Note on Hammer & Steel

First Published: Stalinist Workers Group Bulletin, #5 August 30, 1970
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Since King’s assassination, the division of labor between US imperialism and the “New Left” has basically been to have US imperialism attempt to buy off the bourgeois and petty bourgeois nationalists – “to strike a bargain with them” – while the “New Left” has bean assigned to unite with the lumpen-proletarian ultra-militant section of the Afro-American national liberation movement in the “extra-acute class struggle” to mislead the Afro-American working class which has been developing its independent political strength rapidly and is the only class capable of overcoming the setback.

However, just to make sure that none of the nationalistic Afro-American militants come to recognize the dialectical materialist reality of the Afro-American struggle – (namely, that the Afro-American nation (under proletarian leadership) is an integral part of the main class contradiction which world capitalism has created in its imperialist stage – the toiling masses of the oppressed nations in their proletarian-led national liberation struggles vis--vis US imperialism) – US imperialism has inspired Hammer & Steel, an editorial board, to talk about the Afro-American Black Belt nation in such a weak fashion that it would turn the militant Afro-American nationalists away from their real source of strength, the Afro-American masses on the good black earth of the Afro-American nation.

Produced in the struggle against Khrushchev Revisionism in the early 1960’s, Hammer & Steel was the only Marxist-Leninist organization in the US, until the ‒Cultural Revolution” setback followed by the setback in the Afro-American national, liberation struggle, and it pointed out and fought for the Afro-American national liberation movement in the face or tremendous opposition from the organized “New Left.”

Among other things, Hammer & Steel exposed the treacherous role of Russian Revisionism and the CPUSA in the Afro-American national liberation movement and supported Malcolm X and Robert Williams and exposed Martin Luther King when the Afro-American national liberation struggle was on the rise. When US imperialism murdered Malcolm X, Hammer & Steel implicated King in the assassination! But when Hammer & Steel changed color (from crimson red to a sickly pinkish-white), it attacked the vanguard role of Stokely Carmichael and the SNCC Black Power Movement while praising the martyred King as the kind of leader that the Afro-American people deserved! In the same article, instead of pointing out and encouraging the revolutionary initiative of the masses of Afro-American garbage workers in Memphis who had rejected King’s leadership, Hammer & Steel points to the few white garbage workers (who followed the militant Afro-American workers on strike as the real new and rising revolutionary force in the Afro-American nation!

Hammer & Steel is telling the oppressed Afro-American masses – in the name of Stalin and in the name of the struggle for Afro-American national liberation in the Black Belt! – that bourgeois national leadership – the kind of leadership that “strikes up a bargain” with US imperialism – is capable of leading the Afro-American masses in their unimportant struggle (“unimportant” when compared to the struggle of the white workers and the “great American people”). Since national bourgeois leadership can only lead to compromise and defeat for Afro-American national liberation, Hammer & Steel ends up leading the Afro-American people back to reliance on the “great American people”!

Hammer & Steel in the past year has influenced a small section of SDS to adopt the rhetoric of “self-determination” for the Afro-American nation – thus preparing an organized section of the “New Left” to attempt to head off any Afro-American workers’ group which threatens to develop into an Afro-American Marxist-Leninist Party.

Because Stalin and the Objective Existence of the Afro-American Nation are key to the establishment of an Afro-American Marxist-Leninist Party capable of leading the Afro-American masses out of this period of setback and down the path of victorious national liberation, Hammer & Steel speaks and acts in the name of Stalin and “in support of” the concept of the Afro-American “nation” in the Black Belt, in order to bury their revolutionary significance. As a result, Hammer & Steel is an important roadblock on the path to Afro-American national liberation!

What the Hammer & Steel-sponsored bourgeois national leadership which mentions the Afro-American nation without mentioning the (class) struggle against US imperialism, has in common with the rest of the “New Left” sponsored lumpen-proletarian ultra-class “struggle” without the national power of the Afro-American masses is that both positions lead the Afro-American masses into the lap of the “great American people” and render the Afro-American national liberation struggle helpless in the face of bestial US imperialism!