Who on “our” side is partnering with racist hatemongers, making sure the gears of racist capital stay greased?
The nation is still processing another spate of domestic white-terrorist violence, after the cowardly attacks perpetrated by avowed racists in Charlottesville claimed victims on the American Left — from groups like BLM, ISO, IWW, and DSA. While plenty of the blame for nightmares like this can be placed squarely on the neo-Nazi wing of the right, it’s not as if racism comes and goes like bad weather. It’s always been here.
What we on the left need to be asking ourselves is what Democrats in big cities are actually doing as part of their flaccid #resistance against Trump specifically, and bald-faced white supremacy politics generally. Who on “our” side is partnering with racist hatemongers, making sure the gears of racist capital stay greased?
Case in point: Eric Garcetti.
Unfortunately, as these West Coast Democrats try to deflect away from their own involvement in ongoing racial oppression and blame Trump for the consequences of decades of racist neoliberal economics, Mayor Eric Garcetti — and mayors like him across the country— has a huge race problem. While his social media feed and public statements overflow with placating language directed at whomever he’s addressing or currently in crisis in the media, he has no actual interest in doing anything to disrupt the completely broken status quo that services the power politics of white hegemonic domination.
Truly, take a minute or two here to think of a time Garcetti decisively and aggressively did something — anything — not just to chip away incrementally at the institutional or fringe forces of white power but actively to fight it. Personally, I can’t think of a single substantial thing he’s done. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. In fact, rather than protect the interests of the vulnerable, Garcetti is actively accelerating the white nationalist cause on several key fronts.
So how does he feed the white power beast? It’s pretty simple, actually. One of Garcetti’s favorite rhetorical ticks since Trump was elected is calling himself “the tip of the spear.” One can only presume from such a specific metaphor that he means he is the first point of contact with the enemy, white nationalism. Which is essentially true, but in a very disingenuous way. He’s got a direct line to Trump, but they are not enemies. Garcetti is not a combatant, and his politics are not weaponized. He’s not a pointy spear ready to wound and inflict damage on the carceral state. He’s the dullest of nubs.
Garcetti has met with Trump a number of times since the election last fall, and spoken with him about a variety of issues from the 2024/2028 Olympic bid to public infrastructure. Since these meetings and phone calls took place off the record, we may never know the exact details, but we can imagine sanctuary — and the fact that Los Angeles still doesn’t have any sanctuary protections in place — had to have come up at least once.
The truth is just two weeks ago Garcetti referred to Trump and his staff as “true partners,” and used that phrase throughout their collaboration on the Olympic bid. One aspect of that collaboration, for example, was ironing out the details of the Olympic’s National Special Security Event designation, which will put thousands of Angelenos at risk.
How disgusting is that?
Even under the guise of the Olympics as this thing that is supposed to “bring both sides together,” that still sucks for a Democrat. A Latinx Democrat who presents as white and is political allied with Donald J. Trump. That’s Eric Garcetti.
And that’s a problem. Not to mention Garcetti’s staunch endorsement of Charter Amendment C — which recently passed and effectively rolled back three decades of police reform in America’s deadliest and most racist police force — and his inability to address the housing and homelessness crises which disproportionately affect people of color. Los Angeles is the incarceration capitol of the world — and whether it’s gang injunctions, homeless shakedowns, or police murders, Eric Garcetti has not and likely will not do anything to dismantle these ridiculously bad-faith practices.
That’s because Garcetti’s true constituents are moneyed, (mostly) white business interests who profit from the exploitation of all people, but especially racial and ethnic minorities. Eric Garcetti is not an ally of the working class, people of color, or the oppressed. The fact that he sometimes gets their support electorally is due more to win-by-default than anything concretely good or effective he’s ever done. Garcetti is a marionette dancing to the whims of a white-supremacist industrial complex he is too afraid of and too invested in to ever stand up to, and as such he personifies neoliberalism more than anyone else in Southern California.
Garcetti’s acceptance of white supremacy is not just tacit, it’s tangible. And he — and all the glossy milquetoast Democrats like him — are on the wrong side of racial justice, in a time when doing nothing is criminal. And he’s our Mayor for the next five and a half years.