Black Belt South and Nation of Islam

Jj Plant jplant at
Thu Aug 17 07:40:00 MDT 1995

In-Reply-To: <9508162020.AA29451 at>
Thanks for your note Chris.

I don't think I described anybody's policy as "mad". I usually try to
avoid that kind of language, although I occasionally lapse under the
influence of a few pints of Guinness. I think the partition of the USA
into black and white republics is *probably* unworkable, at present, but
not off the agenda all together. I think that breaking the union of the
united states would probably be beneficial for the world revolution,
since it would significantly weaken one of the major capitalist states,
so I might be persuaded to support a move that had that effect. I support
scottish and welsh separatist movements for a parallel reason. But at
present I don't think I would support a separatist position within the

It is true that Trotsky supported the creation of a separate black
republic in the southern USA. It might even have been right at the time.
I don't think it could be right today, if for no other reason than that
the size of the population movements involved has grown immensely since
then. And what would be done about other significant groups, especially
the hispanics ? And the matter is complicated further by the native
americans and their historic claims.

It occurs to me that the bolsheviks (and hence Trotsky) developed a
particular view of the national question based on conditions prevailing
in the Russian empire when they took control. (EH Carr's 1st volume
contains some good material.) But these conditions were precisely those
of a *very* backward capitalist nation. Advancing capitalism has tended
(though it has not completed the process), through the process of
unifying the world market, to abolish the economic basis of separate
nations. It has not overcome national boundaries through progressive
measures such as teaching several languages to all children, it has
simply forced workers to adopt the language of the area where they are
employed if they want to work.

In the USA we can see ethnically mixed populations which do not
constitute nations, nor have any basis for nationhood, in the form of a
"homeland" or national territory. The category of "nation", (largely
derived from Stalin's work, which is said to have been directed by Lenin)
as it was used in the 3rd International's discussions on "The National
Question" does not seem to be applicable.

I have not met Nation of Islam, but I would not be able to support
demands for separation by any organisation that wished to impose an
Islamic regime, with all its barbaric feudal implications. Even a not
very liberal democracy is better than that.

jplant at

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