Based on a talk given at the Feb. 5 webinar “Global Class War: Lessons from Sam Marcy for workers struggles today.” Go to youtu.be/5Arb33Q8SN0 to view the webinar.
Sam Marcy said that “the solution of the national question may determine the destiny of the working class in the struggle against capitalism as well as the future of socialism.”
This is such a powerful quote. For our work in the Durham branch, rooted here in the U.S. South, we recognize the centrality of the Black freedom struggle, as it connects to the struggle for workers power and revolution.
Nearly 60% of Black people in the U.S. live in the Southern states. This is the region of the country with the lowest unionization rates, with the lowest wages, with the highest concentration of laws that ban or limit access to abortion, with the lowest corporate taxes, thus the draining of critical public-sector safety nets. This is a direct result of the white ruling class in this region being terrified of the power of Black workers and of the failures of Reconstruction after the Civil War.
To share another Sam quote: “To many in the progressive and working-class movement, the relationship between national oppression and class conflict appears as a choice between two supposedly contradictory phenomena.”
In our party we do not sublimate the struggle to support Black liberation within a general working-class movement. No, we fight to uplift the most oppressed workers — in our context here in the South to build and support the leadership of Black workers.
This is the task we have carried out, as we follow the leadership of Black Workers for Justice in digging into Black-majority public workplaces across North Carolina, as we build the North Carolina Public Service Workers Union, UE Local 150, and the broad Southwide network, the Southern Workers Assembly.
Our view is that lifting up the voices and conditions of Black workers is a guidepost for the entire working class. By winning over white workers to this struggle, it also helps lift the condition of all workers.
When talking about the connection of national liberation to advance the struggle for global revolution, it must be acknowledged that many advances in public resources, by the capitalist state trying to co-opt the energy of the Black freedom movement, have created many public programs.
For instance, in this country there would be no public education without the Black freedom struggle. It was Black people who first created their own schools that led to the establishment of the public school system as we know it.
But, as Lenin said, when “Workers and oppressed peoples of the world unite!” we can build a mighty movement beyond the containment of the capitalist system. And as Marcy described, “So-called progressive, peaceful, competitive capitalism had evolved into monopoly, which not only required vast expansion at the expense of oppressed peoples around the world but also exacerbated and intensified every type of national oppression at home.”
Let’s continue to make those connections between the devastation by the U.S. war machine and imperialist bankers across the globe with the struggles of everyday workers here fighting for dignity and power. This is the only path towards global socialist revolution.