[Marxism] How to answer these questions?

Joaquin Bustelo jbustelo at bellsouth.net
Sat Aug 5 06:58:56 MDT 2006

Sayan WRITES, "It is precisely for these reasons (among others) that the
white working class is by and large alienated from the left (and is in fact
being pushed to the right)."

Sayan refers to my recollection of the chant "gringos, matenlos," as well as
Malcolm X's teachings about white people being devils.

In my opinion, the truth is precisely the *opposite*. The independent
national movement of Blacks and Chicanos did not repel working people in
general, but on the contrary, moved them to the "left."

But there is a much more interesting question raised by Sayan's post, which
is that of "the white working class."

Where is this "white working class"? Who is in this "white working class"? 

My contention is that insofar as white folks act as such, as white people,
the working class has nothing to do with it. The act as members of an
*oppressor nation,* not AT ALL as members of an exploited class. 

Although I don't go around calling myself a "Trotskyist," I think the Old
Man had a thing or two to teach us about the right tone, attitude and stance
towards oppressor nations.  

"[T]oday the white workers in relation to the Negroes are the oppressors,
scoundrels, who persecute the black and the yellow, hold them in contempt
and lynch them....

"99.9 per cent of the American workers are chauvinists, in relation to the
Negroes they are hangmen and they are so also toward the Chinese. It is
necessary to teach the American beasts. It is necessary to make them
understand that the American state is not their state and that they do not
have to be the guardians of this state. Those American workers who say: ‘The
Negroes should separate when they so desire and we will defend them against
our American police’—those are revolutionists, I have confidence in them."

I think operating with the concept of "the white working class," rather than
"scoundrels" and "beasts" is politically dangerous. I think it leads to
adaptation to American (white) chauvinism, as Trotsky tried to explain to
the delegations from the U.S. Trotskyists who discussed these issues with
him in the 1930's.


And a PS for Adam: Trotsky knew so little about the reality of Black folks
he wanted comrades to investigate whether they Blacks their own language.
Which did not prevent him from being right, and the comrades who knew more
about it from being wrong.

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