me today – white and cisgender male – have been in positions of power and enacted such massive violence and oppression. I want to keep learning how to work effectively and holistically to end white supremacy, to end patriarchy, to work for socialism and collective liberation, and how to love myself and love other people who look like me too.”

We talked about the pain of learning histories of exploitation and oppression, of what has been, of learning about the violence and injustices of misogyny, of transphobia, of white supremacy today – learning about the violent acts of individual white men, of the collective patterns of violence of the culture of white racist patriarchy that raises men to be conscious and unconscious soldiers of supremacy systems.

We talked about the feels of shame, sadness, and dissociation that can arise for us as white men engaging in anti-racist, feminist, collective liberation work – with example after example of white men doing and saying terrible things.

And then we talked about the need for historical understanding and systemic analysis to situate ourselves in both the strategy of supremacy systems that positions us against so many, along with the history of liberation and justice values, visions and movements that have aligned us with so many.

That we see these brutal supremacy systems for what they are, including what they have done and continue to do to us – to socialize white men into this highly individualistic and competitive mindset in which self-worth is dependent on a vast web of domination and subjugation of the vast majority, that promotes violence, anxiety, social isolation and explosive depression – towards oneself and towards others.

That we see the ways supremacy systems want us as white men to reject liberatory values and visions, and the ways that we as white men need to rise up against supremacy systems both in solidarity with the vast majority and as an act of emancipatory love for ourselves and other white men who we do not want to see be used as tools for oppression.

That we understand that supremacy systems have long worked to get as many white men as possible to see themselves aligned with ruling classes, and that we, as white guy collective liberation organizers, need to be mindful that we don’t further entrench white men, making it seem that based on race and gender privilege, that class is irrelevant and that in fact white men are the ruling class – our goal is to awaken the heart of solidarity and dignity within white men, as we move them/ourselves to reject the supremacy systems of ruling classes and embrace – mind, body and soul – economic, racial and gender justice as efforts and movements to all get free.

We have to love each other, see each other, affirm and support each other, as we reclaim our hearts and minds from supremacy systems and work from the approach that supremacy systems are the enemy, and they can’t keep stealing the lives of white boys and white men to serve them.

Loving ourselves as white anti-racist, feminist men, for collective liberation – loving our bodies, loving our emotions, loving vulnerability, loving our tenderness, loving our strengths, learning about white men we can be inspired by, white men who we love and organize with – all of this is part of the journey to get free and become the leaders we need to become, especially among other white men. To get free and work, live, love and join with others, for collective liberation – from our personal relationships, to the governing values economically, politically and culturally.

We can do this, and we must bring as many white boys and white men with us, out of the death culture, the culture of emotional suffocation that leads to a hundred forms of violence, the structural inequality that deprives, exploits, divides and extracts our souls. We can do this, and can love and support other white men to be part of building up beloved community and the world our boys and kids of all genders deserve.

Chris Crass on collective liberation
Chris Crass on collective liberation

Seattle 1999 and Its “This Changes Everything” Energy

By Chris Crass (November 30, 2019)

Twenty years ago today Nov. 30th, I was part of the Direct Action Network that successfully shut down the World Trade Center summit that was negotiating global capitalism in the interests of ruling classes and crushing human rights and dignity around the world.

Joining together with unions and people’s justice movements from around the world and activists from throughout the U.S. and feeling our collective power, beyond anything I thought possible, changed my life.

Seeing tens of thousands of people in the streets, with many of us in highly organized affinity groups, working together in clusters to take effective direct action and practice self-governance was incredible.

Seeing thousands of people get trained in non-violent direct axion in the months and days leading up to the multiple day direct action, helped me see the possibilities for movement-based educational workshops.

Feeling the energy of coordinated, high impact, mass direct action, as I walked with my affinity group in the pre-dawn mist of Seattle going to the intersection we were responsible for occupying.

Feeling the incredible energy of victory as word spread through the communications teams the we had successfully shut down the WTO, that anarchist and socialist anti-capitalists were making world news and changing the story, that another world is possible.

There was a “this changes everything” energy about what was possible for our movements.

So grateful for everyone who brought their leadership to make all of that happen, and to those sharing about their experiences today to help us draw our lessons and insights for our work today.


Pass the Liberation and Let’s Trash the Opression

By Chris Crass (November 27, 2019)

How can we talk with people in our lives during the holidays about our values? How can we challenge the ways that systems of oppression show up during the holidays with family and longtime friends, while also inviting people into liberation values and culture? How can we practice deep love for our people, stay humble about our own learning journey (past, present and future), and work to build the progressive racial, economic and gender justice majority throughout our lives?

I was asked to lead a workshop on having conversations with their families over the holidays about oppression and liberation. A workshop for social justice-oriented people from around the country who work in progressive religious institutions.

We started off identifying what feelings come up thinking about this. People shared out: anxiety, fear, pain, anger, sadness, nervous, as well as excitement for the opportunities. Most people shared that there’s a combination of homophobia, transphobia and racism in their families, families of color and white families.

We then identified where we felt these feelings in our bodies. In our gut, shoulders, throat, chest, sweaty palms, fast heartbeat, people shared. We took time to get grounded in our bodies and breathe together. To notice the places where we feel tight, constricted, nervous, and breathe into our bodies and into those places. To let our bodies relax and open, as part of opening up to possibilities for how we can engage.

Many agreed that it felt like they consistently played the role of the “uptight, radical killjoy” as familiar dynamics played themselves out, year after year. Many also shared that they enter these spaces on edge, and on guard and that dynamics of racism, homophobia, and transphobia usually begin with someone making comments and jokes that they then respond to, and that it rarely goes well – meaning, the social justice person is brushed off as being too uptight, too sensitive, and they end of feeling marginalized in their family.

We stepped back and I asked how many of us think about all of this in relationship to the most extreme reactionary person in our families and friend circles? Nearly everyone said yes.

Just as we tend to do this in our personal lives, we also tend to do this in our justice work throughout society. And, while we need to confront and engage the reactionaries, we are also working to build social justice/Left power. It’s important to remember there are many people in our families, friends and communities. While focusing on the most reactionary, the most racist, the most homophobic, and putting most of our energy on engaging them – we’re often not paying attention to others in our family and community who may be closer to us politically, who may be more open to what we’re saying, who may be on the sidelines but could be brought forward into these conversations if we engage them – meaning both sharing and listening.

This could be one-on-one conversations, or with people you feel close to in other ways and want to open up to them about values and parts of yourself that you haven’t shared yet. This could be asking people what they think about x, y and z. And often this is about listening to what other people are sharing, listening to their heart, and exploring what’s interesting and exciting or what they’re challenged by and struggling with. Making connections through music, movies, sports, and culture. Showing that you respect and care about others by engaging them on what they care about too. And then sharing what’s important to you, as much as possible in ways that are inviting people in. Talking about our values proactively – something we experienced that both expresses our values and that we’re excited about. Generally, in our families and with our friends, people care about us, and so sharing something proactively when asked “how have you been or what are you up to” is a way for people to know us deeper and hear about our work and values in positive ways.

And when we do engage with the most racist, homophobic, reactionary people in our families, it’s critical to remember that it is also the people around the conversation who we are also speaking to. For others in our family to see someone speak out, for the reactionary comments to not go unchallenged in ways that can signal unity and agreement.

My Mom didn’t change my Grandfather’s mind when she said his homophobia and racism were wrong, but it changed my life as a five, seven, ten year old kid, and positively impacted the lives of others in our family, none of whom spoke in those dinnertime discussions.

Just as we want to build a progressive majority in the country, we want to move people in our lives forward for collective liberation – for their and our healing, for more positive/justice-rooted culture in our families and communities, and for winning the structural, cultural, political, economic changes we are committed to and working for.

Sometimes in my family it was long debates about politics, about racism, about homophobia. Sometimes it was making social justice values clear and then rather then continue the debate about immigration, asking people who rarely spoke to share about what’s going on with them and asking people what they thought, when I knew they were more progressively aligned, but could use the encouragement and support to share their thoughts.

I also realized that while I was focused on being right, I often missed opportunities to listen more deeply and with more compassion. I realized that I was turning my rage for systems of oppression against people in my life who were expressing conscious or unconscious alignment with those systems. But I had to ground myself in historical and systemic understanding that systems of oppression are working everyday to get out people, our families, our communities, to internalize their worldview, values, and vocabulary as common sense. And that while we need to find ways to challenge that common sense, to also remember that supremacy systems use racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, as ways for people to make sense of their pain, embody their pain and express their pain. The more I asked questions and opened my heart to the pain underneath, the more I connected with people who I felt distance to, and the more I grew as a liberation organizer, working to move people, build a progressive majority and keep my eyes on the prize. The prize of winning social justice policy and legislation. Of winning social justice elected leaders. Of winning and advancing a racial, economic, and gender justice progressive agenda – economically, politically and culturally.

In the workshop we reflected on questions to help move us get grounded and be more effective:


  1. How do you want to engage people in your families? Who? How? What are your goals for having these conversations with your families (biological and chosen)?
  2. How do you want to feel afterwards? What impact do you want to have? What would success look like, feel like?
  3. Think of a time when someone has said something to you about oppression that raised your consciousness and moved you forward for liberation. What did they say? What insights can you draw for conversations you want to have?
  4. What can help you be grounded and in your power when talking with your families (biological and chosen)?

With love for our families and communities, with rage for supremacy systems, let’s keep building, practicing, growing, listening, and feeling whole in who we are. For our families, friends and communities, let’s get free!


Chris Crass on collective liberation
Chris Crass on collective liberation

Is “OK, Boomer” a Radical Critique? Two Responses

By Chris Crass-Joe Lowndes (November 12, 2019)


Chris Crass:


I’m grateful that the first time I heard of “OK, Boomer” and was responded to with “OK, Boomer”, I was having a friendly and beautiful debate with a 13 year old member of the Democratic Socialists of America, about socialist electoral strategy.  I said “Yes, we want Bernie Sanders to win the primary,” and then we debated with me saying “We have a responsibility as socialists to defeat Trump and work to elect whoever wins the Dem primary, while fighting for who we want, Bernie and/or Warren”.

It was awesome to have a brilliant, passionate 13 year old socialist, the son of friends of mine, tell me “OK, Boomer” in a debate about socialism and social change.

My inner 15 year old anarchist, smiled and said, “You use to say the same thing.”

My 46 year old self said, “Thank god for our capacity to evolve our politics and strategy, and thank god for radical youth pushing for us all to stay grounded in vision and militant action, as well as developmental strategy of what is as we work for what can be.”

Note: I know I’m not a boomer. I’m a hardcore Gen Xer who worked for years as a video store clerk and was part of building up the Gen X anarchist Left. But for some in Gen Z, me and anyone over 25 can be called a Boomer. And with the dismissive attitude of a teenager – it’s a cultural experience!



Joe Lowndes:

joe lowndes

I’m fine with “Ok Boomer.”

I know it substitutes generation for all other forms of domination in assigning responsibility for a wrecked planet. And I know that it is ageist in a particularly American fashion.

But all slogans and memes are shortcuts by definition. And in any case I don’t read it as signaling, as some people do: a vengeful totem feast by the young.

Maybe it does however (in the exceeding mildness of its phrasing) announce a radical paradigm shift long overdue – that everything that the middle decades of the 20th-century United States thought of as constituting the good life has to be radically re-thought or rejected before it totally destroys us.

Regardless, young people have the right to express their anger, grief, and profound sense of loss for the unimaginable future they face as they figure out how they will do so. In that sense, “Ok, Boomer” as “Get the fuck out of the way” seems entirely appropriate.

To Men Looking Inward and Outward at the Nightmare of Patriarchy

By Chris Crass (November 16, 2017)

To men looking inward and outward at the nightmare of patriarchy and feeling woefully inadequate to do anything remotely close to effectively rising up for gender justice and feminism in ways that these times call for.

I am with you. Every single time I do anything to try and show up for feminism in the world, I struggle with wave after wave of feeling deeply inadequate, of feeling that I myself am inadequate and that in comparison to the profound need for an intersectional feminist vision, politics, values, and strategy for moving men into new ways of being human, of moving men into confrontation with patriarchy and misogyny, of moving men into journeys of personal transformation alongside building movements for racial and economic justice with gender justice and feminism at the center – that alongside the need for all of that, whatever I do will be so insufficient, so limited, as to almost be insulting to women, and people of all genders who face harassment, violence, and sexism on the daily.

And, when I do work with men for gender justice, I am overcome with the fear I have of other men. The memories of violence and threats of violence from boys and men in my life, almost all of based on enforcing and expressing patriarchal masculinities. And I remember not only the times that I was bullied, but the times that I bullied – often in the same day.

And when I take public action for feminism, when I work with men, I remember the ways that I have been sexist, been misogynistic, and how I have to actively fight the socialization of toxic masculinity every day – sometimes successfully and sometimes totally failing.

I am not here to look down on other men and shame us into embracing feminism. I am here, in the emotional, spiritual, and social devastation of toxic masculinity, looking around and saying – “yes, nothing we do will be enough”, “yes, each of us is inadequate for what must be done”, “yes, even the people we love the most will likely experience us as frauds, as pathetic, as triggering, when we try to speak out and take action for feminism”.

And I say, patriarchy is a system that has created this nightmare over hundreds of years through institutions, policies, cultures, torture, and violence, and we, as men who believe in feminism, must inch forward, must crawl, must grab on to each other and help each other move forward, we must find our courage, develop our abilities, listen with our hearts, speak from our souls, and take action knowing that our lives, the lives of all who we love, are at stake and that the world is literally crying out and calling forward, a movement of men who will say “No More”.

Men who will say “Yes I’m part of the problem and I want to be part of the change”, of men who know that feminism means we all get free and who will come alive fully, in the work and on the journey for the end of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, who will come alive to heal ourselves, heal our relationships, develop ways of being that are more and more liberatory and join the women-led multigendered, people of color-led multiracial, working class-led multiclass movements working for systemic and cultural change to create racial and economic justice with gender justice and feminism at the center.

In the process of learning to “act like a man” I’ve felt the fists of boys and men against my body, and my fists against other boys and men’s bodies. Let us, as men, now join hands and help each other rise for feminism.

In the process of learning toxic masculinity, I have heard the voices of boys and mens, with mine joining in, speak and normalize misogyny, harassment and assault of women, LGBTQ and gender non-conforming people. Let us, as men, use our voice, our influence, our roles, our lives to generate life-affirming, heart-nourishing, feminist values-living culture in ourselves and with men throughout our lives.

Let us bring out the best of who we are, acknowledge and work on the worst of who we are, join with others, and learn and grow and come alive in the fullness of our humanity and become feminist men who can help heal and transform this world.

Even though I am scared, even through I know that what I do is far from enough, I am here with you and I believe we can all get free.


Men Need to be Present, and Not Defensive, in this Uprising Against Sexual Harassment

By Chris Crass (November 14, 2017)

If you are a man and hear “men are garbage” from women and people of other genders experiencing the daily reality of patriarchy and misogyny, I understand if the first reaction is to be defensive, to want to say “not me” or “that’s not fair” or anything to debate or cast doubt.

But I encourage us as men to be present in these painful and profound historical times of a popular uprising against sexual harassment, to be present to what women are saying, and ask “what are the experiences behind a statement like men are garbage, what is happening all around that reveal a profoundly destructive culture that raises boys to assault and harass women and girls as ‘normal’ male behavior”.

Ask, “how have a been raised in this culture, how do I participate in behavior that is garbage and normalizes it, and how can I actively work to build up culture that raises boys to be ‘beautiful’, ‘compassionate’, ‘intuitive of what others need and want’, ‘practitioners of consent and interdependence”, that raises boys and supports men to be feminist, to work for collective liberation.”

What are organizations of men working against sexism, against patriarchy that you know about – current and historical? And I am fully aware that there isn’t much, and what has been and is, is often quite small – all of the efforts I’ve been part of have been 6-20 men. But nonetheless, there is far more then what I’m aware of, and I believe we must build from what is, not what we wish was.

But there was also a time when almost all of the organizing with white people for racial justice was also tiny, small groups with little to no knowledge of each other’s existence. I remember twenty years ago talking about being a white people working against white supremacy and the vast majority of people, even activists (white and of color) looked at me with confusion, suspicion, or even concern (“what, you want to bring white people together to talk about racism? Only the Klan brings white people together to talk about race – to which my responses was, “yes, exactly, and until white anti-racists bring leadership in white communities, then white people are abandoned to the Klan”).

So with that, what organizations, efforts, individuals, do you know of currently and historically to help educate, organize, mobilize men for feminism, for gender justice, to end the nightmare of patriarchy?

Feminist men, in solidarity and alignment with people of all genders, must fight for the hearts, minds and futures of men and boys away from this death culture and towards feminist values, commitments, and actions.

Notes to a White Person Trying to Figure Out How to Talk With White People About White Privilege

By Chris Crass (Sept 15, 2017)


My goal in talking with white people about racism is to generate outrage for racial injustice and a passion and urgency for racial justice. My goal is to awaken a hunger for justice in the hearts and minds of white people that leads them into confrontation with the death culture that is white supremacy, a death culture that devours, restricts and imprisons life in communities of color and malnourishes and suffocates the humanity of white people with fear, misplaced anger and resentment.

Given this goal, I rarely begin conversations with white people by talking about white privilege. I talk about the racial injustices in society, about the ways that white people are pitted against people of color, about the ways that our shared humanity is pulled apart, and then I’ll bring in white privilege as a way that those with power and wealth have divided working people from each other.

White privilege developed over the hundreds of years that the U.S. was a slave society, it developed as a method to divide indentured and poor Europeans from uniting with enslaved Africans, to overthrow slave masters and fight for a better world. Laws had to be made to prevent Europeans, Africans and Indigenous people from marrying, forming family, building friendships, forming bonds of love and solidarity. Denying people of color rights and opportunities for economic advancement, while granting rights and economic opportunities to Europeans was a way to create a structurally unequal racial hierarchy of Black and white and those who wanted to concentrate wealth and power to the few, used racism, racial antagonism, and racial divisions as a way to both create and maintain vast political and economic inequality.

White privilege is a set of very real material benefits where for most white people, the police are in fact there to protect and serve, where your name and ancestry help you get, and keep a job, where your family has had access to lower interest loans to buy housing in white only suburbs, where the color of your skin makes you appear more innocent, where being white means you don’t have to think about race or the history of racial oppression and racial inequality, and how this history shapes the world around you and impacts your daily decisions and future experiences.

So white privilege is a system of benefits for white people and a system of denial of those benefits to people of color. And it is fundamentally a strategy of dividing the vast majority of us from uniting for economic justice and building an inclusive multiracial democracy where human rights and dignity for all, are at the center, rather then a white supremacy worldview that justifies and maintains devastating poverty in communities of color and in white communities while the 1% has vast wealth and power.

How I talk about white privilege does change depending on who I’m talking with. I try to think about what will resonate with the person. Different things work for different people: some are moved by poetry, others through personal stories, and others through coming to and experiencing a community event or protest for racial justice. But what is key, in whatever approach, is sharing your own experience of becoming aware of racism and white privilege. Sharing your own discomfort, fear, denial, and other barriers you have had to work through. This is so important, as a way of normalizing what the person you’re talking with may be experiencing, as a way of providing insights from your own experience of what helped you move out of white denial, white silence, white obliviousness, and into white anti-racist action.

But what’s most important to moving and supporting white people into racial justice values, commitment and action, is your relationship with them, inviting people into the work, and helping connect people with opportunities for learning, growth, and action.

There are times when we must confront racists about their racism. But more often, it’s about engaging white people on the sidelines, who are confused, who might be open if given the opportunity, who know in their gut racism is wrong, but have never been exposed to a deeper understanding of white supremacy, let alone an action plan for racial justice.

With folks who I am trying to move, I’m not trying to make them feel guilt and shame about having white privilege, my aim is to generate a deep passion and hunger for racial justice as central to winning and creating collective liberation that frees us all, and help give them opportunities to take the next few steps, from where they’re at, and get them moving.

Remember the people who have supported you, reflect on what has helped you, and bring those lessons with you. Love and courage to you.


Charlottesville and Boston Were Significant Victories for Collective Liberation

By Chris Crass (August 22, 2017)

After the massive anti-racist/anti-fascist marches for racial justice, with Black Lives Matter in the lead, in Boston and Charlottesville, the racist anti-Muslim, pro-Trump organization Act for America have cancelled 67 rallies in 36 states and replaced their day of action into an online protest.

This is a significant victory and shows that mass public protest for racial justice and against white supremacy can and does have a profound impact.

And while some are saying, “see Boston did it right, it was peaceful” versus the people in Charlottesville who were protecting their communities and values from Nazis, the Klan, while the police largely stood aside, we have to be vigilant against any effort to divide our movement.

The white right wing was the source of violence in Charlottesville and any talk of whether or not they protested right, takes the blame off the right and shifts it to the left. With racist and anti-semitic acts and violence skyrocketing, with a white right wing administration pushing a violent racist agenda, we cannot allow blame for the violence of Charlottesville drift left with talk of “well see how they did it in Boston.”

If the mass refusal of hate and racism hadn’t taken place in Charlottesville, if a powerful multiracial alliance of people for justice and multiracial democracy hadn’t confronted the Klan and the Nazis, then:

1. The Unite the Right Rally’s agenda would have gotten out widely, uncontested, without a counter vision and counter values to fight for the soul of America.

2. It is highly likely that the Klan and Nazis would have perpetuated even more violence that day and night on the communities in Charlottesville who they were targeting for intimidation.

3. The Unite the Right Rally would have been understood as an enormous success by the right, energizing recruitment and membership, emboldening even more public actions and open racist organizing on campuses and in communities around the country. It would have encouraged even more people – members, sympathizers, and those who share their racist worldview – to express their racism in words and deeds.

4. When the Nazis marched in Boston, a much smaller counter-demonstration would likely have taken place, with racists having the momentum.

5. If the courageous communities for liberation had not shown up in Charlottesville, had not brought forward the best of who we are as people, then it would not have been the same kind of historic moment for our country – a moment where people everywhere have to decide, am I on the side of Nazis and the Klan or anti-racism and multiracial democracy. A moment that further revealed the truth of who Trump is, a moment that further eroded the Trump administrations political power and support, and united millions around the world against him.

We are building a powerful multiracial movement for collective liberation, and the ruling class and the forces that support the ruling class agenda of structural inequality, will do all they can to undermine us, pit us against each other, and confuse us about how political power and political movements grow and impact the world around us.

Just as they want to malign Black Lives Matter as terrorists, as violent, when Black Lives Matter has been bringing tremendous leadership to the mass anti-racist/anti-facists counter-demonstrations, against the actual terrorists of the white right wing – they want us endlessly debating “good protester” versus “bad protester”.

The mass actions for racial justice, for multiracial democracy of Charlottesville and Boston have led to the cancellation of 67 racist public actions in 36 states, a historic moment of “what side are you on”, and far more.

Let’s keep building, let’s keep uniting for racial justice, for Black Lives Matter, for an end to white supremacy on every level in our society. Let’s keep inviting people in our lives, who aren’t already involved for racial justice, to be involved, to be on the right side of history and say no to nazis in the streets and racists in the White House.