BRC debate

Charles Brown charlesb at
Mon Jun 29 11:24:16 PDT 1998

>>> Jim heartfield writes:

So let me get this right.

The sum effect of our debate over the BRC was that Rakesh, for failing to wholy endorse the BRC was denounced as a naive racist and resigned, leaving us a little closer to being an exclusively white list.


Here, Jim and I do not agree. Rakesh is being a bit thinskinned in quitting. As I said earlier to him, don't dish it out if you can't take it. His rhetoric in attacking the BRC was very provocative. The counter arguments came on the same rhetorical level as his, so his posturing as "victim" now is phony.

Jim makes a critical misrepresentation when he says Rakesh was "denounced" for "failing to wholy endorse the BRC." Rakesh did not endorse the BRC partially, as one might think from this phrase. He made a vigorous, blanket attack on the BRC, using emotionally charged words, such as "Negro" and "colored". As far as I remember, the responses merely picked up at the rhetorical level he established. I repeat, don't dish it out if you can't take it.

Let me say that a specific and important tactic of the New Racist hegemony established by Reaganism in the U.S. has been to stigmatize the use of the terms "racist" and "racism". Although there is an important difference between rightwing racism and left, it is outrageous to try to make the use of the term out of bounds for " polite " argumentation, including dropping out of debates as if you have been "fouled" when the criticism is raised.

What I said was Rakesh was making a racist argument in denouncing in vivid and sharp terms the BRC as reinforcing socalled reactionary Black nationalism. Absolute opposition to any self-organization of oppressed national groups is reactionary and racist. I will say it unabashedly anytime it comes up.

One doesn't demonstrate the political superiority of one's position by animated posturing in frustration and anger with progressive nationalism, and then, worse, posturing as a VICTIM in the crackback on your pronouncements of absolute anti-nationalism.

Charles Brown

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