[A-List] The Wild, Inhumane Market Rules Our Lives
james.irldaly at ntlworld.com
Fri Jun 18 06:41:56 MDT 2010
Charles: "... workers of all races and nationalities (and incomes) , unite,
Yes, but not in a hierarchy of oppression. That was the point I wanted to
make about accepting an intimate part of one's self, one's name, being
violated by racist prejudice and in the name of the class. That was why Marx
insisted on a separate delegation to the IWMA from Ireland -- a Fenian. He
said the Irish had a duty to be nationalists before being internationalists.
He also said Ireland needed protectionism, to build up an economy. Engels
pointed out that the English delegates would not take kindly to the
suggestion that the United Kingdom trade union Congress headquarters be
moved from London to Dublin. Their prejudice, part of the bourgeois
progressivist ideology, including the progressive nature of Protestantism
over Catholicism, was as unnoticeable to them as the air they breathed.
It seems to my limited knowledge that Lenin's formulation of the national
question in terms of oppressor nations and oppressed nations is in Marx's
spirit, and supersedes the April theses, which are pedantic and
bureaucratic. Diatribes against nationalism, such as Elie Khedourie's, are
oppressive. Even Samir Amin seems excessively hard on nationalism. There
cannot be the aspired to international unity until the hard fact of
institutional oppression is recognised -- and dealt with.
I find the outrageously obscene, worthless and unspeakable film "Crash" to
be an attempt at a *liberal* version of a sanitisation of a hierarchy of
oppression, by trying improbably to redeem the irredeemable Matt Dillon
character, leaving the regrettable but now somehow bearable relationships as
Of course I do not want to detract from the dedication, hard work and
sacrifice of those who have for generations embraced our shared ideals.
Thank you for your welcome reply, from which I have learnt much.
In solidarity -- James
----- Original Message -----
From: "c b" <cb31450 at gmail.com>
To: <a-list at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Thursday, June 17, 2010 3:09 PM
Subject: [A-List] The Wild, Inhumane Market Rules Our Lives
: From: "james daly"
: Dear comrade Charles, my reference to "black and white, unite and fight"
: might have sounded provocative, but it was meant in the sincerest good
: faith --
: CB: I have no doubt of that, comrade James.
: as you showed you understood, by your picking up on the "orange and
: green unite and fight". There is no doubt, as you say, that it derives
: straight from "workers of the world unite" -- but that is only a slogan
: a treatise, and I think we must be critically aware even in reading Marx.
: CB: Agreed. Although it is a somewhat quick and dirty reference to a
: more complete "treatise" level of analysis under the rubric of
: "proletarian _internationalism_." And I must say that history has
: demonstrated that the _failure_ to unite - the divisions of the world
: working class in so many ways, but especially, by nationality and
: race - has thwarted achievement of world revolution and world
: socialism. So, Marx and Engels point to or anticipate that critical
: weakness, though
: in a vulgar way. The US bourgeoisie succeeded in making the US
: working class enemies of the Soviet, Korean and Viet Namese workers
: and peoples mainly through chauvinism, nationalism , racism and
: "patriotism" during the Cold War. Again , as vulgar as the slogan is,
: it gets to the heart of that monumental failure and defeat of
: internationalism. There are many other examples.
: For instance "they have nothing to lose but their chains" (which is part
: the same constellation) could be seen to be heartless -- after all, we
: our lives to lose.
: CB: Yes, I hadn't thought of that.
: Besides, some working class members have more to lose
: than others, and in particular there are the benefits of imperialism --
: those that great numbers defend in war, and those that empire mongers like
: the Orangemen [sic -- an orange leader addressed a rally: "I call on the
: brethren to to do X, Y and Z, and I call on the sisters -- no, the sisters
: will do what they're told] use against the likes of me.
: CB: Yes, and Lenin , of course, warned against the booty of
: imperialism being used to corrupt the workers in the imperialist
: countries to opportunism. That corruption , sadly, has been very much
: accomplished. Engels also discussed "bourgeoisification" of British
: workers, which seems pertinent to your sharp criticism of Orangemen.
: US working class members slaughters millions of Viet Namese and Korean
: workers and peasants in service to imperialism. Ironically, many of
: them lost their lives while forging new links in their own chains.
: The chief ideologue of an Irish republican socialist party wrote a glowing
: introduction to Trotskyist Alan Wood's historical analysis of the Irish
: movement in which Wood said that in Derry in 1968 Protestant and Catholic
: trade unionists ought to have organised a militia united to fight the RUC.
: Breathtaking naivete -- on both their parts! *In effect* that was like
: saying that the Black Panthers and the KKK should have united against the
: National Guard.
: CB: It is sad how corrupted so many white people have been by racism
: in the US. By the way, the sloganers who developed "Black and white
: unite and fight" did not put equal responsibility on Black and white
: to overcome racism. Of course there was more responsibility on the
: whites to disgard and fight racism. At Ford Motor Company, the union was
: overcoming , to some extent, racism of the whites. Black Communists
: were elected to leadership, though later purged by the Reutherites.
: There were KKK among the autoworkers.
: A very senior cadre of an American party whom I met at a conference
: on calling a junior and very subordinate member not by his Arab name but
: a wasp name foisted on him so as not to offend white workers. He asked me
: sign something I addressed to him by his Arabic name. But he was told to
: avoid me because I was a Troskyist (as you know I'm not). In reply to a
: of mine on humanism the senior member said "One thing you can be sure
: humanists, you won't find them in a workers' party". I was too polite to
: "You'll find my wife in a graveyard".
: CB: Yes, I recall and respect your humanist analyses a couple of years
: back in a discussion here.
: When the Trotskyist Derek Hatton and his party ran the Liverpool city
: council in the 80s he steadfastly rejected pressure to have an independent
: section or department dealing with Black issues, saying there were no
: issues distinct from working class issues. When he eventually relented, it
: was only so far as to appoint a single black PR person who merely repeated
: the party line. They did not get a second term.
: CB: I have heard and read and experienced here many situations
: analogous to this. Affirmative action or super-seniority was initiated
: by Communists in the auto union in the late forties, but opposed by
: Reuther. By the 1970's affirmative action reached the point that even
: Nixon (!) supported some of it , but it has been pretty much destroyed
: by the Reaganites. Michigan passed a state constitutional amendment
: against affirmative action a few years ago.
: Arrogant and pretentious members of the Central committee of the party I
: belonged to argued that whereas loyalism in the 19th century had been a
: landlord and tenant movement (Lenin: "Carson's Black Hundreds"), now it
: a working class phenomenon, and had to be respected as such. (So much for
: some treatises!) To question that was to be called a (religiously)
: bigot, just as questioning Israel's politics becomes anti-Semitism.
: [Orangeism is to Protestantism as Zionism is to Judaism.] The prevalence
: that attitude was a decisive element in destroying the attempt at national
: liberation, and leading to the finally confirmed partition of Ireland and
: the adherence of the six counties to the rest of our now at last united
: kingdom -- of which I can truly say, I told you so.
: CB: That's a succinct history lesson you give us.
: Charles, did you deal with my contention that middle-class identity
: politics implies contempt for whole swathes of the working class -- such
: the prison population? There has been a tradition of critical study of
: Marx's concept of a lumpenproletariat. Is it conscionable to leave a large
: section of the working class thinking that income sets them apart from
: fellow victims of the ruling class? Even if our educational and propaganda
: resources are, as you say, limited, shouldn't we at least always adhere to
: the principle? -- James
: CB: And it's another way of dividing the working class - between
: middle incomed and poor - in derogation of the slogan to unite, isn't
: it ? The CPUSA doesn't use "middle class", so in that sense comrades
: are adhering the the principle you refer to. In the eighties,
: academics introduced "underclass", and the Party criticized that,
: distinguishing most poor and unemployed from lumpenproletariat. Of
: course, there is a racist edge to this as Black and Latino people make
: up a hugely disproportionate percentage of poor and prisoners in the
: US, which , in a way gets back to, workers of all races and
: nationalities (and incomes) , unite, no ?
: But it is important to note, just as you point out that it would be
: naive to think of uniting the most racist and chauvinist sections of
: the working class with those they are prejudice against, there is not
: right now much chance of "middle" income workers taking on the
: struggles of the poor and immiserated. Fomenting Anti-welfare
: prejudices ( again with a racist edge) and reversal of the War on
: Poverty gains was a major section of Reaganite success. Racism and
: anti-poor people prejudice are twin evils here.
: I would just repeat that the "rational" kernel or thin silverlining
: of the middle "class" protest is that it uses the concept of class at
: all, and it introduces it as a _conflict_ or struggle with the rich.
: These, class and protest against the rich, have been substantially
: absent from mass consciousness in the US for a very long time. It may
: be the basis for a "tax the rich" movement... _maybe_. That's slim
: pickins , but that's how far down we are here. At least, that's the
: way I see it.
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