Typing on my phone so trying to keep it simple ie without too much detail and much left to inference. I’ve now edited it some as it was sloppy and unclear in some parts.
maz wrote:What are these oppressed American blacks fighting for? If this oppression has only gotten worse since the 1960s, and not better as others say, what would you say is the problem?
Well the shared circumstance does not alone constitute a class of people as they must necessarily form their aims. https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/SP-talk.htm
Here a little dialectics is necessary. Class consciousness means a social class, sharing common conditions of life, and a social movement organised around a demand for justice and a vision of the future. But these two entities are never actually identical. Class consciousness is the unity of two opposites which are never absolutely identical.
In Minnesota the protesters are specifically against the sense that the cop wasn’t going to be charged considering he wasn’t immediately arrested after blatantly killing a man. This being but one in a series of high profile killings by police. One harder to deny be incompetence as people pleaded with him to not do it and other cops held the public off when he was clearly doing the wrong thing.
But the real existing group in our times is the Black Lives Matter which has a “what they believe” page although it is a bit vague but does express some basic principles such as opposition to violence against blacks and to improve the standing of black people as a whole, not individually. And it was of course primarily born out of shootings of black people which went without conviction.
But the specifics aren’t yet solidified except as proven in organizational activism perhaps or perhaps I'm just not familiar enough with BLM. But the problem of race has merely changed form rather than been essentially overcome.
My vague impression of the circumstance of blacks in the US specifically is that they have long been an underclass excluded from much power and prosperity afforded to others. That here is a historical trajectory which exacerbates an existing gap through the decades in the recent century.
And one might cite that many black Americans aren’t in poverty and not confined but the economic segregation and resources accessible in various forms to blacks persists for the majority such that an individual doesn’t stand above their identified demographic even whilst they are in another class. Ones status in society is based on the average rather than the exceptions, and a great mass of black Americans are still living in ghettos and the violence against them while in the form of race seems to me to be an expression of class violence, of which many whites of the lower class, the poor and vulnerable also being stepped on by police.
The extreme case being the homeless who get the shit beaten out of them by police in various states. And then the poor whites are sometimes propagandized to hate blacks when their enemy is the upper class see example of klansman realizing as much: https://college.cengage.com/english/chaffee/thinking_critically/8e/students/additional_activities/p198.pdf
A difference being because the status of black skin based on the average position of blacks in America means that even if they’re individually well off they may still be subject to hostility in a way a moderately well off white isn’t likely to experience. And this is intuitively reflected in the way blacks self monitor in a way to avoid confrontational situations which a white person doesnt experience. Roy Wood Jr has a great bit about the importance of having a bag and a receipt for a purchase because if you don’t have one you’re assumed to have stolen something. And so to play it safe, one has to argue against the employee who doesnt want to give a bag for a single item because its the difference between being harassed or not. When there is such a divide in experience one has to ask why its something shared among one people and not another and the understanding behind it, why parents have to tell their children how to navigate interactions with police and to navigate the world in the hopes that they won’t be harassed or worse.
The point being the material conditions are refracted through forms of identity, identities which become reified as essential but are the property of the average social relations of a people. Black skin empirically is just a color of skin but one sees so much more than just what is given to the eyes, otherwise cops couldn’t racially profile.
But as Marx says, a black man is only a slave within particular conditions. Its not a property inherent to him but a property attributed to him within those relations. Similarly the modern relations have people see blacks in a denigrated form (Thug) which has them not see them as people by abstractly as a cariacture, not seen properly as moral equals regardless of any progress in the law for formal equality. Because formal equality hasn’t undone the crystalized social relations entirely but only chipped away at them.
To which I think the Black Panthers represented the most advanced position in the many answers of civil rights movements to the racial problem. In thaBasically the problem for blacls is embedded in that they were able to use class and Marxist theory to expand upon the black struggle, challenging an inequality of capitalist productive relations as part of the liberation of blacks. In theory blacks can be equal but it seems that to liberate themselves from such violence and hostility based in their poor status/standing in society will require an overthrow of the present nature of things. I hold out on the possibility that somehow they could in actual content be equal within the US within capitalism, but I don’t see the avenue as the racial problem has persisted so long and merely evolved in form. There is great resistance to the average class position of blacks and its been a dividing part for the US from its very
founding. Because the sort of power needed to overcome racial inequality and Injustice would be too strong a threat to the present state that it ends up to radical to simply be a matter of reform as far as i can tell.https://www.lacan.com/zizrobes.htm
It is, however, this very consequent egalitarianism which is simultaneously the limitations of the Jacobin politics. Recall Marx's fundamental insight about the "bourgeois" limitation of the logic of equality: the capitalist inequalities ("exploitations") are not the "unprincipled violations of the principle of equality," but are absolutely inherent to the logic of equality, they are the paradoxical result of its consequent realization. What we have in mind here is not only the old boring motif of how market exchange presupposes formally/legally equal subjects who meet and interact on the market; the crucial moment of Marx's critique of "bourgeois" socialists is that capitalist exploitation does not involve any kind of "unequal" exchange between the worker and the capitalist - this exchange is fully equal and "just," ideally (in principle), the worker gets paid the full value of the commodity he is selling (his labour force). Of course, radical bourgeois revolutionaries are aware of this limitation; however, the way they try to amend it is through a direct "terrorist" imposition of more and more de facto equality (equal salaries, equal health service...), which can only be imposed through new forms of formal inequality (different sorts of preferential treatments of the under-privileged). In short, the axiom of "equality" means either not enough (it remains the abstract form of actual inequality) or too much (enforce "terrorist" equality) - it is a formalist notion in a strict dialectical sense, i.e., its limitation is precisely that its form is not concrete enough, but a mere neutral container of some content that eludes this form.
The problem for whites still stands as it did at the civil war.https://imhojournal.org/articles/abolitionists-marx-slavery-race-class-salome-lee/
“The present struggle between the South and the North is therefore nothing but a conflict between two social systems, the system of slavery and the system of free labor. The struggle broke out because the two systems can no longer live peacefully side-by-side on the North American continent. It can end only with the victory of one system or the other.”
In this statement, Marx was calling for an end of the assigning of Blacks to the lowest labor caste as fixed capital. He stressed that in order to even fathom a class-wide revolution in the United States, Whites must fight for the emancipation of Blacks from slavery into equals, to form a larger, unified working class, rather than attempt to perpetuate racial castes within the working class.
As Marx’s Civil War writings and his other writings on race demonstrate, his political agenda and his theory were not, as commonly misunderstood, limited solely to a focus on the emancipation of the White working class from factory labor, or to an exclusive concentration the destruction of capitalism. The destruction of capitalism was secondary; it was a means for a large-scale human emancipation that could restore labor from its alienated form back into its human essence. Marx’s primary concern was human emancipation, and the extreme degree of alienation of racialized slave labor and its role as the pivot of Western capitalist civilization marked it as the necessary place to start.
Contrary to accusations that Marx was a class reductionist, his Civil War writings reveal that race did not take a back seat to the class struggle; rather, the struggle against slavery was the harbinger that propelled the working class to join the struggle for human emancipation by identifying the different forms that oppression took.
But not everyone is sympathetic to such a position of course but it is the superficial outline I have in mind at the moment.
When blacks confront racial injustice they challenge much more about the society they live in, much better to keep them done than to let them run amok for some.