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Albert Parker

The Negro Struggle

“Labor with a White Skin Cannot Emancipate Itself Where Labor with a Black Skin Is Branded.” – Karl Marx.

(5 October 1940)


From Socialist Appeal, Vol. 4 No. 40, 5 October 1940, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

(Continued from last week)

Divide and Rule

The reason for Jim Crow and Judge Lynch is to be found in the desire of the bosses to protect and increase their profits. They do this by paying their workers as little wages and making them work as long hours as possible. The workers form unions in an attempt to improve their conditions. The bosses spend a lot of time, energy and money trying to prevent formation of unions and to weaken and smash them where they exist.

The best way they know to accomplish this is by keeping the workers divided. Each worker alone is weak, and if he raises his voice, can be kicked out easily. United, all the workers are strong – much stronger than all the bosses put together. This explains the strategy of the bosses: keep the workers divided and fighting among themselves so that they will be unable to fight their real enemy, the bosses. And so the boss pits white worker against colored in the same way that he stirs up Christian against Jew, and “citizen” against “alien”. He doesn’t do this ’because he likes the white worker better, but because he dislikes both.

Unite and Fight

Many white workers don’t recognize this because the bosses spread their Jim Crow propaganda skillfully. These backward workers accept these lies about their colored brothers and permit themselves to be used by the bosses in spreading discrimination and segregation. In this way they not only hurt the colored workers, but they also hurt themselves. As a result, colored workers not only have to fight the bosses, but they have to fight against the prejudices of many backward workers and to try to educate them.

Difficult as this job is, still it is what the colored workers have to do with the help of the advanced white workers who understand these things. There is no other way. They cannot turn their backs on the unions, because the only way they can end Jim Crow as well as the evils of capitalism is by fighting side by side with the white workers, their natural allies in the fight against the common enemy. Alone, they can never defeat the bosses.

If they turn away from this hard and often unpleasant task, they will only be helping the bosses keep the workers divided. Into the unions the Negroes must go, and they must be the best fighters against the bosses, so that the backward workers will learn from real life how they have been misled and tricked.

Unite and fight! Unite with the white workers and fight against the bosses and Jim Crow!

Build a Labor Party

The Democrats and Republicans defend and preserve the system of Jim Crow that is used to maintain capitalism. This explains why neither party has done anything in all the years they have been in office to abolish or even weaken Jim Crow. It would be foolish to expect anything different from them this year.

What the Negro workers must do now is turn their backs on both these parties, the same way that these parties have turned their backs on them when it came to the Anti-Lynch Bill and similar measures.

What they must do now, together with the white workers, is build a new party, a Labor Party, controlled and run by the workers in it, presenting an independent program defending the interests of all workers, and running labor candidates, Negro and white, against the candidates of big business.

The Socialist Workers Party

The Socialist Workers Party calls on the Negro workers to join with it in the struggle against the bosses. It calls on them to support its candidates in the elections in those places where they are on the ballot. It calls on them to fight for its program on election day and every other day in the year:

Against Jim Crow! For full social, political and economic equality of the Negro people!

For the right of Negroes to sit in the movies and restaurants when they want to. For their right to vote, and to run for office. For their right to belong to trade unions and other organizations of their choice. For their equal right to jobs in industry, at equal pay. For an end to the “deportation to the South” laws which deny them relief. For the passage of the Anti-Lynch and Anti-Poll Tax Bills.

Against the war! Against the Jim Crow practices in the Army! For military training under control of the trade unions!

For the government to appropriate money for a system of military training under control of the trade union movement, to teach the workers the use of arms so that they will be able to protect themselves against their enemies at home and abroad. For the right to the soldier-workers to elect their own officers from out of their own ranks, colored and white. For an end to the discriminatory practices which give Negroes the flunkey jobs in the Army and deny them the right to advance themselves.

Against the profit system that breeds Jim Crow! For a workers’ government that will forever end discrimination and segregation.

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Last updated: 14 November 2020