Black Nationalism fails — it can’t escape the structures of the status quo

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Black Nationalism fails — it can’t escape the structures of the status quo.

Myers 08 — John Myers, Professor of Sociology at Rowan University, Ph.D. in Sociology from Fordham University, 2008 (“African Americans: From Segregation to Modern Institutional Discrimination and Racism,” Dominant-Minority Relations In America: Convergence In The New World, Published by Pearson Press, ISBN: 0205706258, pg. 223)

Given this gloomy situation, it should not be surprising to find significant strength in pluralistic, nationalistic thinking, as well as resentment and anger in the African American community. Black Nationalism and Black Power remain powerful ideas, but their goals of development and autonomy for the African American community remain largely rhetorical sloganeering without the resources to bring them to actualization.

The situation of the African American community in the early 21st Century might be characterized as structural pluralism combined with inequality. The former characterization testifies to the failure of assimilation and the latter to the continuing effects, in the present, of a colonized origin. The problems that remain are less visible (Or perhaps just better hidden from the average white middle-class American) than those of previous eras. Responsibility is more diffused, the moral certainties of opposition to slavery or to Jim Crow laws are long gone, and contemporary racial issues must be articulated and debated in an environment of subtle prejudice and low levels of sympathy for the grievances of African Americans. Urban poverty, modern institutional discrimination, and modern racism are less dramatic and more difficult to measure than an overseer's whip, a lynch mob, or a sign that says "Whites Only," but they can be just as real and just as deadly in their consequences.

Racist policies won’t convince black American to leave and reformism is a better method

Walker ’13 (S. Jay Walker – was the Chair of the Black Studies Program at Dartmouth; Oct 22, 2013; Black Separatism and Social Reality: Rhetoric and Reason; “Forward II”; XV)//CC

For despair and the peak of black separatist sentiment go hand in hand. It is always at those hours which look bleakest for black America the killings of King and Robert Kennedy and the election of Nixon, the aftermath of the "Red Summers" following World War I, the betrayal of Reconstruc-tion, the apparent failure of the Abolitionist movement just before the Civil War — When the unexamined "anyplace but here" becomes most attractive. It is upon examination of the idea that it loses force. Yet it never completely dies, nor is it completely valueless. For if black separatism reminds black that we are exactly that, Americans, and that we have no home in Africa, and if it reminds us that some of the systems and ideologies prepared for us by other blacks are not precisely what we want, it also reminds of what we do want and reminds us that as blacks we have a common cause and a common identity that can be turned into a tool for achieving it. That tool is the recognition of our roots here, the recogni-tion of the strength, the dignity, and the discipline with which our grandparents and parents struggled to put us within striking reach of equality. It is the realization of the oneness of the desire of human beings to be respected for what they are and the responsibility of human beings to respect others for what they are. Few black Americans, I suspect, are given to Fourth of July panegyrics, and still fewer to wearing American flag lapel pins a la Nixon. But very, very few have given up, or have any intention of giving up on this country, for the simple reason that it is ours. We are here, we are going to stay here. and thus our task is to make this place closer to what it should be — more free, more just, more humane. We are not "trying to crawl back on the plantation," if plantation it is. We have never left it. We are simply determined now to make part of it truly our own.

Cap Turn

Focus on Black Nationalism distracts from struggles to end capitalism — any concessions can cause a collapse of class politics — we access the larger internal link to racial oppression.

Smith 07 — Sharon Smith, Socialist Author and Journalist, Editor of the Journal of International Socialism, Author of Women and Socialism: Essays on Women's Liberation, 2007 (“Mistaken identity: can identity politics liberate the oppressed?,” International Socialism, April 4th, Accessible Online at, Accessed On 07-21-15)

Black nationalism today bears little resemblance to that which existed in the 1960s. Then, there was a strong working class component to the main black nationalist movements, and there was no room for doubting that the enemy was the state. These factors led to much greater political clarity among black activists. That kind of clarity is all but absent today. Mainstream black leaders—even black politicians—are able to use the language of black nationalism to justify doing nothing, or worse yet, to advance anti-working class policies. In its most backward forms nationalism has played a destructive role, rationalising deep divisions even between blacks and other oppressed groups in society. This was played out most dramatically during the Los Angeles rebellion in 1992, when among a significant layer of those who rebelled anger was deflected toward Koreans, who own a large number of small shops in South Central Los Angeles. In another recent instance, when Latinos claimed they were under-represented in Congress due to discriminatory voting policies, a group of black politicians argued that some groups of Latinos, such as Cuban-Americans, are not genuinely oppressed. For the most part, black nationalists today place little or no importance on building a movement, or on strategies for far reaching social change. If anything, the rising influence of ‘Afrocentrism’ among a section of black intellectuals has represented a step further away from challenging the status quo. Afrocentrism involves the complete and permanent separation between African history, philosophy and culture from all other civilisations. Afrocentric theorist Molefi Asante has argued for ‘every topic, economics, law communication, science, religion, history, literature, and sociology to be reviewed through Afrocentric eyes’. But, as Manning Marable argued about Afrocentrism: Vulgar Afrocentrists deliberately ignored or obscured the historical reality of social class stratification within the African diaspora. They essentially argued that the interests of all black people—from Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Colin Powell to conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to the black unemployed, homeless and hungry of America’s decaying urban ghettoes—were philosophically, culturally and racially the same. Even the scholarly Afrocentric approach…[did not] speak to historical materialism, except to attack it. As such, vulgar Afrocentrism was the perfect social theory for the upwardly mobile black petty bourgeoisie. As Marable argues, the audience for Afrocentrist theory and other forms of cultural nationalism is to be found mainly among the black middle class in the US, which has grown significantly since the end of the movements of the 1960s. In 1990 more than 15 percent of black households earned above $50,000, while thousands of upper middle class black families earn over $100,000 annually. For this section of blacks, the economic aspects of oppression—poverty, unemployment and police brutality—which daily plague the majority of the black population can be viewed as consequences of racism, rather than the other way round. Thus, while no black organisations have been built specifically on the basis of identity politics, many of the same assumptions have filtered through and gained acceptance among anti-racists, white and black. As Ambalavaner Sivanandan wrote in an argument against those in the Labour left influenced by Marxism Today’s attack on class politics in Britain: By personalising power, ‘the personal is the political’ personalises the enemy: the enemy of the black is the white as the enemy of the woman is the man. And all whites are racist like all men are sexist. Thus racism is the combination of power plus prejudice… Hence the fight against racism became reduced to a fight against prejudice, the fight against institutions and practices to a fight against individuals and attitudes.49 Sivanandan goes on to list a series of cases which demonstrate this point. In one case, people participating in Racial Awareness Training (RAT) classes were so worried about being insensitive that some were afraid to ask for black coffee. And as Sivanandan argues brilliantly, the tendency of this sort of approach has been to shift the terrain of the struggle against racism away from movements and towards individual lifestyle. This pattern, of course, closely resembles that of identity politics: Carried to its logical conclusion, just to be black, for instance, was politics enough: because it was in one’s blackness that one was aggressed, just to be black was to make a statement against such aggression. If, in addition, you ‘came out’ black, by wearing dreadlocks say, then you could be making several statements… Equally, you could make a statement by just being ethnic, against Englishness, for instance; by being gay, against heterosexism; by being a woman, against male domination. Only the white straight male, it would appear, had to go find his own politics of resistance somewhere out there in the world (as a consumer perhaps?) Everyone else could say: I am, therefore I resist. At times Marable also argues forcefully against the concepts of identity politics. In a recent issue of the journal Race and Class, for example, he called for ‘dismantling the narrow politics of racial identity and selective self interest’. And he argued that this requires that ‘the black leadership reaches out to other oppressed sectors of society, creating a common programme for economic and social justice.’52 Yet at other times both these writers accept some of the fundamental assumptions of identity politics, demonstrating the extent to which such ideas have gained acceptance within the left. As Alex Callinicos argued about Sivanandan: although he is very critical of the political conclusions drawn by Marxism Today, Sivanandan accepts its analysis of the emergence of a new ‘post-Fordist’ economy based on the destruction of the mass production industries and the working class these rested on. He merely argues that the effect of these changes is to shift the locus of resistance to the new ‘underclass’ which now bears the brunt of exploitation… This is… a remarkably pessimistic analysis.53 Marable’s drift into the terrain of identity politics has been more dramatic. In his article, ‘A New American Socialism’, which appeared recently in The Progressive, Marable attacks white socialists in the US for not having had more success in recruiting blacks to socialist organisations. He wrote: The left must ask itself why most socialist organisations… have consistently failed to attract black, Latino, and Asian-American supporters… The left should be challenged to explain why the majority of the most militant and progressive students of colour in the hip-hop contemporary culture of the 1990s have few connections with erstwhile white radicals, and usually perceive Marxism as just another discredited ‘white ideology’.54 Marable answers this question by arguing that, ‘No American socialist organisation has ever been able to attract substantial numbers of African-Americans and other people of colour, unless, from the very beginning, they were well represented inside the leadership and planning of that body’ [his emphasis].55 Here Marable is rewriting history. Some of the most important struggles against racism in this century were built by the Communist Party (CP) in the 1930s—which began as a predominantly white organisation. There was nothing extraordinary about the CP in this respect. Socialists of all races have traditionally been at the forefront in fighting racism. When nine young black men, known as the Scottsboro Boys, were sentenced to death on a trumped up rape charge in Alabama in 1931, the mainstream black organisations shunned their case. A leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) even argued that his group did not want to be identified with a ‘gang of mass rapists’. Yet the mainly white Communist Party built an international campaign to free the Scottsboro Boys, and during the course of the 1930s united thousands of black and white workers around various anti-racism campaigns. Because the CP took fighting racism seriously, black membership in the party climbed to 5,000 by 1939.56 The contradictions in Marable’s analysis demonstrate why it is not enough to break halfway with identity politics. While in one breath he attacks identity politics using class arguments, in the next he attacks socialists using identity politics arguments. Without a sharp break from identity politics, it is all too easy to lose sight of the source of oppression—capitalism—and to forget that all those who are oppressed and exploited by the system have a common interest in ending it.

Capitalism causes extinction — environmental collapse guarantees inevitable crisis.

Smith 13 — Richard Smith, Economics Author and Writer, Ph.D. in Economic History from the University of California, Los Angeles, 2013 (“'Sleepwalking to Extinction': Capitalism and the Destruction of Life and Earth,” Common Dreams, November 15th, Accessible Online at, Accessed On 07-21-15)

Capitalism is, overwhelmingly, the main driver of planetary ecological collapse

From climate change to natural resource overconsumption to pollution, the engine that has powered three centuries of accelerating economic development, revolutionizing technology, science, culture and human life itself is, today, a roaring out-of-control locomotive mowing down continents of forests, sweeping oceans of life, clawing out mountains of minerals, pumping out lakes of fuels, devouring the planet’s last accessible natural resources to turn them into “product,” while destroying fragile global ecologies built up over eons of time. Between 1950 and 2000 the global human population more than doubled from 2.5 to 6 billion. But in these same decades, consumption of major natural resources soared more than sixfold on average, some much more. Natural gas consumption grew nearly twelvefold, bauxite (aluminum ore) fifteenfold. And so on. At current rates, Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson says that “half the world’s great forests have already been leveled and half the world’s plant and animal species may be gone by the end of this century.”

Corporations aren’t necessarily evil, though plenty are diabolically evil, but they can’t help themselves. They’re just doing what they’re supposed to do for the benefit of their shareholders. Shell Oil can’t help but loot Nigeria and the Arctic and cook the climate. That’s what shareholders demand. BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and other mining giants can’t resist mining Australia’s abundant coal and exporting it to China and India. Mining accounts for 19% of Australia’s GDP and substantial employment even as coal combustion is the single worst driver of global warming. IKEA can’t help but level the forests of Siberia and Malaysia to feed the Chinese mills building their flimsy disposable furniture (IKEA is the third largest consumer of lumber in the world). Apple can’t help it if the cost of extracting the “rare earths” it needs to make millions of new iThings each year is the destruction of the eastern Congo — violence, rape, slavery, forced induction of child soldiers, along with poisoning local waterways. Monsanto and DuPont and Syngenta and Bayer Crop Science have no choice but to wipe out bees, butterflies, birds, small farmers and extinguish crop diversity to secure their grip on the world’s food supply while drenching the planet in their Roundups and Atrazines and neonicotinoids.

This is how giant corporations are wiping out life on earth in the course of a routine business day. And the bigger the corporations grow, the worse the problems become.

In Adam Smith’s day, when the first factories and mills produced hat pins and iron tools and rolls of cloth by the thousands, capitalist freedom to make whatever they wanted didn’t much matter because they didn’t have much impact on the global environment. But today, when everything is produced in the millions and billions, then trashed today and reproduced all over again tomorrow, when the planet is looted and polluted to support all this frantic and senseless growth, it matters — a lot.

The world’s climate scientists tell us we’re facing a planetary emergency. They’ve been telling us since the 1990s that if we don’t cut global fossil fuel greenhouse gas emissions by 80-90% below 1990 levels by 2050 we will cross critical tipping points and global warming will accelerate beyond any human power to contain it. Yet despite all the ringing alarm bells, no corporation and no government can oppose growth and, instead, every capitalist government in the world is putting pedal to the metal to accelerate growth, to drive us full throttle off the cliff to collapse.

Marxists have never had a better argument against capitalism than this inescapable and apocalyptic “contradiction.” Solutions to the ecological crisis are blindingly obvious but we can’t take the necessary steps to prevent ecological collapse because, so long as we live under capitalism, economic growth has to take priority over ecological concerns.

AT: Circumvention

Plan restores strong language – that’s sufficient to end circumvention.

Granick ‘14

Jennifer Granick is the Director of Civil Liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. Jennifer was the Civil Liberties Director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Jennifer practices, speaks and writes about computer crime and security, electronic surveillance, consumer privacy, data protection, copyright, trademark and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. From 2001 to 2007, Jennifer was Executive Director of CIS and taught Cyberlaw, Computer Crime Law, Internet intermediary liability, and Internet law and policy. Before teaching at Stanford, Jennifer earned her law degree from University of California, Hastings College of the Law and her undergraduate degree from the New College of the University of South Florida. “USA Freedom Act: Oh, Well. Whatever. Nevermind.” – Just Security - May 21, 2014

The initially promising USA Freedom Act could have ended the previously secret government practices of collecting Americans’ calling records, internet transactional information and who knows what else in bulk. Today’s version would allow broad collection to continue under the guise of reform. The initial version of the bill would have reinforced existing statutory language requiring a showing of “relevance to an authorized investigation” before agents can get an order requiring production of business records, dialing and routing information, and other data, and would have added other limits to ensure massive collection would stop. It also would have implemented mild reforms to content surveillance under section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, stopping “back door” searches for Americans’ communications. Last week, a Managers’ Amendment watered those provisions down, substituting new language that would allow agents to use a “specific selection term” as the “basis for production”. The bill defined “specific selection term” as something that “uniquely describe[s] a person, entity, or account.” Given the intelligence community’s success at getting FISA judges to reinterpret obvious language—e.g. “relevance”—in counter-intuitive ways, people wondered what this new language might mean. There’s deep public mistrust for the intelligence community and for the FISA court, which conspired to allow bulk collection under spurious legal justifications for years. Worse, there’s deep public mistrust for the law itself, since the intelligence community’s “nuanced” definitions of normal words have made the public realize that they do not understand the meaning of words like “relevance”, “collection”, “bulk”, or “target”.

Court ruling on Section 215 covers other bulk surveillance programs — it will be enforced.

Ackerman 15 — Spencer Ackerman, national security editor for Guardian US, former senior writer for Wired, won the 2012 National Magazine Award for Digital Reporting, 2015 (“Fears NSA will seek to undermine surveillance reform,” The Guardian, June 1st, Available Online at, Accessed 06-08-2015)

Jameel Jaffer, the deputy legal director of the ACLU, expressed confidence that the second circuit court of appeals’ decision last month would effectively step into the breach. The panel found that legal authorities permitting the collection of data “relevant” to an investigation cannot allow the government to gather data in bulk – setting a potentially prohibitive precedent for other bulk-collection programs.

We don’t know what kinds of bulk-collection programs the government still has in place, but in the past it’s used authorities other than Section 215 to conduct bulk collection of internet metadata, phone records, and financial records. If similar programs are still in place, the ruling will force the government to reconsider them, and probably to end them,” said Jaffer, whose organization brought the suit that the second circuit considered.


Revolutionary black resistance generates backlash from the right and the left—it materially reverses efforts towards racial justice

Shelby 07 – Tommie Shelby is the Professor of African and African American Studies and of Philosophy at Harvard University. (“We Who Are Dark: The Philosophical Foundations of Black Solidarity”)

Even if it were possible to effectively mobilize a multicorporatist Black Power program without running afoul of democratic values or compromising broader egalitarian concerns, this form of black solidarity may not be pragmatically desirable because of factors that are exogenous to black communities. Thus far I have discussed this program without much consideration for how other ethnoracial groups would be likely to respond to its institutional realization. It is reasonable to assume that Black Power politics would engender a countermobilization on the part of nonblacks, and not just whites, seeking to protect their own interests. Indeed, if Carmichael and Hamilton were correct about the essentially ethnic basis of American politics, we should fully expect this kind ofresistance. With increased political centralization and organizational autonomy, openly aimed at advancing black interests, we would also likely see a rise in white nationalism, where some whites increase their collective power through greater group self-organization and solidarity, as they have often done in the past and, to some extent, continue to do even now.51 Such resistance would not come solely from racists, however. Some potential allies would also be alienated by this nationalist program and may consequently become(further) disillusioned with the ideal of racial integration, indifferent to black problems, or disaffected from black people. Nonblacks would naturally view their relegation to "supporting roles" within black political organizations as a sign that their help in the struggle for racial justice is unneeded or unwanted; that their commitment to racial justice is in question; that blacks are more concerned with advancing their group interests than with fighting injustice; or that blacks do not seek a racially integrated society. Moreover, because those who have status and exercise power within institutions generally have a stake in preserving these institutional structures, even if they no longer serve the goals for which they were initially established, nonblacks have well-founded reasons to worry that black political organizations may, through sheer inertia or opportunism, become ends in themselves. Thus, although institutional autonomy might increase the organizational independence of blacks, the overall power of the group could be reduced because of isolation from other progressive forces. This situation would be particularly disastrous for blacks who live in minority-black electoral districts, for they cannot elect effective political representation without the support of like-minded nonblack citizens.

Turn: the tenants of Black Nationalism reify racism and bigotry

Robinson 01 (Dean E. Robinson, Ph.D. from Yale University Kellogg Scholar and University of Massachusetts at Amherst Associate Professor, “Black Nationalism in American Politics and Thought” Accessed from Google Books//ekr)

Rather, I will argue that the most politically consequential feature of black nationalism is its apparent inability to diverge from what could be considered the "normal" politics of its day. By accepting the notion that black people constitute an organic unit, and by focusing on the goal of nation building or separate political and economic development, black nationalism inadvertently helps to reproduce some of the thinking and practices that created black disadvantage in the first place. Most white Americans have long thought blacks to be essentially different; and they have used that idea to justify expelling blacks, restricting black movement, and limiting the range of rights, privileges, and opportunities avail- able to black people. It stands to reason, then, that most attempts by black people to identify their differences from the majority population and pursue political and economic autonomy on that basis, conform to one of the oldest American political fantasies — what Ralph Ellison calls the desire to "get shut" of the Negro in America — to "banish (blacks) from the nation's bloodstream, from its social structure, and from its conscience and historical consciousness. "4

Their form of Black Nationalism engages in a form of respectability politics that erases African culture

Robinson 01 (Dean E. Robinson, Ph.D. from Yale University Kellogg Scholar and University of Massachusetts at Amherst Associate Professor, “Black Nationalism in American Politics and Thought” Accessed from Google Books//ekr)

Marcus Garvey thought that the solution to the problem Of black inequality required a powerful black nation in Africa. And so, beginning in 1918, he faced off against the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and rejected the goal of "social equality." He also rejected trade unionism as a vehicle for black advancement, as well as more radical alternatives. Instead, he offered an aggressive black- politics-as-business-enterprise, and he sold his entire scheme with a militantly pro-black rhetoric. By so doing, Garvey anticipated the style of much of the black nationalism that would followits principled rejection of American identity, and its notion that black enterprise could somehow lay the foundation for separate statehood. Yet, despite his own and his followers' militancy, and the U.S. intelligence agencies' assumption that his UNIA posed a threat to the political order, Garvey's theories and strategies hardly escaped the conventions of his era, particularly those concerning racial purity, gender, capitalism, social Darwinism, and, most importantly, the idea that the United States was the domain of Protestant Anglo-Saxons. Garvey's failure to articulate an alternative "African" culture proved to be an important paradox. He was militantly pro-African, in a pro-European or "Eurocentric" kind Of way. Most significantly, his plan to build power through enterprise failed as a short- term and as a long-term strategy. Nevertheless, his flamboyance, militantly pro-black rhetoric, and ambitious business ventures attracted hundreds of thousands of members and several times more supporters. Garvey's nationalism embodied the past and anticipated the future. Black nationalists who preceded him, men like James T. Holly and Martin Delany in the antebellum period and Bishop Henry Turner in the 1880s and 1890s, worked to relocate the black population outside the boundaries of the United States. They shared with Garvey a certain orientation toward Western culture and capitalism, operating out of what we today would call a "Eurocentric" framework. They focused on the ideals of "manhood," "African nationality," Christianity, and civilization. The notion of "manhood" referred to a nineteenth-century self- concept developed by the middle class to stress "its gentility and respectability." But manhood was not only a gendered term, it also applied exclusively to the white race' Black nationalists of what Moses calls the classical period (roughly 1850—1925) assumed that the proper practice Of Christianity and the establishment of civilization were both means and ends to manhood and African nationality. Neither Garvey nor the black nationalists who preceded him had any intention of reclaiming African culture, as some 1960s "modern" nationalists would. They wanted to be rid of it.

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