homeownership and Black Panthers
Maoist Internationalist Movement
mim3 at nyxfer.blythe.org
Mon Sep 18 00:44:47 MDT 1995
On Sun, 17 Sep 1995, jones/bhandari wrote:
> MIM is aiding in the development of race consciousness, as is the US Census
> Bureau, by repeating statistics kept in race. And what are the
> implications of race consciousness in terms of the goal of classless
> society? (MIM may way want to check out Yehudi Webster's Racialization in
> America. St Martin's Press, 1992).
MIM replies: As Mao said, the nationalism of the oppressed nations
is applied internationalism. Internationalism cannot now mean that
all peoples give up their national interests equally, anymore than
socialism can mean all peoples give up their property equally.
> You never answered my question of what you have found salient about the
> relationship between 'race' (anyways, what is the objective criterion to
> determine one's membership in a 'race') and homeownership? Why not between
> income and homeownership? Income can obviously be determined objectively.
> Can 'race'?
MIM replies: This thread has gone far afield. If you trace it back,
you will see that we responded to the false and dangerous notion that
just because people from two nations share the same job they are from
the same class. (In actuality, the notion that whites and oppressed
nationalities are in the same job is a myth to begin with.) We
pointed to differences in expectations for
property ownership, upward mobility and children's upward mobility.
Others ask us about the secondary aspects of the relations of production
like income, and surely that difference also exists. At the same time,
we noted that our critics usually don't mind talking about separate
Canadian, English and what they call "U.S." working classes, when
in fact the differences amongst those classes is smaller than those
between Black and white, Latino and white, First Nation and white
and Asian-descended and white working classes. The proportion of
unproductive laborers is a key difference amongst working classes
internationally. Our critics are trying to obscure this in
deference to borders the imperialists created.
In the 1960s, the Black proletariat acted as a class for itself,
with Black Panther leadership. The same cannot be said of white workers,
who could not stomach a conflict with the state, because of their
overall interests as a labor aristocracy. That quote from E.P. Thompson
is perfectly relevant here. The "it" in question is the industrial
workforce where people from all nations are supposedly all the same,
when in fact, different nations' workers show different levels of
consciousness and carry different historical burdens, and when in
fact, the proportion of the workers' peers in unproductive labor
differs radically from nation to nation.
Some will read that Thompson quote as a justification for saying
everyone is a worker no matter how reactionary and can
be talked into socialism or that
everyone is proletarian no matter actual material differences. Others
it as justifying existential doubt in an idealist way. We are happy
to point to production relations too though and believe the Thompson
quote applies as much or more against our opponents as it does against
us. The relationship that must be grasped is the alliance between the
labor aristocracy and imperialism as against the exploited and super-
exploited. Such thinking requires going beyond official government
> MIM deduces the existence of the labor aristocracy from the following:
> > The fact that more than half the white work force can
> >sit around in office work, shuffle paper and work tepidly toward
> >technical and scientific progress is all an indication that they
> >can survive on the necessities of life provided by Third World
> >proletarians repressed by U.S.-backed military regimes.
> As I have already pointed out, MIM's glorification of the labor productive
> of durable-vendible commodities (which shows their use of the Smithean
> criterion of productive labor)is disingenuous. MIM does not champion
> productive labor, however defined, but the national bourgeoisie, which they
> conflate with workers in the tradition of Friedrich List and....
MIM replies: Only for those who cannot follow this, I will say that
the above is a polemic but not a literal truth. Mao was for proletarian
leadership of the peasantry and for that alliance's corralling of the
wannabe sector of the national bourgeoisie that felt cut out of the
action by imperialism. That sector of the national bourgeoisie which
in fact benefitted from its alliance with imperialism, usually through
its role as puppet in the state, Mao called "comprador" enemy.
Our critic here needs to be asked a common question: "We know what
you are against. What are you FOR?" Marxism-Leninism in the traditions of
Stalin and Mao has done more to mobilize productive laborers than
any other ideology this century. It is only idealism to say that
it didn't do enough. The point is to show something that worked better
in practice, but that will be impossible for our critic to do.
The only possible recourse is for the idealist enterprise of comparing
Maoist practice with ideals that our critic holds, instead of comparing
As for our strategy of allying with a national bourgeoisie at times,
or our strategy of allying with one faction of imperialists against another
sometimes, our critic opposes us. By 1995 we can say that this is
a perverse desire to see the proletariat on the losing side of
strategic battles--all for the benefit of our nihilist-idealist-purist
critics' ideals as stated somewhere in a poetry collection.
> That is, they don't turn away from the US because there is no substantial
> productive labor and then embrace it where they find it. Instead, they bow
> down to 'oppressed' national bourgeoisie (which, as competitive and
> technically backward capitals, undoubtedly don't get their 'fair' share of
> surplus value, something which seems to have made MIM enough indignant
> enough to accuse me of disregard for the people of the third world).
> On to their next point (which I do not reproduce), MIM does not understand
> the basic concept of extra surplus value. Of course innovators gain extra
> surplus value, and it is possible that workers for those innovative
> capitals may gain from it, though--as the conditions of production are
> continually revolutionized--most of that surplus value will have to be
> accumulated if the capital is to prolong its life. But the redistribution
MIM replies: There is a lot of surplus-value to be realized that
the capitalist risks losing when superexploiting labor. There is
plenty of space for our white-collar workers in that stage of
economic life alone. The ramifications of borders, militaries
and unfree wage-labor must be accounted for and not assumed away
in a fairy-tale of Third World workers gaining the price of their
reproduction, as if it were the same as the reproduction of
parasites in the imperialist countries.
> of value which makes possible the gain of extra surplus value for the
> innovator works on both a national and international level. So there is no
> reason to suppose that value is only redistributed on an an international
MIM replies: Like your remarks about the Black Panthers, what is
missing from your discussion of home ownership and discrimination and
now what is missing in the above--we see crypto-chauvinism. Why don't
you just spell out what you are saying about Blacks and upward
mobility, their children's future, homeownership and why Sri Lankan
wages have been recorded at 4% of U.S. wages in the industrial sector.
And for any Peruvian, Filipino, Kampuchean, ex-Black Panther
or white youth reading
this, I hope you can see that the problem of the imperialist country
"left" is all partially related to this one question. It's no mistake
all the hostility toward Third World revolution coinciding with
the abandonment of the early COMINTERN's definition of productive labor.
> > This is more idealism. First they blame
> >the Black Panther Party's relative lack of support from white workers
> >as the Black Panther's fault instead of the labor aristocracy's fault.
> >Notice which of us has a materialist theory that explains that fact.
> MIM, I did not blame the BPP for anything (at least not in my posts, though
> to forgo a critical examination of it is ridiculous). I only noted that
> mass-based class action is necessary if a lot people are not to going to
> end up dead. You don't think this is possible becauseo somethng which you
> call the political economy of the white working class, unable to see its
> relationship to Keynesian debt-financing and its limits in real life, as
> now manifest.
> Rakesh Bhandari
MIM replies: We said nothing about imperialism's being able
to maintain this forever. We do not think revolution is tomorrow in the
imperialist countries and we are trying to wean people away from
the 1929 political economy of that position. To take advantage
of the next upsurge and crisis, we need to know who to mobilize and
whose demands will dialectically paralyze us or turn against us. Did
someone say unintended consequences?
We see that Jerry and some others are questioning if the
proletariat should still be defined as "nothing to lose but its chains."
That's fine. We are sticking to our tradition, because food, shelter,
clothing and political repression and war connected to those
haven't been taken care of yet. We wish others well and hope they
do discover something new, though we doubt it given the
decadence of imperialism.
Others opposing our "orthodoxy" should cease trying to smuggle
unproductive labor into the proletariat and openly take up
the post-modernist project. Catharine MacKinnon is someone we
find quite useful. She's "post-Marxist." We don't get terribly
angry with people who don't claim our tradition. We only get
upset with those confusing things when they claim Lenin, Stalin or
Mao. On a list like this one, the chances are higher than elsewhere
of someone's laying a confused claim to Lenin,
thus our concern.
Pat for MIM
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