[Marxism] Obama Calls for More Responsibility From Black Fathers

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Tue Jun 17 08:59:38 MDT 2008


Well, I have to admit that I always find this kind of bourgeois moralizing
from above at Black men and Black youth in general to be kind of disgusting
and Pecksniffian. It contributes exactly nothing to solving the real
political, social, and moral crises that Black men, Black women, and Black
children are confronting today.

I believe Black fathers should be required to pay child support, and that
Black mothers should be able to get court orders to do this. But I am quite
hostile to the scope of social policing that is now being used to do this --
where Black women must help the state to hunt down their former companions
in order to qualify for what is left of welfare, Medicaid and so on.

As for new laws, I am beginning to think that the main effect of new laws
about this and other matters is to jam more Black men into the prisons,
which hardly points to any solution to the problems but is aimed at breaking
and demoralizing Black resistance, including among women.

The key to beginning to turn these problems around is a new rise of the
Black and women's movements, the defense of illegal immigrants, and more
struggle and unity within and among oppressed and exploited groups. 

Then the preaching can come from below, from the people rising up -- not
from bourgeois finger-waggers justifying their own sense of superiority.
Like the "reformers" in Scorsese's fine movie Gangs of New York. (Moral
reform from below was part of the early impact on a real layer of people of
the rise of the Black Muslims and Malcolm X, in the context of a growing
fight for Black rights.)

Ultimately, solving these problems will require not only struggle and moral
preaching from below rather than above, but also (horror of horrors!)
material incentives.

Obama is simply reflecting the layer of the Black community that he
represents and is part of today today -- the upper strata, the bourgeois or
near-bourgeois strata. They are, of course, a product of the struggle of the
whole people for rights, but they nonetheless tend to moralize the rest to
death, presenting themselves as role models.

Of course Obama's campaign itself, and the wide support it has won in the
Black community and among working people, is a product of and partly an
expression of those struggles. It is those people (and others), not Obama,
that I look to for change, not Obama or the Democratic Party. Which does not
change my opinion that Obama's campaign and nomination are, along with the
strong possibility that he will be elected, positive developments in US
bourgeois politics.

I insist, for existence, that the support for a more-or-less liberal
bourgeois Black candidate for president by millions of white workers and
youth is a movement away from the racist political norms (call it the
Republican "southern strategy" or the Clintonian Democratic "triangulation")
that the ruling class has imposed successfully for the last several decades,
and a positive indication for the future of the Black and overall class
struggle in the United States. And this is not something that just popped
into my head but the product of a lot of antiracist and industrial
experience as well as study of such matters.

So I am guilty once again, as in the case of Cuba, of entertaining "hope"
based on political judgment.
Fred Feldm[an







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