comments on recent threads

Michael Yates mikey+ at
Tue Nov 23 20:18:07 PST 1999

I want to commend Yoshie for her fine posts on many of the recent threads: sexism the BRC, etc. Maybe I have a special sympathy for a comrade who is the child of a factory worker, but I think she has been right on the mark. Especially when she tells us to do some political work ourselves. Why not get out and meet the people who organized the BRC and ask them what we are asking here? I have so it cannot be that hard to do. These are some good radical folks, ready to help organize all people in a radical movement. I just do not see getting bothered by the fact that the BRC is primarily a black organization. This does not bother me or many other people I know, white women, chicanos, white men, etc.who are organizing in unions and other social change organizations.

Why not use our talents to educate others? or participate in organizations etc.? Get down and dirty. It just won't do to just read books and give impressive citations and the like. You have to meet the people, get to know them. Teaching workers and now prisoners has changed my life. So has helping to raise four kids, cooking, doing household chores, including cleaning toilets. Sometimes when I hear people on these lists pontificate (of course, I have done this too), I think that come the revolution, they will still be talking. I'll be making sandwiches and doing the rest of the shit work that needs to be done. I remember at the last Socialist Scholars Conference, someone at the Monthly Review book table spilled a cup of coffee. None of the left scholars standing around did anything. I ran over to a large closet, found a janitor, borrowed a mop, and cleaned up. Earlier, I helped the staff set up the table. I did not notice any other intellectuals doing the same. So we can criticize the BRC, or Malcolm X, or Ho Chi Minh, or Mao. But these folks did or are trying to do the deed, the deed of revolution. What have we done?

Michael Yates

BTW Manning Marable certainly is a radical. And BTW too, balck people are in a struggle for their very lives (A black man 20 to 29 has a one in three chance of spending at least a year in prison). No one is doing much about this and many other facets of black oppression. So who can blame black people for feeling the need to form an organization of their own? To develop a united position if they can first and then seek allies. We who are not black ought to applaud this and ask how we can help. And how is there any contradition between the formation of the BRC and the formation of a larger radical organization?

This post is a bit rambling and I apologize. And I apologize too to all of the fine activists on this list.

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