Race

Maoist Internationalist Movement mim3 at blythe.org
Mon Aug 26 11:18:27 MDT 1996


Mail-from: From owner-marxism  Mon Aug 26 06:45:24 1996
From: djones at uclink.berkeley.edu ('rakesh bhandari)
Subject: Race


>Rakesh is in the same irresponsible boat. He hasn't had
>anything to say about MIM posts for a long time, and no doubt
>missed that we already said Albanian whites are oppressed
>and exploited. He missed that we favor the national struggle
>of Irish whites. So how does he get off calling MIM's analysis
>racial? It is only by laziness. We carefully distinguished
>between racial and national and someone in Ethnic Studies
>should do the same.

 So....a whitey is a whitey; only in certain social relations does he
become Mr. Charlie.

If only these errors about race were confined to MIM...

Now, MIM, the very fact that you can't help  calling these various PEOPLE
(Irish, Serbians and then that whole amalgamation of North Americans--
Germans, Jews, Italians,etc. ) "whites" indicates that   you have assumed
the coherence  of their ("white") racial identity; have implicitly set the
heritability among these "whites" at zero; and thus attributed the
variability among them to their location in differential cultural and
national contexts.

MIM replies: Actually there is a simpler reason.
The most correct term for the white North Amerikan imperialist
people is "Euro-Amerikan." While Ethnic Studies people can probably
catch some of the flavor of that, most people who pick up
our paper might think that the words in MIM's name
refer to a kind of mayonnaise corporation of global scope.
The percentage of people who can grasp "Euro-Amerikan" from
previous usage is small. Hence, MIM uses "whites," "settlers,"
"Amerikan," and "oppressor nation" interchangeably with the hope
that by using words known to the reader, we will arrive at ever
closer approximations of understanding.

You see contrary to the image you portray, it is the
predominant revisionist discourse of the "left" that has
whited out nationality entirely leaving only the
Martin Luther King discourse as valid. Most Euro-Amerikans
have no idea why it is that First Nations should not pay
taxes to Uncle Sam or even New York State. It's beyond
comprehension for them,
because they've been taught that only race matters and
that only integration is the solution for justice.
Most of the opposition to us on this list is of this
nation chauvinist variety which seeks to impose racial
integration on the oppressed nationalities. Rakesh, your
reducing  this question to class contributes to this
integrationist discourse of the oppressor.

****************************************************
[Rakesh continues:]
 You are simply saying that the "whites", though found in different social
positions elsewhere and even sometimes in antagonistic relations among
"themselves",  come to form an oppressor nation in the context of American
social relations.  As has been pointed out, you are not defining whites by
such objective social markers as propertylessness or exploitation because
there are too many "whites" who share said negative characteristics with
"blacks" and too many minorities who are free of  said misfortunes and thus
would be counted as white if you were indeed not using a pseudo-genetic
definition of this category.

MIM replies: MIM is distributing books on the pseudo-science
of race and biology and we have distributed essays against Murray
& H. That's the best way to have people understand this concretely.

*********************************************************
[Rakesh]
To counter the charge that MIM is racist organization, perhaps it will
counter that its definition of whiteness  hinges only on the
self-identification of people as whites. As we have seen, whiteness cannot

MIM replies: Whether you think it is skin color, European geographic
origin or self-identity, it doesn't matter much to MIM. It is only an
approximation widely understood by the masses.
*************************************************************
[Rakesh says]
be said to have what they would call a political economic basis.  Now how
and why people think of themselves as white is very interesting indeed; MIM
has had nothing to say here. Of course  that people  have to check such a

MIM replies: You should see our review of Noel Ignatiev's book
on how the Irish became white. We've also reviewed similar literature.
It may be that you haven't read it, but it isn't that we have nothing to
say.

****************************************************************
[Rakesh says]
box from an early age on--in my case, until recently, it was "other" of
course--and that experts produce life statistics in terms of race, then
propagated by pseudo-militants, plays no small part in why people would
come think of themselves as white (or some other race) and then engage in
the very pro white behavior which is then taken as proof of the real,
albeit of course social,  existence  of white people whose racially
exclusivist behavior is then taken to prove that they are not a
revolutionary vehicle at this time.

 All this amounts to saying though is that *those* people who think of
themselves as white and their interests as white-based do not conceive of
themselves as in class based revolutionary terms.  So MIM's North American
agenda is based on nothing but a tautology.   It does not amount to a proof
that other so called whites are not a revolutionary vehicle; nor does it
consitute a proof that "whites" do not share with "blacks" the same
objective situation.  Moreover, it still needs to be decided why and how

MIM replies: This just shows your scientific dishonesty if you
think there is no difference between Blacks and whites objectively
speaking. You are likely to be the one saying there is no difference
between $1 an hour and $15 an hour too.

You should stop reviewing books with thumbs up and thumbs down
and sit down and spell out concretely the flow of surplus-value
internationally. You say others have done it better than MIM, but
we believe that others who have attempted are actually very
few, and we have yet to see you concretely lay down a
better analysis of the flow of surplus-value.
****************************************************
[Rakesh says]
people come to think of themselves as white, all the better to dissolve
such identity.

MIM replies: Whether race or nationality, there will have
to be dictatorship over imperialism in the socialist stage
before communism can be completed. It will be led by the
proletariat of the oppressed nations, not the mythological
proletariat of the imperialist countries. There may never
be a time when white racehood or nationality is taken seriously
again.

***************************************************************
[Rakesh says]
 In short, MIM has  sustained the reification of race. MIM seems not to
understand how close its world view is to Shockley's.  It is not its
"principled" anti-racism that alienates people;   MIM is simply an affront

MIM replies: The rest of your post takes up the scientist's
concern with the precision of the race concept. Fine and we are
happy that you distinguish class from race. However, you have
also gone much further and made it seem impossible to speak of race
at all, so you have given up your right to speak of anti-racism.
For MIM anti-racism is secondary, but it is real, because racism
is real. The Nazis were motivated by a false concept but
their racism was real, not something to be quibbled away.
*******************************************************
[Rakesh says]
Surprisingly in my Ph.D. program in ethnic studies we spend simply NO time
reviewing the biological evidence against race. MIM claims to reject the
concept of  "race" but then claims that "whites are not a revolutionary
vehicle" (ugh!).

MIM replies: We don't care to legitimize the white nation either.
*********************************
[Rakesh says]
 In actual fact of course there is no basis for coherently dividing the
population into such races (for example, the characters required to so
classify the population do not vary concordantly).

There is basically no greater genetic difference within races than among
them: so what sense does it make to divide them for the purposes of

MIM replies: What you meant to say was that there are greater
genetic differences within races than between or among them.

*************************************************
[Rakesh says]
determining the relationship between race and intelligence (again assuming
we could agree on the definition of this concept).    Also, it makes little
sense to entertain the possibility of deep racial differences based on
variation in a single gene (sickle cell for example).   As a concrete
example, we now know that it makes no more biological sense to  classify
Hungarians and Finns in different races as it does blacks and whites.  (See
John Vandermeer's *Reconstructing Biology* for a brief, clearly argued
presentation from which the above has been gleaned or the work of Richard
Lewontin, *Not In Our Genes*.)

MIM has actually foregone the real scientific basis upon which to make a
case against claims on the public purse by those calling for continued
fascist research into race-based differences in intelligence (itself of
course a problematic concept).   As UC Berkeley Sociology Prof Troy Duster
has pointed out, almost all those arguing for racial explanations of social
inequality are not molecular biologists;  Herrnstein is a psychologist and
Murray a political scientist, for example.

Rakesh

MIM replies: In sum, we think it is fine for Rakesh to raise
all that. The fact that Rakesh is able to do so is indicative
of some background most people don't have. MIM writes
as an activist organization addressing ordinary people.
We are able to advance people's class consciousness by
using the reference points in reality that they have at their
disposal.



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