What 1960s black nationalists believed

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jun 30 05:27:04 PDT 1998

Max Sawicky:
>SNCC's break with non-nationalist politics set
>it on the road to oblivion, but at least it was
>radical oblivion. Integrationist politics could
>have led to more radical politics, as in the case
>of ML King and his successors.

What happened is that King and the black power movement began to converge. This is one of the reasons he became a target of terrorism, besides his opposition to the Vietnam war.

>The gains of the civil rights movement and its
>successors (e.g., Jackson) are pretty straight-
>forward. Some nationalist currents did some
>substantive work at the community level (e.g.,
>Baraka). What were the gains of so-called
>black power? Self-esteem? Poetry anthologies?

The black nationalist movement came into existence because the civil rights movement was ineffectual against the institutionalized racism and de facto Jim Crow in the North. I would say that the main gain of the black nationalist movement was the creation of anticapitalist consciousness in this country. Malcolm X especially identified racism as rooted in the capitalist system. Since I am interested in overthrowing this system, this is much more important to me than it is to you.

>This is the first I've heard of the idea that
>the FBI screwed up SNCC. I always thought
>Stokely did a fine job of that all by himself.
>It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see what
>happened, since you can see the same reasoning
>on this list.

The FBI targetted SNCC at a time when the left was in crisis. Carmichael did not screw up SNCC, nor did Huey Newton screw up the Panthers. The explanation of the failure of these groups was that they were launched in a period of very deep ultraleftism and Maoism. It was virtually impossible for black or student leaders to keep a level head in that period. The only people who did not make foolish mistakes were liberals. By the same token, liberalism is a bankrupt political philosophy that has given us Bill Clinton. My sympathies are with the ultraleftists in the black nationalist movement rather than with people like Clinton who supports the execution of a mentally retarded black man.

>He was (is) an adult. He knew what he was doing.
>He fell for Third Worldist bullshit. It's not so

After replying to you yesterday, it dawned on me that your charge of "antisemitism" was very possibly your interpretation of one of Carmichael's attacks on the Zionist state. Can you remember whether he said that "all Jews should be killed" or "the land of Israel was stolen from the Palestinians?" The difference is important.

>Now you've got me in bed with that prick Sleeper?
>Jesus Christ on a bike.

I apologize. I should have said Todd Gitlin.

Louis Proyect


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