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July, 2006

The Future is Up to Us!

How do we bring about class unity? Should we call for blacks and whites to unite and fight?

Editor's note: This column is based on excerpts from the book, "The Future is Up To Us: A Revolutionary Talking Politics with the American People ," by Nelson Peery. We encourage our readers to join the discussion. Send your thoughts to info@peoplestribune.org. Order the book by sending $12 to Speakers for a New America Books, c/o People's Tribune, PO Box 3524, Chicago, IL 60654-3524.

Nelson Peery

No. We are saying that the homeless must unite, that the poor must unite, the unemployed must unite. All the colors can unite where they are objectively, economically equal. Unite is a political slogan. We have the Black, white, brown, red, yellow and so forth. We have them all. We don't have to make a distinction on the level of color. We don't have to emphasize the color question. Racism cannot be fought with anti-racism. It has to be fought with practical political activity of unity. Radicals are quick to say that race is a myth, but then they accommodate it by fighting against it as if it were a real thing. The practical fight for unity where there is economic equality (in poverty) is the way to deal with this myth.

A few years ago, a white off duty cop murdered a Black homeless man. The homeless man had attempted to wash the cop's windshield, the cop objected and words were exchanged. The cop got his revolver out of the trunk of the car and murdered the man. Most people immediately raised it as a racial murder. The homeless and their advocates objected and demanded that the crime be placed on class, rather than racial lines. A white homeless person is also subject to murder, and knows it.

Back in the '30s and '40s we tried to bridge the objective reality of inequality with a political slogan of "Black and white unite and fight." A political slogan is subjective. You can't make an objective thing happen with a subjective demand. Our position today is entirely different. There is no doubt in my mind that we have the real, objective, historical and economic situation today that will allow us to pull together those who have never, ever been pulled together before. That situation is the progressive elimination of social and economic bribery of the white workers and their reduction to the economic level of the Black worker.

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