I met Tommy Dennis in Detroit in 1974 at a youth conference on jobs sponsored by the Young Workers Liberation League (not sure how we cooked up that name). Tommy was the Party leader in Detroit and he spoke to the conference attendees. In his remarks – which blew me away at the time – he said, “There is nothing that Black people want that white people don’t need.” That caught my attention, even though I didn’t immediately understand what he was saying. It took a little reflection on my part to digest Tommy’s observation. I can be slow.
More than a half century later that seemingly simple observation of Tommy’s hasn’t lost any its resonance for me. In fact, in the midst of an interlocking crises and an astonishing uprising against racism, it resonates even more. As I see it, If we are to emerge out of this catastrophe, decisively defeat Trump in November, and set our country on a new anti-racist, working class, and democratic trajectory part of the reason will be that significant numbers of white working people come to appreciate the wisdom of Tommy’s remarks.