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

Patrick Scott redpatrick1960-marxism at yahoo.co.uk
Tue Mar 7 04:58:16 MST 2006

--- Rakesh Bhandari <bhandari at berkeley.edu> wrote:

>   Blacks are neither a caste nor a race nor a
> nation. They are members 
> of the American working
> class

So there are no bourgeois or petty bourgeois blacks in
the USA. Well that's news to me.

And blacks aren't a race? Well in a sense that's true.
Race is a social construct which in the context of
anti Black racism was intially used to justify
slavery. In a non racist society there would be no
races, just people who happened to be black or white
just as there would be people people who happened to
be tall or short, fat or thin etc.

There is no such thing as a Jewish race but there is
such a thing as anti Jewish racism (or anti-semitism).

Neither is there any such thing as an Irish race but
certainly in Britain there is such a thing as anti
Irish racism.

African Americans have a distinct historical identity
as a community and have a far greater claim to be
defined as an oppressed racial minority than either
Jewish or Irish people. A historical identity formed
by the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow etc. and which
persists today for the vast majority through
ghettoization, high rates of poverty, prison
incarceration etc.

The question of black self determination within the
USA is not quite as abstract as some people on the
last might think. I'm sure we are all aware of the
recent uprisings in the North African ghettos in Paris
and elsewhere in response to racism and racist
provocation. In my opinion it's only a matter of time
before the black ghettoes in the USA erupt and this
could well dwarf anything that happened in France.
What may well be posed given such a situation is
should the US government have the right to enforce its
racist rule over the ghettoes. Would we support or
oppose US troops or the National Guard being sent into
Harlem or Watts? We would oppose it but by opposing
the right of the government to rule over the black
ghettoes poses the formation of another government or
state. This is a possible scenario through which the
question of black self determination within the USA
may be posed. 

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