WEB Du Bois, ‘Marxism and the Negro Problem’

Although written in 1933, virtually everything DuBois discusses in this article–with few notable changes–is pertinent today. The main differences of course is that today the so-called Black Middle Class is substantially larger than that of 1933, and that today Mexicans, Salvadorans, Senegalese, Vietnamese, Palestinians, Somalis, Pakistanis, Nigerians, Haitians, Colombians and numerous other ethnic groups are playing leapfrog (economically) over the African American to get to their designated places in the American totem pole. And as is typical of capitalist countries the world over, everyone–including African Americans and Native Americans–seek to emulate the dominant power in the world, which is mainstream, conservative White America. That last fact alone further explains why building a so-called “revolution” or even widespread reform in America or Europe has proven to be, so far, impossible.


[What follows is excerpted from WEB Du Bois’ ‘Marxism and the Negro Problem’, published in The Crisis, 1933, and elucidates Du Bois’ thought regarding the vicious tactics of the aristocracy of labor among the whites, and his rejection of false consciousness as a throwaway excuse for what is actually the interest of the settler working classes, who have become contributors and beneficiaries of imperial capital. As always this piece is provided for the purposes of study and discussion.]

…Revolution seems bound to come.

Perhaps nothing illustrates this better than recent actions in the United States; our re-examination of the whole concept of Property; our banking moratorium; the extraordinary new agriculture bill; the plans to attack unemployment, and similar measures. Labor rather than gambling is the sure foundation of value and whatever we call it — exploitation, theft or business acumen — there is something radically wrong with an industrial system…

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