[Marxism] Moe Fishman
walterlx at earthlink.net
Sun Aug 12 12:53:10 MDT 2007
Mark Naison't COMMUNISTS IN HARLEM IN THE TIME OF THE DEPRESSION
graphically demonstrates how much influence the Communist Party
USA was able to generate in domestic political life here in the
United States at that time. The CP became a center for political
and cultural life, particularly in the Black community where a
lo of prominent artists and writes were in or around the CPUSA.
These people weren't overly concerned with, and went along with
the various political positions which the CPUSA took on issues
within the Soviet Union, where they naturally followed the lead
of the CPUSA leadership, which followed that of the leadership
of the Soviet Union - the Stalinist bureaucracy - but for the
most part, these foreign policy issues weren't their focus.
Ossie Davis, whose FBI file surprised him when it described his
main offense as that he was an associate of Ruby Dee (his wife)
made this rather astute observation about how and why he had
the politics which he had:
I was never a Communist, but I was a fellow traveler.
Though layered, my loyalty was never split; always
at the bottom, even if I did have to constantly shuffle
my tactics, was black itself. I was "red" only when
I thought it was a smarter way of being "black."
--- With Ossie and Ruby; In This Life Together (1998)
This observation is a reflection of, and a tribute to, the role
which the CPUSA played in the Black struggle in the U.S. then,
a role which drew to it such figures as W.E.B. DuBois, Richard
Wright and many others. Some stayed and moved closer, others
moved away for various reasons. But the historical role of the
CP as a cultural center for the development of Black and other
forms of cultural resistance, documented these days by people
like Alan Wald and others, is part and parcel of our legacy as
we strive to build a new movement to replace capitalism in the
United States of America.
Similarly, the role of the Communist Party in the struggle for
black liberation in South Africa is one of the reason why the
South African Communist Party has made so strong an alliance
with the African National Congress, and one which the ANC is
also anxious to maintain. Let's remember that alliance was one
of the things which the apartheid regime was most desperate to
break as the days of the apartheid regime were coming to an end.
(Read Mandela's letter to the apartheid regime rejecting their
demands that the ANC break with the South Afrida CP, written
in 1989, to see him spelling this out in precise terms.)
Simply put, the Communist Party of South Africa was one of the
few organizations in that country's political life which had
a notable number of white members who committed themselves
completely to the struggle against apartheid, and thus its
members were also welcomed into membership in the ANC, so it
is an alliance which was born in struggle, and which won't
be broken up without a very good reason.
Los Angeles, California
I was talking with my grandparents and great aunt about a year ago.
They all grew up in New York City during the depression. My aunt
mentioned seeing a scene like this when she was young, whereupon my
grandmother said something like "but they were Communists!". My aunt
replied, "I don't care who they were. They were for the people."
I hope we can build a left that has that kind of clout with regular
writer - photographer - activist
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