black nationalism reflux

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at
Tue Nov 23 18:03:43 PST 1999

Thank you for the stimulating, thoughtful reply, Charles.

>Charles: The BRC is not organized such that Whites would participate as
>much a Blacks. Whites attended the Congress, but I don't think Whites can
>be members.
>What you call confusion is only the expression of the contradiction ,
>caused by white racism not BRC faults, that Black people must both work
>with and ally with whites and yet retain a space to communicate with
>themselves. Anybody who understands the reality of racism and its impact
>on Black liberation struggle, is not confused by this.

Charles, the BRC was held in Chicago where at least tens of thousands chicanos, puerto ricans, 'asians', immigrants from the world over and whites live. Was there a single panel organized around finding common bases for action with such groups? This kind of black exclusivism cannot but devolve into narrow petit bourgeois agendas or utopian ventures in our complex society. That's the bold unsubstantiated claim I am putting forth, though it seems obvious to me.


>Charles: The BRC is organized mainly by Black people who are in integrated
>political and economic organizations - the C of C, the CP, the League for
>Rev ( forgot the name) , et al _ Evidently, practice has taught many who
>have vigorously struggled exactly as you describe for many years that such
>a formation is necessary, though nobody has quit there integrated org,

Sure, these cosmopolitan leaders don't turn away from the world but what about the members they recruit? And why no active cooperation with other minorities and oppressed groups? Instead the BRC flies the flag of pan african unity. Those days are over. Which is not to deny the unique virulence of anti black racism. But if I remember correctly, more people in CA voted to terminate benefits to 'illegal aliens' than to terminate AA. There are a lot of buttons the ruling class is pushing. We need each other.

>Charles: I don't recall discussion of these alternative goals coming up.
>Check out the agenda and principles. They aren't framed in these terms,
>but maybe you can make an inference. My sense would be that there is no
>goal of maintaining black enthusiasm for the AFL or Dem Party, but there
>is some goal of forming an alternative to apathy and Farakhan.

Discussion was with Nathan. And what is that alternative? If it's profiling or police abuse, there is plenty of basis for multiethnic cooperation. If racial exclusivism in apprecenticeship programs, ditto plus cooperation with women's groups. If it's incarceration, it's also a question of discrimination against the unemployed. Etc.

>Charles: Black people are a specially oppressed racial group. There was a
>time when they had sufficient charateristics for national
>self-determination. But not after the migration. Separatism is imposed on
>Black people by White racism. Given that imposition, Black people have
>affirmatively organize themselves
separately for self-protection, support , survival, creativity, living, whatever, collective struggle. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

How is the BRC different than the NAACP then?

TO Vietnam:

__________ Charles then notes:

What makes you think your claim is much different than the thousands of other claims I have heard that the Viet Namese Communists have a miserable record. The whole goddamn Viet Nam war was prosecuted based on the same claim. ______________________

Because Ngo Van's (and Kolko's less so) is from the perspective not of property owners but of the workers and peasants who were oppressed by the CP. That of course makes all the difference.


Charles again: Do you doubt that there are books and people who contradict you and Kolko ?

Rakesh replies: Having read through a reader put together by the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, I thought the writers were avoiding a hard look at the nature of the Communist regime. They left too many questions unanswered.

>Charles: I have already heard more anti-Viet Namese CP claims than pro
>Viet Namese CP claims, because I live in the U.S. What makes you and
>Kolko different ? In enormous social and political events such as the
>long term colonialism and war and liberation struggle in Viet Nam, there
>are almost always contradictory or ironic tragedies of crimes by the side
>that is in the main a liberating group. But I don't conclude that the
>entire movement of the Viet Namese revolution and the CP were "miserable"
>because of those contradictions or "ironies".

The workers and peasants did not die in the millions to be oppressed in the most barbaric ways by the CP that assumed total control over a unified Vietnam after the war. There are lessons here regarding the autonomy of the working class vis a vis a bureaucratic party appartus that need to be studied and learned. Of course US imperialism helped to create the context in which such rule could entrench itself against the interest of the toiling class.

>Charles writes: No, my main task is not to critique the Viet Namese
>revoluton, but to criticise in theory and practice, U.S. imperialism ,
>today and yesterday. As an American, it would be insanely arrogant of me
>to focus on criticizing the Viet Namese revolution. The only thing for me
>to do in relation to Viet Nam might be to point how much the U.S.
>genocidal war contributes mightily to whatever problems they have today.

Actually Katha P recently had an excellent column on the punishment the US has continued to mete out.

>Charles: Kolko sounds more and more ultraleftist and chavinistly arrogant.


Do him the favor of reading this <200 pp book.

Charles, please stop recycling those slogans. I know, it's best not to give up continuity with the radical traditions of the past, and I get stubborn like that too after thinking about Gitlin's 60s.

Yours, Rakesh

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