Some Observations on Race and the African-American People's Struggle for Liberation (1)
Over February, a number of so-called Communist groups and parties celebrated “Black History Month” by devoting several pages of their newspapers to various issues concerning the African-American people's struggle. None of these articles explained accurately the nature of this struggle, its historic import, or its dynamic connection to social revolution. Nor were any especially sharp or informative in describing the appalling conditions in which many African-Americans live today. One could argue, of course, that revolutionary forces shouldn't even acknowledge Black History Month because of its bourgeois orientation and the fact that the history of the African-American people is an indissoluble component of US history and not something to be recognized just one month out of the year. But this is a minor point that could have been rectified by taking a revolutionary approach to the event. Far more serious were the politics of these articles which indeed completely tail the bourgeoisie and foster harmful illusions.
The central illusion and one that many in the American “Left” have succumbed to is the idea that racism is the major problem confronting the African-American people's struggle (1). It goes without saying that racism exists. It is directly enforced by the neo-fascist state, propagated widely throughout the superstructure, and presents itself as a very serious problem for African-Americans and the entire working class. (2). However, racism is an ideology not the actual policy that brutally and concretely oppresses American Blacks. Another point of confusion expressed in the articles was the assumption or outright assertion that the US state is a democracy, albeit some implied a "flawed" one. This results in the misconception that the "weaknesses" of government can be eliminated by more enlightened policies, which can be brought about by "the people" engaged in the "democratic process." These are erroneous and dangerous ideas stultifying the political consciousness of the working class because they directly negate the fact that the political system in the US is fascism not democracy. More importantly but much more subtly, these ideas suggest that the government and its democratic process is the form of rule, thus oversimplifying the structure of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie which actually comprises both the government apparatus and the state, that is, the government and the state are two separate entities, whereby the government is an intertwined but distinct component of the state with its own role and responsibilities in executing class oppression.
These are points to consider for those who are concerned about uniting and advancing the revolutionary working class movement and the African-American people's struggle for liberation.
The Dictionary of Philosophy contains the following entry on the term Racism :
a reactionary theory, justifying social inequality, exploitation, and wars by the fact that people belong to different races. Racism reduces the social nature of people to their biological, racial features and arbitrarily divides races into ‘higher' and ‘lower' ones. In nazi Germany racism was the official ideology which served to justify aggressive wars and mass annihilation. In the USA in respect to the Black population, which is treated as a ‘lower,' ‘inferior' category of people(3).
In the US , racism directed against African-Americans is an ideology that has justified every form of their oppression. It has a long, despicable history and has manifested itself in many forms. Early on, the Southern planters employed the ideology
to give a veneer of morality to their slave system. Their preachers were very facile in digging up texts from the Bible to justify slavery. The Negroes were made to appear as cursed of God and sentenced by Him to serve the whites obediently and for nothing all their lives(4) .
In addition to their religious justification the planters had their own pro-slavery philosophers, such as Thomas R. Dew and William Harper who came out in the 1830s asserting that
the Negroes were inferior mentally to the whites and born to be slaves; that under slavery Negroes were better off than they had been in their native Africa, and that slavery was the only means by which production could be carried on in the American sugar tobacco, and cotton plantations (5).
Later, in the 1850s, more “sophisticated” theories were spun "proving" that Blacks as a "race" were "biologically inferior" to whites. A "landmark" study that supported these theories was Count de Gobineau's Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races :
The assumption that the Negro is inferior on biological grounds was soon turned into gospel truth in the propaganda of those capitalist elements financially interested in forcing the Negro people into a position of social inferiority, so that they could be more effectively exploited. This white supremacist racism became widespread even in the so-called liberal circles, and has been used against the Negroes ever since (6)..
After the Civil War, when slavery was abolished in the South and the second phase of the democratic revolution - Reconstruction - began, reaction needed a new ideological assault. Journalists like James S. Pike distorted and slandered the economic and political advances being fought for and achieved by the newly-freed African-Americans. With the defeat of Reconstruction, historians such as William Dunning and James Rhodes falsified this historic revolutionary era as a "mistake." Rhodes ' especially venomous views against the African-American people painted Reconstruction as the "enfranchising of ignorance and disfranchising of intelligence"(7).
At about the same time, the subject of race was taken up as a fixation by the new scientific field of anthropology. Unfortunately, no less a scientific personality than Darwin lent confusion to the subject with his equivocal and mixed views. Part of the difficulty simply turned on others' seizing on these in addition to misinterpreting his theories of evolution and natural selection. But Darwin too spoke of "distinct" and "inferior races" of man and even made statements supportive of eugenics(8). However, one passage on the question that comes up in Chapter 7 of The Descent of Man and which is deemed the most authoritative by those who deny Darwin as a source of reaction reads fairly clearly in their favor:
Although the existing races of man differ in many respects, as in colour , hair, shape of skull, proportions of body, etc., yet if their whole structure be taken into consideration they are found to resemble each other closely in a multitude of points. Many of these are so unimportant or of so singular of nature, that it is extremely improbable that they should have been independently acquired by aboriginally distinct species or races. The same remark holds good with equal or greater force with respect to the numerous points of mental similarity between the most distinct races of man.
In any case as Montagu observed in the early 1950s:
For more than a century anthropologists have been directing their attention principally toward the task of establishing criteria by means of which “races” of mankind might be defined – a diverting parlor game in which by selecting the criteria one could nearly always make the "races" come out exactly as one thought they should (9).
And what was the upshot of all this time and effort? Well, for classical anthropology of the 19th and early 20th century Montagu sums up an "indictment" against its "conception of ‘race'" in that
(1) it is artificial; (2) it does not correspond with the facts; (3) it leads to confusion and the perpetuation of error; and finally, (4) for all these reasons it is meaningless, or rather, more accurately, such meaning as it possess is false(10).
Such were the results of attempting to define race by misinterpreting Darwin, and the use of phenotype, that is, on the basis of skin color, hair type, facial features, etc. The effort then shifted to defining race by genotype, that is, distinguishing one race from another on the basis of a characteristic frequency of a gene or cluster of genes. While this criterion was still being treated as an open question among anthropologists at the time Montagu wrote his expose, advances in the field of genetics have since conclusively disproved any connection between individual genes and race. However, even as early as the mid-forties, progressive anthropologists were rejecting race and racism based on pseudo-scientific or dubious hypotheses. Franz Boas, who stood in the forefront of this movement observed that:
the existence of any pure race with special endowments is a myth, as is the belief that there are races all of whose members are foredoomed to eternal inferiority, ( arguing that) Negroes, Mongoloids and whites became isolated in times sufficiently remote to permit the development of far-reaching differences in certain bodily traits. (However) there is no scientific justification for classifying any one of these human types as more primitive in an evolutionary scale (11).
Progressive contemporary anthropology holds that "race is a discredited concept in biology." The American Association of Physical Anthropologists Statement on the Biological Aspects of Race declares among other things:
All humans living today belong to a single species, Homo sapiens , and share a common descent.
There is great genetic diversity within all human populations. Pure races, in the sense of genetically homogenous populations, do not exist in the human species today, nor is there any evidence that they have ever existed in the past.
There is no necessary concordance between biological characteristics and culturally defined groups. On every continent, there are diverse populations that differ in language, economy, and culture. There is no national, religious, linguistic or cultural group or economic class that constitutes a race. However, human beings who speak the same language and share the same culture frequently select each other as mates, with the result that there is often some degree of correspondence between the distribution of physical traits on the one hand and that of linguistic and cultural traits on the other. But there is no causal linkage between these physical and behavioral traits, and therefore it is not justifiable to attribute cultural characteristics to genetic inheritance.
Physical, cultural and social environments influence the behavioral differences among individuals in society. Although heredity influences the behavioral variability of individuals within a given population, it does not affect the ability of any such population to function in a given social setting. The genetic capacity for intellectual development is one of the biological traits of our species essential for its survival. This genetic capacity is known to differ among individuals. The peoples of the world today appear to possess equal biological potential for assimilating any human culture. Racist political doctrines find no foundation in scientific knowledge concerning modern or past human populations (12).
However, reactionary theories of race have not at all been defeated in the US. As the “Preamble” of this statement points out:
Such notions have often been used to support racist doctrines. Yet old racial concepts persist as social conventions that foster institutional discrimination. The expression of prejudice may or may not undermine material well-being, but it does involve the mistreatment of people and thus it often is psychologically distressing and socially damaging (13).
This hedges on the question of whether racist ideology can influence policy and behavior. From a Marxist standpoint there is no question that it does. The "institutional discrimination" spoken of in the statement has been used as a fig-leaf for fascism's racist policy, which is directly backed by its racist ideology (14). "Old racial concepts" certainly do persist and are given tremendous amount of support by the state / government and the state-controlled media(15). A striking example of such support was readily seen in the "mainstream" media's more than ample and sympathetic coverage of The Bell Curve by Murray and Herrnstein in the mid-90s. And it wasn't only the mainstream but the liberal press that tried to put the stamp of respectability on this blatantly racist and white supremacist text, for example when the New Republic preached, “The notion that there might be resilient ethnic differences in intelligence is not, we believe, an inherently racist belief”(16). That's of course how neo-fascism works, whether it's coming from the right or the center or the left of the political spectrum: all kinds of anti-democratic and anti-people ideas and products of the darkest forces of reaction are smuggled into the “public discourse” under the pretext or being “rational” and “democratic.” Not surprisingly the authors of The Bell Curve received a generous amount of help from well-known fascist organizations and individuals for the “research” that so impressed the media(17).
The question is not whether racism as an ideology exists and that it is integral to the superstructure of US society where it manifests itself as state policy. This is indisputable. However, racism either as an ideology or as a policy must not be confused with the neo-fascist state's real reactionary policies directed against the African-American and other national minorities. In other words, to present race and racism in any forms as the problems to be solved to eliminate racial prejudice and discrimination is to divert from a key problem for the African-American people: national oppression. Of course this brings us head to head with the complicated and thorny Black National question that Marxist-Leninists have wrestled with for decades. Nevertheless, it is a crucial one that must be sorted out in order to facilitate the New Democratic and Socialist Revolutions in the US. A full-fledged and effective Party reconstruction organization is the appropriate venue for settling this question in the best interests of both African-Americans and the working class movement. Materials from the Comintern, the Communist Party USA, and the Marxist-Leninist Movement on the Black National question will need to be reviewed. The current conditions of the African-American people in light of the Stalinist theory on the nation will have to be analyzed.
Yet, in the meantime, there is no reason to dismiss a cardinal thesis from the Comintern and the Communist Party USA (revolutionary period) which, roughly speaking, posited that the "Negro (read African-American) people in the Black-Belt of the South comprise a nation, and those in the North and West (i.e., all other regions of the US) constitute a national minority"(18). This thesis was based upon clear criteria in Stalin's authoritative work Marxism and the National Question, which defines a nation as "an historically evolved stable community of language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in community of culture." Furthermore, there is little doubt that the African-American people suffer from national oppression based on Stalin's description in the same work that holds it as a:
system of exploitation and plunder of subject peoples, those measures of forcible restriction of political rights of a subject people, which are resorted to by by imperialist circles. These, taken together, present the policy generally know as a policy of national oppression.
A much more difficult issue connected to the national question is the right to self-determination - the demand for national liberation and independence up to and including national secession. In the current situation, before the matter can be sorted out thoroughly by any reconstruction organization, the most practical approach to this problem is to interpret the fight for self-determination as tantamount to the struggle for complete equality in the course of achieving national liberation. The major point that cannot be emphasized too strongly here is that we are viewing the political problems of the African-American people within the framework of national oppression not racism. Marxist theoreticians have also approached the question of race versus nationality from an ethical perspective (innately connected to the political), making some valuable insights:
The answer to the ethical question concerning the basis of the right to self-determination of any people can be properly found only by careful scientific analysis of those groupings of peoples we call nations. And any failure here to be realistic and objective creates confusions of “rights” in the moral sphere. By far the worst of these confusions – one that instead of defining rights nullifies them and seeks to justify, not self-determination, but its opposite, subordination and oppression – arises from the identification of nation with race. This is at the same time a scientific and an ethical confusion and distortion: scientific, because no grounds can be found in biology, anthropology, or history for its groupings and divisions, and ethical, because it functions as an instrument of oppression and tyranny rather than as one of liberation and freedom (19).
Still, the issue is not just taking a stand but formulating politics that further the unity of the African-American people's national liberation struggle with the revolutionary proletariat's class struggle. Additionally, because of the amount of confusion surrounding the Black national question among the working class and people, work on the ideological front to further these politics once they are articulated will be a challenging.
But what can be said about the politics at this point?
On this issue the Scientific Socialist draft program's central demand is the complete equality for the African-American and other national minority groups. But in this discussion we're more interested in politics that expose the machinations of the bourgeoisie and its fifth column agents than programmatic demands. For in the last analysis revolutionary politics can only be articulated, implemented, and grasped with a clear understanding of the political reality one is struggling against. Scientific Socialist has carried a number of articles and analyses on the pseudo-democratic nature of the US state and how it operates to divert, suppress, and crush the working class and people's struggles. One point needs to be revisited here in light of the present issue: of these three methods of rule the US state favors diversion first and foremost because this can be achieved mainly through deception, that is, by maintaining its false face of democracy. By projecting this deception it can lure people into the endless maze, known as the "democratic process," which is designed to prevent the masses from solving problems confronting them, thus the state sustains if not bolsters the fascist status quo.
Take for example, in 1997, when Clinton called on Americans to engage in a "national conversation" on race and race relations in the US. In this "initiative" the government presented itself as the arbiter standing above the fray of racist views and conflicts that undermine race relations, mediating a "discussion" among them on this "volatile and controversial" issue. The government portrayed itself as democratic and interested in generating "understanding" and defending the rights, freedoms, and equality of all citizens against any institutions, groups, and individuals that would deny these to African-Americans and other national minorities. However, what this "dialogue" accomplished - and in actuality this was its goal - was to provide open forums for white chauvinism and other racist views to be publicly aired, which in turn could be used to incite acts of racism. In fact, the entire framework of this "dialogue" was designed to cover up the sociopolitical reality and “prove” that "most enduring divisions in America are between blacks and whites"(20).
One aspect of the sociopolitical reality this Clintonite escapade was meant to hide was the semi-apartheid system in the US over which the reactionary state presides and which produces systematic racial segregation and discrimination primarily for African-Americans, and Native Americans, but for other national minorities as well.
And so what really are the "most enduring divisions in America "?
They are clearly not between Blacks and whites. There are no racial divisions if we accept the scientific viewpoint that racial groups are non-existent. Nevertheless, mouthpieces for the oligarchy and their reactionary henchmen spread racist ideology among the masses of Americans, impose a "reality" where races exist, and incite animosity and hatred if not violence between the different “races.” This is the old divide and rule scheme which has worked so well for ruling classes down through the ages, but here it is concealed in the democratic process!
Undoubtedly, the "most enduring divisions" in the US are between classes, first and foremost between the American working class and the bourgeoisie, and in particular at this stage the big bourgeoisie – the big monopolists – represented by the financial oligarchy. The other major division is between the big monopolists and the oppressed nationalities.
On the other side of the political spectrum from the reactionary racists, Fifth Column “Left” agents lead the line that either a democracy or a “flawed” democracy exists so that the government policies can be reformed or in some ways restructured to represent the interests of the people. Through such machinations they cover up the fact that government policies to increase the exploitation and oppression of the working class are deliberate. They cover up how the government has been organized precisely for carrying out these policies. The example above as well as many others could be cited that prove the so-called "democratic process" is no more than a blind to deceive and divert the working class and popular masses. Another is the national elections held every two years that are decidedly anti-democratic and rigged by the state apparatus. Events around the country in the last two presidential elections manifestly exposed how national oppression in the semi-apartheid system routinely denies tens of thousands of the African-Americans their right to vote. And how did our wonderful democracy address these "irregularities"???
The African-American issues go beyond the evidencing the US as a “flawed” democracy or for that matter even as a totally un-democratic country. Instead facts illustrate the fascist nature of the US state and society that bears heavily down on the African-American people's struggle. Two major points suffice mention here: propaganda on race and racism and the conditions of American Blacks.
Leninist theoreticians, such as R. Palme Dutt , have explained that one feature of fascism is its revolt against science which it substitutes with its own “theory.”
A transformation in the dominant trends of capitalist ideology becomes more and more conspicuous. This transformation expresses itself in the growing revolt against science, against reason, against cultural development, against all the traditional philosophical liberal conceptions which were characteristic of ascendant capitalism; in favor of religion, idealistic illusions, denial of the validity of science, mysticism, spiritualism, multiplying forms of superstition, cults of the primitive, cults of violence, racial charlatanry (“blood” and “Aryan” nonsense) and all forms of obscurantism(21).
This revolt against science, illustrated here with examples from 1930s European fascism, manifests itself in the US on many fronts besides the topic under discussion. The most publicized and outlandish examples nowadays are the Bush Junta's continuous and strident rejection of basic scientific laws and evidence about the made-made causes of global warming and its support for the Christian Right's all-out attack against Darwin's theory of evolution. True science by its very essence is revolutionary, opening up broad vistas for expanding humanity's knowledge and understanding of nature and society and making possible unlimited advances for improving the conditions and quality of life for the people. As such it is organically connected to democracy and freedom. Fascism by its very essence is counter-revolutionary and anti-democratic, installed to defend the interests of big capital against these advances, intensifying the exploitation and oppression of the working class and people. So it concocts its own “theories” as a means to these ends, some even billed as “scientific” to embellish its façade as a progressive democratic society.
US fascism with its "sound science" imagines that "natural" causes are behind the increase of the earth's temperature; and "intelligent design," not Darwin 's "improbable" theory of evolution explains the origin of life. It is not difficult to see how US fascism's “denial of the validity of science” as in the case of global warming is good for monopoly capitalism. How doesn't this denial benefit the oil monopolies - major fossil fuel producers that add tremendously to the greenhouse effect causing global warming? Equally good for the big bourgeoisie are the "mysticism, spiritualism," and "multiplying forms of superstition," such as "creationist theory" and "intelligent design" that negate evolution. When hasn't it been extremely profitable for reaction to stupefy the masses into slavish "faith based," dogmatic thinking rather than rational and critical thinking that challenges the exploitative status quo?
Most Americans hardly think that the US society is fascist and in revolt against science. Many educators, even the more enlightened ones, although admitting that there has been a rightward drift in the nation still insist that the United States is very much a secular democracy, where science is valued in school and industry. Prominent voices in the scientific community continue to speak of the US as the “leading scientific nation in the history of the world.” Such beliefs and statements fly in the face of the reality on the ground, however. If they were indeed true, then a 2005 Harris Poll would not have found that most Americans - 75% - reject the theory of evolution or that only 50% of American adults know that the earth orbits the sun and that it takes a year to do it. One can only wonder what further evidence is needed to prove that the US is a regressive force not only blocking scientific advance but attempting to throw the entire world backwards into a dark age of obscurantism and superstition.
It's extremely important to view fascism's theory of race and its policy of racism within this context. Racist ideology as it appeared early on in the US to defend slavery, defame Reconstruction, etc. obviously predates fascism; however, the systematic development and propagation of more "sophisticated" theories on race and racism that appeared after World War II, as mentioned earlier, are very much compatible with the counter-revolutionary politics that transitioned the country from an open pseudo-democratic system to a duplicitous fascist dictatorship. Since then, the state and superstructure's generation of obscurantism and demagogy on the concept of race as well as their legitimization of racist theories have not only been incompatible with science; they have been in total revolt against it and, as such, entirely anti-democratic.
As stated in a Scientific Socialist pamphlet years ago, under fascism (22)
the social features of bestial chauvinism and savage racism intensify and become even more deformed…
Such a policy is consistent with the anti-democratic nature of fascism and implemented to facilitate brutal exploitation of the working masses by capitalism to extract maximum profits. Semi-fascism's activity around this issue on the ideological and political fronts is coordinated with this economic aim: racism is used as a weapon in the hands of the bourgeoisie and its state to generate divisiveness and competition among the working masses and to undermine their united struggle against big capital. Reactionary nationalist and racist ideology and politics are aimed at covering over the fundamental antagonistic contradiction in capitalist society – that between the working class and the bourgeoisie. This anti-popular and anti-democratic outlook is also aimed at brainwashing the masses into thinking that various national groups are responsible for the worsening conditions they face rather than the monopolists and their state (23).
Neo-fascism uses racist ideology as a weapon to escalate its assault on the African-American people's struggle on the economic and political fronts. This has been apparent since it was employed by the counter-revolution during Reconstruction to defeat the revolutionary demands of the newly freed slaves: land and equal rights. Marxist-Leninists have had a clear appraisal of the instrumental role reactionary ideology played in this struggle whereby:
the failure to appreciate the revolutionary struggle that still remained to win the Negro people to full equality . . . was due in no small measure to the prevalence of white supremacist notions (white chauvinism) even in the ranks of the Abolitionists (24). Aptheker says many of them adopted a patronizing attitude and “thought of the Negro as not quite human, or as childish, stupid, meek” – corrosive ideas that Douglass and other Negro leaders fought persistently(25).
For over one hundred and fifty years, racist theory has been used to justify the national oppression of the African-American people. While their arduous and militant struggles, especially those waged during the 1950s and 60s, have led to some social progress and have opened a few doors for Black people to lift themselves out of poverty and into the intermediate strata, even this so-called Black "middle class" is significantly behind the white "middle class" in many economic and social categories. More importantly, if we discount the lame attempt of government to set official poverty lines ridiculously low to mask the true number of poor in this country, there is little doubt that the majority of African-American people suffer in poverty under a semi-apartheid system that was consolidated with the installation of the fascist state. Segregation of housing and, as a result, public schooling is widespread and most intense in the inner-city neighborhoods of the North and West. Substandard housing conditions and inferior education in decaying schools in these neighborhoods as well as in the Black Belt South are strong social factors that negatively impact on African American children's education. Their high school drop-out rate is twice that of whites. Health care services are deplorable for millions, contributing in part to the scandalously high mortality rate of 14 per 1,000 - a far worse rate than occurs in many impoverished "Third World" countries. In fact, there is hardly a significant facet of society where the Black people don't face either savage suppression or systematic discrimination. African Americans suffer a 30% poverty rate (40% in the Black Belt South). Officially 12% are unemployed - double the national rate - but this is a very deceptive picture because of the way the unemployed are counted. More telling was a recent survey of Black males in their 20s that counted 72% of them jobless. The US has become known as the prison house of nations, incarcerating more than 2 million of its population with Black inmates numbering nearly one quarter or about one half million. Many of the sentences handed down are for non-violent crimes, especially the possession of drugs that are peddled by state-organized gangs to pacify or side-track the downtrodden Black youth. Hundreds of counties throughout the nation routinely imprison over 50% of their African-American population. All in all, if whites were locked up at the same rate, over 8 million would be behind bars!
These aren't the problems caused by a "flawed" democracy. These are slices of the horrendous reality for African-Americans living under fascism that brutally enforces national oppression through a semi-apartheid system.
The final point allows us to connect the dots for a fuller picture of how US fascism works and how it effects some of its most draconian and terrorist policies toward the African-American people while hiding behind the façade of democracy and the democratic process. This fuller picture is revealed by accurately analyzing the distinct roles of the US government and the US state . Lenin held that the two are not at all the same.
Dictatorship is not a “form of government;” that is ridiculous nonsense. And Marx does not speak of the “form of government” but of the form or type of state. That is something altogether different, altogether different(26).
Here Lenin was arguing for a scientific perspective on the nature of the state as an organ of class oppression, which encompasses the government, such as political parties, parliaments, etc., but class rule is not restricted to them. He also strongly criticizes those who spread another illusion: that in bourgeois democracies, parliaments not classes govern.
It is altogether wrong, too, to say that a class cannot govern: such an absurdity could only have been uttered by a "parliamentary cretin," who sees nothing but bourgeois parliaments and notices nothing but “ruling parties.” (27).
In another work, Lenin makes absolutely clear that government bodies, such as the European parliaments or the US government and Congress are "institutions of the state" that have their own special role to play in the bourgeois state dictatorship – a role “given up to talk for the special purpose of fooling the ‘common people.'” (28). At the same time, “the real business of ‘state' is performed behind the scenes and is carried on by the departments, chancelleries and General Staffs” (29).
US fascism has its government, political parties, Congress, etc. to pose as democratic institutions where the so-called democratic process is carried out. But all this is to fool the “common people.” At the same time, the monopolists have erected a huge anti-democratic state apparatus “behind the scenes” that suppresses and terrorizes the American working class and people, including the African-American people. Scientific Socialism has analyzed that it is mainly through this subterranean state that the financial oligarchy has installed and augmented its fascist rule. It is a complex of covert and overt bodies and mechanisms carrying out nefarious activities both nationally and internationally to defend US imperialism's interests. Parts of its machinery are publicly known and present themselves as private, independent, or "non-governmental" institutions, such as the AFL-CIO. Other parts are entirely secret, working surreptitiously in the field of black-ops, such as "organized crime" assassination squads. Still others combine known agencies of the government – FBI – with units under the control of the subterranean state – the KKK and drug-running gangs.
It is this same subterranean state that has been and continues to be largely responsible for the savage suppression of the African-American people and their struggle against national oppression. Malcolm X and Martin Luther King were both targeted by the terrorist mechanisms of the subterranean state because they were making big advances politically, educating, uniting, and organizing the Black people to militantly fight against the apartheid system and for equal rights, that is for their national liberation. It is also no coincidence that both were assassinated at a stage in their political development when they were becoming more conscious of the nature of the US fascism-imperialism and the necessity to unite the struggle African-American people with the working class movement. The loss of these leaders as well as a number of other principal militants, such as those from the Black Panther Party was a big blow to the Black People's struggle from which they have yet to recover.
But the state works in a myriad of ways to keep the African-American people down, preventing them from rebounding from their temporary defeats. As one of the Scientific Socialist theses on the state describes:
Secret mechanisms of the internal security forces [read subterranean state] and police also organize and oversee the profuse drug trafficking and the formation and growth of violent gangs in the impoverished inner-city communities. In this covert operation, the state generates the criminal, anti-people drug culture which the “legal” levers of government then target for police attack in the “war against crime and drugs.” The political purpose of this operation is to annihilate the cultural and social fabric of the communities where the downtrodden proletariat and national minorities are concentrated to give the state the pretense for tightening control over these areas. This is among the most savage methods the state employs to suppress or corrupt the militant resistance which naturally arises among the oppressed, thus thwarting organized movement against their deplorable conditions from taking place.
An investigative reporter, Gary Webb, who had credibly documented features of the state's role in this dirty war against the African-American and other oppressed peoples, was silenced by this same state, having been "suicided" while apparently working on a new expose of international drug trafficking (30). Just another "flaw" in American "democracy"?
The point: It is impossible to understand the nature of fascism and fascist oppression camouflaging itself as racism without coming to grips with how the state operates. Back in 97 when Clinton launched his "national conversation" on race, several purportedly Marxist-Leninist groups claimed to have taken up his challenge and organized discussions on "solving the problems of racism." However, although they spoke about the "nature of the state" and its role in perpetuating racism, they fell far short of providing any Leninist analysis on these key topics. We would like to see Marxist-Leninists address the problems of race and racism in the US from the perspective of the revolutionary proletariat and for the benefit of the working class movement and the African-American people. We believe that it is through this approach that we can begin to unite the two in a Popular Front against their true enemy - US neo-fascism. And in the process we will more likely eradicate any of the so-called "enduring divisions between blacks and whites."
(1) Although the Left is pretty much monolithic in presenting race and racism as key, the US neo-fascist state and its fifth column have led this line for years to divert the progressive currents away from the real issue.
(2) As it is for other national minorities, but our discussion here is limited to the Black American question.
(3) Trans. from the Russian by Ivan Frolov . USSR : Progress Publishers,1984.
(4) Foster, William, Z. The Negro People in American History . New York : International Publishers, 1954.
(7) Allen, James. S. Reconstruction . New York : International Publishers, 1937.
(8) See Chapter 5, The Descent of Man .
(9) Montagu , M.F. Ashley. Man's Most Dangerous Myth – The Fallacy of Race , 3 rd ed. New York : Harper and Brothers, 1952.
(11) Qtd . in Foster, The Negro People in American History . New York : International Publishers, 1954.
(12) American Journal of Physical Anthropology , vol. 101, pp 569-570, 1996.
(13) No mention is made here about the “split” in the social sciences caused by the “new field” of sociobiology, which more progressive scholars view as no more than a modern equivalent of the long discredited theory of Social Darwinism with the twist of emphasizing the genetic aspect of evolution on the question of natural selection while denying environmental influences.
(14) “Institutional racism” occurs, according to the current definition, when an institution adopts a policy, practice, or procedure that appears neutral on its face but has a disproportionately negative impact on a racial or ethnic minority group - a definition which touches on the essence of the modus operandi of the duplicitous nature of US neo-fascism.
(15) One Scientific Socialist thesis on the US state holds that it is state monopoly capitalism, whereby the state machine is subjugated to the monopolies through an extensive bureaucratic and military apparatus. One arm of the bureaucratic apparatus is the media, which run a monolithic political line totally subservient to the financial oligarchy.
(16) October 31, 1994 .
(17) E.g. The Pioneer Fund, described by the London Sunday Telegraph as a “neo-Nazi organization closely integrated with the far right in American politics” ( 3/12/89 ); and Richard Lynn, ostensibly racist professor who stands for the “phasing out” of “incompetent cultures.” (cited in New Republic 10/31/94 )
(18) Selsam, Howard. Socialism and Ethics. New York : International Publishers, 1943.
(19) Foster, William, Z. The Negro People in American History . New York : International Publishers, 1954.
(20) Fletcher, Michael, A. and Dan Balz . “Race Relations Initiative May Pose Risks for Clinton .” Washington Post, 6/12/97.
(21) Dutt , R. Palme. Fascism and Social Revolution. Chicago: Proletarian Publishers, 1978. It should be clarified that this was written in the 1930s before it became evident just what horrible consequences would result from the nazi's 'blood' and 'Aryan' nonsense.
(22) The term “semi-fascism” is used here because my analysis at that time held that US fascism was still in a transitioning stage. I later updated that analysis, arguing that US fascism was installed shortly after World War II and that although there have been changes in the political system since, these have to do with the increased of degrees of the reactionary nature of the fascist state but not an essential change of the state itself.
(23) J. Redshield . Theses on the US State . October, 1993.
(24) Foster, William, Z. The Negro People in American History , New York : International Publishers, 1954.
(25) Aptheker , Herbert. “Masses and Mainstream,” February, 1950.
(26) Lenin, V.I. The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky . Beijing : Foreign Language Press, 1970.
(28) Lenin, V.I. The State and Revolution. Beijing : Foreign Language Press, 1973.
(30) “Dark Alliance ” a three part series published in the San Jose Mercury News in 1996 that exposed the CIA's connection to the explosion of crack-cocaine trafficking in Los Angeles . Apparently quite a dangerous series but one, as critics have commented, that only touched the tip of the iceberg. Nevertheless, many African-Americans have valued it for waking them up to who is mainly responsible for unleashing this plague against their community.