Tribal Traditionalism: Jose'

Sun Apr 21 05:37:26 MDT 2002

>Excuse me, but you are regaling the list with the most sort of primitive
>pseudo "marxism" imaginable. Your position is nonsense.

>On the basis that "racism is an ideological construct" like Santa Claus
>devoid of any material reality, you dismiss the struggle against the
>specific oppression that  Black people (and others).  "As a bourgeois
>ideological construct, the term racism  is devoid of any concept of property
>relations and classes even when attempts  are made to fuse this term with
>the Marxist concept of chauvinism, imperial  power and classes."

>I think it is possible for you to say such a thing because you're writing at
>such a level of abstraction  that any brush with reality -- and therefore
>genuine marxism -- is purely accidental.

I assure you there is nothing primitive or accidental concerning the Marxist 
approach to the National-Colonial Question as it applies to the African 
American peoples and the historic slave center of the South. This approach 
has been observed over a long period of time by generations of communist. The 
theoretical underpinning is based in the historic 1928 and 1930 resolutions 
of the Comintern. You misread what was written or simply have a different 
point of view. This is what was stated: 

<Santa Claus is real. Santa Claus exists. I sat on Santa Claus lap many times 

<in my youth and as an adult marched my children into the very long lines of 
<people waiting to sit on Santa Claus lap. The Santa of the ideological realm 

<is different from the Santa with the "lap." 

<Marxist attempt, even when we fall woefully short of the target, to grasp 
<unravel social issues from the standpoint of the environment in which that 
<being examined exists; its general motion - movement in relationship to a 
<vast sum of "other things" constituting the environment and its internally 
<"cohesion" contradictory movement, from the standpoint of the proletariat as 

<a class. 

< … As a bourgeois ideological construct, the term racism 
<is devoid of any concept of property relations and classes even when 
<are made to fuse this term with the Marxist concept of chauvinism, imperial 
<power and classes." 

"The Santa of the ideological realm is different from the Santa with the 
"lap." The Santa of the ideological realm lives at the North Pole and elf's 
make toys for kids. The Santa of the ideological realm fly in a sled pulled 
by reindeer and climbs down chimney's delivering toys. This Santa of the 
ideological realm is different from the Santa with the "lap."  The Santa with 
the lap is generally speaking a mortal man who cannot fly in a sled driven by 
reindeer; does not live at the North Pole and does not climb down peoples 

The point is that the ideological realm is radically different from the world 
of material relations.  What you call racism is a material relationship 
called national-colonial relations when applied to the Irish and English. 

>Around where I live, they were lynching people for being Black into the
>1950's, if you don't count the judicial system. In my state, it is still
>possible in the 21st Century to take 18% of the votes in the presidential
>elections and just flush them down the toilet cause the county is mostly
>Black. If you're Black or Hispanic, you're not going to get to go to certain
>schools, live in certain neighborhoods, or get certain jobs. If you're Black
>or Hispanic and smoke dope, or even if you don't, you're going to be
>declared a criminal and railroaded into prison, even while the judge's and
>DA's darling son and daughter light up another joint behind the courthouse
>with complete impunity. Racism manifests itself materially and concretely in
>each and every sphere of American society.

>The idea that "racism" is merely ideological is ridiculously primitive and
>sectarian. Racism is a reality. Get off your Marxist Mount Olympus and take
>a look around.

Lynching's for being black. Very well. How many bourgeois blacks have been 
lynched in American history? The vast majority of blacks lynched in American 
history have been sharecroppers, slaves and the lowest of the proletariat 
because what we are dealing with is imperial oppression that assumes the form 
of a color question. I choose you look beneath the surface of ideology to 
discern the revolutionary process that will allow for the overthrow of 
capitalist relations of production, which only becomes possible under certain 

You are mistaken to lump all African Americans together as a homogenous mass. 
If you are African American and lower working class you will live a different 
life than if you are African American and upper working class or bourgeois. 
The second-class citizenship status of African American's is very real. How 
we describe the second-class citizenship status of African American's is the 

What you call racism is not the reason for the second-class citizenship 
status of African Americans. "Racism" is the ideological construct used to 
describe the second class citizenship status of African Americans but this 
doesn't explain the structure of political power and the dynamics of USNA 
imperialism. The structure of the social relations of the African American in 
the North differs from that of the old slave centered south. In the course of 
the past 150 years there has been a certain evening up. However, why do the 
black North industrial workers makes more than the Southern white industrial 
workers? What is involved is a historically evolved national-colonial 
question and racism doesn't provide insight or the revolutionary solution to 
the question. The national colonial question hardly qualifies one to sit on 
Mount Olympus and is an elementary Marxist approach to the non-sovereign 

The Marxist approach to the African American National-Colonial Question has 
been observed over a long period of time by generations of communists. The 
theoretical underpinning is based in the historic 1928 and 1930 resolutions 
of the Comintern. 

>Your attempt to pigeonhole complex social realities, racism is this, the
>national and colonial question is that, and so on, is schematic, scholastic,
>and completely devoid of a communist spirit. Lenin said it: theory is gray
>but life is green. You're trying to fit reality into this platonic schema
>that somehow you've convinced yourself has something to do with Marxism,
>when Marxism works the other way around: communism is not a theory but a
>*movement,* a social product of the development of capitalism.

There is nothing complex about African American National Colonial Question as 
a social reality or the defeat of Reconstruction and the sharecropping 
system; the configuration of political power in America or the strategic line 
of march for communist. The problem is that another generation has matured 
detached from the history of communism and the history of Marxism and the 
National Colonial Question. Marxism, communism and the working class movement 
are not identical. Communism in our history has been primarily an 
intellectual movement, because there has not been a communist class.  

The entire fight the communist wage as communist is to fuse or better yet, to 
unite the theory of communism with the working class movement. This means 
that the communist must first of all know what constitutes modern communism 
and grasp our collective history as communist. 

None other than the great Frederick Engels sated that "Socialism (communism) 
since it has become a science, demands that it be pursued as a science, i.e., 
that it be studied."  The Marxist approach to the African American 
National-Colonial Question has been observed over a long period of time by 
generations of communists. The theoretical underpinning is based in the 
historic 1928 and 1930 resolutions of the Comintern. This means you must 
study the question to understand its presentation, i.e., read the books where 
the question is presented. 

Lets deal with the issue. The article from which you quote is specific and 
puts forth a reasonable outline of the key aspects of the African American 
National Colonial Question. What is presented incorrectly? Below is the 
article from which you misrepresented the "Santa" quote. What is presented 
incorrectly? In reply to another comrade I state: 

<In the context of the article from which you quote the issue at stake was 
<concept of the unity of all African Americans as a priority in the class 
<struggle. To correct this mis-formulation requires drawing a sharp line of 
<distinction between material relations and how these material relations are 
<explained in the ideological sphere. Although no social scientist worth his 
<salt would today defend a concept of human development based on the 
<deological concept of race, a section of Marxist defend this ideological 

<The bourgeois leaders of a section of the African American peoples Freedom 
<Movement cling tightly to the concept of race. In fact the entire edifice of 

<their ideological hold on the "their" section of the working class rivets on 

<this tiny absurd concept. The defeat of this concept in the ideological 
<sphere would have the immediate impact of allowing for the formation of 
<class concepts of the material relations that rivet the African American to 
<"lower" social status - including economic exploitation, in our country. 

<The "lower status" of the African American is the direct result of the 
<material relations of the history of slavery in our country and not skin 
<color, which became an index - identifying mark, articulated in the 
<ideological sphere as the theory of race by the bourgeoisie. How can one 
<claim Marxism and confuse the ideological sphere with material relations and 

<refuse to unravel the origin of the use of race and racism as social 

><Race and racism are bourgeois social constructs used to ideologically 
the <working class. However, they would not be usable to disarm the working 
class if <there was no such thing.  Racism "do" exist, in fact.

<Malcolm X once said "putting a cat in the oven doesn't make him biscuits."  
<Formal logic will not help unravel the historical material relationships of 
<our imperialism. In other words "black people got hurt and subjected to 
<injustice by white people because of race." "Black people remained 
<by white people because of racism." To look at a "thing" for years, study it 

<and unravel its inner logic and not grasp its essence is not serious Marxism 

<on any level.  

<The African American National Colonial Question contains a simplicity that 
<remarkably clear. What we are taking about historically is a population of 
<slaves - workers, and to this very day we are taking about proletarians for 
<all practical purposes. There are absolutely classes among the African 
<American people, but the majority of the African American people are not 
<simply proletarians - those who have no means of survival other than the 
<of their labor power, but the lowest section of the proletariat as a class. 
<What we are faced with is a very elementary class struggle and its character 

<is undeniable, no matter how the struggle is shaped in the ideological 

<The colonization of the old slave centered south required defeating the 
<Reconstruction governments and was a question of class war against an 
<alignment of workers and "peasants" on the part of the former slaveholding 
<merchant-like capitalist in league with Wall Street Imperialism.  What began 

<as the need to politically and then militarily defeat a section of the 
<bourgeoisie against itself - the Civil War, unleashed enormous social forces 

<in the shape of a newly freed slave population and small farmers. The defeat 

<of Reconstruction was the defeat of the working class and color has nothing 
<to do with the real issue at stake.

The horror of the lynch rope and the burning stake of that period of American 
history constitutes monumental crimes on the part of the Anglo-American 
peoples. No one disputes these crimes against humanity. 

Reducing the historic struggle of the black masses to a fight against racism 
is criminal concept against my ancestors. The slave was fighting and 
resisting racism, but rather a system of slavery. The ideological rationale 
for slavery becomes an arena of intellectual engagement but the slavery is a 
material relationship. 

I have spent some time in the nationality movement, the trade union movement 
and other social movements over that past several decades. In each instance 
my activity has been at the highest level in which this activity was 
organized. I believe myself to be in possession of a reasonably firm grip on 
the impact of white chauvinism and its specific historically evolved social 
structure. This is why I was a founding member of the Black Studen United 
Front in Detroit, Parents and Students for Community Control, International 
Black Appeal, Black Workers Congress, Coalition of Black Trade Unionist 
(Detroit) and former editor of the Southern based "Southern Advocate" 
newspaper. Recetly I was an elected union represented in heavy industry. 
Actually, I have looked around occasionally as a soldier as well as general 
(shades of Mount Olympus) in the class struggle. I believe that I understand 
what you think you read. 

Your line of march, implicit in what you state will not get me or my children 
or their children to come or my class brothers and sisters free in America. 
Aggregating the communist around a broad general line of march aimed at 
winning the forward moving section of the Anglo-American working class in the 
imperial heartland to the cause of communism is the path forward. This moving 
section and lower sector is by definition multinational - that is to say 
includes African Americans.  

Everything else is playing with revolution and catering to the petty 
bourgeois ideologist. That is the bottom line. 

Melvin P. 

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