[Marxism] US Blacks: caste, race, or nation?

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at berkeley.edu
Mon Mar 6 18:42:26 MST 2006

Someone named JD wrote:

>I disagree. America's blacks are of African ethnicity, plain and simple,

I guess there is no argument then but what do you mean by ethnicity? 
What is the the singular African
ethnicity of which you speak? I don't think the most radical neo 
Herskovitian exponent of African retentions would go so far as to say 
African Americans are an African ethnicity. I guess they
only innovated American culture without becoming themselves of an 
American ethnicity.

>whose ancestors were wrenched from their homes, culture and nations, 
>to the US as both commodities and slave, not exploited, labor.

slave labor is not exploited labor. wow.

>  To refer to them
>as members of the American working class negates their lack of parity with
>members of the American working class outside of their ethnic group.

it does why? where have I negated that lack of parity? Moreover to 
deny that African Americans
have been members of the working class negates that their labor was 
the pivot for the economic
development of this country and the rise of the West which 
retrospectively imagined itself
as autonomous and exceptional from the start. .

>of racism and rejection by both the bosses and American workers - i.e.,
>individually and collectively - has led to the honest mistrust which 
>exists among
>most blacks towards white, regardless of intent.


>  Despite over three centui.es
>in the US, blacks have yet to be fully assimilated into American society. The
>majority still reside in all black communities, where their own 'street'
>culture has developed, under siege to all intent and purposes by the 
>police. Their
>position on the bottom rung of the economic ladder has ensured a high level of
>crime and the subsequent inordinate rate of incarceration among young black
>males in the US gulag system, providing slave labor for various US 

Which as we now know is not exploited labor.

>The fact that blacks in America have yet to be fully assimilated, regardless
>of affirmative actions initiatives, etc., the fact they continue to be
>oppressed by the state to this day, economically, politically and 
>legally; these
>facts provide confirmation that as a people who endure this shared 
>oppression, a
>shared history of oppression, then they do constitute a separate nation with
>the right to self determination, if they so decide.

So if by some hegemonic process among blacks a decision is made to 
set up a new nation in, say, Liberia
I guess you would be more than willing to help raise the funds. To 
get them out of town as soon as possible. But the very idea of the 
self sufficiency of blacks, as a bloc, a group on to itself, a group 
which could be excommunicated or annihilated is exactly one important 
mark of modern racism; in other hierarchical systems the oppressed 
group is seen as an intrinsic, albeit subordinate,  part of the 
whole, a group which is exactly not an outcaste.

African Americans are part of the American working class; they have 
suffered burdens over and above simple economic exploitation, 
resulting from the way in which they were singularly exploited. This 
requires special organization and imposes upon the working class the 
responsibility of integrating and uplifting its sisters and brothers. 
Calling for their right to go away and set up their own nation is a 
cop out, and a capitulation to racism.


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