The premise of this blog is that US capitalism cannot live without racism, which is also true of many other racialized societies, such as South Africa or Israel, with histories of settler colonialism and large non-European populations. And racism is also basic to imperialist exploitation of the darker nations of the world, be it pre- or post-colonialist, for their resources and markets.
The first George Bush (Bush I),President from 1988-1992 and dead on November 30, 2018, has since been lionized by the same media and politicians that endlessly deride and mock Donald Trump. But Bush I was ever so much more successful at wreaking death and suffering around the world and on poor black and Latin Americans than Trump will ever be. They call him a statesman, for which we can read efficient imperialist; humble, for which we might substitute sinister and deceptive; and heroic, which we might recast as brutal assassin. The real lesson is that the U.S. ruling class wishes its murderous actors to carry out their roles with finesse, rather than bumbling ineptness, like Trump. Bush committed mass murder in the name of spreading democracy, as do all U.S. presidents since the beginning of the American enterprise. It matters not whether we assess liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican presidents – they all kill and conquer the workers of the world in order to preserve power and resources. It is the imperative of the capitalist/imperialist system.
“The wealth of this country should be equally distributed … if one man through shrewdness should then amass more wealth than his neighbor, his surplus should be taken away from him. Every man should carry arms and have the right of self-defense. Shops and means of transit should be free. There would be no need of elections, police or standing army… Every man should bring his products to an immense clearinghouse in each city or town, and every family to receive an equal portion.” Lucy Parsons, 1891. The life of Lucy Parsons holds many lessons for the working class and students today, especially since we recently witnessed a polarizing election, increased xenophobia, and racist, anti-Semitic murders. Lucy gained fame as the widow of Albert Parsons, the labor leader and anarchist whom the city of Chicago executed for his role in the fight for the 8 hour day in 1887. Known as the Haymarket Massacre, cops threw a bomb into the crowd that killed 7 policemen and blamed the deaths on the anarchist and socialist leaders, including Albert. May Day, the international workers’ day, commemorates this event. Lucy spent her life celebrating her husband’s and her political ideas. Today she is honored as a revolutionary leader in her own right. Continue reading “Lucy Parsons, Working Class Anarchist”
This is a slightly revised version of an article with this title that appeared in Science & Society 82, 2 (April 2018): 269-75.
Intersectionality, a way of thinking about the nature and causes of social inequality, proposes that the effects of multiple forms of oppression are cumulative and, as the term suggests, interwoven. Not only do racism, sexism, homophobia, disablism, religious bigotry, and so-called “classism” wreak pain and harm in the lives of many people, but any two or more of these types of oppression can be experienced simultaneously in the lives of given individuals or demographic sectors. According to the intersectional model, it is only by taking into account the complex experiences of many people who are pressed to the margins of mainstream society that matters of social justice can be effectively addressed. In order to assess the usefulness of intersectionality as an analytical model and practical program, however—and, indeed, to decide whether or not it can actually be said to be a “theory,” as a number of its proponents insist—we need to ask not only what kinds of questions it encourages and remedies, but also what kinds of questions it discourages and what kinds of remedies it forecloses. Continue reading “Intersectionality: A Marxist Critique”
Presidential Speech given at the 2013 Annual Convention of the Association for Humanist Sociology
An apple growing on a farm in Western Michigan. Another apple growing wild on a tree outside of Rome, 2,000 years ago. A Yamaha motorcycle. So, which of these have the most in common. The obvious answer, and it is a correct answer, is the two apples. But is there another way to look at the question? ‘‘Sociological Imagination,’’ as conceived by C. Wright Mills and utilized by many social scientists, provokes us to consider not just what things are ‘‘in themselves’’ but also what they ‘‘are’’ in their broader contexts and relationships to people, institutions, and broader social processes. Certainly, the two apples have a great deal in common. What does it take to create an apple? A seed, proper soil, water, and sunlight and time. But the modern, farmed apple also needs something else—it needs the belief of the farmer that growing that apple might help create a profit. Today’s apple and today’s motorcycle have something in common: They both need entrepreneurs who believe that they can make a profit from that enterprise. And, therefore, they both need a particular type of political economic climate that favors the development of both the apple and the motorcycle. Continue reading “RACISM and CAPITALISM: EXPLORING the DYNAMIC BETWEEN CLASS OPPRESSION and RACIAL OPPRESSION”
Nationalism, also known as patriotism, is a widespread concept promoted by capitalists to attain the loyalty of workers of a given country to their own ruling class. Those in power rely on this ideology to win workers to die in their wars or sacrifice wages and benefits so that the rulers can afford to maximize profits and live well and, in the case of imperialist nations, continue to plunder the wealth and cheap labor from smaller nations. Flag waving, parades, national holidays, sporting events like the Olympics and an endless barrage of media and educational input re-enforce this view. Racism plays an important role in depicting “enemies” as subhuman, such as labeling Vietnamese fighters as “gooks” or Muslims as “ragheads” or terrorists. Continue reading “NATIONALISM – A TOOL TO EMPOWER THE ELITE”