The Historical Development of the U.S. Proletariat: A Rebuff of J Sakai’s Settlers

by S Mazur

“With this general prosperity in which the productive forces of bourgeois society are developing so luxuriantly, as much as this is at all possible within the limits of bourgeois relations, there can be no question of a real revolution. Such a revolution is only possible in those periods where these two characters, the modern productive forces and the bourgeois forms of production, come into contradiction with one another. A new revolution is only possible in consequence of a new crisis. It, however, is just as certain as the latter.” -Marx and Engels

J. Sakai’s Settlers is a book which completely vulgarizes our understanding of the U.S. proletariat’s history, using manipulated statistics, nonexistent or otherwise unreliable sources with literary prose to argue from a standpoint of race science that is distant from historical materialism. The conclusions largely promote petty bourgeois abstentionism from the hard work of struggling against white chauvinism and dealing with contradictions among the people. Sakai takes some general historical truths and highlights the racist oppression of the most oppressed parts of the working class, pointing to numerous examples of social chauvinism, but he must resort to an unscientific understanding of colonialism to argue that this chauvinism is somewhat fixed, as white proletarians semi-permanently have a petty bourgeois, or settler, consciousness, rooted in material relationships of aspiring class ascension on the backs of their oppressed brothers and sisters. We will start by discussing what a settler is, then touch on how the founders of Marxism dealt with racism and the problems of America’s foundation in settler colonialism.

The leaders of world proletarian revolution—starting in the First International, up to Lenin and the Communist International, and beyond that with Mao Zedong—equipped themselves in the most painstaking fashion with a thorough knowledge of the conditions in the U.S. so that they could give as authoritative advice and instruction as possible. There was no doubt about the fact that all saw America developing as the powerful mainstay of imperialism, with its lacking of a legacy of feudalism and developing in a “purely bourgeois fashion” [2] making the development of a proletarian movement slower. Unlike Sakai, however, their role was in marking the objective events that made the subjective possibility of revolution available and inevitable. All saw the conversion of whatever class some white people belonged to into being proletarian as the basis for being able to make revolution. Meanwhile, Sakai and his supporters make an argument for disunity and will go to great heights to push against this analysis.

The Concept of Settler Colonialism’s Uses and Misuses

As discussed in “Race, Class, and Stratification” by Cathal, Marx and Engels both went to lengths to explain what role that settler plays. Contradiction between colonizer and colonized does not remain the principal one forever, a colony can become its opposite with its own proletariat. And this is precisely what happened in the United States.

What characterizes a settler society in the years of early colonialism is that land is the basis of capital accumulation. This means that most commodities are agricultural, with settler farmers combining their farming with craft production and petty trading of any marketable surplus, making land the most important commodity to acquire. They take the cash crops which were tilled and bring them to a merchant—representing commercial capital—to make a profit. This commercial capital spurred the development of the money economy and commercial agriculture, taking some land out of the hands of colonial authorities with which to speculate and sell. There is some differentiation among settlers, with the Southern landlord class developing large estates and broad acres tilled by slaves, selling rice and tobacco in large amounts to English commercial capitalists. Market centers developed unevenly in this area as this landlord class did not need to buy certain goods; the goods they needed to live could simply be produced on the plantation by enslaved artisans. Then there is the small farmer, who live more inland or in geographic areas with less advantageous soil and weather, requiring them to strive to be more self-sufficient and more dependent on growing capitalist relations in towns to buy from smiths, weavers, wagon makers, etc.

Though the contradiction between these developing classes would become sharper later, they both however were dependent on the ability to acquire more arable soil. There arose companies and royal charters which would title land to pioneers, or seek to restrict it, all based on the economic needs of the Crown. As Marx explained in Capital Vol. 1:

“We have seen that the expropriation of the mass of the people from the soil forms the basis of the capitalist mode of production. The essence of a free colony, on the contrary, consists in this – that the bulk of the soil is still public property, and every settler on it therefore can turn part of it into his private property and individual means of production, without hindering the later settlers in the same operation. This is the secret both of the prosperity of the colonies and of their inveterate vice – opposition to the establishment of capital.” [3]

Indeed, in the town themselves, there was early proletarians working in shipbuilding, textile manufacturing, and in iron and glass works, but these towns largely remained places for the export of raw materials and agricultural produce back to England, the opposition to establishment of capital being the main tendency as England began to seek out its world monopoly. This slowed the more rapid development of capitalism that was seen elsewhere. With an almost endless amount of land that could be acquired by violence against the lands’ original inhabitants, the propertyless that grew in seaboard towns could become landed bourgeois and were not convinced of the necessity of becoming waged workers. Marx noted that in such circumstances it was hard to develop a cohesive proletariat, as there was no ability to create a reserve army of labor to regulate the value of labor power, and that native-born workers would develop certain extra-privileges by being able to negotiate higher wages considering the constant shortages:

“In colonial countries the law of supply and demand favours the working man. Hence the relatively high standard of wages in the United States. Capital may there try its utmost. It cannot prevent the labour market from being continuously emptied by the continuous conversion of wages labourers into independent, self-sustaining peasants. The position of a wages labourer is for a very large part of the American people but a probational state, which they are sure to leave within a longer or shorter term. To mend this colonial state of things the paternal British Government accepted for some time what is called the modern colonization theory, which consists in putting an artificial high price upon colonial land, in order to prevent the too quick conversion of the wages labourer into the independent peasant.” [4]

Indeed, the Bacon’s Rebellion that Sakai notes reveals how such restrictions on colonization led to the early pangs of colonial dissent. The large issue behind this insurrection was not just a question of class inequality but also a demand on the royal authorities of the Virginia colony to protect against the Susquehannock tribe and to open more land for African slaves and indentured white settlers. There would be more loose policies when European immigrants were needed to be a bulwark against indigenous raids and as a pressure release valve of class contradictions in the colonies themselves—opening the frontier when need be to keep poor, propertyless whites from rebelling and restricting it when they needed more production through “free” labor. The 1763 Proclamation Line after Pontiac’s Rebellion, where indigenous people went on an offensive to destroy several English forts and posts from the Great Lakes area to the Ohio River Valley, represented likewise a probation on the further acquisition of land and would lead to the further development of settler nationalism.

By the time American independence was won, the first bourgeois revolution would sweep away much of these restrictions and open areas west of the Alleghenies to conquest, with canals and steamboats leading a westward movement, later followed up by railroads and locomotives. Likewise, the vicious importation of slaves and the growth of chattel slavery became the most reliable way to maintain a pool of labor. By this time England now enjoyed a virtual monopoly of the world market and the role of cotton in its production in its great mills led Marx and Engels to conclude that this new bourgeois republic rested upon slavery and the production of cotton, the agricultural backwater of the Crown’s ambitions to rule the world.

“This was perfectly correct for the year 1847. At that time the world trade of the United States was limited mainly to the importation of immigrants and industrial products and to the export of cotton and tobacco, hence of products of southern slave-labor. The northern states produced chiefly corn and meat for the slave states…” [5]

Both Marx and Engels saw the United States as a means of propping up European reaction for these reasons. America, at that time, was essentially still a colony, a dumping ground for the products and proletarians to be transformed into settlers, leaving it without a large proletariat. Engels noted that the promise of land acted as diversion from class struggle; the hope of obtaining it was highest in generations when there was more to expect from speculating in it:

“Land is the basis of speculation [in the United States], and the American possibility of and craze for speculation is the chief influence of the bourgeoisie. Only when we have a generation of native-born workers who have nothing more to expect from speculation, will we have firm ground under our feet in America.” [6]

Soon indeed this chief influence would receive its significant blow. Throughout the 19th century, the discovery of gold in California and the swift settlement of the Midwest, along with the sprouting of new towns in the New West, started to spell the end of the frontier and also show signs of ascendancy of a new imperialist country. Likewise, the introduction of rationalization and new machinery translated into great productive leaps in output but a lower standard of living for the farmer. Before 1860 it took 61 hours to produce an acre of wheat. Within the next 4 decades, it took 3 hours and 19 minutes [7]. In 1890 the Bureau of the Census officially declared that the internal frontier was closed, and in the 1870s and 90s the U.S. experienced its first major crises of overproduction, in part because the prices of wheat completely collapsed.

Soon practically half of all farmers in the U.S. no longer owned their farms, becoming tenants, managers, or part owners instead. Nearly half of the value of farms belonging to full owners already belonged to bankers, mortgage brokers, and local merchants. Farmer’s debt amounted in the billions, and the value of all agricultural land was largely not appraising. [8] Many would go on to have their land foreclosed on and would migrate to the factories and mines, being transformed from the settler subject who profited by their ability to enterprise on the land, to having to sell their labor power to be able to secure any sort of living in a new, open labor market. Sakai’s thesis is that white workers historically were able to be in receipt of stolen land in a way that persistently bourgeoisfied them, but it is hard to account for this enduring benefit as it was taken from them.

With the advent of industrial capitalism, those who were formerly settlers were divided into two, either proletarian or bourgeois. The indigenous were taken from their hunting and fishing grounds and were likewise made proletarian where they were not annihilated by genocide and the spread of infectious disease, and, as we will see in the next section, African slaves went through a similar process.

On the U.S. Civil War

The United States was born from an independence struggle that had remarkably little social revolution as part of its program. And, as a result, half of the new country was a network of slave labor plantations. Half of the ruling class were slave owners. And the class interests of the slaveowning class marked the new society in its mode of expansion, its foreign policy, its culture, its approach to the Native people west of the Appalachians, its tariffs, and so on. Sakai takes this contradiction and the importance it held for the development of class struggle in the U.S. and makes it out to seem as competing clashes between cross-class alliances of those supporting the slave system and those wanting the eradication of freed slaves. In doing so, he promotes an idealism in history masquerading as materialism.

Sharp contradictions developed since independence between the Northern industrial capitalists and the Southern slaveowning landlords. In looking at what the planters gave to the Northern merchants, slaver statistician J.D.B. De Bow calculated that tens of millions had to be paid to shipowners, to financiers who manipulated foreign imports, etc. For the landowning class, it was proposed that if they were to hoard up their cotton, they could realize seventy to one hundred million more than that which otherwise went to the North. Southern dependence on the North, according to De Bow, “stands in the attitude of feeding a vast population of [Northern] merchants, shipowners, capitalists, and others who, without claims on her progeny, drunk up the life blood of her trade. Where goes the value of our labor but to those who, taking advantage of our folly, ship for us, buy for us, sell to us, and, after turning our own capital to their profitable account, return laden with our money to enjoy their easily earned opulence at home.” [9]

To respond to this, the reactionary Southern ruling class drew up a program that demanded opposition to Northern policies, against the cheap labor generated by new Irish and German immigrants, protective tariffs raising prices of manufactures for agricultural enterprises, subsidies for ships to increase the tonnage of trade in Northern areas, greater internal investments to spur movement westward, and against a national banking system to stop the issuance of paper currencies regionally that could spur inflation. In other words, they opposed the consolidation of a bourgeois democratic revolution.

Likewise, the slave system was reaching its own crisis, as the productivity of the Old South was becoming increasingly overextended. As Marx explains:

“The cultivation of the Southern export articles, cotton, tobacco, sugar, etc., carried on by slaves, is only remunerative as long as it is conducted with large gangs of slaves, on a mass scale and on wide expanses of a naturally fertile soil, which requires only simple labor. Intensive cultivation, which depends less on fertility of the soil than on investment of capital, intelligence and energy of labor, is contrary to the nature of slavery.” [10]

On the other hand, the emerging industry of the North proved to be more efficient. The total value of capital invested in industry would exceed the value of all farmland between the Atlantic and Pacific. [11]

To survive, the slave system needed to expand and acquire new arable land. The plantations themselves acted as large labor camps that tilled the soil in a way that was not sustainable, reducing the total acreage available over time. Seeing themselves reduced to the status of an agricultural vassalage to the growing manufacturing power of the North, the slaveholders likened themselves to their forefathers who fought for independence against the British empire before them. Marx continued:

“Finally, the number of actual slaveholders in the South of the Union does not amount to more than three hundred thousand, a narrow oligarchy that is confronted with many millions of so-called poor whites, whose numbers have been constantly growing through concentration of landed property and whose condition is only to be compared with that of the Roman plebeians in the period of Rome’s extreme decline. Only by acquisition and the prospect of acquisition of new Territories, as well as by filibustering expeditions, is it possible to square the interests of these poor whites with those of the slaveholders, to give their restless thirst for action a harmless direction and to tame them with the prospect of one day becoming slaveholders themselves. A strict confinement of slavery within its old terrain, therefore, was bound according to economic law to lead to its gradual effacement, in the political sphere to annihilate the hegemony that the slave states exercised through the Senate, and finally to expose the slaveholding oligarchy within its own states to threatening perils from the poor whites. In accordance with the principle that any further extension of slave Territories was to be prohibited by law, the Republicans therefore attacked the rule of the slaveholders at its root. The Republican election victory was accordingly bound to lead to open struggle between North and South. And this election victory, as already mentioned, was itself conditioned by the split in the Democratic camp.” [12]

Marx saw that the defeat of slavery was an essential precondition for developing a proletariat class in the U.S. He worried of President Buchanan’s resolutions of spreading slavery through early U.S. imperialism in Mexico and Cuba, and took note of the growing conflict happening in the western territories. And during this same time, many of America’s first proletarian revolutionaries were emerging, taking note of the conflict.

In St. Louis, for example, a river town situated where the Missouri River and the broad Mississippi meet, there emerged one of the heaviest concentrations of factory workers in the country and most were not native born. A great many of them came from Germany, and formed part of a very large German speaking population from St. Louis to Chicago, to Cincinnati and into Pennsylvania, many coming remembering Europe’s great battles in 1848. Radical Republican John Charles Fremont recruited heavily among these class-conscious German workers, and one of the first known actions of communists in the U.S. was the armed struggle led in part by Colonel Joseph Weydemeyer, a student of Marx.

The heralding of this conflict came through slave rebels and John Brown. For his part, Sakai is careful to note the quotes of one of Brown’s financiers while ignoring freed slave Frederick Douglas’ contribution to the rebellion and tactically ignoring Brown’s vision. John Brown and his followers, walking away from successfully defeating the slavers of Kansas through violence, tried to launch a revolutionary war of slaves against the slavemasters and against the armed forces of the United States. They raided a federal armory at Harpers Ferry, on the fringe of the Virginia farmlands, hoping to seize arms to distribute among the slaves. Brown’s vision was to use the Appalachian mountain trails as a roadway—moving armed slaves to strike against plantations, rushing freed slaves northward, and bringing volunteers and arms into the mountain base areas of the revolution. He planned to proclaim an independent republic of freed slaves. [13]

Brown’s forces were defeated. He was captured, tried, and hanged. But his action sharply polarized the United States and spurred the events which then led to the war and complex alliance of forces that overthrew slavery. Sakai takes great time in his chapters around this contradiction to depict the Republican Party as mostly interested in the repatriation of slaves out of America.

The actual incoming war was (in real life and history) led by leaders who were representatives of the northern capitalists, like Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and William Tecumseh Sherman. There were revolutionaries advising and pushing from the wings, including antislavery revolutionary Frederick Douglas, the great representative of freedman and slaves, along with Radical Republicans like Thaddeaus Stevens. These and John Brown were the American Jacobins, representing the radical petty bourgeoisie, wanting a utopian “liberty” and “justice for all” that they thought could be arrived at once the bourgeois republic was liberated from the mark of slavery. They would never come to lead the war against slavery; the Northern industrial bourgeoisie would ultimately lead it, but this push did compel the war and later Reconstruction effort to take on a progressive character.

For Sakai this is a challenge to his historiography that he cannot accept, because his certain kind of non-materialist identity politics is unable to see that the end of slavery did not mainly come from slave revolt—though slave revolts, desertions from plantations, and armed ex-slaves did play an important and often decisive role—but that the main material force which crushed the slavocracy was an army of a million plus white men and newlyenlisted Black men, backed by the whole economic and military apparatus of the northern farm-and-capitalist society (grown on stolen soil), that the main leaders of this revolution were representatives of the Union who had been vacillating on abolitionism as a cause, and were always ambivalent of the idea of social equality between black and white, and that the forces of Lincoln and Grant were not the ones who betrayed African American people, but it was their successors within the Northern bourgeoisie.

Sakai and his followers want to desperately ignore Lincoln’s role and declare it “social patriotism” to recognize the historical fact that the final consolidating act of the American republic was at its central drama the abolition of African slavery. For opportunists it is stressful to see that such abolition happened under the flag of the Union, not under John Brown’s Slave rebel flag, as they think that to admit such a thing would mean to uphold the same stars and stripes to today. We should ignore Sakai and see Marx’s point that the bourgeoisie, in its struggle against feudalism and slavery, has played (for a particular historical period) a dynamic and revolutionary role, that ended up establishing a new and oppressive system, but that also helped develop its gravedigger.

In what would serve as the opening salvos of bitter battles and strikes in the coming decades, many workers joined the Union army or militias that fought against slavery. In 1860 Missouri governor Clairborne Fox Jackson, a proslavery diehard, was scheming to pull his state into the Confederacy, and preparations were made to take the state’s armory in St. Louis, the largest warehouse of weapons on the western frontier. Revolutionary immigrant workers meanwhile themselves prepared with drills and unit movements they had learned from the 1848 revolutions and would go on to seize St. Louis and the armory, shattering the schemes of the slaveowners, ultimately cutting off the slaveowners of the Missouri from the rest of the Confederacy. These antislavery units would defy Lincoln’s orders—he did not want to offend the border states—and would free slaves from plantations in this area.

The war would come to its conclusion soon as the U.S. army waged its war in a way that reflected the changing nature of U.S. society: it mobilized great industrial strength and the growing population advantage, ultimately carving up the Confederacy and destroying its ability to continue the war by wearing down its troop strength and destroying its rail system. Marx foresaw that this would be how the war would be concluded. The march by General Sherman to the sea and, likewise, Sheridan’s destruction of Lee’s granary in the Shenandoah valley, were methods that were used to defeat the slaver army that the North could not defeat otherwise. These same methods of “total war” would foreshadow what would see be used against the Native people of the plains.

Soon Black slaves would see the Northern capitalists abandon the bourgeois democratic aspirations of Reconstruction to draw on the South’s labor supply, ultimately converting those slaves into tenant farmers through what Lenin termed to be a “semi-slavery system” of share cropping and debt peonage which was maintained by the ruling class by use of lynching through the Ku Klux Klan and other racist organizations. With the continued crisis in agriculture with mechanization but also with the flow of southern and Eastern European immigrants being disrupted by the First World War, many would start heading north with the Great Migration.

Years after the end of the Civil War and with the election of Grant, Marx wrote to Engels:

“What do you think of the workers of the United States? This first explosion against the associated oligarchy of capital, which has arisen since the Civil War, will naturally again be suppressed but can very well form the point of origin for the constitution of an earnest workers’ party. The policy of the new president will make the Negroes, and the great expropriation of land (especially the fertile land) in favor of railways, mining, etc., companies will make the peasants of the west, who are already dissatisfied, allies of the workers. So that a nice sauce is being stirred over there, and the transference of the center of the International to the United States may obtain a very remarkable post festum opportuneness.” [14]

Marx demanded that the first Communist organization be constituted in the U.S. because of the changes that took place since the Civil War (the “nice sauce”). In this connection he stressed that farmers in view of their growing agrarian crisis and the question of land for Black people be placed in direct connection with the formation of a proletarian Party. Seeing how important the question of the U.S. was, Marx saw the Civil War as being equal to the Paris Commune in its historical importance, as it crystallized class relationships in a way that converted millions into proletarians and thus provided ground for unity, including for Black workers. It was also made clear with the “Compromise” of 1877 where the bourgeoisie, under President Rutherford B. Hayes, relocated federal troops from the South where it had been enforcing Reconstruction back to the north so that it could skirmish against the growing proletariat in the battles to come.

Racial Integration and the CPUSA

The next large part of Sakai’s book is dedicated to showing that the trade union movement in the U.S. was never just a movement for the protection and improvement of worker wages and conditions. There was indeed an element where the trade union goals were the restriction of the labor market, which in the case of the United States involved Asian exclusion and the Jim Crow separation of Black people out of trade union organizations. The notorious racist outlook of the skilled trades was grounded on this. There were many times where the worker’s movement in Western states (California, the Sierra Nevada mines, beyond) where the struggle appeared as pogroms. Sakai’s method in looking at this is to extract every occasion where the struggle of oppressed workers was opposed (or betrayed) by some representative of the “white workers” to present a false theory that there is no white proletariat and on why there cannot be positive assimilation.

How are racist ideas operationalized and used by the ruling class? Working people are attempting to sell a commodity (individual labor power) and, as such, are taught to often meet and confront others of their class as competitors in the labor market. This gives rise to ideas that are promoted by the bourgeoisie which serve the self or “group” over sections of the class in general. Every time a worker goes forward and says, “let’s keep our jobs at home,” or “they took our jobs,” similar sentiments are at play when workers scab on each other, oppose affirmative action hiring, or demand tariffs on trade. This is promotion of the internalization of the competitive divisions not created by them but by capitalists, rooting the worker in thinking of themselves as highly individualized sellers of their only commodity, which is their labor power.

For Black workers, the First World War boosted the demand for labor as immigration from Europe paused and the need for military production shot through the roof, ultimately proletarianizing many former sharecroppers. U.S. imperialism had used the vestiges of slavery and of Jim Crow to lower the value of Black labor power, both explicitly and implicitly through the use of job recruiters who collected a percentage of pay, and which ultimately drew them into work which was generally the most unsafe, dirtiest, and lowest in wages. Likewise they were subject to the effects of the boom-bust cycle of crisis, where they would be placed into work during periods of expansion only to be expelled at higher rates than white workers to be part of an industrial reserve army which exerted pressure on the entire working class to not raise its sights or risk being replaced. Race riots and lynchings would ultimately be organized by the bourgeoisie to maintain this relationship in the new urban concentrations in which Black workers lived.

The Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA) under Comrade Stalin’s leadership of the Communist International had the task of forging class unity against such division, and to organize against racial oppression in all its forms—standing against segregation, lynching, discrimination, and the various exploitative arrangements Black workers faced. The 6th Congress of the Communist International emphasized that this could only be done when Black and white workers were united around this question:

“[T]he Negro masses will not be won for the revolutionary struggles until such time as the most conscious sections of the white workers show, by action, that they are fighting with the Negroes against all racial discrimination and persecution.” [15]

Going from this, the CPUSA created a National Department that worked with the Central Committee to formulate policies on work with Black people and to direct that work. Districts were instructed to create committees focused on this. Over the next ten years a concentrated fight developed in the CP against white chauvinism that underestimated the importance of the role of the Black masses in the struggle, against open and indirect antagonism to Black comrades and the masses, against failing to organize and carry out work around issues Black people were concerned with, against the failure to fight for the integration of the reactionary trade unions, and against not bringing Black comrades into leadership and other responsible posts.

In areas where Black and white workers were more integrated in production and where landlord plantation ownership and share-tenantry were not the main social trend, Communist shop units would act as a nucleus of the struggle and in making sure Black workers were organized together with white workers on the basis of full equality. Because of this policy and the struggles it garnered, the Party went from having 200 Black members at the start of the 1930s to over 6,000 throughout the late 1920s to the 1930s. Soon these policies began to bear fruit.

During this time there were struggles such as the Gastonia textile strike, when white workers battled against a racist mob which planned an ambush on Otto Hall, the Black Communist organizer for the union. The white workers smashed through a police cordon and rescued him from a planned lynching. Likewise in Bridgeport, Ohio, Black and white workers came to the protection of Alex Dorsey, a Black Communist organizer with the National Miners’ Union.

In fact in the many CIO unions that Communists worked in, contracts that preferred white workers around seniority and promotions were exposed and opposed. There was organized struggles against unequal accommodations, around different company housing for workers, and around different conditions. Earl Browder’s Tehran line and the liquidation of the Party spelled the beginning of the end of struggle among Black proletarians and tenant farmers, and the CP entering the New Deal coalition tore up the organized work in these fronts for the sake of unprincipled peace with the Democratic Party.

Ultimately such divisions are real but the contradictions created through imperialism can only ultimately be defeated by proletarian unity centered in the Communist Party. The history of the Party shows that, to the extent that the CP was able to lead the proletariat, racial unity was in fact forged on the basis of common struggle, in opposition to what Sakai calls for. This does not mean ignoring or closing one’s eyes in the struggle of Black people against white supremacy, quite the contrary. There can only truly be revolution in this country by this fight being wedded to the development of socialist revolution.

Sakai goes to great lengths to a point of inventing quotations and source material to argue that there cannot be a proletarian Party capable of unifying both Black and white proletarians, and where the history proves otherwise it must be reinvented to make his point. Sakai’s historical method around such invention is not one rooted in proletarian internationalism and Marxism but on a syncretism of petty bourgeois nationalism and inchoate identity politics. Using things like the presence of racist ideas or having a mortgage on a home as a structural determination of class, we are given a picture of white people as the principal oppressors and the contradiction as principally racial rather than based in class. Racist mob violence and segregationist policies supported by the backward sections of white people are to be fought with revolutionary integration, and the struggles of the most oppressed sections of the proletariat for equality must be tied to the fight for socialist revolution. Negating one or the other obscures the role of the movement.

[1] “Marx and Engels on Revolution in America,” by Heinz Neuman. Little Red Library.

[2] “Letter to Sorge, September 16, 1885,” Friedrich Engels.

[3] “Capital, Volume 1,” Karl Marx.

[4] “Wage Labor and Capital,” Karl Marx.

[5] “Poverty of Philosophy,” Karl Marx.

[6] “Letter to Sorge, January 6, 1892,” Friedrich Engels

[7] “Labor Used to Produce Field Crops: Estimates by States” Statistical Bulletin No. 346. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farm Production Economics Division. Economic Research Service.

[8] “The Economics of American Agriculture,” A.B. Richman.

[9] “History of the United States,” Mary and Charles Beard.

[10] “The North American Civil War,” Karl Marx.

[11] Charles and Mary Beard.

[12] “The North American Civil War,” Karl Marx.

[13] “Purged Away with Blood: John Brown’s War.” American Battlefield Trust

[14] Heinz Neuman.

[15] “Our Negro Work,” Cyril Briggs.