The following article was first published in Proletarian Revolution No. 50 (Fall 1995).

Farrakhan No Answer to Racism

by Sy Landy

The “Million Man March” led by Minister Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam (NOI), was one of the most massive events ever held in Washington. The mainstream bourgeois media as well as the Black press described the October 16 rally as “historic” and “inspiring.” And there is no doubt that the sense of Black pride, solidarity and raised hopes among the participants was a profoundly moving experience. Revolutionaries, however, are careful to distinguish the aspirations of the masses from the aims of the leaders.

It was no accident that the racist white capitalist politicians “liked the message” of the march and endorsed its goals, even though they decried the messenger. The ruling class liked the march because it was a diversion of the struggle for Black liberation and a safety valve for the justified and explosive anger of the ghetto masses.

Revolutionaries, on the other hand, opposed the message and goals of the march. Despite the feelings of solidarity, this march was built as a barrier to Black pride and Black struggle against the system.

The NOI proclaimed October 16 as a “Holy Day,” a “Day of Atonement.” Black men were to come together to apologize for purported past sins, including sloth, crime and drugs, “abuse of our women” and the failure to assume responsibility “as heads of our households.” Removing these ills from the Black community, it was claimed, would be a major blow against white supremacy. The march also stressed voter registration and Black “self-help” to build up independent businesses. Although the Gingriches were condemned and white racism attacked, the march and speakers stressed that it was “an internal thing,” an attempt by Black America to straighten up and fly right.

There were many good reasons for masses of Black people to march on Washington. Blacks are desperately looking for a way to fight deepening racist attacks, increasing economic devastation and the social horrors wreaked on their communities across the country. Before the march, the reaction to the O.J. Simpson verdict showed that only a minority of whites understand what Blacks overwhelmingly know: that the cops and courts are dedicated to injustice against them.

Undoubtedly many came to Washington hoping to find a way to get united action against the orchestrated scapegoating of Blacks by the capitalist state and media. The most militant among them were disappointed, and rightly so. Far more, however, were genuinely inspired by the message of Farrakhan and the other speakers; united, they wanted to go back home committed to uplifting Black America.

If any Black leader but Farrakhan had put down “white bashing,” called for reconciliation with the “great” American government and stressed self-help the way he did in Washington, he would have been dismissed as a Clarence Thomas. But Farrakhan could get away with it because of his history of anti-white separatist rhetoric. But even he could only deliver his message of accommodation by associating it with Black pride, which accompanies Black anger over racism.

Surveys at the march show that participants came mostly from the middle strata and the upper reaches of the working class. Farrakhan’s mixed message had a particular appeal to this audience, but calls for self-organization and self-pride resonate among many poorer Black workers as well.

The tragedy is that once again hopes for self-uplifting are doomed. Not because the struggle for liberation is hopeless, and not because Blacks are powerless. In reality, Blacks have tremendous power, but the only way to obtain liberation is to use that power against the racist system. Black men are victimized by capitalist society and then vilified as an underclass of criminals and drug addicts. “Atonement” is no answer to the stark facts of raging unemployment, low-wage jobs and racist discrimination which keep Black men down.

The message of the march is even worse: it pumped up the reactionary ideology that today is fueling the right-wing attacks. The endorsement of traditional male/female roles is an acceptance of the sexist “family values” rhetoric of the racist religious right as well as the mainstream bourgeoisie. As the capitalist economic crisis destroys the family and society, the ruling class blames single Black mothers and Black “attitude,” criminality and culture. While workers and oppressed people yearn for stability, safety and a decent living standard, these sentiments are manipulated by the rulers to take the heat off the system and cast the blame on the victims. The march agenda fell right into line.

Despite rhetoric about fighting racist politics, the march avoided any concrete demands. It stressed voting registration, the prime diversion pushed by the bourgeoisie on all workers and oppressed. History proves that what was won on the streets in ghetto rebellions is being lost in the voting booths. A march whose goals were backed by enemies of the Black struggle like Clinton, Dole, Colin Powell, Chicago’s Mayor Daley, Philadelphia’s Mayor Rendell and the Anti-Defamation League was itself part of the problem.

Farrakhan succeeded in getting virtually all the key Black political figures to acknowledge his growing power among Blacks. The march signed on Rev. Benjamin Chavis, recently ousted head of the NAACP, social-democratic professor Cornel West, Washington mayor Marion Barry, civil rights heroine Rosa Parks and other notables. The Revs. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Joseph Lowery (head of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference), fought off endorsing the affair for as long as they could but finally enlisted.

Why Farrakhan Flourishes

Much of Farrakhan’s current success derives from the gaping vacuum left in the Black leadership after the abject failures of integrationism and its advocates. Integrationist leaders for whom the NOI was previously anathema had to endorse a march whose men-only format had Farrakhan’s ideological stamp all over it -- in order not to appear to stand against Black unity.

There are several reasons why Farrakhan in particular has been able to capitalize on the current situation.

1. Farrakhan’s denunciation of racist American society, “this modern-day Babylon,” rings true, especially in comparison to the mealy-mouthed utterances of other Black leaders and politicians. He appears as a militant and angry outsider, a proud Black man who doesn’t play the game.

2. The rising chorus of attacks on him by powerful white forces seems to confirm that he is an authentic champion of the victimized Black people. The attacks on him and the NOI mount along with the attacks against the whole race. Many Blacks, even those who fundamentally disagree with the NOI, solidarize with him as a target of white racists.

3. U.S. capitalism sharply defines itself by race, in order to hide its fundamental class division. Farrakhan’s “nationalist” separatism not only seems to throw down the gauntlet in the face of white-dominated society, it also calls for unity of all Blacks against the surrounding enemy. Even among those who know that Blacks are not a nation, Farrakhan’s group-identity message strikes responsive and fervent chords in seeming to answer the serious need for Black self-defense.

4. Black shopkeepers, always far more marginal than their white counterparts, feel even more devastated and isolated in an economy that is especially crisis-ridden for Blacks. Their angry separatist yearnings cover a desperate hope for an accommodation with their white counterparts that will allow them their own space within the system. And like petty-bourgeois whites, they too have veered in increasing numbers toward the radical-sounding right -- a right of a different color. They too have been prone to see the barriers to their aspirations not in bourgeois society but in other groups -- Jews, Koreans, Latinos or immigrants in general. This builds Farrakhan’s petty-bourgeois base.

5. Farrakhan’s stress on self-help emphasizes business achievement and a puritan ethic; it can benefit only a small petty-bourgeois layer and has little practical meaning for the working-class masses. However, the message that Blacks will have to rise by their own efforts in a hostile world rings true. Blacks increasingly see that all the mainstream white-dominated institutions are hostile to Black advancement. Farrakhan appeals to those who have given up hope in society’s approved channels but not their aspirations to rise.

6. The capitalist attack on the government and foundation-backed “safety net” programs that were created in response to the ghetto revolts has already had an enormously destructive impact on the lives of impoverished Blacks. It has also undermined a whole strata of “povertycrats,” and the living standards and jobs of many other middle-class professionals are also threatened. Since the threat to affirmative action programs appears to come from other groups, many Blacks have come to understand the world as one of rival ethnicities. Thus integrationism has eroded among the educated middle strata, and the separatist outlook has grown. Farrakhan’s traditional petty-bourgeois base has expanded to include such middle-class elements.

7. While the vast majority of U.S. Blacks are working-class, class identification between Black and white workers is low. The chief reason is that the unions rarely fight for the needs of their members, Black, Latino or white -- certainly not for the numerous Black workers and unemployed outside their organizations. The blocking of class identity facilitates the rise of petty-bourgeois leaders among the oppressed.

8. So far only a tiny minority of Black workers and students have been exposed to authentic revolutionary Marxism, the real alternative to both integrationism and separatism. The middle-class left has tailed either pro-capitalist integrationism or pro-capitalist nationalism and avoided fighting for an openly revolutionary solution.

What Is Black Nationalism?

We sometimes put “Black nationalism” in quotes precisely because nationalism without a territorial base isn’t really nationalism. As well, Blacks are subjugated in the U.S. but not as a separate nation.

Elijah Muhammad, founder of the NOI, generally cast his expectations for the future of the “Lost-Found Black Nation” in vague theological terms. The NOI continues to call for a separate national state, as it must if it is to maintain its uncompromising stance of rejecting white society. However, Louis Farrakhan also speaks in “practical” terms. In his book Back Where We Belong, published in 1989, he states:

If you say we must return to Africa, what nation in Africa is willing to receive 40 million of us? ... . Let us be reasonable ... . America is not willing to give us eight or ten states, or even one state. Let’s be reasonable.

In the years before and after the American Revolutionary War, there existed movements among the African slaves for a return to Africa. In later years the call for an American Black homeland in Africa, Haiti, Central America, the Southern Black Belt or elsewhere struck responsive feelings among many Blacks -- but not because they actually expected or wanted a territorial haven. Such ideologies flourished after serious setbacks in the struggles for equality in the U.S. At those times, as now, for the masses of plebeian Blacks “Black Nationalism” meant militant rejection of white alliances and lying promises, plus a call for Black unity to repel the siege.

In effect, the Black nationalist leaders’ underlying aim is not to forge a separate Black nation but an internal colony, a subordinated nation (which does not now exist). Consciously or not, the separatist wing of the petty bourgeoisie aims to become a junior partner comprador class exploiting Black labor for the dominant American imperialist ruling class.

Blacks in the U.S. are caught in a contradiction which, barring genocide, will last as long as capitalism exists. They are constantly driven to try to realize the system’s promise of full participation, while they are always rejected in the end. This torturous contradiction created Farrakhan; he cannot resolve it and is doomed to reflect it.

Because Farrakhan wants to function as a broker between the ruling class and the masses of angry Blacks, he must champion mass sentiment to a degree. At present he has been able to get away with an openly conservative program because of the vacuum of leadership and struggle; masses are momentarily responsive to his strong call for unity and self-assertion and do not yet demand a radical content.

Even under these circumstances, Farrakhan and his followers could come under violent attack or repression by the capitalist state. It would then be necessary for revolutionary workers to defend him -- for the real intended target would be the Black masses. In the future, Farrakhan may be forced to raise militant demands and call meaningful actions, in order to hold leadership when mass struggles break out. In that case revolutionaries would join in common action, always warning against Farrakhan’s treacherous pro-capitalist leadership. This is the method of the united front.

Dreams and Nightmares

The alternative strategy among Black leaders has been integrationism, previously called assimilationism. This must not be confused with Marxist internationalism and interracialism. Marxists seek working-class unity across race and national lines. Our strategy always champions the rights of oppressed nations, peoples and races -- to prove that capitalism is the enemy and that the revolutionary struggle of the whole working class is the solution. In sharp contrast, integrationist leaders delude the Black masses that America can become a colorblind society without the overthrow of capitalism.

Worthwhile achievements like the removal of legal segregation were accomplished through determined struggles, but U.S. capitalism requires that society still depends on racial oppression. The real gains made by the Black struggle in the 1960’s and the early 1970’s came from the ghetto rebellions that swept urban America and caused the capitalists to act out of genuine fear. The revolts were sparked largely by unorganized poor workers who paid no attention to the efforts of the integrationist Martin Luther King or the NAACP to restrain them. The only nationally prominent leaders with real authority were Malcolm X and a few Black Power figures whose politics had a revolutionary cast.

The ghetto rioters wanted jobs, an end to police brutality and other concrete changes. They did not share the illusions about whites and Blacks walking hand in hand into the future. Integrationism was a vague but useful false consciousness under which the ruling class and the new Black middle-class layer, created in response to the mass struggle, could cement their hold. The inherently racist ruling class accepted dappling their governmental facade with some Black faces.

A big campaign effort for Black voting registration took place under the aegis of Jesse Jackson, starting in the late 1980’s. Throughout the 1970’s Black progress had been undermined by the deepening capitalist crisis. The Reagan years saw a turn to a more frontal assault. Despite the election of more Black politicians, things got worse for Black people. And Black voting declined.

Jackson’s presidential crusades in 1984 and 1988 were designed to reinvigorate the Black vote, prop up the declining Democratic Party -- and promote Jackson as the hegemonic leader of Blacks. Even though he was a protege of King, Jackson’s campaigns were notable for their barely hidden subordination of integrationism in favor of interest-group “Rainbow” politics in which Blacks would have substantial influence and peacefully coexist with all others.

Jackson succeeded in gaining Black leadership for a time. Hoping against hope, more Blacks voted again. But the reality of U.S. capitalism intruded. Jackson had to humble himself before the powerful in the Democratic Party. His Rainbow Coalition served as a cover for the Black and white liberal politicians who themselves served as front men for the capitalist attack on the oppressed and exploited in America. Farrakhan, who in the past had collaborated with Jackson and PUSH and had endorsed his campaign in 1984, began to inherit sizable chunks of Jackson’s base.

Anger ... and Inaction

Booker T. Washington, the acknowledged forerunner of Marcus Garvey and the NOI separatists, could plead with the ruling class by falsely claiming that Black slaves had dutifully assisted their masters in the Civil War and therefore should be treated well. But Farrakhan, to carry out his program for a separate Black economy, must express the rage and rejection of white domination felt by the masses in order to win their support and use it to compel concessions.

Farrakhan both expresses his followers’ rage and demands their social obedience. Hence his militant rhetoric and demonstrations of power, on the one hand -- and his avoidance of any anti-government or even anti-white acts, on the other. Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism is also in part a shopworn maneuver to make him seem hostile to the white ruling class; in reality scapegoating Jews lets the ruling class as a whole off the hook. (For background on the Black/Jewish confrontation, see articles in PR 22 and 40.)

Unlike Washington, Farrakhan cannot now cajole the white bourgeoisie. Not only is today’s monopoly economy far more interpenetrated with Black business, but Blacks are now predominantly working-class and live in the heart of the urban centers; while driven back, their threat of social “disobedience” has by no means been smashed. There is no defeat of historic proportions as with the betrayal of Blacks by the populists in the 1890’s. Farrakhan’s major card for winning capitalist support is this threat of rebellion and revolution. Without it the ruling class would ignore him.

In Back Where We Belong, arguing that the capitalists should back his aims, Farrakhan stated:

I say to you, it is in America’s best interest to permit us to do this. For right now blacks are becoming increasingly disenchanted, and we are a social tinderbox. And if black people rise up in an evil manner, we could foment revolution inside this country ... .

The danger for Farrakhan too is that the Black masses might carry out the threat; then his program would be smashed. True to his outlook, Farrakhan joined with Black politicians in calling for law and order in Los Angeles in the wake of the 1992 riots. The threat of rebellion is a two-edged sword for him, and Farrakhan knows it.

For all its blistering anti-white rhetoric and the menace implied by its Fruit of Islam guards, the NOI remains inert in response to brutal physical attacks on Black communities. The NOI is no different in this respect today than in the days of the martyred Malcolm X, who said:

It could be heard increasingly in the Negro communities: “Those Muslims talk tough but they never do anything unless somebody bothers Muslims.”

Black “nationalism” never fundamentally challenged capitalist society. It sought to achieve a parallel (if far smaller) Black economy internally. Leaders like Garvey and Elijah Muhammad never sunk roots in Africa, but they did create and nurture Black-owned businesses in the U.S.

The Nation’s Business

The NOI today follows in their footsteps. While most of its capital comes from members and friends, some comes from investment by Black businessmen. The NOI also has contracts with several big-city governments to police housing projects. Business Week touted Farrakhan’s entrepreneurship, adding that, “If necessary, the Nation says, it will turn to banks for funding.” (March 13, 1995.) Even if the banks in question are Black-owned, they are financially interpenetrated with the top financial and industrial corporations and the U.S. government, all dominated by white capitalists.

The firms started by Garvey and Elijah Muhammad inevitably meshed with the economic fabric of monopoly capitalism, if they lasted at all. That will be the fate of most of NOI’s projected businesses: a surface separateness for a marginal and actually dependent economy. Under continuing economic discrimination, Black business takes in approximately 1 percent of the national income. It exploits a tiny fraction of the Black working class; white capitalists directly carry out super-exploitation without a significant Black intermediary. To the extent that Black-owned businesses and franchises become big, they tend not only to merge into the larger economy but also to broaden their hiring policies.

The claim that the nationalist petty-bourgeoisie will hire more Black labor attracts support among Black workers, especially the unemployed. But given the economic decay, only a minuscule number can expect to be hired. And the capitalist drive for cheaper labor means that other subjugated minorities are forced to sell their labor power at super-exploited levels, thereby pressuring down wages in the relatively marginal Black businesses even further.

Women Stay Back

Black nationalism is a pro-capitalist ideology that mimics in many ways the values of the dominant capitalist culture. The Nation of Islam shares the paternalism that is a vital part of bourgeois culture and its other religions. In some ways it outdoes the reactionary white campaign for the restoration of “traditional family values”; it even advocates that women be veiled, treating them as male property.

Capitalism promotes the sanctity of the traditional bourgeois patriarchal family as a counter to class consciousness. The “protected” woman is supposedly shielded from the rigors of the workplace, the big questions of the world and the struggles in it; as the isolated and parochialized homebody, she serves to restrain class struggle by her spouse, and to transmit conservative ideology to the children. The man is supposed to feel big because he can control “his” woman, even though he and she are both controlled by the system.

A march that goes to Washington with the same message as the white right wing is no threat to the racists. It says to the forces it claims to oppose that it is really with them. It asks in effect, “Why attack us? We are really your allies.” Of course, rather than mollifying the reactionaries, this only tells them they have nothing to fear in continuing their attacks.

In emerging as the premier “race leader” at the march, Farrakhan tempered his separatism, his anti-Semitism and his doctrines on women. But his anti-woman message remained clear. Women were virtually excluded, and “atonement” to the noble, dependent females remained the theme. Women were still told to step aside and let the men take their “rightful place”: up front and in control. To cover for having to ally with Farrakhan in the face of his progressive friends, Jesse Jackson did his best to provide a liberal rationale for the obviously sexist format. Jessica Moore reports in the Daily Challenge (Oct. 2) that in a Harlem speech he spoke of “marching with a moral code centered around ‘no racism, no anti-Semitism, no anti-Arabism, no Asian bashing, no homophobia, no sexism ...’ ” And no women.

Gay-bashing is a natural companion to sexism. At a preparatory rally in Washington in August, Rev. George Stalling gave the authentic message behind the march in an address broadcast by National Public Radio. He said:

You know, some folks say if Minister Farrakhan hadn’t called [the march] ... we’d gladly join in. What do you want? Some Milquetoast, some sissy faggot, to lead you to the promised land?

He got thunderous applause. Farrakhan’s stalwarts give one message to the cadres of NOI and their periphery -- and another line that carefully avoids inflammatory statements to the broader public. The rhetoric on women, gays, Jews and whites varies, depending on audience and circumstance. Since speaking truth to the Black masses is not a high priority for these elitists, consistency is no virtue for them either.

In reality, it is the contradictions of crisis-ridden capitalism itself -- not gays, not Black women, not Black men, not godlessness -- that are tearing apart the bourgeois family structure. Black men get less pay for more work, if they can get jobs at all. Black women have always been forced into the workplace to survive -- at lower wages for comparable work than men. Black men and women are both underpaid compared to the white male standard, which itself is falling. Black unemployment, poverty and the high death rate of young Black men due to crime, drugs and disease is what has made it so hard to maintain Black marriages.

Thus, for all its obvious male chauvinism, Farrakhan’s message also disparages Black men. In saying that it is not primarily the capitalist system but Black men who are responsible for the crisis between Black men and women, Farrakhan’s ideology exacerbates the crisis.

That Farrakhan puts down Black women and men should be no surprise. Beneath all the rhetoric about self-help is his belief that the Black masses’ condition is basically their own fault. If the voter registration campaign does not gain the numbers the NOI has proclaimed, it will blame the supposed indolence of the Black masses rather than their awareness that the vote means little in their lives.

Disdaining uncontrolled mass action, Farrakhan is obliged to register his demand for a piece of the pie through elections, the same road to nowhere pursued by the integrationists and the Rainbow chasers before him. All these misleaders accept the idea that Blacks must seek minimal redress and reforms within the limits of capitalism. And whatever the initial radical rhetoric, given their fundamental loyalty to the capitalist system, relying on politicians inevitably means detouring the masses into electoral passivity.

The Electoral Deathtrap

It is no accident that Farrakhan made yet another voter registration drive a centerpiece of the march. Donald Muhammad of The Final Call, the NOI’s newspaper, quotes him as saying:

We believe that one million Black men sober, disciplined and organized, each one registered to vote with many more millions back in the various cities of America in support of us, we believe we can become a powerful voting bloc for the upcoming presidential elections, and, therefore, it is our desire to formulate a Black agenda which every presidential hopeful will have to speak to before he can get our vote. (Your Black Books Guide, Aug. 1995.)

But the capitalist candidates all have their own Black agenda: racism, joblessness, austerity. Playing the system soberly, by its rules, will not work, especially not now.

At the outset of his mobilization for the march, Farrakhan stressed the need for Blacks to pull out of the Democratic Party because it takes them for granted, and register as independents to maximize their bargaining power. Having brought major political leaders like Jackson into line, he has toned down the idea of withdrawing from the Democrats.

Farrakhan always emphasizes his loyalty to the doctrines of Elijah Muhammad. He keeps the faith in that he too denounces confrontational actions by Blacks. That applies above all to his own march (an action Muhammad could never have taken): he has emphasized how controlled and respectable it would be. When he called on Black non-marchers not to work on October 16, he urged them to stay home and pray.

His electoral line and political coalition-building amount to a clear departure from his mentor’s abstentionist views. Given the material conditions in which his organization and the Black community now find themselves, he has no choice but to orient to the state and therefore to electoralism. The state has funded the “safety net.” The state enforces affirmative action. Only the state could mobilize the capital which Farrakhan needs to carry out his Black capitalist program. The state today gives him a few contract morsels to whet his appetite for more.

Marx pointed out that the working class can only fit itself for power through class struggle. Many of the concerns of the march -- “Black on Black” crime, drugs, etc. -- can be overcome only through mass action against the racist capitalist state, not by passively voting for it.

Race and Revolution

Under the surface the American masses are boiling angry and desperately frustrated. Isolated riots and strike actions flare up -- but they do not become widespread because the participants and their counterparts elsewhere do not see in them a viable strategy against the one-sided class and race war waged against them. Yet a titanic explosion is inevitable.

In this context, the right wing is radicalizing, in an attempt to reach the masses with their fraudulent message. Attuned to the deep rumblings under the surface, they are arming themselves politically and militarily for the coming struggles. In contrast, the remains of the middle-class left and the present leadership of the oppressed can only put forward, once again, the powderpuff strategy of electoralism: independent political action, Rainbow blocs, reformist labor parties.

Instead, what is vitally needed is a communist revolutionary party whose program reflects the actual needs and interests of the proletariat -- especially of Black workers, the potentially most volatile and a very powerful section of the proletariat. Such a party, composed primarily of advanced workers, would mobilize for mass action instead of the electoral crapshoot. A revolutionary party would run in elections only to better expose the capitalist system, not to support it.

The world capitalist crisis has already caused the collapse of Stalinism and the pulverization of the middle classes. With these barriers shattered, the objective possibilities for the re-creation of authentic proletarian communist parties are vastly improved. In the U.S., given their history and strategic emplacement in today’s urban industrial economy, Blacks will play a leading role in the return of class struggle and therefore in the building of a revolutionary party, way out of proportion to their numbers in the general population. The absence of such an alternative at this moment allows Farrakhan to emerge as the champion of Black unity and self-assertion, although his political program is a deadly trap.

Past and present conditions have led Blacks to a profound distrust of whites. Much of the Black experience with so-called Marxists, Black as well as white, has also led to suspicion of manipulation and hidden agendas. Such distrust can only be overcome by proven and sustained practice, not simply promises.

Revolutionary policy must include support for organized mass self-defense at all times. Winning white workers to the fight against racism is both possible and necessary if capitalism in this country is to be overthrown. But when Blacks face police violence and other thug attacks, they have every reason to organize their own self-defense. As well, authentic Trotskyists in the U.S. have always advanced the right of Black self-organization. At a time when the Black struggle is advancing, revolutionaries advocate a mass Black organization within which they can campaign openly for revolutionary proletarian leadership. These are important tactics, both for defending the genuine need for Black unity and for demonstrating the necessity of a revolutionary class strategy.

The revolutionary party always fights for effective struggle against racism and capitalism, to demonstrate that white workers share Black workers’ basic interests. That is why the LRP from our inception has advocated a general strike in this country. That is the way the working class can achieve a genuine class identity and the racist-inspired barriers of the past can begin to be broken down.

For example, when we fight for the general strike, a class-wide action, we aim to politically arm such actions with demands like jobs for all, an escalating scale of wages and a sliding scale of hours -- to divide up the necessary work among all. We demand the building of public works to provide vital services and employment. We demand an end to racist attacks and attacks on immigrants.

Such a program meets the immediate interests of Black workers. Capitalism has already proved that only full employment, not affirmative action programs and quotas which accept the present (and declining) level of employment, can guarantee Blacks jobs. Such demands are in fact in the interest of all workers, because all are now under the threat of peon wages and massive unemployment. The socialist program both promotes class unity and fights against racism at the same time.

Today the fighters for such a program are few but are beginning once again to increase. In the U.S., small but significant new layers of young workers are coming to revolutionary consciousness. Mostly, but not entirely, Black and Latino, they are no fans of Farrakhan. However, many are confused by his appeal. Believing in an interracial world, they are confused by the evident need for Blacks to organize their own defense in a racist society; how can these tenets both be true? Only authentic Marxism can answer such questions and point the way forward to what we most need, a revolutionary, internationalist and interracialist vanguard party.

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