Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Racism: Instrument of Capitalist Class Rule, Weapon of Big Business

The United States of America has it’s first African-American president, Barack Obama, but we ain’t "overcome" the terror of racism yet. Racism is a weapon of capitalists to split the working class and produce superprofits. Working class African-Americans are the prime victims of the scourge of racism. American monopoly capitalism, rotten to the core, kicks working class Black people in the teeth.

V.I. Lenin’s words ring true today: "Shame on America for the plight of the [African-Americans]!!" Economic crisis, the loss of manufacturing jobs and racism in employment, wages, education and healthcare deals the heaviest blows to working class African-Americans. Capitalist robbery in the form of wage differentials cost Black workers over $275 billion in income every year. The Black median family income is about half of whites. 50% of young Black men are part of the growing army of the unemployed. Poverty, spreading like a plague, stalks the Black community. 1/3 of African Americans live in poverty and 53% live in starvation conditions. Black women, especially mothers, triply exploited and oppressed--as women, as workers and as Black folks--bear the brunt of the rotting capitalist society. There is one law for the capitalist class and another for the working class. The imprisonment rate for Black men is higher in the US than in South Africa. And, to add to the outrages caused by the obsolete capitalist system, "monopoly [capital], " as Black militant and Communist Henry Winston said, "ceaselessly generates racist ideology to, as [Karl] Marx put it, ’deform’ the class struggle." (Facts cited in Victor Perlo’s Economics of Racism II; Winston, Class, Race and Black Liberation, 1977, International Publishers)

"Historically, " Gus Hall, the Marxist-Leninist former leader of the Communist Party of the United States said, "racism in this country originated with slavery. Only with a racist ideology, bigotry and prejudice, could the slaveholders attempt to justify and rationalize such a monstrous, inhuman institution. Today the basic cause of racism is monopoly capital--the giant corporations that dominate the economy, the government, the media and educational institutions of our country. It is the corporations who mainly benefit from racism--who maintain it, stir it up, and use it for making huge super-profits and to divide and rule." (Gus Hall, Basics, 1980, International Publishers)

Gus Hall exposed that "the corporations make billions each year by paying artificially low wages to racially oppressed workers." This holds down the wages of all workers, including the white working class. Hall, a founder of the Steelworkers union, gave an example: "In a plant, racism is used to pit one group of workers against another. It is an instrument of dividing the trade union and labor movements and to hold back the whole working class movement. It [racism] is an instrument of [capitalist] class rule. Racism is a weapon of big business." (Gus Hall, Basics, 1980, International Publishers)

(V.I. Lenin’s words ring true today: "Shame on America for the plight of the [African-Americans]!!")

White working class people are also major losers from racism against Black and Latino workers. Racism, an instrument of rule for the parasitic capitalist class, lowers the wages and living conditions of the white working class. Capitalism, a system of legalized robbery of the working class, uses racism as an offensive against the entire proletariat. Victor Perlo, a Communist economist, said that "racism facilitates anti-labor legislation." The South, the "traditional stronghold of racism" has anti-union ’right-to-work’ laws. Adding that racism is linked to blood-stained Wall Street imperialism abroad, Perlo says, "Racism favors militarism and aggression." And the scourge of racism, a weapon of the capitalist class against working class unity, is connected to the exploiter class’ wringing of extra profits from workers at home. "Racism [and anti-Communism], " explains Perlo, "have been the main political weapons used by reaction to divert, weaken, or wholly eliminate the positive social directions chartered by New Deal reform policies." Racism, a tool of big business, attacks the entire working class’ right to work at living wages, with unions, good education and medical services, decent housing. (Victor Perlo, Economics of Racism USA, Third Printing, 1980)

"Marxism-Leninism shows that racism is an obstacle to class unity, " said Henry Winston, a former Black Marxist-Leninist with the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA). And he was exactly right that both "white and Black workers have a material stake in removing this obstacle to progress." Karl Marx hit the nail on the head way back in 1867: "Labor cannot emancipate itself in the white skin where in the black it is branded." White workers have a heavy, special responsibility in the fight against racism, in the struggle to wipe out every form of material and social inequality. In the United States, as Winston pointed out, this is a "Marxist-Leninist principle." (Henry Winston, Class, Race and Black Liberation, 1977, International Publishers; Karl Marx, Capital)

We need to fight back! The government should take over and nationalize businesses who discriminate! Hire Blacks in proportion to their numbers in an area’s population! No free speech for racists! Make all racist propaganda and actions a felony! Slash the military budget! End imperialist war and occupation! Pass a law against layoffs! Jobs or Income Now! Nationalize basic industries, tax the rich and create a public works program! Wage War on Poverty, Not the Poor! For an independent working class political party that will fight racism! Gus Hall expresses the Communist attitude: "taking on monopoly capital is a big job. But there’s no way around it. Without an all out united fightback against the monopolies there’s no way the problems can be solved." (Gus Hall, Basics, 1980, International Publishers)

The working class must fight racism tooth and nail today. But only socialism will completely eliminate racism, national oppression and discrimination. Socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat destroys the roots of racism and holds down the chauvinist beasts. And, as the great Communist William Z. Foster said, "The [African-American] people will be the greatest gainers under socialism" because of the super-exploitation, monstrous oppression and brazen outrages that they suffer under capitalism. (William Z. Foster, The Negro People in American History, 1954, International Publishers)