[Marxism] Talkin about a union and the Swift raids

Charles Brown cbrown at michiganlegal.org
Fri Dec 22 13:55:12 MST 2006

dwalters If I may make a point on this. . .

The slogan of "Black , Brown and white unite and fight" is fine, and is a
worthy goal. Certainly this one of the main reasons for US unions today
since unions are organized around the issue uniting all components of the US
working class regardles of nationality or language or color.

But...often this slogan has been used, and by this I'm thinking of the CP
but it can apply to other groups across ideological lines, as a way of
*preventing* the self-organization of oppressed sections of the working
class. In the current
discussion, I think everyone on this list is for union organizing with an
emphisis on immgirant labor. But immigrant labor, or immigrants, or "brown"
people should have to wait until unions as multi-racial organizations are
organized. One of the basic ideas behind that slogan is that the specially
oppressed should fight only for multi-racial organizations and this is an


CB: Thanks for your response , David. I'm curious for you to elaborate with
some specifics. Not to suggest any sectarian dispute, but my impression of
the CP on this is pretty much the opposite. As a Black person, I was
impressed by the fact that the CP originated in part as a split from the
Socialist Party's reduction of the African-American national question to the
class question. The CP specifically acknowledged that there had to be a
special struggle against racist oppression that could not be dissolved into
the class question. Mark Solomon's _The Cry Was Unity_ gives a critical
analysis of the CP's practice in this regard. There was shift in this area
in dropping the position that Black people constituted a nation with full
rights of national self-determination and secession. Nonetheless, Black
people were still considered a specially oppressed racial group.

I don't know if Joaquin is proposing that Latinos constitute a natiion
within the U.S., with full rights of national self-determination and

At any rate, I never interpreted the slogan "Black and white , unite and
fight" as counseling Black people to "wait". There was the National Negro
Labor Council, organized by Black CPer's like Coleman Young and Dave Moore
in the early 50's. There's _Strategy for a Black Agenda_ by Henry Winston.
Affirmative action derived from the CP's super-seniority union concept.
Afterall, "Black and white, unite and fight" doesn't say Black and white
workers, just Black and white people


Immigrants should (as they have been doing) organizing their own
groups,"unions", community organizations as manifestations of their *own
self-defense*and not waiting until the general white and native-born come up
to their level
of organization or consiuosness. These organizations can thrive because
theylead by the same people who are organizing them and they do what they
have to
defend their communities. I think this is key. Of course any independent
organizations would be suicidal to reject united front with multi-racial
organiztions or political tendencies outside their own community, but that
is a
question of tactics and the approach these other organizations take toward
ones in question.

I think the "Black , Brown and white unite and fight" is good if it used
the above understanding that no oppressed community should ever have to
in their own defense' while waiting for such united action.


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