....To clarify the issues at stake, it's useful to respond to arguments raised in a letter in sharp disagreement with the Militant. In a letter e-mailed around the world, and printed here in the letters column, Karen Wald writes that the SWAT-style assault by special forces of la migra's Border Patrol "was simply the only way to rescue a small child being illegally held."
From the standpoint of the exploited and oppressed, however, a question posed this way can never produce an answer in the interests of the working class. Because it proposes that those of us in the workers movement share responsibility with the capitalist rulers and imperialist state — whose interests are irreconcilable with ours —in solving their problems and resolvingtheir dilemmas.
Malcolm X used to say that in the days before the U.S. Civil War, when the slavemaster got sick, the house slave would say, "'What's the matter boss, we sick?' When the master's house caught afire, he'd try and put the fire out." But the field slave would "pray that the master died. If the master's house caught afire, they'd pray for a strong wind."
The latter is what marks the course of class-conscious workers today toward "our own" bourgeoisie, the masters of modern finance capital. Our starting point is not winning concessions from the exploiters, but how to educate and mobilize working people along a line of march that can culminate in getting rid of the exploiters. Along that road, the toilers will win the maximum concessions. But above all, through revolutionary class independence we will prepare the ground to overthrow the imperialist rulers whose march toward fascism and war poses historic dangers to working people, the Cuban revolution, and all humanity.
It's only among those who share this class objective and standpoint, of course, that there is common ground for discussion.
In an earlier e-mail, Wald wrote that she thought "sending roses to Janet Reno was going overboard in one direction," but that "the Militant's editorial position is going overboard in the other." Wald's reference was to an exchange in last week's Militantletters column headlined "Flowers for Reno?"
But Wald's own April 22 letter reprinted in last week's letters column issued a call to write individual letters of "congratulations" to Reno, Clinton, Gore, INS Commissioner Doris Meissner, Hillary Clinton, and Tipper Gore....