black nationalism etc.

James M. Blaut 70671.2032 at
Wed Jan 26 02:06:33 MST 2000


Subject: Re: black nationalism and Lenin on self-d
Date:    24-Jan-00 at 22:39
From:    James M. Blaut, 70671.2032

TO: INTERNET:marxism at,INTERNET:marxism at

Phil: "Moreover, I have *never* said blacks in the USA "should do this and
shouldn't do that" and I challenge Blaut to *quote* one single example of
me doing this."

Well, lets see...

"Grief.  Just about everyone thinks they should 'control their own
destiny'. This proves nothing.

" Even if I accepted your [Jose's] view that black consciousness today is
nationalist, it says absolutely nothing about what black consciousness
will be tomorrow... there is clearly no *fixed* dominant consciousness...
"Instead of just tagging behind any old consciousness that exists at any
old time, as if this is some fixed objective force, our job is to *work to
change consciousness*.

" Why should a black worker unite with Colin Powell rather than with an
Hispanic worker or a white worker?  And why on earth would Marxists
suggest that they should?  let alone that this is the only *legitimate*
poltics for blacks.

" Tell me, Jose, what do you think black members of a mass revolutionary
party in the US should do.  If a black worker says to a black member of
the mass revolutionary party, 'Do you think we should fight for
separation?', what should the black Marxist reply?  'Well, I don't know;
we need to wait until everyone has self-detyermined and until then I have
no opinion.'

"So why do you [Jose] have such trouble supporting the movement of blacks
when it is radically integrationist?

"A consciousness of being black and oppressed is no more nationalist than
a consciousness of being a woman and being oppressed.

"Blacks themselves struggle for equality within the US, not for national
separation nor for subordination to the Democratic Party.

[Lou: "Black people say they want to control their own destiny." ]

"Do they really say that?  At least in the sense you imply?  I would
suggest they say they want to be free and that for most blacks that means
the right to live on the same terms as whites in the USA.  That is
radical, it is liberatory and potentially revolutionary.  That's good
enough for me.

[Jose: "My position is that we should say, "sure, whatever you want."
>That's it, that's all of it."]

"I used to agree with this kind of thinking...But
now I find it quite bizarre. After all, Marxists do not say, "well,
workers are exploited and we're for working class liberation... so
anything workers decide by themselves is OK by us." ... when it comes to
race and gender, Marxists who would never adopt a 'hands off' attitude in
relation to the working class, suddenly throw up their hands in the air
and say "well, whatever women/blacks/gays/Chicanos/Maori/etc/etc decide is
one hundred percent OK by us."  This isn't Marxism; it's
guilt. It's also incredibly patronising to blacks and women.  It assumes
that they...have to be treated like little children and be continuously
patted on the back and validated for whatever decisions they

" If Marxists believe... that it is our job to actively intervene in the
working class and working clac  this,
then why bother to be a Marxist and what possible relevance would Marxism
have to blacks, women and other oppressed sections...  Do you seriously
imagine for instance, that the Bolsheviks did not fight for leadership
among the oppressed nations of the Czarist Empire, but that
the whole Bolshevik approach to these oppressed groups simply consisted of
saying, "Sure, whatever you want" (which is your position as above)?  Not
on your nelly!  The Bolshies *fought for leadership* in *every sector* of
oppressed and exploited society in the Russian Empire of their day."

..and there's lots more. Most of it is couched in language like "Blacks
want..." when Phil really is saying "Blacks SHOULD want..."

For a long time on this list Phil has been ranting against the nationalism
of oppressed people like Black Americans and Maoris,
and it has passed the tipping point between anti-nationalism and
opposition to self-determination and national liberation. He uses the --
really obscure -- theory of the black nation within the US as his vehicle
for presenting all these ideas.

And by the way, it has probably never occurred to any Cuban to consider
Phil's idea of a separate "Black nation" in Cuba. Phil's ignorance about
Cuba and Cubans is pretty obvious.

Jim Blaut

P.S. Its really touching the way Phil presents New Zealand as an oppressed
people/nation, ground under the imperialist heel of the United states:
"There's this big-shot American professor who thinks people in little
countries on the other side of the world...  should keep our mouths shut
and not disagree with our imperial betters... it's the kind of attitude
American imperialism expresses all over the globe."


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