[Marxism] Blacks as a Nation (Was Re: Adios, Marxmail)

Mark Lause MLause at cinci.rr.com
Sat Nov 6 08:20:35 MST 2004


It would be interesting, perhaps, to hear the case argued that African
Americans constitute a "nation."  Back in the early 1970s, this was a
point of disagreement between myself and the SWP leadership.  I don't
necessarily disagree with you, but I'm very fuzzy about the criteria.

On the other hand, I frankly think the act of intellectually declaring
blacks a "nation" abstracted the question and allowed the predominantly
white socialist movement to abstain from many concrete struggles in
which race and racism were central. (In fact, our YSA local was
explicitly told to stay away from the Panthers--except for selling them
MILITANTS, of course--because they had to work out their own problems.) 

In an earlier discussion of class, I defended the basics of E.P.
Thompson's approach that consciousness of class had to be a central
component.  Far more traditionally in the Marxist tradition, nationalism
requires conditions, consciousness, etc. in the real material world.
The conditions and the consciousness of black America are very different
today than they were in the late 1960s.

I would like to hear--and expect that I would learn something
myself--from hearing this case made.

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