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Doug Mann LPN, LNC

Re: Independent Freedom Party

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Race, class, and race-based identity politics

Below are comments by Doug Mann from a discussion on the Minneapolis Issue list:

Subj: Re: [Mpls] The time is now for the Independent Freedom Party
Date: 12/30/2005

Re: "political correctness"

There is a difference between defending the interests of people with privileges and defending the interests of people whose human rights are being systematically violated. That's the difference between the KKK and NAACP, for example.

It is my hope that folks involved with the IFP emphasize an approach that unites people in a fight for human rights for everyone, and focuses on demanding changes in government policy, such as proactive enforcement of fair employment and housing laws.

We also need more people to run for the school board who advocate changes in school district policy & practices necessary to make a high quality education accessible to all MPS students on an equal basis.

Subj: Re: [Mpls] The time is now for the Independent Freedom Party
Date: 12/31/2005

In a message dated 12/30/2005 10:40:55 PM Central Standard Time,
andy driscoll writes:
>Keep this in mind: racism = prejudice + power. When blacks acquire the
>equality we whites have enjoyed here for centuries, they will have the
>opportunity to attain the power to act on their prejudices and qualify for
>the term racist...

Racism: a belief that some races are, by nature, superior to others; also: discrimination based on such belief.
-The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 1994 edition

There isn't much anyone can do about racism if it is true that blacks are completely powerless to act on their prejudices (and in their own interests), and if whites are racist by nature, i.e., utterly lacking free will, incapable of choosing to not act in accord with racist precepts.

There is certainly an unequal distribution of wealth and power between whites and blacks. Conventional political power is heavily concentrated in the hands of a very small, mostly white minority which has an interest in perpetuating racial inequality. And history teaches us that privileged classes do not give up their power without a fight.

In my opinion, a majority of whites and blacks have more in common with each other than they do with rich people who look like them. Although racial discrimination generally works to the advantage of whites, regardless of class, it also harms poor whites, including most "middle class" whites who have to work for a living, because racial discrimination produces a large pool of last-hired, first fired workers that drives down wage rates across-the-board.

Subj: Re: [Mpls] The time is now for the Independent Freedom Party
Date: 12/31/2005

In a message dated 12/31/2005 4:09:51 PM Central Standard Time,
erik oines writes:
>I personally agree most with Andy Driscoll's post. There is a difference
>between prejudice and racism. We white folks have to own up, give it up, and
>stand with people of color in the struggle for equity and equality. It's not
>a "guilt" thing, it's a "justice" thing. It's not their problem, it's ours.

What? It's not their problem, it's ours?
You mean racism is the white man's burden?

Sounds like a "guilt thing" to me.

Subj: Re: [Mpls] The time is now for the Independent Freedom Party
Date: 1/1/2006

In a message dated 12/31/2005 6:56:58 PM Central Standard Time,
erik oines writes:
>Yes, in America, racism is our problem. We made the rules, we enforce the
>rules, and we change the rules when it suits us. To deny that we benefit
>from 450 years of racial oppression is to be completely irresponsible.

Nothing will change if we pursue a strategy of waiting for racists to stop being racists. The people who make and enforce the rules also benefit from their application. History tells us that privileged classes don't simply give up their privileges and power, they must be forced to give them up by the oppressed classes.

It is my opinion that a majority of whites are exploited and oppressed by a social and political system that is nourished by racism. They are generally less oppressed than blacks, however, their interests are not served by the perpetuation of institutionalized racism.

Redefining the term 'racist' as 'being white' eliminates the distinction between people of all colors who are consciously striving to bring about racial equality and those who support the status quo.

The formation of the Independent Freedom Party could be a very positive development, if the IFP demands immediate changes in public policy that can quickly bring about a closing of racial gaps in access to employment, housing, education, and other areas. That would force people to take sides.

Also see: Independent Freedom Party launched