Black Radical Congress and "the Left"

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at phoenix.Princeton.EDU
Sun Jun 21 17:03:19 PDT 1998


I was speaking to the exclusion of non blacks from this congress, similar of course to Farrakhan's exclusion of nonblacks from the Million Man March. I suggested that in a racially exclusivist congress, it becomes easy to imagine the whole outside world is one unified racist horde and that supposition then affects the kinds of demands which become practical in terms of which to define the black liberation struggle. For example, if one imagines that trade unions have singularly failed blacks--instead of women, the unskilled, the unemployed and other minorities as well--then out of a sense of isolation one is likely to give up on radicalizing the class struggle and instead define the black liberation struggle in terms of black community development, the concrete contents of which are often only set-aside programs for a black petit bourgeoisie, hoping to take advantage of a captive black market.

I think any radical congress should focus quite a bit on racism in the trade unions and in other institutions such as police departments and banks. But then we need to make absolutely clear that the failure of trade unions and the Democratic Party to protect blacks is only part of a more general failure vis a vis the American proletariat as a whole (for example, what kind of battle did Max's beloved House Democrats wage against the new bankruptcy laws?) Only then will it be possible for blacks to realize that they are part of a larger material force which is indeed capable of meeting the material force of capital. This is the only antidote to Cornel West's nihilistic despair, not words of inspiration from the likes of a Reverand Hip Hop Pork Chop. Thanks Rakesh

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