Black Radical Congress and "the Left"

Doyle Saylor djsaylor at
Mon Jun 22 10:03:04 PDT 1998

Hello everyone,

It appears from the commentary I've seen that Black Radical Congress allowed "whites" to attend. So I suppose one would have to ask what is the point of the comment that "whites" were excluded? It seems to me that a lot of this "debate" lacks specifics about what was meant by what with this particular congress. Is the Congress advocating "Black" nationalism (which I doubt since I know from the list of attendees that most don't seem to advocate such thoughts)? What does nationalism mean? A strickly "black" nation in the borders of the U.S.? A revolutionary anti-colonial movement within the U.S.? A communist like Ho Chi Minh to lead the masses in a revolt in Arkansas hill country?

Louis Proyect wrties: "The Russian Revolution demonstrated that the nationalism of the oppressed can be a powerful force in the workers revolution. The Bolsheviks remained open to the idea of cross-class national liberation formations fighting side by side with communist organizations. Support for the Kuomingtang was only withdrawn after it became obvious that the bourgeoisie had become hegemonous."

Doyle Most people who have at least some idea of the national histories of the world including national liberation struggles would find it bizarre to conclude that a "national" liberation struggle of black people could happen in the U.S. based upon the concept of the "black" race. And when this group wins their "just" struggle, are whites welcome in their national territory. The Russian revolution collapsed in 1989, and in places like Yugoslavia, nationalism went straight into petty racist ethnic cleansing. How do you stop this from happening in the U.S.? The whole "black" population is about 12% of the population, and that seems unlikely to rise in order to provide any kind of a hope to prevail as a strategy against the bulk of the country. A nationalist movement would provoke civil war, and we have our own history to make clear exactly what that would be like. A relatively weak "racial" minority against the rest of the country. What a brilliant concept for socialist internationalism.

Doyle It is clear to me that people must have "self" autonomy, self determination in a state to feel a part of the state. "Black" people lack that sense of self, because of the racist nature of the U.S. state. But that seems to me to be a problem of the "state", to which Louis Proyect seems unwilling to see was a problem in the Russian experiment. The Russians failed miserably in relation to China when Stalin had the chance. The comment about the Koumintang demonstrates how little you get the problems that develop between nationalist movements, and how little good Stalin did for the Chinese during that period. What is this little war between Eritrea, and Ethiopia about?

Doyle Biologically speaking, I mean in a scientific sense please explain to me the "racial" difference between me (I'm a "mongrel" race by the way, and it is none of your business what skin colors I represent) and a black person. Since that is scientific nonsense, I would be amused to find out what it is that you think you are talking about. A social construction which is biologically "essential" perhaps?

Louis Proyect "Rakesh's hostility to black nationalism is a clear illustration of "left conservatism."

Doyle Conservatism is one thing, whatever, you mean by "left", it is another to be highly skeptical of "nationalism" as a means to politically mobilize the masses of the U.S. Rakesh merely states what is obvious about the nature of "excluding" whites. That means political hostility to integration and the idea that a state could be multi-"racial" and not racist. Whose interest does it serve to be hostile to integration? I would reply that the goal is to end racism not promote racism. Not use state mechanisms to further racist divisions, use state mechanisms to crush racist! Doyle Saylor

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list