From theoretical weekends at Scission to you from Bring the Ruckus.
The World View of C.L.R. James
by Noel Ignatiev
the Marxist organization has to face its tasks (that is all we can do),
we select two important issues, confined to relations among white
and Negro workers, the largest sections of the population affected.
1) Many white workers who collaborate in the most democratic
fashion in the plants continue to show strong prejudice against
association with Negroes outside the plant.
2) Many Negroes make race relations a test of all other
Inside such a paper Negro aggressiveness takes its proper
place as one of the forces helping to create the new society. If
a white worker… finds that articles or letters expressing Negro
aggressiveness on racial questions makes the whole paper offensive
to him, that means it is he who is putting his prejudices on the race
question before the interests of the class as a whole. He must be
reasoned with, argued with, and if necessary fought to a finish.
How is he to be reasoned with, argued with, and if necessary
fought to a finish? First by making it clear that his ideas, his
reasons, his fears, his prejudices also have every right in the paper….
to struggle for their right to vote and actually to vote…. If Negroes
outside of the South vote, now for the Democratic Party and now
for the Republican, they have excellent reasons for doing so, and
their general activity shows that large numbers of them see voting
and the struggle for Supreme Court decisions merely as one aspect
of a totality. They have no illusions. The Marxist organization
retains and expresses its own view. But it understands that it is far
more important, within the context of its own political principles,
of which the paper is an expression, within the context of its
own publications, meetings, and other activities in its own name,
within the context of its translations and publications of the great
revolutionary classics and other literature, that the Negroes make
public their own attitudes and reasons for their vote. [Published
1958; given the massive disenfranchisement of black people in 2000,
2004 and 2008, which no major or minor candidate has chosen
to make an issue, it might not be a bad thing if revolutionaries,
without abandoning their view of the electoral system, were to join
in a campaign on behalf of prisoners’ right to vote – NI.]
organization in the United States on the Negro question. It will
educate, and it will educate above all white workers in their
understanding of the Negro question and into a realization of
their own responsibility in ridding American society of the cancer
of racial discrimination and racial consciousness. The Marxist
organization will have to fight for its own position, but its position
will not be the wearisome repetition of “Black and White, Unite and
Fight.” It will be a resolute determination to bring all aspects of the
question into the open, within the context of the recognition that
the new society exists and that it carries within itself much of the
sores and diseases of the old.