Tag Archives: Black Belt

African American Farmers Win in Battle with U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

The following article by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan-African News Wire, is being reposted here from Workers World:

After more than a decade of struggle
African-American farmers win compensation

On Feb. 18, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the latest settlement to provide compensation and resources to African-American farmers. An organization that represents African-American farmers, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund — founded in 1967 — welcomed the announced settlement.

Demonstrations took place during February in support of the demands put forward by African-American farmers seeking an end to land loss and the racist policies of the USDA, which have driven millions of people from the rural areas of the South for decades. Rallies were held in Washington, D.C.; Little Rock, Ark.; Memphis, Tenn.; Jackson, Miss.; Montgomery, Ala.; Columbus, Ga.; Columbia, S.C.; and Richmond, Va.

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Alabama Communists During the Great Depression

This interview was originally posted on npr.org. For more on these questions, please see The Marxist-Leninist’s archive of the writings of Harry Haywood, the principal theorist of the African American National Question. See also, “The Third International and the Struggle for a Correct Line on the African American National Question” by the Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

How ‘Communism’ Brought Racial Equality To The South

Tell Me More continues its Black History Month series of conversations with a discussion about the role of the Communist Party. It was prominent in the fight for racial equality in the south, specifically Alabama, where segregation was most oppressive. Many courageous activists were communists. Host Michel Martin speaks with historian Robin Kelley about his book “Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression” about how the communist party tried to secure racial, economic, and political reforms.

To listen to the interview, go here: Interview with Robin D.G. Kelley.

Transcript: Continue reading

Collected Documents on the National Question in the United States

The following is a collection of statements, resolutions, books, articles and other documents by various Marxist-Leninists which provide a theoretical analysis of the national question in the U.S. Generally speaking they are listed chronologically. This collection, though necessarily different in format, has been incorporated into the M-L Study Guide.


African American National Question

Chicano National Question

Indigenous Peoples

The Debate Over White Skin Privilege

Harry Haywood: For a Revolutionary Position on the Negro Question

The following important polemical 1958 pamphlet on the African American National Question by Harry Haywood is now available online thanks to the Encyclopedia of Antirevisionism Online (for context see Harry Haywood’s “The Degeneration of the CPUSA in the 1950s” which sums up the political struggles that this document was a part of):

The attention of the entire world is focused upon the brutal, barbaric oppression of the Negro people in the South, and the heroic struggle of the Negro masses for full freedom and human dignity there.

The promise of the Supreme Court Decision to end school segregation is proving illusory. The economic and political gains made by the Negro people during the extended boom period are menaced by the economic recession, and by unbridled reaction in the South.

The Negro masses are taking a “New Look” at the slogans of “Free by ’63” and “Integration Is Just Around the Corner” so assiduously propagandized by Wall Street apologists, and fervently supported by Negro bourgeois-reformist leaders at the height of the Cold War. As Carl Rowan, prominent Negro journalist says, the Negro people are “asking themselves whether they were naive in assuming they could win freedom through the legislative and judicial machinery of the nation.” (Scientific American, October, 1957.)

The Negro masses are looking with increased alarm upon the growth of racist terror in the South, spreading its evil influences throughout the country. Inspired by the successes of the world anti-colonialist movement in Asia and Africa, they are seeking new, militant leadership which is internationalist in outlook, free from ties of white ruling class patronage.

Our Communist Party, with its proud history of militant, uncompromising struggle for Negro rights which alone has projected a consistently revolutionary solution to the Negro question, has an indispensable role to play in the period ahead. But our Party can play its proper role only if we have a “liberation” of our own: a liberation from the paralyzing effects of revisionism – the slightly warmed over liberal gradualism which seeks to destroy our revolutionary position on the Negro question.

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Harry Haywood: The Negro Nation


Harry Haywood, 1948

Harry Haywood, 1948

The following is chapter VII of Harry Haywood‘s 1948 book, Negro Liberation.


In the struggle against the plantation system of the South, the Negro people are necessarily the chief driving force. The liberal “remedies” which shy away from the fundamental economic changes indispensable for the democratic transformation of the South, ignore this crucial fact and, with it, they ignore the special character of the social and political struggle of the Negroes.

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Reflections on the 2008 Presidential Election and the African American National Question

Here are some interesting maps that show a fascinating correlation between the historically constituted territory that makes up the African American Nation and the 2008 election of Barack Obama, the first Black president of the United States. I would like to look at these maps, and based on this data, and on a dialectical and historical materialist look at the U.S. in general and the African American people in particular, try to draw some conclusions about the African American national question.


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Harry Haywood on the Question of White Privilege

Harry Haywood

Harry Haywood

Harry Haywood was a major African American communist leader and theorist who wrote extensively about the national question in the United States. His writings deal primarily with African American national liberation, but also deal with the question of how poor and working class whites relate to the the national oppression of African Americans in terms of privilege and exploitation. The question of white privilege is complex and needs careful study. Harry Haywood very well understood the importance of building the strategic alliance between the multinational working class in the struggle for socialism and the movement of the oppressed nationalities, including African Americans, for full equality and national liberation. National oppression is of course harsh and violent for the oppressed nationalities and there are real privileges that exist for masses of white people. However, Harry Haywood makes the argument that poor white workers do not significantly benefit from the oppression of people of color, racism is used to divide the working class for the benefit of the ruling, monopoly capitalist class. Furthermore, Haywood explains concretely how national oppression and racism functions to the detriment of all workers. For more on this please see also Freedom Road Socialist Organization’s Statement on National Oppression, National Liberation, and Socialist Revolution and The Third International and the Struggle for a Correct Line on the African American National Question. What follows are excerpts from Harry Haywood’s “Shadow of the Plantation”, a chapter of his major work on the African American national question, Negro Liberation. These excerpts were originally posted here: Harry Haywood on the “Staggering Price of White Supremacy”. Continue reading

Harry Haywood on the African American National Question

This article by Harry Haywood, originally printed in the September 1933 issue of the The Communist, is from A Documentary History of the Negro People in the United States, edited by Herbert Aptheker. According to the editor, the original article “is published below, in part, with the essential argumentation intact.” I am making this article available on the Internet for the first time. For more on this history of the African American National Question, see Freedom Road Socialist Organization’s Unity Statement on National Oppression, National Liberation and Socialist Revolution and The Third International and the struggle for a correct line on the African American National Question.


by Harry Haywood

Harry Haywood

Harry Haywood

The present program of our Party on the Negro question was first formulated at the Sixth Congress of the Communist International, in 1928. On the basis of the most exhaustive consideration of all the peculiarities, historical development, economic, living and cultural conditions of the Negro people in the United States as well as the experience of the Party in its work among Negroes, that Congress definitely established the problem of the Negroes as that of an oppressed nation among whom there existed all the requisites for a national revolutionary movement against American imperialism.

This estimation was a concrete application of the Marxist-Leninist conception of the national question to the conditions of the Negroes and was predicated upon the following premises: first, the concentration of large masses of Negroes in the agricultural regions of the Black Belt, where they constitute a majority of the population; secondly, the existence of powerful relics of the former chattel slave system in the exploitation of the Negro toilers – the plantation system based on sharecropping, landlord supervision of crops, debt slavery, etc.; thirdly, the development, on the basis of these slave remnants, of a political superstructure of inequality expressed in all forms of social proscription and segregation; denial of civil rights, right to franchise, to hold public offices, to sit on juries, as well as in the laws and customs of the South. This vicious system is supported by all forms of arbitrary violence, the most vicious being the peculiar American institution of lynching. All of this finds its theoretical justification in the imperialist ruling class theory of the “natural” inferiority of the Negro people. Continue reading

Harry Haywood: “For a Revolutionary Position on the Negro Question” (selections)

Harry Haywood wrote the pamphlet, “For a Revolutionary Position on the Negro Question” in 1957 to fight back against the revisionist assault on the CPUSA. It deals mainly with attacks on Harry Haywood’s revolutionary line which come from James Allen, Eugene Dennis, and James Jackson. It was intended for a discussion at a meeting, following the 16th National Convention, which was to adopt on position on the African American national question. That meeting was never held, the paper in question was suppressed, and Harry Haywood, who first developed the theory that African American constituted an oppressed nation while working in the Comintern, was expelled, along with many other revolutionaries. This left the CPUSA as the hopelessly reformist organization that it is today.

This pamphlet was republished by Liberator Press in 1975, the publishing house of the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist), which was one of the important parties and organizations that made up the New Communist Movement. Harry Haywood, after his expulsion form the CPUSA, went on to be a leader of the Mao Zedong-oriented CPML. His main theoretical work on the African American national question, Negro Liberation, is available online as a PDF file, and can be found relatively cheaply used. His autobiography, Black Bolshevik, is also obtainable. This pamphlet is difficult to find these days, but since its contents are significant in their application of Marxism-Leninism to the revolutionary movement in the United States I wanted to post a few short excerpts here in the hopes that interested persons would try to find the pamphlet and learn more about Harry Haywood and the revolutionary line he has come to represent.

Here are some selections from the pamphlet. Continue reading