Illustration by Gabrielle Conlon

Just as it is a process to stay aware and active as an ally, it is a process for oppressors and imperialists to change their tactics, too. These perpetrators do not have any original bones in their bodies: they take old, foundational concepts and revitalize them in the hope that so-called allies who believe themselves aware will become complacent. White supremacy is still white supremacy even if it changes its legal name to MAGA.

But to become complacent is to become complicit in oppressive and imperialist ways, and we will not give them that satisfaction. Let this be a non-comprehensive list of oppressive and imperialist trends to be called out and advocated against to avoid complacency:


The April 7th air strikes launched against Syria are an attempt on behalf of the Trump administration to point to international turmoil in order for activists to forget about domestic issues and to support the cause in the name of humanitarian aid when that truly is not what these military acts are about. American interventions in foreign affairs are tales as old as time and, while riding on the waves of revitalized nationalism, get so-called anti-imperialists inspired to act against other states’ wrongdoings in place of the United States’ when the fact of the matter is that not calling out imperialism in one’s own country first is a perpetuation of imperialism itself. The humanitarian justifications that have been published by the administration are, in fact, meant to work as bait to lure supporters in while actually serving the interests of a select few bourgeoisie government members. It is significant to keep in mind whose interests these military acts actually serve, and while of course humanitarianism is significant, ask yourself: does the administration actually care about the well-being of Syrian citizens or are there ulterior political motives for which that excuse conveniently covers?


A boom in fake news and their appropriate denunciations are tactics used to promote general media distrust which in turn isolates individuals from information and prevents them from educating themselves and making their own decisions. Preventing people from access to real, free media is censorship in its most blatant form. When news outlets themselves are denounced as a whole for the spread of misinformation, which reputable sources typically are not knowingly doing, this causes individuals to cling to biased sources that only cover what oppressors want the general public to hear. It is in their interests to limit access to ideological variety and truth, especially if the truth is ugly, as then more people are likely to accept their platforms due to lack of “trustworthy” options.


The arts play a role in this via stifling of political acts in the form of art by not rewarding them. While the success of Moonlight and Get Out and the failure of Ghost in the Shell point toward positive changes in popular media consumption, it is important to consider that all forms of art are inherently political. Notice the academic neglect of black music in regards to Lemonade and the attempt by Trump to denounce Hamilton: An American Musical, an expression by a person of color explicitly for people of color. Trends in popular media consumption again point toward optimistic ideas of support for people of color and the art forms they create, but until critics accept and reward the messages as well then they will continue to exist only as a popular idea and not as commendable virtue, which is something that individuals tend to look for in a movement. Not only this, but the artists are silenced so that oppressors may exploit and gain from their experiences. Just last March the Whitney Museum of American Art chose to celebrate its biennial by showing a painting of Emmett Till as painted by a white painter. From this, the painter received publicity and went directly against the wishes of Mamie Till by Until these expressions are winners, the movements they express cannot win.


There is a gradual shift in the tone of those activists that work against oppressors, such as anti-Trump protestors, that change from adamant against the regime to merely reporting the misdoings with failure to promote continued action. Unless the oppressors are actively and violently putting others down, outlets have become numb to misinformation and harmful policy change when it is, in fact, these details that prop up an imperialist regime anyway, not just the actively terrible commentaries and actions. It is vital for those that work against to remain active, impassioned, and involved in the movement against and not to be numbed to oppressive tactics. Ally is a verb, and a verb empowered by strong emotion, logic, and action. To be “woke” is a dynamic state, always involving re-education and behavior reform among other vital acts and processes.

As previously stated, by all means this list is not comprehensive, it merely serves as an insight into trends in American and Trumpist oppression prevalent in society today. Add any techniques that you have noticed in the comments below as well as ways that you are actively combatting these acts, if you are in a position wherein you are able to act against them. Never be complacent with these processes and trust your activist instinct.