From Sun Oct 13 13:30:09 2002
Subject: Powell, Belafonte and Capitalism—Joe Williams/the Black World Today
Date: Sun, 13 Oct 2002 13:30:27 -0400
Thread-Topic: African American/Latino perspectives on the Bush War
Thread-Index: AcJy2iKlvtCzV90pEdahowCw0N3qEAAA7IMw
From: Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics) <>

Powell, Belafonte, And Capitalism

By Joe Williams III, TBWT Contributor, 11 October 2002

Many Black people are rejoicing in Harry Belafonte's attack on Colin Powell. Belafonte remarked that Powell was like a plantation slave who abandoned his principles to come into the house of the master. And Powell rebutted by stating, use a slave reference, I think, is unfortunate and is a throwback to another time and another place that I wish Harry had thought twice about using.

There are many, many deep seated problems with the above polemics. I will try to deal with as much as I can in limited space.

First of all, slavery was a political, economic, and social system. Its main U.S. characteristics were agriculture and farming (cotton, corn, sugarcane, hogs, cattle). It labor base was free and forced labor (slaves) of which some worked in the fields, and some worked in the Boss's (Master) home. The land mass of this system was know as the Plantation (estate).

While the slaves didn't receive wages for their forced labor, they did receive a place to live (quarters) and leftover food from the harvest and livestock (chitterlings, grits, pig feet, etc..) The main moral characteristic of slavery was its violence against the slaves, murders, rapes, hangings, whippings, and forced human child breeding. The slaves were counted as livestock like the other animals. So, Belafonte's characterization of Powell is both, historically and politically incorrect.

Powell cannot be a house or field slave. But if we look at Powell's position and authority, we would understand that he is more dangerous than a 1000 house slaves. Colin Powell is a spokesperson for the American Ruling Class. A class whose political and economic status is not based on slavery, but on International Capitalism. It is not a system that controls a few plots of land in the deep south.

U.S. Capitalism (Internationalism) controls every inch of soil on the planet. The International Capitalist even have influence over many of the Socialist countries economies. Today, there is only one world power, and it is led by Bush, Cheney, Rice and Powell.

My main point is this. Powell is no sell-out or confused Brother. Powell is not a slave or spook sitting by the door. Powell and Bush are the voices of the International Ruling Class. And for all practical, political and economic clarity, there are only two classes under capitalism, the ruling class and the working class, even the unemployed and homeless are members of the working class.

Sure, under slavery, we were all brothers and sisters, even the house and field Negroes. But today, the enemy of the working class is the ruling class. It is not a question of Black and White, It is a question of the have's and the have not's.

Make no mistake about it, if there was a crisis in Africa concerning America's interest, Powell would not hesitate to send U.S. troops. And the same is true if that crisis was in Harlem or Watts, Powell does not think along color lines; he thinks in terms of protecting his class.

And we, the working class do also—when the Longshoremen were locked out of their workplace last week, it was Black workers, White workers, and Brown workers that were united against their bosses. If the dock workers do strike and cost the U.S. Capitalist a Billion dollars a day, then Powell would not hesitate to sent the troops in to break the strike and put the dockworkers out of work.

I am a Black man, but I need to be clear. In terms of my people and my class, Rice is not my sister, and Powell is not my brother. All power to the working class.