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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

More Words from Savant

Keep in mind that the "poor" include a range of different kind of folk. The striking Memphis sanitation workers (Depicted in film "At the River I Stand") worked under such miserable conditions and paid such low wages that they (while employed FULL TIME) often qualified for welfare and food stamps. But they were not a lumpenproletariat. Most of the poor are not. In some countries most of the poor are peasant laborers, tillers of the soil. In the wealthier countries most of the poor are low income working class people though a growing number are impoverished middle class people. These poor do not all have the same character, psychology or mode of social existence. Their capacity for revolutionary consciousness and action vary. I think that the working class poor (and perhaps not so poor working people) combined with the most progressive elements within the middle classes can launch a new movement. Black America has at least the advantage that the Right is still marginalized.



I don't doubt that the stupidities of mass entertainment, drugs and other things stifle the development of social consciousness among the poor (and also the affluent). Decades ago the Frankfurt School (from whence came Adorno, Marcuse and Erich Fromm) made trenchant critiques of the "culture industry" as a stifling force. And the very harshness of life can incline some poor to be so caught up in the struggle for survival that they have little energy left to envision a better, more liberated life. But most of the poor are not into drugs and crime. The assumption that the poor are poor because of personal pathologies is an elitist and racist myth. Their poverty is not due to a pathological character, but to a pathological social order. I know of no community in which most people are drug addicts, prostitutes, pimps and gangsters. Indeed, the POPULARITY of groups like NOI in Latrobe Projects, or the Black Panthers when I was growing up, has been partly due to the fact that they fought these plagues. -Savant


 Mon oncle Oscar sais que j'ai des amis Francais, et meme quelques des etudiants Francais. And I did mention to him a certain French educator from Paris qui s'appel Attai. LOL! "Good man, Uncle Oscar said. He's probably a good man, and a teacher too. Yeah, he sounds like a good man." (Education and educators were more highly esteemed in Uncle Oscar's time than today. Teachers were virtually an elite in Black America, an esteemed elite. Especially in the South). I doubt that I would have had occasion to mention you or other French people I know (including Christine, a Mai 68 person now teaching in Bmore) had Uncle Oscar not started reminiscing about France, and how he almost didn't return to America. He asked me did I still remember France from those times I visited as a student and young professor, and whether I'd like to return. I told him I did remember, that even in the late 80s and early 90s France was like a breath of fresh air. I told him (since he asked) that I had French students and friends here in the States, including one from France who had just left Bmore two weeks before he arrived. That's how your name came up, and he inferred (without having ever met you) that you (being French) are probably a good man. LOL! Come to think of it, you two probably would hit it off quite well (until you got tired of his war stories). You tend to idealize Black folk, and he tends to idealize France and the French. Sounds like an interesting conversation. LOL!



Fortunately, the uglier things going on in France today wasn't happening when Uncle Oscar was there during and a little after WWII. Angela Davis does mention in her autobiography that the only time she had problems was when someone mistook her for a person from the French West Indies, or for an Algerian (Some North Africans are about the same complexion as many lighter skinned Americains noirs). I had only one incident myself, probably because this French cop mistook me for an African. But most Black Americans I meet who travel to France (and other European countries) even TODAY describe the experience as I do: A breath of fresh air! Richard Wright once wrote that "There is more freedom in ONE BLOCK of Paris than in the whole of the United States." A comment he made shortly after WWII and which with my non-intellectual Oncle would heartily agree. Je lis encore L'Amerique au jour le jour (mais en version Anglais) par Simone de Beauvoir. Elle souviens un eglise Noir a Harlem avec Richard Wright: "Among others, the pastor indicates the presence of Richard Wright. He goes forward, speaks, and is applauded. He introduces me as the citizen of a country that is unaware of racial segregation, and all the dark faces smile at me; I'm quite embarrassed when I must say a few words." (AMERICA DAY BY DAY, P.273). Pendant un de votre voyage a l'Amerique Someone should introduce you to one of the African-American churches. For better or worst, it is a central part de la vie culturelle de l'Amerique Noir. 



Bien sur, je ne'crois pas que Monsieur Attai est un Nazi. Interessement, mon oncle Oscar haine les Nazis against whom he fought in Europe. Indeed he sees them as very much akin to the KKK. En effet , il souvien des Nazis Americain en North Carolina who were active (sometimes teamed up with the KKK) in 1970s & 80s. As for Louis Farrahkan, he never had a mass following---not even in his heyday of the 80s to early 90s. There were some young Blacks at that time who thought that he was heir to the tradition of Malcolm X or even the Panthers. There's such a deplorable ignorance of history. Ironically, he got more attention in the 1980s due mostly to the media, which prefers sensationalism to sensible dialogue. Also, his appeal to some AA folk who wouldn't think of joining his movement was largely in reaction to the right wing attacks on Black America during the terrible Reagan years. Unfortunately, the revolutionary forces in the Black community has collapsed as an organized force. Hence Black anger could not often be directed in a revolutionary fashion as in the 1960s & 70s. But there was never a point when NOI or Louis obtained anything like political or cultural hegemony in Black America. Mon oncle, comme la majorite de ma famille, et chretian. He was in Europe, which he helped liberate from the Nazi behemoth. He got to see some of their handiwork. He has no fondness for Nazis, German or American. But he loves the French. What can I say? Except for their racists and reactionaries I've found them quite friendly too. In fact, even some of their reactionaries were friendly to me (however hostile to North Africans and Francophone Blacks), but I wasn't interested in any friendly relation with them.



 There is no "Marxist Democrat propaganda" except in the paranoid imagination of the loony right wing. No one who is familiar with Marxist thought could mistake either Obama or the Democratic party as Marxist. The Democrats are a corrupt centrist corporate party. The Republicans are a corrupt right wing corporate party. That's about it. I wish there REALLY were a socialist (not necessarily Marxist) party in the center of American political life A green or labor party would be fine. But the totalitarian political culture of American allows only CORPORATE politics. That's one of the reasons we are among the most politically backward countries in the Western world.


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