Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A short timeline of socialism and anti-racism

Note: "Anti-racism" in the title is used in its general sense of "opposing racism". The word was rarely used until academics at Ivy League schools began promoting it in the 1980s as a synonym for Critical Race Theory, but now it's also used by people who oppose racism and reject Critical Race Theory.


Karl Marx, congratulating President Lincoln on his re-election, wrote,
While the workingmen, the true political powers of the North, allowed slavery to defile their own republic, while before the Negro, mastered and sold without his concurrence, they boasted it the highest prerogative of the white-skinned laborer to sell himself and choose his own master, they were unable to attain the true freedom of labor, or to support their European brethren in their struggle for emancipation; but this barrier to progress has been swept off by the red sea of civil war.

The workingmen of Europe feel sure that, as the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy for the middle class, so the American Antislavery War will do for the working classes.

Karl Marx wrote in Capital, 
In the United States of America, every independent workers' movement was paralyzed as long as slavery disfigured part of the republic. Labor cannot emancipate itself in the white skin where in the Black it is branded.

Lucy Parsons' husband was executed after the Haymarket affair, but she continued organizing and writing for decades. In the 1920s, the Chicago Police Department said she was "more dangerous than a thousand rioters". Her explanation of why the black man was persecuted in the US:
It is because he is poor. It is because he is dependent. Because he is poorer as a class than his white wage-slave brother of the North.

Eugene V. Debs, a founder of the Industrial Workers of the World and five times the Socialist Party of America's candidate for president, wrote in The Negro In The Class Struggle,
The history of the Negro in the United States is a history of crime without a parallel.

…As a social party we receive the Negro and all other races upon absolutely equal terms. We are the party of the working class, the whole working class, and we will not suffer ourselves to be divided by any specious appeal to race prejudice; and if we should be coaxed or driven from the straight road we will be lost in the wilderness and ought to perish there, for we shall no longer be a Socialist party.

W. E. B. Du Bois, author of The Souls of Black Folks, joined the Socialist Party.


Hubert Harrison wrote in The Negro and the Nation
...they tell us that we are free. But are we? If you will think for a moment you will see that we are not free at all. We have simply changed one form of slavery for another. Then it was chattel-slavery, now it is wage-slavery. For that which was the essence of chattel-slavery is the essence of wage slavery. It is only a difference in form. The chattel-slave was compelled to work by physical force; the wage-slave is compelled to work by starvation. The product of the chattel-slave's labor was taken by his master; the product of the wage-slave's labor is taken by the employer.
A. Phillip Randolph, who would go on to head the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom where Martin Luther King gave his "Dream" speech, co-founded The Messenger. From Wikipedia:
...Randolph and Chandler Owen founded the Messenger[7] with the help of the Socialist Party of America. It was a radical monthly magazine, which campaigned against lynching, opposed U.S. participation in World War I, urged African Americans to resist being drafted, to fight for an integrated society, and urged them to join radical unions. The Department of Justice called theMessenger "the most able and the most dangerous of all the Negro publications." When the Messenger began publishing the work of black poets and authors, a critic called it "one of the most brilliantly edited magazines in the history of Negro journalism." [4]

John Reed, a founding member of the Communist Labor Party, said in his address to the Second Congress of the Communist International,
Communists must not stand aloof from the Negro movement which demands their social and political equality.

The Communist Party USA paid for the defense of the Scottsboro Boys, nine black teenagers accused of raping two young white women.


James W. Ford, a black man, was the Communist Party USA's candidate for Vice President.


Leon Trotsky wrote in "What Is National Socialism?":
To investigate retrospectively the genealogy of ideas, even those most reactionary and muddleheaded, is to leave not a trace of racism standing.

Albert Einstein (who made his politics clear in "Why Socialism?") wrote in "The Negro Question":
Your ancestors dragged these black people from their homes by force; and in the white man's quest for wealth and an easy life they have been ruthlessly suppressed and exploited, degraded into slavery. The modern prejudice against Negroes is the result of the desire to maintain this unworthy condition. 
The ancient Greeks also had slaves. They were not Negroes but white men who had been taken captive in war. There could be no talk of racial differences. And yet Aristotle, one of the great Greek philosophers, declared slaves inferior beings who were justly subdued and deprived of their liberty. It is clear that he was enmeshed in a traditional prejudice from which, despite his extraordinary intellect, he could not free himself.

Martin Luther King wrote in a letter to Coretta Scott,
...today capitalism has outlived its usefulness. It has brought about a system that takes necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes.

 In the preface to the new edition of The Souls of Black Folk, W. E. B. Du Bois wrote,
I still think today as yesterday that the color line is a great problem of this century. But today I see more clearly than yesterday that back of the problem of race and color, lies a greater problem which both obscures and implements it: and that is the fact that so many civilized persons are willing to live in comfort even if the price of this is poverty, ignorance, and disease of the majority of their fellowmen; that to maintain this privilege men have waged war until today war tends to become universal and continuous, and the excuse for this war continues largely to be color and race.

Bayard Rustin, a gay man who had been a member of the Communist Party, was one of the leading organizers of the civil rights movement. Rustin went on to become the National Chairman of the Democratic Socialists, USA.


W. E. B. Du Bois joined the Communist Party at the age of 93.


Malcolm X said,
“It’s impossible for a white person to believe in capitalism and not believe in racism. You can’t have capitalism without racism. And if you find one and you happen to get that person into conversation and they have a philosophy that makes you sure they don’t have this racism in their outlook, usually they’re socialists or their political philosophy is socialism.”

Martin Luther King said,
Call it what you may, call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.