Left Racism vs MILLION Man MARCH
djones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Thu Oct 19 03:49:32 MDT 1995
>it is at least worth considering
>that if one re read Louis' post and substituted Farrakhan for Gapon then
>one would be closer to a
>dialectical analysis of the MMM than the wailing cadences of Ralph
>Dumain such as "this day will live in infamy".
In all honesty, I was quite aware that I had given no good reason for the
dismissal of the analogy with Gapon about whom I know nothing.
And I am sure that you and Louis are both quite correct to emphasize the
dialectical relationship between masses and leadership.
By the way, there is fine piece by Shahid Amin on such relations as it
pertained to Bapuji himself. The Mahatma often dismissed as violent such
things as rent strikes, prison escapes, sabotage (as opposed to terrorism,
as the Unabomber would put it!) . However, the people often invoked the
name of the Mahatma in carrying out the very acts he forebade. At the same
time, Gyan Pandey, among many others, has demonstrated that the Mahatma was
successful in quelling potentially revolutionary activity. Both of these
essays appear in Selected Subaltern Studies, ed. Ranajit Guha and Gayatri
Spivak. Oxford. (Beware: it has been perhaps five years since I read them.)
Yet though aware of such dialectical relations, I still 'flamed' two
comrades. Why? I was frustrated with what I perceived as a flight from
today, and I wanted to get to the specifics of Farrakhan, the real state of
consciousness today, and the real possibilities of multiethnic organization
here in the US today, not in Ireland or Russia almost a century ago.
I think it would be very wrong to assume that we are close to some sort of
nodal point at which revolutionary consciousness and solidarity among
peoples here in the US will emerge in opposition to today's leaders and
their politics of divisiveness. Farrakhan has in my opinion set back the
possibilities of mutiethnic workplace action and other forms of solidarity
(see my post on Farrakhan and poststructuralism).
And I believe the task now is to cut away at the hype of this march: to
bring to light what women are saying, what the men who didn't attend are
saying, and how disappointed many of those who did attend are. I really do
not understand the position of Carl Davidson who wants to celebrate the
Moreover--and now let's get serious-- isn't it obvious that each of us is
doomed if we can only organize around our particular agendas (which end up
only serving the middle classes of these groups anyway--see my post on
bloodsuckers where I point to the petit bourgeois basis of the Nation of
Isn't it obvious that only more and more barbarism awaits each of us
unless we find solidarity among revolutionaries of any and every group
(Malcolm X only had a glimpse of this before he was murdered)? This is the
source of Ralph's apocalypticism, his horror at the end of the struggle for
integration represented by Martin Luther King, Jr.
So I think our Italian comrade Mauro has raised the most important question:
"The example of the MMM is good: are we for the
"emancipation" of the blacks or for the emancipation of the workers (black,
white, latinos, yellos...)? Has any of the so-called revolutionary groups in
the USA intervened clearly in this sense and THEREFORE opposing the spirit,
the goals and the sense of the MMM? If so, let me know them. And I've
appreciated very much the Alan Spector contribution."
I do not understand the reference to Alan Spector but the question of
whether the development of race consciousness has any place in the struggle
for a classless society and the formation of true human community is the
critical one. Of course the struggle against racism is not the same as the
development of race consciousness.
We do need each other; of that I am sure.
And, Gary, I cannot thank you enough for your kind words.
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