Jacqueline Luqman was vilified for pointing out a simple fact. Black people will not make common cause with racists and bigots. Racists do not get a pass because they call themselves anti-war.
I have been circumspect about this whole controversy over the Rage Against the War Machine rally for reasons that I believed were very principled. But recent developments in the universe proving me right has me feeling petty. Vindicated, absolutely, but definitely feeling like I deserve to reach back and remind people of how right I was at a time when Black radical analysis was ignored by too many among the white left, which has turned out to have been done to their chagrin.
First, I vented most of my ire in my recent weekly show on Black Power Media this past Friday, where I indeed waxed poetically petty about Apologies Not Accepted: Or I Love It When The Universe Proves Me Right because the circumstances required it.
What apologies are not accepted, might you ask? Apologies from white leftists who spent weeks assailing me for my criticism of the Libertarian Party and their policies that would preclude Black and other marginalized organizers and activists from forming any coalition with them in supporting their Rage Against The War Machine (RATWM) rally, and for my article published in Black Agenda Report detailing those policies and positions and the reasons they are dangerous for us. I also pointed out how easily the white left aligned with such malign characters rather than organize and form a coalition with Black and other anti-war formations led by non-white oppressed people and what that says about them.
To summarize, for weeks before the RATWM rally was scheduled on February 19, 2023, I raised the contradictions with one of the major organizers of the event - the Libertarian Party, and the Mises Caucus within the Party - that their pro-capitalist, pro-police, pro-discrimination as an extension of their idea of liberty (that the state should be so limited that it should not even have the power to keep property owners and businesses from discriminating against people) policies were already antagonistic toward anti-imperialists who understand that capitalist dictatorship is at the root of the oppression and militarism that we are fighting domestically and abroad. But the Mises Caucus is particularly objectionable because of its openly bigoted views on race and LGBTQ issues. I raised these issues in discussion with mostly white anti-war activists who were calling for those who oppose war to participate in the rally. Feeling that the conversations with these anti-war leftists were growing ever more antagonistic and even hostile toward me for my valid, and might I say very principled and reasonable, criticisms of the Libertarian Party and its policies, I decided to write an article outlining these issues and providing examples for people to see for themselves what the problem I was trying to explain with this event was.
My primary source for the article was Reason Magazine, whose masthead reads “Free Minds and Free Markets,” which describes itself on its “About” page as “Founded in 1968, Reason is the nation's leading libertarian magazine.” Although it is not the official publication of the Libertarian Party, it is a libertarian publication that is published by Reason Foundation, which says it’s a nonprofit education and research organization that produces libertarian information.
It was from articles written about the takeover of the Libertarian Party at their national convention last year and the conflicts within the Party with the Mises Caucus in the months leading up to it, that I pulled information that revealed a Libertarian Party that was being torn asunder from the inside by what old-guard Libertarians themselves called bigots, racists, and transphobes.
These were characterizations of the Libertarian Party from Libertarians in the party who either left because of the Mises Caucus or were staying but weren’t happy with the change the new leaders of the LP were bringing.
And I included in the article an analysis of some of the dismissive and honestly condescending and paternalistic responses from some of the white leftists who condemned me for criticizing the politics of the LP, even as I pointed out that if these people gain any more political power than they already have in some states (LP members have won local elections across the country, and are even backing Republicans in some races where they have a better chance of the GOP winning than a relatively unknown LP candidate) as a result of the support and legitimacy the left would give them in participating in this rally, that would mean violence and further marginalization for Black, queer, trans, and other marginalized people. That didn’t matter to the white anti-war folks who told me that I was sowing division, that I was an agent of the state - these people actually said I was a COINTELPRO agent because I pointed out the very public bigotry of a political party - and that I was ridiculous for making these claims.
But really, what people were mad about was the hashtag. Because I realized very soon that people didn’t really read the article to see the evidence that I laid out in extensive detail. They didn’t see the racist and homophobic tweets from LP members. They didn’t see the comments from LP members calling these new leaders of the LP racists and transphobes. Nope, all they saw was #AntiWarSoWhite, and they were even more livid at this uppity negro for playing the race card. Ending nuclear war was more important than their bigotry, I was told in many different ways, and we can deal with the bigotry after we stop nuclear war from happening.
For weeks leading up to the rally and after, the vitriol from the white left toward me and others who pointed out the same problems and more was incessant. But it really reached a fever pitch when on February 22 Max Blumenthal made my article the topic of discussion on his appearance on the Jimmy Dore Show.
In their effort to lay the apparently not-so-great outcome of the RATWM rally at the feet of “Boutique” leftists who “worked obsessively to undermine” it (that’s the title of the show), at around 27:00 in the show Max seems to be making the argument that ANSWER Coalition’s rally that was announced by that time for March 18 had silly vague-sounding demands, such as “end bigotry.” He says, “I oppose bigotry,” and decries that ending bigotry is a liberal conception and means nothing, compared to the RATWM’s demand to end the CIA. First, that’s rich coming from the son of the Clinton Family Legal Hitman Sidney Blumenthal; second, the RATWM organizers’ bigotry that we pointed out was clearly not important enough for Max and crew to even acknowledge existed, let alone oppose it, so why would we trust them to actually end anything?
Then he very purposefully conveys the idea that it’s people like me and my article calling not just the speakers, but everybody involved in the RATWM rally racist that is indicative of the sad state that the left is in, with our little “boutique issues” like racism and trans rights and such.
The interesting thing about that development was that Max very intentionally mispronounced my name as if he had no idea who I am. But the truth is that Max and I have been in the same organizing circles for years. We have had several conversations, on what I thought were petty friendly terms, and I was a guest a few times on his wife’s former show on RT America.
The more interesting thing is that Max not only lied about what I wrote in my article, but he also lied about a conversation that I had on Black Power Media’s Remix Morning Show with co-host Jared Ball. The conversation Max claims happened actually did not, and all of that is explained in a response to Blumenthal’s comments on Black Power Media.
But Max went even further and took to Twitter, continuing to lie about what I actually said, resorting to claiming victimhood when he was implored to discontinue his attacks, tweeting “A respectful conversation could have taken place well before this rally and led to a more concerted pushback against the war. Despite the toxic rhetoric initiated against me and others acting in good faith, I'm still open to one, either publicly or privately.” As if he did not JUST manufacture this entire episode out of thin air with lies, attacking me on social media without any hint of decorum or respect toward me himself.
For weeks afterward, the vitriol toward me triggered by Max’s comments on Jimmy Dore and on Twitter was incessant. I cannot tell you how many nasty, racist, sexist commenters I blocked. Black Agenda Report even received hate mail in response to this whole disgusting manufactured affair. But eventually, the furor died down, and life went back to normal - with me ignoring people who do not do any actual organizing because I’m too busy doing actual organizing.
Until the Libertarian Party proved me right with this tweet on April 13. In it, they declare that “Critical Race Theory is the most widespread and culturally accepted form of racism in the world today. To dispose of it, government schools must be abolished.”
Well, well, well. The party that we were supposed to align with to stop nuclear war comes right out and answers the question I asked in my article and in the video that Blumenthal posted on Twitter to claim I was saying something I was not, and that question was: “Let’s say nuclear war is avoided by this rally, will these people fight with us to end the oppression of marginalized people? No.”
NO THEY WILL NOT. The Libertarian Party will NOT fight with us to end the oppression of marginalized people, because as I made clear in the original article and as the LP itself has made clear over and over again and once more for good measure on April 13, they will oppress people when they have the power to do so!
I shouldn’t have to explain at this point that the GOP has done what it always does and creates a racial boogeyman for their white voters to believe that The Blacks and The Gays are taking something away from them, or turning their country into something they don’t want it to be by claiming that Critical Race Theory is taught somewhere it is not and that it means something that it does not, which most average white voters couldn’t articulate anyway. They literally hate something most cannot even define. And this isn’t even a defense necessarily of public schools. My revolutionary analysis of the public school system and the curriculum that claims to teach any aspect of history informs me that what is already taught is not at all accurate or beneficial to students. The truth about how this country and the capitalist system that props it up exploits and oppresses different groups of people in different ways so a few rich fat cats can profit obscenely off of everyone’s unique but collective misery, is not taught at all. So my argument is to abolish the capitalist system that dictates the curriculum that miseducates the students and build institutions, including the government, that are truly of the people, for the people, by the people.
Instead, the fact that the LP has adopted the racist GOP conception of CRT wholesale, presenting it as if white people are harmed by law school students examining legal history and theory and application through the lens of the impact of white supremacy that does undergird this system just as the GOP does, and are going farther to use that claim of reverse racism to call for the literal defunding of public schools… Gee…I wonder whose children that would impact the most? That’s been the GOP’s plan all along with all of this anti-CRT legislation and LGBTQ books banned in red states, and the LP is all in for it!
But according to the white leftists and Max Blumenthal and his friends who came after me, we were to align ourselves with these people who were supposed to stop nuclear war (one rally will not stop nuclear war, by the way).. And, we were supposed to just trust that all the people (who were fine with the bigotry of the LP before the rally) would suddenly care about their continued bigotry afterward and fight with us to stop them from oppressing us along with the capitalists. We were supposed to just trust those white leftists who refused to stand with Black, Indigenous, trans, and other marginalized and oppressed anti-war activists when literally nothing was on the line, to have our backs when everything is on the line. That made no logical sense then, and it makes less now.
Do you know what the worst part of this whole episode has been? Realizing very late after all the social media vitriol was directed at me, that Max Blumenthal and his wife sent a beautiful wreath to Abdus’ funeral in 2021. I had forgotten about that because once the funeral was over, I put the cards in a bag and didn’t look at them again. I just couldn’t. But I was reminded by a comrade that they did send a wreath to the funeral, and included a lovely card that said,”... along with our deepest condolences and recognition of all the important work of Abdus, we send our love.”
The work Abdus and I were doing in 2021 when he suddenly and tragically left this life, our work with the Black Alliance for Peace and our anti-imperialist work with other organizations like the ANSWER Coalition that Max maligned, the work we were doing on By Any Means Necessary, what we were just beginning to with Black Power Media and more – that was important in 2021. But not even two whole years later, that same work I’m doing is nothing more than IdPol-based “boutique issues,” and I’m the narcissist who tanked what they swear was the most important anti-war rally in the history of all anti-war rallies.
But, I told you that this is who the LP is. I didn’t malign the speakers or the attendees. I focused on the primary contradiction of this issue: the bigotry of the LP and what that would mean for marginalized organizers in every context outside of that rally that day. And there they are, proving me right.
So forgive me if this one time I dig into my Petty Purse and revel in the fact that the universe did indeed prove me, and all of us who raised this issue, right.
Even if apologies were offered, and I am absolutely owed them, I wouldn’t accept them. The damage has been done.
Jacqueline Luqman is a radical activist based in Washington, D.C.; as well as co-founder of Luqman Nation , an independent Black media outlet that can be found on YouTube (here and here) and on Facebook; and co-host of Radio Sputnik’s “By Any Means Necessary”.