End Game-Tribal Traditionalism:
MARIPOWER716 at aol.com
MARIPOWER716 at aol.com
Sun Apr 28 10:20:16 MDT 2002
>Begging your pardon, but it's a tragedy playing out in your imagination. I
>reiterate that Louis Proyect has written insightfully about Black
http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/mydocs/race/black_nationalism.htm, >and here in
North Carolina the most active and effective African-American Marxist
>formation is Black Workers for Justice, >
http://www.arc.org/C_Lines/CLArchive/story3_4_03.html. They are VERY clear
>on the national-colonial nature of the struggle for Black liberation, as is
>Freedom Road Socialist Organization, http://www.freedomroad.org Neither has
>ever been, to my knowledge, labeled racist, insensitive, or ignorant. This
>is also a very hot topic among participants in the Black Radical Congress.
>Www.blackradicalcongress.org. Workers World frequently refers to
>African-Americans as an oppressed nationality,
>http://www.workers.org/ww/2002/health0207.php. The objection to your schema
>is not the characterization of Black liberation in the US as a national
>liberation struggle, but your insistence that this interpretation somehow
>proves that racism as a phenomenon doesn't exist, and your conclusion based
>on the foregoing premise that class struggle "trumps", that is, can be
>extricated from, the struggle against racism.
There exist no such thing as races. It is a bourgeois ideological construct.
No concession, no oscillation on this matter. Nor do I write on what is caled
"black nationalism." The struggle against "racism" mask the peculiar economic
development of the USNA multi-national state as a specific historically
evolved social formation. The historical social and economic developments of
the various regions of America are distinct.
The State of the USNA multi-national state is the basic organ of violence and
authority in the hands of the Anglo American bourgeoisie exercising a direct
historic ruler-ship over the Anglo-American nation proper, the Southwest as a
region, Puerto-Rico, the national formation that evolved from center of
gravity created in the old slave-holding Black Belt area of the South - so
called as tribute to the soil and of the color of people, the South as a
region and in the opinion of this writer the Philippines with a historically
evolved shame state.
In addition the state of the USNA multi-national state exercises its
dictatorship over a number of subject peoples including the various Native
Bands, Hawaiian peoples, Alaskan Eskimo and various Island enclaves.
The South as a region is not the historically evolved national formation that
arose on the basis of latifundia. Rather the South as a region is generally
defined by the government - under the domination of the state of the USNA
multi-national state, as 17 states that make up the South-Central and South
Eastern section of the state of USNA. Since the end of the Civil War, the
South - defined above, has been an especially oppressed region of
Anglo-America but the oppression of the Black Belt - not simply black people,
has been that of direct colonial oppression and the structure of this
oppression has been that of a fascist state.
The Civil War was fought out to determine which "national group of capital"
would control the destiny of the USNA State and complete their national
development as master.
The evolution of Marxism and the National Colonial Question in our country
has entailed the most intense struggle to grasp our specific history and
development from the standpoint of the science of society outlined by Karl
Marx and Frederick Engels on the one hand and the pioneering writings of VI
Lenin and Joseph Stalin on the other.
Complicating this struggle to grasp our historical specificity is the impact
of the Anglo-American imperial bourgeoisie in the ideological realm. In the
"national ideological realm" our diverse peoples are denied the conceptions
and language that describes national evolution because these categories
pinpoint the structure and political construction of the USNA multi-national
state. An issue further complicating the articulation of the
national-colonial question within the Marxist movement is the history of
organized Marxism in America.
In our history the formation of the CPUSA is through the old Socialist Party,
which emerged from the political storms of the Populist movement. The
Populist movement in our country became the face of the fascist movement that
overthrew the Reconstruction governments of the Civil War era and ushered in
the terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary and imperialist sector of
finance capital. An earlier generation of the most steeled communist coined
the slogan "Defeat Phony Populism - Populism is Fascism in Disguise."
>From this standpoint what appears to be a simple dismissal of the struggle
against "racism" can be understood as an "exaggeration" attempting to present
to another generation the historic conclusions of Marxism and the
National-Colonial Question. It is a deliberate and conscious act to write our
history without the "color factor" because the elementary economic logic of
capital development is not understood. Consequently national and colonial
development cannot be understood.
While others - the petty bourgeois ideologist fronting for big capital, speak
of "race" and "racism" the Marxist hit the nail squarely on the head and
outline the specific logic of the primitive accumulation of capital on this
land mass; the economics of slavery as a system of production of exchange
value and capital conversion; the overthrow of a legal bourgeois democratic
government and the institution of fascism as a form of state rule; the
mechanization of agriculture; the influx of a "peasant like mass" -
sharecroppers from the old slave centers into the industrial infrastructure;
the influx of the national minority workers into the heartland of the
Anglo-American nation and the Anglo-American proletariat; the internal class
composition and developments within the social movement and the first shape
of the proletariat casting off the petty bourgeois reformers; liquidating the
"political middle" and asserting itself as a class. Other call these process
"the black nationalist movement" which would be an affront to Lenin and
repudiates Stalin on the national-colonial question.
This very real battle in the ideological realm creates another field of
struggle where comrade Stalin has to be militantly defended and resurrected
so that one can read his writings on the national colonial question and
shifts to the background a Marxist analysis of the growth of the bureaucracy
in the Soviet Union as an element of the evolution of the state - not simply
the proletarian state, as a historically evolved social formation.
It would be a historical error if a word on the Stalin period was not
mentioned by one whose Marxism arose on the basis of the social motion of the
industrial proletariat after the "political middle" was momentarily isolated
and defeated. Let us assume that this particular brand of Marxism is
historically incorrect. What is indisputable is that it is a form of Marxism
that arose outside the field of the petty bourgeoisie; after the "political
middle" was defeated and wrote the current book on the formation of a League
of revolutionaries; articulated the question of the vanguard of the
proletariat and its advanced detachments as two interrelated but distinct
processes; created the last comprehensive strategy and tactics of organizing
the industrial workers and lowest sector of the working class by the advanced
detachment; resurrected and articulated the economic underpinning of our
specific development outside the logic of feudal economic and social
relations and no "correction" in the social movement can be made without
sublating this body of theory.
Rather than cry "dogmatism" and "Talmudism," - the slogan of those forced
under extreme compulsion to lay prostrate before the hand of the proletariat,
the group of communist from which I emerged, would rather strip the mask of
opportunism and bourgeois individualism from the face of the petty bourgeois
ideologist who demand that the proletariat state use "kid gloves" in its life
and death struggle with all historically evolved forms of capital. After 40
centuries of the oppressors murder, plunder, pillage, rape, torture and
brutalization, combined with stamping out every spark of consciousness
amongst the popular masses, the oppressed "catch" a "lucky" break and seize
power under conditions of a general blockade, with no preparation in the
subjective arena or in the development of the industrial infrastructure,
without experience, without the most elementary material resources, under
threat of devastation by war - when they are forced to build their own
society under such conditions, the demand is made that they accomplish this
without error. Such a demand has its source in the bourgeoisie, who never saw
the defeat coming and after their unexpected defeat becomes the champion of
Were errors committed under Stalin's watch? We communist who emerged not from
the petty bourgeoisie but from the industrial sector believe that errors may
have been made and were made. Actually, there were perhaps millions of errors
committed, as the result of a billion actions, but the petty bourgeois
ideologist is not invited to discussion of the errors of the proletariat.
If one were to give a definition of "Stalinism" - (now that his government
was taken over by revisionist, had the economy disorganized with non-Marxist
concepts implemented as policy, collaborated with imperial capital on a world
scale, betrayed the Soviet people and the world revolution and finally
allowed the overthrow of Soviet power and the ushering in of what may perhaps
be a century of reaction) one might say the following:
Stalinism represented the motion of the proletariat, that is the totality of
the methods of the dictatorship of the proletariat to build the foundation of
Socialism in the conditions in existence of a country of small peasants.
Specifically, this means that phase in the development of the world
industrial infrastructure - a specific quantitative and qualitative
development, where mechanization of agriculture has not begun, which is the
measure of industrial development. This condition, which spells out the class
alignment in such a society, appeared in our history as the period leading to
the defeat of Reconstruction and the following century of reaction in the old
slave holding South.
Finding itself in fact on an economic terrain, which is hostile to it, in
conditions which daily breed capitalism in an ever-widening scope, the
proletariat can only put, its dictatorship into motion by utilizing any and
every means at its disposal and by tremendous sacrifices. Organizational
centralism and Red Terror becomes the instrument to effect a level of
organization spontaneously generated on the basis of a developed industrial
infrastructure. The struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie in
Russia, the border regions and the various national formations within the
Soviet multi-national state, had a particularly violent and bloody character
and was accompanied by certain inevitable historical errors. The exact mirror
reflection of this violent and bloody struggle was expressed by capital in
the defeat of Reconstruction and the institution of the fascist regime in the
former slaveholding South sixty years before Stalin's assumption of power.
There is no doubt that these painful and bloody experiences will greatly aid
the revolutionary proletariat in its next great assertion and assumption of
power. These experiences will also serve to prevent the development of a new
form of the growth of bureaucratism and the forming of a bureaucratic sector
- which divides the revolutionary center from the people, which will occur
under conditions of the decay of the industrial infrastructure, its further
transition to a new mode of production and the attempt of value to seek its
last historical refuge in administration based on a vast computerized network
charged with the planetary distribution of the social product. Not the
development of a new bourgeoisie or new class but a tendency towards the
formation of a caricature of the bourgeoisie as a reflection of the logic of
economic activity communist calls the last survival of value as
The communist proletariats from which I come have pushed the envelope on
every social question of importance to our class without wavering one
molecule on the question of the abolition of the status of labor as a
commodity and the qualitative development peculiar to this moment in time.
The reason we do not sound like anyone else is because we are not like anyone
else. Our general historical analysis is impeccable and need sublating. The
developments peculiar to this time frame recast all historic questions such
as the Women Question and the National-Colonial question.
I have read - again, at your repeated insistence, Lou's articles on "black
nationalism." His story is honest and expressly written within the framework
of his personal evolution within the context of the last reform movement in
American society. I write not from the standpoint of the ideological
reflection of sections and sectors of the social struggle and class movement
but from the standpoint of the economic logic, which houses the ideological
reflections. The reason is because the current generation of communist is
denied the economic history of our country in the ideological sphere. I too
am extremely familiar with that aspect of the social struggle birth as the
Nation of Islam, which originated here in Detroit. Specifically my mother's
father studied with Elijah Poole before his transition into the Honorable
Elijah Muhammad and was present when Malcolm spoke at Ford Auditorium in
Detroit, the day after his home was firebombed. My parents were member of the
Freedom Now Party that helped organized Malcolm's trip.
What is called "black nationalism" - a term from the last period and
noticeably absence from any of my presentations, is actually termed bourgeois
and petty bourgeois nationalism within Marxism. The two aspects of the Civil
Rights Movement that are misarticulated within Marxism are understood as the
shape of the social movement in the North and that riveted to the South as a
region, specifically in the violent fascist areas of the old slaveholding
South. The difference between a Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. is not
parallel to a Booker T. Washington and Dr Dubois.
The difference is their approach and very "psychology" has every thing to do
with the nature of the social struggle within a fascist political structure
and the conditions under which the national minority worker asserts
themselves within the imperial center. Further, as to their class disposition
and the logic of the class factors involved in the struggle, Malcolm and
Martin represented the same wing of what later became called the "national
bourgeoisie" with Malcolm oscillating between this "national bourgeoisie" and
the lowest sector of the proletariat in the imperial heart of America. This
was not the case with Booker T. Washington and Dr. Dubois. Booker T.
Washington was an agent of fascism or as it became called the "comprador"
sector - right wing, of the national bourgeoisie.
One must adopt a Marxist standpoint in assessing the role of The Honorable
Elijah Muhammad who was akin to Booker T. Washington, while Malcolm X was
not. Minister Louis evolution must be understood for what it is and sense as
akin to "THEM" - The Honorable Elijah Muhammad. The ideological basis of the
Nation of Islam and their membership has to be assessed as one would assess
the trade union movement and its membership. Communist work amongst the trade
unions does not mean recruiting the top leaders or pandering to them or
trying to "struggle" with them to "do the right thing." Communist work
within the trade unions is aimed at winning the members to the cause of
communism or rather a society of associated producers where the fundamental
distribution of a "minimum" of social products needed to sustain life, is no
longer governed by the contributions of ones labor.
The national-colonial question as applied to the evolution of the former
slave holding South does not - repeat, does not mean the Negro People or
African Americans as a nation. The strangle hold of the bourgeoisie on the
ideological sphere denied us - in history, the accurate presentation of this
question. Thus when one writes "African American National Colonial Question"
it is conceptualized as black people national question. "Black people
national question" is the basically the specific theoretical position worked
out by William Z. Foster, former Chairman of the CPUSA. The term he used was
"a nation within a nation" - an impossible concept, and clearly outside
Marxism and the presentation of the national colonial question. The problem
is that generations of communist have no conception of Stalin's writings on
the national-colonial question, because they had never read any of the
writings or any theoretical presentation on what a nation actually consists.
Further, the basic Marxist conception of nations and national development is
confused with the concept of "the state" and the development of the
multi-national state, an issue further confused by Foster. His analysis of
the "Negro People" and national development, as well as the Populist movement
and the various sectors of capital is an affront to any serious Marxist.
Nations are economic formations, while terms like "advanced national groups,"
speak of historically evolved peoples further composed together in the
context of national development. Black people do not constitute a nation,
nor do white people. The conception of race and racism eclipse elementary
Marxist common sense.
None other than Karl Marx wrote:
"In the second type of colonies - plantations - where commercial speculation
figure from the start and production is intended for the world market, the
capitalist mode of production exists, although only in the formal sense,
since the slavery of Negroes preclude free wage labor, which is the basis of
capitalist production. But the business in which slaves are used is conducted
This hybrid development was the condition under which the Negro people
developed as a people. The theoretical key in unfolding the economic
development of the slaveholding South is the demand to grasp that the Negro
People developed as a peoples prior to the development of the slaveholding
South as a distorted national formation. The concept of the "Negro people as
a nation" is historically incorrect, but in the context of the evolution of
the Marxist movement was a step closer to the Marxist presentation of the
Hence, I have spent considerable time and repeat over and over that the
evolution of the people from a variety of peoples from Africa, their fusion
with strands of the Native bands and European immigrants as a distinct
process that arose before the development of the key economic factors for the
slow emergence of a certain economic evolution that indicates the linking of
"town" and "country" into a more or less self sustaining economic unit. The
Negro people arose - was formed, as a distinct people before the slave-power
entered the path of Civil War and an attempt to complete their national
economic development, based on consolidating the border regions and defeating
This development was arrested and sublated with the defeat of the slave power
in the Civil War - but in history, an area like Birmingham Alabama was in the
process of becoming the "steel" center of the South as a region and the slave
The Negro people who developed as a people are not the nation - but an
advanced national group living alongside of and inseparable from another
advanced national group evolved from European immigrants, but with a distinct
development and somewhat different evolution than the Anglo-American peoples
of the New England States. Race and racism blinds the revolutionary, although
no one confuses the national development of the "white' English with the
"white" Southern" or Northern Yankee. The folly of "color psychosis" has no
Black people do not constitute a nation or as Foster formulated matters, a
"nation within a nation." The Native bands are not nations in this sense of
the word because they from executed and defeated in their national economic
development, but have always been distinct advanced national groups. This
doesn't make their social position any less distressing - if anything, more
What is called the "black nationalist" movement is a national colonial
movement wherein the historic assertion of the proletariat and small farmers
evolved along historic lines that mirror the evolution of capital formation
in the old slaveholding, the defeat of Reconstruction and Yankee rule through
its fascist lap dogs in the South. And in the heart of the imperial "North"
assumes a somewhat different form than in the old slave holding areas. How
does one explain the "black nationalist" in the Midwest and lodged in
industrial Detroit articulating in its program a demand for the dictatorship
of the proletariat?
The articulation of the national colonial demands of the advanced national
group that evolved from the European immigrants perse, in the old slave
holding of the South, has been under the domination of the heirs of the old
slave power and appears in our body politic as a demand for "state rights."
Thus the struggle around the old flags of the South - the Stars and Bars,
assume a complex shape because the state authority is fascist and under the
domination of Yankee imperialism used the historic relations of slavery and
the color factor as its primary method of rule. This is no racial antagonism
as such but the method of rule of fascism from a period of history spent.
The historic demand for equality of the black masses is a clear statement
against fascist terror. The demand of the historic Populist movement for
freedom against the Wall Street financial owners of the land - Yankee
imperialism, appears to run counter to one another because the fascist
converted the latter into a demand for state rights to strengthen their
control of capital and contain the working class movement. A Marxist unable
to unravel ideological forms cannot but proceed along the wrong line of
march. A line of march is not a "straight path" but a conception of the
historic and current trajectory of capital and the changes in the mode of
The "color question" does not simply "go away" or disappear and of necessity
will reassert itself as capital evolves along the path of disintegration. The
bourgeoisie uses open terror because the ideological basis of its rule begins
to collapse. The demand of the petty bourgeois ideologist for "black-white
unite and fight" will unfold as what it is - a reactionary slogan, because
the fight for unity of the forward moving sector of the working class - its
vanguard, can only be articulated on the basis of common class demands.
Medical coverage for 40 million people - solidly proletarian in its
overwhelming composition, has nothing to do with "black people and white
people" uniting to fight. Fighting discrimination and injustice is not a
demand to repudiate "white racism" but the elementary program of the forward
moving section of the working class.
The African American National Colonial Question is called as such due to the
ideological struggle, but involves infinitely more than black people as black
people. This question has been observed by generations of communist over a
long period of time.
In respects to gentlemen like CLR James - the black Trinidad scholar, I
vaguely remember some of his writings and once owned his "Facing Reality"
publications - while he was centered here in Detroit, and to this day love
his "Black Jacobins." However, those of us of the indigenousness Negro -
"African American proletariat," politely smile at the "black leaders" of this
brand and simply state you misunderstand elementary American history and
should avail yourself of the mountain of writings by Marx and Engels on this
In Marx's "Poverty of Philosophy" he sets forth the crucial nature of
Southern slavery - not as a sub category, but as being of prime importance to
the capitalist mode of production. From this capitalist development emerges
all the social phenomenon characteristic of the capitalist mode of production
and this includes the formation of distinct national formations on this land
So much for the petty bourgeois conception of race.
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