[Marxism] Did Cannon have a "liquidationist" position on theBlack question in the U.S.?

thomas muntzer immune_from_demoralization at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 4 15:03:58 MST 2006

In response to Joaquin:

First of all I think you're doing a bit of a straw man
argument.  You say we all have to recognize black
people as a "people."  Virtually everyone on here
already does.  We can actually view black workers as
workers, North American workers (which you seem to
associate with this idea of "liquidationism"), while
*also* viewing them as members of an oppressed
nationality.  It may be that in the coming period
radical movements of black people will be framed in
terms of race, but of course continue to also have a
deep class content.  It may also be, and I think this
is more likely, that in the coming period black people
will be swept up in a more general movement of workers
that emphasizes class - but in this case the struggle
against racism (cultural, political, social,
economic), or as you put it the national struggle of
black people, won't be erased.

Those of us who are in groups that are mostly
non-white or are doing work in poor communities made
up of people of color cannot afford not to have a
policy with regards to separatism or internationalism
*within* the _combined_ national-class movement of,
say, black people.  For example: in a community
meeting over the decrepit state of a local high
school, black nationalist activists raise the notion
of building a black only organization to address the
problems of black students, when the large majority of
the students are latino and are facing the same
problems (even though there are race riots between
latino and black students).  One needs a correct
position there - unite and fight, in *spite* of the
nationalist sentiments.

Or in a police brutality meeting dominated by the NOI,
where the question of uniting with predominantly white
left groups, predominantly white unions, or whatever
else, comes up.  One needs a position *within* the
national movement, again, in this case it would be to
push for unity with whatever working class or radical
forces are serious about working against police
brutality.  There are other cases where it makes sense
to organize separately.  But when you're inside these
communities it's simply not enough to say one is for
"self-determination."  There are worlds inside that
phrase, in fact, to say "self-determination" is simply
to /name/ an entire arena of struggle thats laid
before us as revolutionaries. We have to go out and
actually make it happen.

Part of what I am saying is that in fighting within
the national movement we need to fight our hardest to
show the class component of the struggle and on that
basis connect it to the broader "inter-national" (in
every sense) class struggle.

But let me say this last thing.  The US revolutionary
party in its numerical composition will be majority
white, because most workers (and students and
semi-proletarians and poor) in this country are white.
 But the vital, probably leading sectors of this party
will be workers who are people of color - like I said
in a previous post, these workers play key roles in
running the crucial nerve centers/productive centers
of the system, occupy strategic positions in the major
coastal cities and in Chicago, Detroit, and other
parts of the mid-West.  And they are among the most

This means that the revolutionary party, unlike in the
Russian case, will need to _compete_ with those
tendencies within the black and latino communities
that advocate separation from the white working class.
 One crucial role of black and latino workers will be
to go to the more backward white workers, educate
them, lead by example, show them the way out of this
capitalist hell hole.  There is no other way -- black
and latino workers can't overthrow the monster on
their own.

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