From Thu Feb 26 12:45:08 2004
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Subject: wwnews Digest #770
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2004 12:32:26 -0500

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Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2004 12:21:19 -0500
Subject: [WW] National Oppression & Struggle for Socialism
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National oppression and the struggle for socialism

Except from the talk given by Monica Moorehead at the New York Workers World Party Black History Month forum on Feb. 20, Workers World, 4 March 2004

As a Black person growing in the South during the 1950s, I experienced a separate but equal society: racist segregation.

As a 12-year-old living in Talladega, Ala., I eyewitnessed a white male cop going into a white-only women's bathroom to escort my mother out.

In 1967, I attended a majority-white high school in Virginia whose fight song happened to be the pro-slavery anthem Dixie.

I began to seriously question whether all white people were born racist.

My questions on the origins of racism began to be answered once I met the Prisoners Solidarity Committee, a mass unit of Workers World Party. My introduction to the Party would eventually begin my journey of helping to put my personal experiences within a worldwide political context.

Marxism is the only scientific tool and guide for understanding revolutionary theory and for carrying out revolutionary action. The Party opened my eyes to the fact that racism is an ideology rooted in the economic system of capitalism, and perpetuates class divisions in order to maximize profits.

Racist ideas do not originate with white workers, who are more susceptible to these poisonous ideas; they come from a predominantly white ruling class that relies on racism, sexism, homophobia to maintain the status quo.

National oppression, an outgrowth of imperialism, confirms that the vast majority of Black, Latino, Indigenous, Asian and Arab peoples are not just victims of institutionalized racism but are members of oppressed nations that are super-exploited and super-oppressed for who they are, where they live and where they come from. These factors and others help to define their relationship to capitalism and imperialism.

Understanding the roots of national oppression means understanding that there are oppressed nations and a white oppressor nation. Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution that led to the birth of the Soviet Union, helped to theoretically define the colonial question at a time when national-liberation movements began erupting in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and elsewhere against the onslaught of imperialist plunder and exploitation.

Many of these liberation movements have been led by nationalists who adhere to diverse ideologies, some of them bourgeois and some of them more anti-imperialist, and then there are the movements lead by socialists and communists. Even though we have more of a political affinity for those nationalists who consider themselves revolutionary Marxists, in general we defend the leadership of genuine national- liberation movements and those leaders of oppressed countries seeking some degree of independence and sovereignty. We take this principled position because imperialism has been the biggest obstacle in putting the brake on independent economic and social development for the poorer countries.

The struggle for reparations represents the unfinished revolution for bourgeois democratic rights that have never been fully won by Black people in the United States, in Africa, the Caribbean and elsewhere.

The reparations demand addresses the internal colonization that Black people are still subjected to in a country like the United States, dominated by whites based on their greater numbers and various degrees of privilege.

Only a socialist revolution, the total expropriation of the means of producing everything in society by the multinational working class, can liberate labor from capitalist slavery. As we continue to fight for progressive reforms under capitalism, only socialism can win and guarantee full democratic rights including the right to housing, education, health care, jobs, food, equality and much more.

While imperialism is an economic system based on carving up the world's resources and displacing and impoverishing hundreds of millions of people to make profits, socialism is an economic system based on an affirmative-action process of systematically eradicating all the inequalities based on the existence of classes.

The George Bushes and John Ashcrofts would not be working overtime in building more prisons, passing extreme reactionary, repressive laws like the Patriot Acts I and II, attacking reproductive rights and same-sex marriage, or carrying out bloody wars for empire if they were not fearful of the inevitable united upsurge of the workers and oppressed.

Our attitude toward nationalism of the oppressed is not one of being on the defensive, but rather deepening our resolve to show our anti- imperialist solidarity by fighting racism and at the same time promoting our multinational, working-class, pro-socialist perspective.

We are duty bound to support the right to self-determination for oppressed nationalities, including the right to separation. We don't advocate separation, but defend it as a political demand to build solidarity. Revolutionary socialists and communists of all nationalities must understand that to support and defend the struggles of nationally oppressed peoples here and abroad against imperialism and colonialism is part and parcel of the struggle for worldwide socialism including right here in the United States.