Tag Archives: race

On Race and Revolution: An Ongoing Discussion

The comment below serves as a brief reflection on the debate that has been initiated by the Fire Next Time network.  As we have noted before, the role that race plays in marxist revolutionary analysis and organizing is severely limited. Rather than dance around the issue, it is important that we tackle it head on.  This analysis takes positive steps in this direction. Scroll down to read the original post by Will.  As always, feel free to join in on the debate!

I think the white left thinks it knows it all and does not bring the knowledge to help make leaders in working class communities of color. They keep the knowledge of liberation to themselves and argue their points over the internet . They make what they’re doing the center of everything and try to click up against you if you challenge them.  So they have an informal hierarchy set up in their organizations . They pretend that their system is egalitarian in the discussion of revolution. All I see is a white male or female point of views posted online and at meetings! Example: Occupy Wall Street broke in two because the blacks and people of color (POC)  felt their voices or their problems weren’t being addressed. It shows the lack of understanding by the left in how to deal with the problems plaguing POC communities. Even though I think some things in the Occupy movement were effective, like trying to cross links with the working class port workers and pointing out the social problems in society, they could not bridge with communities of color. Occupy Oakland is in one of the biggest POC communities in the USA, and they couldn’t build a base in these communities. I think to some of these fools it’s a video game because they have a choice to which side they can line up on.

Even though these problems exist in the white left, there are people playing positive roles trying to change the culture left behind by the old left. They recognize the changing racial and gender demographics of the working class. Also just like the white left the people of color have fell short of building a strong base in POC communities because of the past mistakes of the left like patriarchy, racism, state capitalism, and the lack of women and people of color in leadership roles or just being out of touch with the working class. I hope the new left learns from past mistakes so it can grow into a fighting force for liberation.

Part 2 of Developing Militants: the Left’s Minstrel Show and How College Educated Revolutionaries of all Colors Keep the Working Class Shucking and Jiving

Introduction

The White revolutionary left is largely college educated young people. Whether they work at a cafe, wash dishes, teach in public schools, or drive trains, they share the common experience of a college education. Their experiences in college have profoundly shaped their politics in a variety of ways.  Two particular sets of politics are race relations and relationship to revolutionary theory.  These White College Educated Revolutionaries (WCER) have never broken from the experiences in college.  Worst of all they unknowingly impose their particular college experiences on the revolutionary movement and particularly the working class whites and working class People of Color (POC)[1].  Lastly, People of Color College Educated Revolutionaries (POCCER) have played a crucial role in working with WCER in unknowingly preventing any working class leadership from developing.

emory-douglas-08This has resulted in a devastating consequence for potential POC working class revolutionaries.  They are denied the very intellectual benefits which WCER have received.  While WCER have all the best intentions, this is objectively white supremacy in motion. This results in the control of most organizations by WCER.  The POCCER in particular are rarely in genuine leadership because of this dynamic and their own contradictory relationship to education and revolutionary theory.  This results in a minstrel show where authenticity is defined by lack of knowledge of the past and the romanticization of someone’s experience.  Fundamentally it says that theory, writing, and education is not for POC.  White college educated revolutionaries control the movement and usually forefront only their experiences and expect POC and white working class people to conform to them.

I will expand on these points in this essay.  This is one of the many crises of the revolutionary left today. Sadly, much of what I describe is done under the best of intentions.  While it might sound like it at times, I do not believe there is a coordinated and evil plot to keep down working class people in the revolutionary left.  I do not believe any of these WCER are white supremacists.  They are serious revolutionaries.  But they are revolutionaries who are the product of the general historical moment and their particular life experiences. Regardless of what they say and think, I am most interested in the objective results and process of their actions.

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Remembering Malcolm…

The Problematic of the Union in the U.S. – What is to be Done? (Part 2)

Many people reading the blog have only the read the first position paper on unions and not the second. We are releasing the second to make clear there are two position papers being discussed in Advance the Struggle. We wanted to share both so people can see the discussion going on. Please feel free to comment, and or critique both pieces.

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Revolutionaries, Unions and emerging Class Struggle.

“Trade Unions work well as centres of resistance against the encroachment of capital. They fail partially from an injudicious use of their power. They fail generally from limiting themselves to a guerrilla war against the effects of the existing system, instead of simultaneously trying to change it, instead of using their organized forces as a lever for the final emancipation of the working class, that is to say, the ultimate abolition of the wages system.”  -Marx

Thesis:

So few revolutionaries are implanted in the landscape of over 14 million US union members,  making a key task the formation of revolutionary cells amongst the rank and file of unions, which would  engage in three types of political work; 1) day to day organizing and base building amongst the rank and file of that union, 2) form new working class organizations outside of the unions (like solidarity unionism or independent committees) and, 3) in rupturing  moments of capitalist attack, like the “Wisconsin moment,” to lead classwide offensives against capital.

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Bay Area Event: Sin papeles pero con vos/ Undocumented with a voice

Come through! And click the image for a PDF version of the flyer!Flyer for event at La Pena

Finding Our Revolutionary Agency: A Reflection on Peacock Rebellion’s “Agen(c)y”

by Mara

The NonProfit Industrial Complex

Image from an excellent zine and comic book on the NPIC posted at http://zeeninginlaos.wordpress.com. Click the picture to check it out!

I’ve grown up in the bay area and my political development started when I worked for a nonprofit. I was about 19 years old, had gotten kicked out of my parents house for drug use and related family conflicts revolving around mental health, and had to find work in order to pay my newly acquired housing expenses. Not having many marketable skills aside from being bi-lingual, I turned to Craig’s List and eventually got a series of interviews that lead me to an after-school tutoring job at a public school in Oakland. The program was funded and organized through a social justice nonprofit.

It was through my work at this nonprofit that I met people who were politicized around issues in education, pedagogy, and racial justice. Though no one helped me develop my politics through direct mentorship, being around a scene of people who had radical ideas and were doing work with working class students encouraged me to follow my interest in working students to the point where I decided to finish community college and get a teaching credential. It was through this process that I started researching people like Paulo Freire and through this being opened up to the world of revolutionary theory and history . . .

How many people have become radicalized through nonprofits? Found them to be useful forums for expressing radical political energy? How many have found them to be incredibly limiting and de-politicizing after spending some time in them? Continue reading

La lucha por la Educación Pública en Oakland / The Struggle for Public Education in Oakland

EL Distrito Escolar de Oakland está fallando a los niños de Oakland, la creación de un futuro para ellos es ir a la cárcel o ser trabajadores de comida rápida. A principios de este año Superintendente Tony Smith del Distrito Escolar Unificado de Oakland (OUSD) anunció el cierre de 25 escuelas en dos años, y 5 escuelas primarias de este año. Él está haciendo esto para “equilibrar el presupuesto.” La razón por la cual el presupuesto debe ser equilibrado se debió a la estatización de OUSD en 2003. Durante la toma del poder estatal, la deuda de OUSD se incrementaron en $ 70 millones – de $ 37 millones en 2003 a US $ 107 millones en 2009. OUSD debería haberse negado a pagar esos $ 70 millones, pero no lo hizo. La solución de OUSD es cerrar 5 escuelas primarias de este año. Estarán permanentemente cerrado 15 de junio 2012. Tres de las cinco escuelas primarias que estan cerando se encuentran en el este de Oakland: Parque Maxwell, Marshall y Lazear. Estas tres escuelas son en gran medida los jóvenes inmigrantes latinos y los jóvenes de la clase obrera Negro. El cierre de estas tres escuelas primarias más va a desestabilizar al este de Oakland, haciendo que las condiciones aún más duro y opresivo.

¿Dónde terminaran los jóvenes ? ¿Qué pasará con ellos?

El Distrito Escolar Unificado de Oakland hiso la decisión de pagar una deuda de Sacramento en ves de luchar por la educación pública de calidad para nuestra juventud. La decisión de OUSD ayudará a impulsar a estos jóvenes a la cárcel o en el trabajo en los restaurantes de comida rápida.

El 15 de Junio, el último día de escuela, los padres y los maestros de Oakland se sentará en la primaria de Lakeview exigiendo que el distrito mantenga todas las escuelas de Oakland abiertas.

El distrito no ha escuchado a los pleitos, las súplicas de los padres y maestros, o protestas. Sabemos que el dinero existe, pero aún así insisten en el cierre de las escuelas que atienden a niños que son predominantemente negros y latinos en Lakeview Primaria, que se encuentra en 746 Grand Ave., al otro lado de la calle del Grand Lake Theater.

Venga a las 1:30 pm hasta la noche para luchar contra los cierres de las escuelas.

Los trabajadores inmigrantes que limpian los baños, lavar los platos, conducir los camiones son la clave en hacer que estas escuelas funcionan. Si los trabajadores inmigrantes organizaron su fuerza de trabajo a parar estos sistemas, como el Primero de Mayo de 2006, se puede plantear una fuerza más fuerte que los políticos liberales, los iglesias y NGOs (organización no govermental). Esto es el camino a seguir para organizar por la justicia.

The Struggle for Public Education in Oakland

Oakland Unified School district is failing Oakland’s children, creating a future for them to go to jail or be fast food  workers. Early this year Superintendent Tony Smith of Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) announced the closure of 25 schools in two years, and 5 elementary schools this year. He is doing this to “balance the budget.” The reason why the budget needs to be balanced was due to the state takeover of OUSD in 2003. During the state takeover, OUSD’s debt increased by $70 million — from $37 million in 2003 to $107 million in 2009. OUSD should have refused to pay back that $70 million but didn’t. OUSD’s solution is to close 5 elementary schools this year. They will be permanently closed this Friday, June 15th 2012. Three out of the five elementary schools closing are in East Oakland: Maxwell Park, Marshall, and Lazear. These three schools are heavily Latino immigrant youth and working class Black youth.  Closing these three elementary schools will further destabilize east Oakland, making conditions even harder and more oppressive.

Where are these youth supposed to go? What will happen to them?

Oakland Unified School district rather close these schools and pay a Sacramento sponsored debt than fight for quality public education for our youth. OUSD’s decision will help push these youth to jail or work in fast food restaurants.

On November 19th, 2011, Occupy Oakland organized a massive march of 3-4 thousand people to Lakeview elementary school. Some say this was one of the biggest rally for public education in Oakland. A committee has been working very hard to continue such work through this whole year, http://education4the99.wordpress.com/.  Parents from Lakeview elementary school are standing up and want working class community support. They are leading a struggle to keep Lakeview elementary open. On June 15th, tomorrow, the last day of school, Oakland parents and teachers will sit-in at Lakeview Elementary demanding that the district keep all neighborhood schools open. The district has not listened to lawsuits, pleas from parents and teachers, or protests. We know the money exists, but still they insist on closing flatland schools serving predominantly Black and Latino children at Lakeview Elementary, which is at 746 Grand Ave, across the street from Grand lake theater. Show your solidarity with the Parents of Lakeview Elementary Friday, and come 1:30pm until night-time to fight the closures of our schools.

The Day April 29, 1992 Took Over; the LA Riots and The Music to Come Out of Them

20 years ago today, there was a nation-wide rebellion against the police and private ownership of property. The incident that sparked this rebellion was the innocent verdict given to the Los Angeles Police Department pigs who beat Rodney King nearly to death while being videotaped by the relatively new technology of handheld videotape recorders.

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Riots which began on April 29, we want to note some of the great music that came out of this rebellion.  It has been said that if one is to learn about a peoples, one should look at their poetry and their songs.  Advance the Struggle finds this true and believes that culture and art are going to be fundamental to a proletarian led Socialist revolution in the US. If we look around today (2012) and see the relentless police terror on Black and Brown people, coupled with the capitalist economic depression which is far worse than that of 1992, and we see all the positive organized resistance to it, we might start to believe that we are on the cusp of a pre-revolutionary situation. Looking back to ’92, things felt more like they were on the verge of a civil war – and one of the best ways to get a feel for that is through the powerful music that the riots produced.

More after the jump:

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