On multiculturalism and nations. (was Re: Timor again (sorry Lou)

James M. Blaut 70671.2032 at SPAMcompuserve.com
Mon Nov 22 18:44:54 MST 1999



Nestor:

Everything you say in your post is right. The Zionists cynically call
Israel a "multicultural state" to justify their occupation of Palestine,and
 to disguise (deny the reality of) their oppression of Arabs.

I'm really surprised that my objection to chauvinist language used by
Monteiro to describe Timorese is turning into a philosophical debate about
the meanings of the word "multi-cultural."

However, it seems to be the case that some listers from countries outside
the US, including Canada, are not aware that the slogan "multicultural" has
NOW become, in the US, a commonplace label for anti-racism: for the
struggle against "English only," against the elimination of Black, Latino,
Indian, and Asian Studies programs in universities, etc. That is why I say
that no progressive, as far as I am aware, is opposed to "multiculturalism"
in this country. NO progressive person imagines that that this word
justifies the forced assimilation of Indians, Latinos, or anyone else. That
is the enemy's language. Unfortunately, the enemy writes the dictionaries.

There has always been a minorty undercurrent, in US left politics, of
assimilationism in the tradition of Luxemburg. This was found -- but was
generally not dominant -- within all sectors, including CPUSA, Trotskist
parties, and notably social-democratic sectors. I'm sure it is still around
nowadays (and not just the Spartacists). But even these fucking
assimilationists do not reject struggles to defend minority rights (so long
as nobody uses the word "nation"!). So, even assimilationists on the left,
as far as I can tell, join in the fight to defend "multiculrual" programs,
and notably, in universities, to defend Black Studies, etc.

En lucha

Jim Blaut









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