En tant qu’ancien militant de votre groupe et participant depuis longtemps à la lutte pour la liberté des noirs aux U.S. je me trouve quelque peu embarrassé par l’initiative que vous avez prise, dans le dernier numéro du P.O. de publier, presque sans critique, l’éloge des “Musulmans Noirs” du journal “Correspondance”. (1)
Extrait du livre d’Adolph L. Reed Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois and American Politics: Fabianism and the Color Line, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 71-89
6 Three Confusions about Du Bois Interracialism, Pan-Africanism, Socialism
DU BOIS’S PROMINENCE in this century’s Afro-American political life is widely recognized. Yet attempts to categorize him with respect to the various strategic and ideological programs constitutive of black political debate have yielded an uncommonly confusing picture. The confusion about locating Du Bois programmatically has two sources. The first is quite simple: Du Bois lived and acted through several discrete social and political situations that seemed to him to require different strategic responses for the race. Sometimes, especially when sundered from the situations to which they were responses, the strategies that he proposed appear to contradict one another. Analysts, then, have chosen and defended one or another set of strategies or one or another period as authentically Du Boisian. This is a problem of temporal or contextual focus.
4 Mythology of the Church in Contemporary Afro-American Politics
Exceptionalist approaches to black politics typically are fed by the mystique of black churchliness and religiosity, which postulates a peculiarly racial basis of participation and representation. According to this view, which assumes the organic leadership model, the church is the elemental unit of political mobilization in the black community. Because its structures are decentralized and operate at the “grass roots,” the black church can be construed as an authentically popular institution. Moreover, because this view also assumes a pandemic black religiosity, the church can be understood to be prior and superior to electoral or otherwise procedural institutions as a source of popular legitimations.
For more than twenty years I refused on principle to use the phrase “the white left.” I did not want to give any credence to the view, commonly expressed among black activists in the late 1960s and after, that the leftist critique of American society was somehow white people’s property.