June 21, 2004
by Li'l Joe
NOTE: Tim Wise has written a good sociological treatise on Reagan's Racism, and White Racism in America - as far as sociology goes. (See article below) Perhaps I should say, as far as bourgeois liberal sociological writing goes. I say this because the article is completely without economic content, and avoids the economical analysis that racism is a product of the capitalist mode of appropriation, the product of the capitalist mode of production -- that is, competitive commodity production on the basis of competitive wage labor.
In the capitalist mode of production, workers competing for jobs and promotions engenders strife between workers. Because these jobs represent the only life-chances of workers, based on wages, this strife gives rise to hostility between workers. In a racist capitalist society such as the U.S., competition between workers makes possible hostility between workers of different "races".
Originally, the White proletarians in the industrializing North were a virtual monopoly, owing to the fact that Africans were slaves in the South, rather than proletarians. The emancipation of the slaves resulted in the first instance in Black sharecropping. There was slight competition between Black and White farmers in commodity production. But, the racist culture that arose in the South to justify slavery was perpetuated, was made practical, by capitalists following the emancipation, by setting White workers against Blacks, regarding issues of job security and wages.
However, over time, and especially in consequence of World Wars I & II, Black share-croppers were recruited into the industries of the North, East and West, replacing White proletarians who were in Europe and Asia fighting America's imperialist wars. As America became a major industrial power White as well as Blacks were brought from the farms into the proletariat. Following the end of these wars, Black proletarians were attacked by White proletarians, as in the "Bloody Summer" of 1919. Here racism was useful, was "practical" for White workers only because they accepted capitalism and its rules of competition.
The Craft Unions of the Knights of Labor and the American federation of Labor (AFL) consequently instituted racist policies and practices, giving the "best" jobs to White proletarians and discriminated against Black proletarians. Yet, Black proletarians were here to stay, and they fought back. The Blacks working as porters formed a union, which forced the White unions to recognize them as workers, for example.
But, with the expanded development of American industry following World War I, and the destruction of the European infrastructure and economy, the resulting demand for workers to rebuild resulted in the formation of the industrial unions -- the Congress of Industrial Organization (CIO) --, within which the Communist Party and the Socialist Workers Party cadres were organizers and militant anti-racists. The Second World War resulted in a mass devastation of Europe's productive forces and populations that enabled the America capitalists and government to enter Europe, and the world, as a major industrial power. The Marshall Plan engendered a "post-war boom", which required permanence of Black workers to meet the production demands, and to replace White workers stationed abroad. Today, some 90% of African-Americans are working-class, and although 10% - 12% of the American population are 30% of organized labor!
On the other hand, organized labor itself is only a small portion of the American working-class. Racism is systemic of capitalism, and Black, Chicano, and Asian workers were assigned to the dirtiest, low wage jobs along with the "trailor-park trash", who nonethless had a racist mentality from the circumstances of their upbringing, education, and religious instruction. This prevented a workers formation into unions in these areas.
It was only with the advances in Civil Rights, that workers of every ethnicity were enabled to associate with workers of every other ethnicity, on the job if not in the same neighborhoods.
Yet the workers fight against high taxes, failing schools, crime, drugs, and shortages of jobs can only be carried out without compromise by the American trade unions reorganizing and revitalizing the American labor movement. The goal to organize the unorganized is also to thereby eliminate the competition that keep American workers at each other's throats.
This is about the unity of the workers not of a craft, or in a particular industry, but as a class. But every class struggle is a political struggle. The laws on the books, legislated by Democrats and/or Republicans in the interests of capitalist class power, have to be challenged in the streets in strikes and in the Congress. The self-organization of the workers into a class, and consequently a political party, occurs within the context of practical-critical, revolutionizing activity, the objective of which is it's (proletarian) economical emancipation from wages, commodity production, exploitation and oppression, in the struggle to win the battle of democracy, the Labor Party displacing the Democrats and Republicans as the Government.
Therefore the fight against racism must at the same time be a fight against the capitalist class. The fight against the capitalist class unites the working-class -- the shock of body against body in the streets is not workers against workers but class against class, complimented in Congress by voice against voice and vote against vote, as the working-class representatives, themselves workers, engage in a war of class against class.
The fight against racism, including the defense of immigrants and the overthrow of all anti-worker, anti-immigrant and racist customs and laws, requires the political organization of all workers of every ethnicity and both genders. Black issues in this country are the same as those of White workers, Indian workers, Chicano workers and Latino, Asian and African proletarian immigrant workers -- full employment, public quality education K-Graduate School, Universal health care, decent housing, clean and healthy living and working-conditions. These objectives can be actualized only by a working class party -- the American Labor Party financially based in an expanding trade union base and socially based in the class as a whole -- winning the battle of democracy!
To gain political power, working men and women of every religion, ethnicity, gender and sexual preference must unite! This fight requires the self-organization of the workers into a financially and politically independent class party, the American Labor Party, because the reorganization and revitalization of the labor movement cannot be done so long as American workers are politically tied to one or the other of the capital based political parties -- the Democrats and the Republicans.
Therefore, the real struggle against racism is a struggle to mobalize the American working-class into a political organization in the struggle for state power! This is the basis for fighting racism in the white working class. This struggle against racism in the working-class is part and parcel of the ideological and political struggle to reorganize and revitalize the trade union movement in a political struggle for proletarian power.
The ideological battle in the struggle to organize workers into a class, and consequently a political party, is interrupted by agencies of bourgeois ideology in the workers movement, including Laberals as well as conservatives.
In the struggle for political and theoretical clarity, the proletarian partisans have to fight, refute and boot out the labor movement Reagan's racist appeal by explaining it and offering an alternative strategy. The alternative strategy is based upon the working-class principle of an injury to one an is injury to all; augmented by the understanding that only the capitalist class benefits by one segment of the working-class advancing at the expense of the other. The free development of each worker is advanced only in the free development of all, and in that context.
Along with the refutation of the "conservative" racist ideology internalized by the working-class, we must also refute the "liberal" whose advocacy of affirmitive action takes the programmatic and ideological forms of advancing Black capitalists and at the same time the denouncing of whites for wanting to keep their jobs. This only aides capitalism by further encouraging the kind of liberal bullshit that the Reagan's are able to exploit. The practical consequences of both the conservative racists and liberal "anti-racists" has been to keep workers stupid and at each others throat.
The reader will note that in the article by Wise (below), the economic basis of racism in capitalist America is restricted to only a portion of a single paragraph. Even there, it is glossed over as an example of racial false consciousness rather than that workers are forced to be competitive sellers of their commodity, labor-power, how this assumes the form of worker competition and racial animosities in America, and how this competitive animosity shit can be flushed out the working-class by being fought, ideologically and politically, in context of a practical struggle to rebuild the American labor movement, organizing the unorganized to extend to the entire working-class and in the Labor Party!
Tim Wise says nothing about this class struggle, his only reference to economic competition and related false consciousness is to attack White workers by writing: "Having to grapple with the real world is stressful, and people with relative power and privilege never know how to deal with stress very well. As such, they long for and applaud easy answers for the stress that occasionally manages to intrude upon their lives: so they blame people of color for high taxes, failing schools, crime, drugs, and jobs they didn't get".
You notice that even here, where Wise does in fact deal with the reality of the working-class, its problems -- " high taxes, failing schools, crime, drugs, and jobs" -- his racial analysis seeks to lift workers who are White out of the working-class of which they are, in actuality, part and parcel, working from paycheck to paycheck. By reducing these issues to a discussion of psychology, racism as such, Wise is able to do service to capitalism, and the bourgeois liberals of which his thinking is part and parcel, by scape-goating "White people", inversely the way "conservatives" scapegoat "Blacks".
The absurdity of this illusory racial sociology is that it is considered separate from economic determinisms. The crap about White-skin privilege, of which all Whites are accused, followed to its logical conclusion by strictly racial criteria, is that unemployed homeless White Americans are "privileged", while Blacks like Colin Powell and Condi Rice are "oppressed"! The absurdity in this is self-evident.
High taxes, failing schools, crime, drugs, and jobs are economic problems, experienced by workers regardless to ethnicity and gender, and therefore can only be eleminated by a worker's party in Congress legislating the transfer of the hundreds of millions of dollars feeding the military industrial monster to the rebuilding of the cities and schools, and full employment in the development of an economy based in peace rather than war, including ending U.S. military occupations, bases, and support for garrison states, such as Israel and Tiawan.
In reality, in their needs and aspirations today, White workers are no different than Black workers.
Where there once was a racial difference based on class, it was these class realities that distinguished impoverished farmers and equally impoverished White proletarians from oppressed Black slaves. These objective, material economic differences in class enabled the American ruling classes and their political demagogues and propagandists to spread among poor White dirt farmers, and impoverished White proletarians, the illusion of White supremacy, and privilege. The slaves who were Black knew they were slaves and fought against slavery -- racial equality meant abolition of slavery since there can be no equality of slaves and slave owners. But, laboring under the illusions of White supremacy and privilege, the White wage-slaves, as Malcolm X would say were a class of White Uncle Toms that identified with their masters. This heritage of White supremacy intellectually crippled the "White" American workers predicated upon the illusion of privilege.
However since the Civil War made illegal slavery, and because the Great Depression on one hand, and industrializations and war economies on the other, in the 20th century, forced impoverished White yeomen farmers along with Black sharecroppers and farmers into the American proletariat, which transformations were accelerated in the post-war boom in America in connection with Marshall plan in Europe on one hand, and the ascendancy of the military-industrial complex in the Cold War economical context on the other. White and Black proletarians were brought into the same factories, into the same cities which however were segregated by realtors into racial or ethnic enclaves, Ghettoes and barrios.
Nowhere in the article, however, does Wise attack the capitalist ownership of the productive forces, financial institutions and realtors, which in reality are the ultimate cause of racial consciousness and deliberate racial and ethnic contradictions in the American working-class.
Just as on one hand the migration of poor White farmers into the cities as proletarians, wageworkers, engendered trade unions and the labor movement, so on the other hand the transformation of Black farmers and sharecroppers into proletarians, wageworkers, transferred them from rural poverty into urban poverty that was the basis of the Civil Rights rebellion in the 20th century. The Black professionals in the cities formed Civil Rights organizations such as the NAACP, to fight racial discrimination. But it was Black proletarians who organized themselves as such, the Sleeping Car Porters Union for example, that forced themselves into the Union movement and forced the Union movement into the Civil Rights movement.
The political division of labor in the capitalist class assigned the Democratic Party the tasks of appropriating the labor and civil rights movements by appropriating the labor and civil rights movements organizational leadership cadres into the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is a capitalist class party no less so than is the Republican Party, but it's liberal wing masquerades as the "friend of labor" on one hand, and the "friend of the Negro" on the other. Nevertheless,the actions of these unions in the Democratic Party, instead of fighting for the interests of all workers, were directed at preserving the "good jobs" for White workers by excluding minorities.
Thus, instead of fighting for full employment for all workers without regard to race or ethnicity, by the reduction of the hours of the working-day with no cut in pay, and ultimately winning the battle of democracy by forming a class party based on the trade unions taking state power, the Democrats were seen by workers as fighting on the side workers, winning organizing rights, minimum wage laws, and welfare for the unemployed which in fact represented the interests of the capitalist class by enabling capitalism to continue unchallenged.
Similarly, the Democratic Party appropriated the leadership of the Black civil rights movement, and changed it. Unlike the Black labor union, the Porters union, that connected the fight against racism with the struggle against capitalist exploitation as one and the same and therefore its leadership cadres affiliated with the American Socialist Party, the community based civil rights movement fought social discrimination as a "moral issue". This phase of the civil rights movement not surprisingly was led by preachers wanting to make American capitalism "fair" rather than by socialist trade unionists wanting to end exploitation by overthrowing capitalism.
Whether or not Tim Wise is a member of the Democratic Party, I don't know. But I do know that the philosophical premises articulated in his article (below) are identical with the philosophical articulations of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. Rather than showing White workers that racism is not in their interests as workers, Wise, on the contrary, Wise groups them all together, without regard to class, as "racist White people". Together with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party -- who now call themselves "progressives" since Reagan made liberal a dirty word -- Wise presents racism as a transcendental moral issue, attacking White workers as privileged for having jobs.
The Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party are owned and controlled by capitalists -- different factions of capitalists, but capitalists nonetheless.
Unemployment is written into the policy of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors - Alan Greenspan has been elected and re-elected and approved and re-approved the Chairman of the Board by both Democratic and Republican Presidents and Senators, for over a decade -- and the Treasury Department operates upon the assumptions in the Philip's Curve that full employment is bad for business, because the capitalists need to maximize profits by maintaining a pool of chronically unemployed proletarians whose competition for jobs keep wages relatively low. In the United States "full employment" is defined as 5% percent unemployed. Furthermore, unemployment is exacerbated by so-called structural unemployment together with frictional unemployment, and this is facilitated by technological displacements, downsizing and outsourcing.
Based in the history of slavery, sharecropping and racial discrimination in the United States, Blacks are the last hired and first fired. It was/is therefore inevitable that we would be importunately placed in the ranks of the unemployed, and the chronic unemployed in the cities, who, to survive, are forced to welfare (a worker funded pool of relief funds), and/or crime. The elimination of unemployment and crime in the cities, is contrary to the policies both of democrats and Republicans.
Wise, in the article below, does not deal with the capitalist causes of unemployment, the policy of 5% unemployment being instituted by liberal Democrats and racist Republicans alike. He focuses on the racist rhetoric of Reagan in attacking Blacks as welfare cheats. Racist Texan Republican, former U.S. Senator Phil Graham used to talk about the over taxed "pulling the wagon", and the welfare recipients in the wagon given a joy ride. Wise ignores the fact that it was Bill Clinton,whose "Southern strategy" including both "law and order" rhetoric, and advocacy of capital punishment (who halted his presidential campaign to show he meant business by returning to Arkansas to preside over the execution of a mentally unbalanced Black man) also campaigned on the issue of welfare reform as it had been defined by Reagan and the rhetoric of Graham, Gingrich and others. Wise does not mention that it was the New Democrats, President Clinton and Vice President Gore, and the Senate, that joined the Radical Right Republican majority in Congress to legislate Reagan's "racist" attacks on "bucks eating steaks" and "welfare queens" (below).
Were Wise to have focused on Reagan's anti-labor record, beginning with the Presidential destruction of the striking PATCO workers union, in connection with Reagan's racism he would have had to shift from bourgeois sociology to Marxist economic critiques -- which he isn't about to engage in. Yet, Reagan's destruction of the PATCO union set the stage for 8 years of attacks upon organized labor, not just in the public sector but in the private sector as well.
"PATCO was one of a small handful of unions that
endorsed Reagan in his bid to defeat incumbent
President Jimmy Carter in 1980. But just months
after Reagan took office, PATCO members found
that support meant nothing.
"Faced with the longest working hours of any air
traffic controllers in the world, PATCO members
sought to relieve the stress of their jobs through
changes in their union contract with the Federal
Aviation Administration. Their main demands
centered on safer working conditions, including a
32-hour workweek, updated computer equipment and
retirement after 20 years of service.
"When the Reagan administration balked at these
demands, PATCO called a strike. Federal employees
however, are forbidden by law to walk off their
jobs. On the first day of the strike on Aug. 3, 1981,
some 15,000 controllers went out, causing the
cancellation of thousands of airline flights
across the country. Two days later, Reagan fired
the striking controllers.
"In retrospect, the PATCO strike was just one
event – albeit a highly visible one – in a chain
of actions taken during the Reagan administration
to shift the balance of power to corporations and
management. The firings marked a kind of “open season”
on workers that paved the way for managers to take
advantage of a previously ignored U.S. Supreme Court
decision barring them from firing strikers but
allowing them to “permanently replace” those same
This working-class conscious critique recognizes racism catered to by the Reagan presidential campaign had an appeal to White workers who thought themselves privileged. The lily-White air traffic controllers thought of themselves as Archie Bunker type White men -- among them the so-called Reagan-Demooooccrats. But ourr critique exposes that this race consciousness was false-consciousness based on false perceptions. American workers are not privileged. White workers are not privileged. This illusion was shattered by the Reagan policies toward organized labor, beginning with the smashing of PATCO.
The importance of this strike breaking is not only that it taught those "White Americans" that in reality they were workers, and their racism a practical-political liability kicking themselves in their own asses, but also the importance of labor in the functioning of the economy. The air traffic controllers had the capacity to bring the U.S. economy to a halt, the same as the teamsters, railroad engineers and longshoremen, because without means of transportation, circulating capital ceases to circulate!
The labor-process, in which human labor-power is objectified in the value content of commodities, both preserving and transferring the constant value contained in the productive forces from previous labor processes, adding fresh labor and thus value and surplus value at the same time, these natural resources and raw materials must be present and at the ready to immediately enter the continuing labor-process within the shortest period of time -- time is money, say the capitalists, and rightly so!
Workers that transport constant capital -- raw materials,semi-finished and finished commodities, produced in previous labor-processes -- are strategically located with the power to, by stopping the process of production in multiple related and unrelated industries when they strike, cost those capitalists millions of dollars daily. Various and sundry capital goods nowadays are shipped by planes as well as ships, trucks and trains.
The PATCO workers, like most American workers, didn't (and don't) regard themselves as proletarians but "middle class". This defective consciousness is taught in bourgeois sociology and political science, where "class" is sais to be determined by "income bracket", social networks, habits, prejudices and so on, rather than by modes of appropriation of labor-power, and corresponding relations of production. Were the PATCO workers class conscious, rather than race conscious snobs, they not only would not have endorsed Reagan but been in a Labor Party movement in opposition to both Democrats and Republicans in a fight for full employment at 100%, as opposed to the racist policy of 5% unemployment which force unemployed minorities to get on welfare, beg, borrow, steal and rob.
Were Wise a proletarian conscious socialist critiquing racism from that perspective, rather than a bourgeois sociologist presenting racism as nothing more than a character defect in "White people", his attacks on racism would be a complete and thorough attack on the capitalist economy that has engendered it, and the bourgeois politics that exacerbate it. Rather than this objective rendering of the economics of racism, Wise ignores economics altogether, except to say that there are "Whites" as well as "Blacks" on welfare. He does not render the fact that unemployment is the basis for welfare. To do so he would have to deal with the fact that unemployment, and therefore racism, is endemic to the American form of capitalist economics.
To have dealt with the issue of 'racism' in this economic context, Wise would have had to come to the conclusion that it is capitalism, and therefore the capitalist class and its demagogic politicians alone who benefit from racism's legacy of White working-class hostility to Blacks and Latinos, American Indians and Asian immigrants by blaming workers of color for White workers not getting jobs rather than attacking the policy of deliberate unemployment itself. It is only by doing this that Black, White, Golden, Red and Brown workers can come together in a struggle against racism that is at the same time a struggle against capitalism.
Tim Wise attack's Reagan's racism, and assigns racism of White people as a universal defect thus diverting the critique from the critique of the economic system into an issue of sociology and individual psychology. In the article below Wise ignores the Reagan attack on organized labor -- although at least 30% of organized labor is Black.
By an ever rising participation in the labor movement of class conscious Latino working-class immigrants in the U.S., which Wise mentions in the article but only in connection with Reagan's racist wars, there is a fresh revitalizing of the American labor movement. In California 'people of color' are at least 50% of organized labor. In Los Angeles, on May Day a couple years ago there was for the first time ever in this anti-labor city, a massive turnout in May Day labor day protests against racism, anti-labor legislation, wars, and unemployment - the protestors were predominately Latino! That's wonderful! This new thinking, class conscious militancy is precisely what is most needed in the American working-class.
The American truckers, the Teamsters, also endorsed Reagan. This racism continues with this union's racist attacks against NAFTA, and in particular against Mexican truckers who are denounced as "reckless drivers", "dangerous", "drug smugglers",etc.
American truckers thus oppose Mexican truckers driving rigs in the U.S., on "American highways". These racist Teamsters include Chicanos and African Americans, women and men, as well as "racist" White Teamsters. The rank and file are brought into these anti-Mexican, racist protests. The struggle against racism in the U.S, today, must include a fight against the anti-Latino immigrant attacks and against anti-NAFTA American jobs protectionism. In other words, a class consciousness in the recognition that the proletariat is cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic -- we need to organize truly International Brotherhood/Sisterhood of labor unions, bringing Mexican truckers into the Teamsters and fighting that wages and benefits of Mexican workers be brought to the higher level of Teamsters in the U.S.! This, too, must be inscribed on the Labor Party banner!
Tim Wise presents Racism as a sociological issue and psychoanalysis of how people "feel". In this case, about how "White people" and "people of color" feel differently about Reagan.
The materialist economic premise on the contrary is that it is not the consciousness of men -- social ideology, psychology, politics, and so on -- that determine material economic existence, but their socio-economic being that determine their consciousness.
In building a American Labor Party in the United States, the program must be based on the recognition that it is material economic interests that all workers have in common that forms the basis for inter-ethnic class solidarity. It was the trick of the liberal Democrats, to provoke racial tensions, to pretended to want to alleviate by executive orders, legislation, and court decisions, placing White workers as sacrificial lambs on the alter of affirmative action to atone for the historical racism of the American capitalist class. It was in part in reaction to handing their jobs and income over to Blacks and women, that White American working-class men flocked to Reagan, the New Democrats, and the Gingrich-Clinton-Rush Limbaugh anti-welfare anti-affirmative action majorities in Congress and on the airwaves.
We must reject liberal Democrat attacks on workers, "big government" (code for welfare and environmental regulations) and health and safety. We must explain the economic basis for unemployment and in the Labor Party platform and program explain how a Labor Party dominated Congress will appeal to the material interests of all workers in our fight against racism. It is in the interests of all workers to have a Labor Party majority in the House of Representatives that will legislate Full Employment at 100%, by both making it a law of the land that industries run at 100% capacity and that advances in technology rather than throwing workers into unemployment lines, on the contrary, will result in maintaining full employment by reducing the hours of the working-day from the 8 hour a day, five day workweek, to a legal limit of all employment to a 5 hour a day, five day workweek, with no decrease in pay.
Both in general, (universally) and in capitalist commodity production by wage labor in particular, invention and application of new technology used in production increases the productivity of labor. For instance, one farm laborer using modern machinery can do within the same labor-time period the work previously requiring ten using animal power.The wages paid the one worker are the same as when he was one among ten. By the output being the same and the capitalist continue to sell the same quantity at the same price this increased labor productivity is a relative surplus produce insomuch as one is paid the same wage while doing the labor of ten. The benefit goes to the capitalist, who by firing the nine excess workers, increases his profits 90%!
Capitalist commodity production by wage labor however, is competitive. The capitalist, utilizing the new technology, is able to drive his competitor from business by lowering the prices of his commodities and thereupon take competitor's customers. Increased labor productivity therefore tends to reduce prices.
The natural price of labor, that price which is necessary to enable the laborers to subsist and to perpetuate their class, without either increase or diminution, is called by Marx, socially necessary labor-time. "That price which is necessary to enable the laborers" to subsist and perpetuate their race is therefore based on the socially necessary-labor-time to produce those means of production and subsistence which in capitalist commodity production is the cost price, whether of producing the means of production and subsistence or the price of those means of subsistence consumed by workers in self-reproduction. To say that the wages remain constant is therefore to say that the socially necessary labor-time to produce those means of production and subsistence remains constant.
However, as we have just seen, advances in technology render increased labor productivity, increased output and competition between capitalists in the same business that compels these capitalists to lower prices to reflect these decreases in socially necessary labor-time. Spread throughout the economy, the objective tendency is the perpetual reduction in socially necessary labor-time without a corresponding reduction in output on the part of the reduced labor force. It is upon this scientific basis that the Labor Party candidates can argue in electoral campaigns for reductions in the working-day from the present eight hour day working-day five day week to a five hour working-day five day week with no decrease in pay. Such campaigns by Labor candidates will attract workers as a proletarian magnet regardless of ethnicity, creed, color or neighborhood.
Labor Party members of Congress, presenting such legislation, would be in position to advance working-class partisanship in the Labor Party caucus in Congress, and, more importantly, mobilizing communities of workers in political support rallies, demonstrations, strikes, marches and uprisings in cities across the country. The Black and Latino cadres in the trade unions would of course press in those unions class-consciousness in the course of building this labor party into a class party. White workers as well as Black, Indian, Asian, and Latino workers will recognize racism in the working-class for what it is - an enemy ideology which must be exorcised by radical and uncompromising criticisms.
In the United States, the top 8% of the population owns 60% of this country's wealth. These are not racists. They are capitalists who don't give a damn whose labor power they exploit -- whether it be embodied in Black bodies or White bodies. It was Ronald Reagan who signed the bill making Martin Luther King Junior's birthday a national holiday.
"Congress passed the holiday legislation in 1983, which was then signed into law by President Ronald Reagan." http://www.factmonster.com/spot/mlkhistory1.html
It is White workers that are targeted by the American media in it's sickening honoring of Ronald Reagan's life, political career and death. It is White worker's stupidity, parading around his casket. And it is White workers who Tim Wise is attacking, as opposed to "people of color", in his article below.
It is in the material interests of White workers as well as workers of color to fight racism in the fight for full employment. In order to keep their jobs, it is in the interests of white workers to fight for full employment that would appropriate into the working class unemployed Blacks, women and people of color.
In the trade unions the Labor Party cadres must fight for leadership at every level -- local shop stewards, local officers and presidents, county and regional boards, and at state and the national levels -- to fill all the offices by running on a program that to vote for these individuals is to vote to make those union locals and others, affiliates of the Labor Party. In other words, these administrative positions must become political. Those labor bureaucrats that have handed over union dues to the Democratic Party must be exposed as not representatives of labor but as representatives of our class enemy infiltrating the unions.
This can be successful only by forcing the Labor Party to get off its duff and start running candidates for Congress. In other words, class-conscious trade unionists have to take the leadership of the Labor Party by running campaigns for the House of Representatives.
For John Coltrane, when developing the theme of a composition, it was necessary for him to do what he really wanted to do, enter the consciousness of the listeners with something familiar and once the connection was made dismiss these formalities and communicate, challenge the listeners with new sounds and ideas in those sounds. The same is true of Labor Party socialists.
The Labor Party programs are the themes, and the campaigns for elected office the platform to talk to workers, challenge them to new ideas and raise their class-consciousness by bringing them into these campaigns for Congressional seats.
We must understand, and teach the American workers that their ethnic communities are where they eat and sleep, where their children play and attend school. But whether at home we speak Italian, Irish, Ebonics, Navaho, Spanish or Chinese and prefer to eat Pasta, potato stew, ham hocks, corn, tacos or egg flower soup, those working parents have to have the money to pay rent or mortgage, cloth their children and purchase the foods I have just stereotyped to prove my point. This means that they have to leave those communities to go to work to earn the money to purchase those means of subsistence whatever is their preference.
Were there to be a worker's walk out, or a strike, no single ethnic or religious group, nor for that matter gender, can do it alone. The nature of social production is what created trade unions in the first place. It is these trade unionists and Labor Party partisans who will socially integrate the workers of various and sundry ethnicities, based on the integrated workplace, into a common class front in the community-based Congressional Districts.
American workers earn their money to live in their respective ethnic communities at workplaces that are now integrated workplaces. In these workplaces American workers spend most of their waking hours. Since the civil rights movement integrated the workplaces, American workers find that they can be part of an integrated workplace. Why not an integrated community and integrated schools for their children?
It is in the work of building a worker's class party, in the struggle to win state power, that the human unity of workers is engendered. The class interests of the working-class, first articulated in legislation in the interest of the class, is the actualization of the interests of the overwhelming majority, is in the interest of the overwhelming majority,
the general interest. Class-consciousness thereupon evolves beyond the limits of the workplace and of trade unionism.
The evolution of class-consciousness emerges from Trade Unionism, and carried over into the Labor Party by its political campaigns to win the battle of democracy. However, insomuch as the class that holds in its possession qua class property, the productive forces and finance institutions, is the economically and consequently politically dominant class, unity of the workers can become actual worker's democracy only by legislating the transfer of the productive forces and financial institutions from the private possession of the capitalist class to the public property of the working-class.
So long as wage-labor and capital exist in commodity production, capital accumulation by exploiting wage-labor through the forced extraction of surplus value will continue to exist. Public ownership of the productive forces is not the solution to this problem so long as labor remains wage labor. The production and distribution of goods and services must be located in worker-community managed planning, doing away with commodities, wage labor and capital.
To win the battle of democracy, by which the proletariat beats the bourgeoisie at its own political game, the workers must displace the existing Constitutional State by a Parliamentary Republic based on trade unions, worker's district councils, neighborhood councils and so on operating freely, with means of mass communication -- press, electronic medias, computers and so on at the disposal of these democratic workers councils. This is what is to be understood as proletarian democratic dictatorship, the old bureaucratic-military bourgeois state, that represents the class interests of capitalist exploiters is repressive whereas the proletarian state is revolutionary. The old capitalist state machine is not sublated but destroyed.
U.S. workers believe in having a Constitution and a government of checks and balances. So be it. The Labor Party platform and program must include as its objective upon becoming the majority in the House of Representatives, the call for a New Constitutional Convention.
Unlike the previous Constitutional Convention -- attended exclusively by men of wealth and property, held in secret, a Constitutional Convention that excluded property-less workers, indentured servants, yeomen farmers, slaves and women -- Labor Party members of Congress, who must themselves be workers, must introduce into legislation the opposite: that the new Constitutional Convention organizers will operate on the principle of transparency.
Those who own the wealth -- that is "resources that can be used to produce income" -- the productive forces, means of circulation and finance, don't work. The issue is not one of "corporate welfare", as played on by Democrats and liberal leftists in opposition to the Republicans, or rather the faction of capitalists represented by the Republicans. Rather, it is an issue of capitalistic exploitation in the labor-process. The Democratic Party, its demagogic populists notwithstanding, is rooted in Capital and representative of capitalist exploiters of labor power, the same as the Republican Party.
In the United States, presently, 1% of the families own 20% of the nations wealth. The top 8% own almost 60%! This tiny group of class parasites is the capitalists who now own the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party.
Since American historians, sociologists and politicians say it was okay, for the capitalists and planter-slave owners to exclude from their Constitutional Convention property-less workers, yeomen farmers, slaves, Indians, and women, and brag on it's "democratic basis", it is completely hypocritical of them to argue that the New Constitutional Convention is "anti-democratic" for our Constitutional Convention to be organized by organized labor and ethnic minorities.
Capitalists and their representative lawyers, news medias and political parties have wealth, money, connections, and resources that they will use to prevent the working-class from dismantling the bureaucratic-military state apparatus and enshrining as a Constitutional principle the transfer of the productive forces from capitalist private property to public property of the working-class. Workers must be given sole responsibility for organizing this Constitutional Convention in full public view.
A government is not a state. Rather, the function of governments is to manage the state in the interests of the economically dominant class. This state -- special bodies of armed men and state bureaucracy -- is staffed at the highest levels in the military and bureaucracy by un-elected officers and bureaucrats that are drawn from, or elevated into the economically dominant, politically powerful ruling class. It therefore doesn't matter whether the state government is managed by a monarchy or autocratic tyrant, oligarchy or aristocracy, timocracy or democracy. The United States is nothing but a capitalist dictatorship masquerading as a Constitutional Republic.
A Labor government, to become a worker's state, has to completely dismantle the existing bureaucratic military state machine -- disband the military including state militias, county sheriffs and city police. The trade unions and working-class community councils must become the workers' state in defense of working-class interests. Precisely how this will be accomplished will be sorted out by workers at the Constitutional Convention. Based on this the Conventioneers will have to come up with structures, and branches of government based in the working-class.
Regarded from its economic basis, it is recognized that racism can be negated in the working-class only by and in a class-conscious struggle to build the American Labor Party. This class party, to be a labor party, must be based as it presently is, financially, on the trade unions and socially, in the class as a whole. Positive unity is engendered in a new social consciousness: universal social humanity.
It might be that based in the actuality of racial capitalism in American history, as the result of centuries of bourgeois political demagogues and propaganda, manipulation by the press and academia, that these demagogues and propagandists have created a racial and racist culture into which American workers are assimilated by socialization, upbringing, religion, and education.
Yet the first step has been taken -- trade union solidarity against common enemies: their capitalist employers.
Both capitalist based class parties -- the Democrats as well as the Republicans -- are based in factions of capital. Therefore, both of these bourgeois parties are committed to anti-communism.
Although Tim Wise noted and attacked those White workers who paraded around the Reagan coffin as racist, and rightly so, yet nowhere in his article has Wise attacked the wealthy Democrats in the U.S. Senate who also sang praises to Reagan. In fact, this shows that there is no significant ideological distinction between Democrats and Republicans the Democratic Party's presumptive Presidential nominee, the wealthy Senator John Kerry, expressed his class interests by both postponing his presidential campaign for three days in honor of Reagan on one hand, and praised Reagan for his patriotism and anti-communism on the other.
Notwithstanding Kerry singing praises of Reagan the strike killer, and union buster, the leaders in organized labor are nonetheless solidly in the Kerry camp. However not only they but also most Black members of Congress and other elected Black officials, feminists and environmental activists.
The identity of bourgeois class-consciousness -- of Democrats and Republicans shown as having common class interests -- is manifested symbolically, Kerry worshipping at the feet of Ronald Reagan, but also blatently, in practical politics, as Kerry recently approached Republican Senator John McCain to be his Presidential running mate, his Vice President, in a demonstration of "bi-partisan" capitalist interests and political operatives.
Even if this is the case, the American White workers are nonetheless compelled by the cosmopolitan character of social production, social labor -- without regard to the ethnicity of the participant in an integrated cooperative workplace -- to both depend upon and to respect workers of other ethnicities. This socialization of humanity will progress from generation to generation facilitated by social interaction as workers of every ethnicity are brought together not just in the defensive activity of unions but the social unification of the class in the Labor Party. This is so because the Labor Party 's Congressional campaigns will be based in communities rather than workplaces.
The Tim Wise article that follows is presented in a publication of the Black bourgeoisie and journalists who make their living based on being Black in a racist world. This is not surprising since Wise himself makes his living by being a "White man" opposed to racism. I want to thank them for posting this Wise article, nonetheless, because it has enabled me, in this introductory note, to show that a real struggle against racism must be based in the proletariat as part and parcel of its struggle against capitalism.
Reagan, Race and Remembrance
by Tim Wise, can be found at:
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