by Alan Spector
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”
by Karyn Pomerantz, April 12, 2018
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”
by Ellen Isaacs
Imperialism is the stage of capitalism after colonialism when, the whole world having been divided up, the dominant nations fight each other for control of natural resources, markets and cheap labor. Just as capitalists within national borders must continually maximize their profits or be ousted by competitors, the capitalist class of each imperialist nation is compelled not only to optimize its exploitation of weaker nations, but to limit the access of rival powers to its acquisitions. By the late 1800s all the weaker nations had been brought under the sway of the more powerful ones, and the 1900s ushered in a century of world wars and many local armed conflicts. The primary aim of this article is to describe the declining place of the once dominant United States on the ladder of imperial power, and secondly, to assess how we as internationalist workers should relate to this shift. Continue reading “THE DECLINE OF U.S. IMPERIALISM or What Goes Up Must Come Down”
A Book Review by Karyn Pomerantz of : The Empire of Cotton: A Global History by Sven Beckert. London, Penguin Books 2014.
The cultivation of cotton and the production of cotton materials, made profitable by racist slavery and genocide, birthed capitalism. The Empire of Cotton describes the history of cotton production from before the Christian era through present day outsourcing to Asian sweat shops heavily staffed by impoverished women and children. Mexico, Brazil, India, China and Egypt also grew cotton yet never developed any new economic structures to maximize its value as England did. Continue reading “How Slavery in the Fields and Factories Created King Cotton and Capitalism”
by The Editors
Trump’s election signaled a victory for racism and sexism that is not reserved just for Republicans and open fascists. These ideas and practices also flourish under liberals like the Clintons and Obama, who supported wars against people in Iraq and Syria, gutted welfare programs devastating women and children, and deported millions. Continue reading “It’s Capitalism: Racism and Sexism Win With Any President”
Is World War III around the corner? From 60 Minutes to the journal of the Council on Foreign Relation(CFR), Foreign Affairs, a recent focus has been on the likelihood of war, even nuclear war, between the major powers. We must not let that happen. Continue reading “UNITE TO FIGHT THE SPECTER OF WAR”
MIGRATION: A REFLECTION OF CAPITALISM
By Ellen Isaacs
Appearing in Zmag, July 2016
The news is full of tragic and shocking stories of the flight of refugees, such as the 12.6 million Syrians internally or externally displaced and over 1000 drowned in June in the Mediterranean Sea. Today, more desperate refugees are seeking shelter in Europe than at any time since World War II.
In this article we will examine why so many people in the world have been driven to flee their homes, the status of migration in the world today, and why capitalism and imperialism are responsible for this phenomenon. We will also explore how nationalism and racism, inventions of capitalism, are used to justify mass displacements and make them more acceptable. Continue reading “Migration: A Reflection of Capitalism”
THE FALLACY OF WHITE SKIN PRIVILEGE
The concept of white skin privilege acknowledges the differences in exploitation and oppression faced by blacks and whites; yet it frames the lower levels of exploitation as a benefit for whites. This either encourages white workers to support the system because they get a bit more, or to believe that they are part of the system that is exploiting blacks, or to feel guilty because they are less exploited. None of these suppositions are true, and all may decrease the motivation of whites to unite with blacks to fight back. Continue reading “RACISM HURTS ALL WORKERS”
by The Editors
From: The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic by Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker. Boston: Beacon Press, 2000.
Today, massive unemployment and wars force millions of people to flee their homes. In the US cities, developers are building luxury residences, pushing people out of their neighborhoods and homes. In New Orleans, Louisiana State University leveled miles of newly-renovated houses to build its new medical center.
Continue reading “Sailors, Slaves, Pirates Revolts in the 16th-17th Centuries”