March 9, 2022
Malcolm X frequently spoke, with disdainful anger, about the “Uncle Tom Negroes” of his time, whom he compared to the “house slaves” on the plantations, who lived in the master’s house and identified with the master more than with the “field slaves” (when the master’s house caught on fire, Malcolm pointed out, the house slaves would exclaim, “master, our house is on fire!”).
Today, this phenomenon is even more widespread and pronounced, including in the form of bourgeois Black “media personalities” fronting for this system. You can see them on MSNBC, or CNN, as “hosts” and “guest commentators” on “news shows,” pretending to be “voices of the people” while they act as cheerleaders for “their country’s” capitalist-imperialist system, and as mouthpieces for the ruling class, especially the “mainstream” section of the ruling class, represented by the Democratic Party.
This is a system which, from the beginning and down to today, has been, and remains, a monstrous and murderous oppressor of Black people, along with millions, indeed billions, of others it oppresses, in this country and throughout the world.
This is a Democratic Party which, as has been sharply pointed out at revcom.us, is “a Party of Piggery—its response to the massive outpouring against police brutality and murder is to give full support to carrying out more of this brutality and murder. Why? Because the Democratic Party is a representative and instrument of this system of capitalism-imperialism—which requires, and could not do without, this brutality and murder by police.” This is a reality that was once again made clear by Biden in his “State of the Union address,” when he declared that, “The answer is not to ‘defund’ the police, it’s to fund the police… fund the police… fund the police.”
This is a Democratic Party which treats as “heroes” the “veterans” of U.S. wars in places like Iraq, when in reality the U.S. invasion of Iraq, in 2003, was “a blatant international war crime, which set in motion events which have cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, created millions of refugees, and unleashed a maelstrom of death and destruction in that part of the world”—a blatant international war crime carried out “on the basis of flagrant lies about Iraq supposedly possessing ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and being closely linked with Islamic fundamentalist terrorists like Al Qaeda.”1
This is a Democratic Party which has consistently been an aggressive advocate for and instrument of U.S. imperialist plunder of people throughout the world, and in particular the poorer countries of the world, and which has now taken the lead in cynically using Russia’s aggression against Ukraine as a means for aggressively pursuing the interests of U.S. imperialism in its rivalry with Russian imperialism. (As I have said before: “Of course, this act of imperialist aggression by Russia deserves to be condemned. But especially for people residing in this country—which, again, by far holds the record for such acts of aggression—it is a matter of basic principle and profound importance not to be echoing the positions and serving the aims of ‘our’ imperialists, and instead to be making very clear our opposition to the aims and actions of these (U.S.) imperialists, who are using opposition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, not as a way of promoting ‘peace,’ or ‘the right of nations to self-determination,’ but as means of furthering U.S. imperialist interests, in opposition to the rival Russian imperialists.”2)
Now, at times, some of these Black bourgeois posers will invoke the name of Malcolm X, or pretend to identify with the Black Panther Party, in the attempt to establish “credibility” to better carry out their role in rallying people to support the very system for which Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party expressed profound hatred and contempt.
Malcolm sharply denounced America as a hypocritical “bloody-jawed wolf” and celebrated the fact that the Vietnamese people took on the French imperialists—backed by the U.S.—and, as Malcolm said, “ran them right out” of Vietnam. If he had not been assassinated and had lived to see it, Malcolm would almost certainly have been overjoyed at the way that the Vietnamese then ran the U.S. out of their country as well.
The Black Panther Party, in its revolutionary days, also sided with the Vietnamese people, and other oppressed people of the world, in opposition to their imperialist oppressors. After all, Huey Newton, the main leader of the Black Panther Party, not only supported the Vietnamese liberation fighters but at one point offered to send Black Panther Party members to Vietnam to join with the Vietnamese in fighting against the U.S. imperialist invaders.
Well, you won’t find any of this revolutionary spirit among these “Black faces in high places.” They are too deeply committed to seeking “their share” of the “spoils” from “their country’s” imperialist super-exploitation and murderous marauding around the world—too deeply striving for their place in the oppressive and repressive institutions of this monstrous system—too busy covering over or simply apologizing for its war crimes and crimes against humanity, too eager to be part of the bandwagon of support for “their” imperialism in its rivalry with the imperialism of Russia, or China, too anxious to be “in the good company” of blood-soaked CIA operatives, military officers and other agents of mass slaughter.
These bourgeois Black media mouthpieces, in their role as instruments and apologists of this system, are not even self-respecting bourgeois nationalists, and certainly not anti-imperialist nationalists, to say nothing of the kind of revolutionary internationalists that the masses of people, here and all over the world, need as real “role models” and people to lead them in fighting against all imperialists, all oppressors of people, all relations of oppression and exploitation.
2. “Imperialist Parasitism and ‘Democracy’: Why So Many Liberals and Progressives Are Shameless Supporters of ‘Their’ Imperialism.” This article by Bob Avakian is also available at TheBobAvakianInstitute.org and revcom.us. [back]