[Marxism] Walter Benn Michaels
redarnie at gmail.com
Sun Sep 6 00:45:26 MDT 2009
Comrades and friends,
With the defense of Michaels' dogma by supposed socialists, is there any
wonder people of color in the U.S. feel isolated in the movement and have
trouble recruiting peers to the socialist cause?
When questioned about his rabid, anti-Asian racism, the writer Jack London
frankly stated: "I am a white person first and a socialist second." How
successful has the socialist movement in the U.S. been in dispelling this
image among people of color? (As an aside, when anyone promotes London as a
"socialist" or "progressive", that person is immediately suspect in my
I would not characterize Michaels as a racist like London but I think an
appropriate characterization of Michaels would be that he is a well-meaning
white person first and a dogmatic, theoretician second. Neither London nor
Michaels served or serves the movement much good.
Fighting for racial equality can only be a "distraction" from the class
struggle if the fight for racial equality ignores or denies class issues and
capitalist oppression and exploitation. The fight for racial equality is
futile without also fighting capitalism and the fight for socialism will be
futile without fighting against racial inequality at the same time.
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