Building revolutionary consciousness
Published May 19, 2006 10:34 PM
Professor Tony Van Der Meer
How do we build mass revolutionary consciousness among oppressed
nationalities and working people in this nation? How do we get working people to
become conscious of themselves as an exploited and oppressed class while also
taking into consideration the deeper divisions that are centered on race and
If white workers can’t see how institutional racism and
cultural imperialism has created internalized white supremacy on their part, how
can they see how racism -be it personal, systemic, covert or overt -not only
dehumanizes non-whites, but divides the very class of people whose lives are
smothered by the political, cultural and economic elite of this
While there are many different movements, the Black liberation
movement, the undocumented worker movement and the antiwar movement are three
that have greater potential for building the class solidarity critical in
forging an anti-imperialist movement.
Hurricane Katrina has resurfaced
the central issue of self determination and reparations for African Americans in
perhaps the sharpest ways.
Katrina is not an isolated political act, it
is an extreme example of a form of gentrification that is happening to African
Americans and other oppressed nationalities throughout this country.
the recent 2005 Millions More March, hundreds of thousands of African Americans
participated in another historical gathering. The march raised strongly the
quest of justice for Katrina survivors, had a strong anti-war presence and an
internationalist perspective with a video broadcast of solidarity from Ricardo
Alarcón, president of the Cuban People’s National Assembly, and
Prime Minister Patterson of Jamaica.
The recent mass demonstrations in sup
port of undocumented immigrant workers are a breath of fresh air. This
development was centered more around the historical bases of the Chicano
national movement fighting for self determination in the Southwest, which played
a major role in this important political upsurge, than getting Democrats to
replace Republicans in November.
As a result of the call for a national
day of absence on the 50th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ arrest, Boston
developed the Bos ton Rosa Parks Human Rights Day Com mittee. In many ways the
committee is an example of “forging class solidarity; unity with the
oppressed and overcoming fragmentation in the movement” [the title of the
panel]. The BRPHRDC was an alliance of the Black liberation movement, labor and
the anti-war movement connecting Katrina, immigration, violence, workers rights
and jobs, healthcare and housing to the billions being spent on the Iraq
It is becoming clearer everyday that we need an anti-imperialist
movement. However, we must recognize the racial, class, gender, cultural,
political and ideological differences in order to build a common ground and
develop a program that speaks for the oppressed and by the oppressed. The rank
and file of the working class must be challenged and supported in opposing
policies that are diametrically opposed to its own interests.
We must go
door to door, school to school and shop to shop and develop a genuine
relationship and dialog with the youth and working masses, employed and
—Professor Tony Van Der Meer,
Boston Rosa Parks Human Rights Day Committee
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