[Marxism] Of victory and victories

S. Artesian 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 
black labor.

----- 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 
> clear
> exposition of core issues.

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