Ron Press anclondon at gn.apc.org
Fri Apr 7 21:44:38 MDT 1995


Re Racism/Nationalism.

I noted the following from various contributers
>>>>>>> From: jones/bhandari <djones at uclink.berkeley.edu> Despite
what I wrote earlier, I now agree with Lisa that the use of racial
categories in any kind of social analysis can only be
misleading--at best.

The revolutionary solution of the abolition of commodity
production and the state will of course require unity among the
proletariat, not better race relations.

The dissemination of racial analyses develops race consciousness,
just as class consciousness is function of the propagation of a
class theor
>>>>>>>>>>>>> From: Alex Trotter <uburoi at panix.com>

And we can, no doubt, look forward to the day when IRA, PLO, and
ANC governments will shoot down the workers. So put that in your
pipe and smoke it, comrades.

I seems to me that there is a distinction between race
discrimination and nationalism. There are Scottish Nationalists
who are indistinguishable from the Welsh Nationalists or the
English they wish to be independent from.

There is certainly a primia facia case to say that a Masai is a
different race from an Englishman.

One may not like the distinction but it exists in the minds and
actions of millions of people. Racism exists if we beleive them to
be misleading or not.

Racism exists amongst the working class.

The white workers in South Africa went on strike in 1922 under the
slogan "Workers of the world unite for a white South Africa". The
socialists and communists of the day adopted the policy of workers
solidarity, unite against the bosses. The white workers refused to
act together with the African workers. In fact prior to during and
for years thereafter the policy of the vast majority of the white
workers was to scab on black workers.

In  1912 the African people formed the African National Congress.
Its purpose to fight against discrimination. The socialists and
communists had many arguements and discussions about the way
forward. There were expulsions and vilifications. Moses Kotane a
leading member on the central committee of the SACP, decided to
that the socialists must be where the people are. If the people
are struggling against discrimination then it would be criminal
for the socialists and communists to stand aside. He became a
leader of the ANC and the general secretary of the Communist

I do not want to write a history of the struggle but without the
alliance of the ANC and the Communists and others on the left
there would be no strong trade union movement, there would be no
strong desire for socialist solutions to the problems in SA.

There would have been no non-racial elections.

1) Racialism is devisive and destructive.

2) The struggle for national liberation can be progressive but it
can also be reactionary. It depends on the leadership of the
struggle. Hitlers nationalism was disasterous. The Chinese
national struggle against the Japanese lead to the present
Socialist China. Nothing is guaranteed.

3) Socialists must be where the people struggle against poverty,
discrimination, and disadvantage. Only if you stand on the picket
line with the workers, only if you sit in court with the accused
can you expect your views to be respected.

4) "require unity among the proletariat, not better race
relations." Please put the phrase on its head. Unity among the
proleratiat requires better race relations.

5) "look forward to the day when IRA, PLO, and ANC governments
will shoot down the workers." It seems to me that this approach
implies that there is no progress  The people of South Africa, of
Palestine, of Ireland should not fight for democracy and against
discrimination because when they perhaps win they can only look
forward to further disasters. Because the USSR became a disaster
area then all struggles have a similar destiny.

As my mate John Gaetsewe once said when a member of the audience
demanded a guarantee that the new South Africs would not
discriminate against whites. "I am not selling watches." There are
no guarantees in politics only hopes and struggles.

Workers on strike do not ask the politics, the race, the religion,
the sex of those on strike with them. That road leads to failure.

Ron Press.

PS. When I said that

" Everyone would like to live in a stable society. But there is
stability and stability. Spain was stable under Franco, the USSR
under Stalin. Stability can be sterility."

I was not passing a judgement on Franco or Stalin. I was merely
saying that stability was a poor measure of the success of a
society.  es.

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