Season of the Weird & Letters
Building a Revolutionary  Alliance

BY JOE NAVARRO

     The prospects for building unity in the United States
are greatly hampered by the inability of the left to
recognize the revolutionary potential of Chicanos, Latinos,
African Americans, Native Americans and Asians and their
fight for self-determination. The Communist Party, the
oldest left party, was never able to represent the
aspirations of Chicanos, Latinos, African Americans, Asians
and Native Americans. Nor have most organizations in the
left -- including the groups that various CrossRoads authors
have termed "sensible, non-sectarian socialists," such as
the Committees of Correspondence, Democratic Socialists of
America and Freedom Road Socialist Organizing Network. (See
"Reconstructing the Left" in CrossRoads No. 37).
     During the 1960s and '70s African American communities,
inspired by the Black Panther Party, Malcolm X and Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (among others) produced a wealth of
leaders and activists that played a principal role in
challenging capitalism and imperialism, while they sought to
end America's system of apartheid and to struggle for self-
determination.
     Chicano revolutionary leadership also emerged, as farm
workers fighting oppression in the fields, as land grant
heirs militantly taking up arms to reclaim their stolen
lands and as urban revolutionaries. The emergence of the
Crusade for Justice, La Raza Unida Party, Brown and Black
Berets, the Organization to Free Los Siete de la Raza, and
others inspired communities to struggle for self-
determination and democracy.
     The struggle for land and self-determination was
clearly articulated through the militant actions of the
American Indian Movement, which heightened political
consciousness against the brutal theft of lands and the
history of genocide against indigenous people. They engaged
in gun battles against government agents and fought against
corrupt Indian "leaders."
     Puerto Rican activists from the Young Lords Party and
other organizations raised demands for Puerto Rico's
independence and organized Puerto Rican communities in the
U.S. for justice. Chinese and Chinese American activists
organized in Chinese communities against racism,
discrimination and exploitation. Native Hawai'ians fought
for the return of their stolen lands.
     These movements burst onto the scene waking up America
-- inspiring new revolutionary organizations, some
nationalist and others Marxist and socialist. A new version
of the left was born. However, the predominantly "white"
left had difficulty getting out of the traditional modes of
thought that viewed everything in the context of labor vs.
capital.
     Even though the "white" left and oppressed nationality
movements intersected at different times on certain issues -
- like support of the Farm Workers Union boycott, Farah
pants boycott, Coors boycott, confronting racist police
attacks -- the complete unity of these natural allies has
never been achieved.
     While the left wing of the Chicano, Latino, African
American, Native American and Asian movements consistently
struggled for self-determination -- that is, the right to
politically and economically rule themselves free of U.S.
imperialist domination -- there has been a great deal of
hesitation on the part of the predominantly "white" left to
support this perspective.
     The Communist Party and the Committees of
Correspondence, for example, still view the struggle of
oppressed nationalities in terms of getting equality on the
"shop floor," or see it as an act of showing more love and
compassion toward people of color. They somehow fail to
recognize that the very foundation of U.S. capitalism is
national oppression, which included a history of land theft,
systematic murder, destruction of civilizations,
enslavement, annexation, racist laws and denial of
employment, education, health care and democratic rights.
Today's social relations in the U.S. between white people
and oppressed nationalities are a result of 500 years of
oppression.
     The primary emphasis by government and business on
reinforcing national oppression is motivated by rapid
demographic changes, where the percentages of African
Americans, Chicanos, Latinos, Asians and Native Americans
are growing at a rocket pace in relation to society and the
overall percentage of white people is shrinking.
     The current focus of capitalist exploitation is
determined by increasing the level of national oppression by
denying basic democratic rights, lowering the quality of
education and keeping wages low. The main struggle in the
U.S. is most intense between the white ruling class and
oppressed nationality people.

WAR AND POLARIZATION

     The 1990s finds America's ruling class at war with
African Americans, Chicanos, Latinos and Native Americans.
We are witnessing fascist policies being applied to urban
areas, oppression by drug and alcohol abuse, undereducation,
xenophobia, discrimination and racism.
     The American climate is anti-Black, Brown, Red and
Yellow. The media, business and government are co-
conspirators in polarizing the people of this nation against
each other. People of color are being victimized while being
portrayed negatively and dehumanized.
     While "scapegoating" may be an important motive of the
heightened state of xenophobia, it is not the primary one.
They recognize that newborn children of immigrants today
will be part of America's workforce in 18 years. They will
also be potential voters. In 50 years, oppressed
nationalities will constitute the majority of the working
class. The majority of white people are older in years and
will be in their retirement years.
     The U.S. ruling class, consisting of the extremely
wealthy elite, politicians and government officials, is
still white and male. The people who control the
institutions of this nation are working to protect their own
interests. They are also using their propaganda networks in
the media to polarize this nation further, convincing white
people to oppose the rights of oppressed nationalities, who
are portrayed as lazy, murderous drug dealers as a means of
justifying their oppression.
     Socialists, leftists and progressives who believe in
revolutionary fundamental change must turn to the national
movements for leadership and unity. Furthermore, white
people must support the rights of oppressed nationalities to
self-determination unconditionally, that is, their right to
politically and economically determine what liberation is.
White people must demonstrate the spirit of John Brown, who
not only talked about ending slavery, but was willing to
give his precious life to help slaves free themselves.
     The political lines and programs of every revolutionary
organization must be dedicated to supporting the right of
self-determination of Chicanos, Latinos, African Americans,
Native Americans and Asians. If there is to be any serious
reconstruction of the left, a great portion of each
organization's resources must focus on supporting the issues
of oppressed nationalities.
     Joe Navarro is a longtime activist in the Chicano
movement now living in Denver and a contributing editor of
CrossRoads.


Post-Modern Babes And the World Revolutionary Process

BY TIM PATTERSON

     If Susie Bright isn't a household name in your
household, she will be by the end of the week.
     You may have caught her act in the symposium on
pornography in a recent issue of In These Times. (Like most
left "debates" on pornography these days, this one consisted
of five articles beating up on the anti-pornography views of
Catherine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin five different ways.)
Or you may have seen Susie's piece in Esquire, where she
graced a special issue on today's women with some free
advice on how to pick up girls, a subject on which she
claims to be, as one of her book titles suggests, Susie
Sexpert.
     What Esquire called "do-me feminism" is not what us old
fogies cut our teeth on, all that equal rights/equal pay/day
care/reproductive freedom crap; but it's definitely post-
modern -- maybe even post-Camille Paglia. The basic
position, as far as I can tell, is that the problem with the
"old" feminism was that it was anti-sex, whereas in fact the
key to the liberation of women -- and of all humanity --
lies in increasing the visibility and the numbers of hot
horny babes.
     Now, let me be perfectly clear. I am not at all opposed
to the proliferation of hot horny babes, or for that matter,
hot horny guys. Indeed, a steady stream of hot horny persons
of all shapes, sizes and persuasions is definitely my idea
of a Social Good. Indeed, many's the time I can personally
remember actively contemplating the question of the
availability of hot horny babes.
Typically, however, these were not also the times when I was
most intensely focused on advancing the world-wide struggle
for social justice. Which brings me to my first point (a lot
earlier than usual, by the way): is this version of feminism
a radical progressive breakthrough, as so many of its fans
claim, or just maybe a recipe for a lot of fun?
     Should women have their own brand of stroke books?
Sure. Should folks feel okay about cavorting in their
various twos, or threes, or nines, or about indulging in a
little self-cavorting from time to time? Why not -- but how
is any of this likely to rid the world of war, racism,
exploitation, mass starvation or even yellow waxy buildup?
Is a woman's political and social destiny between her legs?
Spare me.
     So much for my theoretical/ideological problem; my
biggest gripe is factual. Bright and her fellow revelers
start from the premise that contemporary society is
strangled by sexual repression, and so going public with
explicit sex becomes a courageous challenge to the existing
order. In my reality, it's hard to find more than a snippet
of popular culture that isn't focused on sex:
     The home video release of "Who Killed Roger Rabbit"
includes animated crotch shots.
     The upcoming Commonwealth Games, bringing together
athletes from the 66 countries that used to be ruled by that
old prune, Queen Victoria, will have an official condom
supplier.
     My local cable service provides an "adult" channel,
featuring what I can only assume are hot horny babes,
consumed with ecstasy, 24 hours a day. (I say I assume this
because I haven't ponied up for the de-scrambler, so I can
only get the sound; even so, I don't think the squeals of
delight are for the latest deal on cubic zirconium jewelry
on one of the home shopping channels.).
     What did Mary Jo Buttafuoco do to welcome home hubby
Joey after he got out of the pen for the stat rape of Amy
Fisher, the jealous poopsie that shot her? She had her
breasts enlarged.
     Why is Madonna losing it? Is it just maybe because
talking about her body parts in public isn't news anymore?
     While I was contemplating this column, I happened to
join the Mystery Guild, a book club advertising bargains on
trash detective novels. What's the special offer the first
month? A big discount on The Best American Erotica, 1993,
edited by -- Susie Bright!
     Maybe Susie doesn't get out much, what with all her
books and articles and whatever kind of cavorting she has
time for. Maybe I should just forward her some of my mail.
Anyway, something tells me that whatever she's got her
finger on, it isn't exactly the problem with the old
feminism.

CONTINUITY OF THE LEFT
     Your February issue (Black History Month, No. 38)
continues making real the accomplishment of CrossRoads.
     Allow this comment:
     Sesshu Foster ("The Power of Poetry," February 1994)
pointed to the splendid work of Nakim Hikmet, Pablo Neruda
and Tom McGrath. It is fine that their writings are
available now to the present generation. Let me add that all
three were first introduced to readers in the United States
by Masses & Mainstream, over thirty years ago. It would be
well to note the continuity of a left in our country. We
old-timers were not always in error and helped produce, once
in awhile, useful efforts. --Herbert Aptheker, San Jose,
California
     Editors note: A lot more than once in awhile.

DANGER ON THE RIGHT
     Thank you for Tom Patterson's "An Idle Left Is the Far
Right's Workshop" ("Season of the Weird," CrossRoads No.
39). Every once in awhile we need a reminder that while the
left is trying to chart new directions for the future the
religious right in America is out there with a very definite
blueprint.
     I have no problem with Patterson poking fun at some of
the, what I imagine to be, huge amounts of right-wing
fundraising appeals that he receives. But looked at in
another light, it is rather incredible the number of
organizations that exist, the number of new ones being
created and the kind of grassroots fundamentalist organizing
that the right is carrying out.
     In light of several much-publicized recent events --
the dropping of Alice Walker's story from a California
statewide public school test, the conviction of Michael
Griffith for the murder of pro-choice doctor David Gunn, the
Christian Coalition bringing its one-millionth member into
the organization, the school board takeovers throughout the
nation by "stealth" and not-so-"stealth" candidates
supported by Raymond Simmonds' Citizens for Excellence in
Education, and the growing onslaught of anti-gay initiatives
throughout the country -- the left needs to be better
informed about the political and social agenda of the
religious right.
     CultureWatch is a newsletter published by the
DataCenter in Oakland that provides activist individuals and
organizations with up-to-date, readable and interesting
information on all of these issues. Published 10 times in
1994, subscriptions are available from the DataCenter, 464
19th Street, Oakland, CA 94612. If any CrossRoads readers
are interested, please drop us a note and we will send them
a free sample copy. --Bill Berkowitz, Editor, CultureWatch,
Oakland, California