CB - Tribal Traditionalism:

MARIPOWER716 at aol.com MARIPOWER716 at aol.com
Thu Apr 25 02:31:54 MDT 2002

>However, we have to deal with a society that has structural oppression
>built in on the basis of a person's skin color, no matter how backward and
>ignorant this is. We can't fight it by simply uttering that black people
>(or American Indians) deserve equal treatment because race is an
>unscientific category. Politics does not operate this way. It has to
>proceed from the objective conditions of mass consciousness.

>There are two campaigns that have been launched on a specifically
>anti-racist basis in recent years. One is affirmative action. The other is
>reparations. Both deserve the support of revolutionaries. Although I
>understand the point that Melvin is making in the broader sense, the only
>important thing for revolutionaries is how to conduct oneself in the class
>struggle. I have heard countless arguments from the sectarian left and
>their friends in the academy against affirmative action and reparations
>because it will alienate white workers. I hope that Melvin is not going in
>that direction.

>Louis Proyect

Before making another lengthy statement, let it be stated that if an
Anglo-American Marxist dared put forth a national-colonial conception of
African American Question, he/she would be labeled a "racist," "insensitive,"
or ignorant for insisting upon a class standpoint in American history. This
state of affairs is tragic.

Actually, the fight for affirmative action is of the utmost importance to the
proletariat. The demand for equal treatment, access to higher educational
institutions, job promotions, and fair employment opportunity - in our
country, is fundamentally a demand of the proletariat. To realize this demand
various organizations have been formed in our history including craft unions,
trade unions, industrial unions and anti-discrimination organizations of all
types. Color tends to eclipse class logic. Any issue involving proletarians
who are black descendants of slavery rooted in the American South concerning
treatment in American society becomes muddled. The specific fight of the
African American descendant of slavery has been bloody, violent and brutal.
The roots of this bloody, violent and brutal conflict resides not in the
factors that identity them as descendants of slaves - biology or color, but
in the very real economic logic of slavery and its aftermath.

The historic position of the Irish in relationship to England is rooted in an
imperial economic relationship as opposed to "Irishness" or religion. Being
Irish and religious factors, becomes a social indicator - and assumes a
certain shape in the ideological sphere, of a historically evolved economic
relationship. One would be booted out of the Marxist movement for taking a
position that "Irishness" or religion was the essence of the Irish National
Colonial Question. One would be booted out of the Marxist movement for taking
a position that the Palestine Question is a matter of religion and not land
and economic domination. Not so with the black descendants of slavery in the
American South. Why is this?

The question of reparations is of course extremely ancient and formulated
very simple in human history. Not so when dealing with blacks in America
because everything becomes muddled.  In history and in sacred text, the
question was formulated as "the wages of sin of the father." In our commonly
used sacred text, the wages of sin requires seven generations for the
children of the father to pay wages to those who the sin was committed
against. Specifically, the government of the USNA should and must pay
reparations to the descendants of slaves of the American South for many
reasons other than "harsh treatment;" a specific economic relationship is
involved. How the economic relationship is justified is important but not
fundamental. "You dogged me out for money and land - cold cash, and not
because "you did not like my color." "You" - not you of course, raped my
women and lynched my brother to ensure my economic subjugation and not
because "you did not like my color."  I fully understand that by definition,
ideology outruns reality. Hence, "black luck."  Yes it seem that the black
was "unlucky" but we know it's was land, silver, gold and hard currency that
bestowed "luck" upon the individual and mass.

The bourgeoisie as a class will pay reparations to the working class in ways
we cannot fathom at this point in time. This is to say that I firmly believe
in the concept and the need to pay reparations now - today.

Mr. Proyect, my specific activity on this question of reparations began with
James Forman's old "Black Manifesto" and the monetary demands placed on the
Church structures. From there, the fight was against the United
Foundation/Torch Drive and out of this came the "Peoples United Community
Service" and then the "International Black Appeal," whose end evolution was
the Black United Fund. Reparations are a class demand against the government
and agencies that supported the government's policy of the historic and
brutal exploitation of the slave. Slavery in the American South was not for
the production of use-values at its foundation, but the production of
exchange values - cold profits. Reparations are not a demand that the
proletariat pays itself from wages, although the petty bourgeoisie views this
matter differently.

The question concerning an alleged "Marxist conception of race" is an
entirely different matter and in history bound up with the struggle within
American Marxism to conform to the Leninist presentation of the question of
the colonized peoples. The deeper issue at stake is the strategy of the
proletarian revolution and a current assessment of the shifting ideological
form of the resurgent fascist movement.

The word "race" and "racism" is used in everyday language and this is not my
argument. "Marxline" is understood to mean a forum for Marxist. I do not
speak hear as a militant or labor activist, but as a Marxist. Comrade Charles
is called upon to defend the so-called "Marxist concept of race," in plain
language - which is impossible.

Race means biology and biology is not at the root of the social circumstances
of the proletariat, but rather economic formations that give rise to class
formations, no mater what the ideological rationale. Everyone in America
clearly understands that the descendants of slavery in the American South are
fundamentally proletarian in a manner unlike any other peoples in our
country. Those who are not "proletarian" within the descendants of these
slaves are basically working class with an insignificant stratum constituting
the "black intelligenica"  - primarily mental workers and a tiny bourgeoisie.

Comrade Charles inherited and uses the concept of race, rather than state his
understanding of the proletarian descendants of slavery in the American South
and whether or not their historical position is that of a colonized people
and consequently within the realm of the national colonial question. He
inherited this position from the historical ideological realm.

I have defined what is called "racism" from the standpoint of Marx and the
historic formulation of generations of communist in our country definitively.
I am prevented from approaching this question from any other standpoint than
that of the working class. Therefore in defining the historic exclusion of
blacks and the specific ideological form of their second-class citizenship,
the term white supremacy and white chauvinism is used because the term
chauvinism embraces a concept of nation and through the concept nation,
classes. The concept race does not embody a concept of nation or class but
rather biology.

"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." This was previously state. What is not clear in this

Here is what was stated in an earlier reply:

"What complicates a clear view of the historical process is the evolution of
white supremacy and white chauvinism and theories of race as ideological
forms of social evolution. The slave was declared free and freed by the
Northern Alliance and their army was an army of liberation for the
proletarian in chains. In our history, what evolved due to this fact was a
political spilt in the indigenousness working class in the slaveholding area,
with one sector seeking aid from the Northern political structures and
another sector hating the Northern political structures for the very real war
terror, although in real life we know that this split was not pure.  "Blacks"
in the South tended to call for help from the Northern Yankees, who in fact
freed them. Many of the "whites" tended to hate the North armies and
political structures that burned their land and destroyed their livelihood
and the body of politics called state rights was born from the political
contradiction. Race destroys any possibility of understanding this political
dynamic and why the slaveholding South emerged as USNA imperialism most
important colonial possession. The domination of the South is based on
military and economic factors. It is not a coincidence that large military
bases are strategically located in the South as is the most fascist
militarist lap dogs for Yankee imperialism.

"And this domination is perpetuated through racist ideology that supports and
reproduces the institutions of that national oppression," does not
acknowledge the extremely important role of national chauvinism in the
ideological sphere and falls short in describing the institutional basis that
traps the national-minority workers at the bottom of the social ladder in the
Imperial centers. Here's what being referenced is the Anglo-American Southern
workers who comes North and must of necessity occupy the bottom of the social
ladder along with the Negro Southern worker.

"Several things are involved that perpetuate this status. One of the
important institutional frameworks is wedded to immigration. Workers who
immigrate to America "achieve" a social status in accordance with the
economic relationship America has with the country of their origin. The
status of the Nigerian or Jamaican is somewhat different that the status of
the Southern "black" and "white" workers. The historic policy of importing
European industrial workers impacts the institutional relationship.

"The current economic relationship that America has with China, sets the
basis for the social status of the Chinese in America and the same holds true
for the Japanese in America in respects to commercial relationships.  The
ideological form of superstructure relationships is simply that - an
ideological form. What holds the black worker to the bottom of the social
ladder is a historic relationship that took shape and grew up in the old
slave holding South and not the ideological rationale. There is interactivity
between ideology (thought) and materiality (institutional frameworks rooted
in economic relations) because thought is material in the final instance.
What is fundamental?

"White chauvinism is an important form of Great Nation Chauvinism. What ties
many of the Southern Black workers to Yankee Imperialism is national
chauvinism. What ties many of the Southern white workers to Yankee
Imperialism is national chauvinism. "God Bless America" is merely one
expression of this chauvinism and it is this Great Nation chauvinism that is
the sharpest edge in USNA imperialist assault on the world's peoples.

"What these "Southern" workers have faced is colonial institutions and
colonial entrapment, not an abstract national oppression of black people. You
say, "racism" and I say, " white chauvinism" and many comrades think the same
thing is said using different words. You say "national oppression" and I say
"national-colonial oppression" and many comrades think the same thing is said
using different words. Actually, my point of reference is Marxism and the
national-colonial question as articulated by Lenin and Stalin in its
theoretical outlines. Our national revolution occurred centuries ago and
there is no such thing as a black national question, which is the
presentation of the radicals from the last period. Let there be no
misunderstanding, because many of these radicals place themselves in harms
way for justice and laid their life on the line. I do not question a comrades
fighting capacity, morality, ethics or engagement of evil. This engagement
began with the question of why class trumps everything else and why the
ideology of the identity movement is harmful.

"You state that "<Race began as an ideological construction, and has evolved
into a real
social construction. >" This is not accurate. Race has not evolved into a
social construction because an ideological form cannot evolve into a material
category as such. As a distorted form of the underlying fundamental social
relations, ideology tends to appear to take on a life of its own." (End of

Again, I have repeatedly defined the specific logic of white supremacy, the
specific structure of immigration and the filling of the industrial
infrastructure by European immigrants - historically, while the black
remained chained to the land and outline the relationship between commerce
and the status of the immigrant that resides in our country as a by-product
of the economic relationship the America has with the country of the
immigrants origin.

I have spent the majority of my life in organizations of black workers and
never compromised - on the level of theory, with the ideology of the
bourgeoisie or made a single concession to the petty bourgeoisie ideologist
that I am not willing to publicly repudiate.

Let comrade Charles give his presentation of the "Marxist conception of race"
that he alleges or "get off the pot."  A so-called Marxist concept of "race"
is wrong and dangerous. What the black toilers have faced since the defeat of
Reconstruction is the most brutal form of chauvinism in our history - white

Because of the specific role of white supremacy in the history of our
country, among the various forms of national chauvinism, the most brutal and
aggressive form has been white chauvinism. Prior to the evolution of the
structure and coherent body of thinking called white supremacy, the
ideological rationale for slavery was to make Christens of the "African
heartens" and the primitive accumulation of capital took place on this land
mass with the same ideological rationale applied to the Native peoples and
Bands. White supremacy was not the primary ideological rationale for the
destruction of the Native peoples.

White supremacy was a theoretical justification for acts of primitive
accumulation and colonization of the colored peoples, after the fundamental
defeat of the Native peoples. It was only with the need to clear the Western
parts of the original colonies that the concept of white supremacy arose as a
"coherent" ideology of economic expansionism.

White chauvinism was the ideological rationale - a "coherent" body of ideas
thought up by people, that provided the excuse for the brutal exploitation of
the colored nations and peoples of the world: it is a form - "form" darn it,
that the social bribery takes to the Anglo American people that prevented the
unity of the working class; it has been the principle ideology of aggressive
American fascism. Further, white chauvinism provided the rationale to further
exterminate the Native peoples and hang, lynch, burn and pour an
indescribable amount of violence on the slave's descendants. This ideological
rationale was buttressed by material bribery to the Anglo American peoples
that made it profitable to meet deafening cries of appeals for justice with
an indescribable bloody violence.

This is not the situation we face today because there is no need to keep the
descendant of slaves chained to the land: they are securely part of that vast
sea of the proletariat. There have been material changes in the qualitative
and quantitative features of capital in the past 150 years. A new qualitative
feature has arisen within capital in the past two decades that demand a shift
in the ideological rationales of the bourgeoisie.

Please note how the material basis of the ideological factor in our history
is tightly linked with class phenomenon without oscillation or compromise. If
one calls the above "race" or "racism" or a theory of discrimination based on
race - biology, fine, I agree.

Melvin P.

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