Reply to Jose

Carrol Cox cbcox at
Fri Sep 24 21:19:19 MDT 1999

Philip L Ferguson wrote:

> Jose writes:
> >Just so. If the capitalists hire a goon squad to try to break the strike,
> >would the workers be "out of their minds" to demand  that the capitalist
> >state, its police and army repress that illegal terrorist militia?

I know quite a bit about u.s. labor history (though not as much as I
should know) but I can't recall any case such as this -- the goons
were usually supported by the cops. I should like to know about
any case where the cops actually helped workers. (I know of
cases where the workers demanded such help -- knowing when
they did so that it would not be forthcoming.)

> >
> >When the Blacks of the U.S. South demanded that federal troops be sent to
> >break the resistance to desegregation, were they "out of their minds?"

This was a very special case. I think it very clear by now that the federal
government finally gave any support to black demands *only* because
of cold war pressures. Were it not for the Soviet Union and the Vietnamese
peasantry they might still be lynching in Alabama. And even with that
pressure of the Cold War the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations
dragged their feet on the most basic civil rights for blacks. And Lyndon
Johnson tried to -- the treatment of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic
Party at the 1964 Democratic Convention was one of the great turning
points in the '60s -- perhaps *the* turning point.

> >When Blacks in Boston demanded federal troops be sent to stop anti-Black
> >terror and enforce school desegregation, were they "out of their minds?"
> >

They were not "out of their minds," but in fact the effort failed. Perhaps
someone on the list could give a more accurate account of the mess
that was and is Boston.

> >All of those situations have actually happened in the United States. What
> >should revolutionaries have done?
> You are talking about people in an imperialist country, calling on their
> own government to take action.  (In any case, my view is that the workers
> would be much better defending themselves in all the cases you mention
> above.)

Probably not in *all* the cases. Southern segregation and lynch law
represented a flagrant violation of the most obvious sort of bourgeois
democratic rights. So this was an obvious case of the rightness of
demanding that a bourgeois state enforce its own laws.

Otherwise Philip is of course completely correct in denying any analogy
to sending troops abroad.


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