Tag Archives: national question

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.

General

African American National Question

Chicano National Question

Indigenous Peoples

The Debate Over White Skin Privilege

Harry Haywood at the Marxists Internet Archive

Harry Haywood in Spain with the International Brigades

Following the development of the Harry Haywood Internet Archive here at The Marxist-Leninist, the archive is now available at the Marxists Internet Archive (MIA). The material that is there now is from the MIA project, Encyclopedia of anti-Revisionism On-Line (EROL).

Most of the material hasn’t yet made it over to MIA, but thanks to the collaborative efforts of The Marxist-Leninist with some of the comrades there at MIA in putting together the Harry Haywood archive there, his important contributions to the application of Marxism-Leninism to the U.S. are now being made more accessable to a new generation of revolutionaries.

It has long been a priority of The Marxist-Leninist to help to popularize the important writings of Harry Haywood on the African American national question as well as on anti-revisionism. Developing the archive at the MIA is a big step forward and many of the articles here should be added to the archive at MIA shortly.

Much thanks to the comrades at the MIA for this important contribution!

http://www.marxists.org/archive/haywood/index.htm

Harry Haywood: The Degeneration of the CPUSA in the 1950s

The following article is an excerpt from Harry Haywood’s Black Bolshevik: Autobiography of an Afro-American Communist. It is reprinted here from the theoretical journal of the October League (Marxist-Leninist), Class Struggle: Journal of Communist Thought, Spring/Summer 1976 #4-5. It is being posted here, as part of the Harry Haywood Internet Archive (for the time being hosted by The Marxist-Leninist blog) for the first time online.

October League (Marxist-Leninist) Introduction:

At what point did the building of a new anti-revisionist communist party become the principal task of Marxist-Leninists? What were the main features of the ideological, political, and organizational degeneration of the Communist Party, USA in the 1950s that made it necessary to do so? These are some of the questions discussed in this article by Harry Haywood, a veteran Black communist who has led and been active in the movement for more than 50 years. The article is a slightly condensed version of a chapter [Chapter 22: “Revisionism Takes Command” in the final published version] from the unpublished manuscript of his autobiography, “Black Bolshevik.”

The Degeneration of the CPUSA in the 1950s

The April 1956 National Committee meeting saw the Communist Party in its most serious crisis since 1944. The meeting itself was historic in that it was the first time the top party leadership had met together since 1951. With the exception of Gil Green, Bob Thompson, Gus Hall and Henry Winston who were still in jail, the National Committee was up from underground and out of prison.

Right opportunism, which had been thriving and undergoing continuous growth in the ’50s, erupted here into a full-fledged liquidationist line whose only logical conclusion would be the complete destruction of the Party as a revolutionary force.

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Shlomo Sand: “The Invention of the Jewish People”

The following video is a discussion by Israeli professor, Shlomo Sand , about his book, The Invention of the Jewish People (Verso, 2009), which critically examines and deconstructs the idea of a Jewish nationality (“the Jewish People”) and consequently the Zionist claim for a Jewish homeland (Israel) in Palestine. The video is interesting in its exploration of the national question.

Joseph Stalin gave the Marxist-Leninist definition of a nation as a “historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture“. He goes on to say, regarding Jews,

Bauer speaks of the Jews as a nation, although they “have no common language”; but what “common destiny” and national cohesion is there, for instance, between the Georgian, Daghestanian, Russian and American Jews, who are completely separated from one another, inhabit different territories and speak different languages?

The above-mentioned Jews undoubtedly lead their economic and political life in common with the Georgians, Daghestanians, Russians and Americans respectively, and they live in the same cultural atmosphere as these; this is bound to leave a definite impress on their national character; if there is anything common to them left, it is their religion, their common origin and certain relics of the national character. All this is beyond question. But how can it be seriously maintained that petrified religious rites and fading psychological relics affect the “destiny” of these Jews more powerfully than the living social, economic and cultural environment that surrounds them? And it is only on this assumption that it is possible to speak of the Jews as a single nation at all. (Marxism and the National Question)

The point of this argument is to say that Jews of course have the right to full equality, but not to territorial self-determination (i.e. in Palestine). This is very similar to the argument that Professor Sand makes in this video. I would also suggest the book One Country by Ali Abunimah on the need for single, secular and democratic state in all of historic Palestine. As Ahmad Saadat, the imprisoned General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has argued in an interview with Fight Back! News,

Some have argued that the current reality is pushing towards a two-state solution – an Israeli state next to a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders. Of course, this solution involves ignoring the Right of Return, or replacing it with reparations. We in the PFLP argue that forcing such a solution on the Palestinian people will not end the struggle, because the facts and reality contradict such a solution. The two-state solution that is based on the racist notion of ‘a national, homogeneous Jewish state’ totally disregards the fact that over 1.3 million Palestinians – 20% of the entire population – live inside ‘Israel.’ This will continue to permit the causes of conflict to remain inside Israel. Therefore, the solution based on two states is a myth.

Our people’s quest, like any other people, is a democratic and free society. This democratic state – the only state form that can produce social and economic development – cannot be led or dominated by the parasitic and comprador bourgeoisie, but by a unity of the popular forces that share structural interests in national independence, return to the homeland, popular democracy and economic development. This is, simply, our view in the PFLP, and the view of the national, democratic liberation movement.

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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30th Anniversary of the Greensboro Massacre

On November 3rd, 1979, the Workers Viewpoint Organization (which would become the Communist Workers Party) held a anti-Klan rally in Greensboro, North Carolina. Five WVO cadres were killed by the Ku Klux Klan with the assistance of the Greensboro Police. The following is an excellent documentary about the Greensboro Massacre, called “Greensboro’s Child“.

The Beloved Community Center, Greensboro Justice Fund, and other organizations in Greensboro are hosting a conference and other events to commemorate the “30th Anniversary of the Tragic Killing of Five Labor and Community Organizers by Klan and Nazis in 1979” from Nov. 4-7th.

Claudia Jones: Marxist Pioneer of Black and Proletarian Feminism

claudia-jonesClaudia Jones was born in Trinidad in1915 but migrated to Harlem in 1924. She became active in the Scottsboro struggle. She became a leader of the Comunist Party in the 1940’s, until she was indicted under the Smith Act (under which teaching Marxism was illegal) and imprisoned in 1955. She was then deported to London, where she lived and worked until her death 1965. She was buried beside of Karl Marx.

To get an idea of her importance, read her article, “An End to the Neglect of the Problems of the Negro Women” (PDF), which analyzed the situation of black women from a Marxist viewpoint, and which was her major contribution to feminist thought.

Malcolm X on John Brown

Malcolm_X_NYWTS_4John Brown  was a guerrilla fighter, who worked together with Harriet Tubman, and who fought and died for African American National Liberation.

Today is the 150th anniversary of militant white abolotionist John Brown’s armed raid on the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, an important moment in the African American Liberation struggle. To mark the occasion, here is a quote from Malcolm X in 1965:

There are many white people in this country, especially the younger generation, who realize that the injustice that has been done and is being done to black people cannot go on without the chickens coming home to roost eventually. And those white people, even if they’re not morally motivated, their intelligence forces them to see that something must be done. And many of them would be willing to involve themselves in the type of operation that you were just talking about.

For one, when a white man comes to me and tells me how liberal he is, the first thing I want to know, is he a nonviolent liberal, or the other kind. I don’t go for any nonviolent white liberals. If you are for me and my problems – when I say me, I mean us, our people – then you have to be willing to do as old John Brown did. And if you’re not of the John Brown school of liberals, we’ll get you later – later.

John_Brown_Painting

The Rise of the New Ultra-Right Populism

This video is from the 9/12/09 “Tea Party” in DC, against basic reforms (particularly health care reform) and for basically everything reactionary and backwards imaginable.

“Fascism will never come to America as fascism. It will come as 100 percent Americanism.” – Huey Long

Check out also Tim Wise’s article, “Sick Heil: Racial Paranoia, White Victimology, and the Hitlerizing of Obama” and this article from Al Jazeera, both of which point out the important role of white supremacy in this utlra-right movement:

Dangerous hatred in the US?
By Rob Reynolds, senior Washington correspondent

Michelle Bachmann, the US Republican Representative for Minnesota, tells a radio interviewer she believes Barack Obama, the US president, plans to set up mandatory “re-education camps” to indoctrinate young Americans.

Glenn Beck, a television personality working at the Fox news network, says on the air that Obama is a “racist” with a “deep-seated hatred for white people”.

Comparing Obama to Adolf Hitler, an Iowa man named Tom Eisenhower speaks up at a town hall meeting held by Republican Senator Charles Grassley, and says “The president of the United States, that’s who you should be concerned about.”

“I’d take a gun to Washington if enough of you would go with me.”

Retired FBI agent Ted Gunderson, a prolific writer and speaker about conspiracy theories involving devilish sex cults and the Illuminati, tells a gathering of right-wing “Patriots” in Florida that the federal government has set up 10,000 internment camps across the country and is storing thousands of guillotines for mass executions. 

Mel Sanger, a self-described “political researcher”, offers visitors to his website a $24.97-report full of “cutting edge evidence” that Obama is the biblical Antichrist.

Tens of thousands of right-wing demonstrators march on the US Capitol waving signs reading “Bury Obamacare with Kennedy” and calling Obama a “bloodsucking Muslim alien”.

Steven Anderson, the pastor of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona, preached a sermon last month entitled “Why I hate Barack Obama”, in which he declared, “I’m going to pray he dies and goes to hell”. 

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Carlos Montes on the 39th Anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium

Carlos Montes is a veteran fighter in the Chicano Liberation movement. He was a founder of the Brown Berets and the Chicano Moratorium. Montes is currently active in the Southern California Immigration Coalition, the East L.A.-based Latinos against War and with CSO, which organizes parents in the East Los Angeles area to fight against the privatization of public education in Los Angeles Unified School District. For more on the Chicano Liberation Struggle, see the League of Revolutionary Struggle’s 1979 Resolution on the Chicano National Question.

The following commentary by Carlos Montes is from Fight Back! News:

chicano-moratorium39th Anniversary of Chicano Moratorium: The Struggle Continues 

Commentary by Carlos Montes

Los Angeles, CA – Today, Aug. 29, 2009, shows that our people are continuing the fight for equality and self-determination. It was demonstrated by the many groups that were present today at Salazar Park, including the student group MECHA and the new Brown Berets, to commemorate the historic day in 1970 when over 20,000 Chicanos marched down historic Whittier Boulevard in East L.A. to protest the war in Vietnam and the high casualty rate of Chicanos. The mass peaceful rally in 1970 was attacked by the Los Angeles Police Department and the sheriffs. Ruben Salazar, news director for KMEX, was killed, along with Angel Diaz and Lynn Ward. A similar example of repression took place on May 1, 2007 when the LAPD attacked a pro-immigrant rights rally at MacArthur Park. 

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