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

Jscotlive at aol.com Jscotlive at aol.com
Tue Mar 7 11:22:34 MST 2006

In a message dated 07/03/2006 01:43:38 GMT Standard Time, 
bhandari at berkeley.edu writes:

> 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.


People whose origin is the African continent. I don't think it adds to the 
discussion to try and dessicate this historical origin into the sub-groups you 
seem to be suggesting. Of course, generations of blacks having been a product 
of American society has resulted in an African-American identity. This is a 
wholly different thing than ethnicity. 

You wrote:

slave labor is not exploited labor. wow.


In the context of this discussion, it is different. You have to separate 
chattel slavery from the wage slavery suffered by workers. The human catastrophe 
which was slavery demands it.

You wrote:

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. .


Yes, but black workers suffered, and continue to suffer, a double oppression. 

And, yes, their labor was the pivot for the economic development of the US. I 
agree completely.

You wrote:

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.


The acknowledgement of the right to self determination, I consider an act of 
solidarity. It is not for me, a white man, to tell members of the oppressed 
black communities how they should resist their oppression. In my opinion, the 
white working class in a lump have up to now failed to stand shoulder to 
shoulder with their black counterparts in any meaningful way. The issue of 
reparations is key here. As is the issue of police brutality and the low intensity 
economic war that's been waged by the ruling class on black communities without 

If the overt racism demonstrated by the State in the aftermath of Hurricane 
Katrina isn't capable of bringing whites and other races onto the streets of 
every US city in numbers in solidarity with its victims, is it pandering to 
racism to point out that in the interests of their own defence, blacks in America, 
rejected by American society, have every right to consider their future 
within that society?

Pandering to racism would be to focus on the symptoms of the war taking place 
against blacks and black communities - i.e., gang violence, black on black 
crime, the gangsta culture and lifestyle which has taken hold - focusing on that 
and attributing it to choice, lack of pride, self respect and all of that 

The analysis I've offered here is based on the right of black Americans to 
opt for an extreme solution to the extreme oppression they've endured since they 
first stepped foot in the US.


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