Marxist definition(s) of "race"

Fri Apr 26 21:48:48 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 that revolve around the struggle against racism
<and sexism within its own ranks. One amendment -- substitute "United
<States" for "South" in the statement above.

This is incorrect. The "way to the revolution" is formulated as an axiom of
Marxism. May I suggest a rereading of the Preface to A Contribution to a
Critique of Political Economy. This is not to suggest that I am attempting in
any manner to dictate the shape - form, of the proletariat revolution as it
unfolds in the former slave holding areas of the South and its border region

Society is formed o 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
this unity. An epoch of social revolution unfolds, wherein new productive
relations are created that reflects the level of, and are compatible with,
the newly developed productive forces. The way to revolution - no matter what
its historically evolved shape, is along the line of trajectory of the
productive forces. This formulation is Marx contribution to the "science of

The task facing the working class is the overthrow of the power of capital.
Anyone with an inkling of history knows that the "South" developed as a
region prior to the North and in fact the New England states developed as an
appendage to the South.  It is also elementary that the state of the United
States of North America is a multi-national state, which defines itself in
the arsenal of Marxism.

<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.


In terms of historical accuracy the African American national minority
workers and African American masses remain at the forefront of the struggle
against the state. This is a historical shape and was last expressed in
Cincinnati. It is true that the working class movement changes its shape
based on the quantitative and qualitative changes in capital. The status of
labor as a commodity is of course what human history revolves around.

The way to defeat the material power of male supremacy is inexplicably
connected to and fused with the question of property and inheritance and
demands the overthrow of the social power of capital and all forms of

The feminist movement and female proletarians is not the same thing. The
petty bourgeois ideologists do not understand the difference because of their
status as superfluous strata in historic decay. Hence, the insistence of the
petty bourgeoisie to defeat the female proletarians by tying their plight to
that of the women of the bourgeoisie as a class.

There is an important aspect of the Women Question (without quotes) and the
role of gender in exploitation - not simply oppression, overlooked by the
petty bourgeoisie intellectual. Marx outlines the evolution of machinery in
Capital and of course gives a brilliant presentation of the "breaking down"
of skilled labor into "smaller" increments of monotonous laboring.

This developmental framework is the material conditions in which women and
children are drawn into the production process during the epoch of capital.
The super exploitation of the women is fused with her horrible oppression in
the form of the proletariat - not simply "all women."  Proletarian
intellectuals - no matter what their station in life, must approach the Women
Question (again without quotes) from the standpoint of the proletariat - not
"all women," or we run the risk of being merged with the ideology of the
bourgeoisie through the formulations of the petty bourgeoisie.

Actually it is are militant and uncompromising class standpoint that rally
all segments of society to our banner and convert the proletarian revolution
into an authentic social revolution.

The emancipation of the status of labor as a commodity sets the basis for the
universal emancipation of women in society - my mother and daughters.

There is of course the issue of the specific shape of the Women Question as
it evolved in the old slaveholding south, its impact upon the border regions
and what in our literature is called the "Southern Belle."

I am deeply interested in the development of a proletarian Marxist conception
of this phenomenon, not simply from the standpoint of the female black slave
- an important factor without question, but also from the stand point of
property inheritance. I am ignorant but aware that a most complex social
struggle evolved around property transfer in the slaveholding areas and
ideological construction known as "Belle" would personally allow me to
understand the totality of this extremely important national colonial

I do not want to be misunderstood. Slavery disfigured out history. There is
no "comparison" worth noting between my grerat-great-great grandmother and
"Belle." Yet this question of Belle that was formulated as the rape of white
women by black proletarians and sharecroppers contains a question dealing
with the dispersal of property based on inheritance.

Perhaps, it is my imperial Yankee mentality but a Marxist presentation of
"Belle" just might illustrate the Women Question in this important colony, in
way I cannot fathom.

Pardon my Yankee excursion. I find it difficult to leave that carpetbag
(without quote)  at home in the closet. Damn Yankee.

Melvin P.

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