FW: Mormon Racism/part 1
MARIPOWER716 at aol.com
MARIPOWER716 at aol.com
Sun Apr 7 11:41:56 MDT 2002
Part 1 the politics of identity
>Race is a social construction, but social constructions are themselves real.
>And there is most definitely oppression based on race. That it
>interpenetrates with class, that class is the foundation of the house, so to
>speak, doesn't nullify the fact that racial oppression is a very real and
>burning issue (and some would say in the US a national question), and if we
>are to tear down the house, we don't do it by beginning with the foundation.
Race is not a social construction, but rather an ideological category of the
rising bourgeoisie. Class is a social contraction and not an ideological
category. Capital is a social construction, meaning formed, i.e., constructed
on the basis of societal development. The word "racism" is a bourgeois
ideological conception used to obscure the social process in America. A
series of studies produced by UNESCO conferences from 1949-1967, gathered
together anthropologists, biologists, sociologists and other scientist from
around the world and made certain conclusions reported in Racial
Discrimination, by Herman Santa Cruz, published by the United Nations in
1971. In 1949 it was reported that, "for all practical purposes "race" is not
so much a biological phenomenon as a social myth." Race theories are matters
of convenience for imperialism.
There is nothing wrong with using popular terms in daily life to accommodate
the ideological backwardness of our working class. "Race" is one such term.
Marxism and the national-colonial question and the issue of a strategic
communist view of uniting the forward moving section of the working class is
a different matter. In North America there exist national-colonial questions.
Is Puerto Rico a national question? Of course not. What is involved is a
The old slave holding south was for all practical purposes was converted into
a colony - historically providing foodstuff and cotton, by Wall Street
Imperialism as the result of their defeat in 1865. Samoa, Canton and
Enderbury Islands, Guam, Pacific Islands under U.S. administration (sixty
Islands), Palmyra Islands, Howland, Baker, Jarvis and the Wake Islands, the
Corn Islands, the Swan Islands, the Virgin Islands are authentic questions of
colonialism and requires that one acknowledge the totality of the US
multi-national state structure. The Southwest region of continental America
involves colonization and the defeat of Mexico and is an authentic
national-colonial question. Even the Philippines, which have had a shame
state for a lengthy period of time, is a question of imperial colonization.
The social issue of the various advanced national groups (called Native Bands
outside the Marxist movement) is most certainly a question of imperial
colonization written in a chapter of history with blood ink. One may call
this "racism" if that is ones inclination, but one is involved is military
defeat and imperial domination.
The Mexican Diaspora and the development of the Southwest portion of
continental America most certainly involved war and plunder and is an obvious
question of imperial colonization. We often "forget" that Mexicans in fact
lived "here" before there was a Mexico or United States and what is involved
is imperial colonization of the non-sovereign peoples with the establishment
and growth of the US multi-national state and/or the emergence of imperial
What is called "racial oppression" or oppression based on race, is a
historically evolved form of economic, social and political oppression and
exploitation that is articulated in the realm of politics and social thought
differently by different classes and individuals. The imperial domination of
the aforementioned peoples and areas took place primarily as the result of
military conquest, hence oppressed national groups or "oppressed groups" in
short speak. We seek to penetrate beneath the ideological form and grasp
that, which will allow the revolutionaries to unite the forward moving
section of the working class in defense of itself, no matter what ones
individual arena of activity.
Not so much to "tear down the house, we don't do it by beginning with the
foundation" but rather to grasp the logic of the revolutionary process as it
unfolds in this period of history. The "foundation" as such cannot be torn
down as such and the history of the Marxist movement in America (an
intellectual movement) is the history of militantly fighting to grasp the
fundamental aspects of the foundation in transition. The standpoint of Marx
begins with the "foundation." What is taking place is polarization of the
mode of production or the foundation. Society is constituted on the basis of
the unity of the productive forces and production relations. Production
relations are the laws defining property and the relationship of people to
property in the process of production. The constant spontaneous development
of the productive forces eventually disrupts that unity. An epoch of social
revolution unfolds and creates new production relations that express the
level of, and are compatible with, the newly developed productive forces.
This viewpoint expresses the standpoint of Marx concerning the "foundation"
of society. Society is being torn from its foundation as described by Karl
Marx in his famous "Preface to A Contribution to A Critique of Political
>Strategy is the identification of overarching
>objectives required to win, and it is composed of many and varied and often
On what basis does "overarching objectives" arise, that express the material
interest of classes and strata? The reason strategy is identified and stated
as "determination of where to throw the main blow" in quotes is because it
presupposes an estimate of "overarching objectives" as these objectives arise
based on increasing polarization - the coming apart, of the unity of the
productive forces and production relations. This is a tad bit different from
an estimate based on movements to reform the relative social circumstances of
a strata or sector of the population. It is true that one must take into
account the state of social consciousness, disposition of class forces,
combat readiness so to speak (that is the level of development of the
communist themselves) and many other factors and on this basis makes
adjustments to ones line of march.
>This is not only a linear reaction to a dialectical (read non-linear and
>dynamic) reality, it is a military anachronism. The best of modern
>warfighting theory has shed the doctrine of main blows and lines of march
>for more flexibility to respond to emerging developments on the battlefield,
>and staying inside the decision-making loop of your opponent. The military
>metaphors are also, ahem, very gendered.
The line of march is based on the process one is discussing. What is being
discussed is the revolutionary process and the disposition of class forces
and why the social conflict has shifted on the basis of the emergence of a
new qualitative feature in the productive process and why class trumps
We have most certainly entered an epoch of social revolution. No one in
American society has ever experienced this social process. What is at stake
is not gender specific language and flexibility in thinking but an
articulation of the dialectic of the process in a manner all communist and
advanced workers can understand as applied theory. A clear statement of the
dialectics of the process will determine if ones thinking and grasp is
flexible. Here is the process at its elementary stage.
Society being torn from its foundation - polarized, has a consequence. The
beginning of alienation between the state superstructure and the broad mass
of people indicates the beginning of a social awakening, the beginning of a
social response to the economic revolution. The economic revolution =
spontaneous development of the productive forces = a qualitative
reconfiguration of the productive process demanding a corresponding
reconfiguration of all that is dependent upon the productive forces = an
epoch of social revolution.
So long as there is no qualitative separation between the people and the
state structure no serious revolutionary movement is possible. The emerging
qualitative separation between the people and the state structure is the
revolutionary process containing stages and boundaries. The emerging disjoint
between the people and the state structures start with a significant number
of people moving from a social stratum that is protected by the police to
social strata controlled by the police. The continuing impoverishment of a
large number of people compels the police to move from protection to control.
This in turn makes it possible for the people to change their attitude toward
and relationship to the police and state structures. The scandalous,
widespread corruption, murder and brutality by the police is widening and
accelerating this process.
In "Marx speak" we are living through a classic destruction of the "middle"
and its consequences. Under our current conditions the "middle" is the broad
strata of petty bourgeois and working class people who through income and
property had a big stake in the capitalist system. During the time of Lenin
and Stalin the "middle" generally referred to the vast peasantry and its
various political manifestations in the realm of politics in addition to the
classical shop keeper archetype. We are not in the time frame of Lenin and
Stalin. To the degree the middle is shrunk and destroyed, society further
polarizes and our pole, the common people become open to revolutionary
propaganda. This is the process wherein class emerges as a recognizable
societal force. The forward moving section of the class is called the
vanguard of the proletariat and requires a line of march to consolidate its
activity and enhance its fighting capacity.
Revolutionaries, now more than ever, must be clear as to what kind of motion
we are dealing with. Limited, isolated, reform struggles call for one kind of
propaganda and social motion that reflects revolutionary change call for
another. I most certainly agree with you in stating that what is needed is a
"non-linear and dynamic" approach if your meaning is the unfolding of the
dialectics of the social process on a basis that all comrades can understand.
You of course failed to do this in any significant degree, which from my
standpoint as a reader of what you wrote, appears to be based in incorrect
assumptions, wrong concepts of humanity and failure to grasp the
fundamentality of class in this period, which is unlike the period of time in
which I reached adulthood. Class absolutely trump everything else.
We know that the qualitative character of the economic revolution prevents
the social response from being simply reform struggles, no matter the intent
of their leaders or participants. The collapse of Enron is a case in point.
The response of communist would be to fight to recruit these workers to an
understanding of the class factors involved in the lost of their livelihood
and patiently begin the epochal battle to educate the vanguard of the
proletariat to the science of society. That is part of the line of march as
opposed to the subordinate issues present in society. Speaking in military
terms can be confusing but the class enemy proceeds and reacts to the same
"foundation" on the basis of military concepts. A significant portion of the
task of communist is that of educator.
If the means of production are undergoing a leap to a new mode of production,
then the social response must be characterized as a leap to a new consciousn
ess necessary to form the subjective aspects of the new mode of production.
The objective aspects of the leap begin with the introduction of something
new into the social process of producing material values in society -
qualitatively new instruments and methods of production. The subjective
aspect of the leap, from the spontaneous to the conscious, also begins with
the introduction of something new— new ideas. Even the introduction of new
ideas is a leap from accommodating the old to formation and introduction of
the new. As conditions mature, the possibility, the inevitability of these
new ideas becomes clearer and clearer.
Many of the older comrades have learnt Marxism and I have learned a little
and believe it useful to speak in a manner where our younger comrades are
educated in the fighting tradition of communism. It would be useful to re
examine the concept of the leap, so we can perceive our line of march and
prepare for the inevitable stages the social process will go through. The
leap - sometimes a very long process, cannot be understood as jumping from
one spot to another. The leap is the process of transition from one quality
to another, or to put it another way, it is the transition from one law
system to another. When we communist speak of "laws" in this sense we speak
of objective relations beyond the will of people. For example, the buying and
selling of labor power is a law of capitalism, and as all laws brings about
an understandable course of events.
As with all motion, the leap does not begin as a slow quantitative moving
away from the old. The leap is a sudden break in continuity and cannot be
approached quantitatively. As far as revolutionary work is concerned, the
past period of the identity movements approached the social struggle from the
standpoint of uniting the totality of the various movements as a framework of
understanding the revolutionary process. Strategy was conceived as a mystical
uniting of facets. That is, the various movements for sexual freedom, the
woman question as a historical evolved social position rooted in the initial
division of labor in society, the various national-colonial movements, the
handicap peoples movement, the environmentalist movement, the anti-global
movement, the senior citizens movement, the health care movement and so on.
For safe measure the radicals would periodically throw in a word or two about
the workers movement, which more often than not meant the workers of the
non-sovereign peoples. Perhaps, this was justifiable given the breach in the
Marxist movement, the strength of our imperialist and the domination of the
petty bourgeois liberal in articulating the needs of the laboring class. At
any rate this period of history is spent.
What the radicals could not understand was revolutionary dialectics - the
standpoint of Marx, and the dialectic of polarization, the destruction of the
"middle" and the emergence of class politics. To prevent misunderstanding
there is no shame attached to fighting evil and injustice. However the
Marxist communist combine together exclusively on the basis of the class
struggle and this includes the communist in the various sector/identity
movements, which at this stage of decay of capital are more than less
proletarian movements world wide.
In other words I am talking about the Anglo-American section of the Anglo
American working class that the radicals and identity movement ideologist
totally exclude in their political projections. The ideas that class does not
trump every category in the social struggle will lead to the victory of
fascism in America, which hopefully we will not have to experience to
understand the danger of the ideologist and ideologues. The leap cannot be
approached quantitatively, but must be manifest as an abrupt transition and
militant fight for the emergence of class politics. That is the line of march
based on the current configuration emerging in the social struggle.
> Strategies that put all one's eggs in one basket, so to speak,
>that doggedly pursue one single line of march, will inevitably be rendered
>irrelevant by changes in the overall situation.
It is most certainly true that changes in the overall situation have taken
place, which establishes and manifest qualitative changes in our theater of
operations that appears as new boundaries. The problem is that our eggs are
in to many baskets - baskets that are drop by the radicals but held firmly in
the iron grip of the proletariat, who is excluded and "written-off" as the
objective consequence of failure to liquidate the remnants of identity
movement politics and ideology and begin the long tedious process of
implementing the line of march.
>Every time I hear the term "the woman question," I feel as if I've stepped
>into a time machine and gone back about fifty years. Sexism is an ideology
>of male supremacy, a superstructural phenomenon based on the very real
>domination and exploitation of women--dare I say it--across all classes.
>Heterosexism is an anti-gay ideology, closely related to sexism in that it
>enforces the gender roles associated with the oppression of women. I
>haven't seen the post you responded to, and I would agree that lumping class
>with heterosexism or sexism or racism is a mistake. Homogenizing these
>phenomena, as many petit-bourgeois liberals now do, as a list of -isms,
>which include the bizarre notion of class-ism, is incorrect in too many ways
>to count. But in the real world, communists must demonstrate some
>sensitivity to these phenomenon. You rightly point out that most
>proletarians are now women. Many of them experience a fiercer repression at
>home than they do at work, and if we only acknowledge that in passing, while
>getting back to the REAL issue of class, we will continue to remain on the
>fringes. Marxism is not simply about eliminating class. It is about
>eliminating false consciousness and alienation. Most queer people, most
>women, and most oppressed nationalities (perceived often by themselves as
>racial groups), are workers. How can we propose to unify that working class
>without addressing the day-to-day reality of interclass oppression that
>divides workers. The ruling class has proven how adept they are at
>exploiting these "other" forms of SYSTEMIC oppression to continue to divide
>us. This implies to me that the struggle within our own class to fight
>sexism, heterosexism, and racism is of paramount strategic importance, as
>well as being just plain right.
The reason the concept "women question" is used is in the hope that our
younger comrades - all of them, will go and purchase a copy of Marx, Engels
and Lenin on the Woman Question and to establish the new boundary that has
emerged as a change or rather transition in progress to a new mode of
production. It is not possible for comrades to grasp the Women Question on
the basis of the sector logic or social movement that identify itself as
"woman issue movement" because the proletariat in our time is female.
Fighting from the outside in - that is from the standpoint of the
victimization of the various segments of the working class, leads to fascism
because as you point out the women question is "dare I say it--across all
classes." So is the "national-colonial question" which cannot and must not be
reduce to race, random violence as opposed to state sponsored terror and
remove the imperial colonization process. The advanced detachment of the
working class is the communist (who must not be confused with the vanguard of
the proletariat) and the communist concentrate their forces (as they combine
together as communist) on class, no matter what their specific location in
the social struggle. It is precisely because the Woman Question - "dare I say
it--across all classes," that the standpoint of class is paramount.
>Sexism is an ideology
>of male supremacy, a superstructural phenomenon based on the very real
>domination and exploitation of women. . ."
Society is undergoing a leap - a transition, from one mode of production to
another and requires a corresponding leap not simply in consciousness, but
"superstructural phenomenon." This does not mean that "superstructural
phenomenon" collapse or "just go away." What is meant is that the
fundamentality of the women question is class as the key link in the chain of
historical abuse. This line of march unites the forward moving section of the
working class as opposed to the fighting for this unity on the basis of
ideology, i.e., "fighting male supremacy." The latter proceed from the
strategy of the old period.
>Again, historical specificity. This is too complicated to go into here, but
>I would strongly recommend Louis Proyect's excellent essay on "Black
>Nationalism". Black workers, even Black Marxists, make strategic alliances
>with members of the Black bourgeoisie, while continuing to struggle with
>that same stratum when they are acting as colonial surrogates.
end part 1
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