Saladin Muhammad Reviews Katrina's Legacy





Saladin Muhammad

Saladin Muhammad is a veteran leader of the Civil Rights and Black Liberation movements in the South. He has been a key organizer of Black Workers for Justice and is presently an international representative of United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America.

Read his review:

"Eric Mann’s Katrina’s Legacy:  White Racism and Black Reconstruction in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast is a very important contribution to the largely unfocused discussion throughout the anti-imperialist left about rebuilding a revolutionary movement inside the US.  It is very comprehensive in looking at the question of African American national oppression from a range of historical, social, economic, political, class, gender, environmental, multi-national and international issues, relationships and strategies. 

Amidst such a massive human tragedy involving tremendous personal, material, emotional and psychological loss and trauma, Mann urges that progressives help build and support a Reconstruction movement by putting politics and analysis of US imperialism in command.

Mann’s book treats the Gulf Coast disaster as a major social phenomenon in the history of US capitalism and imperialism. He calls on the broad left to see it as an opportunity to bring about the realignment of a revolutionary anti-imperialist movement with the African American liberation movement as a leading force.

He locates the struggle for Black Reconstruction in the Gulf Coast as a major battleground for the development of a US wide anti-imperialist counter offensive and the basis to begin the transition from a defensive to an offensive struggle against the US imperialist state.

Mann links the conditions contributing to the disaster in the Gulf Coast and its majority African American character to historical conditions of national oppression faced by the African American majority in the Black Belt of the US South. His point about social conditions reflecting the underdevelopment and vulnerability of the most oppressed sections of society helps to highlight the geopolitical and economic factors that make the US South the main anchor of the US system of African American national oppression and a fundamental pillar of US capitalism/imperialism. He points to the special impact that national oppression and the disaster has on working class and poor women.

Mann describes the role that African American national oppression plays in the make up of the US Congress. He points to the need for a program that focuses on politically unifying the Black majority in the South so that the African American People can exercise a level of self-determination.  Thus the Black Reconstruction that Mann speaks about is politically as well as economically driven.

While not discussed in the book, Mann’s emphasis on the necessary political character of the Reconstruction movement points to the need for a Reconstruction Party as a vehicle to help politicize and unite the various mass struggles in the Gulf Coast and to establish the political leadership of the African American majority.

Mann in essence identifies the struggle for African American self-determination as a national democratic revolution that both consolidates strategic areas of mass democratic Black power and that alters the balance of power in favor of the revolutionary struggles against US and global imperialism.

Mann’s book is must reading for a contemporary understanding of the African American national question, the leading role of the African American liberation movement, and the struggle for African American self-determination in the US and global anti-imperialist movement."

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