Cap Against Race Affs—UMich 2013



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The alternative situates racism within the process of capitalist society—the aff’s analysis only reifies racism and commodifies human life


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

Following the lead of Anderson and others, I would reaffirm the need to situate racism in late-capitalist society within the process of class rule and labor exploitation to grasp the dynamics of racial exclusion and subordination. Beyond the mode of production, the antagonistic relations between the capitalist class and the working class are articulated with the state and its complex bureaucratic and juridical mechanisms, multiplying cultural and political differentiations that affect the attitudes, sentiments, and actual behavior of groups. A critique of ideologies of racism and sexism operating in the arena of class antagonism becomes crucial in the effort to dismantle their efficacy. Moreover, as Bensaid observes in Marx for Our Times (2002), “the relationship between social structure and political struggle is mediated by the relations of dependence and domination between nations at the international level.” Linear functionalism yields to the dialectical analysis of concrete mediations. Viewed historically, the phenomenon of migrant labor, in particular Filipina domestics in North America and elsewhere, demonstrates how racial and gender characteristics become functional and discursively valorized when they are inserted into the dialectic of abstract and concrete labor, of use value and exchange value, in the production of commodities—in this case, domestic labor as a commodity. Contrary to any attempts to legitimate the use of the underpaid services of women of color from the South, the racializing and gendering discourse of global capitalism can only be adequately grasped as the mode through which extraction of surplus value, wage differentiation, and control and representation of bodies are all negotiated. A study of racist practices and institutions, divorced from the underlying determinant structure of capital accumulation and class rule allowing such practices and institutions to exercise their naturalizing force, can only perpetuate an abstract metaphysics of race and a discourse of power that would reinforce the continuing reification or commodification of human relations in everyday life. We cannot multiply static determinations in an atomistic manner and at the same time acquire the intelligible totality of knowledge that we need for formulating strategies of radical social transformation. A first step in this project of renewing critical race theory is simple: begin with the concept of class as an antagonistic relation between labor and capital, and then proceed to analyze how the determinant of “race” is played out historically in the class conflicted structure of capitalism and its political/ideological processes of class rule.


The alternative is to reject critical theory and embrace transformative pedagogy based in class analysis to avoid the preservation of the bourgeoisie

Zavarzadeh 3 - retired professor of English at Syracuse University (Mas'ud, “The Pedagogy of Totality” Journal of Advanced Composition Theory 2003 JAC Online)

Pedagogy is most effective when its lessons are situated in the conceptual analysis of objective social totality and grounded in historical materialist critique. Totalization is essential to transformative pedagogy because it is through totalization that the student-the future worker-is enabled to "see society from the center, as a coherent whole" and therefore "act in such a way as to change reality" (Lukacs, History 69). Changing reality in a sustained way, requires knowing it historically and objectively-that is, conceptually as a totality in structure-and not simply reacting to it as a galaxy of signifiers (as textualists have done), as the working of power in networks of discourses (Foucault), or as a spontaneous reality that is available to us in its full immediacy (as activists have done with eclecticism and sentimentality). Pedagogy, in other words, is always partisan, and the only question is whose side (in the great class struggles) it takes and why: "Who does not know that talk about this or that institution being non-partisan is generally nothing but the humbug of the ruling classes, who want to gloss over the fact that existing institutions are already imbued, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, with a very definite political spirit?" (Lenin, "Tasks"). Criticism of totality as a closural space that excludes difference" and thus leads to totalitarianism is based on an antimaterialist reading of difference as "contingency" (Rorty 3-69); as "hybridity" (Bhabha); as "differance"-the play of "traces" in the differing and deferral of the sign (Derrida, "Differance"); or the performativity of identity (Butler, Bodies). These and other versions of difference in contemporary pedagogy are based on cultural heterogeneities that deflect the difference that makes all the differences: the social division of labor under capitalism. The pedagogy of totality writes the foundational difference of class (which explains all these differences) back into teaching and foregrounds it not as aleatory signs (which is the epistemology of all these differences) but as a historical necessity for capital, which divides people with rigid clarity in the regime of wage labor (Marx and Engels, Manifesto 40-60). Social totality, as I have suggested, is a totality with a materialist (class) difference. It is resistance against the ferocity of "contingency," "performativity," "hybridity," and "differance"-all of which have rewritten the world in cynicism, in pathos, and ironically but always in the interest of the transnational bourgeoisie. Objective knowledge of the world and thus of the social totality is not a product of individual consciousness (Popper) or the outcome of codes of the "culture of science" (Kuhn). Nor is it simply a semiotic effect (Latour). Objective knowledge of the world is a knowledge that is produced as people collectively produce their material life: The fact is, therefore, that definite individuals who are productively active in a definite way enter into these definite social and political relations .... The social structure and the state are continually evolving out of the life-process of definite individuals, however, of these individuals, not as they may appear in their own or other people's imagination, but as they actually are, i. e. as they act, produce materially, and hence as they work under definite material limits, presuppositions and conditions independent of their will. (Marx and Engels, German 35-36) The focus of transformative pedagogy is on these material relations of difference that are the basis of all social relations and practices. Without teaching these grounding material relations that condition all knowledges-from Nanosciences to Anthropology-pedagogy becomes the art of mystification in the interest of the class that benefits from keeping these foundational relations and therefore the causes of social inequalities in the dark (especially by using an epistemological argument against the foundational). Since the production of material life involves acting on the object of labor by the means of labor, relations of production are primarily relations to the means and object of labor-they are relations to the means of production. Social relations of production indicate who controls the means of production, which is another way of saying they are relations of property (class). Social life, itself, takes opposing forms depending on whether the means of production are owned collectively by the producers or privately by individuals who appropriate the products of the producers. Pedagogy acts within these relations and, therefore, must situate its teaching within them and also self-reflexively include the conditions of its own production in its lessons. Under wage labor, the "appearance" of the relations of production differs from their "essence," since their appearance in the market is an inversion of what they actually are at the point of production. The inequality at the point of production-between those who have to sell their labor power for their subsistence and those who purchase it for profit-is characterized in the market as equality and freedom, and the exchange of wages for labor power is inverted and represented as a fair trade (Marx, Capita/I, 280). The task of a pedagogy of totality is not to mistake the "appearance" for the "essence" and to foreground the material difference: "All science would be superfluous if the form of appearance of things directly coincided with their essence" (3, 956). Transformative teaching is the science of the material difference. It points out to the student why in daily life, ideology sutures difference in order to persuade the subject of labor that the appearance is the essence and to textualize the "essence" as a species of "appearance." Transformative pedagogy breaks through this false consciousness with a conceptual analysis that produces knowledge of the essence through a class critique of appearance.
Experience-based pedagogy has been co-opted by the bourgeoisie and obscures class-based oppression

Zavarzadeh 3 - retired professor of English at Syracuse University (Mas'ud, “The Pedagogy of Totality” Journal of Advanced Composition Theory 2003 JAC Online)

The ideological value of the concept of "experience" in de-conceptualizing pedagogy will perhaps become more clear in examining the way bourgeois radical pedagogues, such as Giroux, deploy experience as an instance of spontaneity to eviscerate class as an explanatory concept by which the social relations of property are critiqued. In his Impure Acts a book devoted to marginalizing explanatory concepts and popularizing "hybrids" and that, in effect, justifies political opportunism in pedagogy-Giroux repeats the claims of such other cultural phenomenologists as Stuart Hall, Judith Butler, and Robin Kelley that "class" is "lived through race" (28). Class, in other words, is an affect. He represents this affective view of class as epistemological resistance against class which, he claims, is a universal category that takes the "difference" of race out of class. As I have already argued, epistemology is used in mainstream pedagogy as a cover for a reactionary class politics that does several things, as Giroux demonstrates. First, it segregates the "black" proletariat from the "white" proletariat and isolates both from other "racial" proletariats. In doing so, Giroux's pedagogy carries out the political agenda of capital-to pit one segment of the proletariat against the other and to tum the unity of the working class into contesting (race) "differences." Second, it rewrites the system of wage labor itself into a hybrid. Giroux's experience-ism obscures the systematicity of wage labor and argues that there is no capitalism operating with a single logic of exploitation. Instead, there are many, aleatory, ad hoc, local arrangements between employees and employers depending on the color of the worker not the laws of motion of capital. Third, it converts capitalism from an economic system based on the "exploitation" of humans by humans (wage labor)- through the ownership of the means of production-into an institution of cultural "oppression" based on "power." Fourth, since class is lived through race, it is not an objective fact (the relation of the worker to ownership ofthe means of production) but a subjective experience. The experience of ("living") class through race, like all experiences, is contingent, aleatory, and indeterminate. Class (lived through the experience of race) is thus reconstituted as contingent-an accident not a necessity of wage labor. Fifth, since capitalism is not a system but a series of ad hoc arrangements of exchange with various workers of diverse colors, it does not produce an objective binary class system but only cultural differences. One cannot, therefore, obtain objective knowledge of capitalism. There are, in short, no laws of motion of capital; there are only "experiences" of work influenced by one's color. Consequently, to say-as I have said-that capitalism is a regime of exploitation is simply a totalitarian closure. We cannot know what capitalism is because, according to Giroux's logic, it is fraught with differences (of race) not the singularity of "surplus labor." In Giroux's pedagogy, there is no capitalism ("totality"), only cultural effects of capitals without capitalism ("differences"). Giroux represents his gutting of class as a radical and groundbreaking notion that will lead to liberation of the oppressed. However, he never completes the logic of his argument because in the end it will deground his position and turn it into epistemological nonsense and political pantomime. If class is a universal category that obliterates the difference of race, there is (on the basis of such a claim) no reason not to say that race is also a universal category because it obliterates the difference of sexuality (and other differences), which is, by the same logic, itself a universal category since it obliterates the difference of age (and other differences), which is itself a universal category because it obliterates the difference of (dis )ability (and other differences), which is itself a universal category because it obliterates the difference of class (and other differences). In short, the social, in Giroux's pedagogy is a circle of oppressions, none of whose components can explain any structural relations; each simply absorbs the other ("class is actually lived through race," paraphrasing Giroux) and thus points back to itself as a local knowledge of the affective, difference, and contingency. Class explains race; it does not absorb it as an experience (see Butler, "Merely"), nor does it reduce it to the contingencies of ethnicities (Hall, "New") or urban performativities (Kelley, Yo '). To put it differently, since in this pluralism of oppressions each element cancels out the explanatory capacity of all others, the existing social relations are reaffirmed in a pragmatic balancing of differences. Nothing changes, everything is resignified. The classroom of experience reduces all concepts (which it marks as "grand narratives") to affects ("little stories") and, instead of explaining the social in order to change it, only "interprets" it as a profusion of differences. Teaching becomes an affirmation of the singular-as-is; its lessons "save the honor of the name" (see Lyotard, Postmodern 82). Giroux's program is a mimesis of the logic of the ruling ideology: as in all pedagogies of affect, it redescribes the relation of the subject of knowledge with the world but leaves the world itself intact by reifying the signs of "difference" (see Rorty, Contingency 53, 73). The subject, as I will discuss later in my analysis of Cary Nelson's radical pedagogy, feels differently about itself in a world that remains what it was. Giroux is putting forth a class-cleansing pedagogy: he erases class from teaching in the name of epistemology ("totalization"). But as I have already argued, epistemology is not an issue for Giroux; it is an alibi for hollowing out from class its economic explanatory power. Epistemology in bourgeois pedagogy is class politics represented as "theory"-whose aim is to tum class into a cultural aleatory experience. In Giroux's phenomenological experientialism, lived experience is an excuse for advancing the cause of capital in a populist logic (respect for the ineluctable "experience" of the student) so that the student, the future worker, is trained as one who understands the world only through the sense-able-his own "unique" experience as black, white, or brown; man or woman; gay or straight-but never as a proletariat: a person who, regardless of race, sexuality, gender, age, or (dis )ability has to sell his or her labor power to capital in order to obtain subsistence wages in exchange. Experience, in Giroux's pedagogy, becomes a self-protecting "inside" that resists world-historical knowledge as an intrusion from "outside"; it thus valorizes ignorance as a mark of the authenticity and sovereignty of the subject-as independence and free choice.


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