17987Re: [BlackLeftUnity:8483] On the Black Middle Class and the BLM
- Jul 2, 2014Thanks for supplying the general readers with Max Weber’s approach to class (ranking), Karl Marx’s approach to class (relational) and Georg Lukacs’ approach (a class in itself vs a class for itself), and with the facts that the middle class throughout the history of revolutions has supplied the leadership, and that the middle class is a vacillating class as its members waver between bourgeois and revolutionary tendencies.Was already quite aware of all the above, but I am glad that you have backed off of the hard or strong version of your original statement [“. . . middle class Black people can not and will not free
poor and working class Black people who must rise to fight for themselves and be the leaders."] and now have amended it/modified it with so many qualifiers and conditionals, etc., that you now offer us a much milder, softer or weaker version. I would prefer that you retract the statement altogether, but I am pretty sure that the modified soft/weak statement is the best that I can expect. And at least it is a step in the right direction. So thank you for that much.On Wednesday, July 2, 2014 6:02 PM, Abdul Alkalimat <mcworter@...> wrote:
There are several issues about this statement:
"Most now know that Black people must unite and fight against racism and
national oppression, and that this has to be rooted in the class
struggle because middle class Black people can not and will not free
poor and working class Black people who must rise to fight for
themselves and be the leaders."
1. First, how do we define a class? There are two very different
approaches, ranking and relation.
The ranking approach asks how much money do you make, how many years of
education do you have, what is the status ranking of your job. These
are numerical questions and once everyone is ranked then you can draw
lines for whatever you want to be the low, the high and the middle. In
the language of the mainstream media a factory worker is "middle class."
They use this approach to confuse people.
The relation approach focuses on the relationship of ownership and
power. Capital controls the condition of labor for the working class -
wages, health benefits etc. The middle class in this context is that
group of either small capitalists or professionals.
The ranking approach points to ones ability to have social status and to
have different levels of consumption - to buy things. In this country
today people have things, houses, cars, clothes, etc. That may make
somebody feel good but it doesn't change your class position when you
get up and go to work the next day and the boss can put their foot up
your ass and order you around.
The relation approach says if the middle class business person has
employees then what do they pay them - does a Black McDonalds owner pay
workers $15 an hour, even if they use their McD foundation to make tax
write off donations to non-profits/NGOs. If a person owns rental
property what rights do the tenants have and what profit is extracted
versus how the property is maintained. These are the kinds of class
questions that help us understand how the Black middle class - as a
class - operates.
2. There is a difference between a class as a social force and any given
individuals who might be in that class.
Ok, given class as such, what about individuals. The history of
revolution in the world and in the US is a history full of individuals
who have been middle class who choose not to serve that class but the
masses of exploited and oppressed people. These individuals are
fighting against low wages and not more tax breaks, issues of mass
importance and not self-serving policy that advances their personal gain
as members of the middle class.
This is not a simple process when evaluating a person as there are
multiple sides to a person and one can have conflicting tendencies
toward one class or another. As the polarity of struggle intensifies
people will be more and more forced to choose sides - a strike, a
boycott, a Moral Monday Movement, a No More Trayvon Murders Movement, a
The main thing is that the working class and the impoverished masses
don't have these conflicting tendencies with options "inside the box."
3. There is a need for working class leadership because only then will
there be a chance for a final solution to end capitalist exploitation
once and for all.
There is a difference between being in a class and being for a class.
Most people in all classes as dominated by the ideas and values of the
ruling class - They organize the schools, the media, the churches, and
most other aspects of the society to keep this going generation after
generation. Of course at times such as this people begin to wake up and
become more aware of what's really going on. When sections of a class
become more and more conscious of what is really in their interest then
they begin to be for themselves.
The people who are suffering from the capitalist system have to be at
the table of decision making and be linked to their community. Working
class revolutionary leaders have not been at the helm of our
revolutionary process in most cases, but that is the goal we work for.
Why? Because when this happens the force of our movement will not
vacillate but be steeled for a relentless struggle to the final battles.
This does not reject what leadership we have had and that we continue
to uphold, but it is a challenge we must accept.
Our position is not to exclude who has been, but to include those who
have been excluded.
Let's keep talking and listening to the music:
* Frank exchanges of different views are welcomed, but shall not be done in a disrespectful and uncomradely manner.
* Promoting male supremacy, homophobia or chauvinism against other oppressed peoples shall not be tolerated.
* Attacks on individuals and organizations that go beyond the scope of objective and principled criticism shall not be tolerated.
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