Rainbow Coalition or Class War?

Ignatiev, Noel
Date Written:  2017-09-15
Publisher:  Hard Crackers
Year Published:  2017
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21315

Is there any reason to think that Redneck Revolt and the new Rainbow Coalition will turn out differently from the People's Party? American history shows that any political group, left, right or center, that fails to challenge in practice the white community and the institutions and patterns that maintain it will reinforce an identity that has led countless potentially progressive movements to ruin and whose capacity to do harm is by no means exhausted -- no matter how vigorously it denounces “racism” and capitalism and how many coalitions it enters with non-whites. Simply put, white people organized as whites are dangerous to the working class and to humanity, and white people with guns organized as whites are doubly so -- and this is true regardless of the intentions of the organizers.



The capitalist system tends to reduce all labor to simple, homogenous, abstract labor. At the same time, it constantly generates new hierarchies among the laborers. As befits their contradictory position (as part of capital and part of its negation), workers respond to these tendencies in contradictory ways. As producers of use-values, they act in the interests of the human community; as sellers (or would-be sellers) of labor-power, they invoke whatever hierarchies are available to give them an advantage in a competitive society. Among the various hierarchies among the laborers, “race” has played a crucial (and at times determinant) role in U.S. history. U.S. society is not merely bourgeois, it is bourgeois white-supremacist, and U.S. labor opportunism has often taken the form of white-supremacist opportunism. This remains true even though traditional forms of white supremacy and the institutions that upheld them have been eroded. After all this time, there is no reason to think that class interests will prevail over racial interests among white workers—unless their racial interests are directly challenged.

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