by Wally Linder, retired railway worker and organizer, June 22, 2020
The financial foundation of U.S. capitalism is racism. It is the source of some $500 BILLIONS (half trillion dollars) in super-profits. That is the difference between the household income of white and Black families and the basis for the oppression of Black workers in all spheres of life.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2019 figures), there were 17 million Black households in the U.S. The median income of those families was $41,361. The median household income of white families was $70,642. If the bosses paid the Black families the same as white families, an additional $29,281 each, they would have to fork over an additional $497 BILLION, 17 million families multiplied by $29,281 each. This would reduce the bosses’ profits by HALF TRILLION dollars.
This super-exploitation of Black workers is the combined legacy of 401 years of slavery, Jim Crow/KKK/police violence and the ruling class’ laws. The underspending for social services, the exclusion of Black vets from the post-World War II GI Bill’s policies (cheap home mortgage loans), and racist discrimination in schools, housing, healthcare also enrich the rulers.
With all the hypocritical avowals by liberals, conservatives, Democrats or Republicans to “do something about systemic racism,” about “reforming” the cops who’ve been ordered to enforce that racism for centuries; with all the media editorials and politicians’ op-ed pieces decrying this beastly oppression; with the hundreds of corporations “pledging to oppose racism” and to give workers paid time off to vote (for the bosses’ candidates); with State Supreme Court justices “vowing” to change racist decisions — there is not one solitary word mentioned about those half-trillion super-profits reaped from racism. Nor are there any crocodile tears shed about how that racism against Black workers is used to lower the wages of white workers, still another untold source of extra profit for the capitalist exploiters. Racism that divides these workers thwarts the unity that would fight the bosses’ attacks on the entire working class.
History is full of instances where Black and white workers have united to challenge the ruling-class’s attacks. We can draw on those examples and use them to fight racism at its source: capitalism. The rulers will never surrender their profit system peacefully. It cannot be reformed. It must be overthrown.
The working class and youth taking to the streets by the tens of thousands to oppose racist police brutality must be won to see that only wiping out the bosses and their profits — can destroy this racist system.