black nationalism reflux

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at
Tue Nov 23 09:43:22 PST 1999

> Max, the friendly warlord, mocks the notion that there are progressive
and backward nationalisms, this as he faints at Marxism. Take a look at the analysis of that Marxist , Lenin. Not to bore with dogma, but the key is to differentiate between oppressor and oppressed nations. For example, in the Balkans, the main oppressor nation(s) were the U.S. and NATO ( the imperialist nations. great power chauvinism ). In that context, the national self-determination of Yugoslavia is defended. It really is not at all as capricious as Max cutsies it. In Viet Nam, the NATIONAL liberation front was organized by Marxist leadership for national self-determination of the colonially oppressed (by the French and American great power chauvinists) Viet Namese nation. Nothing wrong with that nationalism. Get it Max ?
> ___________________

Hi Charles, Yet Ho Chi Minh's communist front from the outset dealt harshly--imprisonment, harrassment, murder--with radical worker and peasant organizations and militants.


In his detailed, deeply knowledgable study of the twists and turns of Communist Rule after 1975, Gabriel Kolko whose anti imperialist credentials are impeccable (he has detailed as much as anyone the barbarity of the imperialist assault on Vietnam) seems genuinely surprised by the corruption, venality, exploitativeness of the govt in power over a unified Vietnam (Kolko pays special attention to the atrophy of workers' rights, massive new inequalities from decollectivization, the terms at which state owned enterprises were privatized, and the general incompetence and theoretial impoverishment of the leadership, etc).

But Van's beautifully writen treatment allows (and I have had access to English transations of excerpts; a full trans is in the works) one to trace the present problems to the way the party had been organized and dealt with dissent from the outset. It's time that the American left progress beyond a simple embrace of third world stalinist govts in the way that, e.g., the Bulletin of Concerned Asia Scholars (of which I have been a reader) too often has.

Now as for my putative assault on the right of the BRC to exist, one will note that my precise criticism, inspired by Reed, was centered on the attempt to achieve 'racial' or 'black operational' (West) unity, left or otherwise, via a congress organized on racially exclusive terms, which the BRC leadership (Alkalimat in particular) has progressively relaxed anyway. Neither you nor Carroll ever responded point by point to the grounds for my skepticism, expressed on MLK's birthday this year. Without attending to the reasons I gave, it is not possible to dismiss my argument as racist. I have never denied the necessity of an autonomous struggle against racism.

Yours, Rakesh

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