[Marxism] Of victory and victories
sartesian at earthlink.net
Sun Dec 14 19:43:45 MST 2008
Over the limit today, but I ask the moderator's indulgence-- because I think
Joaquin's post represents such a step forward that it needs to be
First, apology accepted and appreciated. Secondly, our disagreements
obviously stand, and are deep. Thirdly, I think Joaquin presents a good
distilled, compressed analysis of those differences.
Yes, I think in general those "issues" have to be worked out, or are
subsumed in the class struggle, but I would like to make clear that my
approach is not just, and not just another version of "black and white
unite and fight." I think that approach is idealistic and ignores the
different evolutions of the black and white components of the working class
and the real basis [and limitations] of white privilege.
Couple of examples and then I'll conclude:
1. In Detroit, where I spent some time [before the blast furnace at Great
Lakes Steel blew up and I rethought my career choice, and my location], I
believe and argued that the path for actual class-wide solidarity was not in
black and white unite and fight, but in the conscious defense of black
organizations within the class-- in Detroit that meant white workers
defending DRUM, ELRUM, etc associated with the Leage of Revolutionary Black
Workers against both the attacks of the managers and the UAW bureaucracy.
2. Just recently, in a discussion with others on Loren Goldner's "Meltdown"
list, I threw out, just off-handedly and a bit sarcastically, that if the
the US govt. wanted to "jump start" the US economy, that the real way to do
that would be for the govt. to pay the reparations to African-Americans for
the uncompensated labor during and AFTER slavery [as peonage and indentured
labor was restored and practiced widely with the defeat of Reconstruction,
and the restoration of, not only the planter class, but industrial
production serving Northern industries]. I also threw in reparations for
uncompensated Chinese/Asian labor during the construction of the railroads;
uncompensated and undercompensated labor to those who worked during the
Bracero program; and reparations for Central and South Americans forced to
labor for sub-living wages because of fears of deportation.
Now I do not think reparations are a revolutionary demand, but I certainly
think that such a demand, since it focuses so directly and immediately on
labor, could be a viable vehicle for developing a real class-consciousness,
and that if a Latino, or Asian-American, or African-American working class
organization raised such a demand, the whole nature of capitalism would be
place under examination.
My position on that list was that of a distinct minority [gee-- that
happens to me a lot, doesn't it?] -- with the criticism being that such
demands were "particularized" as opposed to demands of the "entire class"
the "collective worker."
My response was that the only way to reach a condition of the "collective
worker"-- because that "collective worker" is exactly that, a condition--
a quality, not a quantity-- was through detailed examination, understanding,
and defense of the particularized history and demands of the most exploited
sectors of the class.
And in conclusion, it's funny in a way, about Luxemburg since I disagree
with so much of her analysis of the dynamics and the problems in the
accumulation of capital, although I am "sympathetic" to her criticism of
nationalism. But sympathy is not identity. My views were pretty much
formed when I reviewed my work in the civil rights movement and started to
explore what actually triggered the movement-- and that was fundamentally a
change in the techical means and social relations of production, the
mechanization of Southern agriculture during and after WW2, the growth of
industry and the concomitant need for access to "free" black labor. Based
on that reading and what I knew about Marx and uneven and combined
development, I thought it clear that the "democratic" "national" element of
this struggle was temporary, transitional, and would of necessity be
transformed and replaced by class struggle, since at core the issue of black
emancipation is the issue of the organization, use, and emancipation of
----- Original Message -----
From: "Joaquin Bustelo" <jbustelo at gmail.com>
To: <sartesian at earthlink.net>
Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2008 7:23 PM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Of victory and victories
> Well, I think with Sartesian's latest post we've gotten down to a very
> exposition of core issues.
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