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    On the Questions of Race and Racism: Revolutionary National Liberation and Building the United Front Against ImperialismPosted on May 20, 2011 by 4struggle Leave a comment

    A statement in support of the White Panther Organization (WPO)

    reprinted from Right On! no 6

    The economic nature of racism is not simply an asideRacism is a fundamental characteristic of monopoly capitalism, George L. Jackson, 1971

    Introduction

    Many people believe that racism indeed the very concept of race itself developsautomatically when groups of people with different complexions, hair, and body types are brought together. This is not so! Actually, the concept of race is barely 500 years old. The common people have been programmed into accepting race as anormal and natural thing, to prevent them from questioning, investigating, and challenging the ideas and roots of race and racism. Race and racism are invention

    s of a specific social class, and devised to serve a specific social purpose. The creators are the oppressor capitalist ruling class, and the purpose is to divide the laboring class that the capitalists exploit against themselves. This is because, if united, the workers pose the single greatest threat to the capitalistclass monopoly over social

    wealth, power, and control. A dispassionate study will show that in every situation where race has arisen to become a sharp dividing social factor, the hands ofthe capitalists can be seen pulling the strings, and it is only they who benefit from the conflicts.

    George Jackson clearly recognized this. He pointed out that while white racism.the dominant form of racism in Amerika, expresses itself as

    the morbid traditional fear of Blacks, Indians, Mexicans, [and] the desire to inflict pain on them when they began to compete in the industrial sectors. The resentment and the seedbed of fear is patterned into every modem capitalist society.It grows out of a sense of insecurity and insignificance that is inculcated intothe workers by the conditions of life and work under capitalism. This sense ofvulnerability is the breeding ground of racism. At the same time, the ruling class actively promotes racism against the Blacks of the lower classes. This programmed racism has always served to distract the huge numbers of people who subsistat just a slightly higher

    level than those in a more debased condition (in the 1870s the strikes frequently

    ended in anti-Chinese or anti-Black lynchings)Racism has served always in the U.S. as a pressure release

    The sole concern of the capitalist class is to secure and increase their profitsand power. They do not care whom or what they damage or destroy to accomplish this, nor do they care what nationality or complexion the people are whom they exploit, only that they keep the exploited workers unable to unite and mobilize against their conditions of exploitation. Racism has been the capitalists most effective method of accomplishing this. Here is North Amerika, the game began in thelate 1600s.

    The Creation of the White Race and Racism

    The first laborers exploited in North Amerika under British colonialism consisted of Afrikan, European, and Indian slaves and indentured servants. The concept of race did not exist then. The laborers were all equally oppressed and exploited o

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    f their wealth-producing labor by the capitalist plantation owners and thus saweach other as equals. They lived, labored, loved, suffered, bred, bled, escaped,and died together. They also repeatedly rebelled and revelled together. But because they lacked a unifying leadership and vision or control over resources, they were unable to come together en masse to wage a united revolt to overthrow theplantation elite and the British colonial government that served and backed theelite. This all changed in 1676 when Bacons Rebellion occurred.

    The leader of the rebellion, Nathaniel Bacon, was a young plantation owner. He had left England to settle in the British colonies in 1673, and was appointed tothe Council of British Colonial Governor William Berkeley. The colonial governments principal concern (as with any capitalist government), was to maintain stability in the colonies while protecting and expanding the holdings and wealth of the ruling class. To achieve this, Berkeley promoted developing trade relations and peace with the Indians who lived on surrounding lands. Bacon, however, promoted running the Indians off their land to expand the colonial settlements. In defiance of Berkeleys policies, Bacon independently organized and led poor farmers who lived on the outskirts of the colonies (most of whom were recently freed indentured servants), on murderous terror raids against nearby Indian communities. Bu

    t instead of fleeing, the Natives responded with counter-raids against their attackers. Bacon, unable to match the Indian counter-attacks, sought but was deniedmilitary support from Berkeley.

    Bacon then turned on the established colonial ruling class and Berkeleys government. He armed and organized the colonys Afrikan and English slaves with promises of freedom, and in 1676 led them in revolt against the colonial rulers. The revolt succeeded in overthrowing the colonial ruling class and government, and captured the capitol at Jamestown, Virginia.

    However, six months into the revolt, and at the height of his power, Bacon diedof influenza. Bacons Rebellion, deprived of its leader and organizer, collapsed,and the colonial ruling class and Council quickly regained control, though not w

    ithout a determined last stand by the core group of rebels, principally composedof Afrikan slaves. It was at this point that the plantation elite and their reinstated government realized the immense danger and power of a unified working class.

    Consequently they decided to ensure that no united revolt like Bacons Rebellion occurred again. Their solution was to split the lower class by permanently enslaving one sector while winning the loyalty of another sector, inciting its fear and contempt against and using it to police the enslaved sector. To divide, agitate, and rule was the plan. This they accomplished by inventing the concept of race and dividing the lower class along racial lines.

    Laws were immediately passed that established the categories of negro (Spanish forblack), and white as distinct racialized social statuses. In 1682 legislation was enacted that made slavery a permanent and hereditary status for all Blacks, and over the next several decades slavery and indentured servitude of whites were phasedout. Further laws were passed that forbade and penalized positive social interactions between the races, particularly escapes, marriages, and procreation.

    The poor white men made up the body of the colonial militias and, beginning in 1727, were conscripted into manning slave patrols under fines and other penaltiesif they refused. This plantation police force was the forerunner and grandparent of todays urban police forces that continue to be concentrated against people of color to repress them across Amerika with violence and terror. In most areas,the slave

    patrols came to outnumber the black slaves. A variety of minor privileges were also granted to the poor whites, including tiny plots of land to live on at the I

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    ndians expense a musket, the authority to kill rebellious Blacks, tax exemptions,and other benefits for manning slave patrols, grater leniency in the eyes of the law than Blacks, voting privileges, etc.

    By inventing the social category of white, and granting the lower class Europeansa share in power over the super-exploited and enslaved Afrikans, the capitalistscreated a scheme that caused the poor Europeans a false sense of privileged cla

    ss unity with, and a confused loyalty toward the ruling class which was the source of all of the lower classes poverty and misery. By selling out their own classinterests to the elite, the poor whites made a deal with the devil that saw them focus their frustrations on Blacks instead of the capitalists, and thus ensured that they would remain an impoverished and exploited class, just a step abovethe Blacks.

    To ensure the dedication of the slave patrols, and whites in general, in repressing and containing the black slaves, the ruling class generated a paranoid fearof slave revolts and especially of Negroes with guns. From every pulpit, and everycenter of white social gathering and influence, Blacks were depicted as alwaysplotting to revolt with the aim of murdering all whites indiscriminately (men, w

    imyn, and children), molesting white wimyn, and subverting good! white Christiancivilization with Black heathenism. Both the political and religious institutionswere, and remain today, proponents of racism and white fear of Black revolt.

    The church hierarchy, which was tied in with the ruling elite, also added fuel to the fire of racism by theologizing the myth of white racial superiority over all other races, claiming that whites were the Creators chosen people destined to rule over all others as a divine right, and that slavery was a punishment ordained by the creator for Blacks as the Curse of Canaan. It was through these combinedmethods that white supremacy and the very concept of the white and black races werern and spread, and remain today normalized concepts that divide the

    lower class to further the interests of the wealthy elite.

    The capit