The essential feature of class-divided societies, including capitalism, is exploitation – exploitation of one (very large) class of people by another (much smaller) class. It is the one thing that absolutely prevents the reforming of capitalism to turn it into an equitable system. (This analysis is based on Capital, Vol.1 by Karl Marx)
Exploitation in capitalist society is the exchange of money for labor in which the money is less than the value of labor’s product – uneven exchange. Exploitation is the bedrock on which two economic (and social) classes exist, with a third group comprising people who may exhibit features of each class, such as small business owners who work alongside their employees or people who are self-employed, independent professionals, or managers.
The system in “systemic racism” has a name: capitalism. The disaster in “public health disaster” has a name: capitalism. The abolish in “abolish police” needs to name that which must go: capitalism. There is talk of revolution, but revolving from what to what? From capitalism to workers’ power – communism. Not said. Let’s start naming names.
So many militant fists are raised as the nation destructs. So many multiracial movements are marching, stopping evictions, occupying streets, going on strike, but not naming capitalism. So many workers are risking their own lives to do their jobs, so many are volunteering to aid their neighbors, but not naming capitalism. So many articles are written on disparities but not naming the instigator: capitalism.
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”
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”
By Alan Spector, Professor of Sociology at Purdue North West and long time anti-racist, anti-war activist, firstname.lastname@example.org . This was written in 1998 but is still current.
The image of a police car appears in the rear view mirror as the driver of a car glances up. Proceeding for five or six blocks, the driver notices that the police car is still following. As the driver makes a right turn, the police car follows, and seven blocks further down the street, the driver is quite aware that the police car is still following behind — no lights, no siren, no request to pull over….just following. While it may well be a coincidence, the driver may nevertheless start to experience anxiety. “Did I commit a traffic violation? Will I have to take a day off of work to go to court? Will there be a fine? Will I get points against my driver’s license? Will my car insurance go up by several hundred dollars?” Anxiety. For perhaps 80% of the population in the U.S., this kind of experience creates anxiety. For much of the other 20%, however, the anxiety is much more intense. For the young black male driving through Gary, Indiana at 11 p.m., the anxiety includes: “Will my car be searched? Will I be humiliated? Will my car be damaged? Will I be roughed up? How should I act? If I’m quiet, the cop might think I’m being hostile. If I’m friendly, he might think I’m being sarcastic. My friend was arrested for disorderly conduct last week in a traffic stop. How should I act? What’s going to happen now?” Continue reading “Racism is Not about White Skin Privilege”
(From Lerone Bennett, The Shaping of Black America. Chicago: Johnson Publishing Co., 1975, pp. 61-82. Originally published in Ebony, vol. 25 (August, 1970), pp. 71- 77).
A nation is a choice. It chooses itself at fateful forks in the road by turning left or right, by giving up something or taking something — and in the giving up and the taking, in the deciding and not deciding, the nation becomes. And ever afterwards, the nation and the people who make up the nation are defined by the fork and by the decision that was made there, as well as by the decision that was not made there. For the decision, once made, engraves itself into the landscape, engraves itself into things, into institutions, nerves, muscles, tendons; and the first decision requires a second decision, and the second decision requires a third, and it goes on and on, spiraling in an inexorable process which distorts everything and alienates everybody.
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”
Racism is a system that disadvantages one group over another through economic, political, and ideological practices and policies. Structural racism reflects the history of US policies that serve those in power in a society. Those in power who own companies or control financial institutions (the ruling class) need to increase their profits by holding down costs and speeding up production. From the beginning of US history, the planters looked for the cheapest labor and chose African men and women to work their land. To justify their choice, they promoted the concept of race-that African people deserved enslavement while European white people could be “free” and earn wages. The ruling class, the landowners and bankers of that time, structured society to give themselves power and access to wealth while relegating the workers to low or no wages based on what they defined as “race.”
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”