[Marxism] re: I'm not convinced that Blacks are a nation within the US nation

thomas muntzer immune_from_demoralization at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 8 02:03:33 MST 2006

> I believe there ARE more "immediate issues" that
> arise from whether you
> approach the Black Liberation Movement and Black
> community on the basis
> of it being a national movement.

Many black people would be offended if you told them,
your nationality is not American, it's "Black." 
Separate from the rest of North Americans.  There's a
reason people have embraced the term
"African-American" - the term says that things are
more complicated than an "African" people living
alongside an "American" nation.  Of course, black
nationalists, pan-Africanists, embrace the term
"African" deliberately cutting out the "American" (I
recall a Dead Prez track).  But to put _all_
African-Americans in that category, to in effect tell
them something of them don't agree with, would be to
pidgeon-hole people into a category.

> But the heart of the proposal
> is to remove the
> Black-run MARTA with something run by whites. So
> we're against it. We
> say it's mostly Blacks (and over the last decade, an
> increasing number
> of Latinos) that ride MARTA and Blacks should run
> it, not white folks
> from the suburbs. 

It sounds like you are right in what you're saying
although now this judgement is being passed third hand
(the activists to you to me).  But why couldn't this
analysis be done under the lens of race and racial
oppression - why talk about a "black nation," when
again, that idea wouldn't make sense to a majority of

> Because if you were to do some super-survey to
> determine, what does the
> *most radical* 1% or 2% or 5% of the U.S. population
> look like --who are
> they?-- I'm convinced we'd see THAT section of the
> population --what
> should be the social base of the radical left-- is
> majority if not
> overwhelmingly Black and Latino.

This is all true.  It's also true what you say, and I
didn't quote you, about the makeup of the anti-war
demonstrations being disproportionately white (and
middle class).  This doesn't prove your claim of the
existence of a black nation.

The terms of this debate are somewhat crude.  Nation
or not.  True or False.  It's much more complicated
than that.  If we had a mass movement, leading the
black population, that was pan-Africanist, or that,
with a mass following, advocated separatism, I'd be
convinced there existed a black nation.  Like there
exists a Kurdish nation within Iraq and Turkey.  Or an
Armenian nation far outside the boundaries of the
state of Armenia.
But the fact is, far from having hegemony over the
black movement, separatism and pan-Africanism have
always simply been one _wing_ of the radical black
movement.  To an equal, and I should say greater
degree, there has been the militant struggle to gain
true social, economic and political equality _within
the U.S. nation_ on the basis of _laying claim_ to the
guarantees of membership in the U.S. nation.  And the
separatist struggle has often had this, and not,
really, separation, as its goal as well.  Thus, as
Nick Fredman is saying, in contrast to Armenians,
Kurds, Basques, and Palestinians, the status of black
people in the U.S. continues to be ambiguous as it
always has.  Joaquin it's not your role to tell black
people what they are or aren't.  Again, the next
generation of black militants will make a decision,
and by all indications the next wave of struggles will
further what really is the project of winning a second
Reconstruction - in the end a transitional demand, and
certainly not a separatist one.

That's not to say blacks are not an oppressed _race_. 
This is something generally accepted amongst black
people.  It's the banner under which massive struggles
in this country are going to be waged.  And the
question of racism should overshadow all the work that
we do, as it sounds like your friends in the transit
struggle understand.

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around 

More information about the Marxism mailing list