Who are we?

We are a multi-gendered, multiracial revolutionary collective attempting to develop an effective relationship between theory and practice. We are against capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy, heterosexism, imperialism, ableism and the state.  We are fighting for a direct democratic, ecologically sustainable society in which we as workers can creatively produce to fulfill human needs, not for the sake of profit. Our aims are to learn from the successes and failures of past revolutions and social movements, rebuilding and re-imaging forms of organization and developing ourselves as working class revolutionaries. A major part of this involves reviving the Marxist method as a tool for combining the best of feminist, anti-colonial, anarchist, ecological, anti-racist, and queer liberation perspectives, while discarding all that holds us back.  We critically draw inspiration and lessons from the Black liberation, Chicanismo/a, Latino/a,  indigenous liberation, and Asian-American movements; we hope to realize the freedom of our communities, and all communities, through multi-racial, working class revolution.  We use this blog as a space to discuss emerging ideas, and to attempt to advance the struggles we are engaged in.

Black Orchid Collective emerged out of long-term struggles against budget cuts, attacks on immigrant workers, police terror, and US imperialism in the Middle East. Some members of the Collective used to be a part of other organizations:  Unity and Struggle, Democracy Insurgent, the Student-Worker Coalition, or International Workers and Students for Justice. Today, Black Orchid Collective members are currently involved with organizations like For a Democratic University, the Industrial Workers of the World, 90’s Upheaval, and the Seattle Solidarity Network.

Why “Black Orchid”?

Like a revolutionary militant, a Black Orchid grows from the cracks in the concrete, where you’d least expect life to thrive. It grows where the solid bedrock of community was smashed and fractured by history, cracked to pieces when the state took away our revolutionary elders, or took them out of our communities into the halls of power where they help preside over destruction of our generation. From the cracks that grow wider each crisis, organic, working class intellectuals are born; militants of our generation grow towards freedom but stay rooted in the streets.

A Black Orchid looks fragile but it is tough and fertile. Like revolution, a Black Orchid cannot be engineered in a laboratory or predicted ahead of time; a Black Orchid is difficult to imagine but we know it could emerge based on our scientific observations of the world and our memories of past bursts of unexpected, colorful life. All we can do is nurture and prepare the ground that it might spring from, and be open to it rupturing out of the earth in an unexpected event of life-generating-life.

Like our complicated bodies and our complex world, a Black Orchid thrives as part of a biodiverse reality, and it withers when the forces of purification and simplification attempt to separate it from the rest of the world.

Our revolutionary organization cannot offer certainty, purity, control or distance from life’s messiness. It is not a sect or training ground for future bureaucrats. It can nurture us though; it can strengthen us to advance the struggles of our time, to respond dynamically to the ruptures that will come, and to embrace the outburst of a new society, so that when revolution pops off we can scatter seeds far and wide and millions of fellow orchids will bloom, even where you least expect them to.


25 Responses to Who are we?

  1. The Fish says:

    Yo comrades, love the name and explanation! Much love to you, especially if you finish that police brutality piece you’ve been putting teasers out about……..but regardless, much love.

  2. mamos206 says:

    Thanks comrade🙂 Much love to ya’ll in Advance the Struggle as well.

  3. dave says:

    Dear comrades;

    One statement seems anachronistic to the rest made above.

    “We critically draw inspiration and lessons from the Black liberation, Chicanismo/a, Latino/a, indigenous liberation, and Asian-American movements…” Gee, who’s missing? Why do you not draw critically from the White liberation movements? Have you abandoned class war? Marx didn’t. Are you saying that the revolutions/movements in Europe are of no relevance to your goals? The revolutions/movements of Bolshevik Russia, anarcho-syndicalist Spain, both autonomist movements in Italy, the multiple French revolutions, Germany 1918-’21, Solidarnosc in Poland, Greece in the 40s, not of interest to you? Were the ’60s uprisings in Mexico and the Far East important and the ones in the US, France and Czechoslovakia not?

    How about now, is Egypt relevant and Greece not?

    Are you contending that the the above are of no relevance to non-White people? It seems a strange alchemy of racial exclusion and Marxism.

    Ricardo Flores Magon believed that the Mexican revolution must be synchronized with the American or they were both doomed to fail. Do you agree? Or would you argue they must be decoupled? Trotsky [and many others have] argued that for the revolution to succeed it must be worldwide? Do you agree?

    And, lastly, why Asian American movements and not Asian movements in general?

  4. Fray says:

    Dave,

    If you look at what we’ve posted on our study group, you’ll see that we spent several weeks on the Paris Commune. We haven’t posted it yet, but right now we’re reading What is to be Done and will soon begin Rosa Luxemburg’s Mass Strike as well as Cecilia Bobrovskaya’s Twenty Years in Underground Russia: Memoirs of a Rank and File Bolshevik. In short: no, we do not consider the past or present revolutions and liberation movements in Europe irrelevant. We draw lessons from them just as we draw lessons from the Black Panthers, anti-colonial/national liberation struggles, etc.

    That said, I think it’s important to particularly highlight that we *do* draw lessons and inspiration from the latter movements. There is too much history of class struggle organizations in the US also being class reductionist, overwhelmingly white, and male dominated. As it says above, we are multi-racial and multi-gender, and we aim to stay that way. Our goal as we grow is to be a majority people of color organization with strong leadership among working class people, people of color, women, and trans folks. We’re not going to accomplish that if we obsess about the Russian Revolution and ignore the shoras of Iran and the Stonewall Rebellion.

    You make a good point about that we did implicitly exclude non-American Asian movements. That’s definitely an oversight of our statement and not our organizational framework in general, but we should correct it.

  5. dave says:

    “That said, I think it’s important to particularly highlight that we *do* draw lessons and inspiration from the latter movements. There is too much history of class struggle organizations in the US also being class reductionist, overwhelmingly white, and male dominated. As it says above, we are multi-racial and multi-gender, and we aim to stay that way. Our goal as we grow is to be a majority people of color organization with strong leadership among working class people, people of color, women, and trans folks. We’re not going to accomplish that if we obsess about the Russian Revolution and ignore the shoras of Iran and the Stonewall Rebellion. ”

    Several points:

    1, As an anarchist, I too agree that there is too much class reductionism in Marxist socialisms, but that is quite a different thing from citing every race but one on yr list of inspirational achievers. That is simply squalid sectarianism.

    2, If the problem with past socialist efforts were that they were overwhelmingly White (Please note the use of the capital. It is racist to capitalize Black and not White, assuming it was intentional), i.e. exclusive, are you not repeating the mistake? Or is overwhelmingness only a problem if it is White?

    3, You are multi-racial but not omni-racial. You draw a clear, line of demarcation between White radicals and everyone else. This stigmatizes White people. We are welcome so long as we accept our inferior status within the collective. Blacks, Asians, Latinos etc. can be as numerous as circumstance allows, but Whites numbers will be held in check. We don’t want too many of you.

    4, Your goal is to be a majority people of color organization. This requires of course that you exclude or expel Whites should they grow to numerous. Exactly how many Whites are too many? Wouldn’t it be ironic if the person who gets stiff-armed at your collective’s door due to the suppression of White membership was Marx himself.

    5, It is a grotesque lie to suggest that too high a White membership equates to obsessing on the Russian revolution and ignoring the Iranian. Appparently you believe Whites are less willing to engage with exogenous traditions than are other peoples. This is a pure undiluted racism. Likewise gay issues. I know several White gay radicals who would be offended by your implication, and should be.

    Well I guess I’ll be going now. As a person of conscience I reject all forms of racism, all of them, even the racism of the well intentioned. I believe in racial equality, absolute racial equality. I don’t know how you can comport your beliefs with socialism. As far as I am concerned, you folks, Fray at least, has succumbed to capital’s oldest trick–divide and conquer. When you allow for any kind of racial distinction, as your collective does, you have done the bourgeoisie a favor.

    A Jim Crow socialist website, I can die now, I’ve seen it all.

    • Actually, Dave, it is you who is the sectarian cultist. Workers of color are the majority in the world. In addition, go back and read Article 1 of the U.$. Constitution and see how the white nation got its start (hint: to consider oneself ‘white’ is to uphold fascism and white supremacy).

      Or, keep it basic and read this from Marx himself,

      “”The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black skins, signaled the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production…”

      And this from W.E.B. DuBois,….

      “It must be remembered that the white group of laborers, while they received a low wage, were compensated in part by a sort of public and psychological wage. They were given public deference and titles of courtesy because they were white. They were admitted freely with all classes of white people to public functions, public parks, and the best schools. The police were drawn from their ranks, and the courts, dependent upon their votes, treated them with such leniency as to encourage lawlessness.”

      And from V.I. Lenin, a European like you who ‘got it’; even when folks like you did not and still do not…

      “Is the actual condition of the workers in the oppressor and in the oppressed nations the same, from the standpoint of the national question? No, it is not the same.

      (1) Economically, the difference is that sections of the working class in the oppressor nations receive crumbs from the super-profits the bourgeoisie of these nations obtains by extra exploitation of the workers of the oppressed nations. Besides, economic statistics show that here a larger percentage of the workers become “straw bosses” than is the case in the oppressed nations, a larger percentage rise to the labor aristocracy. That is a fact. To a certain degree the workers of the oppressor nations are partners of their own bourgeoisie in plundering the workers (and the mass of the population) of the oppressed nations.

      (2) Politically, the difference is that, compared with the workers of the oppressed nations, they occupy a privileged position in many spheres of political life.

      (3) Ideologically, or spiritually, the difference is that they are taught, at school and in life, disdain and contempt for the workers of the oppressed nations.”

    • mamos206 says:

      I agree with Sensei Lewis’ response, especially the Marx and the DuBois quotes. The concepts in those quotes are central to our understanding of race and class. Check out this post to see how: https://blackorchidcollective.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/unresolved-questions-about-race-gender-and-class/#comment-189. I am for abolishing the racist and sexist division of labor. I agree with Sensei that European-American workers should break with white supremacy and should join shoulder to shoulder as equals with the majority of the global proletariat, which is workers of color. I am not for trying to rehabilitate some “positive” vision of whiteness, I’m not for creating space for Dave or others to play some role as the “good white boys”. Whiteness is destined for the dustbin of history. The best European and European American revolutionaries understand this, which is why we study their works – from John Brown and Marx to Don Hamerquist. People who are percieved as white under this white supremacist system are welcome to join our group as equals, but we are not going to pander to the anxieties of racist white liberals who call themselves revolutionary. We have more improtant things to do.

      Loren Goldner has raised some important questions/ criticism of the economics behind Sensei’s last Lenin quote: http://libcom.org/library/remaking-american-working-class-goldner . Lenin argued that imperialism generated “superprofits” through colonial monoplies which sold goods above their price because they donominated the market and hence could manipulate it in ways that violated normal capitalist logic. Goldner disagrees. Instead, Goldner argues the first world exploits and oppresses the third through primitive accumulation – essentially looting the land and labor of workers of color…. in other words, capitalism itself, even in it’s “normal” functioning, runs on a certain amount of unpaid labor, and much, but not all of that unpaid labor is done by women and people of color worldwide. Capitalism does not end slavery and patriarchy – it takes them up, transforms them, and reproduces them in more advanced forms of oppression. Also, Goldner argues this looting of unpaid labor through imperialism ultimatley does not benefit the proletariat here in the imperialist belly of the best – ultimately it creates a situation where primitive accumulation, looting, and upaid labor starts to happen here as well. Just look at the budget cuts and austerity measures that have been imposed on Thrid World countries for decades and are now hitting Europe and the US as well, as capitalism goes further into crisis. So in addition to our moral and political duty to sturggle against capitalist imperialism, we also have a material interest in doing so. If capitalism sets up a sitaution where our daily life is sustained by capitalism’s parastical looting of Third World workers, then this parasitism must be contagious becuase the American elites have been starting to suck us dry as well, more and more since the mid 70s. There is not hope for us unless we join with the rest of the global proletariat, the majority of whom are workers of color.

  6. Fray says:

    Luckily I’ve read the CDC’s instructions on zombie preparedness, so we’ll know what to do if Marx shows up at a meeting. 😉

    In all seriousness, Dave, the point of the list that you find so upsetting is to show that we draw inspiration from movements of people of color who are specifically fighting white supremacy. And we recognize that those movements are distinct from each other and have positive aims (e.g., we say “indigenous liberation” as opposed to “anti-racism” or “anti-white supremacy,” which focuses on what the movement is fighting against rather than what it’s fighting for), so we list them separately.

    I can’t help but think that you haven’t looked into our blog very thoroughly or even read the above statement closely, and some of your comments are heading in the direction of flaming, particularly the “Jim Crow socialist” comment, which is highly uncalled for. Similarly, your point (5) is a complete misreading of my statement — I never said that white people aren’t interested in studying movements lead by people of color, I said that if we only focus on movements in Europe then we will likely attract a lot more white people to the group than we will people of color.

    I strongly disagree with your point #3. In fact Black Orchid is against the notion that people of color, women, queer folks, and other oppressed groups have special knowledge of oppression or are inherently more radical than more privileged people, or that they should be treated differently or deferred to. We know that in order to engage in class struggle that we must fight together, but we also believe that in order to win we need to unite on the basis of the demands of the most oppressed layers of the working class: working class people of color, women, trans and other queer people, people with disabilities. We’ve seen plenty of historical examples of how white-dominated revolutionary class struggle organizations will fail to do that. See our discussions of Nelson Peery’s book Black Radical for more of our perspectives on that.

    I want to end this reply with the hope that, if you comment here in the future, you’ll do so in a more comradely way than you’ve done today. I’ve looked a little at your blog and it would appear to me that we’re on the same side. I’m all for debating out the issues, but calling people’s organization “Jim Crow” and claiming — on very little information — that we’re “doing the bourgeoisie a favor” isn’t a very principled way of going about it.

  7. non Marxist anarchist says:

    You can’t be both a Marxist and an anti-statist. The basis of Marxist ideology conflates the State and dictatorship as a necessary stage in the inevitability of socialism. Period. States do not whither away “under the right historical conditions” for socialism.

    Second, the entire basis of emphasis of oppressed groups within the working class (e.g. identity groups based on race, gender, etc.) is also a construct of Marxism revised by advocates for the state. The theory of Marxist (Leninism) is that socialism can only be brought about by the most oppressed elements of the working class. The collective contradicts this by stating that all of the working class is equal in the struggle. So which is it? You can’t have it both ways.

    That anarchists seem to want to be married to Marxism as an ideology and an analytical tool merely sets the stage for a state much worse then what we have now. It is the logical, and the ironic enough, historical result of Marxism in practice in any form. Just ask anyone in Venezuela.

    • red zarathustra says:

      I think this is a common misconception of ‘Marxism’. In reality, I don’t think there is a ‘Marxism’ but rather, many ‘marxisms’ and Black Orchid (not to speak for them, as I’m not a member nor a marxist (per se)) seems to take influence from the most libertarian strains of them. In fact, there have been many marxists who rejected the state, many of them springing out of the dutch-german left communist tradition. Various councilists, such as CLR James, the Situationist International, Socialism or Barbarism, etc not only rejected the concept of the vanguard party but called for not a state but a “government of worker’s councils” — their description far more akin to an anarchist reading of “self-organisation” or “self-management”.

      I’m not entirely sure where you got the idea that oppressed groups within the class is purely a Marxist-Leninist idea. I’m reminded of Nestor Makhno in the Russian Revolution when he said “against the oppressors, with the oppressed always”. Modern platformist groups have had political content that has supported, though sometimes softly, national liberation movements (WSM and ZACF come to mind). I suppose you could dismiss platformists has some sort of trotskyist deviation of anarchism, but then you would just look silly. My interpretation of BOC saying all people have equal stake in revolution isn’t a contradiction, rather, I think it suggests that abolishing a sexual division of labour and white supremacy (for example) would in fact be liberatory for all because none are free while some are oppressed.

      To be honest your comment reads more like an anti-marxist polemic with some weird class reductionism than a honest critique. Uh, not as bad as Dave, I would say, who comes off as totally insane to me. Anyways, I’ve enjoyed BOC’s writings thus far and look forward to more!

  8. SeaLinc2 says:

    I haven’t shown up yet to occupy/decolonize Seattle, mostly because from everything I can read, I don’t see the safety needs of trans people being taken into account, especially around issues of arrest/interaction with police.
    Being a white guy, I’m really disappointed in the things I’m reading where other white activists are complaining that white people are somehow being “left behind” if the needs, history, or experience of people of color are being addressed. *sigh* There’s no need to act like it’s a zero sum game. I call game playing on this notion that the impact of class is somehow being reduced, as if class can be divorced from every other identity people are made up of.
    Class is bound up in the way that oppressions are expressed in this country and abroad. I can only speak to my own experience, but class is a basic component in why it took so long to gender identity added to ENDA, even though the bill is not passable. Since so many trans people are living on the margins, you have to talk about poverty in ways wealthy, often white gay men are not comfortable doing. Same goes for the LGB mainstream movement’s neglect of welfare, disability, and other issues. When you build a rights movement on a concept that “we’re just like you, only a little bit different”, it’s seen as “harmful” to speak for those other people put down.
    Class is all wound up in bodies. Whose bodies are worth paying for what work, where certain bodies do and don’t get to live, which bodies should be allowed to have children or get help with the kids they have…and so on.
    So to my fellow white activists…lift up your eyes and take a good look at the world around you. Your little feelings are not being hurt, and your world is not being shrunk. The rest of the world outside the decolonize/occupy movement still think that you deserve to be at the top of the pile.

  9. SeaLinc2 says:

    Hey all, Lincoln again, mostly for Jomo206, in case you don’t come by my blog again. I would love to meet up with the caucus. Let me know when. Maybe if I come by the class in November? Or just get ahold of me.🙂

  10. Carlos says:

    I’ve been searching for a long time for a collective such as this but in my hometown, nyc, but to no avail. I’m desperately looking for people of color in nyc (not necessarily exclusively of color) who share the same ideology as this collective and may be interested in forming a similar collective here. If anyone knows of anyone please put us in contact. It is difficult to find the comraderie needed for survival as a radical of color in this extremely gentrified city.

  11. mamos206 says:

    We have comrades in New York we can put you in touch with. Hit us up at blackorchidcollective@gmail.com and we can connect you. Peace🙂

  12. dave says:

    I haven’t been back since my last post, so there’s lots to rebut. I hadn’t planned to return at all but after your fiasco on Friday I thought I’d give it one more try, as I am now more convinced than ever that left unity is the sina qua non of revolution.

    Some of the things said above are insulting, which speaks directly to my point. There is now in some sections of the non-White left a climate of racial derision and dismissal, as your responses demonstrate. There is an enormous divide between how the people who responded above see the world, and how I do. Somebody above called me a liberal racist pretending to be a revolutionary. I see the respondents above as liberal fascists who think they are Marxists and revolutionaries. It is not very likely, but let’s see if we can bridge the gap.

    First, several of the above need to learn what Fascism really means. May I suggest R. Palme Dutt’s Fascism and the Social Revolution. The book is generally excellent, and has the added bonus {for our purposes anyway] of being written by a man who is only half White. Perhaps you might consider reading every other word…

    @Sensei

    re “Workers of color are the majority in the world.”

    First, the phrase “people of color” is racist. I have color. I am not translucent. To separate one race out from the rest of the human family is racist. We are one species. Get over it.

    If you define “color” as non-White, then your statement is true. But as everyone has color, your distinction is arbitrary. Non-Black workers are a majority. Non-Brown workers are a majority. etc. Your statement is only true only if you divide the world into White and non-White workers. You argue that the latter has fared worse than the former. Agreed, but only by degree. You might consider researching the history of labor in Britain, where the industrial revolution began. It’s absolutely horrifying. The fictional line from Swift through Owen, Cobbett, Young, Dickens, Orwell etc. is largely accurate in its depictions of working class life. [For a non-fiction account try G D H Cole’s work on the subject.]

    To the extent that some White working classes are better off, say Britain’s, it is because they are father along in the struggle. The idea, so precious to some non-White radicals/liberals, that White imperialists have been easier on the white working class than non-White is a myth.

    re the Constitution.

    If you are suggesting that ir established White supremacy [or homologated it] in the US. No kidding! Who’s disputing it? Certainly not me. There is nothing I wrote that denies that. I’ve never denied that. So your point is off topic.

    re The Marx quote.

    Indeed! Again, I have never contested this. You need to go back and re-read what I wrote.

    Marx also wrote copiously about the exploitation of White workers. The problem with your comments is you, unlike Marx, seem to think that the White race oppressed the Black race. That all Whites benefited from the hideous exploitation of Africa, still ongoing [with non-White China and India now drinking Africa’s blood too]. When in fact it was an [then exclusively] White oligopoly which African and European resources and labor, often in collaboration with African elites, such as in the slave trade etc.

    re DuBois.

    It may surprise your race-addled mind to learn, Sensei, that I am a fan of his. His Black Reconstruction was the first book I ever read which was written by a Black. That was 1975, and it was in the library of my nearly all-White high school. And while the quote above is indisputably his, the thrust of his writings show an unmistakable understanding of class. Save in one particular, the quote is correct. And again I’ve never disputed that some White workers have succumbed to race privilege, and it has been an enormous problem. the ruling class has used race to divide the proletariat with the result that both Black and White workers have occasionally seen their respective class interests as distinct from the others. This must be overcome! And that’s why I’m spending the time answering the comments above. Racism, White and non-, has to go.

    re Lenin’s quote. Again Sensei, you need to Re-read what I wrote. As for the national question, I have never denied any state’s right to self determination, to be free from colonialism. In fact, as anarchists go, I am considerably more tolerant of nationalism than most. Yes I agree with Lenin completely, nationalism for the colonial working class is an emancipatory instinct, for its counterpart in the imperial center it is a reactionary one.

    But again, this is entirely off topic.

    re “(1) Economically, the difference is that sections of the working class in the oppressor nations receive crumbs from the super-profits the bourgeoisie of these nations obtains by extra exploitation of the workers of the oppressed nations. Besides, economic statistics show that here a larger percentage of the workers become “straw bosses” than is the case in the oppressed nations, a larger percentage rise to the labor aristocracy. That is a fact. To a certain degree the workers of the oppressor nations are partners of their own bourgeoisie in plundering the workers (and the mass of the population) of the oppressed nations. ”

    First, saying something is a fact doesn’t make it so. What statistics? Whose?

    You believe this, and I do not. Prove it.

    And, not that this matters particularly to me, the analysis above is a complete and irreconcilable break with Marx. Earlier you cite him scholastically to support your contention, and here you discredit his critique of political economy. This duality is typical of race-theorists, quite common.

    Most importantly, number [1] is PRECISELY the Fascist argument. It is PRECISELY the argument advanced by Hitler in Mein Kampf. He is a classic Fascist. And so are you.

    Fascism was created by capital as an antidote to socialism and equality. Hitler, Mussolini, Beck, Antonescu, Salazar et al argued that there is no class antagonism, just race/national antagonism. Hitler argued that all classes benefit from imperialism/conquest and that they are bound by race. “Race is destiny.” That is the quintessence of Fascist thought! The substitution of race war for class war. All people of a given race/ethnicity are in it together,
    and in opposition to all the others. Congratulations.

    re (2) Politically, the difference is that, compared with the workers of the oppressed nations, they occupy a privileged position in many spheres of political life. ”

    Once again no evidence, just an assertion. Which privileged positions in political life would those be exactly. With collective bargaining rights, Social Security, etc. being stripped away, from those of us in the elly of the imperial beast as we speak, this statement is rendered utterly absurd.

    re ” (3) Ideologically, or spiritually, the difference is that they are taught, at school and in life, disdain and contempt for the workers of the oppressed nations.”

    Indeed they are. Disassociating sections of the global proletariat is priority one for capital. And again not only have I never contested this, it is in fact a drum which I never stop beating. I’m beating it now. Do you get it now?

  13. dave says:

    @mamos206
    re “I am for abolishing the racist and sexist division of labor. I agree with Sensei that European-American workers should break with white supremacy and should join shoulder to shoulder as equals with the majority of the global proletariat, which is workers of color. ”

    First, Sensei didn’t actually say that. It may be his view, I hope so, but he didn’t say that. It’s all inside your head.

    What percentage do you estimate of White Workers are unwilling to unite with the global proletariat, and on racial grounds? It’s hard for me to estimate this as I don’t know a single one.

    And an obstacle to this necessary unity is the attitudes expressed in the comments above. The absurd charge that it is White workers who are responsible for the “racist and sexist” division of labor”, rather than one of the groups trying to overcome it. This insistence on blaming the White working class for capitalism’s abominations; the refusal to recognize, or at least minimize, the victimization of the White working class; and the myopic refusal to acknowledge the progressive elements therein and the tremendous contribution of the White working class to the liberation of the entire working class, is in no small way part of the problem. So long as you only accept an interpretation of history and current events which is defamatory to White workers, how can there be a reconciliation? The comments above are racistly anti-White and pro-“Color.” As long as you insist that “whiteness” is the problem, how can the necessary union take place? The attribution of the world’s ills to the venality of a single race is as pure an expression of racism as can be made. If you want to end racism, abandon yours.

    re “I am not for trying to rehabilitate some “positive” vision of whiteness, I’m not for creating space for Dave or others to play some role as the “good white boys”. Whiteness is destined for the dustbin of history. The best European and European American revolutionaries understand this, which is why we study their works – from John Brown and Marx to Don Hamerquist. People who are percieved as white under this white supremacist system are welcome to join our group as equals, but we are not going to pander to the anxieties of racist white liberals who call themselves revolutionary. We have more improtant things to do. ”

    The first three sentences are delusional; a reified spectre against which the fool can measure himself favorably.

    Marx most definitely does not belong on your list of acceptable Whites. I’m not a Marxist, and I haven’t read the whole canon, but your racial theories-that a particular race is the source of the world’s problems–I have never encountered in Marx. He was a materialist, not a geneticist like you.

    Anxieties of racist White liberals? Who call themselves revolutionaries. Apparently my unwillingness to participate in the defamation of my race means I’m not a revolutionary? My insistence on racial equality/neutrality means I’m not a revolutionary?

    Are you sure we are not dealing with your anxieties?

  14. dave says:

    @Fray

    I will read Beery’s book, and then your commentary.

    As for respect: It’s a two way street. I was directly insulted by Sensei and Mamo[something] and there is no objection coming from you. My original comments were tame compared to theirs. Seems to be a racist double standard at work here.

    We are not on the same side, as was confirmed last Friday.

    I harbor no antipathy toward any race. I believe in the absolute equality of all races. I detest racism in ALL its forms. I do not wish to see any human being marginalized. I am free of all Fascist sentiments. I do not seek to elevate my race at the expense of others. And I would like to see the end of all sectarian divisions. I do not call people who disagree with me unprincipled.

    But most importantly, I am a class warrior, not a race warrior.

    So we are not on the same side.

  15. Sensei Lewis says:

    Dave,

    Would you prefer “non-European workers are the majority in the world”, since this is merely a re-stating of a FACT that Malcolm X pointed out over 40 years ago.

    Racism is a CLASS doctrine. Indeed, Marx showed how amerikkka and all of europe got its start-up capitol for exploitation via invasion, theft, and genocide.

    As a 1st world parasite (all amerikkkans, collectively, are 15% of the world’s wealthiest; including the homeless), you are a “straw boss” when stood next to oppressed/captive nations within u.$. borders, and completely “bourgeois” when stood next to a worker in Bangladesh.

    In BOTH cases, their misery allows for amerikkkan pleasure(s). That’s why 1st world labor struggles may start off about power and control, but always boil down to economism, not the seizure of power by workers.

    Why should amerikkkan labor care? They largely benefit, even with all the various oppressions and criminality unleashed upon them as a class within a developed western industrial economy.

    “The colonial policy yields a colossal income to the great powers, i.e., to their ruling classes, to the ‘state capitalist trust.’ This is why the bourgeoisie pursues a colonial policy. This being the case, there is a possibility for raising the workers’ wages at the expense of the exploited colonial savages and conquered peoples.” – Nikolai Bukharin; “Imperialism and World Economy”; p 165.

    “This stratum of workers-turned-bourgeois, or the labor aristocracy, who are quite philistine in their mode of life, in the size of their earnings and in their entire outlook, is… the principal social (not military) prop of the bourgeoisie. For they are the real agents of the bourgeoisie in the working-class movement, the labor lieutenants of the capitalist class, real vehicles of reformism and chauvinism.”
    – Lenin; “Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism”; preface to the German edition.

  16. rewasdere says:

    “Racism is a CLASS doctrine. Indeed, Marx showed how amerikkka and all of europe got its start-up capitol for exploitation via invasion, theft, and genocide.”

    This is the most important part of this whole debate. What is actually interesting concerning race and resistance and whatever, is the emphasis on the middle-to-upper class labor organizers, and the access to education and whatnot. The truth of the matter is, poor whites, whose majority is largely conservative these days, typically have poorer educations, then say most of the middle class. When we watch people flock to the Tea Party over fear of others, because poor whites feel like other Others, we will usually charge them with white supremacy rather than understand that: Racism is a class doctrine. The reason that racism is so attractive is because it will distract the oppressed from oppression. That’s basic critical race theory: white supremacy and capitalism require each other to keep everyone separated, because if all oppressed parties became awake, then capitalism would fall. On the other hand, the categorization of poor conservative whites ironically unwhitens them. This is because a new binary is created between a more enlightened white consciousness and the bad white (or lesser whites), while the promise of white supremacy is held like a carrot over poorer whites heads, almost always unattainable. Who decides who can be white? The ones who make the rules for proper white behavior, that is, the White Elite and their allies: progressives. It’s been that way since the beginning.

    Recognition of white resistance movements isn’t necessary. By doing so, we frequently buy into white supremacy. Chances are, you’ll be hunting down what are good whites and what are bad whites. The moment you choose good whites, you fall into the white supremacy trap. What is important is to understand that “Racism is a class doctrine.” This frequently means that the very people we might see as our allies (white progressives) are the deciderers of Whiteness, and the very people we would project as fascists (rednecks, et al) have more in common in desperation than fancy liberal arts college graduates. Most often, the people who hate us are most like us and the people who like us, have plans for us.

  17. Lorin says:

    I am coming late in the debate. I could not help myself from saying something, as this is a particularly salient issue to me, and one that I research as a graduate student in psychology. I am familiar with critical race theory, and although there are some issues that I have with it, it is rather difficult to find fault with the idea that racism as we see it in the United States is a class phenomenon. The ruling class requires some degree of division among the working class in order to keep it from organizing. Racism is one of the easiest forms of division, because you can literally see the difference between one race and another. CRT has a major fault, as do many theories on race by suggesting that racism is entirely learned, and has absolutely nothing to do with human nature. The reason for the emphasis on learned racism is clear; it was eugenicists and fascists who argued that people of different races/nationalities will never mix well and that racism is natural and therefore good (naturalistic fallacy). I believe this view that it is “racist” to think that racism is natural needs to be turned on its head entirely. The reason for my opinion is not because I am a fan of racism, much the opposite. Instead I think the only way to deal with race divisions that will allow the working class to become aware of its common cause of liberation is to teach GOOD SCIENCE on racial bias. I say good science because philosophy on this topic is hot air when you look at the empirical evidence supporting innate tendencies toward racial bias. To call oneself Marxist or anarchist or even just a member of the left you must always respect science, something the right always manages to manipulate for its own purposes (eugenics in the 1930’s, global warming today). If the scientific evidence contradicts what one hopes for the ideal state of human nature, then you must succumb to the evidence and modify your vision.
    Re: rewasdere “The reason that racism is so attractive is because it will distract the oppressed from oppression.”
    Why would racism be attractive simply because it is a distraction? Shouldn’t the oppressed always want to focus on ending the oppression? We know that this isn’t the case, and indeed racism is attractive to many whites, especially in the US, both North and South. The reason it is so attractive is because of innate human tendencies to form groups around others, as well as to arbitrarily form relative status distinctions. The working class whites, who themselves are low status, will place non-whites below themselves on a status continuum, where petty bourgeois whites are above them, and the ruling class is again above them. A problem with Tea Party rallies is that you will find mostly small business owners deluded in thinking they are fighting for their own tax cuts, allying with working class individuals who have the tendency to be real overt racists and are driven to reactionary politics by other means. Those means are a natural tendency toward favoring their ingroup (white working class), which they are reinforced into thinking is under threat by the Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh ruling class mouthpieces. The group dynamics of racism are always reinforced,and I mean ALWAYS, in both directions by outgroup threat and outgroup competition. If you plan an organization with the direct intent on marginalizing white working class people for no reason other than they are white and share skin color with the ruling class, you are reactionary. Don’t take that accusation lightly. I am saying this because you are deliberately alienating members of your class, and breaking up the only thing that the working class has, which is its overwhelming size. The theoretical understanding of what is known in psychology as ingroup favoritism, is that we think, feel, and act more favorably towards members of our own group. Those group definitions are socially constructed, and can change dramatically. If for instance, you make race salient to a person in a laboratory setting, they will favor their own racial ingroup. That is, using something like an implicit association test (IAT), a white individual associates unconsciously “bad” words with black faces, and “good” words with white faces. By making status salient, by having them associate good and bad words with pictures of white people either wearing suits or wearing janitors uniforms, you can change their perceived group as relating to socioeconomic status and not race. This brings me to my final point about class consciousness.
    Never will I support any cause that excludes based on race. It is a false and misleading ideology that would try to advance the workers’ struggle by excluding some workers. Even those ‘racist’ white ones. You must bring into awareness for these racist whites that they are being misled into thinking race is the salient group dynamic. The Hitlers of this world point to race as the problem and segregation/ghettoization/extermination as the solution. The power of the left to liberate the working class is to unite us all under one banner in complete unflinching solidarity. Class consciousness develops unevenly. Working class white people are not the enemy, and I think that needs to be made clear. They are working women and men that can unlearn their racist attitudes by being made aware that they are being diverted away from the actual struggle.

  18. Fray says:

    Lorin, I think you might be mis/over interpreting what we are saying here. We are not for excluding white working class people. Actually, half the members of Black Orchid are white working class people. I also strongly agree that leftist revolutionaries need to present a clear, anti-racist, liberatory alternative to right wing/ fascist solutions. But “race-blind” forms of class solidarity have historically ended up privileging the demands, cultures, etc, of white people, just as “class-blind” forms of racial solidarity end up backing bourgeois people of color at the expense of working class people of color. The article “Black Worker, White Worker” (http://www.sojournertruth.net/bwww.html) is an example of what I’m talking about. Furthermore, people of color aren’t exactly a minority. They on on their way to being a majority in the US and are obviously the global majority. POC are also overwhelmingly proletarian. For all of these reasons, we as a new and very small organization, who do not have time to reach out to every single group or person, place a priority in developing proletarian people of color as revolutionaries within or organization and immediate millieu. This is very, very different from a programmatic stance of excluding the white working class, which we are not for and have never said we were for. Furthermore, even a cursory look through our blog reveals that a) we study and learn from historical struggles of white working class people as well as struggles of people of color, b) we engage in movements that heavily involve white working class people, such as Occupy.

    As for the psychology stuff, it seems to me that you are largely arguing that humans have the inherent capacity to be racists. We already knew that because, well, racism exists. How does what you’re saying inform strategies for building revolutionary struggle that will smash white supremacy?

  19. Frank56 says:

    I agree 100% with that statement. I quote below part of a paragraph from Lenin’s The Proletarian Revoluton and The Renegade Kautsky

    “Not only the ancient and feudal, but also “the modern representative state is an instrument of exploitation of wage-labour by capital” (Engels, in his work on the state).[8] “As, therefore, the state is only a transitional institution which is used in the struggle, in the revolution, to hold down one’s adversaries by force, it is sheer nonsense to talk of a ’free people’s state’; so long as the proletariat still needs the state, it does not need it in the interests of freedom but in order to hold down its adversaries, and as soon as it becomes possible to speak of freedom the state as such ceases to exist” (Engels, in his letter to Bebel, March 28, 1875). “In reality, however, the state is nothing but a machine for the oppression of one class by another, and indeed in the democratic republic no less than in the monarchy” (Engels, Introduction to The Civil War in France by Marx).[9]; Universal suffrage is “the gauge of the maturity of the work ing class. It cannotand never will be anything more in the present-day state”. (Engels, in his work on the state.[10] Mr. Kautsky very tediously chews over the cud in the first part of this proposition, which is acceptable to the bourgeoisie. But the second part, which we have italicised and which is not acceptable to the bourgeoisie, the renegade Kautsky passes over in silence!) “The Commune was to be a working, not a parliamentary, body, executive and legislative at the same time …. Instead of deciding once in three or six years which member of the ruling class was to represent and suppress (verund zertreten) the people in Parliament, universal suffrage was to serve the people, constituted in Communes, as individual suffrage serves every other employer in the search for workers, foremen and accountants for his business” (Marx, in his work on the Paris Commune, The Civil War in France).[11]”

    Marxist revisionist Kautsky’s views on the state, seem almost identical to todays Anarchists. However I challenge the Non Marxist Anarchists, exactly how they plan to hold down adversaries of an Anarchist society, without some type apparatus that uses force. Revolution, is a dictatorial measure, how long might it take before you cease holding your adversaries by force?

    Rcp, devoted and focus attention to What is to be Done by Lenin. I could not get that party to focus on a study of State and Revolution, or the Proletarian revolution and The Renegade Kautsky. If this has already been done here, I have much praise for you. Or if you do it in the future.

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1918/prrk/democracy.htm

    I cannot see how Dave comes to his opinions about race. I do remember that in Northern Ireland, when the ruling class could not divide workers on the basis of race, they used Protestant versus Catholic., giving the best jobs to Protestants. The ruling class can toss affirmative action type bones to fight over, since they control the wealth. I think communists or class conscious workers should fight for quality and free education for ALL. Why? Because we know there is strength in numbers, we use the slogans that promise gains for all workers.

    related to the topic of race, I suggest these links.


    Guns, Germs and Steel


    Mirrors of Privilege Making Whiteness visible

  20. Frank56 says:

    Sorry the statement I meant was

    re Non Marxist Anarchist “You can’t be both a Marxist and an anti-statist”

  21. olive says:

    dave seems to have it all except the race // white supremacist tip. i wonder how this plays out in spaces that he is active in. does he run into problems or is it that he just hangs out with / organizes with / and studies with mainly all white/male dominated spaces. i can’t imagine his logic flying with anybody other than white males.

    dave, lets bring this conversation back down to earth. As the white and probably cis gendered male that you are, how could you even begin to understand the necessity to prioritize building leadership among working class POC // studying non-white resistance movements? can you admit that you could never understand this. all the books you read won’t teach you what its like to be non-white. hopefully one day you’ll just step the fuck down and trust. cearly you believe you have it all figured out, and its clear that you are very much educated. you seem to have no respect for anybody else’s logic and consequently you will never question your own logic. have you ever thought that maybe you are just straight up wrong? have you ever had a destabilizing moment where you question the way you think?

    to say that its fascist to want to prioritize people who, traditionally (under white supremacy, patriarchy, etc), do not take leadership roles or do not participate or do not have their voices heard, is absurd. you are making it hard for us to take you seriously. BOC never said they want to straight up exclude working class white folks.

    you can say all this meaningless bullshit about how we are all one, but obviously the invention of race has had tangible consequences, thus making it necessary for us to take steps toward fixing this…which does include prioritizing reading about non-white struggles/ developing leadership with non-white folks.

    YOU STRAIGHT TRIPPIN WHITE BOY. and even with all the knowledge you may have, i would never want you on my team.

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