Episode 35: “From the Archives” Dunayevskaya on the Independence of the Black Struggle from the “General Class Struggle”

Brendan and Andrew take a new look at the extensive “notes” that Raya Dunayevskaya made in preparation for a May 1946 Workers Party debate with “David Coolidge” (Ernest Rice McKinney) on the “Negro Question.” Coolidge held that class oppression is “primary” while racial oppression is “secondary”––a view that has resurfaced in recent years in Jacobin magazine and elsewhere (see our “Jaco-dustbin of History” ep.). Similarly, Coolidge rejected, while Dunayevskaya advocated, the idea that revolutionaries should support an independent Black movement distinct from the “labor movement,” and their attitudes toward national self-determination for Black Americans differed sharply.

While Dunayevskaya’s “notes” mostly summarize and respond to Coolidge’s 1945 “Bulletin on the Negro Question,” they also include other material, such as her recollection of discussions with Leon Trotsky about the issue. These “notes” and many other writings by Dunayevskaya on “the Black dimension” are available on the Archives page of our website.

In the episode’s current-events segment, the co-hosts discuss the aftermath of the failed Capitol Insurrection. Will the US government finally fight back against violence perpetrated by Trumpites and other white nationalists? What effect will the deplatforming of Trump have? Whither the Republican Party?

Radio Free Humanity is a podcast covering news, politics and philosophy from a Marxist-Humanist perspective. It is co-hosted by Brendan Cooney and Andrew Kliman. We intend to release new episodes every two weeks. Radio Free Humanity is sponsored by MHI, but the views expressed by the co-hosts and guests of Radio Free Humanity are their own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of MHI.

We welcome and encourage listeners’ comments, posted on this episode’s page.

Please visit MHI’s online print publication, With Sober Senses, for further news, commentary, and analysis.

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January 23, 2021

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