ontology of class and race? Black class consciousness

Charles Brown CharlesB at CNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Thu Jul 9 09:30:26 PDT 1998

This thread poses an interesting puzzle among some common themes on the list, including Democrats and racism. I endorse and have learned from the ruthless critiques of Michael Hoover and Jim Heartfield , et al. of the stinginess of Roosevelt and New Deal racial 'equality'.

Yet, one still wonders why there was this clear shift of party loyalty by Black people. My first thought is that despite the discriminatory dispensation of the New Deal, Black people are "very" working class - a higher proportion of Black people are working class and Black people are concentrated in the poorest sectors of the working class. Thus, the social democratic pro-working class reforms of the New Deal (won by mass working class struggle not volunteerily given), limited as they were, were felt and appreciated by Black people, and Black people shifted parties based on class consciousness.

That hypothesis is pertinent to the ongoing debate over role of Black people in working class struggle. Despite historic discrimination. Black people will be front and center at the final conflict, *the Internationale*.

Charles Brown

>>> "hoov" <hoov at freenet.tlh.fl.us> 07/09 11:19 AM >>>
> Just what did Roosevelt do to
> win the enthusiastic affection of so many Blacks, who previously voted with
> the
> party of Lincoln?
> Michael Perelman

Roosevelt put a few Blacks into visible positions in his administration and appointed race relations advisers to some federal departments... recognition of unionization efforts by the administration likely meant that Blacks benefiting from CIO (which adopted a generally non- discriminatory policy in the North) activities would vote Dem... white liberals such as Harold Hopkins, who administered the Federal Emergency Relief Program & the Works Progress Administration, attempted to provide relief and public works on a non-discriminatory basis... Eleanor Roosevelt angered many whites with her public support for Black equality (for example, in 1939, when soprano Marian Anderson was denied use of DC's Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution, ER resigned from the organization & arranged an open-air concert at the Lincoln Memorial)...

but, the Roosevelt administration did not enforce minimum wage requirements (established under the National Recovery Act) where Blacks were concerned, African-Americans received less than their proportional share of public assistance, and Blacks were excluded from the Civilian Conservation Corps.. .moreover, many Blacks worked jobs that were not covered by New Deal provisions for minimum wages, unemployment compensation, & social security. ..and FDR refused to support two federal anti-lynching bills, both of which were defeated in Congress...Michael Hoover

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