This week the ideological education of the working class, the need for socialism, and the aims of a Biden administration were on your minds. We share your letters for “V.I. Lenin and W.E.B. Du Bois: Class Struggle and Civilization,” “’America’ Doesn’t Need Healing. It Needs Socialism,” and “Biden, the Emcee at the Billionaires’ Ball.”
In “V.I. Lenin and W.E.B. Du Bois: Class Struggle and Civilization” Anthony Monteiro analyzes lessons from the thought of the two revolutionaries for building a working-class oriented Left today.
Kevin Frostad writes:
“I have to respond to Anthony Monteiro’s article on the possibility of the ‘backward’ working class becoming the ‘vanguard’ of a new ‘democratic dictatorship’ and leading us all into a new dawn of revolutionary solidarity. What a perfect load of dense ideological crap! As a (gratefully) retired working man myself, it’s very apparent to me that Monteiro has never in his life sat around a lunchroom table with a group of working men (or women) while they ‘discuss’ politics. What the hell is he talking about here? I don’t know, and after trying to decipher a few of his overwrought paragraphs, I ceased to care! He’s yet another example of shopworn Marxist ‘scholarship’ verbally jacking-off to the sound of its own voice. If he were talking to actual working people in this way he would be met first with bafflement, then with derision, and, finally, and very likely, with violence. And I have to say, someone this pompous, who might as well be speaking in Greek, certainly deserves a good smack in the face...it might actually bring him back down to planet earth where most working people that I know live. It’s time to burn your soapbox Anthony, that’s the only heat your sorry ass is going to get!
“Come on BAR...stop wasting our time with crap like this...if you guys don’t have any real ideas, then turn out the lights and go home.”
Anthony Monteiro responds:
“First off, please never threaten me with violence again. I can handle that side of the class struggle as much as the ideological side.
“Second, like many failed so-called working-class leftists, you don’t think Black folk have a right to investigate, critique or in any other way address iconic figures of the left such as Trotsky, Luxembourg, or even Marx and Lenin. In fact, you don’t believe Black folk are intellectually capable of understanding, let alone critiquing their views and practices. The fact that the Black Agenda Report, with the emphasis on Black, published the essay seems to get under your skin. And because it comes from Black folk it must be “crap,” to use your language. I’m from Philadelphia, we have one of the oldest, if not the oldest, Black proletariat in the nation. I have never heard, no matter what the education level of the person, a Black worker react with your violence against ideas that are either new to them or which that don’t fully understand. They always seem to want to explore matters of ideology, history and theory. Workers welcome political and ideological education; and most times are the most clear and insightful on these matters. And this applies to a significant part of the working class in this city. Hardly if ever do they fit your stereotype of workers as being disinterested and hostile to revolutionary ideas. But then my language was not more difficult than Marx’ or Lenin’s or Trotsky’s et. al. I’m certain you have no problem with their language; and I know you would not threaten violence against them for their language. Hence, why the racist double standard? It seems obvious. You need to self-reflect and find out why you default so easily to racism.
“Lastly, it’s obvious you have a problem with the ideas; especially that Lenin was nearer in ideology and strategy of the class struggle and the struggle for socialism to W.E.B Du Bois (a Black man) then to Trotsky or Luxembourg, or the German Social Democrats and probably to most US white leftist like yourself. Rather than having the courage to deal with ideas that challenge your world view you attack me personally, threaten me with violence and call upon BAR (a Black publication) not to publish my ideas.
“My recommendation to you is that you stay in your ideological sewer and allow those of us committed to humanity to do our work.”
“’America’ Doesn’t Need Healing. It Needs Socialism” by Danny Haiphong criticizes Joe Biden’s call for “healing” and instead proposes a mass struggle for socialism as the solution for nation’s crisis.
Reg Callaway writes:
“America needs social justice for Black Americans front and center prior to any talk of socialism. No matter how you slice it, the U.S. always finds ways to ensure Blacks get the short end of the stick with social spending.
“Take the CARES Act as the most recent example of how the system works against Blacks. Keep in mind the CARES Act was one of the single biggest social handouts on record. Even under this rush to send money to the vast majority of poor and middle-class Americans, many African Americans were missing out on the $1200 stimulus payment. One of the reasons why is because they did not have a bank account.
“The government could have managed the cash distribution itself via the Treasury but relied on banksters to distribute the funds so they could get some windfall. Protecting the wealth of the uber-rich has always been a guiding principle for successive federal governments. The point is, under this recent ‘socialist’ program Blacks were shortchanged.
“When Black businesses applied for the PPP (paycheck protection program) loans under the CARES Act, Blacks found banksters were not ready to deal with them because of overt racism. Many Black businesses folded because of the onerous systemic discrimination imposed upon them. Again, the federal government could have managed the program through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and therefore be held accountable, but instead, they chose greedy banks to handle the program.
“Until the U.S. can address the long-standing socio injustice Blacks face, socialism will always be a nice to have agenda but never materializing for many Americans.
“Besides, I have a Texan friend who hates socialism but readily cashed the $1200 check. The word ‘socialism’ conjures up hate against those perceived to be ‘takers’ of the system. The evils of racialized dog whistle language cannot be ignored if socialism is to take root.
“Finally, real socialism exists for the 1% for they get the lion share of government stimulus in the form of debt spending. That calculus must change, but I doubt it ever will.”
In “Biden, the Emcee at the Billionaires’ Ball” Glen Ford argues that the incoming Biden administration will serve the agenda of the most powerful oligarchs.
Jack Baldwin writes:
“Thank you for your latest article about Biden: an excellent analysis, as usual. The question is how to get people to accept the third-party alternative, and how to connect the party to wider movement struggles.”
Glen Ford responds:
“The non-duopoly party(s) must emerge from mass movements. Otherwise, mass movements will disappear into the duopoly. The argument for detaching from the corporate duopoly must come from within the movement(s). It's not about making the pitch to people for whom the vote is their only political activity.”
The struggle against the duopoly will involve not just action but deep study. In our time of ideological confusion, political education is a priority.
Jahan Choudhry is Comments Editor for Black Agenda Report. He is an organizer with the Saturday Free School based in Philadelphia, PA.
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