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Black Workers Congress

The Black Liberation Struggle, the Black Workers Congress, and Proletarian Revolution

The National Question in the U.S. Today

When we speak of the “National Question” in the United States today we are speaking about the oppression and liberation of the Afro-American, Chicano. Puerto-Rican, Chinese, Native American (Indian), and other oppressed nationalities. For the revolutionary proletariat in the U.S., the national question also includes a solution to the liberation of “America’s colonies” – Puerto-Rico, Santo Domingo, the Philippines, the Virgin Islands, etc. Thus in the U.S. the national question is not only an ’internal state question’, but a national-colonial question. In this paper, however, we can only deal with the national question as it relates to Black people, or the Afro-American nation, because the national question as a whole requires much more study and investigation than we have been able to do so far.

Historically, from the Russian (October) Revolution down to the present, the question of the freedom and liberation of oppressed nations and national minorities, or the National Question, has been inextricably bound up with the problem of proletarian revolution. The history of socialist revolutions in the 20th century as proven that the proletariat cannot achieve its own liberation without actively fighting for the liberation of its main ally – the oppressed peoples who are doubly oppressed and exploited by capitalism. At the same time, in the U.S. the oppressed Afro-American and other nationalities will only achieve complete freedom by the revolutionary overthrow of the monopoly capitalist system, with the establishment of socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Therefore, the incorrect handling of the National Question could lead to temporary disaster and serious setbacks for the revolutionary movement as a whole.


In “Marxism and the National Question”, Stalin developed the scientific criteria for what a nation is, he said: “...a nation is a historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of common language, territory economic life and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture.” According to Stalin, all of these criteria must be present in order to constitute a nation.

About 600 years ago African tribal society began to collapse under the blows of the African slave trade. Portugal then England, Spain and Holland began to plunder Africa for slaves whom they needed to labor in the newly discovered colonies of North and South America as well as the islands of the Caribbean.

Slavery was the basis of the independent industrial development of the U.S. African slaves who were herded into the southern plantations produced tobacco, rice, indigo, and especially cotton – which after the invention of the cotton gin in 1793, became the most important agricultural commodity in the expansion of England’s and subsequently America’s textile industry.

For their first 200 years in the U.S. Black people lived the life of beasts of burden, subjected to the most ruthless oppression and exploitation human beings have ever known. The Afro-American people began their development under these conditions. The Black nation is not a nation transplanted from Africa, but an African people forcibly transplanted to an alien land, developing under totally different conditions than their brothers in Africa, becoming mixed with, and inhabiting the same State as their oppressors. Most of the cotton that the black slaves picked was shipped to England in exchange for timber and other raw materials. Slavery was introduced, but proved unprofitable in the north due to the soil and climate. Thus two different social systems developed on the same territory – capitalism in the north and slavery in the south.

These two social systems were bound to develop to such a stage that they could no longer peacefully co-exist side by side. The emerging capitalists in the north needed a market and control of the cotton production if they were to expand. However, the ruling class of plantation owners in the south took up arms in order to maintain the social system that they ruled. They too, had to expand particularly, to the west and southwest which led to the war with Mexico and the addition of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and California to U.S. territory. In addition to the all-out expansion of the slave states, the southern plantation owners passed laws designed to facilitate the re-enslavement of free lacks (Dred Scott). They tried to stamp out the abolitionist movement. They tried to prove that blacks were slaves by nature, “Destined by God to work for lift.” The whole social system of the south at that tine; the written literature, songs ballads and verse, rested upon “the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man, that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is a natural and normal conditions.”

But slavery had outlived its usefulness. Capitalism was rapidly developing in the north bringing forth a new class of rulers – “businessmen”, “Robber Barons” the J.P. Morgans, Rocker fellers, Mellons, and so forth. The conflict came, broke out into the Civil War.

Nations are formed during the rise of capitalism and so it was with the Afro-American nation which was formed after Reconstruction, which marked the triumph of the northern industrial capitalists over the slavocracy in the south. During “Reconstruction”, black people tried to consolidate the gains of the war. Thousands of blacks confiscated tracts of land on the plantations of their former “masters”, though legally Congress never got down to “Authorizing” land redistribution and reform. Reconstruction stopped half-way. The demands of the black masses for “forty acres and a mule” were ignored while they were forcibly disarmed by the union Army and Ku Klux Klan. The former slave masters with the “benign neglect” of the new capitalist rulers in Washington, were able to whip up a frenzy of race hatred between blacks and poor whites and thus were able to destroy any chance for blacks to be “integrated” into the dominant nation of whites. After the defeat of reconstruction the Afro-American people were formed and consolidated into an oppressed nation in the “Black Belt” south, historically constituted, with a common language, economic life, and psychological makeup manifested in a common culture. This marked the first transition of our people–from a slave people to a peasant people, from slave society to nationhood.

Although the Black nation had its roots in slavery, its formation took place when the slave system was destroyed and capitalist relations of production began to develop in the south. Under slavery the slave is forced to work for nothing and the slaveholder provides for his minimum needs. Under capitalism, the ex-slave is “legally” free to sell his labor and must work in order to eat and provide for his family. Capitalism relieves the ruling class from direct responsibility for oppressed classes’ subsistence and is therefore more profitable.

The rise of capitalism and the formation of nations then extends communications, breaks down previous restrictions on movement (by concentrating the population in cities and towns), sharpens class distinctions, and generally provides the conditions for both economic and cultural cohesion of people. But one of the peculiarities of the Afro-American nation is that Black people live under the same economic system as the Anglo (white) nation – capitalism, but due to the restrictions of national and racial oppression, a separate Black market developed, within the Black nation itself. The history of the emergence and development of monopoly capitalism in the U.S. is at the same time the history of the emergence and development of a separate nation of Afro-American people divided into various classes and strata.

Around the time of its formation, in the late 1870’s, the Afro-American nation was composed of basically three classes – the petty bourgeoisie (ministers, teachers, tradesmen, doctors, lawyers, etc), the proletariat (laborers, carpenters, masons, bricklayers, etc.) and the peasantry (sharecroppers, tenant farmers, etc.). This black petty bourgeoisie was relegated to a black market which comprised a common economic life and which eventually gave rise to the Black bourgeoisie (capitalist) class.

By 1900 the Black nation was fully formed, but it was still essentially overwhelmingly peasant–86% of the Black population lived in rural districts and depended on agriculture for their subsistence. By that time also, blacks were engaged in businesses from Ma and Pa stores to the operation of cotton mills, lumber mills, real estate, and banks. Some accumulated considerable wealth, relative to the size and income of the Black population at the time. In an oppressed nation the growth of the bourgeoisie is stunted and deformed, and the petty bourgeoisie is unstable and never very far from the ranks of the working class. The bourgeoisie of the oppressed nation, and first attempts to secure its home market by rallying around it the peasantry and the proletariat under the banner of the “National Self-interest.” One of the peculiar characteristics of the early national movements led by the Black bourgeoisie was that it did not take the form of struggle against its white master, but in accommodation with it. Booker T. Washing was the acknowledged leader of this movement, himself a strong advocate of “Negro Business Enterprise”. With the cooperation of the white ruling class, the emerging Black bourgeoisie obtained whatever wealth it had from the black masses, whom they urged to patronize exclusively, even if it meant higher prices. This was the beginnings of the “Buy Black” campaigns that still characterize the Black bourgeois nationalist movement today. Booker T. Washington believed that the stimulation of Black businesses based on the Black market could eventually develop into a major competitor on the free market, which would gradually raise the level of Black businesses and Black people generally to that of whites. What he failed to realize, or didn’t understand, was that there was no longer a “free market”, that American capitalism had already developed to the stage of monopoly capitalism – imperialism; he was about 30 years too late and 300 years too black. By the time of Booker T’s death in 1915, a radical change in the development of the Black nation had already begun.


By 1915, the first great imperialist war was in progress and the steady flow of immigrant labour from Europe to the U.S. was temporarily halted. The capitalist class began to eye the Black peasant, whom they always knew was a potentially super-exploitable worker. The demand for cheap Black labor increased tremendously. This, coupled with the increasingly desperate situation of economic depression (the boll weevil epidemic which destroyed tons of cotton) and the never ending racist terror in the rural south, caused wave after black human wave to roll northward to the “promised land”. Between 1914 and 1919, there was an increase of two million black workers in the basic heavy industries of the north and mid-west. But with the end of the war and the downturn in the economy, the migration slacked off and Black unemployment soared. Still, the plantation system was intact and the majority of Black people remained as semi-peasants in the Black-Belt south.

The huge influx of Black peasants into the urban industrial centers created a stable and distinct Black proletariat (there was and still is a separate black labor market, a special reserve of “Negro Jobs”). But jobs or no jobs, the north was no ”promised land”, as they soon found out. Blacks were packed into the urban ghettos, excluded from unions and confined to the most hazardous, hottest and dirtiest jobs. The ideology of racism which always existed in the U.S., helped the capitalists divide the working class, and although there were instances of class solidarity, more often than not, white workers saw the emerging Black proletariat as competition and consequently saw black workers rather than the capitalists as the enemy. This was the basic reason for the many urban riots in the post war years which left many black and white proletarians dead. As Blacks increasingly moved into the industrial sector, racial strife was accelerated. Blacks, packed into proscribed areas, sought better housing elsewhere. Recreational facilities were exclusively white. Unemployment was twice as high. All of these things, taken together, rather than breaking down national unity tended to bind it closer together – black literature, art, drama, culture, etc. all experienced a “renaissance.” At the same time blacks were becoming more interested in achieving some political power and the first black congressman since reconstruction was elected in 1924 – Oscar Depriest, from Chicago.

By 1970, Blacks constituted 42.2% of the industrial proletariat. In 1970, there were some 443,000 production workers in the steel industry – about 230,000, or 55% were black. In the auto industry, black workers made-up about 40% of the total workforce and over 350,000 or 25% of the 1.2 million members of the United Auto Workers Union. More than 37,500 of the 117,000 east and gulf coast longshoremen are black and comprise 25% of the membership of the ILA (International Longshoremen Ass.) In the chemical, petroleum and rubber industries the proportions are nearly the same and even greater in the service industries – 65% in the hospitals, 75% in the hotel and restaurant industry, 70% in the “fast-food” industry, and equal number are reflected in many other unions that are organized in the state and municipal, social and welfare industries. Nevertheless, even though Black people today are overwhelmingly members of a single U.S. proletariat, and a decisive section of the U.S. industrial proletariat, we say that the basis for nationhood still exists. Why? Black people today, the Afro-American nation, still maintain a common economic life, the material basis of the modern Black bourgeoisie. And through dispersed throughout the major urban cities, we remain concentrated in the ghettos. Moreover, Black people are still subject to ruthless national and racial discrimination and still do not enjoy the elemental “Democratic” rights that most whites take for granted. Additionally, Black people today have a higher level of nation-revolutionary movement which is a most dangerous threat to U.S. imperialism. And though dispersed from our historic homeland – the “Black Belt” south which was stolen from us after reconstruction; we still retain the right to that homeland and the right to secede from the rest of the U.S. if we so desire. All these factors continue to bind the Afro-American people into a close national union, no where near the point of being “Integrated” or “assimilated” into the dominant nation of whites. Lets take a closer look at the Afro-American nation today to see whether the concept of nationhood and the right of self-determination still apply.

We say there is a common economic life among Black people today, and in fact the economic life is stronger today than it has ever been. In 1969 Black businesses had on the whole $1.6 billion dollars in revenue – 90% of which was derived from an exclusive Black market. Some might say that this represents a drop in the bucket especially in comparison to the largest 200 monopoly companies. But the Black nation is an oppressed nation, its poverty and the relative wealth of the Black bourgeoisie is a reflection of this. The bourgeoisie of the Afro-American nation has always faced a dilemma on the one hand the monopoly capitalists have historically had an interest in maintaining separation, which has necessitated the growth of black business (white banks would not make loans to blacks while insurance companies would not insure blacks), on the other hand black businesses faced competition in other areas and was not allowed to develop into industrial capitalism (also due to regional under development of the south). Therefore, while at times the bourgeoisie would want to and did fight the monopoly capitalists (Niagara Movement, Negro Improvement Assn., etc.), overall they have been reformist, attempting to seek accommodation at the moment the opportunity arose. In the past the big bourgeoisie of the Anglo nation would finance black businesses, and has always sought political control through black organizations which were traditionally led by the black bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie, and especially the black press. Over a period of time, especially in the past few years, the Black bourgeoisie has become almost totally dependent on the monopoly capitalist class and has come to terms with them. There is not a sizeable black business or bank in the country to day that does not depend on capital from the big bourgeoisie (or at least its “benign neglect”) in one way or another, even though their market is still in the main, black. The monopoly capitalists of the Ford and Rockefeller foundation have stated in relation to the recent expansion of black banks that one of the reasons that they decided to deposit large sums in them, was that they (the white capitalists) had difficulty in making a profit on risk capital because of collection problems, the black banks had much greater success. Obviously, other more important reasons were to more effectively control and expand in the black market, and thereby gain more effective political control of blacks in general.

Thus, we must characterize the Black bourgeoisie as essentially “comprador” (tied to imperialism), because it has been corrupted, bought-off and has become an appendage of the monopoly capitalists. As a class, they generally take a reactionary stand against the vital interest of the black masses and working people, and especially against the development of Black revolutionary organizations that are anti-imperialist in character. And furthermore, in any imperialist country the entire capitalist class is always reactionary, whether they come from an oppressed nation or not. This is not to say that some individuals or minor sections of the Black bourgeoisie might never take a revolutionary stand, they might in times of crises. But as a class, we must see them as the friend of our enemy and therefore, no friend of ours, or the revolutionary proletariat as a whole. Black capitalism has reached unheard of heights in the last few years precisely because of the big bourgeoisie’s assessment of it as an effective counter-revolutionary force to combat the militant and revolutionary struggles of the Black working masses, and as a tool in helping to divide the working class as a whole. Interestingly, while there has been a notable increase in the power and wealth of the black bourgeoisie in the past few years, there has also been an increase in the rate of failure of smaller black businesses (Ma and Pa stores).

In addition to the Black bourgeoisie and the Black proletariat the two main classes in the modern Black nation, there are two others that deserve our attention: the petty bourgeoisie and the “lumpen” proletariat. The black petty bourgeoisie is composed of the small store keepers (the Ma and Pa stores we spoke of earlier), the black professional strata – teachers, doctors, lawyers, social workers, the black intelligentsia and college students, and the remaining black farmers who still own their own land and means of production in the Black Belt south. This class has duel nature. On the one hand it is oppressed by monopoly capitalism – both as members of the oppressed Afro-American nation and as members of the petty bourgeois class. Being members of an oppressed nation they are victims of national and racial discrimination which makes their economic position extremely precarious they are never more than a generation away from the working class from which they are constantly coming into and going out of Inflation strikes at their living standards and they are also forced to serve in imperialist wars which further leads to their impoverishment as a class. The professional strata can hardly ever find jobs equal to their skill and is often forced into jobs as wage workers. The black petty bourgeoisie is a basic ally of the revolutionary proletariat as a whole and ally of the proletarian revolution. Its mass participation in the Civil Rights movement the Black Power movement and the anti-war movement confirms this as well. However owing to their duel class position (in between that of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat) theirs is a tendency of vacillation from support of the national revolutionary movement of the working masses and proletarian revolution on the one hand, to cynicism, withdrawal from the movement and support of the bourgeoisie on the other. We must take their duel nature into account when dealing with them.

In regards to the “lumpen” proletariat; the pimps, prostitutes, hustlers, gamblers, and others, who make their living by surreptitious and illegal means, basically living off the income of the working class and petty bourgeoisie and particularly numerous in some black communities, we say with Mao” “brave fighters but apt to be destructive”, this class is extremely unstable. One of the problems of the Black liberation movement is what attitude to take toward these people. We believe, and the experience of the Black Panther Party confirms, that they can play a revolutionary role but only if given proper guidance and discipline by the proletariat and its party. If not, they will be used, as they have been by the enemies of the proletariat. Welfare people have to be divided into two-one side, the vast majority, belong to the industrial reserve army (semi-proletarians) and the other, a small minority, with the “Lumpen” proletariat.


Separatism has more characterized the upper strata of the petty bourgeoisie than the black bourgeoisie itself. The petty bourgeoisie (mainly the small shopkeepers) has been more dependent on the black market and is caught in between the competition of the white capitalist and the black bourgeois nationalism, which has been conditioned recently by their experience with the massive tokenism of the late sixties (the various poverty programs and so forth), and the inability to maintain small businesses have pushed many of them into the proletariat. Various forms of Pan Africanism and cultural nationalism is the political outlook of large numbers of the black petty bourgeoisie and black intelligentsia. There are at least several different forms of Pan Africanism present in the modern black nation that are propagated by the black bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie.

Originally Pan Africanism, and the establishment of the Pan African congresses, promoted by Dr. Dubois, was an attempt to express solidarity between Black people in the U.S. and the ancestral homeland of Africa. This by itself has a progressive aspect in that is sought to raise the level of consciousness of blacks by revealing to them their true history and origins at a time when racist propaganda and mass lynchings of black people was running rampant in the U.S. It spoke about the rights of Africans in Africa when the imperialists of the world had just re-divided the continent after WWI.

Today, much of the sub-Sahara Africa has passed from the stage of colonies to neo-colonies, i.e., nations whose economies are still controlled by their former colonial masters even though they retain nominal political independence. Pan Africanism today holds to the idea of ”All African People”, that people of African descent are part of a single whole (the “Diaspora”) and therefore, denies the existence of separate nations and classes of African people. While negating the existence of separate nations of African people, it also raises “race” above class, and negates the existence of class struggle within the “African Motherland”. Needless to say, it does not recognize the leading role of the proletariat and its international solidarity, but rather, solidarity based on race which inevitably leads to support of the international bourgeoisie against the proletariat and its allies.

There are various brands of Pan Africanism, but there are basic concepts that run through them all. Take the concept of “Ujamaa” or the extended family, family hood, etc., for example, Economically, this is primitive communalism-the past that most of Africa has already left behind. In tribal society (primitive communal society) classes and class struggle were unknown-the reason was that a collective system prevailed, without private property. The productive forces (science and technology) were very low, barely enough was produced for even basic survival. Without the collective ownership of the property, collective labour and consumption the people of the tribe could not survive. But as the productive forces developed (new tools, the domestication of animals, agriculture, etc.), with it a division of labour, trade appears, and finally the emergence of classes, private property, and exploitation.

“Ujamma” and other forms of “African Socialism” are nothing more than attempts to bring tribal collectivity into the age of imperialism-where economic and social relations are much larger and much more complex. History will not turn itself back. The fact is that colonialism and imperialism did subjugate Africa and the rest of the “Third World”. Old forms fell apart and new ones came into being. The relations of productions did change and classes developed-even in areas where tribal society still existed (chiefs, etc.) therefore if we really have the interest of the African masses in mind, we must recognize the profound class struggle taking place in every nation in Africa. A struggle between the great African workers and peasants against international imperialism and their puppet African “Leaders” and henchmen. We have seen that the attempt to apply primitive communal relations (no matter what you want to call it) to present day conditions does not lead to socialism but away from it, and away from the only scientific socialist ideology, Marxism-Leninism. One of the most prevalent of these “ideologies” is “Nkrumahism”. The ideology of Pan Africanism/Nkrumahism, not only denies the real nature of class struggle in Africa, but asserts that it is irrelevant for blacks in the U.S. and elsewhere. Further, it develops a classic Trotskyist idea of the impossibility of revolution in one country, and does not even mention the role of the proletariat and its allies in the class struggle.

There is uneven capitalist development as well as different conditions, characteristics and features of each African state, even though the boundaries were decided by European imperialist, likewise, there are different conditions under which Black people live outside of Africa. To say that Africa is one nation, one country, one people, is to negate reality, and further, to say that the primary task of Blacks in the U.S. is to support a non-existent all African Peoples’ Party and not to make revolution in the U.S. is to play directly into the hands of the enemy. Of course, we should and must support the genuine revolutionary struggle on the African continent and elsewhere around the world. But, the history of modern revolutions has proven that it does not happen all at once, that different conditions and the unevenness of development causes revolution to occur in one country and not necessarily in another.

In fact the most effective, and concrete support any oppressed people can render to another is to resolutely struggle and win victory over their “own” bourgeoisie. The Chinese revolution and the revolutionary struggles of the, Vietnamese people were heavy blows to U.S. imperialism, just as internally, the black liberation struggle and its support for liberation movements weakened the U.S. imperialists. Pan Africanism, cultural nationalism, and other “new theories” only serve to dilute and hold back the revolutionary struggle, because there is only one revolutionary theory – Marxism-Leninism and the Thought of Mao Tse Tung. We can see that there are living examples of revolutions based on this theory. Are there any based on the theory of cultural or racial solidarity? No there are none, and will never be. To believe this is the same as saying that the exploited and the exploiter can peacefully co-exist simply because they are of the same race or land, that the proletariat can unite with the bourgeoisie to overthrow the bourgeoisie. If revolution was a question of race or color why didn’t Mao ally with Chiang Kai Chek in the final analysis? Or Ho Chi Minh with Diem? Because revolution and liberation is a class question and not a race question. Liberation of the Black nation coincides with the interests, the class interests of the great majority of black people who are workers, and with the interest of the proletariat as a whole.

Pan Africanists make race primary over class based on what they say is the common oppression of people of African descent. While it is true that the black race is everywhere an oppressed race (except in the genuine socialist countries), and that there are no blacks who are part of the monopoly ruling class anywhere, in the world, there are many who are lesser capitalists and who aspire to be bigger ones, and who have come to terms with the bigger ones, and therefore are equally the enemy of oppressed black people. There is, however, a relationship between class and race, especially in imperialist America. Racist ideology, as it developed in the U.S. was a most effective tool in the maintenance of slavery, later in the semi-feudal sharecropping system, and afterward including the present, in maintaining black workers in the lowest jobs with the lowest standard of living. The racial factor makes national oppression that much easier. Nevertheless the overwhelming factor in the oppression of black people is their class position, their place in the economic system and so fourth. The fundamental contradiction is between capital and labor which can only be resolved by a class war and the dictatorship of the proletariat.


Genuine Marxist-Leninist uphold the right of every oppressed nation to political secession, to self-determination, to determine its destiny in its own way. Many “Marxists” in the U.S. do not believe the Afro-American people are entitled to self-determination because they say we are “turning into a national minority”. Others say we are, even though we’re not a nation. Still others say that even though we are oppressed nation the question of self-determination is “not at the heart of our struggle, not the essential thrust”, and so forth. The Black Workers Congress rejects all these views as un-Marxist. What does self-determination mean in the genuine Marxist-Leninist sense, and how does it apply to Black people in the U.S.?

First of all there is a wide-spread tendency to equate self-determination with separation, with separatism. Marxists of course, uphold the unity of the working class. Therefore, those who equate self-determination with separation, see it as an evil to be avoided at all cost. In the interest of working class “unity”, Black people must forego their right to self-determination. Another position, while upholding the “right” of self determination, sees it only as an academic question, with no possibility of it ever happening in practice. In theory its alright, but if it were to occur it would be a “step backward”, and obstacle to working class unity, etc. They would have us believe that this “unity” is achieved by begging whites of the oppressor nation to “accept” the right of self-determination of blacks, while urging Black people to renounce the right in the interest of “unity”.

As Communists, separation is not our solution to the national question. We neither equate it with self-determination nor advocate it for the Afro-American nation in the U.S.

Our position is: “on the one hand, the absolutely direct, unequivocal recognition of the full right of all nations to self-determination; on the other hand, the equally unambiguous appeal to the workers for international unity in their class struggle ” (Lenin). Formation of separate black organizations and institutions can no more be taken as a sign of “separatism” as the struggle for democratic rights can be equated as a call for “integration”. But, self-determination is much more than this. In essence self-determination means the right to choose, the freedom of choice, the ability to exercise the national will freely, rather than as now, being forced into a position of “separation” by our oppressors. Self-determination does not have to take the form of political secession, of separation. It can and has taken the form of regional autonomy, federation, a separate Republic, etc., or some other form of self-government bi-national, regional government, or bi-national federal representation on a territorial basis, or other possible combinations. The question of the form that self-determination takes can not be decided in advance in an off hand fashion and recognition of the right of self-determination without discussion of the possible forms it may take is of no use at all. Stalin says that a nation can establish its right of self-determination only as it establishes its political entry on a territorial basis. This means that this right must be exercised on a given territory and not some nebulous “autonomous national communities” wherever “black people are,” etc. For Afro-Americans in the U.S. this territory can only be their historic homeland the Black Belt South. Arguments which say that black people are “dispersed” from this territory and no longer constitute a majority there do not prove the contrary. As long as the basis of nationhood exists, as long as sufficient internal cohesion, and as long as the masses of Black people demand it, they have the absolute, unequivocal right to re-establish themselves as a political entity in their historic homeland. Studies of present statistics show, that the mechanization to agriculture and the dispersion of Black people into the cities does not do away with Black concentrations. It is well known that throughout U.S. history Black people have been one of the outstanding exceptions to the so-called “melting-pot” theory. In side or outside the Black Belt south, Black people have never been in the process of “assimilation” into the dominant nation, and this fact is reflected in the tremendous rise in the national consciousness of black people whether in Chicago or Mississippi, an Afro-American identifies himself as part of his people.

To say that self-determination, though a right, is not “at the heart” of the Black liberation movement, not “the essential thrust”, etc., is also completely wrong. People who say this see the national movement and the question of self-determination also in a completely negative light. To them as the “unity” of the class grows, then Black people will be less concerned about their rights as a nation. To prove this they cite the fact that much of the modern Black liberation struggle has taken the form of a struggle for democratic rights- the fight for better housing, schools, against racial discrimination, etc.

The struggle for democratic and equal rights not only does not contradict the struggle of self-determination but is its basis. And the Fact that most Black people are working people, does not lessen this fact that a black worker may enter a plant and union with other workers does not make him lose his identity as a member of the Afro-American nation. And his everyday conditions on the job will keep him from forgetting it, as well as his concern for the plight of his people as a whole.

The experience of the past few years has proven that the national movement of Black people has been strengthened by the increasing participation and leadership of the black working class. Because of the class position of black workers, and their ability to grasp scientific socialism, they are more politically sensitive to the oppression of the Black masses, at the same time very conscious of the need to unite with white workers in the overall class struggle. The political awareness and development of the black proletariat and their objective position in the society, places them at the head of the struggle for Black liberation, including both the struggle for complete self-determination (which can only come about through proletarian revolution and the struggle for democratic rights.

In summary, our position on the national question at this point is based on what we consider the three main aspects of the national question. These points are: 1. That the national question of Afro-Americans is part of the problem of the world-wide National Colonial question, and is therefore revolutionary in and of itself. 2. That the right of self-determination for the Afro-American people in an absolute right. 3. That the Black bourgeoisie is thoroughly comprador (counter-revolutionary). Obviously we recognize that this is only the kernel of a fuller position that must be worked out on this most difficult question, but to us these three points are the essential ones in any position that can be taken seriously. This is our view of the modern Black nation. We see how it arose, and developed, and what it has become today. The oppression of the Afro-American people is maintained by the U.S. monopoly capitalist class through its police, military, religions, etc.), and especially its main agents – the labor aristocracy (labor bureaucrats and highly skilled workers) and the Black bourgeoisie. The intensification of this oppression and the resistance to it, gives rise to the incessant growth of both the national-revolutionary movement of the Afro-American people and the revolutionary movement of the working class as a whole the struggle for self-determination through proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Such is the nature of the two basic aspects of the great revolutionary movement of America.