multiculturalism in the canadian state

Jose G. Perez jgperez at
Tue Nov 23 10:41:59 MST 1999


    You mention the old PSP and its rejection of niuyorican. But it
certainly wasn't the only current among Puerto Rican radicals. They were
preceded by the Young Lords, which was very much influenced by the Black
movement and thus was more "americanized." The PSP being based in Puerto
Rico, and rooted in the tradition of the independence movement, growing out
of the old MPI, of course had a very different take on things.

    What happened to the PSP anyways? You say it no longer exists. Anyone
familiar with what led to its demise?

-----Original Message-----
From: James M. Blaut <70671.2032 at>
To: INTERNET:marxism at <marxism at>
Date: Tuesday, November 23, 1999 2:51 AM
Subject: RE: multiculturalism in the canadian state

>Jim Craven and list:
>I can't figure out how this discussion came to focus on the word
>"multi-cultural" when it was brought in by Joao to defend statements that
>are -- I will express it delicately -- unflattering to East Timorese,
>statements whhich he defended with an indignant shout about my "politically
>correct" "multi-culturalism," clearly meaning that, if Jim Blaut  objects
>to the use of words like "blind obediance"  to characterize Timorese
>culture, then Jim Blaut approves of female circumcision and generally sees
>no defects in the Third World.
>In my own experience, "multicultural" has always been used by progressive
>people in a positive sense. It seems to be a defensive stance against
>racism. In universities, I have always seen it used as a defense of any
>program or faculty or student body in which Third world people have managed
>to get any little bit of space, under attack in the present reactionary
>period of increased repression.  I have the impression that the word
>"diversity" is also used by progressive people. Both are very mild, very
>liberal terms tnat are used in discourse that tries to  convince average
>white Americans that things like affirmative action, Latino Studies
>programs, etc., are matters of "fairness."  If I've gotten the wrong idea
>about the way these terms are used, fine. I'll have learned something.
>Now, Jim, about the term "Native American." I will use either "Indian" or
>"Native American" if I get signals that one or the other is accepted by the
>people to whom this continent belongs. Twenty years ago  there was
>objection to the term "Indian," even though the word was in the American
>Indian Movement's name, so I started using "Native American." If I should
>use "Indian" again, I will, gladly.
>This is not an idle question, listers. Puerto Ricans in the diaspora are
>not "Neuricans" (a made-up word putting together "Nuevo York" and "Puerto
>Rican," and used mainly by assimilationists as a synonym for Puerto
>Rican-American). They are Puerto Ricans. In the Puerto Rican Socialist
>Party (no longer in existence) we worked closely with various progressive
>sectors of the Mexicano-Chicano movement, and the term they should use for
>themselves was, probably still is, a very serious question. "Chicano" had
>loaded meanings relating to history, culture, and politics, and some wanted
>to use it while others insisted on "Mexicano." "Mexicano-Chicano" was often
>used to deal with this problem among progressive people of this community.
>I don't recall progressives until recently using "Mexican-American" but now
>it is common in universities in spite of its baggage of assimilationist
>meanings (notably consigning Mexicano-Chicano people to the status of
>hyphenated Americans, just like the Irish-Americans, the Italian-Americans,
>and all those other *oppressed* European immigrant communities), probably
>because in the present reactionary period the Mexicano community faces less
>discrimination from Anglos when they describe themselves this way. A while
>back, a racist geographer,an Anglo, published a paper claiming that the
>Mexican-origin people of New Mexico are not Chicanos and not Mexicanos. He
>called themm "Hispanos", making up his own term for the community (this is
>very career-building, as anthropologists have known for a long time), and
>he  introduced a map of "the Hispano Homeland.". He became the authority on
>the Hispano Homeland and Subculture (subculture of Americans, that is). A
>Mexicano historian and I ripped the shit out of him in a reply.
>This problem of names that oppressed comunities will accept to designate
>themselves is widespread. The ozzies on this list probably can enlighten us
>about the rejection of the term "Australian Aborigine," and -- am I right?
>-- its replacemenbt with "Native Australian." Recall the racist "Bushmen"
>and "Hottentots." And so forth.
>For people of other communitiers, the obligation is to use whatever terms
>the people in  question want you to use in  describing or addressing them.
>I've phrased these remakrs as carefully as I can so as not to start any
>flame war on the national question. If someone starts one, I won't rise to
>the bait.
>En lucha
>Jim Blaut


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