My rating: 5 of 5 stars
For a period of 11 years, this text has haunted my intellectual corridor. It was originally introduced to me by Minister Ezekiel Khepera in the course of a discussion where I was most likely railing against the outcomes of capitalism and contemplating the socialist position. He suggested I might benefit from analyzing the text and revisiting the issue afterwards. I was unable to locate it anywhere until an Amazon search discovered it at a secondhand shop somewhere in the range of $40 dollars.
Time shift forward 11 years to our present future and I had forgotten the text almost entirely upon becoming obsessed with a little site called Goodreads which served only to increase my voracious appetite for the printed page. While tagging and assembling my various reading databases, this text wandered its way into my current course of study once again.
Carlos Moore offers a most compelling argument for reexamining the compatibility of Marxism-Leninism with the struggles of black people by showing the measure of racial sickness that existed at the very foundation of the philosophy. In order to accomplish the task, he employs the tools of Marx and Engels’ own letters to one another and various publications of their day in order to display that in crafting a political construct that aims to be entirely at the service of the proletariat working class, they were particularly selective in whom they deemed worthy of self determined rule. Some of his most surprising findings display to the reader that Marx and Engels in many instances were in favor of both certain forms of slavery and colonialism so long as the rewards were returned to the party.
Were I naive enough to think that a flawed foundation makes a thing itself entirely tainted, I might have renounced my citizenship on these shores long ago. The thing that makes Moore’s critique of Marxist-Leninist philosophy in particular and Socialism in general so biting when applied to the larger struggle for black freedom is that the Communist and Socialist party in America compounded an already egregious founding by simply not being clear enough in their position on racism at a time when they held overwhelming sway in the black community during the post-Reconstruction and Harlem Renaissance period.
By failing to help a white laborer overcome their internal racial prejudice and personal privilege, they displayed themselves to be no different from the Northern Republican or the Dixiecrat, a political swindler wishing to whisper sweet nothings to black people in order to solicit our assistance with their aims, but neglecting to deliver on the commitments made to us. This failure further cemented new European immigrants in the social caste structure as racially “white” and made conversation of class a moot point where black people were concerned.
Racism is an issue that black people have to confront daily and we can ill afford allies who will choose non-confrontation above clear and decisive action. This analysis is of particular importance in the present day where some might have us believe that race divisions are now effectively submerged beneath divisions of class. This is no truer today than it was in the time of Hubert Henry Harrison and since I have learned from the struggles my intellectual ancestor, I will not see my political concern minimized because you fail to understand the full measure of the problem.