At this time of celebration of the march on Washington it is important to see what happened in the struggle against racism. You will not hear this from the many African American talking heads that are now in the media.
The black revolt of the 1950's and 1960's was so powerful that the white ruling class had to make adjustments. It assassinated the most powerful and radical leaders such as Malcolm X, the leaders of the Panthers and Martin Luther king. They were assassinated when they were moving to the left, trying to move towards unity with other workers and also opposing US wars and occupations abroad, that is when they were most dangerous.
Malcolm X wrote in the months before he was assassinated: "It is incorrect to classify the revolt of the negro as simply a racial conflict of black against white, or as a purely American problem. Rather, we are today seeing a global rebellion of the oppressed against the oppressor, the exploited against the exploiter." He also stated: "You cannot have capitalism without racism." So he was moving towards working class unity and against capitalism.
Months before he was assassinated he was moving to question and move away from black nationalism. He said in relation to this : "If you noticed I have not been using the expression (black nationalism) for several months."
In the months before his assassination Martin Luther King was also moving to unite the working class in struggle with his Poor Peoples Campaign and also talking about capitalism and socialism. He wrote..."something is wrong with capitalism. There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move towards a democratic socialism."
With the black revolt over for the time being US capitalism has been increasing the repression of African American youth and workers in general. As part of this strategy it has bought off a section of the African American middle class and politicians. We see many of them in Congress and in the media. They are way to the right of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and the Panthers when these leaders were assassinated. They hold on to their positions by not talking about US capitalism and at the same time helping to hold down the African American working class and youth when these forces seek to fight.
This is the new strategy of US capitalism. It will not last. A new Black revolt is building and new leaders will arise who will learn the lessons from the past and build a united working class movement against capitalism and for democratic socialism.
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