'universalism' (was Re: Asia and hormones)

Doug Henwood dhenwood at panix.com
Sat Jun 27 08:43:35 PDT 1998

This bounced to me for some reason or other...

Date: Sat, 27 Jun 1998 08:31:00 -0800 From: Doyle Saylor <djsaylor at netcom.com> Reply-To: djsaylor at netcom.com X-Mailer: Mozilla 3.01-C-MACOS8 (Macintosh; I; PPC) MIME-Version: 1.0 To: LBO <lbo-talk at lists.panix.com> Subject: 'universalism' (was Re: Asia and hormones) Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit

Hello everyone,

Yoshie writes about whites across the spectrum as if all whites are equally racist, committed to racism, committed to the principle of racism etc. What is a white? How many drops of blood make one a white? Or perhaps racism is a social construct, then what about non-"white" racists? Is their racism "white" racism. By Yoshieís reckoning if there is a single racist in any "colored" community the whole community is racist. Yoshie says in all "white" communities throughtout the struggles against racism in the U.S. there have been "white" resistence to racism. The particular virulent variety: left cons. What is a left con? The "answer" for Yoshie is separation. Then after the disappearance of capitalism and racism, and sexism; "universalism".

Yoshie writes (Saturday June 27/98): Universality that may be one day achieved, after the disappearance of capitalism, sexism, racism, etc. and struggles to achieve universality are the _opposite_ of the rhetoric of 'universalism' that falsely passes the narrow, short-term, and sectarian interests (and sometimes even mere prejudices) of white males at the imperial center as 'universal.' And the former cannot be achieved as long as the latter prevails.

The equation of what white guys think and do with 'universalism' is currently prevalent--regrettably even on the Left (such as it is)--because many still believe that white guys ought to be at the center of the Universe.

Doyle Is China a white guys center of the universe? Is South Africa a white guys center of the universe? Etc. I come from the U.S. south. Martin Luther King fought hard to end segregation in the south. The quote by Martin Luther King Yoshie uses:

Yoshie writes (Saturday June 27/98): I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. ('Letter from Birmingham Jail')

Doyle M L King was for integration, not apartheid. He never once argued blacks must separate themselves out and conduct the civil rights struggle as a separatist movement. He welcomed sincere white participation in the black struggle. The combination of progressives made a difference. You use MLK out of context to justify your constant theme of white this and white that. Where is the concept of class in your position? Is class a universalism? Which comes first separation and exclusionism, then class. When does one fight for labor rights, workers rights? After we first end racism against American blacks. Then what about Native Americans? Do we move first to end the racism against Native Americans since they suffered more than any other single group in the U.S by far? Or is their numbers too small to matter on your chart of racist "white" politics? Is the racism against Irish people, and Jewish people a part of the "white" conflation you make? Do we move first to separate out Jewish people, and Irish people so the fight against the racism can be consistent and workable. There are still plenty of racists against these "white" groups by the way.

Doyle What is a white? Give me a scientific definition of "white". If not science, then give me a "cultural" definition of a white racist so that their presence in the movement can be found and destroyed as a political influence upon the class fight against capitalism. Tell me what their philosophy is because I will learn and carry out those lessons in class warfare against the enemies of the working class. I like Marxism because it was a guide to ending racism by using universalism, that means class politics to ferret out racist in the movement, identify them, and politically destroy their politics. Marxism doesnít require separatism it requires an end to racism. We name it, we fight it, we win! Let me repeat, We name it (in all the forms, and meanings, whatever it takes), we fight it (not sit back and debate the fine points of which group is the most racist when we engage in class struggle to break the back of the enemy), we win (we use state power to advance the aim of destroying the enemy of socialism; capitalism and itís various tools such as racism, and sexism). We havenít won yet in the U.S. We may some day. I doubt that day will wait for a resolution of "ending racism first" then after capitalism disappears, and racism, and sexism, "ending racism first", then after practical experience of running our system like we want, "ending racism first", or after we use the toilet, "ending racism first", or after we stop at the stop light "ending racism first", or any other ad hoc barrier to the struggle that you might dream up to keep things where they are now. Doyle Saylor

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list