Down with Woke Imperialism!

I am a transwoman of no color. I am an agoraphobic welfare queen. I am a genderqueer millennial who has been diagnosed with virtually every mental illness in the DSM. I am intersectional but my existence is not a box checking exercise, though I have been diagnosed with Obsessive Box Checking Disorder. I used to struggle under the assumption that much of the above made me a target of the white cis male status quo, but at 32 it has come to my attention that my status as a marginalized American has made me bate for the Military Industrial Complex. Somewhere along the line, diversity became a tool for the very same people who benefit most from systemic oppression.

This is the conclusion that I’m forced to make from the CIA’s new “Humans of the CIA” add campaign, a painfully hilarious collection of online videos trafficking Langley as a woke bastion of hip tolerance for Queers, feminists, people of color, and the white hetero crowd who fetishize us. Speaking as part of the target demographic, the whole thing creeped me way the fuck out. I’m a Queer feminist who also happens to be a virulent anti-imperialist. These are the same sick fucks behind MK-Ultra and the Nazi ratlines, and now they want me for as their new recruit. What the hell happened here? When did people like me go from being outcasts to exotic house pets for the mainstream elites?

Queer and anti-racist movements in this country use to be a threat to these people. Our struggle was defined by a radical devotion to autonomy, self-determination, and solidarity with third world victims of the same hideous power structure that oppressed us stateside. Sometime in the last few decades we got lost. We started cutting deals with the man and started making concessions for privileges from the same system we once promised to destroy. I use to think that we just got lazy after winning the Culture War but lately I’ve come to the disturbing conclusion that the Culture Wat won us.

Queer people in particular lost the Culture War when we stopped raging for Queer liberation and settled for LGBTQ tolerance. We embraced inclusion into the very system we sought to destroy by devoting our struggle to statist trinkets of assimilation like gay marriage, military conscription, and prison feeding hate crime legislation. In this sick Shyamalan twist, that system we once sought to destroy destroyed us by making us a domesticated member of their nuclear family; the family faggot who gets scraps from the table just as long as we keep it down and don’t demand a table of our own. Identity politics became a series of hip new accessories for the elites to prove how tolerant they and their precious system are. It was only a very short matter of time before the war machine got in on the craze.

But nothing really changed. Queer kids and people of color are still oppressed. Transwomen still make up a disproportionate percentage of the prison population where we’re routinely raped, violated, and abused by the same people who drive home in Hybrids with rainbow bumper stickers. Black and Brown kids are still shot like dogs in the streets by cops who receive woke racial sensitivity training. And the CIA continues to drone, torture, and destroy the third world while wearing feminist t-shirts and inclusive lanyards. I am sickened to see my people used to legitimize the same system that enslaves us all and I refuse to play good dog to this benevolent master.

Identity politics has gotten a bad rap for some good reasons, but their is nothing inherently wrong with devoting yourself to the betterment of a specific tribe. Coming out saved my life. If it wasn’t for my community, I likely wouldn’t even be here to bitch at you today. I refuse to feel bad for putting my people first but I also refuse to do so at the expense of others struggling for the same strength and salvation for their own communities, and this includes communities struggling to survive my countries foreign policy on the other side of the planet. This is what being intersectional is truly fucking about. It’s not a keychain, it’s solidarity among all the tribes. It means a death in Gaza is a death on Christopher Street. Either we all get free or we burn the prison down together.

We need to take back our movements and make them radical again. We need to make Black lives and Trans lives synonymous with Palestinian lives and Columbian lives. We need to ditch rights in favor of liberation and devote ourselves to the global struggle against imperialism. Not just because it’s the right thing to do but because the same Military-Prison Industrial Complex that feeds on our children threatens to destroy us all. We must stand up to these glad-handing hucksters and refuse to be complicit in their crimes for a place at the table.

I am a genderfuck anti-imperialist. I am a mentally unstable thorn in the ass of the man. I am a neo-tribalist Queer anarchist and my tribe isn’t for sale. I used to struggle under the assumption that the above made me a token of the white cis male status quo, but in 2021 I realized that that was only true if I agreed to be a good girl and not bite the hand that feeds me. By 2022, I swear I’ll gnaw that hand off. Because their is nothing woke about imperialism and true Queer power means ‘fuck the CIA!’

Nicky Reid is an agoraphobic anarcho-genderqueer gonzo blogger from Central Pennsylvania and assistant editor for Attack the System. You can find her online at Exile in Happy Valley.