The Third International after Lenin

Friday, February 19, 2016

A plaintive expression of defeat and pessimism

A plaintive expression of defeat and pessimism. No acknowledgment of the advances made by Fight for 15 or the mass Black demos against copy brutality.

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The formal gains of the civil rights movement have been rolled back.

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The dearth of class struggle today has created the climate of hopelessness and despair where angry black youth are sold "love yourself" identity politics and white anti-racists are told to "check your privilege." The noted black spokesman for the politics of despair Ta-Nehisi Coates has some cachet because he dissed Obama for blaming blacks, especially black men, for their own oppression. But his best seller Between the World and Me collectively guilt-trips white people. Thereby it amnesties the truly guilty, the white American ruling capitalist class. According to Coates, every broken black body, like Freddie Gray's in the back of a Baltimore police van, "privileges" the white race, because it wasn't the body of their son, brother or lover. And there is nothing you can do about it, he says, except demand that whitey pay some blood money in the form of reparations.


Coates opens this work with a quote from acclaimed black writer James Baldwin, whom he claims to imitate: "And they have brought humanity to the edge of oblivion: because they think they are white." This quote, taken from Baldwin's essay "On Being 'White'...and Other Lies," has exactly the opposite meaning from that which Coates seeks to impart. Baldwin was a liberal integrationist and a universalist. In his searing indictment of racial and sexual oppression in America, Baldwin sought to debunk the myth of "white privilege," as the title of the essay underlines. In the passage directly preceding the quote above, Baldwin said of whites: "By informing their children that Black women, Black men and Black children had no human integrity that those who call themselves white were bound to respect. And in this debasement and definition of Black people, they debased and defamed themselves."

Spartacist League Speaker at Oakland Holiday Appeal


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