[Marxism] Marxism and the National Question in America

Scotlive at aol.com Scotlive at aol.com
Wed Jun 30 09:24:58 MDT 2004

I went there to guage the level of consciousness in the oppressed black 
community. What I found was a lot of anger (and rightly so), but also a lot of 
confusion. Al Sharpton flew in from New York, spoke at the start of the meeting, 
then immediatley left to talk to the press outside. I thought it significant 
that he didn't linger to hear what the people had to say.

The thing which I found most disturbing was the presence of a certain 
socialist organization in strength trying to hawk newspapers and T-shirts. There they 
were, five or six of them, all white, standing outside around the entrance 
like vultures. I approached their leader and accused him of exploiting the 
plight of the African community, of mistaking paternalism for solidarity. He was 
offended and it became heated.

My point is this: that given the unique racial dimension to the class 
struggle in the United States, white people on the far left here must exercise 
sensitivity when approaching our African brothers and sisters. To go into an 
oppressed community to try and sell your literature and recruit people into your 
organization is an insult to the people of that community. Real solidarity is 
making contact with the most aware and enlightened groups and ask them what they 
need by way of assistance in their struggle first. Build trust by acknowledging 
their history of oppression and racism at the hands of the white ruling class 
- not through words but deeds. This history surely accords the African comm
unity the prominent role in the struggle for social and economic justice within 
the US.

The recent demos which took place against the war did not take this history 
into account. I didn't see one poster or flyer which drew the connection 
between prisoner abuse in Iraq and prisoner abuse in San Quentin or Lompoc; which 
drew the connection between the occupation of Palestine and the occupation of 
South Central or Harlem by the police. Social and economic injustice at home 
feeds imperialism and militarism abroad. In order to end one we must end the 
other. And if we are to resist domestic social and economic oppression, we must 
confront the plight of the oppressed African communities.

Only by doing so, I contend, do we stand any chance to build a strong, 
militant movement within the United States.

I'd be interested to hear other opinions.


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