File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/97-01-29.113, message 15

Date: Mon, 27 Jan 1997 14:28:30 -0500
Subject: RE: M-I: RE:  Social Movements and class

Adam wrote:
>(3)     I hesitate to raise this, not because it's not important, but
>it quite often leads to a fruitless ding dong. But the issue of "who
>benefits ?"
>is an important one for practical strategy. But simply, if you think
>straight male workers benefit from the oppression of blacks, gays,
>women, you will see them as part of the problem, not the solution. It
>either leads you directly to persuing a nationalist type strategy, or
>unable to counter those who do.

I agree that the social movements based on the non-class identities cannot
deliver true emancipation for their working-class constituencies. But I
think that Adam dismisses (3) too quickly. In the long run, straight white
male workers in the first world suffer from their own racism, sexism, etc.
in that they won't be able to resist capital effectively, without seeking
unity with workers of all colors, genders, nationalities, etc. However,
when the transition to socialism is not on their agenda, they may,
consciously or subconsciously, conclude that they benefit from the
exclusion of the racial and other minorities and third world workers from
the higher-paying core labor market. Should we not acknowledge the
existence of this shortsighted perception of their own immediate interests
in the minds of straight/white/male/etc. workers? (Both historical studies
and contemporary sociological evidence attest to this problem.) Will we be
able to overcome this problem without first acknowledging its existence?


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