NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • Du Bois Believed Black Workers Must Lead the Struggle for Democracy


    Anthony Monteiro Part 2 - On the 145th anniversary of the birth of W.E.B. Du Bois HIS NAME looks at Du Bois's view on racism, capitalism and the role of black workers -   February 21, 13
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Audio

      Share to Twitter
    Share to Facebook




    This interview is why I support TRNN. Both interviewer and interviewee want the truth! - David
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    Anthony Monteiro is a professor of African-American studies at Temple University in Philadelphia.

    Transcript

    Du Bois Believed Black Workers Must Lead the Struggle for DemocracyPAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome back to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore.

    We're continuing our discussion about the life of W. E. B. Du Bois. On February 23, it'll be the 145th anniversary of his birth.

    And joining us again is Anthony Monteiro. He's a professor of African-American studies at Temple University in Philadelphia.

    Thanks for joining us again, Anthony.

    ANTHONY MONTEIRO, PROF. AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY: Thank you, Paul.

    JAY: So we'll just kind of pick up where we left off. If you haven't watched part one of this, you probably should, 'cause we're just going to keep going.

    So if you look at the arc of Du Bois's life, very early on I think he talks about himself as being a socialist. At various points he says that the question of racism is really a problem of capitalism. But that also gets mixed in different ways and expresses itself in different ways over its life. So talk a bit about that.

    MONTEIRO: Yeah. That's very important. You know, he studies in Germany and he attends meetings of the Social Democratic Party. He takes a course with the great German sociologist Max Weber, who was identified and identified himself as a socialist.

    When he comes back to the United States, he identifies with socialism, especially in the 20th century, and with Eugene Debs, although he didn't vote for him. He criticizes the Socialist Party because he differs with it on the question of race, and this will be very, very important.

    Ultimately, Du Bois rethinks race and class, and he puts them in what I would call a dialectical relationship. They are mutually determining in the framework of American capitalism.

    Now, that is different from what most Marxists and what most socialists, black and white, were saying at the start of the century. Most were saying that class determines race or that race was a ideological outgrowth of capitalism's drive to separate the working class. Du Bois argues that they are mutually determining.

    This understanding will finally be crystalized in his 1935 book Black Reconstruction in America. And he begins it—the first chapter is entitled "The Black Worker", and the second chapter is entitled "The White Worker". So he's already looking at the racial dynamics within the working class.

    But to make a long story short, his study of the Civil War and reconstruction leads him to conclude that the overturning of slavery, of the slave system, had to do with the Emancipation Proclamation and 200,000 black primarily workers joining the Union Army. They joined the Union Army not to fight to keep the Confederacy in the Union, but they joined the Union Army in a crusade to overturn slavery. So they turn the Civil War from a regional conflict into a revolutionary war to overturn the system of chattel slavery. And thus he identifies for that period the black proletariat as the vanguard of a struggle for democracy and for socialism.

    JAY: And he had some very specific experience, too, which is that while he supported the trade unions and organizing of workers, he ran up against a lot of very racist union leaders.

    MONTEIRO: Well, there's no question. And, in fact, he argues in Black Reconstruction, and other places before Black Reconstruction, that most white workers were hesitant, first of all, to be in unions with black workers (this is in the 19th century), and then, as the war, the Civil War drug on, became tired of it and did not see their interest reflected in overturning slavery. In fact, many of them felt that what with the overturning of slavery, there would be all of these workers who would now be competition for our jobs and would lower our wages.

    And therefore the struggle against slavery was not organic to the class struggle and the organization of unions and the fight against capital as a whole. Du Bois says for this reason the slaves become the, so to speak, advanced forces of the proletariat struggle, which focused, as Marx understood, and had to focus upon the defeat of the system of chattel slavery.

    JAY: So what do you think that shows in terms of today? Do you think the equation has changed in any way?

    MONTEIRO: No, I don't. There are variations upon it, but I think in substance that equation remains the same. You know, take even voting in presidential elections for the party that is considered the party that's more liberal in terms of race. The majority of white working people vote against that party. They see black labor as competitors and as a threat to their privileges, what they conceive of as their privileges as white workers. So Du Bois had it right: because of this, the most advanced forces—and this often is at the level of potentiality rather than actuality (a lot depends on the circumstances), but the most advanced forces of the working class tend to be the African-American workers.

    JAY: Okay. Thanks very much.

    Please join us for the continuation of our discussion with Anthony Monteiro about the life of Du Bois on The Real News Network.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    Who Bears Responsibility for Civilian Deaths in Gaza?
    Obama Joins EU in Sanctioning Russia as Ukraine's Civilian Death Toll Mounts
    Iran Nuclear Negotiations Remain Deadlocked, Receive 4-Month Extension
    Who's Profiting from Israel's Offensive in Gaza?
    Despite Growing International Condemnation, No End to Gaza Violence in Sight
    Reaganism and Thatcherism were Intellectually Dishonest - Heiner Flassbeck on Reality Asserts Itself (1/5)
    Besieged War-Torn Gaza Experiencing Saddest Eid Since 1967
    Do US Satellite Images Show Russia Firing Rockets into Ukraine?
    Uber: Cheap Ride Alternative or Death Knell for Cabbies?
    Gaza Baker Risks Life Amid War to Provide Bread
    New Senate Bill Fails To Address Root Causes of Central American Migration
    One-Man Show "Mercy Killers" Reveals Dark Side of Healthcare System
    Nigerians Must Defend Themselves, Oppose the State of Emergency and US Intervention (3/3)
    Why Canada Continues to Back Israel Despite Gaza Assault
    UN's Investigation of Israel Should Go Beyond War Crimes to Genocide
    12-Hour Truce in Gaza, Protests in the West Bank
    Al-Aqsa Brigades Open Fire on Israeli Forces at the Qalandia Checkpoint.
    From Palestine to Baltimore, Protesters Demand an End to Bloody Gaza Assault
    Israel Boycott Gains Traction As Gaza Assault Continues
    No Safe Place in Gaza: How Silence Encouraged a Genocide
    Detroit Water Shutoffs on Pause, but Is It Enough?
    Obamacare Subsides on the Line
    TRNN Gaza Reporter's Family Killed in Israeli Assault
    Is Israeli Public Opinion Turning after 700 Palestinian Deaths?
    Big Oil and the Nigerian Frankenstein (2/3)
    Developing Countries' Commitment to Multilateralism in WTO a Stumbling Block for Lead Firms? - Faizel Ismail (3/3)
    Israeli Human Rights Spokesperson: Attacks on Civilians Unjustifiable
    What Is Shaping Global Production and US & EU Trade Policy? - Faizel Ismail (2/3)
    US Courts Defend Rights of Vulture Funds Over Argentina
    Police Brutality and the Failure of Liberal Democrats

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting