African American people: Survival, creation, self-determination and liberation

"We need to train ourselves (and promote among others) a "self-determinist spirit" -- one that is militantly anti-racist, internationalist, and open to the concepts and decisions of African American people themselves.

"The discussion of oppressed nationalities (their present, their future, the modes of liberation, how socialism will contribute to ending their oppression) takes place in a way that embodies a respectful understanding of agency and self-emancipation. In some ways, it is African American people themselves who will decide if integration or separation best serves their needs and liberation -- and (inevitably) many forms of solution will be presented on the terrain of actual politics (community control and autonomy, radical assertions of representation in political and economic centers of decision, consideration of proposals for independence and more)."

by Mike Ely

There has been a detailed and extensive discussion here  of whether African American people form a nation within the U.S.  I have very strong views on this matter that I would like to put forward.

I think it is clear (from history) that kidnapped African slaves were constituted as a distinctive community of people in a specific territory -- both through the process of enslavement, but then through the betrayal of Reconstruction, their exclusion from integration within the U.S. and the century of Jim Crow.

This is not how most nations are constituted. But then, there is not some "typical" historical way that nations are constituted. Society does not (actually) have "classic" forms (though some people think it does). Many nations are forged through the process of emerging markets under capitalism (often through the increasing linkages of previous groupings emerging from feudalism). But if you look at the world: The forging of India or Kenya also involved artificial, enforced and compressed processes (and in each of their cases, there is very specific investigation to be made into how nationality and culture relate to official borders and governments inherited from colonialism.)

The process by which kidnapped Africans became a single nation was artificial, enforced, extremely brutal and compressed (in time). But it also involved the creative development of new bonds and the incredible inventiveness of a new culture born in suffering.I.e. saying that they were "constituted" does not mean, one-sidedly, that it is just something that someone else did externally to the people. The emergence of a Black nation is a process where the African-descended people had a powerful  role of creating community, language and common culture under horrific conditions.

And then (in actual historical fact) the growth of industrial capitalism, the labor shortages of world wars, the mechanization of semifeudal agriculture in the South, and the courageous decisions of Black people themselves, then all conspired together to cause a Great Migration during the twentieth century (by which African American people became geographically dispersed, urbanized and   overwhelmingly working class). This was a huge, historic change in their existence as a people -- with profound implications both for how people are oppressed, and also how that oppression of Black people will finally be ended.

There is a great deal that is unique about the African American experience: including the way that the "color line" was used to enforce a castelike existence at the lowest levels of the laboring classes (as workers, sharecroppers, or slaves). And in the way that castelike existence reenforced the distinctiveness of national culture and identity (even after dispersal from their historic concentration in the former plantation regions of the Deep South).

In other words: Race, caste, class, and nationality are all elements that play into the social confinement and constitution of a distinctive people.

Orientation toward liberation: A self-determinist spirit

There is much to study, debate and understand about this very particular historic reality. But (to stress a point made elsewhere) any dismissive or patronizing tone toward the assertions of African American nationality is itself "part of the problem" -- even if it emerges among revolutionaries or sections of the people.

We need to train ourselves (and promote among others) a "self-determinist spirit" -- one that is militantly anti-racist, internationalist, and open to the concepts and decisions of African American people themselves. (And this is true for communists regardless of their nationality -- whether we are white, or Puerto Rican, or Hopi, or African American.)

The discussion of oppressed nationalities (their present, their future, the modes of liberation, how socialism will contribute to ending their oppression) takes place in a way that embodies a respectful understanding of agency and self-emancipation. In some ways, it is African American people themselves who will decide if integration or separation best serves their needs and liberation -- and (inevitably) many forms of solution will be presented on the terrain of actual politics (community control and autonomy, radical assertions of representation in political and economic centers of decision, consideration of proposals for independence and more).

In other words, in my view, the point of communist discussion of African American life and nationality is not (so much) to decide  (for them?) "how their situation will be solved under socialism" -- but to develop a much wider appreciation among our audiences of the material oppression that Black people suffer, their existence as a distinct historic people (within a multinational "prison of nations" in North America), and their political right to self-determination as part of the liberatory process.

Put another way: I believe liberation (in North America) will come from a broad and multinational movement for socialism -- but that vision of socialism needs to involve a living support for self-determination by previously oppressed people. And movement for national liberation (Puerto Rican liberation, African American liberation, Chicano liberation, the legalization of undocumented immigrants and more) taking diverse forms will, inevitably, be crucial components of any future ecosystem of revolutionary movement here.

Points on method:

There is a limited value in "proceeding from definitions" -- i.e. plucking definitions of categories from previous communist discussions, and then focusing over whether a current group or people fits this definition or that definition. This is an idealist method, linked to a certain kind of dogmatism and orthodox thinking. (And it is embedded in the rather strange insistence of some communists to take the 1913 Bolshevik "definition of a nation" as something fixed and universal, and then debating, endlessly, whether African American people "fit the definition.")

If there is one thing that has always impressed me about the oppression of minority peoples within the U.S. it is the complexity of the issues and the uniqueness of their material conditions. One of the problems with many current theories (rooted in generic discussions of privilege and ideological racism) is that they tend to reduce oppressed nationalities to some genereic POC (people of color) -- when, in fact, the solution to the oppression of Lakota people is not the same as for Cherokee, and (even more so, obviously) the situation and oppression of Puerto Rican people (on and off the island) is different from African American people (and so within a historically unified process of liberation the specific solutions to that oppression will be diverse).

We need to start from the thing itself (the material conditions), not from our own inherited labels of things. And (inevitably) the objects of our study (and political practice) will have a complex relationship with our own inherited ideas. (And that again reveals the problem with the facile universalization of categories and strategies that was part of the Comintern and its codification of marxism-leninism).

Just a point on that: Stalin's work on the nationalities of Eastern Europe was extremely important (in 1912). But the actual practice of the Bolsheviks was not simple some extension of that theoretical work (in real life, matters of self-determination were not so simple -- and the Bolsheviks did, after all, try to end Polish independence through war, and did end Georgian independence through invasion).

Further: The Chinese revolution simply did not apply Stalin's theories on nationality -- they had and developed a different theoretical framework (rooted in their particular conditions, and the form that their revolution took). This was often a source of criticism from pro-Soviet forces (Claude Lightfoot wrote, for the CPUSA, an extensive polemic, if I remember correctly, that simply made the point "The Maoists are not applying what the CPSU(B) said was Marxist-Leninist theory on the national question.")

Here is the heart of it for me:

The expansionist development of the European settler state (from the east coast "colonies" on the Atlantic) colliding with previous inhabitants, and "importing" enslaved Africans, forged a number of peoples in distinctive ways. It forged waves of European immigrants into a distinctive white American nationality (over time) -- and the existence of "white ethnics" within that dominant nationality is not a proof that it doesn't exist, it is a remnant of seams from the process of that forging. It forged kidnapped Africans from many tribal peoples and locations into a distincive nationality within North America. It sought to shatter, conquer and kill Native peoples (of more than a hundred distinct cultural groupings) -- and then oppressed them in distinctive ways (on and off the rez).

One central component of any progressive and revolutionary struggle is the ending of that dominance: the attempt to associate the white nationality with the very nature of society over much of North America.

That shit is over, and needs to be buried. (And for about a quarter of the people in the U.S. forcefully reasserting a white, native-born, christian, English-speaking, conservative character to the U.S. is a major component of their politics.)

The assertion that the United States "is a nation" is a claim that concedes a great deal to the most reactionary visions of the future. The U.S. is a "prison house of many nations" -- it is a multinational country. There is no "American nation." There is no single "American people." This is a multinational country -- marked from its very beginnings by the brutal oppression (and conquest and enslavement) of whole peoples within it.

The emergence of a multinational working class is an important development (with a distinctive history, set of contradictions, and important implications). And it would be valuable for us to examine (concretely) the relationship between emergence of that class and the existence of oppressed people.

In other words: I don't think there is a "white working class" -- as a distinct class. Nor is there an "African american working class." This dispersal of oppressed people, and their participation in production in multinational settings means that even while the U.S. forged an African American nation, the urbanized workers of that naitonality exist as part of a multinational class. They are both part of a distinctive nation and part of a class that has over the last century emerged within a countrywide capitalist production process.

And here the definitional distinction between a nation of people and a country (with borders and government) is important. Most countries are multinational -- most LARGE countries (like Russia, China, India, and the U.S.) are highly multinational (with all the stress, oppression and complexity that implies).

What that means:

The borders of the U.S. are not sacred to us. Liberation might well mean creating different borders. (Certainly it would make possible the independence of Puerto Rico, possibly it might include the reallignment of southern border areas. And it is not yet known what form the self-determination of Native peoples would take -- though the material basis for full independence is relatively weak in almost all cases.)

The unity of the United States (as previously constituted) is not sacred to us (meaning to revolutionaries and communists) -- Liberation might well mean the break up of that previous multinational state. (Communists have historically argued that larger socialist nation-state formations are preferable over smaller ones -- that may be true, on one level. But enforced containment of oppressed people within a "carryover" of previous U.S. borders would represent a continuation of natinoal oppression.

At the same time, life and history have created a significant basis for a new multinational socialist state within North America (within the borders of the previous USA). There has been a significant dispersal of oppressed nationalities from previous territories (including obviously African American people from the Black Belt, but also Native peoples from the Rez, and the remarkable dispersal of Mexicano people from Mexico into virtually every corner of the U.S.) The fact that there are few large compact territories inhabited largely by oppressed nationalities means that it becomes less likely that liberation will take the form of independence (though the continued existence of compact urban communities raises the real likelihood of forms of political and cultural autonomy for those communities.)

There is an extremely important component of self-determination and self-emancipation in finally ending the oppression of the many oppressed peoples within the U.S. It is not something that a future socialist state will do for "them" -- and adopting paternalist language and politics is (in reality) to adopt a policy of not actually ending that oppression.

People in this conversation

  • Guest - Jan Makandal

    Some general points:

    Capitalism and imperialism compel, in various ways, the transmigration of people (primarily and in particular the dominated masses) in order to perform labor for the dominant classes. One of the main factors for migration -- the economic basis of it -- is the unequal development of the capitalist mode of production. Millions of people are transplanted from their less industrial social formations (or areas within them) to those where industry is more concentrated.

    Advanced capitalism forces the migrant into its vortex of exploitation, but at the same time creates the conditions for the migrant workers to participate in an international historical movement to face their enemies: the international bourgeoisie.

    Only bourgeois and radical petit bourgeois ideologues will fight to preserve any sort of nationalism against the prevailing tendency of the international unity of the masses against the international bourgeoisie. This complicates our need to develop our capacity to fight all the racist initiatives of the bourgeoisie, in that it fosters disunity among the masses and hinders them from becoming this international force of liberation.

    Capitalism’s economic processes cause the historical transformation of immigrants, and create a contradiction for them, both aspects of which should be addressed simultaneously:

    a] their relative continuing rapport with their countries of origin

    b] their integration into the new social formation, and the pertinent political effect on the struggle of the proletariat

    These two elements are organically and dialectically linked in a duality. The aspect of integration is fundamental and determinant, and leads to political consequences, both positive and negative.

    For example, the tendency of imperialism to divide the working class, to reinforce opportunism by creating a working class aristocracy, can cause the temporary decomposition (stratification) of the class. Lenin’s theory on imperialism is still current in that it opened, without definitively solving, a series of theoretical and practical problems. The revolutionary left is obliged to consider, from the theory of imperialism, problems related to immigration, specifically the living conditions and labor conditions imposed during the process of integration into the imperialist/capitalist social formation.

    The question of migration is of utmost political importance for the proletariat and its organizations at all levels in our contemporary period. In the conditions of our times, the very presence of immigrants and their struggle make internationalism--more than ever--one of the fundamental conditions of the struggle of liberation for the working class.

    It is in the field of class struggle and in the political organizations of the working class that workers of all nationalities can forge, above their nationality or origins, the necessary unity to defeat capital. This unity will not be spontaneously acquired. It will be conquered, at the cost of a difficult political and ideological struggle, against the relations of exploitation developed by imperialism. This is the task of proletarian revolutionary militants, the communists. All proletarian struggles, in every particular social formation, must above all be guided by the theory of proletarian internationalism.

    Right and left opportunism either deny the contradictions raised by imperialism within the working class, or attempt to use bourgeois theory in an attempt to solve them. In fact, it is almost impossible to use bourgeois theory to understand an objective reality. It is even worse to use it to define a political line. We can observe the prevailing incapacity of progressives (and the left in general) to offer any viable alternatives to all the contradictions that the bourgeoisie imposed on the people’s camp to divide us more.

    Africans were brought to different shores for the sole purpose of capital accumulation. A bourgeois ideology of race was created to facilitate the exploitation of Africans. This has affected their process of integration. Europeans were also brought to different shores for the same objectives, and other bourgeois ideologies were articulated that also affected their process of integration.

    We can observe an unequal development of the process of integration of Africans in different social formations. The most advanced form of the process enabled them to have political power and become a nation, a country, a society (or to use the most advanced materialist scientific concept: a social formation). In some cases their relationship to their social formations of origin have totally disappeared (with some remnants of ideological components still present).

    It is reactionary to identify race with culture. This is again using bourgeois ideology to understand a complex objective reality. Racism is quite different from the notion of race, and is also in the ideological field. Racism is a sub-element of attitude and comportment in the interest of the dominant classes. Racism is most effectively confronted in the struggle for transformation, in the construction and consolidation of unity in the people’s camp. We need to understand racism from the theory of imperialism.
    In some of my previous analysis, I have used the concept of “social category” to identify the African-American in the US social formation. After deeper thought, I conclude that this identification is temporarily correct but very limited as well -- especially in an imperialist social formation, where the material conditions are ripe for socialism, and where the question of unifying the masses under proletarian leadership for socialism (and construction of communist social relations) is also ripe.
    The concept of social category defines a group of people inside a social formation who are confronting or participating in social reality collectively, determined by a specific articulation of class struggle and stratification. Often these social categories straddle the class structures of social formations. Within these social categories (which are not homogeneous), classes and class struggle exist and manifest themselves, and tend to address the material conditions making and reproducing them as social categories.
    The limitations of defining African-Americans as a social category (or even worse as a national minority) is not the fact that they face racism, but rather corresponds to the failure of the capitalist mode of production to fully integrate them into the social formation. And if we develop a theoretical model that defines them as a social category (or worse, a national minority), then the same reproduction facing capitalism will face us, and we will perpetuate the notion of race as a real abstract.
    Historically the history of struggle of African-Americans (especially struggle led by the African-American bourgeoisie and petit bourgeoisie) has been a struggle for integration. Most of the organizations that preceded the civil rights movement articulated that as their main position. The theories of a Black Belt, or of a national minority, are concepts that serve the interests of the bourgeoisie. They are not in the interests of the masses in an imperialist social formation.

  • Guest - Nat W

    "This is the task of proletarian revolutionary militants, the communists. All proletarian struggles, in every particular social formation, must above all be guided by the theory of proletarian internationalism."

    Does this imply that such internationalism supposes a monolithic closing of all previous custom and experience not fitting into a new sought of "communist" society and custom determined and declared by proletarian revolutionary militants from on high? How doesn't such a conception itself lead to what can be considered a road, a road precisely back toward capitalist social relations where decisions are being made by "revolutionaries" independent from the aspirations of the people in a given historical revolutionary circumstance?

    The self-determinist spirit that Mike articulates in this short essay, precisely is the manner in which revolutionaries must attempt to navigate the long twisting and turning road to something we might be able to call communist society. It starts from the notion that oppressed people's must and will ultimately determine the course to liberation through the very process and in the upheavals that they traverse. Revolutionaries can guide in some ways, however to guide in such a way as to attempt to determine the course of events preceding from abstract defintions and verdicts from the past as opposed to attempting to guide the overall process through traversing a novel and highly complex concreteness of actually existing conditions and movement is a sure fire method for further discrediting the communist project.

    We cannot announce or declare the direction of struggle. Further there is not a set path that will save us from the danger of defeat or reversal. There is a road we must travel along with the oppressed and their allies, and in order to progress along this road we will need to understand the complicated development of the societies we wish to transform. And we must understand the desires and the aspirations of people for liberation especially when the sense of hope mixed with angry dissatisfaction with the current state of things reaches high pitches. Whichever particular form a transitory and liberatory society begins to take, there will always be the threat of reversal and defeat. The form doesn't make the content. And the content is what determines if we are on the communist road.

    It is clear however, without the self determinist spirit that Mike describes, without our ear to the hopes and aspirations of the people and without the ultimate decisions about liberation coming out of those hopes and aspirations, there is no way we can possibly say that we are on a revolutionary road...precisely because not to work with this spirit is to reproduce the old social relations.

  • Guest - Ed Thompson

    Jan Makandal,

    You said alot and have obviously tried to put forward a deeper analysis on this question. That is exactly what we need to be doing. However, I am going to critique a number of points you made. Mostly, I had a hard time understanding your positions. This might be due to language differences. Mostly, your use of terminology has alot of precise definitions to it, and these definitions escape me. The result is that I read alot of what you wrote as empty rhetoric. I think communists need to fall away from this habit.

    “Only bourgeois and radical petit bourgeois ideologues will fight to preserve any sort of nationalism against the prevailing tendency of the international unity of the masses against the international bourgeoisie.”

    Why is this the case? Can you identify this using current real world examples?

    ‘Right and left opportunism either deny the contradictions raised by imperialism within the working class, or attempt to use bourgeois theory in an attempt to solve them”

    What are you defining as bourgeois theory? What makes the theory bourgeois? Give examples of right and left opportunism instead of just saying these things like they are well defined and well understood eternal phenomena. This will make things alot easier to understand.

    “A bourgeois ideology of race was created to facilitate the exploitation of Africans. “

    Are there other ideologies of race that aren’t bourgeois? What constitutes the different ideologies of race?

    “It is reactionary to identify race with culture. This is again using bourgeois ideology to understand a complex objective reality. Racism is quite different from the notion of race, and is also in the ideological field.”

    What does this mean? Is there not very specific and identifiable content to ‘white culture’ and ‘black culture’?

    What about sitcoms like “Friends”, the existence of crusty hippy white kids with dread locks, musical genres like metal, style of speech with specific stress of syllables, a particular notion of ‘success’, the sociopathic ability to think that we live in a ‘post-racial’ society. How are those things not a part of ‘white culture’? How do these things not signify a particular racial culture?

    How is racism different from race?

    “The concept of social category defines a group of people inside a social formation who are confronting or participating in social reality collectively, determined by a specific articulation of class struggle and stratification.”

    I think you are trying to be precise here, but to me, it is actually the opposite. None of the terms you use to define ‘social category’ are well defined, or are posed in a general sense, and the result is that I really don’t know what you are talking about.

    “The theories of a Black Belt, or of a national minority, are concepts that serve the interests of the bourgeoisie. They are not in the interests of the masses in an imperialist social formation.”

    I don’t know how you got to this conclusion. I do know that you claim that racism is within the ideological field. I think I know what that means in your sense, and I really don’t agree with it.

    Racism in the United States is not a result of ideology. And bear in mind, I am talking particularly about the U.S. here. It isn’t a result of something at the realm of ideas. I think that we pretty much all agree with this. It is not just ‘bad thinking’ or ignorance.

    It is a result of a specific mode of production (way of creating things) within the United States: plantation based agriculture. The divisions between laborers (objectively) had an ideological consequence. I consider the ideology of this time period, with black slaves on the bottom and the white plantation owners above them, as the ideological basis for white supremacy.

    I found this helpful to understanding the historical basis of whiteness.

    In this sense, white supremacy is very much a material thing. It is an outmoded (no longer useful) ideology, as the U.S. moved away from the feudal-esque agricultural method into a more industrialized economy. Although this isn’t fully the case, as in South GA where prison convicts and undocumented laborers pick vegetables from fields for scrap wages.

    It was also argued that racism is a bourgeois ideology, and that seeing blacks as an oppressed nation is counter to internationalism. This sounds like you are basically arguing that using an analysis of race or nationalism ‘prevents unity’ because, as the argument goes, we really just need to all be internationalist or anti-racist and then we can all just come together and unite and the enemy. (this may not be your argument, but again I had trouble with your position. Sorry if I am straw-manning you)

    The problem with this kind of thinking is that it fails to recognize power, what ‘unity’ is, and how internationalism or anti-racism develops.

    Lets say you have three groups of people. Two groups have alot of resources, training, experience, confidence, etc. One group with alot less of those things. We all want these three groups to reach a level of unity. Is that unity possible without first having all three groups at the same level, or much closer level, of power?

    In the same sense, can we expect blacks in the U.S. to be able to move out of their ‘caste’ and be equal to whites without first organizing among themselves, as a separate race or nation, and consolidating their own power? If they have a particular position within capitalism, and in the U.S. they certainly do, then don’t they need a particular a method of liberation?

    In order to be internationalist, you have to have multiple nations. If you want internationalism between whites and blacks, blacks need their own nation.

    To me, this is a more dialectical approach. Before you can have 1 (and maybe we dont), you must first have 2. Its about negation of opposites to create a new unity with its own set of contradictions.

    I do not find this analysis of race or nationalism to be ‘bourgeois’. Instead, I think it is strategically vital to any communist revolution within the United States.

  • Guest - Jan Makandal

    To Ed Thompson

    I posted many things on the question on race here in Kasama and most recently on the thread "White privilege" Some of thew point you raised are addressed. If you still think some points still needs to be clarified I will be willing to engage in a spirit of unity.
    Re-posting to answer some of your points:


    This response was intended for a previous post. Since this one is most recent and somewhat addressing the same subject. I am posting here.

    Since class struggle manifests itself in objective reality at three levels, political, theoretical, and ideological, so all the classes in the battlefields of these struggle will produce concepts, structure/praxis, as a tool to advance their interests in their battles. Classes, intellectuals of these classes, organic intellectuals of these classes will either produce concepts and/or give their own theoretical values to existing concepts to pursue their objectives based on their class interests. Concepts produced by the dominant classes or concepts given an interpretation to by the dominant classes are exclusively in the interests of these classes and their values are in the interest of domination and exploitation. And concepts produced by the masses, especially concepts produced by the proletariat have an emancipatory theoretical value for change and radical change. Because of class struggles, some concepts, (most concepts), lose their class “purity” and are constantly being tested.

    Materialism is a proletarian concept for the emancipation of the proletariat, giving the proletariat the tools to appropriate the objective reality of capitalism to better transform it. Metaphysics/idealism is a concept favoring domination in all fields for the classes that dominate society.

    In the field of theories, especially social theory, philosophy is a theory of definition in a social formation. Philosophy is a contradictory activity, not because the producers of that theory are constantly contradicting themselves, but rather inside every philosophy, the law of contradictions is constantly detectable between idealism and materialism and constantly tested by class struggle, in this sense praxis.

    Race, the philosophy of race, the phenomenon of race is a social product, a social construct most particular to the American social formation. The race phenomenon requires that we want to invite the conceptualization of this philosophical activity as a social phenomenon, to articulate it to different social sectors of the American social formation. The characteristic of the race phenomenon is a bourgeois concept favoring the dominant classes, in this case the bourgeoisie, in the field of ideology to perpetuate and reproduce its domination and to keep the masses disorganized and divided. There is no social phenomenon, even in other fields of science, confirming the notion of the existence of different races. Therefore the notion of race, same as the religious notion, is a social construct being produced by totally divorcing it, as a social product to the objective reality, making the race phenomenon a real abstract, a phenomenon that exists but its existence is only explainable in our mind, totally divorced from objective reality but taking its source of existence from that objective reality.

    In the objective interests of the masses, in particular the proletariat, the concept of race should be non-existence as a tool, a concept that contributes in our understanding of an objective reality. The concept of race is a bourgeois concept. We must admit that if we use it as a concept to understand struggles, the contradictory process of social struggle, then we must enter the logic of domination, superiority and to finally enter a battlefield totally in favor of the bourgeoisie.

    The source of existence of the race phenomenon is an empirical approach to the process of understanding social conflicts. It is derived from the notion that at one time, Blacks were the majority group being exploited and dominated as slaves, but a notion not entirely evident if we develop our theory of knowledge epistemologically. At different moments of history, people of other pigments were also slaves, as well in other social formations. The need for slaves was not pigment driven but mostly and more importantly economically driven for the maximization of profit.

    Talking about class and or the oppressed is not a social analysis of classes in a social formation. Talking about race is neither a social analysis nor to be used as a tool to understand classes defined and determined by class struggle. But we just can’t deny the notion of race as a phenomenon since it exists as real abstract, nor we can deny or bypass the notion of God since it exists equally as a real abstract. But the notion of race can’t be used as an analytical tool to understand the contradiction of the masses against their dominant classes and the contradictions among the masses under the principle that classes and class struggle is everything and race is nothing.

    The concept of race is in the ideological system [structure and praxis] of ideas, representations, conception, theories, philosophies… articulated with a system of comportments, behaviors, aspirations, customs, habits, emotions, and consciousness…. One fundamental attitude towards reality that determines how one perceives that reality and how one formulates ideas and plans to transform that reality, even when one’s ideas and conceptions can in turn lead to transforming one’s attitude and emotive rapport to this reality. In our struggle, the aspirations and combativeness of the working class, the fundamental desire of the proletariat to free itself from its oppression, exploitation and domination, is the driving force for the development of a combative class ideology of struggle and liberation. The notion of race is to be debunked in our struggle for radical change. There is one working class in the US, with all its fractions, and determined by class struggle. Our job is to really engage in praxis to offer a class analysis of the working class, all of its components in relation to the economy and to understand the level of influence of bourgeois ideology on the working class determined by the economy, not by race, and to define the correct political line to unify the class in the struggle against capital.

    Racism is quite different from the notion of race and is as well in the ideological field. Racism is a sub-element of attitude and comportment in the interest of the dominant classes. Racism is best effectively confronted in the struggle for transformation, in the construction and consolidation of unity in the people’s camp.

    In some of my analysis, I have used the concept of social category to identify the African American in the US social formation. After deeper thought, this identification is temporarily correct but very limited as well, especially in an imperialist social formation, where the material conditions are ripe for socialism, and the questions of unity of the masses under proletarian leadership for socialism are as well ripe.

    The concept social category is to define a social group of people inside a social formation that are confronting or participating in social reality collectively, determined by a specific articulation of class struggles and stratification. Often these social categories straddle the class structures of social formations and inside these social categories, classes and class struggles exist and manifest themselves. Social categories are not homogeneous, class struggles will tend to address the material conditions making and reproducing them as social categories.

    The limitations of defining the African-American as social category, or even worse as national minority is not the fact that they face racism, but rather is based on the limitation of the capitalist mode of production to integrate them in the social formation. And if we develop a theoretical model such as defining them as a social category or the worse case scenario a national minority, the same reproduction facing capitalism will face us and we will perpetuate the notion of race as a real abstract.

    Although, the notion of social category will help us understand better the conjuncture of the Civil Rights Movements, the role of the different classes, in struggle, within that social category and the leadership and hegemony of the African-American bourgeoisie in leaning on the petit bourgeoisie to address simply its own class integration, by promising crumbs to that petit bourgeoisie. The civil rights movement was a movement of integration waged under the leadership of the bourgeoisie. The civil rights movement was also a lesson to be learned by the opportunism and reformism of the left and the non-presence of an autonomous proletarian leadership even if the initiator and the principal forces were the masses. We did witness the incapacity, with all its combativeness, of the radical petit bourgeois sector headed by the Black Panther and brothers like Malcolm X. Even Muhammad Ali when asked if he made it, after becoming a millionaire, responded “how could I if every time I turn around millions of us are still being oppressed, dominated and exploited” or Martin Luther King who felt he was asking African Americans to enter a burning crumbling house.

    The emerging tendency objectively is African American are integrating this social formation into different classes historically constituted in that social formation. Racism is an hurdle in that process

    Class inner class struggle of the capitalist class, in the US social formation, is not allowing them to correctly address the notion of integration even when an African American is heading the State Apparatus of the empire. The proletariat in the US will also will face problems that need to be resolved by applying the law of contradictions in unifying the masses under its leadership for socialism and a classless society. Even when the notion of social category is theoretically addressing an objective reality in a way that is an objective advancement to the theoretical model of national minority, especially in an imperialist social formation, but it is as well limited. Class unification, by fully integrating all proletarians regardless of pigmentation, is the ultimate orientation for the proletariat to achieve its goal, especially in a social formation at it most advance stage imperialism.

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