Social Relations, Revolution, and Capital

Thu May 29 05:23:49 MDT 2003

>I think this is important on the level of psychological and social
awareness of being, of one's sense of existence. A prime example is the
concept of Black Power advocated by Stokely Carmichael. . ..

The black nationalist method, condemning the whole system as
hypocritical and as incapable of providing equality, required not a meek
acceptance of the logic of capitalism's internal development, but an extrapolation
of all the methods of deception and 'tricknology' embedded in this internal
development specifically as carried out by white Europeans and white Americans.
On the psychological plane the concept of Black Power provided an antidote to
deepened and infused notions of white supremacy which in ways open and hidden
permeate society: attitude, culture, physiognomy, heritage, etc.

Therefore I do not think Capital directly shapes material interactions.
What Capital does is conjure up a class of people who viciously defend
their prized interests in ways that are ultimately so violent and
contradictory that a whole system of irrational, purile thought,
partially resurrected from the past, will be thrown up as ideology to
defend wealth. <


Sometimes we get in front of ourselves with old thinking. Discussion of the
value system as it evolves is by definition a view of the context in which
things - social interactions, take place and deals with general categories as
opposed to the concrete forms of various social movements or the slogans they
adopt. An examination of social movements should be informed by the Marxist
standpoint that unravels the primary features of what happened and its context.

The African American question has undergone great change since World War II
and has been observed over a long period of time by generations of Marxist. Few
people even attempt to describe this question. Historically, this description
has been a question of caste, a special question of class because of the
color factor, a national question or national-colonial question. Since the Second
world imperial war there are four intertwining elements signaling changes in
the presentation of the African American question. First and foremost was the
determined, militant and historic struggle of the black masses themselves.
Seldom in history has such a small group - around 10 to 12 percent of the
population, carried out such an unrelenting struggle against the pervasive ideology
of degenerates and against such a brutal state apparatus of oppression. Without
this first ingredient none of the other elements could come together to
produce the social movement that brought about change in America.

However this first element of resistance and unrelenting combat occurred in a
context and this context of capital has undergone significant transitions and
transformation since the emergence of the African American people as a
people. Without getting lost in historical data let it be stated that the primary
context of the emergence of the African American people was Southern slavery,
which in itself was a peculiar value producing system.

We must remember that we are specifically speaking of the post WW II period.
The second element was the mechanization of southern agriculture.
Mechanization of agriculture is the framework within the context of capital evolution that
birthed the Freedom Movement. "Freedom Now" emerged as the nationwide slogan
within the African American peoples movement. "Black Power" would emerge later
as a slogan embracing a specific political movement in the national political
arena of America.

The Third element was the Cold War. The existence of Soviet Power conditioned
the world social struggle and had a profound impact on the social struggle
internal to the American political system. The current era of Empire and
American assertion should at this late date make it clear that the majority of petty
bourgeois intellectual were mistaken in their assessment of the Soviet Union
and are to be condemned by history as accomplishes of capital imperialism.
Those who place their understanding of the internal evolution of the Soviet system
and its political structures in front of the struggle between the Soviet
Union and American led imperialism are no different that the social imperialist
with their criticism of revolutionary Cuba. No amount of hand wringing and
prayers of absolution can forgive these radicals and petty bourgeois
revolutionaries of their historical crime against the world proletariat and the African
American people. The fact of the matter is that Soviet Power and the struggle and
forward movement of its proletariat brigade in opposition to American
imperialism opened door for the African American people that would have never been
opened and today we are experiencing the counterrevolutionary backlash.

The Soviet Union constantly used the reality of oppression of the African
American people as one of their most effective weapons in the political and
ideological struggle for allies in the so-called "Third World." Truman, Eisenhower,
Kennedy and Johnson were under enormous pressure - by the State department,
to dismantle legal segregation.

The fourth element in the reconfiguration of the African American question
was the introduction of electronics and advance robotics in production and
communications; the subsequent globalization of the commodity and labor markets and
the marked tendency that is driving the value of commodities - including
labor-power, in the direction of zero. This is the context to describe the African
American question, as it exist today and not assessments of the
"psychological plane."

The "psychological plane" is in fact the first element spoken of and not the
ideological form that produces the slogans. It is to be conceded that the
nature of Internet discussions and rapid-fire more than less interactive exchange
alters theoretical debate for insurgents and compel participants to tend to
speak in categories. The four elements spoken of are not categories but the
salient features of a social process.

I have some experience with this thing you call the Black Power movement and
the role of Stokely Carmichael. The Black Power Movement emerged as an aspect
of the African American peoples Freedom Movement. What were the African
American people trying to free themselves of that constitute the "free" in Freedom?
The answer is the second element. Mechanization of agriculture is too polite a
description of the social process. The majority of African American
aggregated on the land as sharecropper and farm laborers had lived under extreme
poverty and fascist terror since the overthrow of the legally constituted bourgeois
democratic governments in the post Reconstruction era. These governments were
overthrow and many of the political representatives were either hung or shot
in the head. Calling this movement white supremacy is a misunderstanding of
American history and the character of its political structures.

Freedom meant free of the economic exploitation of the sharecropping system
and emancipation from fascist terror. What occurred in American was not akin to
the old settlers regime in South Africa although to the novice both system of
rule appear the same. The struggle for freedom merged with the shifts in
capital called the mechanization of agriculture and what happened was that the
sharecropper was liberated as a sharecropper. Liberation as a sharecropper of
liberation of a class means its abolition. There no longer exist a class of
sharecropper in America as such.

Here is the point. Classes are formed and destroyed by the introduction of
new productive equipment into the production process. Period. This is the ABC of
history and an elementary conclusion of Marx and Engels. An internal
development must take place within capital - the value producing system, to make it
possible for a class to liberate itself. Acquiring political authority cannot
liberate a class in itself.

The idea that there was "not a meek acceptance of the logic of capitalism's
internal development" is sinning against reality and a refusal to unravel the
class factors within the African American people. "Meek acceptance" is a class
concept for Marxist or understood on the basis of class movement - assertion
or striving, and not "psychological and social awareness of being, of one's
sense of existence," or recognizing "tricknology." A section of Black capital
that thrived on the segregated market was willing to accept a certain logic of
capital that allowed it to exist and thrive. There have always been Booker T.
Washington's amongst the African American masses.

"(P)sychological and social awareness of being, of one's sense of existence,"
has been called by Marxist the "national character" in respects to colonial
and subjected peoples - non-sovereign peoples.

Shift happens and the shift is once again hitting the fan. Shift means that
one stage of the social struggle creates and gives rise to the next stage. The
end of one stage of the struggle came with the African American using their
newly won political power - often in alliance with progressive whites, to elect
their representatives into the various organs of government. This was called
Black Power, not Freedom Now although a couple of political parties arose
calling themselves "The Freedom Now Party." The two most notable were in
Mississippi and Michigan. In Mississippi the demand was to complete the destruction of
the fascist form of state rule, which had to take the form of black power. In
Michigan the struggle was not against fascist political structures but
reactionary forms of bourgeois democratic rule and complete a political evolution that
mirrored that of the white ethic immigrants. This included shattering the
barriers of exclusion within trade union and social life in general.

In this struggle various classes amongst the African American peoples
expressed various demands and strivings. This is a separate discussion. What is
difficult for revolutionaries to grasp is that the change process means the content
of something  - The Freedom Movement, changes in form of its historically
evolved form, as the context and shape of capital shifts and evolves.

What has in fact merged is a communist class, whose core is larger amongst
the African American peoples. This communist class is the direct creation of
advance robotics because the damn context has shifted and unemployment and
underemployment cannot be viewed in the same context as 20-30 years ago. Some
comrades call this emergent class welfare recipients although they are in the main
excluded from the Welfare system. That this emergent class is concentrated
among women has to do with the emergence of women as proletarians that are no
longer extensions of the labor-power of men. Every working women in America and
men, long ago began telling their daughters things have changed and you must be
able to sell your labor-power as an independent agent and not as an appendage
to a husband. The content changes before the form of the social process. Then
the form leaps forward to conform to the new content.

The problem is that comrades are stuck in the past and cannot distinguish and
unravel the dialect of form and content. The core of the communist class is
not demanding or raising a slogan of black power. The social struggle has
evolved way ahead of this. Yes, the "new racism" is being fought without question
because it cannot - not, be fought. Women as women are demanding something
different from the last period of the social movement and this is what started the
entire discussion. Yes, Women rights are still being fought for but the
context has changed. The impact of changes in the mode of production are obvious
and have been discussed nonstop for a solid twenty years.

Enough for now.

Melvin P.

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