Cap Against Race Affs—UMich 2013



Download 0.96 Mb.
Page28/30
Date conversion16.05.2016
Size0.96 Mb.
1   ...   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30

AT: Universalizing

We can use universalism productively—their arguments about subjectivity are historically disproven


McLaren and Farahmandpur 00 (Peter and Ramin, Professor in the Division of Urban Schooling, the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles and Professor of Education at Portland State University, “Reconsidering Marx in Post-Marxist Times: A Requiem for Postmodernism?”, Educational Researcher 29:3, April 2000, JSTOR)//AS

It is a cardinal position in postmod- ernism to place under suspicion master narratives, universalism, and objectiv- ity on the grounds that they are partic- ular epistemological and moral dis- courses camouflaged under the guise of universal discourses. Enlightenment ideals come under fire as well since they putatively aim at creating homoge- nous discourses which are based on scientific progress associated with Eu- ropean economic, social, and political dominance (Thompson, 1997). Post- modernists additionally dismiss the Enlightenment's claim and appeal to universalism by associating it with Eu- ropean imperialism and colonialism which, in their view, aided the Span- ish, Portuguese, and British conquest of the "New World." However, history demonstrates that prior empires did not rely on specific universal discourses similar to the Enlightenment ideas to justify their atrocities, genocide, and territorial conquest. On the contrary, En- lightenment thinkers frequently stressed the significance of other cultures' moral and ethical commitments by compar- ing and contrasting them to their own European origins. According to Willie Thompson: The Spanish conquistadors did not require the Enlightenment to commit genocide upon the populations of the Caribbean, Mexico and Peru and subject the remnant to slavery, nor Genghis Khan to do similar things in Central Asia during the earlier pe- riod. These acts were committed by cultures with no pretensions to uni- versalism (unless Christianity is to be regarded as such, in which case the root of all evil has to be sought a lot further back). (1997, p. 219)
Racial, gender and sexual divisions can be overcome through a struggle against capital – only way to overcome all forms of oppression

Sears and Mooers 95 – teaches at Ryerson University in Toronto; ** Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University, PhD in Social and Political Thought from York University (Alan and Colin “The Politics of Hegemony: Democracy, Class, and Social Movements” November 1 1995 Transformation: Marxist Boundary Work in Theory, Economics, Politics and Culture)

Perhaps the strongest argument used against the Marxist conception of totality today is that reduces a diversity of experiences to a unitary system and subordinates a range of struggles to a single dynamic. Churchill (199) wrote, for example, that Marxism could not hope to relate to native struggles without a rich appreciation of native perspectives: "Only through learning the specifics of the local struggle can one hope to 'fit it into the broader picture' without intellectually forcing it, a priori, into the constraints of preconception and stereotype." Lenin himself would have endorsed this statement, arguing the need for detailed knowledge of the concrete situation. However, opponents of Marxism use the argument for detailed local knowledge as the basis for a rejection of Marxism tout court. Any attempt to "fit it into the broader picture" is likely to be accused of "forcing it." It is common sense among many on the left that Marxism is a "male-stream," "eurocentric" (and undoubtedly straight) theory (see for example Burstyn 81 and Churchill200). This kind of reasoning is used to disqualify Marxism in advance as an answer to pressing social questions. The alternative to Marxism is generally some variant of multiple systems theory linked to the politics of alliance and the abandonment of any conception of totality. If Marxism is to be a credible alternative it must be able to show the possibility and efficacy of an inclusive class politics. Lebowitz (1992) provides an important theoretical starting point for this kind of politics with his critique of the "one-sidedness of capital." Marx's Capital presented the dynamics of capitalism and class struggle from the perspective of capital only. The other side of the capital relation, namely the working class, was held constant in Capital to permit an elaboration of the laws of development of capitalism (31-4). This, Lebowitz argues, must be complemented with an account of "class struggle from the side of the wage-laborer" to give an inclusive picture of class conflict (56). Looked at from this perspective, workers encounter capital as a barrier to meeting the rich and diverse needs that they develop in particular historical circumstances. These include not only a wage required to secure the goods that workers need or want, but also the time required for the self-reproduction of the worker. More than this, such a perspective must encompass the myriad of conditions required for social life itself and the realization of the full creative potential of the worker as an individual (see 56-7,96-1 00). This broader conception of class struggle, which encompasses the rich world of workers' needs provides the basis for an inclusive politics capable of embracing issues around gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, and other special needs. Creese (193-4) pointed out the need to overcome the inadequacy of dealing w1th issues such as gender and race as "add-ons" to class analysis: Ethnic/racial and gender relations of power and domination are embedded within capitalist practices. The class relations that are thereby generated are not gender and ethnically/racially neutral form; rather, classes are gendered and racialized (Creese 193). An inclusive conception of class struggle allows us to understand classes as gendered, racialized and sexualized while connecting the diverse needs and capacities of workers to a common struggle. Lebowitz (123) argues that workers approach capital "already divided by (among aspects) sex, gender, race and nationality." This division is fostered due to "the inherent tendency m cap1tal1tself to foster competition among workers .... " . These divisions need not be unbridgeable. The demands of lesbians and gay men, people of color, women, people with physical or mental special needs and others are class demands against capital and its dominance over society. HIV infected people, for example, may require a more flexible working day due to the need for rest, or ways to meet their needs and wants without engaging in wage labor if unable to work (see Sears and Adam 1992). Women may have particular needs in the configuration of wage and domestic labor (see Vogel 1990 and Luxton 1987). These issues may or may not manifest themselves directly in the workplace. That is not the central point. Class struggles include more than struggles around wages or conflicts in individual workplaces. Rather than directed against particular capitalists, they are struggles against the power of capital as a whole. And, insofar as they are directed against capital's position as the owner of the products of social labor, they have the potential of unifying (rather than maintaining the separation of) all those who have nothing to sell but their labor power (Lebowitz 147). This unity has an objective basis: it is founded on the fact that forms of exploitation and oppression are related internally to the extent that they are located in the same totality-one which is defined and governed by capitalist social relations. Each of these struggles has the potential of strengthening the others. Conversely, the failure to connect these struggles weakens each of them. This is precisely what Marx (118) referred to when he wrote "A people that subjugates another people forges its own chains." The myth of the "white male working class" presents class struggle as one in which a gain for some workers means a loss for others. This is based on a static picture of a relatively constant wage packet which gets divided between sections of the class on the basis of power and privilege. Thus, the "white male working class" is presented as the beneficiary of lower wages paid women, people of color and immigrants. By this logic, gains for women, people of color and immigrants are necessarily losses for white men (e.g. Coote and Campbell 247). The overall size of the wage packet, the length of the working day, the comprehensiveness of social programs and indeed the amount of direct management control is not fixed, but varies with the strength and tactics of each side in the class struggle. Workers who attempt to defend relative privileges through exclusionary and sectional strategies weaken their own position. The failure, for example, to campaign vigorously against racist privilege in the American South not only weakened the position of southern workers but indeed that of the whole American labor movement. The downward pressure of a non-unionized low wage sector historically divided by racism is one of the tools American employers have used in their anti-union offensive in the recent past (see Davis). This does not mean that workers will automatically recognize their broader class interests or that sectionalism will be easily overcome. This requires a political struggle. However, there is an objective basis for building solidarity. It is when workers enter into struggle that the opportunities are greatest for the subjective recognition of this objective basis (see Lebowitz 163). McCaskell (249) showed just one example of these possibilities when he described the development of a general strike in an area of the Basque country following the shooting of a transvestite by the Spanish National Police: the industrial suburb closed down in a general strike protesting the killing. Sexual liberation was a focus of discussion in dozens of workplaces. Two thousand people marched through San Sebastian under the banners of EHGAM [the Basque gay liberation front) .... This was a mobilization on a class basis which connected national liberation and sexual politics. This kind of political generalization is not inevitable in large-scale workers struggles; politics are required to make these links. There is, however, a very real basis for such generalization. Indeed, this should not be surprising. At the level of daily experience, there is an obviousness to the connections between different aspects of exploitation and oppression. The divisions between gender, class and race don't exist at the level of the everyday/everynight world of people's actual lives; to be black, a woman and working class are not three different and distinctive experiences. (D. Smith 54) We would argue that these are not separate experiences precisely because they are grounded in a single social totality. There is a connection within this totality between for example economic crisis and the rise of the racist right (see } I I Sivanandan v-vi). The relations within this totality have a specifically capitalist character even where they are not directly economic (see Wood). This is the basis for an inclusive class politics. Albert has attacked this inclusive conception of class struggle, which he labels as "Marxist monism" (44). The absurdity of this view that women and blacks, for instance, can only be critical social agents as representatives of some class, and that hey cannot be agents of history simply by virtue of their position as women oppressed by gender relations and blacks oppressed by racist community relations fortunately has struck more than a few activists. This is a caricature. The argument is not that class is the only subject position in society, but that it is a unique one in the process of emancipation. There are two reasons for this uniqueness. First, as Marx (58) argued, the working class is a class with "radical chains" which to free itself must break the all the chains which bind society. Secondly, the working class is the only force which can break through the limits of the capitalist totality to forge a new society (see Lukacs 28).
Their criticism of class struggle as exclusive is flawed – the working class can be defined to include anyone who sells wage labor

Sears and Mooers 95 – teaches at Ryerson University in Toronto; ** Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University, PhD in Social and Political Thought from York University (Alan and Colin “The Politics of Hegemony: Democracy, Class, and Social Movements” November 1 1995 Transformation: Marxist Boundary Work in Theory, Economics, Politics and Culture)

Movementist critics often present Marxism as a partial and inadequate theory of emancipation, concerned with the freedom of only one relatively privileged stratum in society, the "white male working class." This view is based on the claim that Marxism is fundamentally reductionist, subordinating all aspects of social life to economic class relations and political class struggle. This criticism is grounded in a view of class politics that can be labeled an "exclusive conception of class." While this exclusive conception of class is certainly present in some versions of Marxist theory, the most powerful versions are those grounded in an inclusive conception of class. The exclusive conception of class criticized by movementist critics of Marxism has two aspects. First, the working class is narrowly defined in empirical terms to include only certain forms of industrial labor which are still largely male. Not only are working-class women largely forgotten (an error corrected by marxist feminists, and then frequently re-forgotten by male marxists and socialists), but the whole conceptualization and understanding of the proletariat is male ... (Hearn 76) Secondly, the purview of class politics is narrowly confined to economistic issues in the workplace. Thus, class struggle is reduced to the efforts of a small segment of the population to improve their immediate economic conditions. Epstein (60) argues that one reason many on the left are uncomfortable with class politics is that "'the working class' conjures up organized labor and the white men who are its largest constituency."4 This exclusive conception of class has its roots in specific versions of Marxist theory. It is based first on a concept of productive labor, which as Lebowitz (1 00) points out "has been the subject of endless (and singularly unproductive) discussion among Marxists." This concept is rooted in Marx (152-7), who distinguished between productive labor which created surplus-value for capital and unproductive labor which who did not. A working class comprised only of those engaged in productive labor would exclude all those who do not directly produce surplus value. If we accept productive labor as defining the working class, then only wage-laborers in extractive, manufacturing, and freight industries would form the proletariat. On such a view, the working class would be narrowed down to its nineteenth century stereotype of male manual workers (Callinicos 19). Such influential writers as Althusser (171) and Poulantzas took this narrow view of the working class, excluding for example state employees. Even Epstein (60), who is critical of this narrow conception of class, sees it as perhaps the only tenable Marxist position. Expanding this definition to include the vast majority of the population leaves one without a clear definition of working-class boundaries. It also involves losing some of the power of traditional class analysis, which claimed a revolutionary role for the working class on the basis of its relationship to surplus value. The exclusive conception of class combines this narrow conception of class boundaries with an economistic understanding of class struggles. The domain of class struggles is reduced to the narrow question of wages paid to productive laborers. The result is a view of class politics which excludes women laboring in the household, the unemployed, people working on the margins of the economy, and workers in certain sectors (such as the state and social services) which include a high proportion of women workers. The working class is then seen as a privileged core, distinguished from a periphery or underclass which is more exploited and more vulnerable. (see Sivanandan 8,17,24; Atkinson and Gregory). This view of the working class has achieved particular currency in the postfordist argument that the contemporary workforce has been reshaped by the requirements of "flexible specialization." The working class is depicted as a shrinking core of well paid full-time workers being forced to learn new and varied skills and an adaptable and participatory work style, while a growing low-paid portion of the labor force (including disproportionate numbers of women and people of color) become "flexible" in the sense that they are employed on a part-time or temporary basis at the convenience of employers. This exclusive conception of the working class is often marshaled as part of a critique of unions which are depicted as bargaining to defend white male privilege against the claims of a more exploited and oppressed periphery comprised largely of women, people of color and immigrants. The traditional priorities of union bargaining-focusing on the wage and on the maintenance of differentials-have not helped lift women out of low paid ghettos, or to alleviate their domestic responsibilities. On the contrary, the process we know as "free collective bargaining" is primarily a defense of the interests of male workers (Coote and Campbell 166). Lebowitz (1 03) argues persuasively that this exclusive conception of the working class does not flow from the logic of Marxism, but rather from the logic of capitalism. It is, after all, capital that would define "productive" labor as that which produces surplus-value and it is capital that tries to limit the purview of legitimate class politics to narrow collective bargaining issues. A Marxism rooted in this narrow conception of class will "not only be found wanting by feminists and others but it also cannot challenge capital" (Lebowitz 1 03). Critics who attack Marxism as a theory of the "white male working class" are responding to this narrow definition of class developed within Marxist theory. Their strategy has generally been to supplement a narrow vision of class politics with separate perspectives covering gender, race/ethnicity and/or sexuality. There is, however, another alternative and that is to develop a broader, inclusive conception of social class. An inclusive conception must begin with a broader definition of the boundaries of class. Wright (49), for example, argues that there is no basis for excluding unproductive workers from the working class. both productive and unproductive workers are exploited; both have unpaid labor extorted from them .... In both cases, the capitalist will try to keep the wage bill as low as possible; in both cases the capitalist will try to increase the productivity by getting workers to work harder; in both cases, workers will be dispossessed of control over the labor process. Therefore, the boundaries of the working class can be drawn widely to encompass productive and unproductive, full-time and part-time, employed and unemployed. It includes all those who are dependent on the sale of labor-power (whether or not they directly produce surplus value or are employed at a g1ven moment) and who do not own or control their workplace.6 The point of production constitutes the single greatest source of power for those dependent on the sale of labor-power, but neither limits class membership to those employed at a given moment nor class politics to narrow workplace concerns. Resnick and Wolff usefully distinguish between fundamental classes, those which directly produce surplus value for capital, and subsumed classes, those who are employed as wage-laborers but whose labor does not directly contribute to surplus value (such as state employees). In this way, they are able to point to the central place of surplus production to capitalism without losing s1ght of the fact that subsumed workers are still part of the working class. In th1s regard, subsumed workers such as state employees have as much potential to engage in class struggle as industrial workers.7

Analysis of culture must include analysis of class

LeBlanc 95 – professor of history at La Roche College in Pennsylvania, historian of working class and revolutionary politics, Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh (Paul “Culture, Identity, Class Struggle” 1995 Transformation: Marxist Boundary Work in Theory, Economics, Politics and Culture)

Common themes in post-Marxist discourse involve a tendency to turn from class struggles to culture critiques, questioning the centrality of class while privileging identities relating to race, gender and sexuality, and exchanging the goal of socialism for that of "radical democracy," sometimes with a greenish hue. It is an Hegelian commonplace that there is generally some element of (overextended) truth in an erroneous analysis. So it seems to me that not all elements of the post-Marxists' challenge are without interest, that in fact some of their notions can be engaged/incorporated/transformed/superseded in an historical materialist critique. What follows constitutes a practical critique of much post-Marxist discourse: it is a non-polemical effort to put forward-in relatively clear language-an analysis which touches on themes that relate both to the post-Marxist debate and to practical problems of the class struggle and socialist political work today. Two The concept of "culture" is an essential tool for those who want to apply the historical materialist approach of Marx and Engels to the question of how class consciousness develops among those of us who are part of the working class, that is, those of us who make our living through the sale of labor power, as opposed to making a living through the ownership of businesses. Before discussing culture, we need to look more closely at this working class and its consciousness. The working class, as defined here, constitutes a majority of the people in U.S. society, but a majority of those who are, in this sense, working class, do not automatically or necessarily have a sense of themselves as being part of something called the working class. They don't necessarily believe that they can best improve their conditions by joining with other workers in a struggle against the big businessmen, the capitalists, who own and run our economy. They don't automatically or necessarily see themselves as having common interests with working-class people of other countries (or even of working-class people of our own country who have different racial or ethnic backgrounds, different occupations and income levels, different sexual identities and orientations, and so on). And they don't automatically conclude that they can and should, as a class, take political power in order to transform our society in a way that gives them control of our economic life. These beliefs-(1) that there is something called the working class to which we belong, (2) that our interests are necessarily counterposed to the interests of the capitalists, against whom we must struggle, (3) that we should identify with and have solidarity with a// members of our class, and (4) that the working class should struggle for political power in order to bring about the socialist transformation of society these beliefs are traditionally seen by Marxists (in this case Lenin) as constituting the class-consciousness of the proletariat, of the working class (LeBlanc 21-26). People who are born into the working class are not born with these ideas. Nor do we get our ideas simply from raw experience. In our families, among our friends, in school, and in the larger society, we are taught certain beliefs, values, moral codes, ways of understanding things, and forms of behavior. These constitute a framework that helps us make some kind of sense of the world around us, affecting the way we process our experience, and therefore shaping our consciousness. This, according to culture theorists, is what is meant by the theoretical concept known as culture. This conception of culture involves: the social habits and learned behavior shaping our lives and consciousness; our beliefs and values and ways of understanding reality; the various activities and institutions which help to transmit these habits, beliefs and values; and the intellectual, technological, artistic and other products of human creation. Included in this, of course, is the realm of art, literature, film, television, music, etc. which is sometimes more narrowly given the label of "culture."1 Marxists insist that culture cannot be adequately understood unless we see it dialectically-composed of complex and contradictory elements, dynamic and evolving, which not only shapes people but also is shaped by them as they seek to adjust to and transform the realities of which they are part. Here it may be helpful to emphasize the central importance (in contrast to some "post-Marxist" theorists) of materialism and economics in this way of seeing culture. Obviously, if I do not physically exist, I cannot engage in any form of activity, cultural or otherwise; a pre-requisite of my ex1stence is the intake of nourishment. Marx and Engels noted, in The German Ideology, that "by producing food, man indirectly produces his material life itself." They elaborate: The way in which man produces his food depends first of all on the nature of the means of subsistence that he finds and has to reproduce. This mode of product1on must not be viewed simply as reproduction of the physical existence of individuals. Rather it is a definite form of their activity, a definite way of expressing their life, a definite mode of life. As individuals express their life, so they are. What they are, therefore, coincides with what they produce, with what they produce, and how they produce (Marx, 409). The way we each make a living, taken together, adds up to our way of life; the activities and relationships which we enter into for the purpose of securing our subsistence is what is meant by an economy. As Marx put it in The Poverty of Philosophy, economic categories are only the theoretical expressions, the abstractions, of social relations of production" (Marx, 480). The concepts of culture, society and economy overlap here. Marx sees economics "anthropologically"-which means that culture is necessarily permeated with the economic realities from which it is inseparable. Of course, not all economies are the same. As historical materialists, Marxists insist that culture must also be comprehended, in capitalist society, as something in which we find reflected the actual, divided class experiences and conflicts existing under capitalism: To the extent that we speak of a so-called national culture in one or another capitalist country, the dominant influence in that culture is enjoyed by the dominant social class: the cap1talists, who own and control the economy, and this control shapes the so-called "way of life" of the society. But there are also elements of popular culture, attitudes, practices, values and viewpoints arising from the other classes, especially the working class, which are different from and sometimes in conflict with the dominant cultural orientation of the capitalist class. This broad working-class culture-sometimes influenced by the dominant bourgeois-national culture, sometimes drawing on deeper pre-industrial or pre-capitalist traditions, sometimes powerfully asserting itself through social struggles against the capitalists-has been the basis for a distinctive radical-democratic and socialist sub-culture arising in various capitalist countries of the past century and a half, including in the United States. Three There is, then, the larger culture of capitalist society, in which, under normal circumstances, ethical orientations, ideology, values and social habits consistent with capitalism tend to predominate. But also within this larger culture there is a different cultural orientation which reflects the life-experience of those who are part of the working class-life-experience which is refracted and interpreted, to be sure, through the ideological orientation (ways of seeing things and understanding reality) into which one has been socialized. In fact, there is a considerable amount of cultural variation within this working class, given the ethnic and racial differences, as well as occupation and income differences, differences in gender and sexual orientation, and so on. There is, nonetheless, a fundamental cultural divide between bourgeois and proletarian social layers. From television-if we compare the more or less proletarian way of life depicted on "Roseanne" with the more or less bourgeois way of life depicted on "L.A. Law," then we get some sense of the broad cultural difference of class being suggested. There should be no mystery about the source of this cultural divide. Those who are part of the working class share an intimate knowledge of having no way to make a living except by selling their own labor power, finding someone willing to hire them, and being under the economic domination of a boss who tries to convert that labor power into as much actual labor as possible. It involves a sense of common cause (despite petty aggravations) with one's workmates, a desire to exercise at least some common control over one's work situation, and a shared resentment over the "boss-ism" of management and the owners. It involves a feeling (shaped by one's economic situation) that you earn every penny that you make, and in many cases a vivid sense that your labor enriches others. There is a shared understanding with millions of others that those on top will always have many more advantages, privileges, tax breaks, perks, resources, opportunities, etc., and that the majority of us-looked down upon and taken for granted-pay for that. All of this necessarily and profoundly impacts on one's entire world-view and way of life.


AT: Link Turn

Antiracist movements cannot undo capitalism on their own—they fail to see the multiplicity of its oppression—focus on race is detrimental


McLaren and Farahmandpur 00 (Peter and Ramin, Professor in the Division of Urban Schooling, the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles and Professor of Education at Portland State University, “Reconsidering Marx in Post-Marxist Times: A Requiem for Postmodernism?”, Educational Researcher 29:3, April 2000, JSTOR)//AS

We would also like to point out that capitalism is not necessarily endan- gered by the ethnic, racial, gender, or sexual identities of the social groups that it seeks to exploit. Capitalism can survive antiracist and antisexist prac- tices because it is a social system based on economic exploitation and the own- ership of private property3 (Wood, 1996). Of course, antiracist and femi- nist struggles can help bring capitalism down, but they are necessary and not sufficient struggles. We believe that in its failure to recognize capitalism as a fundamental determinant of social oppression, and in its focus on racism, sexism, and homophobia delinked from their attachment to White patriarchal epistemologies, the law of value, and the international division of labor, identity politics falls prey to a facile form of culturalism. In our opinion, certain contexts arise in which identity politics tends to ham- per and weaken working-class strug- gles. In some instances, for example, by blaming only Whites for the oppression of Blacks, men for the oppression of women, and heterosexuality for the op- pression of gays and lesbians, identity politics fails to situate White racializ- ing and racist practices, as well as pa- triarchal and heteronormative prac- tices, as conjunctional practices within the wider context of capitalist relations of exploitation.



AT: McGary


McGary supports capitalism and ignores it’s effects on race

Young 06(Robert Young- British postcolonial theorist, cultural critic, and historian “Putting Materialism back into Race Theory: Toward a Transformative Theory of Race” http://www.redcritique.org/WinterSpring2006/puttingmaterialismbackintoracetheory.htm
In the realm of African-American philosophy, Howard McGary Jr. also deploys the discourse of the (black) subject to mark the limits of Marxism. For instance, in a recent interview, McGary offers this humanist rejection of Marxism: "I don't think that the levels of alienation experienced by Black people are rooted primarily in economic relations" (Interview 90). For McGary, black alienation exceeds the logic of Marxist theory and thus McGary's idealist assertion that "the sense of alienation experienced by Black people in the US is also rooted in the whole idea of what it means to be a human being and how that has been understood" (Interview 90). McGary confuses causes and effects and then misreads Marxism as a descriptive modality. Marxism is not concerned as much with descriptive accounts, the effects, as much as it is with explanatory accounts. That is, it is concerned with the cause of social alienation because such an explanatory account acts as a guide for praxis. Social alienation is an historical effect and its explanation does not reside in the experience itself; therefore, it needs explanation and such an explanation emerges from the transpersonal space of concepts. In theorizing the specificity of black alienation, McGary reveals his contradictory ideological coordinates. First, he argues that black alienation results from cultural "beliefs". Then, he suggests that these cultural "norms" and "practices" develop from slavery and Jim Crow, which are fundamentally economic relations for the historically specific exploitation of black people. If these cultural norms endogenously emerge from the economic systems of slavery and Jim Crow, as McGary correctly suggests, then and contrary to McGary's expressed position, black alienation is very much rooted in economic relations. McGary's desire to place black subjectivity beyond Marxism creates contradictions in his text. McGary asserts that the economic structures of slavery and Jim Crow shape cultural norms. Thus in a post-slavery, post-Jim Crow era, there would still be an economic structure maintaining contemporary oppressive norms—from McGary's logic this must be the case. However, McGary remains silent on the contemporary economic system structuring black alienation: capitalism. Apparently, it is legitimate to foreground and critique the historical connection between economics and alienation but any inquiry into the present day connection between economics and alienation is off limits. This other economic structure—capitalism—remains the unsaid in McGary's discourse, and consequently he provides ideological support for capitalism—the exploitative infrastructure which produces and maintains alienation for blacks as well as for all working people. In a very revealing moment, a moment that confirms my reading of McGary's pro-capitalist position, he asserts that "it is possible for African-Americans to combat or overcome this form of alienation described by recent writers without overthrowing capitalism" (20). Here, in a most lucid way, we see the ideological connection between the superstructure (philosophy) and the base (capitalism). Philosophy provides ideological support for capitalism, and, in this instance, we can also see how philosophy carries out class politics at the level of theory (Althusser Lenin 18). McGary points out "that Black people have been used in ways that white people have not" (91). His observation may be true, but it does not mean that whites have not also been "used"; yes, whites may be "used" differently, but they are still "used" because that is the logic of exploitative regimes—people are "used", that is to say, their labor is commodified and exchanged for profit. McGary's interview signals what I call an "isolationist" view. This view disconnects black alienation from other social relations; hence, it ultimately reifies race, and, in doing so, suppresses materialist inquiries into the class logic of race. That is to say, the meaning of race is not to be found within its own internal dynamics but rather in dialectical relation to and as an ideological justification of the exploitative wage-labor economy.


AT: Mills


Mills puts race discrimination before any other form of discrimination- this exploits the working class

Young 06(Robert Young- British postcolonial theorist, cultural critic, and historian “Putting Materialism back into Race Theory: Toward a Transformative Theory of Race” http://www.redcritique.org/WinterSpring2006/puttingmaterialismbackintoracetheory.htm
This isolationist position finds a fuller and, no less problematic, articulation in Charles W. Mills' The Racial Contract, a text which undermines the possibility for a transracial transformative political project. Mills evinces the ideological assumptions and consequent politics of the isolationist view in a long endnote to chapter 1. Mills privileges race oppression, but, in doing so, he must suppress other forms of oppression, such as gender and class. Mills acknowledges that there are gender and class relations within the white population, but he still privileges race, as if the black community is not similarly divided along gender and class lines. Hence, the ideological necessity for Mills to execute a double move: he must marginalize class difference within the white community and suppress it within the black community. Consequently, Mills removes the possibility of connecting white supremacy, a political-cultural structure, to its underlying economic base. Mills empiricist framework mystifies our understanding of race. If "white racial solidarity has overridden class and gender solidarity" (138), as he proposes, then what is needed is an explanation of this racial formation. If race is the "identity around which whites have usually closed ranks" (138), then why is the case? Without an explanation, it seems as if white solidarity reflects some kind of metaphysical alliance. White racial solidarity is an historical articulation that operates to defuse class antagonism within white society, and it is maintained and reproduced through discourses of ideology. The race contract provides whites with an imaginary resolution of actual social contradictions, which are not caused by blacks, but by an exploitative economic structure. The race contract enables whites to scapegoat blacks and such an ideological operation displaces any understanding of the exploitative machinery. Hence, the race contract provides a political cover which ensures the ideological reproduction of the conditions of exploitation, and this reproduction further deepens the social contradictions—the economic position of whites becomes more and more depressed by the very same economic system that they help to ideologically reproduce. Mills points out that the Racial Contract aims at economic exploitation of black people, and this is certainly the case, but it also exploits all working people—a notion suppressed within Mills' black nationalist problematic. From Mills' logic, it seems that all whites (materially) benefit from the Racial Contract, but, if this true, then how does he account for the class structure within the white community? His argument rests upon glossing over class divisions within American and European communities, and I believe this signals the theoretical and political limits of his position. The vast majority of white/Europeans are workers and therefore are subjected to capitalist exploitation through the extraction of surplus value, and this structural relationship operates irrespective of race/ethnicity/gender/sexuality. In other words, neither whiteness nor the race contract places whites outside the logic of exploitation. Indeed, the possibility for transracial collective praxis emerges in the contradiction between the (ideological) promise of whiteness and the actual oppressed material conditions of most whites. The class blindness in Mills is surprising because he situates his discourse within "the best tradition of oppositional materialist critique" (129), but that tradition foregrounds political economy. Mills undermines his materialism through the silent reinscription of idealism. For example, he argues that "[t]he Racial Contract is an exploitation contract that creates global European economic domination and national white privilege" (31). Indeed for Mills, "the globally-coded distribution of wealth and poverty has been produced by the Racial Contract" (37). However, the "Racial Contract" does not create global European economic domination—this results from control of capital by the international ruling class—but it ideologically legitimates the "color-coded distribution of wealth and poverty". Thus the race contract effectively naturalizes a racial division of labor, and, of course, this operation fractures (multi-racial) class solidarity.

AT Race First


The affirmative’s root cause of inequality is incorrect – methodology first solves capitalism

Tumino 1[Stephen, Prof English at Pitt, ““What is Orthodox Marxism and Why it Matters Now More than Ever”, Red Critique, p. online, http://redcritique.org/spring2001/printversions/whatisorthodoxmarxismprint.htm SGarg]

Any effective political theory will haveto do at leasttwo things: it will have to offer anintegrated understanding of social practices and, based on such an interrelated knowledge, offer a guideline for praxis. My main argument here is that among all contesting social theories now, onlyOrthodoxMarxismhas been able to produce an integrated knowledge of the existing social totality and provide lines of praxis that will lead to building a society free from necessity. But first I must clarify what I mean by Orthodox Marxism. Like all other modes and forms of political theory, the very theoretical identity of Orthodox Marxism is itself contested—not just from non-and anti-Marxists who question the very "real" (by which they mean the "practical" as under free-market criteria) existence of any kind of Marxism now but, perhaps more tellingly, from within the Marxist tradition itself. I will, therefore, first say what I regard to be the distinguishing marks of Orthodox Marxism and then outline a short polemical map of contestation over Orthodox Marxism within the Marxist theories now. I will end by arguing for its effectivity in bringing about anew society basednot on human rights but onfreedom from necessity.I will argue that to knowcontemporary society—and to be able to act on such knowledge—one has to first of all know whatmakes the existing social totality. I will argue that thedominant social totality is based on inequality—not just inequality of power but inequalityof economic access(which then determines access to health care, education, housing, diet, transportation, . . . ). Thissystematic inequality cannot be explained by gender, race, sexuality, disability, ethnicity, or nationality. These are all secondary contradictions and are all determined by the fundamental contradiction of capitalism which is inscribed in the relation of capital and labor.All modes ofMarxismnowexplain social inequalitiesprimarilyon the basis of thesesecondary contradictions and in doing so—and this is my main argument—legitimate capitalism. Why? Because such arguments authorize capitalism without gender, race, discrimination and thus accept economic inequality as an integral part of human societies. They accept a sunny capitalism—a capitalismbeyond capitalism. Such a society, based on cultural equality but economic inequality, has always been the not-so-hidden agenda of the bourgeois left—whether it has been called "new left," "postmarxism," or "radical democracy." This is, by the way, the main reason for its popularity in the culture industry—from the academy (Jameson, Harvey, Haraway, Butler,. . . ) to daily politics (Michael Harrington, Ralph Nader, Jesse Jackson,. . . ) to. . . . For all, capitalism is here to stay and the best that can be done is to make its cruelties more tolerable, more humane.This humanization(not eradication)of capitalism is the sole goal of ALL contemporary lefts (marxism, feminism, anti-racism, queeries, . . . ). Such anunderstanding of social inequality is based on the fundamental understanding that thesource of wealth is human knowledge and not human labor. That is,wealth is produced by the human mind and is thus free from the actual objective conditionsthat shape the historical relations of labor and capital. Only OrthodoxMarxism recognizes the historicity of labor and its primacy as the source of all human wealth. In this paper I argue that any emancipatory theory has to be founded on recognition of the priority of Marx's labor theory of value and not repeat the technological determinism of corporate theory ("knowledge work") that masquerades as social theory.Finally, it isonlyOrthodoxMarxismthatrecognizes the inevitability and also the necessity of communism—the necessity, that is, of a society in which "from each according to their ability to each according to their needs" (Marx) is the rule.

AT Cap Sustainable/Good


Capitalism may be good in the short term but leads to unfettered exploitation and is unsustainable

Tumino 1[Stephen, Prof English at Pitt, ““What is Orthodox Marxism and Why it Matters Now More than Ever”, Red Critique, p. online, http://redcritique.org/spring2001/printversions/whatisorthodoxmarxismprint.htm SGarg]

Capitalism is, according to Hennessy's soap-operatic leftism, something that one should always keep in mind butnot seriously consider overthrowing. She is too cynical to take even her own views seriously: "This means thateliminating the social structures of exploitation that capitalism absolutely requires and so violently enacts at the expense of human needs must be on the political agenda, at the every least as the horizon that sets the terms for imagining change" (232). Capitalist exploitation is a heuristic considerationnot a revolutionary imperative. Beyond the theatrical moves of the bourgeois left, however, Orthodox Marxism is emerging as the only understanding of the new global formations that lead to transformative praxis. Orthodox Marxism has become impossible to ignore because the objective possibility oftransforming the regime of wage-labor into a system in which the priority is not profit but meeting the needs of all is confronted as a daily actuality. The flexodox left turns the emergent class struggles into self-enclosed struggles for symbolic power so to represent class hegemony in the relations of production as capable of being changed through cross-class "coalitions" when in fact exploitation is everywhere in the world maintained by such coalitions which are loosing their legitimacy and breaking apart under the weight of their own contradictions precisely because the class divide is growing under their rule and beyond their borders. Orthodox Marxism demonstrates thatthe productive forces of capitalism have reached tremendous levels and have the ability to feed, clothe, and house the world many times over but are fettered by capitalism's existing social relations: its fundamental drive to privately consume the social resources of collective labor. That the left today has, in dramatic fashion, been forced to return (if only rhetorically) to Orthodox Marxism marks the fact that the struggle to transform capitalism has reached a stage of development that necessitates a systemic theoretical basis for revolutionary praxis.The hegemonic left now wants to incorporate Orthodox Marxism into its dogmatic coalitional logic as a discourse which depends for its identity on "class" as "real": which is a code for the "lived experience" or the transcendental ineffable politics (Lacan) of class as an outside inferred from the inside (the side of subjective "values") and as such held to be unavailable for positive knowing. Which is another way of saying thatclass is a matter of "persuasion" and "seduction" rather than production. What the resulting flexodox marxism cannot explain therefore is that classis not a matter of what this or that proletarian or even the proletariat as a whole pictures as its goal. It is a matter ofwhat the proletariat is in actuality and what, in accordance with this being, it will historically be compelled to do(Marx-Engels Reader 135).Orthodox Marxism does not consist of raising "class" as a dogmatic banner of the "real," but inthe critique of false consciousness that divides the workers by occulting their collective interest by shifting the focus from their position in social production, their material antagonism with the capitalist class. "Class as real" (a spectral agency) cannot explain, and therefore cannot engage in, the material process through which capitalism, by its very own laws of motion, produces its own "gravedigger" in the global proletariat. What the flexodox return to and hollowing out of the concepts of Orthodox Marxism proves, among other things, is that "the ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas" (Marx and Engels, The German Ideology 67) and history progresses despite this ideological hegemony through the agency of labor. In short—"The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles."

AT: Racism = Human Nature


Racism is not part of human nature, it’s a relatively new concet – Racism is a product of slavery which is a product of capitalism

Selfa, Senior Research Scientist in the Education and Child Development department at National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, 2003

(Lance, “Slavery and the Origins of Racism”, International Socialist Review, Issue 26, http://www.isreview.org/issues/26/roots_of_racism.shtml)//SGarg



IT IS commonly assumed that racism is as old as human society itself. As long as human beings have been around, the argument goes, they have always hated or feared people of a different nation or skin color. In other words, racism is just part of human nature. Representative John L. Dawson, a member of Congress after the Civil War, insisted that racial prejudice was “implanted by Providence for wise purposes.” Senator James Doolittle of Wisconsin, a contemporary of Dawson’s, claimed thatan “instinct of our nature” impelled us to sort people into racial categories and to recognize the natural supremacy of whites when compared to people with darker skins.1 More than a century later, Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray produced The Bell Curve, an 800-page statistics-laden tome that purported to prove innate racial differences in intelligence.Today’s racists might don the mantel of science to justify their prejudices, but they are no less crude or mistaken then their 19th century forebears. If racism is part of human nature, then socialists have a real challenge on their hands. If racism is hard-wired into human biology, then we should despair of workers ever overcoming the divisions between them to fight for a socialist society free of racial inequality.Fortunately, racism isn’t part of human nature. The best evidence for this assertion is the fact that racism has not always existed. Racism is a particular form of oppression. It stems from discrimination against a group of people based on the idea that some inherited characteristic, such as skin color, makes them inferior to their oppressors. Yetthe concepts of “race” and “racism” are modern inventions. They arose and became part of the dominant ideology of society in the context of the African slave trade at the dawn of capitalism in the 1500s and 1600s. Although it is a commonplace for academics and opponents of socialism to claim that Karl Marx ignored racism, Marx in fact described the processes that created modern racism. His explanation of the rise of capitalism placed the African slave trade, the European extermination of indigenous people in the Americas, and colonialism at its heart. In Capital, Marx writes: The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement, and entombment in mines of the indigenous population of the continent, the beginnings of the conquest and plunder of India, and the conversion of Africa into a preserve for the commercial hunting of black skins are all things that characterize the dawn of the era of capitalist production.2 Marx connected his explanation of the role of the slave trade in the rise of capitalism to the social relations that produced racism against Africans. In Wage Labor and Capital, written twelve years before the American Civil War, he explains: What is a Negro slave? A man of the black race. The one explanation is as good as the other.A Negro is a Negro. He only becomes a slave in certain relations. A cotton spinning jenny is a machine for spinning cotton. It only becomes capital in certain relations. Torn away from these conditions, it is as little capital as gold by itself is money, or as sugar is the price of sugar.3 In this passage, Marx shows no prejudice to Blacks(“a man of the black race,” “a Negro is a Negro”), but he mocks society’s equation of “Black” and “slave” (“one explanation is as good as another”).He shows how the economic and social relations of emerging capitalism thrust Blacks into slavery(“he only becomes a slave in certain relations”),which produce the dominant ideology that equates being African with being a slave. These fragments of Marx’s writing give us a good start in understanding the Marxist explanation of the origins of racism. As the Trinidadian historian of slavery Eric Williams put it: “Slavery was not born of racism: rather, racism was the consequence of slavery.”4 And, one should add,the consequence of modern slavery at the dawn of capitalism. While slavery existed as an economic system for thousands of years before the conquest of America, racism as we understand it today did not exist.

AT: Slaves in Ancient Times


There was slavery in Ancient times but not based on race – in fact – the majority of slaves were “white”

Selfa, Senior Research Scientist in the Education and Child Development department at National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, 2003

(Lance, “Slavery and the Origins of Racism”, International Socialist Review, Issue 26, http://www.isreview.org/issues/26/roots_of_racism.shtml)//SGarg



The classical empires of Greece and Rome were based on slave labor. But ancient slavery was not viewed in racial terms. Slaves were most often captives in wars or conquered peoples.If we understand white people as originating in what is today Europe, then most slaves in ancient Greece and Rome were white. Roman law made slaves the property of their owners, while maintaining a “formal lack of interest in the slave’s ethnic or racial provenance.” Over the years, slave manumission produced a mixed population of slave and free in Roman-ruled areas in which all came to be seen as “Romans.”5 The Greeks drew a sharper line between Greeks and “barbarians,” those subject to slavery. Again, this was not viewed in racial or ethnic terms, as the socialist historian of the Haitian Revolution, C.L.R. James, explained: [H]istorically it is pretty well proved now that the ancient Greeks and Romans knew nothing about race. They had another standard—civilized and barbarian—and you could have white skin and be a barbarian and you could be black and civilized.6 More importantly, encounters in the ancient world between the Mediterranean world and black Africans did not produce an upsurge of racism against Africans. In Before Color Prejudice, Howard University classics professor Frank Snowden documented innumerable accounts of interaction between the Greco-Roman and Egyptian civilizations and the Kush, Nubian, and Ethiopian kingdoms of Africa. He found substantial evidence of integration of black Africans in the occupational hierarchies of the ancient Mediterranean empires and Black-white intermarriage.Black and mixed race gods appeared in Mediterranean art, and at least one Roman emperor, Septimius Severus, was an African. Snowden concluded: There is little doubt that many blacks were physically assimilated into the predominantly white population of the Mediterranean world, in which there were no institutional barriers or social pressures against black-white unions. In antiquity, then, black-white sexual relations were never the cause of great emotional crisesÖ.The ancient pattern, similar in some respects to the Mahgrebian and the Latin American attitude toward racial mixture, probably contributed to the absence of a pronounced color prejudice in antiquity.7 Between the 10th and 16th centuries, the chief source of slaves in Western Europe was Eastern Europe. In fact, the word “slave” comes from the word “Slav,” the people of Eastern Europe.In the Middle Ages, most people sold into slavery in Europe came from Eastern Europe, the Slavic countries. In Eastern Europe, Russia stood out as the major area where slaveholders and slaves were of the same ethnicity. Of course, by modern-day racial descriptions the Slavs and Russian slaves were white.8 This outline doesn’t mean to suggest a “pre-capitalist” Golden Age of racial tolerance, least of all in the slave societies of antiquity. Empires viewed themselves as centers of the universe and looked on foreigners as inferiors. Ancient Greece and Rome fought wars of conquest against peoples they presumed to be less advanced. Religious scholars interpreted the Hebrew Bible’s “curse of Ham” from the story of Noah to condemn Africans to slavery. Cultural and religious associations of the color white with light and angels and the color black with darkness and evil persisted. But none of these cultural or ideological factors explain the rise of New World slavery or the “modern” notions of racism that developed from it.

AT: Black Slaves



American “slaves” used to be white – the shift to black slaves was purely economical

Selfa, Senior Research Scientist in the Education and Child Development department at National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, 2003

(Lance, “Slavery and the Origins of Racism”, International Socialist Review, Issue 26, http://www.isreview.org/issues/26/roots_of_racism.shtml)//SGarg



Notwithstanding the horrible conditions African slaves endured, it is important to underscore thatwhen European powers began carving up the New World between them, African slaves were not part of their calculations. When we think of slavery today, we think of it primarily from the point of view of its relationship to racism. Butplanters in the 17th and 18th centuries looked at it primarily as a means to produce profits for them. Slavery was a method of organizing labor to produce sugar, tobacco, and cotton. It was not, first and foremost, a system for producing white supremacy.How did slavery in the U.S. (and the rest of the New World) become the breeding ground for racism? For much of the first century of colonization in what became the United States,the majority of slaves and other “unfree laborers” were white. The term “unfree” draws the distinction between slavery and servitude and “free wage labor” that is the norm in capitalism.One of the historic gains of capitalism for workers is that workers are “free” to sell their ability to labor to whatever employer will give them the best deal. Of course, this kind of freedom is limited at best. Unless they are independently wealthy, workers aren’t free to decide not to work. They’re free to work or starve. Once they do work, they can quit one employer and go to work for another. Butthe hallmark of systems like slavery and indentured servitude was that slaves or servants were “bound over” to a particular employer for a period of time or for life in the case of slaves.The decision to work for another master wasn’t the slave’s or the servant’s. It was the master’s, who could sell slaves for money or other commodities like livestock, lumber, or machinery.The North American colonies started predominantly as private business enterprises in the early 1600s. Unlike the Spanish, whose conquests of Mexico and Peru in the 1500s produced fabulous gold and silver riches for Spain, settlers in places like the colonies that became Maryland, Rhode Island, and Virginia made money through agriculture. In addition to sheer survival,the settlers’ chief aim was to obtain a labor force that could produce the large amounts of indigo, tobacco, sugar, and other crops that would be sold back to England.From 1607, when Jamestown was founded in Virginia to about 1685,the primary source of agricultural labor in English North America came from white indentured servants.The colonists first attempted to press the indigenous population into labor. But the Indians refused to be become servants to the English. Indians resisted being forced to work, and they escaped into the surrounding area, which, after all, they knew far better than the English. One after another, the English colonies turned to a policy of driving out the Indians. They then turned to white servants. Indentured servants were predominantly young white men—usually English or Irish—who were required to work for a planter master for some fixed term of four to seven years. They received room and board on the plantation but no pay. Andthey could not quit and work for another planter.They had to serve their term, after which they might be able to acquire some land and to start a farm for themselves. They became servants in several ways. Some were prisoners, convicted of petty crimes in Britain, or convicted of being troublemakers in Britain’s first colony, Ireland. Many were kidnapped off the streets of Liverpool or Manchester and put on ships to the New World. Some voluntarily became servants, hoping to start farms after they fulfilled their obligations to their masters.15 For most of the 1600s, the planters tried to get by with a predominantly white, but multiracial workforce. But as the 17th century wore on, colonial leaders became increasingly frustrated with white servant labor. For one thing, they faced the problem of constantly having to recruit labor as servants’ terms expired. Second, after servants finished their contracts and decided to set up their farms, they could become competitors to their former masters. And finally, the planters didn’t like the servants’ “insolence.” The midñ1600s were a time of revolution in England, when ideas of individual freedom were challenging the old hierarchies based on royalty.The colonial planters tended to be royalists, but their servants tended to assert their “rights as Englishmen” to better food, clothing, and time off.Most laborers in the colonies supported the servants. As the century progressed, the costs of servant labor increased. Planters started to petition the colonial boards and assemblies to allow the large-scale importation of African slaves.Black slaves worked on plantations in small numbers throughout the 1600s. But until the end of the 1600s, it cost planters more to buy slaves than to buy white servants. Blacks lived in the colonies in a variety of statuses—some were free, some were slaves, some were servants. The law in Virginia didn’t establish the condition of lifetime, perpetual slavery or even recognize African servants as a group different from white servants until 1661. Blacks could serve on juries, own property, and exercise other rights. Northampton County, Virginia, recognized interracial marriages and, in one case, assigned a free Black couple to act as foster parents for an abandoned white child. There were even a few examples of Black freemen who owned white servants. Free Blacks in North Carolina had voting rights.16 In the 1600s, the Chesapeake society of eastern Virginia had a multiracial character: There is persuasive evidence dating from the 1620s through the 1680s that there were those of European descent in the Chesapeake who were prepared to identify and cooperate with people of African descent. These affinities were forged in the world of plantation work. On many plantations Europeans and West Africans labored side by side in the tobacco fields, performing exactly the same types and amounts of work; they lived and ate together in shared housing; they socialized together; and sometimes they slept together.17 A white servants’ ditty of the time said, “We and the Negroes both alike did fare/Of work and food we had equal share.” The planters’ economic calculations played a part in the colonies’ decision to move towards full-scale slave labor. By the end of the 17th century, the price of white indentured servants outstripped the price of African slaves. A planter could buy an African slave for life for the same price that he could purchase a white servant for ten years. As Eric Williams explained: Here, then, is the origin of Negro slavery.The reason was economic, not racial; it had to do not with the color of the laborer, but the cheapness of the labor.Ö[The planter] would have gone to the moon, if necessary, for labor. Africa was nearer than the moon, nearer too than the more populous countries of India and China. But their turn would soon come.18 Planters’ fear of a multiracial uprising also pushed them towards racial slavery. Because a rigid racial division of labor didn’t exist in the 17th century colonies, many conspiracies involving Black slaves, servants, and white indentured servants were hatched and foiled.We know about them today because of court proceedings that punished the runaways after their capture. As historians T.H. Breen and Stephen Innes point out, “These casesÖreveal only extreme actions, desperate attempts to escape, but for every group of runaways who came before the courts there were doubtless many more poor whites and blacks who cooperated in smaller, less daring ways on the plantation.”19

1   ...   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30


The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2016
send message

    Main page