Racism, politics, science, etc.

Charles Brown CharlesB at CNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Mon Jul 6 13:05:15 PDT 1998

>>> Wojtek Sokolowski writes:

2. I do not subscribe to the line 'my suffering is greater than your suffering." First, it requires an empirical proof that Blacks are economicaaly worse of than Whites simply because of their skin color, and not, say, education, skills, experience etc. (being brutalized by the police is a different thing, though). But even if Blacks (or any other ethnic group) are on average worse of than other groups, that does not mean that they have a special role in the struggle for a social change. Getting a raw deal is NOT a proof of virtue or a qualification for a special status.

In _Black Workers and Class Struggle_ Roscoe Proctor formulated this that Black workers are more militant than White workers on average, but that doesn't mean they are more class conscious.

There is constant public, academic, sociological evidence that the material conditions of life of Black people is worse than that of whites. I'm not going try to lay out the complete evidence, but any observer of statistics on life expectancy, infant mortality, poverty however defined, diseases of all types, unemployment, homelessness, levels of education, etc, etc, etc demonstrates the consistent difference in quantity and quality of life. You can speak as if the evidence is not there, but it would take minimal research to discover the answer to your empirical uncertaintly

It is good that you go on and assume it is true. So, number one there is a tendency to more militancy among Black people for the obvious reason that the system is screwing you over worse.

The issue you keep ignoring is that Marx and Engels, whose credentials on strategies for overthrowing capitalism and strategies for the working class revolution are better or as good as anybody's ,focus on nationality and race as a first task of the working class. Notice not as "religion" as you try to make out below and above. Are you saying Marx and Engels are being religious when they make the STRATEGIC point in the class battle, "Workers of all countries , unite." If you do , again, their critique of religion is as good as yours. You don't seem to get that that slogan is speaking to dominant nationalities of workers like British workers vis-a-vis Irish workers

or white American workers in relation to black American workers, that their FIRST task is not a shorter work week, or better working conditions , or unemployment insurance or any other directly economic goals. FIRST, to fight the bourgeoisie you have to stop that DOMINANCE of one worker group over another, racism and great power chauvinism.

So don't try to make out that you have the materialist position. Along with Marx and Engels, those of us who urge fighting racism are the ones who have the materialist position in the argument. You think materialism (non-religion) means focussing on ECONOMIC issues. You are making the same error that the Economists did in Russia when Lenin polmecized against them in _What is to be Done ?_ . Ultimately, your position is the idealist one, by the same route that Kautsky's mechanicalist errors are or Feuerbach's contemplative materialism.

The materialist position on the struggle in the United States sees that to win the class struggle , Black /white unity is key; and fighting racism in the white working class is the key to Black/white unity.

You act like you are proposing strategy and we are crying poverty and foul. We are not crying . We are charging. Get the difference ?

You are calling us the bleeding heart liberals when you are the liberal. It is like the working class as the focus of communists , not because they are the poorest and weakest, but because they are the most powerful potential class in history. Communists focus on the working class' strengths as well as suffering. Liberals only see poverty. Likewise, our attitude toward Black people is because of their revolutionary potential and other strengths. You think we are focussing on their weakness because that's all you, as a liberal, see. You don't see Black people's special strengths and special contributions to revolution in part because they are more militant. These special strengths aren't anti-white worker. The white worker with a clear class consciousness is glad to see all the strengths any contingents of workers bring to the struggle. Black extra strengths are pro-white worker strengths within the class struggle against the bourgeoisie.

Stop characterizing my position as focussing on Black people's weaknesses as the basis for attention to their revolutionary potential. Stop portraying my position as other than fighting racism as a material , key strategic task for the white working class BEFORE THEY CAN OVERTHROW CAPITALISM or fight capitalism if you are a reformist. It is necessary for the unity needed to beat the bourgeoisie. Acknowledge that Marx and Engels focussed on ending nationality dominance and racist dominance in the strategic slogans for the working class "Workers of the world etc" and " Labor in the white skin will never be emancipated , as long as labor in the Black is branded." Or give an argument why these are not placing the national question as the main task to deal with for dominant nationalities and races of the working class. Or say you think you have a better strategy than Marx and Engels ( not Charles) for the working class, including the white workers. Because that's who they are speaking to in these slogans.

Otherwise , your continuing to repeat the same argument and naming me as having the argument you argue against is a hoax.

Charles Brown

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