[Marxism] Communists and black liberation

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Feb 20 13:55:13 MST 2016

On 2/20/16 3:12 PM, Andrew Stewart via Marxism wrote:
> My latest piece on the history of the Old Left and African Americans.
> http://www.rifuture.org/have-a-radical-black-history-month-communism-and-black-liberation.html
> Best regards,
> Andrew Stewart

Andrew, Stalin's understanding of the national question was highly 
problematic as Jim Blaut pointed out in an article:


	Stalin put forward a fully diffusionist theory of nationalism in 1913; 
ironically, his point of departure was Lenin's earlier views, before 
Lenin had analyzed the dynamics of colonialism and imperialism.

	Stalin's 1913 essay, “Marxism and the National Question,” has had 
immense influence on Marxism down to the present, mostly because its 
basic thrust is to argue that nationalism is essentially a bourgeois 
phenomeno and national movements are not, in most cases, progressive and 
they will not, in general, succeed in forming new states, an argument 
that has almost always been used by those Marxists who reject 
nationalism in general or oppose some particular national movement (see 
Blaut 1987). Stalin's theory starts with the axiom that national 
movements are simply an aspect of the rise of capitalism; they are 
progressive only when capitalism is commencing its rise in a particular 
region; they are not progressive—— are either frivolous or 
reactionary—in all other circumstances. Capitalism has now fully risen, 
says Stalin; therefore national movements are not progressive, although 
(putting forward the Bolshevik position) the right of peoples to 
struggle for independence must be recognized. This is pure Euro- 
Marxism. It sees capitalism as a wave diffusion spreading out from 
Western Europe across the world's landscapes, and nationalism as nothing 
more than a part of that diffusion;hence as”bourgeois national- ism.”


That does not get into the question of why so many Blacks ended up 
hating the CPUSA, which involved its practice. When A. Philip Randolph 
began organizing a March on Washington in 1941 to protest the KKK and 
demand desegregation in the army, the CPUSA denounced him as undermining 
the war effort.

The CPUSA did a lot of good things in the 1930s and 40s to fight racism 
but given its bureaucratic methods and its subservience to the Kremlin, 
it was a poor substitute for the kind of organizing that was necessary.

When Malcolm X began building a Black nationalist movement in the 1960s, 
he was denounced by the CPUSA for being "divisive", which was the 
strange inverse of its "Black Belt" program. In the 1920s, they pushed 
for it despite the lack of a mass movement for it and when Blacks began 
pushing for Black control of the Black community in the mid-60s, they 
opposed it.

When you keep making big mistakes like this, you lose credibility. That 
is among the reasons the CP is falling apart like all other Leninist sects.

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