[Marxism] Comment on my Counterpunch article

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Dec 2 09:17:30 MST 2016


Hi Louis,

Thoughtful essay as always.  After reading this paragraph, I was 
reminded of comments made by a southern manager in 1901.  He is rather 
candid about  using race in a classic divide and rule way.

You:

"Roediger’s argument is not about the need for white workers purging 
themselves of racist attitudes but destroying the institutional basis of 
racism. When Blacks were confined to menial positions in steel mills, 
white workers would naturally be inclined to view them as inferior. When 
you enforce racial equality on the job, attitudes tend to change in 
accordance with the reality that Blacks are just as good as whites at a 
job, even better."

The Foundry, 1901:

“We employ as you see, negroes enough to occupy about half our floors. 
This is not because they are good molders, for not one of them has ever 
attained the average standard of the white molder, or ever will ....This 
is an open shop, and some of our people think it good policy to keep 
enough negroes to show that, if necessary, we could fill up with them. 
If a white man gets ‘cocky,’ it does him good to ask him how he would 
like to see a nigger get his job.... If I had my way I would not have 
one of them around the place, but under the circumstances it may be good 
policy to keep a few of them simply to keep the union from attempting to 
get control of the shop....the highest function of the negro is found in 
the fact that he will not join the union."

The Foundry was edited by a anti-union activist named John Penton.



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