Cap Against Race Affs—UMich 2013



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AT: Racism came before Cap

  1. Empirically false—racism did not exist as a concept before slavery and even for about a century after—it was developed as a rationale for economic slavery

  2. Even if racism existed before traditional Marxism it was always economically motivated—to justify accumulating people as property or demonize those who weren’t economically useful





  1. Slavery was not initially associated with Africans – capitalist economics, not racism, perpetuated slavery

Drescher 97 – Ph.D @ U of Wisconsin-Madison, Professor of History and Sociology @ U of Pittsburgh (Seymour, Slavery & Abolition, 18:3, pages 212-213, “Slavery and capitalism after fifty years”, 1997, RSpec)

Perhaps the best point of departure is the collective volume that emerged from the fortieth anniversary conference on Capitalism and Slavery, held at Bellagio, Italy, and was published in 1987. The editors, Barbara L. Solow and Stanley L. Engerirían, divided the non-biographical contributions into three parts, corresponding to three major hypotheses on the relationship between economic development and slavery in the British empire. We may appropriately test the first hypothesis most briefly. Williams only briefly broached the subject and his assessment has not been of major historiographical interest in the subsequent literature. Williams took the position that economic factors rather than racism occupied pride of place in the switch to African labour in the plantation Americas, that slavery 'was not bom of racism' but rather slavery led to racism. Although some recent interpretations make racial preferences and inhibitions central to the choice of African labour, Williams's order of priorities, if not his either-or approach, is supported by a survey of hundreds of articles. They show virtual unanimity on the primacy of economics in accounting for the turn toward slave labour. Non-economic factors, such as race or religion, entered into the development of New World slavery only as a limiting parameter. Such factors affected the historical sequence by which entire human groups (Christians, Jews, Muslim North Africans, Native Americans) were excluded from liability to enslavement in the Atlantic system. Since Williams published his book, the main change in the historiographical context of origins is an increase in the number and variety of actors brought into the process. That broader context complicates the role of any exclusively 'African' racial component of the slave trade. From the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries, slavery, even the English colonial varieties, was hardly synonymous with Africans. Nor were Africans synonymous with slaves. In the African sector of the Atlantic system Europeans were forced to regard Africans (and Afro-Europeans) as autonomous and even locally dominant participants in the slave trade. They were often dominant militarily and were certainly dominant in terms of their massive presence and limited vulnerability to local diseases. Even in the Americas, Africans did not arrive only as captives and deracinated slaves.


  1. Racism originated as an economic tool for separation and profit


Shapira 10 (HarelShapira, PhD from Columbia University, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, “Borderline Americans: Racial Division and Labor War in the Arizona Borderlands”, Contemporary Sociology 39:1, January 2010, Sage)//AS

Concentrating on the middle of the nineteenth century to the New Deal era, Benton-Cohen explores why some “borderline Americans”—a term she uses to refer to resident noncitizens with a “tenuous claim on whiteness”—became “white Americans,” while others did not.Why, she asks, did Eastern and Southern Europeans, one group of “borderline Americans” become white, while Mexicans did not? Borderline Americans can be read as another chapter in America’s history of racial formation, as told by Noel Ignatiev in How the Irish Became White. What we are presented with here is an effort to explain how the Mexicans became brown. Benton-Cohen’s contribution is to show that the conflict between “Mexicans” and “Americans,” which today seems to be timeless and inevitable, was a contingent outcome, motivated in large part by the penetration of industrial capitalism into southern Arizona. This conflict has a curious history containing moments of cooperation and not conflict. Unlike the dominant narratives which examine the social construction of race, Benton-Cohen takes us to the local level and focuses attention not on state actors (although she does not overlook them) but on corporate managers. She helps us to understand that capitalism did not eliminate racial difference, rather it constituted it. The labor process does not suspend difference but rather articulates it. Class conflict is racial conflict, and racial conflict is class conflict. The chapters outline the historical transformation of a once undefined line between “Mexican” and “white American” into a sharp border. The first four chapters of the book offer the most compelling reads, providing engaging portraits of four different communities in Cochise County. In the first two chapters, Benton-Cohen takes us to Tres Alamos and Tombstone, and exposes us to places where relations between Mexicans and white Americans were characterized, for the most part, by harmony, equal legal protection, and sense of membership in the same community. In Tres Alamos and Tombstone, Mexicans and whites inhabited a “shared world” characterized by a “hybrid borderlands culture of the 1880’s, when Mexican-Anglo intermarriages and business partnerships still flourished.” Benton-Cohen argues that race, at least the racial antagonism between Mexicans and whites, was not a central organizing feature of these communities. In this “shared world,” it was not Mexicans who were the “others”, but a range of groups such as Apaches, Chinese immigrants, and Cowboys—each “other” representing a common enemy for the Mexicans and white Americans. She attributes the prevailing “ecumenical” view of whiteness in these two communities to their agricultural-based economies and the fact that most of the Mexicans residing there were members of the landholding elite. In contrast, the mining town of Bisbee and its suburb, Warren, the subjects of the next two chapters, tell a different story. In these communities, race was more palatable, as a dual-wage system saw Mexicans receiving lower pay, and residential segregation restricted the cosmopolitan interactions which characterized Tres Alamos and Tombstone. As with the previous two communities, Benton-Cohen claims that the status of race in these towns is a consequence of economic and class conditions.Unlike Tres Alamos and Tombstone, Bisbee was dominated by a mining economy and laboring population. This case is picked up in the remainder of the book, where Benton-Cohen explores how the divide between “Mexicans” and “whites,” indeed the presence of a racial discourse, is connected to the penetration of industrialized capitalism. As the mining boom took hold, corporations redeveloped the geographic and social ecology of Cochise County. Bisbee expanded and race entered into once unknown places such as Tres Alamos and Tombstone. Along with these corporations, homesteaders from other parts of America moved in, and brought with them understandings of racial difference that were foreign to Cochise County. The “white labor movement” as she names it, gained a strong influence over Arizona politics, and elected officials who saw Mexicans as racial “others.” Over time, the four communities began to resemble each other, as an Anglo/Hispanic color line became a prominent feature of them all.
  1. Class and race are mutually constitutive—capital created the concept of race for its own ends


Brodkin 2000 (Karen, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of California Los Angeles, “998 AES Keynote Address": Global Capitalism: What's Race Got to Do with It?”, American Ethnologist 27:2, May 2000, WILEY)//AS

In the remainder of this article, I will use the United States as an illustrative caseto develop further my argument that capitalism is causally and systemically linked to the construction of race and racism. I will show that relations to the means of capital- ist production in the United States have been organized in ways that are consistent with nationalist constructions of national subjects and internal aliens. The central theoretical point I wish to advance is that race in the United States has historically been a key relationship to the means of capitalist production, and gender construc- tions are what has made race corporeal, material, and visible. In Marxist thought, re- lations to the means of production are class relations. To argue that race is a relation- ship to the means of production is not to reduce race to class. Rather, it is to complicate each term, to argue that race and class are mutually constitutive, two facets of thesame process that apply to both the structure of productive relationships and people's consciousnesses or identities. It is in such socially structured identities that the nation- alist and capitalist projects connect. Current interest in identities-especially the conventional threesome of race, class, and gender-has addressed the cultural content of identities for actors, as well as for the national hegemonic structures that make them meaningful for people to in- terpret, enact, and embrace. I think it is fair to say that they are dialectical: State pol- icy, law, and popular discourse make race and gender matter for one's life chances; people embrace these categories because they matter, but they do not inhabit them in the ways hegemonic institutions and discourses construct them; popular enactments in turn reshape hegemonic practices. Class is often the Cinderella in analyses of this threesome with respect to national projects. That is, it is treated as a "lifestyle choice of you and your family," as Lillian Robinson (1995:8) puts it when criticizing scholars who treat class as if it were a set of cultural choices that are unrelated to economic structures. But one could also challenge the lack of attention to economics in analyses of race in the same way that Robinson does for class. True, the state, nationalism, and civic discourse have gotten a lot of play on the structural side of race. But the organi- zation of production and the racial division of labor, though well described, are poorly theorized. Thinking theoretically about the ways that race and ethnicity work as a relationship to the means of capitalist production in the United States can help us understand how global capitalism might feed nationalism even as it seems to erode states.



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