against 'entrenched identities'

Max Sawicky sawicky at
Mon Jun 29 08:37:46 PDT 1998

> The activists who attended the BRC have continued in various struggles.
> There was just a big march on Washington,D.C. this spring in support of
> U.S. political prisoners and against the proto-faascist ,
> superexploitative nature of the growing prison population, its racist
> composition and it privatization and profitization. That is one place it
> is now. In Michigan there is organizing against the attack on
> affirmative action at the Univ. of Mich.

I have heard of the campus actions re: affirmative action. I missed notice of the DC action, and probably of others too, but I will stick by my stand that there isn't much going on of this type outside of campuses, and not all that much there either.

> . . .
> I am talking about you, a white person leftist not being shy about
> getting an anti-racist agenda in front of all the white people you know,
> most of whom are wage-laborers essentially and objectively workers. I am

I'm not shy at all. When I do get a chance to speak to mixed groups of workers, though, I try to use it to best advantage, which means not prioritizing race. If I was speaking to a mostly minority audience, I would try to connect race to class, along the lines I've been discussing.

> not talking about Farrakhan or Sharpton or any other Black people,
> nationalist or not, convincing the vast majority of white people of to
> divest of racism. You have to persuade yourselves of that. I am saying

No I don't expect these dudes to convince whites to "divest of racism." To begin with, they don't have any moral authority cause they have both done revolting things. I do think black leaders of class actions by their very existence convert whites away from racism.

> that even Farrakhan's rhetoric is not any real barrier to white workers
> to make a radical change in this country. They don't think "I'm sick and
> tired of this system. I am going to become a dedicated revolutionary
> until we change it." and then hear a REPORT on a speech by Farrakhan and
> change their minds. Black nationalism is a red herring in explaining the
> lack of "activism" by the potentially effective agent for radical change
> in this country.

Never said nationalism explained the lack of action by whites, except in the narrow sense that when Jesse Jackson appears on platforms with Rev. Al, he limits the extent to which his message is well-received by white workers. You've said some uncomplimentary things about JJ, but the point would follow for Adolph Reed or anyone else.

Nationalism does explain to some extent the lack of action by blacks. Like POMO or ultra-leftism, it can be an excuse to do nothing.

> . . .
> The Million Man March had followup in Detroit in the nature of its
> subject which was not very overtly political. Of course, Detroit is a
> 75% Black city. Do you spend much time in the Black community ? I think
> part of the reason you don't find much Black activism is that you are
> out of touch with Black people.

You don't know anything about me or who I spend time with, and I have no need or intention of regaling anyone with my multicultural life style, so better not to go there. This is a pretty lame mode of argument--explaining why I'm wrong, rather than why what I say is wrong.

> . . .
> race. Didn't even mention the word. He lost, but this real life example
> demonstrates that your fear of Black nationalism is exaggerated. Black
> nationalism often has a lot of progressive class radicalism embedded in
> it, as Louis Pro's essay deomonstrates. . .

Got no fear of black nationalism, and don't disagree that it can and has led to 'progressive class radicalism.' I'm glad you agree that the latter is what is of chief interest.

Maybe you're arguing with me because Rakesh has checked out, but we're not alike.



More information about the lbo-talk mailing list