Economic growth privileges the white upper class – market structures and empirical economic exploitation mean black people are disenfranchised from the very start
Hoescht 2008, Heidi Hoescht is a PhD in Literature from UCSD, “Refusable Pasts: Speculative Democracy, Spectator Citizens, and the Dislocation of Freedom in the United States,” Proquest Dissertations, NN
This dissertation examines the intimate connections between emancipatory democracy and speculative economics. It studies cultural texts that reflect and express national ideals of U.S. democracy that emereged in three periods of heightened captialist speculation the Jacksonian period of the 1830s, the 1930s Popular Front period, and the rise of liberal multiculturalism between 1980 to the present. The project engages two kinds of cultural texts. The project derives its proximate objects of the study--folklore, literature, literary criticism, stage performances, community festivals and public parks—from a range of critical and cultural texts produced by Constance Rourke, F.O. Matthiessen, Nathaniel Hawthorne, George Catlin, Frederick Law Olmsted, and the neighborhood of Powderhorn Park. Yet, the disseration also explores a second text that connects these seemingly disparate objects and authors. The social text that binds the chapters of this dissertaion is a broader text of U.S. culture and social practice that is conditioned and inflated by the logic of speculation. This second text reveals culture as a central link in the economic project of U.S. nationalism. Culture in this text, is a key technology by which U.S. inequality is reproduced, reiterated, and translated across contexts. I argue that the cultural logic of specualiton disables possibilities for participatory democracy and racial, gendered, and class justice and equality. This logic aligns the emancipatory aspirations of aggreived groups to the market and property interests of elites. I show that culture has been instrumental for expanding social inequality through the promises of U.S. nationalism. The speculative logic of U.S. democracy relies on the category of "not yet freedom" to hide economic and racial inequalities. It preserves the idea of democracy only by deferring actual justice to a perpetually pushed back future. The pursuit of democracy in the United States has been haunted by histories of refusal and deferral. When aggrieved groups ask for emancipation, elites often respond with promises of freedom without doing the hard work of creating justice. Refusable Pasts explores how the national culture of the United States portrays the deferral of freedom to some unspecified "not yet" time in the future as evidence of real democratic inclusion in the present. Promises of future freedom evidence the power and pervasiveness of popular aspirations for democracy. Yet because national culture offers aggrieved groups democratic promises rather than democratic practices, it also demonstrates the power of elites to suppress popular democracy and preserve their own privileges. Speculative logic and market subjectivity permeate U.S. national culture. Speculative practices originate in economic relations, but their logic structures national culture as well. Speculative logics promising future growth have connected the expressive cultures of U.S nationalism to the economic life of the nation's elites. Just as investors anticipate that economic returns in the future will reward their work in the present, citizens are encouraged to defer their desires for empowerment, autonomy, dignity and community to some perpetually promised but never quite realized time of "not yet" freedom in the future. Hope functions as a fundamental mechanism for deferring freedom to the future and refusing radical change in the present. Under these conditions, culture serves as a cover story promoting economic expansion and empire, slavery and racial subordination, plunder and perpetual warfare. The national culture of the nation works to instantiate, legitimate, and perpetuate economic inequality and social stratification. It is also one forum that elites use to manage the emancipatory aspirations of popular struggles. Culture counts because stories centered on the logic of speculation promise symbolic reconciliations as the salve to the wounds caused by the perpetuation of inequalities in society. The speculative logics that inform national culture portray inexcusable injustices in the present as mere preludes to a promised prosperity and freedom in the future. Thus, the democratic promises inscribed inside national culture actually function as powerful mechanisms for the perpetuation of decidedly undemocratic practices and policies.
The capitalist system was created through the exploitation of the black body – any progress results in anti-black violence
Gabriel and Todorova 2, Satyananda J., Evgenia O., “Racism and Capitalist Accumulation: An Overdetermined Nexus,” Journal of Critical Sociology, 2002
The pervasiveness of racial consciousness cannot help but shape the economic relationships in contemporary capitalist social formations. The interaction of racialized agents shapes the parameters of a wide range of economic processes such as market exchange transactions, employment contracts, pricing, capital budgeting decisions, and so on. The fact that one can observe patterns of differential economic success and failure based on racial ca tegories is evidence of the impact of racism upon agents. Economic theories, both Marxian and neoclassical, have attempted to explain rational behavior of agents in the context of the market for labor-power. The Marxian approach has been to make sense of this market in the context of capitalist exploitation, for which the market in labor-power is a precondition. Capitalism presupposes the existence of free wage laborers. In the Marxian tradition, direct producers become "free" to sell their labor-power as a result of determinate social and natural processes. It is in this process of gaining capitalist freedom that the rationality of wage laboring is formed. Capitalist freedom came to exist in contrast to serfdom and slavery. In this sense, it was born of a complex association of ideas. In some instances, this would have included, from the earliest stages of capitalist development, ideas produced within racist paradigms. The wage laboring consciousness necessary for an agent to be willing and able to sell her labor power would have been influenced, in the Western Europe and Great Britain of early capitalist development, by aristocratic racism and then later by white supremacist racism. The perception of capitalist freedom, in contrast to serfdom or slavery, would certainly have made it easier to create, reproduce and expand the wage laboring consciousness. Thus, the creation of labor markets would, necessarily, be very different in an environment where direct producers view themselves as already free. There are countless stories of the difficulties of creating labor markets in African colonies, for instance. The classic case is that of Tanganyika, under German colonial rule, where resistance to working as wage laborers was so strong that entire villages would move rather than submit to the labor market in order to meet the imposed hut taxes. These villagers had lived as communal producers, collectively performing and appropriating surplus labor. Their history was one of collective decision-making, communal freedom, and the absence of racialized consciousness. Capitalist freedom did not appear to be an attractive alternative. This was not the case in Britain, Western Europe, or the United States, where the perceived alternative was, in many but not all cases, serfdom or slavery. Under those conditions, the legitimacy of capitalist freedom was less likely to be challenged. We have already mentioned the importance of dissociation to creating a wage laboring consciousness, one in which the individual can sell her labor power like so many bushels of tomatoes. The various forms of racialized consciousness that were prevalent in most capitalist social formations, having already produced forms of dissociation and alienation in the consciousness of direct producers and others, may have been critical to the rapidity with which labor markets were established and expanded