The Worker, July 29, 2014
Published by the Workers Party, USA
P.O. Box 25716, Chicago, IL 60625

Support the Palestinian Liberation Struggle Against Zionism and Imperialism!

July 27, 2014 – Even with the supreme arrogance that comes with an American Iron Dome ballistic missile shield, Israel wanted a “protective edge” against the paltry munitions of Palestinian guerrillas. So for twenty days Israeli Air Defense Command tried to “exterminate the enemy” by carpet bombing civilians living under Israeli rule. They are not sure if they are finished so they are having talks with high level spokesmen from the U.S. government. There may still be people left with the resources to dig Cu Chi style tunnels for the purpose of surviving and winning the struggle for their own independent state in their national homeland. So the story of U.S.-Israeli “peacekeeping” goes.

To achieve the zionist “vision” of a land without Palestinians, U.S.-Israeli “peacekeepers” have long relied on the Hitlerite methods of collective punishment including blowing up the homes of suspected political activists, the imposition of curfews (tantamount to literal house arrest) on entire towns and villages (often for up to a month), preventing food supplies and other necessities from reaching the population, etc. Areas anywhere in the West Bank can be and often are designated as “closed areas” which means that no one can leave without a permit. Palestinians under Israeli military rule are required to carry ID cards and produce them on demand of the military authorities. Political parties are banned and the press muzzled. It is estimated that 40% of the adult male population of the West Bank has spent time in Israeli prisons or military detention centers. Torture is commonplace and Israeli courts admit confessions extracted through torture.

An Israeli Military Commander decides everything even down to the number of trees a Palestinian may plant. While settlers from Israel are give the best lands the indigenous economy has been suppressed, forcing Palestinians to work for a few dollars a day as menial laborers for the Israeli capitalists. Israel has repeatedly stated that its goal is to annex the West Bank which it claims on the “authority of the Bible.”

Today, the Israeli government says that all out war is necessary to restore “order.” Well, it is true that the Palestinian people are rejecting, are breaking up, Israeli “order” in the West Bank and Gaza but this does not make them “rioters” or terrorists because it is precisely the “order” of Israeli occupation which is the problem. Israeli order in the occupied territories is the “order” of fascism and colonialism; it is the order under which an Israeli settler, whether born in New York or Dallas, can usurp the land of the Palestinian residents who are forced to live under permanent military rule and are regarded as nothing but “two-legged beasts” by the Israeli government. Israeli “order” in the occupied territories is an “order” in which peaceful protesters are gunned down. It is an “order” in which Palestinian youths, many under 12 years of age, are tortured in custody and used as human shields by Israeli Defense Forces. It is an order in which the entire Gaza strip is placed under siege. Israeli order in the West Bank and Gaza is based on the national subjugation, the suppression of the entire Palestinian people.

But, as the resistance of the Palestinian people is proving, the “order” of Israeli fascism and occupation is extremely weak and can never be maintained. Just as every democratic-minded person has been filled with rage at the bestiality of the Israeli occupiers, so, too, we have drawn boundless inspiration from the unconquerable spirit of the Palestinian people.

Today, in the West Bank and Gaza, it is not the Israeli fascists who have the initiative but the Palestinian people. No matter how many thousands of reinforcements are sent in, the Israeli army cannot keep down the Palestinian resistance. No matter how many tanks, machine guns and helicopters the Israelis deploy, (financed and supplied directly by the U.S. government) they cannot match the Palestinian youth who are fearlessly confronting and fighting the occupiers. The world is witness to the magnificent unity and determination of the whole Palestinian nation not only in the occupied areas but also inside the pre-1967 “borders” of Israel as well.

The weakness of Israeli fascism stems from the fact that Israel is trying to conquer and enslave an entire people, while the great, indomitable strength of the Palestinian people comes from the fact that they are fighting for a just cause, are fighting for their national salvation, for freedom and emancipation. The fact is that it is only through struggle and the revolution that the Palestinian people can regain their rights and homeland. And the lessons of the present day and historical realities of Palestine are that this struggle is not only necessary but also that it is invincible.

In the months and years ahead the Palestinian people and all the peoples of the Middle East will certainly win new and final victories in the struggle against zionism and imperialism. But the road ahead is also filled with great dangers. U.S. imperialism surely intends to stand by its strategic ally, zionist Israel – not only with billions in aid and advanced weaponry but also with ground troops.  But the will and desire of U.S. imperialism to use the American workers as cannon-fodder in wars to maintain control of the oil wealth of the Arab peoples is one thing while its political options are another. The more we expose the real character of Israeli zionism, the more we fight against the U.S.-Israeli alliance and oppose any and all interference and intervention in the Middle East by the U.S. monopoly capitalist class – the more we popularize the just cause of the Palestinian people – the sooner their struggle will achieve complete victory.

U.S. Backing for "Operation Protective Edge"

Budgeted ahead of time by the Israeli legislative committee, monies for “Operation Protective Edge,” amounted to an estimated $880 million.

That's less than 30% of the direct foreign assistance provided to Israel annually by the United States.

That amounts to approximately $121,128 per Palestinian killed or wounded so far. (Or $852,713 for every Palestinian killed.)

According to Haaretz newspaper, on July 14 an IMF spokesman revealed that the IMF “expected the Israeli economy to recovery quickly from the fighting but warned that the Gaza Strip would require substantial donor aid for reconstruction.”

The loan guarantee deal between the U.S. and Israel is currently at $4 billion.

Only the Political Economy of the Working Class Can Lead the Way Out of the Crisis

Below, we summarize the first part of a speech presented by Michael Thorburn at the October 25, 1999 meeting of the Chicago Branch of the Workers Party.

For some time now, governmental leaders have been advertising “globalization” – based on the “free flow” of international capital – as a “new economic era” which will insure world prosperity. This process of globalization is generally characterized as a “technological revolution” arising from such things as advanced communications systems, an international division of labor, etc.

But such advertisements for “globalization” and the “free flow of capital” cover over the main thing. Today, capital is a social relation in which the means of production – the very tools needed by human beings to secure their material existence – are owned by a few while the vast majority of people are reduced to the status of wage-slaves for these capitalist owners of the means of production.

“Globalization” arises from the struggle of the biggest monopolies and capitalist states to extend these social relations of exploitation and domination – their ownership of the means of production – over the entire world. “Globalization” means that countries and continents are put up for barter and domination. The demand for the “free flow of capital” is a demand for the surrender of economic and political sovereignty, is the program of international finance capital for gobbling up the resources, the economic infrastructure and the very lives of the peoples of other countries. Today, in the conditions of deepening economic crisis, the “free flow of international capital” is part of the program of the big monopolies to come out on top – to continue their ferocious struggle for the economic domination of other countries as well as to defeat their competitors. In fact, as history shows and present reality confirms, capitalism can only “resolve” the struggle of competing capitalists for domination through war.

Workers in the U.S. must keep in mind that this entire struggle for world-wide domination rests, in the first place, on the most thorough exploitation of the American workers. . . .

The capacity of capital to expand and to “create wealth” rests on one and only one thing – the exploitation of the workers. Capital expands by soaking up the surplus labor of the workers. And the workers go into the factories owned by the capitalists, not through their own free will or choice, but because, under capitalism, they have been separated – by force of arms – from the tools necessary to create their own subsistence. They cannot secure their livelihoods without selling their labor-power as a commodity to those who have monopolized society's means of production.

Human beings are often characterized as “tool-creating animals” and indeed this capacity is one of the most important and distinguishing characteristics of the species. By using science to create and use tools, humans are able to transform, to humanize, nature not merely adapt to it. By creating tools humans are able to provide themselves with food, shelter and other means of subsistence and advance more and more from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom. Tools – the means of production with which humans create their material conditions of existence – are a fundamental part of the foundation of human civilization.

Over thousands, in fact hundreds of thousands of years, humans have mastered the laws of the natural world and created a vast machinery of production which, when set in motion by human labor, is capable of producing an abundance for all. But capitalism has forcibly separated the great mass of humanity from these tools. As a result, we can only subsist by selling our ability to work to the capitalist exploiters.

Private ownership of the means of production is the condition upon which the exploitation, poverty and enslavement of the people rests. . . . Bourgeois political economy does everything to mystify this basic condition which forms the foundation of capitalism, because once it is brought out, no one can defend it. No one can defend – on the basis of any modern, humane or democratic notion – private property in the means of production – the right of a few to rule and to accumulate untold riches on the labor of others, by the enslavement of the great mass of humanity. . . .

New Forms of Exploitation

Over the last several years, we have already seen just what the struggle to “increase the international competitiveness of U.S. capital” means for the workers of our country. It means new and more intense forms of exploitation. It means downsizing and restructuring, the wiping out of millions of jobs. It means downward pressure on wages to the point where today the rate of exploitation is 500%. In other words, on average, a worker produces the value of his/her wages in one and half hours, while the value created during the other 6 and a half hours goes to the capitalists as profit. It means the slashing of such vital benefits as health care and pensions. It means the widespread substitution of part-time and temporary work for full time employees.

The entire attack on social legislation – the so-called welfare reform, the privatization of health care and social services as well as the dismantling of labor legislation such as workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, laws restricting child labor and overtime, etc. – is a program for reducing the price of labor power. These laws, a product of countless struggles of the working people, not only created a minimum floor which increased the general level of wages but also forced society to recognize that workers had at least some measure of rights as human beings. This recognition gave the workers certain economic claims on society, claims on production which are guaranteed through the creation of a social sector of the economy, which to a certain limited extent restricted the political economy of capitalism and commodity production. In denying these rights and privatizing the social sectors of the economy, the capitalists are not only forcing down wages but denying that the workers have any existence, any reason to live, other than to be exploited by the capitalists if and when needed. . . .

The bankruptcy of the capitalist system is seen in the fact that in country after country economic life is grinding to a halt and the productive forces at the disposal of society are actually being destroyed.

to be continued. . .

People's Liberation Struggles Are a Great Force for Peace

The U.S. government is using the electoral victory of Hamas as an occasion to again intensify its pressure against the Palestinian people.

The U.S. loudly condemns Hamas as “terrorist” and insists that the Palestinians must renounce their armed struggle against Israeli occupation and aggression before they can be considered “legitimate.”

The “logic” of U.S. imperialism is beyond hypocrisy. The U.S.-Israeli aggressors can grab Palestinian land, kill Palestinian children – in fact colonize the entire country and subjugate the people. But the Palestinians have no right to resist and fight for their rights, their very existence.

And not just in Palestine. U.S. imperialism invades Iraq, sets up a colonial regime, kills a 100,000+ civilians, and condemns any Iraqi who resists as a “terrorist.” In Afghanistan too, the patriots who fight against U.S. aggression are “terrorists;” in Haiti, those who oppose the U.S.-U.N. occupation are “gangs;” etc.

This is the law of all colonialists and slavemasters. They make war to oppress and enslave the peoples while insisting that the oppressed have no right to fight for their freedom.

The right to resist, the right of oppressed peoples to rise, arms-in-hand, against imperialism, is an inviolable right, recognized even in international law. But it is also more than this.

In today's world, the liberation struggles of the oppressed nations – the revolutionary movement of the Palestinian people, the Iraqi people, the Haitian people, etc., – are a great motive force for progress and democracy. When the peoples defeat the occupiers and assert their sovereignty, they turn their country from a base for imperialism and war into a base for peace, equality and friendship.

Wholeheartedly supporting these struggles is one of the touchstones of a thorough-going anti-war, anti-imperialist movement. (First published 2/14/06)

On the 69th Anniversary of the Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

69 years ago, in willful rejection of “lesser” means and at a time when Japan was already a defeated power, the U.S. government chose to drop an atom bomb on the city of Hiroshima. The date was August 6th. Three days later, the U.S. dropped a second atom bomb on Nagasaki. Conservative estimates place the immediate death toll at 225,000. The damage to future generations is largely unaccounted for.

Today, amid wide-scale propaganda glorifying U.S. “deterrent power” and the Obama administration's widely advertised “responsibility to protect” doctrine, it is important to reflect that already at that time, the Truman administration was combining military aggression with political deception. The administration claimed that it dropped the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki out of military “necessity” and the “desire to save lives.” Yet even at that time it was a well known fact not only that Japan was already a defeated power, but also that days before the bombs were dropped, the U.S. high command expected Japan's surrender.

The historical record shows that the decision to use nuclear weapons came from the aggressive drive of U.S. imperialism to assert itself as a superpower. Even Secretary of War Stimpson admitted in his memoirs that by bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the U.S. wanted to emerge from WWII with “the atom bomb ostentatiously on our hip.”

In other words, the Democratic administration of Harry S. Truman was determined to demonstrate U.S. military might to the whole world.

And indeed, for the last 69 years, U.S. imperialism has relied on its vast nuclear arsenal and its military power to extend and protect the world-wide empire of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class.

Even before launching the so-called “war against terrorism”, U.S. imperialism carried out a non-stop counter-revolutionary assault against the peoples of the whole world in the name of “containing communism.”

U.S. imperialism set up military bases and aggressive alliances on every continent and filled the oceans and skies with weapons of mass destruction.

Every aggressive tactic was used not only to subvert socialism in the Soviet Union and elsewhere, but also to wage war against the national liberation movements.

In opposition to the demands of the peoples of the whole world who were fighting for a world of peace and friendship based on the accepted principles of sovereign equality amongst nations, non-intervention and non-interference in the internal and international affairs of other countries, as well as the freedom of international trade and navigation, the U.S. government launched savage imperialist wars against the Korean people in the 1950s and against the Vietnamese people in the 60's and 70's.

Over these 69 years, U.S. imperialism has waged hundreds of counter-revolutionary wars and military interventions – in Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Cuba, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, the Philippines, the Congo, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Haiti, Libya, etc. etc. etc., and used the Pentagon war machine to prop up the most reactionary and fascist regimes in South Africa, Israel, Cuba, Chile, Iran, Indonesia, Haiti, Colombia, Nicaragua, the Philippines and elsewhere.

Time and again, U.S. imperialism threatened to use its nuclear weapons against the peoples – in Korea in the 1950s, in Lebanon in 1958, during the Cuban missile crisis, against Vietnam in the 1970s, in Iran, and many other times.

When the Soviet Union emerged as a rival imperialist power, the U.S. and Soviet superpowers together brandished their nuclear arsenals as a means of dividing the world into spheres of influence and intimidating and threatening the peoples.

Today, at a time when the U.S. government is carrying out “the most sweeping realignment and modernization of the nation's massive system of laboratories and factories for nuclear bombs since the end of the Cold War” (LA Times 4/6/06) it is important to reflect that the end of the cold war did not usher in the era of world peace and prosperity promised by U.S. imperialism and the other Western powers.

In fact, just 10 short years later the U.S. government declared its so-called “war against international terrorism.” Within slightly more than two years, the U.S. had invaded and occupied both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Shortly after the launch of the “war on terrorism” the U.S.-backed Israeli aggressors stepped up their war against the Palestinian people and began preparing war against Syria and Iran. So too, U.S. military “advisers” were sent to direct counter-insurgency wars in Colombia and the Philippines and the U.S. stepped up its threats and pressure against the People's Democratic Republic of Korea. U.S imperialism officially adopted the doctrine of “preventive war” including even the use of nuclear first-strikes against nonnuclear countries and proclaimed that every country must accept U.S. dictates or “be treated as a terrorist.” In short, the U.S. laid out a whole new blueprint for world domination through force of arms.

Today, as U.S. imperialism is engaged in hot shooting wars across the globe it is important to reflect that U.S. imperialism remains the number one roadblock to peace in the modern world. U.S imperialism is an aggressive, military superpower.

Today, the U.S. is trying to impose its dictate on the peoples of the world under the slogan that “might makes right.”

Today, the peoples on every continent are threatened by U.S. nuclear weapons and the U.S. has established a network of at least 500 military bases in other countries.

Today, U.S. imperialism and the other big imperialist powers are openly claiming that they have the right to trample on the sovereignty of countries, that only the Big Powers can decide which countries will enjoy independence and which will not, and that the peoples must accept the economic and social system dictated by the imperialist system.

As a result, grave dangers are facing the peoples.

In this era, the people are subjected to two kinds of war: 1) wars waged by imperialism against the liberation movements of the peoples; and 2) inter-capitalist, inter-imperialist wars fought to see which robber and exploiter will control the most economic territory and empire. In both cases, the aims of imperialism are utterly reactionary and it is the working class and people – in the U.S. and throughout the world – who pay the price.

The American people must never forget the lessons of history. The American people, like the people of every country, aspire to a world of peace and friendship amongst the peoples, based on the sovereign equality of every nation. To help create such a world, let us step up our struggles, targeting the monopoly capitalist class and the imperialist system as the source of war and militarism.

For Your Reference

A Brief History

The aggressive state of Israel is the product of a political movement known as zionism. Political zionism arose in Europe around the turn of the 20th century. At that time, the area in the Middle East, now occupied by the state of Israel, was Palestine and had been inhabited and developed not only for hundreds but actually thousands of years by Palestinian people and their forebears. As far as religion is concerned, Palestine was the birthplace of three religions and was well-known as a land of religious tolerance in which Moslems, Christians and Jews lived together without antagonisms and contradictions between them.

The zionist movement found its first sponsor in British imperialism which, after World War I, became the colonial ruler of Palestine. During the years of British rule (1918-1947), zionist colonization was actively encouraged.

The state of Israel was founded in 1947 through the intrigues of the British, American and French imperialists. At that time, although Jews constituted only one-third of the population in Palestine, a UN partition plan, drawn up without considering the will of the Palestinian people, designated that 54% of the land of Palestine would be used to establish a Jewish state while the remaining 46% would constitute a Palestinian state. But even before the UN plan could be put into effect, the zionists announced the formation of the state of Israel and waged war against the native population, grabbing 80% of the territory of Palestine.

Israel took control over the West Bank and Gaza (the last 20% of Palestine) through its 1967 war of conquest. Since that time, Israel has established a military infrastructure throughout the occupied territories and imposed a reign of terror on the people, systematically imprisoning, killing and exiling Palestinians, preventing the development of the West Bank economy and other Palestinian institutions, etc. In addition, these settlements have been created, largely through the forcible expropriation of Palestinian homes and land.

The settlement sites are selected and built up according to a strategic plan which aims at strengthening Israeli military control of the territories, encircling the areas populated by the Palestinian people and creating a network of roads, power lines, communications systems etc., which bind the territories to the state of Israel. The settlements also serve as military and paramilitary bases used against the Palestinian population and as a legal pretext for maintaining Israeli rule. As Israel's Labor Government declared shortly after its 1967 occupation, one of its “essential goals [is] the acceleration of the installation of military settlements and permanent agricultural and urban settlements” in order to create “political faits accomplis on the principle that no place of settlement or agricultural use will be abandoned.” This Israeli settlement program has been codified in the Allon Plan (1967) and the Galilee Protocols (1973). Former Israeli Minister of Justice Shapira explained that the goal of the Allon Plan and Galilee Protocols is “that with the passage of time we will be able to find a permanent solution for keeping the territories annexed, included, or united to the State of Israel.”

In addition, the State of Israel has formally declared that Jerusalem, also taken by force of arms in June 1967, is its capital city. Trying to establish a majority Jewish population in the city, the Israeli government has built thousands of apartment complexes and entire suburbs and financed the emigration of tens of thousands of Israeli citizens to Jerusalem. At the same time, the homes of the Palestinian residents have been destroyed and thousands forced out of the city.

The national liberation movement of the Palestinian people demands an end to Israeli expropriation of Arab land, the expulsion of all Israeli troops and settlers from the occupied territories, including Jerusalem, and the creation of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state.

Eurocentrism, Multi-Culturalism and the Struggle Against National Oppression

The following article was written by the Minority Rights Study Group.

The struggle to abolish all forms of discrimination and oppression on the basis of race, nationality, national origin, etc. is one of the great historical movements of this century.

On a world scale, the peoples colonized and oppressed by imperialism have risen up, again and again, in national movements aimed at achieving self-determination, independence and liberation. In the U.S., the struggle for minority rights not only overthrew the system of Jim Crow segregation and other forms of legal discrimination, but also irrevocably placed on the agenda the demand for the realization, in practice, of equal economic, political and social rights for all human beings.

In asserting themselves and claiming their rights, the peoples have struck directly at the foundations of imperialism and the capitalist system. The old colonial system was smashed up by the combined blows of the national liberation movements and the international working class movement. In the U.S., the struggles against racial discrimination and national oppression exposed, to the whole world, the fraud of so-called American democracy, and served as a clarion call to all the exploited and oppressed to rise in struggle for their rights.

Of course, the capitalist class and capitalist state try, with all their might, to suppress this movement, relying on the double-edged tactic of combining intense repression with political deception and diversion.

In fact, these days, as the crisis of capitalism deepens, part of the reactionary agenda of the monopoly capitalist class is to try to reverse the verdicts of the 20th century by suppressing altogether the struggles for national liberation and minority rights. On a world scale, U.S. imperialism has declared that the issues of national sovereignty and independence are things of the past, no longer applicable in the new world order based on “international economic cooperation.” Adhering to the slogan that “might makes right,” U.S. imperialism and the other big powers have given themselves the right to dispatch their troops to other countries and trample on the sovereignty of the peoples, claiming that the big powers alone can decide which peoples are entitled to national independence and which are not, insisting that every country accept the dictates of international imperialism and live under the “free market system,” etc.

Inside our country, the capitalist class and capitalist state are carrying out wholesale attacks against the minority peoples and trying to turn the clock back to the days of legal discrimination.

The slogan of “reverse discrimination” is being used as a rallying cry to reverse a series of civil rights laws and legal precedents. Other recently passed laws give legal sanction to a hierarchy of citizenship based on national origin. For example, the Clinton-Gingrich welfare law denies legal immigrants the right to receive Supplemental Security Income, food stamps, Medicaid, welfare and other forms of government assistance. Several states have passed “English Only” laws, suppressing the rights of Mexican-Americans, Native Indians and others to use their native language. Many other proposals which further intensify this legal system of discrimination are working their way through Congress or being pushed by various capitalist politicians.

Eurocentrism

These attacks are accompanied by a nonstop racist propaganda. Leading governmental and political figures push the Hitlerite view that America is “one nation” based on “European-Christian traditions.” Non-European peoples are attacked as “culturally backward” and “lacking core American values.” Every day the mass media popularizes such racist stereotypes by slandering the minority peoples as “lazy,” “welfare cheats,” “drug-addicts,” “criminals,” “terrorists,” etc. and so forth.

Of course this propaganda not only defames the peoples and cultures of non-European nations, it is a brazen, chauvinist attempt to justify the historical enslavement of various nations as well as the continuing discrimination and oppression which is imposed on various minority peoples and immigrants. The United States is not one nation but a multi-national state which arose on the basis of the forcible subjugation of the Mexican people, the Native Indians, the African people, the people of Puerto Rico, Hawaii and others by the capitalist state. In addition, immigrants, who have come to the U.S. from the four corners of the globe and joined in building this country, have continually faced systematic discrimination and oppression.

At the same time, the theory and practice of Euro-centrism and American chauvinism are a means for the suppression and enslavement of the workers of all nationalities. The “American values” insisted upon by capitalist politicians and ideologues of course turn out to be nothing but the values of the monopoly capitalist class – values enshrining the rights of private property in the means of production. Thus the slogans of “American values” and “one-nation” are nothing more than mystical, fascist theories which aim simultaneously at liquidating the class struggle of the workers against the bourgeoisie and at intensifying the yoke of national oppression and racial discrimination.

Of course, the chauvinism and racism of the bourgeoisie meet with tremendous opposition from the working class and oppressed peoples. In the attempt to divert this opposition, the capitalist state has officially adopted the program of “cultural pluralism,” “diversity” and “multi-culturalism.”

By advertising support for “multi-culturalism,” various organs of the state as well as many capitalist politicians pat themselves on the back for recognizing and respecting the diverse cultures which exist in the U.S. Such a position is undoubtedly to be preferred over the openly chauvinist theories of Euro-centrism.

But the problem is that the capitalist state claims that its recognition of “cultural diversity” is the be-all and end-all of the struggle against national oppression and racial discrimination. The capitalist ideologues want to reduce the issues of national oppression and racial discrimination to a question of culture. In other words, the state seeks to replace the struggle to eliminate the real economic, social and political oppression of the people with the struggle for “cultural pluralism” or tolerance. Thus, the issue is presented as one of recognizing the “national or ethnic identity and culture” of various minority peoples, as if such a consolation prize will lessen the pain of the real oppression imposed on the peoples. A ghetto school may, for example, teach one or two courses in black or Hispanic history, but
this does not change the fact that the oppressed minority youth remain segregated in inferior, under-funded schools, that they come to school suffering malnutrition because of the super-exploitation and poverty imposed on their parents, etc. Similarly, a large corporation may insist on “diversity classes” for middle management but this does not change the fact that the oppressed minorities remain the last hired and first fired, etc.

Blaming the People

But this is not all. The capitalist ideologues not only insist that nations and peoples are defined by their culture and ethnicity but further that there exists an impassable chasm between peoples of different cultures and ethnicity. Anyone who has attended, for example, the kinds of “diversity seminars” organized by the big corporations, the U.S. Army and other capitalist institutions knows that they proceed from the viewpoint of teaching people to “tolerate other cultures despite underlying differences.” The entire game is designed to blame the people for racism while whitewashing the crimes of the capitalist class and the capitalist state, which are the real source of national oppression and racial discrimination.

Look, for example, at the liberal capitalist politicians who, even while preaching “racial tolerance and understanding,” never tire of cursing the American people as racist. While these politicians pat themselves on the back for their “tolerance,” they work night and day to create a racist psychosis in public opinion. Bill Clinton, who never stops advertising his commitment to multiculturalism, continually laments “America's racial divide” and attributes this problem to “the way all of us look at the world with our minds and the way we feel about the world with our hearts. . . . for today the house divided exists largely in the minds and hearts of the American people” and because “white Americans and black Americans often see the same world in dramatically different ways.” (Bill Clinton speech, October 1995).

Aside from ignoring the role of the capitalist state, isn't Clinton simply repeating a textbook definition of racism by insisting that white and black Americans see and feel the world in different ways?

While the highest organs of the state itself use the call for “tolerance” or “multi-culturalism” as a means to incite racial and ethnic division, social-democracy works to infiltrate this politics of division into the working class and popular movements. For example, Michael Walzer, a social-democrat and ideologist of multi-culturalism and the “politics of difference,” writes “articulation gives voice to difference. And once difference has been expressed in this affirmative and self-affirming way, it can no longer be denied, abolished, assimilated or transcended. It is simply there, a feature of the social world . . .” According to Walzer, no matter what form of political accommodation or structure is adopted, “what was asserted in the first moment remains true . . . there is no transcendence of cultural,
religious and national particularity. There is no 'higher' social formation than the local group, no historically necessary universalism beyond the newly articulated universe of difference . . . our differences will be expressed even in the schemes we devise for incorporating difference.”

Like Clinton, Walzer defines the hearts and minds of people on the basis of ethnicity and insists that people will always remain divided along cultural and national lines.

What is more, despite paying lip service to the “unique cultural identity” of the oppressed nations and peoples, the fact is that the capitalist class only recognizes such “cultural contributions” as are compatible with U.S. capitalism.

Here is how the New York State Board of Education describes the motivation behind its multi-cultural curriculum (considered an “advanced model” of multi-culturalism): “The teaching of the nation's history, our national traditions and values, and a common loyalty are purposes commonly accepted as appropriate in the social studies. . . . [but] the present is unlike earlier periods in the history of this country, for now the various peoples who make up our nation, while anxiously embracing many of the advantages, opportunities and mores of this society, seem determined also to maintain and publicly to celebrate much that is peculiar to the cultures with which they identify.” Thus, the goal of New York's multi-cultural curriculum is to find “subject matter content that represents Diversity and UNITY within and across groups so that citizens, whatever their race or ethnicity, must believe that they and their ancestors have shared in the building of the country, . . . {so that along} with efforts to respect and honor the diverse and pluralistic elements in our nation, special attention will need to be given to those values, characteristics and traditions which we share in common.” And the Board goes on to explicitly define just what “our common values” are: “Understanding our national history and character necessarily entails an understanding of the political, legal and cultural roots of our society in England, and in Europe, and in the traditions of the West. The facts are that we ARE essentially an English-speaking nation. The democratic ideals and values to which we still aspire, and which are the envy of so much of the world – the rule of law, freedom of speech, respect for individuals and more – derive from British political and legal traditions . . . this common tradition, the tradition which unites us and makes diversity possible must be taught to all our children.”

In other words, the bottom line remains inculcating 17th century British bourgeois values – the values of the so-called free market system and bourgeois Republicanism. Thus, despite all its talk about “tolerance” and “diversity,” multi-culturalism only seeks to package and dress up the very same bourgeois culture, ideology and identity in many colors in order to give it the appearance of universality and inculcate loyalty to the bourgeois state amongst the oppressed minority peoples. In this process, bourgeois multiculturalism largely ignores or distorts that which the oppressed minority peoples really have in common – a history of resistance to domination and a continuing struggle against the capitalist class and the capitalist state.

In practical political life, the capitalists use the program of multi-culturalism as a program of blatant tokenism designed to lend legitimacy to the capitalist state by placing a few black and minority faces in high places while continuing to impose systematic discrimination and oppression on the vast majority of the peoples. This is nothing but new packaging for the same old ethnic group politics which has long been advertised as the epitome of American political pluralism. According to this view, racial and ethnic minorities can overcome the oppression imposed on them by organizing their communities to support local or 'native' capitalists and pooling their political resources to demand “representation” within the government.

The result of this cultural pluralism/interest group politics is to fractionalize and divide the polity into competing national or ethnic groups while marginalizing the minority peoples. The capitalist state allows a few minority faces into the political power as a way of legitimizing itself and creating a stratum amongst the oppressed minority peoples that is loyal to the capitalist system and capitalist state. For example, eighteen years ago, the Clinton administration, in issuing guidelines for affirmative action, emphasized that “diversity is a key way to gain legitimacy for public and private institutions.”

Carry the Struggle for Minority Rights Through to the End

Thus it is no surprise that while the ideology and program of multi-culturalism have been part of the official state ideology in the U.S. for decades, the problems of racial discrimination and oppression on the basis of national origin, nationality, ethnicity, etc. still exist and are intensifying.

The struggle against national oppression and racial discrimination is in the first place a struggle to uproot completely the social, economic and political structures which give rise to that oppression. In place of this struggle, the capitalists seek to reduce the whole issue to a question of culture. The capitalists further promote the politics of ethnicity and national culture as a means to ghettoize the minority peoples and incite racial and ethnic conflict, while obscuring the role of the state itself as the source of national oppression and racial discrimination.

The struggle against national oppression and racial discrimination belongs to all the people. It is one of the great currents of the historical struggles of the people of this country to create a society which genuinely guarantees equal social, economic and political rights for every human being, regardless of race, nationality, gender, etc.

Such a society must necessarily also guarantee the legitimate group rights of the peoples, including the right to self-determination for the oppressed nations, the language rights of all nationalities, the right to develop the various national cultures, etc. Only by creating such a new society can we carry the struggle for minority rights through to the end.