Meet Benjamin Hart, an educator and radical activist (to be specific, “a multiethnic, mixed-class, queer man who is dedicated to radical education, Black feminism and community-committed activism”) who for several years has opined on a wide variety of topics on his eponymous blog, Radical Faggot.
For example, on a film called Criminal Queers (which visualizes “a radical trans/queer struggle against the prison industrial complex”); on the education system’s “obsession with ‘achievement’ and ‘measurable skills‘”; on why “education . . . is unavoidably queer work“; on how to convert students to radical feminism; on how he’s recently become “more open to casual sex“; on why ethnic studies should be taught “all the time“; on why voguing is “the only uniquely queer art form” (which he began as a high school student); on the “racist” Campus Reform website; on how he only finds purpose as part of a Borg collective; on how his “blood line” is “a lineage of oppressed collectives“; on his preoccupation with his body image; on his racist family members; on the paucity of queer men in community organizing; on how he was taught “Black slang” by his sixth-grade teacher; on how he helped a friend become a prostitute; on the time his boyfriend hit him; on why he blogs; on his trips to gay strip clubs starting at age 19; and on why “talking about sex publicly makes me nervous,” though he somehow manages to blog, for example, about “[t]he first time I tried penetrating my boyfriend” (in a post titled: “Power Bottom is Redundant: Or; A Femme Guide to Anal Sex“).
In other words, a fairly normal left-winger (not quite weird enough to be covered by Robert Stacy McCain) — until lately, that is. Lately, the writing of Benjamin Hart has taken a more violent turn.
In January, 2013, Hart admitted he’s “advocating violence . . . against the structures which do us violence.”
In January, 2014, Hart emphasized the need “to lay the foundation for militant action” through community-organizing tactics.
In April, 2014, Hart wrote that “non-violence . . . is a tactic more than a philosophy. Sometimes it is useful, and sometimes other kinds of action are needed . . . .”
In July, 2014, frustrated with the academy’s abstract theorizing, Hart wrote that he’s “a young, oppressed person who wants militant movements which unite my communities . . . .”
In December, 2014, Hart wrote approvingly of the Ferguson riots: “Black people took aggressive, combative action to confront a state we have always known is racist and violent. . . . No fact has made me prouder to be Black in my entire lifetime . . . . Fury turned outward and backed by community is not destructive, but transformational.”
That more violent strain in Hart’s thought has now catapulted him to worldwide attention, via an Apr. 26 blog post that on Apr. 28 was republished on Salon.com (which Hart bragged about on Facebook) and was quickly thereafter linked on the Drudge Report.
In the piece Hart offers a full-throated justification for the violent, anarchic tactics recently employed by thugs in Baltimore, entitled: “Baltimore’s violent protesters are right.” Bottom line: anyone criticizing these violent protests is “racist.” Some excerpts:
I’m overwhelmed by the pervasive slandering of protesters in Baltimore this weekend for not remaining peaceful. . . .
I do not advocate non-violence . . . .
Non-violence is a type of political performance designed to raise awareness and win over sympathy of those with privilege. When those on the outside of struggle — the white, the wealthy, the straight, the able-bodied, the masculine — have demonstrated repeatedly that they do not care, are not invested, are not going to step in the line of fire to defend the oppressed, this is a futile political strategy. . . .
Militance is about direct action which defends our communities from violence. It is about responses which meet the political goals of our communities in the moment, and deal with the repercussions as they come. It is about saying no, firmly drawing and holding boundaries, demanding the return of stolen resources. . . .
When the free market, real estate, the elected government, the legal system have all shown you they are not going to protect you — in fact, that they are the sources of the greatest violence you face—then political action becomes about stopping the machine that is trying to kill you, even if only for a moment, getting the boot off your neck, even if it only allows you a second of air. This is exactly what blocking off streets, disrupting white consumerism, and destroying state property are designed to do.
Black people know this, and have employed these tactics for a very, very long time. Calling them uncivilized, and encouraging them to mind the Constitution is racist . . . .
What kinds of actions will it take to make it widely understood that all policing is racist terror, and justice can only come with its permanent abolition?
Black power, Queer power, power to Baltimore, and to all oppressed people who know what time it is.