Cap Against Race Affs—UMich 2013



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L: Black/White Binary


A focus on the black-white binary prevents addressing the new capitalism which has changed modern racism

Koshy, Ph.D. @ UCLA Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, English @ University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 1

[Susan, “Morphing Race into Ethnicity: Asian Americans and Critical Transformations of Whiteness”, Boundary 2 , Vol. 28.1, pg 151-56, Duke University Press, Project Muse]//SGarg



Whiteness studies has focused primarily on the historical emergence of liminal European groups (the Irish and southern and eastern Europeans) as whites over the last century and a half and on the mutually constitutive nature of whiteness and blackness in the construction of American national identity. Central to the project of whiteness studies in both areas has been the effort to reveal the status of whiteness as an unmarked marker and to expose its historical contingency as a racial category.1 Other minority groups have figured only tangentially in the historiography and sociology of whiteness, thereby entrenching the black-white binary as the defining paradigm of racial formation in the United States. This essay focuses on how Asian Americans produced, and were in turn produced by, whiteness frameworks of the U.S. legal system. In doing so, it opens up a new area of investigation in whiteness studies and critiques the reliance on a black-white model of race relations, which has obscured the complex reconfigurations of racial politics over the last century. Furthermore, the theoretical simplifications of the black-white binary have impeded the articulation of strategies adequate to confronting the significant racial and class-based realignments of the post–civil rights era. These recent shifts have enabled the reconstitution of white privilege as color-blind meritocracy through the consent of new immigrant groups and model minorities, and have legitimized the retrenchment of civil rights gains in the name of the new global economy. The rearticulation of whiteness in the era of global capitalism highlights another important paradigmatic constraint within whiteness studies, namely, the reliance on the analytic framework of the nation-state for understanding the shifting meanings of whiteness. But the erosion of civil rights gains cannot be fully understood apart from the emergence of a global economy under U.S. geopolitical supremacy in the 1970s, a connection that seems to have been largely overlooked so far. Studies of whiteness that are limited to a nation-state model are unable to address the ways in which global capital has used, modified, and infiltrated racial meanings in the contemporary context. No materialist analysis of racial formation can afford to ignore the implications of the transatlantic and transpacific integration of capital circuits during what Marxist critics have identified as the fourth epochal stage of capitalism, in the progression from mercantile to industrial to monopoly to global capitalism. Asian Americans (of whom approximately 65 percent are foreign-born) have been a crucial conduit for and a site of the reconfiguration of racial identities. By offering a Foucauldian analysis of the productivity of whiteness in shaping the meanings of Asian American identities and in creating stratifications within the Asian American grouping and across minority groups, I hope to foreground the need for developing conceptions of agency that account for complicity and resistance within this intermediary racial group. e legacy of the civil rights and antiracist coalitions of the 1960s, which were founded on the convergence of working-class and nonwhite identities, developed models of minoritization that foregrounded racial oppression, resistance, and oppositional consciousness. Based on an implicit construct of parallel minoritization rather than stratified minoritization, the racial politics of the sixties challenged white supremacy by positing the opposition between white and nonwhite positionality and strategically deferred theorizing the relationship between racial minorities outside this framework. However, our continued dependence on this once powerful and transformative model of the minority has hampered our ability to recognize and engage the breakdown of the coalitional rationality that grounded the strategic alliances of people of color in the 1960s: This breakdown is dramatically evident in some of the most politically charged and definitive contemporary issues, such as immigration, affirmative action, welfare reform, and the recent Elián González case. As the immediate beneficiaries of the disbanding of affirmative action programs, whites and a segment of Asian Americans were unified in opposition to Hispanics and blacks on this issue; antiimmigration legislation brought together Asian Americans and Hispanics on one side and whites and blacks on the other; and the Elián González case joined whites, blacks, and non-Cuban Hispanics against Cuban Americans. The divergent interests among minorities around such issues have been eagerly seized by conservatives, whose lexicon has furnished the terms for interpreting and containing the meanings and direction of these realignments. Changed demographics, class stratifications, new immigration, and a global economy have produced the rearticulation of whiteness as color blindness, thereby enabling opportunistic alliances between whites and different minority groups as circumstances warrant. This new discourse of race projects a simulacrum of inclusiveness even as it advances a politi- cal culture of market individualism that has legitimized the gutting of social services to disadvantaged minorities in the name of the necessities of the global economy.
The alt is key – it changes race at its roots – this solves for all instances of racial inequalities, not just the Black-White Binary

Koshy, Ph.D. @ UCLA Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, English @ University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 1

[Susan, “Morphing Race into Ethnicity: Asian Americans and Critical Transformations of Whiteness”, Boundary 2 , Vol. 28.1, pg 156-58, Duke University Press, Project Muse]//SGarg



I begin by focusing on the state institution that most actively delineated and codified the racial identity of Asian Americans and situated its meanings within the framework of the existing national binary of black and white—the law. In particular, I analyze how the naturalization claims of early Asian immigrants at the turn of the century, which were articulated as bids for citizenship as whites, were a function of the racial provisions of naturalization law rather than, as sometimes construed, a voluntarist act of selfidentification. Nevertheless, the terms of the naturalization law created the field within which and the direction in which the desire for national belonging would be impelled. The focus of this section is on the productivity of the discourse of white citizenship in engendering Asian immigrants as cultural aliens, establishing a taxonomy of various Asian identities in terms of their relative distance from whiteness, prompting competitive self-differentiation among Asian groups, and adumbrating hierarchical distinctions between Asians and blacks in terms of their fitness for citizenship. The second section focuses on the way in which the Chinese community in Mississippi, initially categorized with blacks at the base of the racial hierarchy and connected to them through working and sexual relationships, maneuvered their way to the privileges of whiteness by severing and reconstructing their relationships with blacks at the bidding of the white elite of the region. These transformations took place as the Chinese community in Mississippi was itself transformed from a sojourner to a family-oriented settler community, thus raising the stakes for access to white privileges of good schooling, housing, and social mobility.2 Moreover, the mobility of the Chinese Mississippians was achieved despite their legal classification as ‘‘colored’’ and during a time when Jim Crow laws were strictly enforced against blacks in the South. I examine this community because the demarcations between black and white were most entrenched in the South and the prospects of racial mobility seemingly most limited. Therefore, the negotiations with blackness and whiteness were most unambiguous. Furthermore, I wish to highlight that despite their status as noncitizens, their small numbers and growing economic strength allowed for their gradual positioning as middlemen minorities in the racial hierarchy and their eventual entry into symbolic whiteness. The first and second sections highlight the dynamic nature of whiteness, the continuous contestation of its boundaries, and the consequences of the renegotiation of Asian American and white boundaries on the status and mobility of blacks. As Michael Omi explains, ‘‘Any change in the system of racial meanings will affect all groups. Challenging the dominant racial ideology inherently involves not only reconceptualizing one’s own racial identity, but a reformulation of the meaning of race in general.’’3 While the civil rights and antiracist discourses of the 1960s reconceived the meanings of whiteness and blackness in such a way as to enable the categorization of other racial minorities as ‘‘people of color,’’ sharing a common history of oppression and marginalization, by contrast, a decade earlier, the racial mobility of Chinese Mississippians was predicated on the continued subjection of blacks at the base of the racial hierarchy. Finally, in the third section, I examine the active efforts of one particular Asian American group, South Asian Americans, to renegotiate their classification by a federal agency, the Census Bureau. In 1970, for the first and only time in the history of their appearance on the census, South Asians were counted as whites by the state.4 This change was made in the aftermath of civil rights legislation extending protections and benefits to underrepresented racial minorities. The effort to seek official classification as Asian Americans in the 1980 census was led by Asian Indian organizations, but it generated deep divisions among the new immigrants in this group about the costs and benefits of seeking minority status as nonwhites and abandoning categorization as whites. I analyze this instance to identify the shifting meanings of whiteness institutionalized by the state apparatus and to foreground the ad hoc nature of the construction of a rationale for classi fication as white.


L: Performativity/Discourse

Performative politics and discourse focus ignore commodification of difference and privilege the capitalist elite


Young 06 (Robert, Julius Silver Professor of English and Comparative Literature. At New York University, “Putting Materialism back into Race Theory: Toward a Transformative Theory of Race”, The Red Critique 11, Winter/Spring 2006, http://www.redcritique.org/WinterSpring2006/puttingmaterialismbackintoracetheory.htm)//AS

Indeed, Bhabha re-understands the political not as an ideological practice aimed at social transformation—the project of transformative race theory. Instead, he theorizes "politics as a performativity" (15). But what is the social effect of this understanding of politics? Toward what end might this notion point us? It seems as if the political now calls for (cosmopolitan) witnesses to the always already permanent slippage of signification and this (formal) process of repetition and reinscription outlines a space for "other forms of enunciation" (254). But will these "other forms of enunciation" naturally articulate resistance to the dominant political and ideological interests? For Bhabha, of course, we "need to think beyond narratives of originary and initial subjectivities and to focus on those moments or processes that are produced in the articulation of cultural differences" (1). However, cultural differences, in themselves, do not necessarily mean opposition. Indeed, at the moment, cultural difference represents one of the latest zones for commodification and, in this regard, it ideologically legitimates capitalism. Bhabha homogenizes (cultural) difference and, consequently, he covers over ideological struggles within the space of cultural difference. In short, this other historical site is not the site for pure difference, which naturally resists the hegemonic; for it, too, is the site for political contestation. Bhabha's formalism makes it seem as if ambivalence essentially inheres in discourse. Ambivalence results from opposed political interests that inflect discourses and so the ambivalence registers social conflict. In Marxism and the Philosophy and Language, Vološinov offers this materialist understanding of the sign: “Class does not coincide with the sign community, i.e. with the community which is the totality of users of the same set of signs for ideological communication. Thus various different classes will use one and the same language. As a result, differently oriented accents intersect in every ideological sign. Sign becomes an arena of class struggle. (22)” The very conceptideology—that could delineate the political character and therefore class interests involved in structuring the content of discourses, Bhabha excludes from his discourse. In the end, Bhabha's discourse advocates what amounts to discursive freedom and he substitutes this for material freedom. Like Gilroy, Bhabha's discursive freedom takes place within the existing system. In contrast to Bhabha, Marx theorizes the material presupposition of freedom. In theGerman Ideology, Marx argues that "people cannot be liberated as long as they are unable to obtain food and drink, housing and clothing in adequate quality and quantity" (61). Thus for Marx "[l]iberation" is an historical and not a mental act" (61). In suppressing the issue of need, Bhabha's text reveals his own class interests. The studied preoccupation with "ambivalence" reflects a class privilege, and it speaks to the crisis for (postcolonial) subjects torn between national affiliation and their privileged (and objective) class position within the international division of labor. The ambivalence is a symptom of social antagonism, but in Bhabha's hands, it becomes a transhistorical code for erasing the trace of class.

L: Discourse




Politics of discourse and difference do nothing with regard to real oppression and detract from useful Marxist analysis


Scatamburlo-D’Annibale and McLaren 04 (Valerie and Peter, associate professor in the Department of Communication, Media and Film at the University of Windsor and Professor in the Division of Urban Schooling, the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA, “Class Dismissed? Historical materialism and the politics of ‘difference’”, Educational Philosophy and Theory 36:2, April 2004, Wiley)//AS

It is remarkable, in our opinion, that so much of contemporary social theory has largely abandoned the problems of labor, capitalist exploitation, and class analysis at a time when capitalism is becoming more universal, more ruthless and more deadly. The metaphor of a contemporary ‘tower of Babel’ seems appropriate here—academics striking radical poses in the seminar rooms while remaining oblivious to the possibility that their seemingly radical discursive maneuvers do nothing to further the struggles ‘against oppression and exploitation which continue to be real, material, and not merely “discursive” problems of the contemporary world’ (Dirlik, 1997, p. 176).Harvey (1998, pp. 29–31) indicts the new academic entrepreneurs, the ‘masters of theory-in-and-for-itself’ whosediscourse radicalism’ has deftly side-stepped ‘the enduring conundrums of class struggle’ and who have, against a ‘sobering background of cheapened discourse and opportunistic politics,’ been ‘stripped of their self-advertised radicalism.’ For years, they ‘contested socialism,’ ridiculed Marxists, and promoted ‘their own alternative theories of liberatory politics’ but now they have largely been ‘reduced to the role of supplicants in the most degraded form of pluralist politics imaginable.’ As they pursue the politics of difference, the ‘class war rages unabated’ and they seem ‘either unwilling or unable to focus on the unprecedented economic carnage occurring around the globe.’ Harvey's searing criticism suggests that post-Marxists have been busy fiddling while Rome burns and his comments echo those made byMarx (1978, p. 149) in his critique of the Young Hegelians who were, ‘in spite of their allegedly “world-shattering” statements, the staunchest conservatives.’ Marx lamented that the Young Hegelians were simply fighting ‘phrases’ and that they failed to acknowledge that in offering only counter-phrases, they were in no way ‘combating the real existing world’ but merely combating the phrases of the world. Taking a cue from Marx and substituting ‘phrases’ with ‘discourses’ or ‘resignifications’ we would contend that the practitioners of difference politics who operate within exaggerated culturalist frameworks that privilege the realm of representation as the primary arena of political struggle question some discourses of power while legitimating others. Moreover, because they lack a class perspective, their gestures of radicalism are belied by their own class positions.10 As Ahmad (1997a, p. 104) notes: One may speak of any number of disorientations and even oppressions, but one cultivates all kinds of politeness and indirection about the structure of capitalist class relations in which those oppressions are embedded. To speak of any of that directly and simply is to be ‘vulgar.’ In this climate of Aesopian languages it is absolutely essential to reiterate that most things are a matter of class. That kind of statement is … surprising only in a culture like that of the North American university … But it is precisely in that kind of culture that people need to hear such obvious truths. Ahmad's provocative observations imply that substantive analyses of the carnage wrought by ‘globalized’ class exploitation have, for the most part, been marginalized by the kind of radicalism that has been instituted among the academic Left in North America. He further suggests that while various post-Marxists have invited us to join their euphoric celebrations honoring the decentering of capitalism, the abandonment of class politics, and the decline of metanarratives (particularly those of Marxism and socialism), they have failed to see that the most ‘meta of all metanarratives of the past three centuries, the creeping annexation of the globe for the dominance of capital over laboring humanity has met, during those same decades, with stunning success’ (Ahmad, 1997b, p. 364). As such, Ahmad invites us to ask anew, the proverbial question: What, then, must be done? To this question we offer no simple theoretical, pedagogical or political prescriptions. Yet we would argue that if social change is the aim, progressive educators and theorists must cease displacing class analysis with the politics of difference.
Race discourse allows race to be taken out of the Marx framing

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

Indeed, the discourse of the subject operates as an ideological strategy for fetishizing the black experience and, consequently, it positions black subjectivity beyond the reach of Marxism. For example, in the Afrocentric Idea, Asante dismisses Marxism because it is Eurocentric (8), but are the core concepts of Marxism, such as class and mode of production, only relevant for European social formations? Are African and African-American social histories/relations unshaped by class structures? Asante assumes that class hierarchies do not structure African or the African-American social experiences, and this reveals the class politics of Afrocentricity: it makes class invisible. Asante's assumption, which erases materialism, enables him to offer the idealist formulation that the "word creates reality" (70). The political translation of such idealism is not surprisingly very conservative. Asante directs us away from critiquing capitalist institutions, in a manner similar to the ideological protocol of the Million Man March, and calls for vigilance against symbolic oppression. As Asante tellingly puts it, "symbol imperialism, rather than institutional racism, is the major social problem facing multicultural societies" (56).




L: Neopragmatism/Humanism

Neopragmatist analysis of race is flawed—ahistoricity prevents it from being effective—class as a frame of reference is essential


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, http://homepages.spa.umn.edu/~marquit/nst183a.pdf#page=5)//AS

Let me cite here the prolific revisionary work of David Theo Goldberg. In his Racist Culture (1993) and subsequent texts. Goldberg has obsessively pursued a Foucauldean/neopragmatist genealogy of racist discourse and practices, rejecting structuralist conceptualizations as well as the standard approach that reduced racism to an epiphenomenon of economics or politics in which “racism is mostly conceived as ideological, a set of rationalizations for sustaining exploitative economic practices and exclusionary political relations” (1993, 93). Goldberg thus dismisses as narrow and restrictive Robert Miles’s theory of racialization (1989)—the construction of differentiated social collectivities by the way human biological characteristics are signifi ed. For Goldberg, exclusion by virtue of imputed somatic characteristics acquires a privileged position in the analysis of social relations, overshadowing the fact of class exploitation. In so doing, Goldberg and other ludic neopragmatists lapse into a species of nominalism that equates class with stratification, not recognized as constituting a “real totality,” but “as an aggregate of individuals, who are differentiated from one another in terms of various kinds of social and psychological criteria” (Giddens 1973, 76). Nominalists (like Goldberg) refuse to recognize class as a relational process in historical reality. Limited to a concern with atomistic facts rather than with a world of intelligible necessity, sociologists of ethnicity likewise confine themselves to heterogeneous experiential data removed from any larger sociohistorical process within which they acquire intelligibility. Instead of historical-materialist principles, techniques of psychologistic and functional instrumentalism are deployed to connect discrete phenomena and validate the normality and consistency of the status quo. This applies to the functionalism of neo-Weberians, hermeneutic and interpretive humanists, and various neo-Marxists who reject the historical-materialist principles of critique, totality, and the dialectical approach to elucidating the dynamics of multifarious contradictions in society.



L: Afrocentrism/Black Humanism

Afrocentric discourse is bourgeois and dangerous—ignores historicity and privileges the elite within the capitalist system


Young 06 (Robert, Julius Silver Professor of English and Comparative Literature. At New York University, “Putting Materialism back into Race Theory: Toward a Transformative Theory of Race”, The Red Critique 11, Winter/Spring 2006, http://www.redcritique.org/WinterSpring2006/puttingmaterialismbackintoracetheory.htm)//AS

Within contemporary Black humanist discourses the focus remains on the subject. Hence, diverse intellectual inquiries such as Afrocentricism (Molefi Kete Asante), Black feminism (Patricia Hill Collins), and neo-conservative culturalism (Shelby Steele), share a philosophical-ideological commitment to the subject. What is ultimately at stake in this commitment is, I argue, a class matter. The philosophico-cultural move—as Asante once put it in a representative formulation, Afrocentricism presents "the African as subject rather than object" ("Multiculturalism" 270)—is in fact part of the positing of a Black "essence" that can form the basis for a cross-class alliance between black workers and black business, between, that is, exploited and exploiters. The logic of this act of cultural translation of the economic is powerfully foregrounded in Asante's writings. The preoccupation with the subject highlights Asante's rather conservative humanist philosophical position, a position powerfully critiqued by Louis Althusser [2]. In reifying the subject, Asante abstracts the (African) subject from history and posits an "essentialized" identity within an "essentialized" historical period that is unproblematically recuperable through an Afrocentric paradigm. Asante takes the essence of the subject for a universal quality and, as Althusser argues, this means that concrete subjects must exist as an absolute given, which implies an empiricism of the subject (228). Furthermore, Althusser continues, if the concrete subject is to be a subject, then each must carry the entire essence in him/herself, and this implies an idealism of the essence (228). Thus, Asante's philosophical location provides the basis for the transcendental subject: the always already (self) present black subject, from ancient Egypt to the modern black American. What one needs, quite simply, is an Afrocentric methodology, and this Asante grounds in an idealist metaphysic. Similar to Eurocentric practices, Asante's project occludes the historical contradictions constitutive of any social formation and so far from advancing a distinctive Afrocentric epistemology, Asante's humanism puts him squarely within the dominant bourgeois philosophical tradition and his discourse produces similar effects. Under the guise of the transcendental subject, the class divisions within the black community are suppressed and this, in turn, advances the class interests of the elites, whose interests are silently imbedded in the project. Similar to Eurocentric historical narratives, Afrocentricism reclaims the history of the (African) elites. In this way, Afrocentric discourse is knowledge for middle and upper class blacks, as it naturalizes their class privilege; for which other class could afford to see "symbol imperialism" (Asante 56) as the major problem confronting multicultural societies? Bourgeois philosophical assumptions haunt the Afrocentric project and, in the domain of black feminist theory, Patricia Hill Collins provides an instructive example of this intersection. In Black Feminist Thought, Collins posits the "special angle of vision" that black women bring to knowledge production process (21), and this "unique angle" (22) provides the "standpoint" for Afrocentric feminism, a feminism that she equates with humanism (37). Similar to the experiential metaphysics of Black women's standpoint theory, Collins also situates Afrocentric feminist epistemology "in the everyday experiences of African-American women" (207). Consequently, Collins suggests that "concrete experience" constitutes a criterion of meaning (208).

L: Postmodernism

Postmodern theorists expand bourgeois Western ideology and cannot contribute to critique of capitalist systems


McLaren and Farahmandpur 03 (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, “Breaking Signifying Chains: A Marxist Position on Postmodernism”, Marxism Against Postmodernism in Educational Theory, Lexington Books, March 2003, http://books.google.com/books/about/Marxism_Against_Postmodernism_in_Educati.html?id=nK_UST5ng6gC)//AS

This chapter attempts to address some fundamental problems with postmodern theory, as it currently informs the field of educational research' Our position is that postmodern theory has overwhelmingly debauched the field of Leftist criticism. However, we have not undertaken an analysis of specific postmodern educationalists (this being achieved by many of the other chapters in this book). Rather, we set forth counterpositions to claims put forth in the literature by postmodern theorists. We give a positive appraisal of postmodern theory in certain instances where we feel it has contributed to the field of Leftist critique. In the main, however, our position remains unwaveringly critical. This is largely a result of our contention that postmodern theorists advocate an expansion of existing bourgeois forms of democratic social life into wider arenas of society, by means of a reformist politics in the tradition of Western liberalism. Such a politics views culture as partially independent of the state. Such a move only makes sense, however, within a larger politics of anticapitalist struggle. Yet postmodernists fail to challenge existing social relations of production and the larger social totality of capitalist social relations. As a result, their work has very little to contribute to the uprooting of the contradictions between capital and labor.

Postmodern theory in unable to offer a transformatory vision and pushes radical resistance to capital to the center


McLaren and Farahmandpur 03 (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, “Breaking Signifying Chains: A Marxist Position on Postmodernism”, Marxism Against Postmodernism in Educational Theory, Lexington Books, March 2003, http://books.google.com/books/about/Marxism_Against_Postmodernism_in_Educati.html?id=nK_UST5ng6gC)//AS

Mocked as a "˜modernist' form of outmoded phallomilitary and "˜totalizing' demagoguery, Marxism is now relegated to history`s cabinet of lost revolutionary dreams where it is abandoned to those romantic images of guerrillas of the Sierra Maestra. While elegiac hymns to Che Guevara still abound in the courtyards of the diminishing Left, this should not detract from the fact that, when read sharply against Guevarian challenges to imperialism and Marxist challenges to social relations of production and global regimes of capitalist exploitation, postmodernist theory frequently collapses into a form of toothless liberalism and airbrushed insurgency. While to its considerable credit, postmodern theory-especially through the insights of its pantheon of progenitors such as Nietzsche, Toynbee, Heidegger, C. Wright Mills, Horkheimer, and Adomo-has troubled the primary status of the colonizer, peeled back the horizon of culture to reveal the trace marks of the antipodal, broken the semiotic gridlock of reigning binarisms, prevented the authoritative closure that serves to reenlist alterity into the ranks of Western imperialism, and revealed how temporal structures of dislocation constitute rather than describe our geographies of identity, it has often reconfirmed as much as contested capitalist relations of exploitation. Although it is important to follow postmodemists in introducing subaltern readers of texts, such texts need to be acknowledged as speaking through the ventriloquism of Westem epistemologies linked to imperialist and capitalist social relations. Progressive educators need to ask: how does the semiotic warfare of the postmodern or postcolonial critic reinscribe, repropose, and recohere capitalist social relations of production through decentering and rerouting cultural representations? This is a central question that postmodemists routinely sidestep and to do so at this current historical conjuncture of titanic capitalist forces is, to say the least, perilous. As the dust finally settles we are troubled by the fact that much of what is called postmodern education is freighted with insoluble contradictions that unwittingly push radical critique toward the center. As Dave Hill writes, postrnodernism's tunnel vision and myopic limitations have particular consequences when it comes to, first, the theoretical de-constructive analysis and assessment of developments within state policy, and, second, an inability to agree on and define a re-constructive socially and economically transformatory vision of the future. A third consequence is its inability to draw up and develop a politically and effective project and detailed program to work toward and actualize that social and economic vision, and a fourth, to define, or secure a politically effective agreement on a political strategy-to suggest how to get there. A fifth consequence is an inability to define what effective and solidaristic role radical educators might play in that political strategy. As far as l am aware, no postmodernist theorist, of any theoretical bent, has gone beyond deconstruction into constructing a coherent program for reconstruction. This is precluded by a postmodern theoretical orientation."

Postmodernists like to pretend they’re radical while in reality they decimate actual revolutionary politics—prevents a fight against capital


McLaren and Farahmandpur 03 (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, “Breaking Signifying Chains: A Marxist Position on Postmodernism”, Marxism Against Postmodernism in Educational Theory, Lexington Books, March 2003, http://books.google.com/books/about/Marxism_Against_Postmodernism_in_Educati.html?id=nK_UST5ng6gC)//AS

Capitalism and democracy share a forced intimacy: their marriage has been arranged so that the families of the global ruling class can consolidate their power and set limits on how and what questions concerning equality and emancipation can be raised and in what contexts. The preservation of capital remains entombed within postmodernism's own ineffable logic and "conceals the true contradictions of advanced capitalist societies." This remains the case even though some postmodernists like to imbibe the miasmically iconoclastic aura of Marx without, we might add, necessarily engaging in radical (let alone revolutionary) politics. As postmodernists look amusingly at what Charlie Bensch and Joe Lockard call "the widely successful repackaging of The Communist ManWsto as a pricey fetish object for the upwardly mobile," they can play out their cathartic fantasies of the guerrillero/a while continuing to trash the politics that underlies revolutionary praxis." ln many instances, postmodernists have dismissed Marxism as a form of ideological Neanderthalism, or a crusted-over antediluvian memory, and have tried to disabuse progressive educators and other cultural workers of the notion that there are practical and workable alternatives to capitalism worth considering. In their less generous moments, they recycle Marxist theory as contemporary farce. We don't want to deny the crimes against humanity committed by regimes claiming to be Marxist, to ignore the problems associated with Eastern and European Communist parties in their unregenerate Stalinist aspects, or to defend Marxism's recidivistic retreat into bureaucratic authoritarianism, dogmatism, and economic determinism. Nor do we wish to defend what Eagleton calls "the long tragedy of class-society," corporate governance, the ill-gotten gains of financial profiteers and speculators, and the history of imperialism and international terrorism committed by Western "democracies" 32 On the other hand, we don't believe that Marxism should be dismissed because it appears to have reached its apex in the decades before the collapse of the Soviet Union and Russia's new gangster capitalism, red bourgeoisie, and forms of primitive accumulation. We admit that Marxist theory may be out of fashion (in the United States at least) but it still has a full tank of conceptual fuel for the kind of analysis urgently needed at this point in the history of capitalism. In fact, in the light of current debates about the globalization of capital, there is a renewed interest in and reappraisal of Marx's work among social scientists. As Peter Hudis puts it: Some may find such talk of Marx a bit odd, given the abject failure of the communist regimes that claimed to rule in his name. Yet as Marx scholars have long pointed out, the communist regimes had little in common with Marx's actual ideas. Marx opposed centralized state control of the economy (he called those who advocated it "crude and unthinking communists"); he passionately defended freedom of the press (he made his debut as a radical joumalist espousing it); and he ridiculed the notion that a small "vanguard" of revolutionaries could successfully restructure society without the democratic consent of its citizens. lf anything, the collapse of communism seems to have spurred new interest in Marx, since it makes his predictions concerning the global reach of capitalism seem even more timely.3

Postmodern dissent reifies capital structures and prevents emancipatory politics


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

Despite its successes, postmodern dissent is symptomatic of the structural contradictions and problematic assumptions within postmodern theory itself. By too often displacing critique to a field of serial negation without fully grasping its prefigurative or emancipatory potential, postmodern criticism frequently traps intelligibility and meaning internally, that is, inside the texts of culture. In revealing the inconsistencies, aporias, and contradictions within the text of culture, postmodernism often fails to connect the significance of these contradictions, inconsistencies, and equivocations by comprehending their necessity. As a consequence, it often blunts an understanding of contemporary society and unwittingly agitates for a reenactment of the fate of society that constitutes the object of its critique. This line of fracture is emblematic of the problem that has plagued the postmodern Left over the last several decades. At this moment we are compelled to ask: Is the practice of ignoring these contradictions and inconsistencies of culture structurally advantageous to capitalist relations of exploitation? Do such contradictions left conspicuously unaddressed merely-or mainly-provide ballast to reigning hegemons and the international division of labor? Postmodernists appear loathe to raise such questions yet continue unrepentantly to dismiss an analysis of the so-called economic "base" in favor of the cultural "superstructure." While postmodernists encourage an examination of the cultural discourses of capitalism as open-ended sites of desire, Marxists, by contrast, treat discourses not as sanctuaries of difference barricaded against the forces of history but as always an interpretation naturalized by the libidinal circuits of desire wired into the culture of commerce and historically and socially produced within the crucible of class antagonisms. Marxist criticism uncoils the political economy of texts by remapping and rethinking systems of signification in relation to the material and historical practices that produce them (McLaren, 2000), thus valorizing the "structural endurance of histories" over the "contingent moment" (Ahmad, 1995, p. 15). In doing so it examines not the present's lack of coincidence with itself, or its lack of self-identity, but rather its ability to surpass its own limitations. The shift towards a postmodernism2 layered with a thin veneer of cultural Marxism, scaffolded by identity politics and postsocialist ideology, sprayed by aerosol terms such as "difference" and "indeterminacy," and dipped in the gurgling foam of jacuzzi socialism and window-dressing democracy, has witnessed the categories of cultural domination and oppression replace those of class exploitation and imperialism as capitalism's reigning antagonisms. At the same time, a politics of representaAPRIL 2000 27 This content downloaded from 141.213.236.110 on Fri, 26 Jul 2013 15:42:30 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionstion has deftly outflanked the issue of socioeconomic redistribution (Fraser, 1997). The postmodernist and postsocialist assumption that culture has suddenly found ways of winning independence from economic forces and that somehow the new globalized capitalism has decapitated culture from the body of class exploitation by constructing new desires and remaking old ones in ways that are currently unmappable and unfactorable within the theoretical optics of political economy has not only contributed to the crisis of Western Marxism, but has effectively secured a long-term monopoly for capitalist market ideology. Gospelized and accorded a sacerdotal status in the temple of the new postsocialist Left, postmodern theory has failed to provide an effective counterstrategy to the spread of neoliberal ideology that currently holds educational policy and practice in its thrall. In fact, it has provided neoliberalism with the political stability it needs to reproduce its most troublesome determinations.

Postmodernists’ project cannot effect meaningful change and plays into the hands of structures that maintain capitalistic exploitation


Cole 03 (Mike, senior lecturer in education, University of Brighton, “Might It Be in the Practice that It Fails to Succeed? A Marxist Critique of Claims for Postmodernism and Poststructuralism as Forces for Social Change and Social Justice”, British Journal of Sociology of Education 24:4, September 2003, JSTOR)//AS

Whereas for Marxists the possibility of postmodernism leading to social change is a non sequitur, for Atkinson postmodernism is 'an inevitable agent for change' in that: it challenges the educator, the researcher, the social activist or the politician not only to deconstruct the certainties around which they might see as standing in need of change, but also to deconstruct their own certainties as to why they hold this view. (2002, p. 75) This sounds fine, but what do these constituencies actually do to effect meaningful societal change once their views have been challenged? What is constructed after the deconstruc- tion process? Atkinson provides no answer. Nor does Patti Lather (nor, as we shall see, does Judith Baxter). This is because neither postmodernism nor poststructuralism is capable of providing an answer (Hill, 2001, 2003; Rikowski, 2002, pp. 20-25). Decon- struction 'seeks to do justice to all positions ... by giving them the chance to be justified, to speak originarily for themselves and be chosen rather that enforced' (Zavarzadeh, 2002, p. 8). Indeed, for Derrida (1990), 'deconstruction is justice' (cited in Zavarzadeh, 2002, p. 8; emphasis added). Thus, once the deconstruction process has started, justice is already apparent and there is no discernible direction in which to head. In declaring on the first page of the Preface of her book Getting Smart: Feminist Research and Pedagogy With/In the Postmodern, her 'longtime interest in how to turn critical thought into emancipatory action' (Lather, 1991, p. xv), Lather is, in fact, wasting her time. After more than 200 pages of text, in which indications are made of the need for emancipatory research praxis, in which proclamations are made of how the goals of research should be to understand the maldistribution of power and resources in society, with a view to societal change, we are left wondering how all this is to come about. Postmodernism cannot provide strategies to achieve a different social order and hence, in buttressing capitalist exploitation, it is essentially reactionary. This is precisely what Marxists (and others) mean by the assertion that postmodernism serves to disempower the oppressed [7] According to Atkinson, postmodernism 'does not have, and could not have, a "single" project for social justice' (2002, p. 75). Socialism then, if not social change, is thus ruled out in a stroke [8]. Atkinson then rehearses the familiar postmodern position on multiple projects (2002, p. 75). Despite Atkinson's claims that postmodernism views 'the local as the product of the global and vice versa' and that postmodernism should not be interpreted as limiting its scope of enquiry to the local (2002, p. 81), since postmodernism rejects grand meta- narratives and since it rejects universal struggle, it can by definition concentrate only on the local. Localised struggle can, of course, be liberating for individuals and certain selected small groups, but postmodernism cannot set out any viable mass strategy or programme for an emancipated future. The importance of local as well as national and international struggle is recognised by Marxists, but the postmodern rejection of mass struggle ultimately plays into the hands of those whose interests lie in the maintenance of national and global systems of exploitation and oppression. Furthermore, 'as regards aims, the concern with autonomy, in terms of organisation', postmodernism comprises 'a tendency towards network forms, and, in terms of mentality, a tendency towards self-limitation' (Pieterse, 1992). While networking can aid in the promotion of solidarity, and in mass petitions, for example (Atkinson, 2001), it cannot replace mass action, in the sense, for example, of a general or major strike; or a significant demonstration or uprising that forces social change. Indeed, the postmodern depiction of mass action as totalitarian negates/renders illicit such action. Allied to its localism is postmodernism's non-dualism (Lather, 1991). This does have the advantage of recognising the struggles of groups oppressed on grounds in addition to or other than those of class. However, non-dualism prevents the recognition of a major duality in capitalist societies, that of social class (Cole & Hill, 1995, pp. 166-168, 2002; McLaren & Farahmandpur, 1999; Sanders et al., 1999: Hill et al., 2002b). This has, I believe, profoundly reactionary implications, in that it negates the notion of class struggle. Marxism, on the other hand, allows a future both to be envisioned and worked towards. This vision can and has been extended beyond the 'brotherhood of man' concept of early socialists, to include the complex subjectivities of all (subjectivities which the postmodernists are so keen to bring centre stage). Socialism can and should be conceived of as a project where subjective identities, such as gender, 'race', disability, non-exploitative sexual preference and age all have high importance in the struggle for genuine equality (Cole & Hill, 1999a, p. 42).

L: Language/Discourse/Identity Politics

Postmodern fetishization of [language/discourse/identity politics/culture] as sites of emancipation are dangerously antiproductive and inhibit resistance to capital


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

Following tectonic shifts in the geo- political landscapes of the 1980s and 1990s, postmodern social and political theory-with its preening emphasis on language, culture, and identity-has become the de rigeur conceptual attire among social scientists attempting to make sense of contemporary social life within late capitalism. Mining the terrain of identity politics, consumer fetishism, and privatopia has become a central academic activity and is now considered theoretical-chic. In contrast, Marxism has been mummified along with Lenin's corpse, and its scholarly exercise has been likened to tampering with historical relics. The joint ambition of uncovering the hidden ideologies secreted within Western representations of the "other" and refashioning the antifoundational self, has disposed postmodern theo- rists to dampen their euphoria sur- rounding social transformation at the level of relations of production and to heighten their regard for reforming and decentering dominant discourses and institutional practices at the level of cultural transactions. According to Sam J. Noumoff (1999), postmodern politics attempts (a) to separate culture from ideology, (b) to employ culture as a construct that diminishes the central- ity of class, (c) to insert a neoliberal po- litical system of intelligibility and pol- icy agenda, (d) to perpetuate the belief in the ultimate futility of the socialist project, and (e) to promote an assort- ment of "post" concepts-such as post- structuralism, post-modernism, post- history, post-ideology-as a way of limiting the theoretical direction of in- quiry and preempting socialist chal- lenges to new objective realities brought about by the globalization of capital. Hilary Wainwright (1994) rightly as- serts that much of what passes as post- modern politics not only lacks a co- herent social and political vision with which to actively challenge the Radical Right, it also endorses a number of the Right's main tenets in progressive and radical discourses. She writes that postmodernism does not "provide ad- equate tools to answer the radical right ... the tools of postmodernism pro- duce only a more volatile version of the radical right.... Postmodernism cuts the connection between human inten- tion and social outcome" (p. 100). Postmodern theory's stress on mi- cropolitics transforms what are essen- tially social struggles into discursive struggles that overvalue economies of desire at the expense of political econ- omy and a philosophy of praxis. Many postmodernists refute the idea that any particular social group or class is capa- ble of transforming the existing social relations of production under capital- ism. At the same time, however, they fail to lay the conceptual foundations for building necessary political alli- ances among oppressed and marginal- ized social groups. Ehrenberg under- scores this vividly: It will not do to claim that knowl- edge is local, "identity" and "differ- ence" are the key categories in mod- ern social life, human relations are constituted by language and "dis- course," "culture" is the site of strug- gle, and no single agent of human lib- eration can even be theorized. The inexorable concentration and central- ization of capital stand in eloquent opposition to the claim that fragmen- tation and discontinuity have elimi- nated all possibilities for collective action toward a common end which can cut across the multiple, shifting and self-defined "identities" that make up the social world (1998, p. 43). While postmodern politics tends to focus on particular forms of oppres- sion, the irrefragable power of Marxist theory resides in its ability to reveal how all forms of social oppression under capitalism are mutually inter- connected (Ebert, 1996; Henessey, 1993; McLaren & Farahmandpur, 1999; Wood, 1996). While both Marxism and post- modernism address the "interlocking triumvirate" of race, class, and gender, Marxist theory attempts to reveal how all of these forms of oppression are linked to private ownership of the means of production and the extraction of surplus labor.

L: Asian Race Aff


The aff’s focus on ridding racism against Asian American serves to exacerbate the oppression of capitalism – the alt is a prerequisite – only by addressing the issues of capitalism and class stratification can we engage racism as a whole

Koshy, Ph.D. @ UCLA Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, English @ University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 1

[Susan, “Morphing Race into Ethnicity: Asian Americans and Critical Transformations of Whiteness”, Boundary 2 , Vol. 28.1, pg 191-93, Duke University Press, Project Muse]//SGarg



Virulent political rhetoric and widespread anti-immigrant sentiment has resulted (most of the public is not watching when the hysteria periodically whipped up by media and politicians dies down) not in significant curtailment of immigration but in the prioritizing and expansion of skilled worker categories that offer quick, low-cost solutions to corporate demands for labor. On 3 October 2000, Congress passed a bill increasing the cap from 115,000 to 195,000 for H1-B visas for specialized workers, such as computer programmers, over the next three years.72 The change in immigration laws, by expanding skilled-worker categories and establishing new cate- gories of investment-based citizenship, has resulted in a significant number of incoming middle- and upper-class Asian immigrants.73 Their class status often insulates them from the harshest effects of the experiences from which the antiracist discourses of the civil rights movement derive, and their educational (generally in the sciences) and career paths often bypass the arenas where the politics of race is engaged in a sustained way. This is not to suggest that middle-class Asian Americans are no longer subject to racism or discrimination, nor is it to ignore the existence of a segment of the Asian American population itself (illegal immigrants, refugee groups, sweatshop workers) that remains trapped in poverty. Signifi cant economic disparities exist across the various Asian American national groups, and underemployment remains a persistent problem. Indeed, without foregrounding the effects of class stratification and differential minoritization, we will be unable to engage the problem of Asian Americans as the agents of exploitation and its victims, especially in instances where invocations of ethnic and national loyalties form the conduits for coercion and control. Furthermore, scholars of transnationalism and globalization have pointed to the emergence of a transnational capitalist class in the global triad of Europe, North America, and East Asia, which is now rapidly integrating the South within its circuits. As William I. Robinson and Jerry Harris observe, ‘‘Transnationalization of the capital circuit implies as well the transnationalization of the agents of capital. As national circuits of capital become transnationally integrated, these new transnational circuits become the sites of class formation worldwide.’’74 The rapid growth of East and some Southeast Asian economies, the dramatic increase in foreign direct investment into and from these countries, and the intensified transnationalization and externalization of many Asian economies as a result of the structural adjustments following the 1997 financial crisis require that we move away from an implicit model of chromatic capitalism, in which oppressors are white and their victims are nonwhite. Since the 1990s, the value of the transnationality index for the top fifty transnational corporations (TNCs) from developing countries has been increasing steadily, and they have built up their foreign assets almost seven times faster than the world’s top one hundred TNCs between 1993 and 1996.75 Of the top twenty five TNCs from developing countries, more than 55 percent are headquartered in East Asian countries (China, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Taiwan);76 Japan is ranked with developing countries and has four out of the top twenty-five TNCs.77 The transpacific and transatlantic integration of capital circuits in this era requires us to rethink concepts of agency and minoritization, because global capitalism has been characterized by its ability to use and deploy multiculturalism and cultural difference. In the present context, the agency of Asian Americans is imbricated in differentiated relationships to domination in the uneven terrain of transnationalism and requires a theorization of Asian American agency in complicity and in resistance. We cannot assume that ‘‘outsideness’’ to the nation is inherently subversive when it can be defined very differently in the ‘‘guerilla transnationalism’’ of flexible citizenship adopted as a business strategy by an Asian American capitalist78 and in the working conditions of an undocumented Asian American restaurant worker.

L: Non-Black Race Affs





The aff focus on one particular group justifies a continued “Otherization” of the black population and also trades off with making any real progress


Koshy, Ph.D. @ UCLA Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, English @ University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 1

[Susan, “Morphing Race into Ethnicity: Asian Americans and Critical Transformations of Whiteness”, Boundary 2 , Vol. 28.1, pg 173-75, Duke University Press, Project Muse]//SGarg



Negotiating the Black-White Binary: The Racial Strategies of the Chinese Mississippians Some of my white friends call me a Delta lotus. I’m a Delta Southerner, but still a lotus and not a magnolia. I guess I can never be one because when I look in the mirror I don’t have lily-white skin. But it sure ain’t black, either. It’s a God-awful in-between shade of destiny. Just ’cause I’m not white in the Delta doesn’t mean I can’t be white somewhere else . . . , or maybe I can even be Chinese in another place, but not in the Delta. —Chinese Mississippian student, quoted in Lotus among the Magnolias Transformations in the status of most Asian Americans would await incremental changes in immigration and naturalization legislation from the 1940s onward, until all racial prerequisites to naturalization were dropped in 1952 and Asian immigration was placed on an equal footing with European immigration in 1965. But although judicial decree decisively closed off access to citizenship through naturalization, in certain instances, the racial ambiguity of Asian Americans within an entrenched black-white binary was deployed to lay claim to other privileges of whiteness and to circumvent their legal classification as ‘‘colored’’ people. This section examines the challenge posed to the meanings of whiteness by the Chinese community in Mississippi, first through the legal system, in petitioning for access to white public schools, and, when that proved unsuccessful, through the adoption of the cultural norms of the white Southern elite. The analysis focuses on the forms and terms under which the remarkable racial mobility of the Chinese community in Mississippi was negotiated at a time when Jim Crow laws were strictly enforced against blacks in the South. Their attainment of honorary white status highlights the importance of the institutions of civil society (the church, schools, clubs) in modifying the racial meanings written into law and reveals the multiple sites at which racial formation takes place. The lower numbers of Chinese in the South as compared to the West Coast, their relative economic strength, their role in mediating the threat represented by a free black population, and their strategic mimicry of white cultural norms opened up access to symbolic whiteness. But such mobility was based on their endorsement of the black-white racial divide that preceded their arrival in the South. While the Chinese Mississippians earned a social status as honorary whites that was not achieved by other Chinese communities across the country, this historical instance highlights the crucial role of blacks in effecting the boundary demarcations between intermediary groups and whites, and foregrounds the necessity of recognizing the dialectical relationship between blackness, whiteness, and Asianness. The case of the Chinese Mississippians illustrates the power of whiteness to induce identification from nonwhites and the position of blacks as the definitional ‘‘other’’ against whom ideologies of whiteness are produced and sustained. ned. The structural position of the Chinese in Delta society is vividly re flected in the circumstances surrounding, and the unforeseen legacy of, a legal challenge that reached the Bolivar District Court in Mississippi in 1924. Gong Lum, a Chinese Mississippian merchant, appealed the school district’s decision to debar his daughter Martha from attending the white public school in Rosedale. Gong Lum’s lawyers initially appealed her case on the grounds that ‘‘she is not a member of the colored race nor is she of mixed blood, but that she is pure Chinese’’ and by arguing that there was no separate school maintained in the district for the education of children of Chinese descent.42 In this instance, the claim to white privilege is based on a nega- tive definition: Since she was not colored or of mixed race, she was white. The weakness of this argument is that it is potentially reversible. Indeed, its potential reversibility presaged what was to come. The trial court ruled in her favor, but the school district appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court, which overturned the decision offering the reverse negative definition: Since the Chinese were not white, they were to be considered with all other nonwhites under the heading ‘‘colored races.’’43 When Gong Lum appealed to the United States Supreme Court, his lawyers abandoned the argument that the Chinese were not ‘‘colored.’’ Instead, they adopted another strategy: Affirming the practice of segregation because ‘‘such intercourse with African-Americans is objectionable . . . in many instances...repulsive and impossible,’’ they invoked the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to argue that it was discriminatory to deny the Chinese the opportunity to practice the same forms of segregation as whites. They argued that whites, as the ‘‘law-making race,’’ had created separate schools to protect themselves from mixing with Negroes: ‘‘If there is danger in the association, it is a danger from which one person is entitled to protection just the same as another. . . . The white race creates for itself a privilege that it denies to other races; exposes the children of other races to risks and dangers to which it would not expose its own children. This is discrimination.’’44 The appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court. However, the trajectory of the case reveals that the further the case moved from the control of the local white elite who had extended to the Chinese many of the privileges of whiteness, the less amenable the courts were to accepting the argument that the Chinese were not ‘‘colored.’’
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