James and the Black Question

Sol Dollinger soldoll at SPAMinreach.com
Sun May 7 21:19:39 MDT 2000

MacDonald Stainsby raised serious questions on nationalism but the examples
that I used pertained to the U. S.  I cited the reactionary nationalism of
the Miami Cubans.  Another example occurred in California where ten thousand
Viet Namese protested against a shop owner hanging a picture of Ho in his
shop.  The demonstration lasted more than a week. The other side of the
national question is raised by C. L. R. James, writing in, The Future in the
Present--selected writings,  *We on the other hand say something
different....the Negro struggle, the independent Negro struggle has a
vitality and a validity of its own....*

James continues, *The reader will have to note that not only was the black
question given an independent role, with its own role and its own
leadership, he must note also the great step forward that was
made....Previous to 1948 the whole marxist movement, including myself,  had
always thought that on the whole and also in particular it was the
proletariat, the marxist party which had to educate all elements of society
on the fundamental reality of political struggle for socialism.*

James departs from marxist thought on the role of the working class
expressed through its own party and opens the door for black nationalist
organizations to find political approval for a black solution to racism
imbedded in the capitalist system.  It is Malcolm X and the Black Panther
party, expressing unconsciously, perhaps, the James thesis.  The Marxist
left raised on theories originated by James and endorsed by Trotsky
tailended the black national movements at a time when the broad masses of
Blacks had opted for integration in the system.

Nationalism, Black nationalism, as well, have not developed an attack on the
system that has created class, race and ethnic divisions.  You cannot have
one without the other under capitalism.  The education of all society can
only be done by a class party. The party in its program goes beyond the
nationalist impulse.  Unless this party is created, then either the
nationalist leaders are co-opted by the state or the state uses maximum
force to suppress the movement.

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