On The Pitfalls of Racial Nationalism: A Response to Gazi Kodzo Of Black Hammer (2020)



“Racial feeling, as opposed to racial prejudice, and that determination to fight for one’s life which characterizes the native’s reply to oppression are obviously good reasons for joining in the fight. But you don’t carry on a war, nor suffer brutal and widespread repression, nor look on while all other members of your family are wiped out in order to make racialism and hatred triumph. Racialism and hatred and resentment-‘a legitimate desire for revenge’-cannot sustain a war of liberation.”  Frantz Fanon



Recently Comrade Gazi Kodzo, leader of the Black Hammer (BH) organization, posted a vulgar condemnation on fb of Anne Frank, a Jewish child who was murdered by German Nazis.

His position was her death should not be memorialized by Black people because she was white and we should remember instead our own people who have been and continue to be victims of genocidal abuse.

I responded with a reference to an article I’d written which addresses the dangers of racializing our struggles against this imperialist system, and allowing ourselves to become desensitized to the sufferings of other oppressed peoples.

Gazi reacted with a post condemning me as seeking personal acclaim by riding his coattail.



Communists (dialectical materialists) understand that everything, including human theory, embodies opposing forces which form the very basis of their motion, development, and very existence. Correct ideas development in struggle and contradictions with incorrect ones.

And for those who look to pre-colonial and pre-feudalist Afrikanism societies as embodying communal values and social practice, it should be noted, as Frantz Fanon pointed out, criticism and self criticism were core practices across those societies, and were conducted publicly and amiably.

Let’s add to this, Mao’s warning that Communists must be vigilant in combatting liberalism and thus must confront and criticise erroneous ideas, especially by those who identify as Communist, even at the cost of hurt feelings and lost friendships.[1]

He also emphasized that Communists have a duty to open themselves up to all criticisms, even erroneous ones. That we must not take offense to them, but seriously considering them and thereafter write an explanation. He cautioned, “There are some comrades who cannot bear to listen to ideas contrary to their own and cannot bear to be criticized. This is very wrong.”[2] Also, “the only way to settle questions of an ideological nature or controversial issues among the people, is by the democratic method, the method of discussion, criticism, persuasion and education, and not by the method of coercion or repression.”[3]

In my own relations, personal and political, I actively invite criticism because I recognize this is one way to discover one’s errors so as to correct them. As I’ve expressed in past, those who presume to lead but cannot accept criticism from the people, are only capable of oppressing them.[4]

So, in no context should we take offense to principled criticism. Furthermore, my response to Gazi’s Anne Frank comments was made in the communist spirit of unity-criticism-unity, based upon myself applying, and belief that he also practiced, principled criticism and self-criticism. They were also not an attack on him or his group, but a response to a line that only serves to divide oppressed people against each other, and distract our struggles against a common and united class enemy into an empty contest of arguing whose oppression has been worse.

I’m certain too, that Gazi recognizes that I have never sought to promote myself in any way, and certainly not by riding anyone’s coattail. His remarks to this effect were thus clearly a reaction to my post and not a response.

What’s particularly troubling is Gazi has spent many months seeking a response from the African People’s Socialist Party to public criticisms he leveled against its leader Omali Yeshitela. He’s further criticized the APSP for avoiding answering those critiques. Yet Gazi now takes the position that he is himself above and refuses to answer critiques of his own political errors. Am I alone in seeing the hypocrisy at play here?



With that I return to the discussion at hand.

It’s true that capitalism in Europe was watered by the blood, toil and resources of Afrikans (but also by many others including forcibly displaced European peasants). But so too were the Arab feudal and Islamic states that conquered north and north-eastern Afrika, that enslaved and massacred communal Afrikans and forced feudal Islamic culture on them. The Han did the same to the many minority Chinese nationalities, which Mao fought to resolve in his struggle to counter national chauvinism. But not only this, he also recognized and struggled to counter the same sort of minority nationality chauvinism that we witness in many nationalist moments today and is the very issue I was responding to in Gazi’s post.

When Huey P. Newton traveled to China in 1971, he was surprised to find that China was not a homogenous ethnic society. What he saw was a society of many groups that in Amerika we would classify as distinct ‘races,’ but there was no conflict between them. What he observed there inspired his ideas on how to resolve the racial strife that exists in the U.S.

In his own words:

“I saw crystal clear how we can start to reduce the kinds of conflicts that we’re having in this country. I saw an example of that in China….What I saw was this: when I went there I was very unenlightened and I thought, as has been said so often, that China would be a homogenous kind of racial/ethnic territory. Then I found out that 50 percent of Chinese territory is occupied by a 54 percent population of national minorities, large ethnic minorities. They speak different languages, they look very different, they eat different foods. Yet, there is no conflict. I observed one day that each region-we call them cities-is actually controlled by these ethnic minorities, yet they’re still Chinese…. I’m talking about a general condition in China where ethnic minorities I’ve observed control their whole regions. They have a right to have representation in the Chinese Communist Party. At the same time they have their own principles…. The cities in this country could be organized like that, with community control. At the same time, not Black control so no whites can come in, no Chinese can come in. I’m saying there would be democracy in the inner city. The administration should reflect the population of the people there.”[5]

Huey also didn’t know that until just a couple of decades before, China’s people had endured many centuries of the same sorts of antagonistic divisions between it’s various national groups as existed in Amerika, but the revolution had largely resolved them.

The Han majority, of which Mao was a member, had historically exploited and oppressed the various minority nationalities in China, much like ‘whites’ in Amerika. The animosity between these nationalities was so sharp that the Red Army was frequently attacked during the Long March by the non-Han groups when it ventured into their territory. But applying the Communist line, Mao was able  to broker peace with them, win them over, and unite with them in the revolution.

Mao led the struggle to overcome the Han’s conditioned sense of “entitled” social privilege, domination and superiority over the other groups. Not just this, he also recognized and struggled against the equally dangerous trend, much like we’re struggling against here, of national minorities entertaining their own forms of counter-chauvinism against the Han majority and other nationalities.

As Mao observed,

“[Minority nationalities] inhabit extensive regions which comprise 50 to 60 percent of China’s total area. It is thus imperative to foster good relations between the Han people and the minority nationalities. Both Han chauvinism and local-nationality chauvinism are harmful to the unity of the nationalities; they represent one kind of contradictions among the people that must be resolved.”[6]

But even after the overthrow of the old oppressive system national chauvinism persisted in many areas. Mao correctly identified, as we must with both minority and majority group ‘racial’ animosities here in the U.S., that racial chauvinism is a product of feudalist and bourgeois ideas which must and can only be countered by the masses’ mastery of the Communist line. He dedicated a 1953 article, “Criticize Han Chauvinism,” to this struggle.

The problem of Western capitalism having been built and sustained upon the blood, toil and wealth of other people’s applies equally to all of history’s powerful class societies.

As noted the Arabs and Muslims did it to Afrikans. It was done in China. The Japanese did it to the VietNamese, Koreans and other ‘foreign’ nationalities before France took over. In fact each of the ‘great’ Afrikan feudal states did it to other ethnic Afrikan groups-Egypt, Mali, Songhay, Timbuktu, Ashanti were all exploitative states that acquired and maintained their riches and power through slave and serf labor, blood and wealth, often from violently conquered ‘foreign’ peoples, where they’d kill the men and enslave the women and children.

This is the tribal-feudalist mindset one reads about in the bible that was imputed to the god of the old testament. Where kings, and the god they patterned after them, would enslave people, kill off entire communities who wouldn’t submit to their domination and worship their deities (genocide), etc.

So what the West did to Afrikans isn’t unique nor is it a practice isolated to ‘white’ people.

And if sharing in the privileges and benefits of living in capitalist society condemns one as an enemy of people in the underdeveloped world, then Blacks in Amerika are no friend of Afrikans on the continent and elsewhere. Because we live in great privilege compared to them and upon wealth, blood and labor stolen from them every day. In fact the parts that make up the cell phones and laptops you all spend much of your days on came from raw materials extracted through the ongoing exploitation of Afrika, and the continuation of Western instigated genocidal tribal wars such as in the Congo.

In fact for this very reason many Afrikans don’t identify with Blacks in Amerika. Many of them denounce us on the same terms that BH denounces whites. And since race is a factor in the BH analysis, the average Black person in Amerika is 40% white. They just CHOOSE to identify with their Black side, just like Xing Eela identifies with his Indigenous ancestry, but BH denounces him as a white man because he doesn’t look Native enough for them. Which is odd, since I know a great many ‘Black’ and Brown people who ‘look’ just as white as him but are accepted as colonized people. In fact many of the light complexioned Blacks here would be classified as white in Afrikan countries and even the West Indies.

And this situation gives an example how easily racial nationalist lines conform to the line of the imperialists. The U.S. government has historically tried to create a blood quantum standard for those it recognizes as ‘legitimate’ Natives. On the contrary many First Nations embrace anyone, without regard to skin color, who adopts their heritage and culture.

So how and where do we draw the racial line?



Amilcar Cabral, Africa’s foremost anti-colonial strategist of the 1960s, achieved the Liberation of Guinea Bissau (GB), by applying the principle of not “confusing oppression with the color of people’s skin.” He won the people of Portugal, which was the country that was colonizing GB, over to the side of GB’s revolution, which almost saw a successful revolutionary seizure of power in Portugal, forcing it’s military to abandon GB and return home to suppress the revolt there. But racialists who saw Cabral as a race collaborator assassinated him for the Portuguese, just as most of these anti-white groups have done in most revolutionary situations.

These racial nationalists have a legacy of not just becoming reactionary agents of the very ‘white’ power structure they’re supposed to oppose, but they’ve repeatedly been the ones who’ve assassinated key revolutionary leaders, often at the instigation or as agents of the true enemy.

Anti-white nationalists murdered Malcolm X, Bunchy Carter and Jon Huggins, and were key agents used by the imperialists to kill Communist revolutionaries across Afrika during the era of anti-colonial struggle, and so on.

The entire racial nationalist appeal is largely an emotional one. And this is why it appeals so powerfully to those who are angry and lack a real theoretical grasp of revolutionary ideology. Like white nationalism, it appeals to a people’s sense of powerlessness and insecurity, projecting their anger and frustration at other poor and working class people and away from the true bourgeois class enemy. This was the very purpose of this class’s invention and perpetuation of the fiction of race and it’s attendant polarizations. The fundamental role and effect of race and racism is divide and conquer.

The fundamental role of Communist revolutionaries is to unite ALL oppressed peoples in a common class struggle to defeat and seize power from the imperialist class and purge its selfish and divisive culture from the world.


Dare to Struggle Dare to Win!
All Power to the People!




[1] Mao tse tung, “Combat Liberalism,” Sept 7, 1937.

[2] Mao tse tung, “Talks to an Enlarged Central Work Conference,” Jan 30, 1962.

[3] Mao tse tung, “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People,” Feb 27, 1957.

[4] Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, “Living for the Oppressed: A Journal Entry,” (2011) http://rashidmod.com/?p=349

[5] David Hilliard and Donald Weiss, eds., THE HUEY P. NEWTON READER (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2002) pp. 279-280.

[6] Mao tse tung, “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People,” Feb 27, 1957.


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