ontology of class and race? (was Alabama and Tibet (?))

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jul 9 06:24:38 PDT 1998

Jim Heartfield wrote:
>I think a proper examination of the impact of the New Deal would reveal
>that it is the moment that consolidated the white identity amongst
>second and third generation immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe.
>By welcoming these immigrants - previously excluded - that had flocked
>to the new cities, Roosevelt welded together a new American patriotism
>that was characteristically white, but not necessarily Anglo-Saxon or

Since my young friend Jim Heartfield has been raising hell about Stalin over on Mark Jones's mailing-list, I am somewhat surprised that he left the CPUSA out of the equation here. While I believe that the US left can learn a lot from studying the Browderite period in CP history, when party activists discovered ways to reach the grass roots in labor and the black community, there is another side to this period that is not so positive. This was the tendency to dull the class line between the workers and their allies, and the "enlightened" wing of the bourgeoisie.

Symbolic of this was the output of the CPers in the film industry who turned out a bunch of jingoistic wartime movies. I was at a panel discussion on the blacklist sponsored by the Nation magazine and nobody seemed aware of this phenomenon until I pointed it out during the discussion period. My Trotskyist comrade Jon Barzman's father was Ben Barzman, who wrote an absolutely disgusting Jap-baiting movie starring John Wayne in 1943. This sort of social patriotism lent itself to an anti-communist crusade as soon as the fascists were defeated.

Louis Proyect


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