Thursday, February 22, 2007

It happened this week...

This week in 1848 a small group of political refugees, mainly German, along with a few other radicals published to a world that hardly noticed it the most famous document in working class history, the Communist Manifesto. For more on this see, for example,
In commemoration of the Communist Manifesto and this gem.

This seminal work remains relevant: "'we are members of the working class and hold, with the writers of the Manifesto, that "The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win." We hold further that this world can only be won by the workers prosecuting the class struggle unremittingly, spurning all attempts to seduce them into support of reform programmes, abandoning the worship of leaders and depending upon their own efforts alone".

During this week in 1965 the religious leader and nationalist Malcolm X was assassinated. "According to his autobiography Malcolm X expected to die violently...by the hand of a white man...The murdered man moved in a world of violence. His mother, he said, was conceived after a white man had raped his grandmother. His father was also murdered, his skull smashed in and his body flung under the wheels of a street car. It was only after the seemingly inevitable career of crime and drug addiction that Malcolm X became interested in the Black Muslims - an event which, he wrote, gave him "a little feeling of self-respect." He soon became prominent in the movement, attracting a lot of publicity with his teachings that the Negro should be strong, disciplined and ready to answer violence with violence....In many ways, the United States today is a cauldron of savagery and hatred....The Negros are desperate, and in their desperation they have turned to organizations which sometimes are little better than a black Ku-Klux-Klan. They show little interest in the fact that race prejudice is only one part of the monstrous wall of ignorance which shields and supports the oppressive capitalist system..." (Socialist Standard, April 1965)

Just over thirty years ago another event, undoubtedly of less historical note to Socialists but which nevertheless contributed to the growth of a particular youth movement of the late 1970s, was that of the Sex Pistols starting to record Never Mind The Bollocks. an album which was banned and never officially charted 'Number 1'. For the Socialist perspective see Punk rock's silver jubilee


“Oh bondage, up yours!” - Poly Styrene. Indeed.
RS

2 comments:

Gian Maria said...

The second link doesn't work.

finding part-timers who pretend they're socialists, but would rather sit around talking and playing power games said...

damn right the communist manifesto is as relevant, if not more so, today. We have a world to win; but 1st we need to win the hearts and minds of our people - the working class, cos only through the mass of them understanding and wanting socialism will we be in a position to win that world, and i do mean world, as this struggle is international in nature.
When Malcolm went to Mecca and saw white people being treated the same as blacks, he refined the stupid ideas he was given by Elijah Muhammid and realised that white people were not devils created by an evil scientist, etc and started to break with the Nation of Islam.
The fact that Malcolm was from the streets and learnt much in prison inspired many other blacks and they started to realise that class was a big issue as well.
In Soledad Brother by George Jackson you can see a young man, who should have only been in prison a year, but spent over 10 and died there, gradually becoming understanding politically.
and Huey P Newton, who together with Bobby Seale started up the Black Panther Party, wrote in his book Revolutionary Suicide
"we shall not replace white capitalism with black capitalism, we shall not replace white racism with black racism...."
i am not saying they were internationalist in spgb sense of the world, but they were on their way. and it was such a shame huey got so blinded by china, as he wrote some excellent stuff about socialism before then