black nationalism reflux

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at
Tue Nov 23 14:11:00 PST 1999

Hi Charles,

First you did not respond to my post (mistitled immigration) on MLK's birthday this year. There is an archive. Check it out.

Second, the BRC itself is reponsible for the confusion about whether it was organized on racially exclusive terms. Much later Alkalimat issued a strongly worded statement that it as not; that removed my principal reason for skepticism.

Third, I always supported autonomous minority or women's groups but argued that it would be best if they were organized within broader based labor or communist organizations, not as separate congresses.

Fourth, I argued that it was not clear to me whether the goal of the BRC was to maintain black enthusiasm for the AFL-CIO and the Democratic Party against the twin dangers of apathy and Farrakhanite reaction or to develop a radical alternative to both institutions. It is still unclear to me.

Fifth, you equivocate again as to whether blacks constitute a nation or an oppressed group within the US. Under no conditions do I support a right for secession in the Black Belt--to me this position is itself the reductio ad absurdum of racism.

Sixth, you continue to sidestep the problem of the miserable record of the Vietnamese Communists in power (have you read Kolko's book?); thus you show no interest in a non apologestic history of the Vietnamese CP that will allow us to make sense, instead of be surprised, by this record. Indeed you dismiss those who were imprisoned or harrassed as tiny

sects, 'ultraleftist' being a justification for the oppression of anyone so labeled.

The question for us today is simply what have the peasants and workers who fought for unification gained under the Communist Rule that prevailed after the US was forced to exit. This is a very disturbing question. And I wish you would not sidestep it. We need a critical history of the CP that has imposed all burdens of adjustment on the poor and the working class.

Seventh, even Kolko expresses disagreement with the NLF's policies before unification, e.g., acceptance of the Geneva Accord, skepticism towards limits on the extent of land reform allowed.

Eighth, I would have supported the struggle to unify Vietnam, oust the French, stop immediately and unconditionally the horrors of US imperialism.

Ninth, I never defended anything I said as authentically black (nor have I ever defined myself as black). It was you who thought it best to remind people that I am not black, and do not speak for black people. Of course this is the role you have arrogated to yourself.

Yours, Rakesh

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