Cap Against Race Affs—UMich 2013

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AT: You’re Racist

Marxism doesn’t ignore race but interprets it through an essential class perspective

Gimenez 01 (Martha E. , retired Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, “Marxism, and Class, Gender, and Race: Rethinking the Trilogy”, Race, Gender, and Class 8:2, April 2001, ProQuest)//AS

I am aware, however, that most sociologists do not take Marxism seriously and that theorists of gender and racial oppression have been, on the whole, hostile to Marxism's alleged reductionisms. More importantly, this is a country where class is not part of the common sense understanding of the world and remains conspicuously absent from the vocabulary of politicians and most mass media pundits. This is why, despite the U.S. history of labor struggles, today people are more likely to understand their social and economic grievances in gender, racial and ethnic terms, rather than in class terms, despite the fact that class is an ineradicable dimension of everybody's lives. I am not arguing that racial and gender based grievances are less important nor that they are a form of "false consciousness;" in the present historical conjuncture in the U.S. it has become increasingly difficult, exceptions notwithstanding, to articulate class grievances separately from gender and racial/ethnic grievances. The ideological and political struggles against "class reductionism" have succeeded too well, as Kandal (1995) pointed out, resulting in what amounts to gender and race/ethnic reductionisms. This situation does not indicate the demise of class as a fundamental determinant of peoples' lives, but that the relationship between structural changes, class formations and political consciousness is more complex than what simplistic versions of Marxism would suggest. It is an important principle of historical materialism that it is necessary to differentiate between material or objective processes of economic change and the ideological (e.g., legal, political, philosophical, etc.) ways in which people become conscious of these processes of transformations and conflicts and fight them out (Marx, [1859]1970:21). This is why I welcomed the emergence of the RGC perspective because, I thought, it would contribute to raise awareness about the reality and the importance of class and the extent to which neither racial nor gender oppression can be understood in isolation from the realities of class exploitation. My expectations, however, were misplaced: the location of class in the RGC trilogy, at the end, replicates its relative significance within this approach; class is "the weak link in the chain" (Kandal, 1995:143). But altering the place of class in the trilogy would not matter, for the RGC perspective erases the qualitative differences between class and other sources of inequality and oppression, an erasure grounded in its essentially atheoretical nature.

AT: Perm

The perm flattens class’s importance in power relations and equalizes it with race—prevents productive analysis

Gimenez 01 (Martha E. , retired Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, “Marxism, and Class, Gender, and Race: Rethinking the Trilogy”, Race, Gender, and Class 8:2, April 2001, ProQuest)//AS

Nevertheless, I want to argue against the notion that class should be considered equivalent to gender and race. I find the grounds for my argument not only on the crucial role class struggles play in processes of epochal change but also in the very assumptions of RGC studies and the ethnomethodological insights put forth by West and Fenstermaker (1994). The assumption of the simultaneity of experience (i.e., all interactions are raced, classed, gendered) together with the ambiguity inherent in the interactions themselves, so that while one person might think he or she is "doing gender," another might interpret those "doings" in terms of "doing class," highlight the basic issue that Collins accurately identifies when she argues that ethnomethodology ignores power relations. Power relations underlie all processes of social interaction and this is why social facts are constraining upon people. But the pervasiveness of power ought not to obfuscate the fact that some power relations are more important and consequential than others. For example, the power that physical attractiveness might confer a woman in her interactions with her less attractive female supervisor or employer does not match the economic power of the latter over the former. In my view, the flattening or erasure of the qualitative difference between class, race and gender in the RGC perspective is the foundation for the recognition that it is important to deal with "basic relations of domination and subordination" which now appear disembodied, outside class relations. In the effort to reject "class reductionism," by postulating the equivalence between class and other forms of oppression, the RGC perspective both negates the fundamental importance of class but it is forced to acknowledge its importance by postulating some other "basic" structures of domination. Class relations -- whether we are referring to the relations between capitalist and wage workers, or to the relations between workers (salaried and waged) and their managers and supervisors, those who are placed in "contradictory class locations," (Wright, 1978) -- are of paramount importance, for most people's economic survival is determined by them. Those in dominant class positions do exert power over their employees and subordinates and a crucial way in which that power is used is through their choosing the identity they impute their workers. Whatever identity workers might claim or "do," employers can, in turn, disregard their claims and "read" their "doings" differently as "raced" or "gendered" or both, rather than as "classed," thus downplaying their class location and the class nature of their grievances. To argue, then, that class is fundamental is not to "reduce" gender or racial oppression to class, but to acknowledge that the underlying basic and "nameless" power at the root of what happens in social interactions grounded in "intersectionality" is class power.

Individualized politics of race prevent recognition and resistance to global capital oppression

San Juan 05 (Epifanio, Filipino American literary academic, mentor, cultural reviewer, civic intellectual, activist, writer, essayist “From Race to Class Struggle: Marxism and Critical Race Theory”, Nature, Society and Thought 18:3, 2005,

One observer points out that in contrast, the historical materialist analysis of “whiteness” carried out by Alexander Saxton inscribed the ideological within the process of class politics, mass culture, and historical background (Hartman 2004). Arising as a rationalization of the slave trade and the theft of land from nonwhites, white supremacy evolved as a theory/practice designed to legitimize the rule of dominant groups in fluctuating class coalitions, modified and readjusted according to the complex process of reconfiguring hegemony (moral and intellectual leadership of a historic bloc, in Gramsci’s construal). Thus, it is the totality of capitalist production relations—not an essentializing ingredient such as economic position alone—that explains why the ideological synthesis of white supremacy functioned as a key element in the bourgeoisie’s strategic construction of hegemony through the calculated syncopation or calibration of the relations among the state, the institutions of civil society, and the practices of everyday life (see also Meyerson 1997). When the economic and political (base and superstructure) are separated or fragmented into discursive local effects, the result is an incoherent amalgam of incommensurable categories that cannot provide an explanatory critique to connect various seemingly independent social practices and institutions to one another and to the global economic situation (Meyerson 2003). If we want to transform the oppressive system based on the skewed social division of labor and the unequal distribution of social wealth, we need a historical knowledge of social totality that would afford opportunities for organized mass intervention.

The perm intersects race and class without complexity or deep analysis—exemplified by a casual “do both”—prevents effective social justice

Bannerji 05 (Himani, Professor of Sociology at York University, “Building from Marx: Reflections on Class and Race”, Social Justice 32:4, 2005)//AS

For democracy to be more than a mere form consisting of political rituals that only serve to entrench the rule of capital and sprinkle holy water on existing social inequalities, it must have a popular and actually participatory content. That content should be social and cultural demands concentrated in social movements and orga? nizations that work through political processes aimed at popular entitlement at all levels. Such politics needs a social understanding that conceives social formations as a set of complex, contradictory, and inclusive phenomena of social interactions. A simple arithmetical exercise of adding or intersecting "race," gender, and class in a stratificatory mode would not do. Neither can it posit "race" as a cultural phenomenon and gender and class as social and economic. It must overcome the segmentation of the overall social into such elementary aspects of its composi? tion. For example, a trade union cannot properly be said to be an organization for class struggle if it only thinks of class in economic terms, without broadening the concept of class to include "race" and gender in its intrinsic formative definition. Furthermore, it must make its understanding actionable on this socially composite ground of class.4 Outside the trade unions, which are explicitly "class" organizations, the usual practice in current social justice movements is to adopt "coalition" politics that do not discriminate against platforms on which these organizations have been put together.5 Such coalitionist activism is a tactical matter that reflects the same pluralist aggregative logic of social understanding. Class-based organizations come together with those that are not because of a shared interest in certain issues. In "new social movements," issues of class and capital would be considered unnecessary, if at all.6 So popular demands based on gender, "race," sexuality, identity, and so on must primarily be formulated in cultural terms, outside of class and capital. In this political framework, "antiracism" becomes more a question of multiculturalism and ethnicity, as the socially relational aspects of racialization embedded in the former is converted into a cultural demand. The sharp, recent decline in work on "race" that combines hegemonic/cultural commonsense with the workings of class and state is thus not surprising.7 The turn to postmodernism, away from Marxism and class analysis, has resulted in increasing valorization of cultural norms and forms, and made theories of discourse into vehicles for "radical" politics. If once positivist Marxists compelled us to deal with economism and class reductionism, now our battle is with "cultural reductionism." Neither of these readings of social ontology allows us to do justice to politics for social justice. Our theoretical journey must begin somewhere else to reach another destination.

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