Class-Struggle Road to Black Freedom: Part One
The Roots of Black Oppression

http://www.icl-fi.org/english/wv/1073/blackfreedom.html

Publisher:  Workers Vanguard
Date Written:  04/09/2015
Year Published:  2015  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX17870

The purpose of this talk is to motivate a Marxist materialist program for the fight for black freedom as opposed to the idealism embodied in both black nationalism and guilty white liberalism, including the concept of “white skin privilege,” which falsely substitutes individual psychology for struggle against the racial oppression rooted in the capitalist profit system. We fight for black freedom on the program of revolutionary integration including mobilizing the working class against every manifestation of racial oppression. This approach is counterposed to liberal integration, which is premised on the utopian notion that equality for black people can be attained within the confines of this class society founded on black oppression.

Abstract: 
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Excerpts:

"White skin privilege" has become a regular feature of college curricula, radical-liberal conferences and the blogosphere. Now the term is even used in the mainstream media. "Privilege checking" has become one of the latest additions to the dictionary of political correctness.

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One woman’s comment was representative: "I think we are all implicated in a racist system, and I play my part in it as a white person. So I do have individual responsibility and accountability." This increasingly common view flips the matter on its head. Prejudice is not the cause of black oppression; rather, the capitalist rulers’ special oppression of black people, integral to American capitalism, fosters anti-black discrimination. What she expressed is the smoke and mirrors by which the capitalists throw the responsibility for the oppression of black people upon the population as a whole—if white people weren’t prejudiced, there would be no problem.

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For those like Noel Ignatin (Ignatiev) and Ted Allen, who around 50 years ago advanced “white skin privilege” theory while professing adherence (albeit tenuous) to Marxist revolutionary politics, the white working class was seen as materially benefiting from black oppression and to have a vested interest in perpetuating anti-black hostility. Ignatin & Co. eschewed any prospect of integrated struggle to further the common interests of black and white workers and dismissed the unions, which are the basic defense organizations of the working class, as bourgeois institutions—a way of making common cause with the class enemy.

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The theory of “white skin privilege” serves only to conceal that the oppression of black people persists because it is a key prop for capitalist rule and profits. The forcible segregation of black people serves to divide the working class and suppress wages for black, white and immigrant workers alike. The horrific conditions of life—rotten schools and dilapidated housing, widespread unemployment and low-wage jobs, no health care—that blacks and immigrant workers have long endured are now increasingly faced by the working class as a whole. This reality exposes the lie that white workers materially benefit from the oppression of their class brothers and sisters. The unemployed white crystal meth addict in the Ozarks, whose father and grandfather haven’t had a regular job in decades, likely recognizes he isn’t very privileged. In fact, his perceived lack of privilege is soil for recruitment to the fascist race terrorists.

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This strict racial hierarchy is not the case in the U.S. While blacks are on the bottom of society, whites as a whole are not on top. Millions of white women and children are on welfare (even after many were thrown off the rolls under Bill Clinton’s welfare “reform”), lack medical coverage and survive on food stamps

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The purpose of this talk is to motivate a Marxist materialist program for the fight for black freedom as opposed to the idealism embodied in both black nationalism and guilty white liberalism, including the concept of “white skin privilege,” which falsely substitutes individual psychology for struggle against the racial oppression rooted in the capitalist profit system. We fight for black freedom on the program of revolutionary integration including mobilizing the working class against every manifestation of racial oppression. This approach is counterposed to liberal integration, which is premised on the utopian notion that equality for black people can be attained within the confines of this class society founded on black oppression.

Our program of revolutionary integrationism flows from the understanding that the American black population is neither a separate nation nor a separate class but rather is a doubly oppressed race-color caste. Freedom for blacks in the U.S. will not come about without a socialist revolution. And there will be no socialist revolution without the working class taking up the fight for black freedom.

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