[Marxism] Talkin about a union and the Swift raids

Joaquin Bustelo jbustelo at bellsouth.net
Fri Dec 22 15:22:12 MST 2006

Charles Brown writes: "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."

AFAIK the "Negro question" played zero role in this split. LATER
--especially under pressure from the Russians-- the CP adopted the sorts of
positions Charles describes, but not at the time of the split, I don't

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

There's been a lot of (silly) debate on the Left about what is and is not a
nation, mostly on the basis of Stalin's 1913 pamphlet written when Lenin and
the Bolsheviks still had --frankly-- a Kautskyite position on the national
question. So I leave aside the question of who is or isn't a "nation."

That said, Latinos in the U.S. have been in the process of becoming a
separate and distinct people or nationality for some time. What is involved
is not just the common elements of language and culture shared by people
from Latin America, nor the creation of what is essentially a nationwide
Spanish-language and ethnic market, but most of all white supremacy, the
placing of the brand of inferiority by dominant society.

The immigrant rights upsurge from the spring shows that this more-or-less
"objective" process has now undergone a qualitative change: it is now a
political reality. Latinos as a people are now a political subject, an
actor, just like the Blacks, albeit without the same degree of coherence as
yet. And as an oppressed people I believe revolutionaries are duty-bound to
support their right to self-determination, i.e., to decide their own
collective destiny, up to and including separation.

What forms that collective self-determination may take, I don't think we can
even hazard a guess, because I think it will depend a great deal on what
happens in Latin America and what Black people decide to do.

On the "Black, Brown and white, unite and fight" slogan, I don't see any use
for or validity in it at the present time. I'm for Black-Brown unity but I'm
not for unity with "whites" as whites. "Whites" as whites is the problem, it
is the enemy, that's Americanism and imperialism. "White" is what needs to
be smashed.

Interpreted as a call specifically for "workers" to unite despite their
racial/national differences (and I would add gender), history shows this
"color blind" unity is a fraud. Even after they started letting Black folks
into (some) unions, because you couldn't have a union without them, the
union movement prioritized organizing in majority or exclusively white
sectors of the economy and regions of the country. And in terms of top union
leadership on a national scale, it's STILL a white, male club. 

The basis for unity can't be "despite" race or gender or "regardless" of
race or gender. It has to be AGAINST white supremacy and patriarchy. 


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