On False Internationalism

The following is a short excerpt from E. Tani & Kae Sera’s False Nationalism, False Internationalism: Class Contradictions in the Armed Struggle, a sequel of sorts to J. Sakais’ Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat, and which just arrived in my mail yesterday from AK Press. In this quote they are talking about the relationship between white activists and African revolutionaries in the U.S. in the 1960s and 70s, but if you were to change but only a few words you would get a perfect description of the relationship between a certain sector of the Canadian white Left – in particular the south west Ontario manifestation of it – and Native revolutionaries. That is why I am posting it – some food for thought for my Canadian comrades.

In the late 1960s Euro-Amerikan radicals and liberals raised tens of thousands of dollars, walked picket lines in front of courthouses, and helped make a big public issue of the defense trials of Black Panther Party leaders Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. Newton and Seale were projected by the media and the white Left as the most revolutionary leadership for the New Afrikan movement. Was that campaign an example of genuine internationalism? No. Many Euro-Amerikan students may hae been subjectively sincere in a desire for internationalism, but objectively what took place was the reverse. Because at the same time that the Euro-Amerikan Left was promoting Huey and Bobby, they were also ignoring – and thus implicitly condoning – imperialist counter-insurgency against real revolutionary nationalists, such as Fred Ahmed Evans in Cleveland or the Republic of New Afrika 11 in Mississippi. In other words, no solidarity with those explicitly fighting for New Afrikan independence. What passed for “solidarity” was really a settler Left attempt to once again pick Black leaders more suitable to them. Not internationalism, but false internationalism. [emphasis mine]


Posted on March 23, 2011, in Imperialism & Colonialism, National Liberation, Socialism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Great quote! It would have more teeth, perhaps, if you would clarify what words/names could be changed to speak to the current Canadian left context. Although I have a pretty good guess at some of the substitutions…

  2. I got into polemics with the people in question quite hard back in the fall of last year, so I think they know that I talking about them, and I think that most of my comrades in my community, where the group in question is based, know who I am talking about as well.

    If you’d like more details feel free to hit me up at r4robins (at) uwaterloo (dot) ca or contact me via Facebook.

  3. Hi Rowland

    Thanks for this. We can see it everyday in the struggle. Here in this area the young progressive whites come into the city and try to tell folks here what is good for us. Whitey leftist knows best for you poor dumb folks. I just began reading this evening Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat. What a work. A question on my blog about the recent Wisconson union fights was, what do these white middleclass folks have in common with us the lower end of the working class? Do they speak for us? We really have nothing in common with them not even the chains. (their chains are so different than ours) I will be back in the am to read more.

  4. Hey Richard

    Good to hear from you, it’s been a while!

    Settlers was one of the most eye opening books I’ve ever read. I resisted reading it at first, because the white leftist circles I walked in worked real hard to discourage people from reading it by distorting it. But JMP above wrote an excellent meta-review of it that convinced me to actually read it for myself.

    When I can I hope to be able to put False Nationalism, False Internationalism up as well.

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