CB - Tribal Traditionalism:
CharlesB at cncl.ci.detroit.mi.us
Mon Apr 22 15:25:33 MDT 2002
Re: CB - Tribal Traditionalism:
Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2002 19:48:19 EDT
From: MARIPOWER716 at aol.com
>There is no such thing as racism. Racism is the bourgeois construct used to
>ideologically disarm the working class. There of course exists white
>chauvinism, which arose under specific conditions in American history and
>gone through a "specific" evolution and transition based in the last
>in changes in the mode of production or rather changes in the industrial
>infrastructure. This is easy to substantiate.
<CB: Race and racism are bourgeois social constructs used to ideologically
disarm <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.
It is true that nothing unreal can exist.
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 and
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
I do apologize for the sloppy formulation. "Racism is the bourgeois
construct used to
ideologically disarm the working class," is confusing and inaccurate and
should read, "racism is the bourgeois ideological construct used to
ideologically disarm the working class. Racism is the ideological construct
used to justify in the ideological sphere - the realm of ideas, material
relations of exploitation and oppression of the colonial masses and
non-sovereign peoples. 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."
CB: Slavery was a major subcategory of the capitalist mode of production for the first centuries of capitalism. It was not only colonialism , but slavery that constituted the social form for which race and racism were the bourgoeis ideological reflections. The Black race in the U.S. is derivative of the slavery social form. Race is as much a Marxist concept as class and chauvinism. Bourgeois chauvinism cannot be understood without the concept of race .
Chauvinism is a concept embracing the alleged superiority of one nation and
peoples over another and justifies the exploitation and subjugation of the
military conquered peoples. Implicit in the word chauvinism is the Marxist
conception of national-colonial oppression, class relationships and imperial
domination. Implicit in the word racism is domination based on superior
"being" as a designated branch of humanity, and the other designation is skin
color and certain physical characteristics that justifies the brutal
exploitation of others.
CB: There is no "alleged" superiority of one nation over another without the "alleged" concept of race. Just as the fact that one nation is superior to another is only alleged but nonetheless the basis for an analysis of real social relations, so it is with race: though only "alleged" it is the basis for a real division of labor with important significance to the class struggle.
In the context of the article from which you quote the issue at stake was the
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
ideological concept of race, a section of Marxist defend this ideological
CB: "Chauvinism" has the same status as "race" in the analysis you give. The racist division of labor in the history of the capitalist mode is an actually existing material social fact. In other words, the ideological concept of race reflects actual socio-economic relations. It is real in the Marxist sense. Thus, Marx said " labor in the white skin cannot be free while labor in the Black is branded" . Race is a Marxist( Leninist) category.
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 clear
class concepts of the material relations that rivet the African American to a
"lower" social status - including economic exploitation, in our country.
CB: Black workers cling tightly to the concept of race too, because they experience constantly racist social relations.
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
CB: Marxists use "race" precisely to refer to material social relations, knowing and saying that skin color is a branding social indicator. It is not confusing ideological sphere with material relations, but, in the Marxist manner, saying that the ideological sphere reflects the material relations. Racism exists as a set of material relations, that's what I have been saying. Therefore, THERE IS SUCH A THING AS RACISM. It is a social and economic fact, like class, and it is social complexity of class. It is an aggravated form of national chauvinism.
<Race and racism are bourgeois social constructs used to ideologically disarm
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 victimized
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.
CB: This is not a formal logical point. It is a point of materialist philosophy. If racism didn't exist , did not have material existence , if "there was no such thing", then a materialist would say it cannot divide the working class. A Marxist would say THAT would not be a Marxist argument on any level.
The African American National Colonial Question contains a simplicity that is
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 sell
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
CB: You have just described the material existence of racism.
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.
CB: It was a big time defeat for the working class and color had everything to do with the real issue at stake. The racist division of the working class was successfully perpetuated. Marx's warning that labor in the white skin could not be free while labor in the Black was branded was not heeded by the white workers, and their own liberation has been thwarted since.
The fascist stated that Reconstruction was overthrown because of "darkies"
wanting to rape white women. Rape is a very real violent social act. Well,
ask the southern Anglo American women where the reality and threat of rape
comes from - the home and close family circles, as is generally the case
regardless of "color." The articulation of the reality of rape in the
ideological sphere is not necessarily a more than less accurate presentation
of the material reality of rape. Race is an ideological rationale to explain
something from the standpoint of the bourgeoisie. Picking up the race card is
fraught with danger.
CB: Anti-racists don't play the race card. They struggle against racism. The notion that anti-racists "pick up the race card" is a racist concept itself, used by Reagan era racists to "discredit" anti-racist protest and struggle.
Using the phrase "race card" is the real danger.
Simply because explaining the material reality from the ideological sphere
requires more effort is no need to succumb to the ideology of the
bourgeoisie. What about the standpoint of the proletariat? Why articulate the
question like the bourgeoisie? Why strengthen the hand of the Jesse
Jackson's, Farrakhan's and other misleaders tied to capital and reaction by a
CB: Marx used the concept and was not bourgeoisie. There are many working class Marxists, Black and white , who use the concept. As to whether it is bourgeois or working class usage depends on how it is used.
The African American workers have to be told the same thing as the
Anglo-American workers and all workers: we need a program to fight for our
collective material survival. Concepts of race hurt us.
CB: It is the social facts of race that hurt us. To remain silent about them would not win anybody to our side.
The truth of the
matter is that an enormous section of workers are sick and tired of this
color nonsense and talk of race. These workers do not support violence and
discrimination against the working class. Police violence is not a color
question. Where I live at more blacks kill blacks than whites. Black police
throughout American kill more blacks the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacist
groups put together and multiplied by two. The working class is not stupid
and sees what all of us see. The problem is that the communist refuse to
formulate the issues correctly because they suffer from the color psychosis.
CB: Most Black workers I know are sick and tired of the fact of racist discrimination. Most of the time Communists are repeating the complaints they hear from Black workers and people in general.
You live in a majority Black city. It is not surprising that most homicides are between people who know each other, and they most people who know each other are the same color. etc., etc. In other words it is true that most murders are not racist murders, but that doesn't refute the existence of racism.
The sad fact of the matter is that as police violence escalates against the
proletariat as a class, the bourgeoisie can present this matter as an issue
involving blacks and the upholders of the race card play into this scheme.
Police violence is police violence. Communist are the advanced detachment
because we are advanced in our thinking and ideas - our body of knowledge and
doctrine of the class struggle.
In our history the Achilles heel of US imperialism has been the "Southern
question." To this very day the structure of applied political power - as
state agency, operates on the basis of the historical question of the "south"
and other areas of concentration of the non-sovereign peoples.
CB : What are non-sovereign peoples ?
BushJr., from Texas - a historically colonized area, aided by his brother in
Florida - an area revolving around the historic old slave center, is not
accidental but a historically consistent political formation.
"Blacks were denied the vote screamed the petty bourgeois radicals." "Blacks
face racism in Florida screamed the loyal friends of the black people," who
are loyal until the proletariat takes leadership of the social struggle.
Comrade, blacks were not denied the vote but rather the proletariat was
denied the vote. The folly of racism in the ideological sphere is one thing.
For a Marxist to embrace this dangerous concept leads to wrong strategy and
CB: More Black proletarians were denied the vote in Florida than white proletarians and the difference is very significant for winning the class struggle.
Comrade you should not confuse the ideological sphere with material relations
and might want to consider how to defeat the bourgeoisie in the ideological
sphere. Or are you supporting capital through defending "African American"
capital because we all oppressed? I don't believe you support any form of
capital. I simply don't care about a capitalist who face discrimination,
sexual abuse or anything else. My hands are full with the working class and
there are enough members to go around for all of us. Where do you draw the
line if not on the basis of class? When we organize the workers - the
vanguard of the proletariat, to the cause of communism and everything else
will "fall in place," including the defense of racism as a scientific
category by the true believers.
CB: What is your analysis of the relationship between the ideological and material sphere on this question ? Does race pop from the head of the bourgeoisie or is it a reflection of real social relations , including a division within the working class which Black workers cannot "unconfuse" away ?
Brother, when we can create a political force capable of breaking the
historic strangle hold of the political South and I assure you we will find
ourselves immediately on the path to power. This cannot be done on the basis
of concepts of race because the workers know that it is stupid and deeper
issues of material survival are at stake. One is of course free to stay in
the kindergarten of race theory and racism - the haven of the petty bourgeois
radicals of all colors and nationalities, and one is free to ascend to the
school of Marx and the doctrine of the class struggle, which does not
describe the proletariat in color terms, i.e., on the basis of race.
CB: What did Marx say about labor in the white skin and black ? Was he not a Marxist in that ?
I am not trying to recreate a past that no longer exist, or create another
Black Workers Congress. If you form one then I might enter it for a brief
moment as a communist and recruit the workers to the cause of communism. Race
indeed. What about class?
CB: There is no actually existing class in capitalist history that is not complicated by race because there is no capitalism without slavery and colonialism. Marx and Engels put this at the center of the Communist task with their slogan "Workers of the World, Unite" . What did they have to unite against ? Their division into nations and races. There is no Marxist approach that does not take account of the real existence of race and nationality.
Actually, we might have already entered that time frame where it is no longer
possible to organize black workers as a broad group - (excluding isolated and
backward outlets), on the basis of being black workers. Have you not wondered
why the social movement is floundering and seeking its new shape and forms?
It may take a decade or two for the new shape and form of the working class
movement to congeal. All we have is time, in the historical sense. It is urge
that communist overcome the ideological baggage of the last period. Race is a
rather large bag.
CB: It is the fact of racism that has to be overcome. The concept of race will disappear with the disappearance of racism.
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