Wednesday, July 04, 2007

What Did You Say?

A friend of mine, Eljeer Hawkins of NYC and Socialist Alternative/CWI activist, had an article published recently in Justice Magazine titled "What Did You Say?":
Media personality Don Imus, Hip-Hop artist 50 cent, comic/actor Michael Richards of Seinfeld fame and the resurgence of the gore and snuff films like the Quentin Tarantino presented Hostel I and II are at the center of an important debate about racism, sexism, violence and the use of language within U.S. society. To discuss these individuals or events in isolation is to underestimate the impact of capitalism on cultural products. This is a system based on profit, divide and rule and unbridled exploitation of the working class and poor. The current discussion reflects the crisis facing the working class and youth and exposes the true nature of American “democracy”.


At the height of the collective revolutionary struggles of the past, there was self-awareness, a consciousness of social and political uplift. The words of hate were still used within the community and general society, but those sectors engaged in struggle influenced the wider society. The call for justice, dignity and freedom, terms of endearment like sister, brother or comrade replaced the terms of our mental and physical oppression during and after slavery. The greatest expression of this was the “I AM A MAN” slogan of the 1968 Black sanitation workers strike in Memphis, Tennessee.

The language and actions of hate, discrimination and inferiority must be vigorously combated by the collective action of the working class and youth. The systemic culture of racism, sexism, homophobia and misogyny demands building a sustained mass movement of the working class and youth. A mass movement would be multi-ethnic, gender balanced, democratic, accountable, and politicized, learning valuable lessons from the civil rights, women’s and LGBT movement. This mass movement would also need to prioritize the construction of a political party of the working class and poor that would stand for nationalized healthcare, jobs for all at a living wage, union rights and ending police violence.

Justice: What Did You Say?...

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