Marxist definition(s) of "race"

Carrol Cox cbcox at
Thu Apr 25 16:40:03 MDT 2002

Sherry & Stan Goff wrote:
>   There is no way to the revolution in the
> South, without overcoming racism, and there is not way to that without
> overcoming gender oppression.  Obviously that "overcoming" doesn't happen
> through simple persuasion, but more often through trauma, hard necessity,
> and the practices that force us together to deal with them.

This is a nearly perfect formulation of the tasks facing the u.s.
working class -- tasks which revolve around the struggle against racism
and sexism within its own ranks. One amendment -- substitute "United
States" for "South" in the statement above.

In _Wages, Price and Profit_ Marx insisted that workers, "By cowardly
giving way in their everyday conflict with capital, . . .would certainly
disqualify themselves for the initiating of any larger movement." I
think one should expand Marx's argument here, and instead of merely
wages one should think of all those barriers to the class being _fit_ to
destroy capitalism. A class that does place _at the forefront_ of its
struggle a harsh struggle against racism and sexism within its own ranks
will _never_ be fit to carry out a "higher" struggle against capital.

And on the question of gender, I would like to add a corollary. Until
the fight against male supremacy _is_ in practice a major and a
continuing part of working-class struggle (and is at the forefront, in
practice, of marxist thinking) I think marxists should shut their
fucking mouths about "bourgeois" or "petty bourgeois" feminism. Until a
strong feminist movement among female AND male workers exists, so-called
bourgeois feminism is at the forefront of the working-class struggle.


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