Friday, August 14, 2015

Sanders will do well emulate his political hero

Something to Offer | Jacobin

Image via Independent Political Report
Taking a single passage out of context and interpreting it as the Achilles’ heel of American radicalism, scholars have distorted Debs’s complex and still poignant critique of white supremacy. That process began soon after the essay was published by the International Socialist Review, which commissioned Debs to respond to a platform adopted by the Socialist Party of Louisiana calling for “separation of the black and white races into separate communities, each race to have charge of its own affairs.” 
 Debs happened to be campaigning for president in Louisiana and Texas at the time, and he took the opportunity to criticize not only local bigots but the international culture of white supremacy that Rudyard Kipling celebrated four years earlier in his poem “The White Man’s Burden.” Drawing on works by African-American contemporaries including W.E.B. Du Bois, he insisted that the Socialist Party would be untrue to its mission unless it welcomed “the Negro and all other races upon absolutely equal terms.”

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