J. Meyer
(C.L.R. James)

Summary of Report on Negro Question

(July 1948)

Source: The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 28, 12 July 1948, p. 5.
Source: PDF supplied by the Riazanov Library Project.
Transcription/Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

One of the high points of the 13th SWP convention was the discussion around the Draft Resolution on the Negro Question, initiated by a brilliant report by J. Meyer.

The main significance of this draft resolution, Comrade Meyer pointed out, was that it presented in a single comprehensive document the Marxist analysis and revolutionary perspectives of the Negro struggle for democratic rights. All this has been implicit in the party’s previous activity in this field, which in its turn has already furnished the party membership with rich and fruitful experiences casting additional new light on the Negro struggle. The hour had come, therefore, for a precise and rounded and fully conscious statement and discussion of those perspectives, to strengthen the work of the Socialist Workers Party in this field and raise it to a higher level.

Like the resolution, Comrade Meyer’s report placed primary emphasis on the importance of the independent Negro movement for equality and the contribution it makes to the struggle for socialism. It dealt also with the growth and meaning of Negro national consciousness, the relationship between the Negro movement and organized labor, and the struggle against race prejudice in the union movement and the revolutionary party. Comrade Meyer’s report and the perspectives it held out were greeted with a great ovation by the delegates.

The discussion on the floor was likewise highly inspiring. Negro and white delegates from all parts of the country engaged in a free frank exchange of opinion, criticism and suggestions around the resolution, the report and the party’s activity. The serious and mature level of the discussion eloquently testified to the development within the party of a considerable number of trained Negro leaders, educators and orators equipped to spread the revolutionary message of Marxism among the masses.

After this discussion, which lasted an entire day-session, a whole evening was devoted to a panel, attended by more than 200 delegates and visitors. This panel analyzed the party’s work and tactics in the Negro movement and laid out a perspective for the next period.

The convention voted unanimously to adopt the report by Comrade Meyer and the general line of the Draft Resolution. The party members will continue to discuss the document for several more months.


Last updated on: 2 November 2022