Cap Against Race Affs—UMich 2013


Racism originated as an economic tool for separation and profit



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Racism originated as an economic tool for separation and profit


Shapira 10 (HarelShapira, PhD from Columbia University, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, “Borderline Americans: Racial Division and Labor War in the Arizona Borderlands”, Contemporary Sociology 39:1, January 2010, Sage)//AS

Concentrating on the middle of the nineteenth century to the New Deal era, Benton-Cohen explores why some “borderline Americans”—a term she uses to refer to resident noncitizens with a “tenuous claim on whiteness”—became “white Americans,” while others did not.Why, she asks, did Eastern and Southern Europeans, one group of “borderline Americans” become white, while Mexicans did not? Borderline Americans can be read as another chapter in America’s history of racial formation, as told by Noel Ignatiev in How the Irish Became White. What we are presented with here is an effort to explain how the Mexicans became brown. Benton-Cohen’s contribution is to show that the conflict between “Mexicans” and “Americans,” which today seems to be timeless and inevitable, was a contingent outcome, motivated in large part by the penetration of industrial capitalism into southern Arizona. This conflict has a curious history containing moments of cooperation and not conflict. Unlike the dominant narratives which examine the social construction of race, Benton-Cohen takes us to the local level and focuses attention not on state actors (although she does not overlook them) but on corporate managers. She helps us to understand that capitalism did not eliminate racial difference, rather it constituted it. The labor process does not suspend difference but rather articulates it. Class conflict is racial conflict, and racial conflict is class conflict. The chapters outline the historical transformation of a once undefined line between “Mexican” and “white American” into a sharp border. The first four chapters of the book offer the most compelling reads, providing engaging portraits of four different communities in Cochise County. In the first two chapters, Benton-Cohen takes us to Tres Alamos and Tombstone, and exposes us to places where relations between Mexicans and white Americans were characterized, for the most part, by harmony, equal legal protection, and sense of membership in the same community. In Tres Alamos and Tombstone, Mexicans and whites inhabited a “shared world” characterized by a “hybrid borderlands culture of the 1880’s, when Mexican-Anglo intermarriages and business partnerships still flourished.” Benton-Cohen argues that race, at least the racial antagonism between Mexicans and whites, was not a central organizing feature of these communities. In this “shared world,” it was not Mexicans who were the “others”, but a range of groups such as Apaches, Chinese immigrants, and Cowboys—each “other” representing a common enemy for the Mexicans and white Americans. She attributes the prevailing “ecumenical” view of whiteness in these two communities to their agricultural-based economies and the fact that most of the Mexicans residing there were members of the landholding elite. In contrast, the mining town of Bisbee and its suburb, Warren, the subjects of the next two chapters, tell a different story. In these communities, race was more palatable, as a dual-wage system saw Mexicans receiving lower pay, and residential segregation restricted the cosmopolitan interactions which characterized Tres Alamos and Tombstone. As with the previous two communities, Benton-Cohen claims that the status of race in these towns is a consequence of economic and class conditions.Unlike Tres Alamos and Tombstone, Bisbee was dominated by a mining economy and laboring population. This case is picked up in the remainder of the book, where Benton-Cohen explores how the divide between “Mexicans” and “whites,” indeed the presence of a racial discourse, is connected to the penetration of industrialized capitalism. As the mining boom took hold, corporations redeveloped the geographic and social ecology of Cochise County. Bisbee expanded and race entered into once unknown places such as Tres Alamos and Tombstone. Along with these corporations, homesteaders from other parts of America moved in, and brought with them understandings of racial difference that were foreign to Cochise County. The “white labor movement” as she names it, gained a strong influence over Arizona politics, and elected officials who saw Mexicans as racial “others.” Over time, the four communities began to resemble each other, as an Anglo/Hispanic color line became a prominent feature of them all.

Race cannot be understood absent an analysis of capital—racism is simply a means of maintaining an economic order


San Juan Jr. 03 (Epifanio , Filipino American literary academic, mentor, cultural reviewer, civic intellectual, activist, writer, essayist, “Marxism and the Race/Class Problematic: A Re-Articulation”, Cultural Logic, http://clogic.eserver.org/2003/sanjuan.html)//AS

Racism and nationalism are thus modalities in which class struggles articulate themselves at strategic points in history. No doubt social conflicts in recent times have involved not only classes but also national, ethnic, and religious groups, as well as feminist, ecological, antinuclear social movements (Bottomore 1983). The concept of "internal colonialism" (popular in the seventies) that subjugates national minorities, as well as the principle of self-determination for oppressed or "submerged" nations espoused by Lenin, exemplify dialectical attempts to historicize the collective agency for socialist transformation. Within the framework of the global division of labor between metropolitan center and colonized periphery, a Marxist program of national liberation is meant to take into account the extraction of surplus value from colonized peoples through unequal exchange as well as through direct colonial exploitation in "Free Trade Zones," illegal traffic in prostitution, mail-order brides, and contractual domestics (at present, the Philippines provides the bulk of the latter, about ten million persons and growing). National oppression has a concrete reality not entirely reducible to class exploitation but incomprehensible apart from it; that is, it cannot be adequately understood without the domination of the racialized peoples in the dependent formations by the colonizing/imperialist power, with the imperial nation-state acting as the exploiting class, as it were (see San Juan 1998; 2002). 32. Racism arose with the creation and expansion of the capitalist world economy (Wolf 1982; Balibar and Wallerstein, 1991). Solidarities conceived as racial or ethnic groups acquire meaning and value in terms of their place within the social organization of production and reproduction of the ideological-political order; ideologies of racism as collective social evaluation of solidarities arise to reinforce structural constraints which preserve the exploited and oppressed position of these "racial" solidarities. Such patterns of economic and political segmentation mutate in response to the impact of changing economic and political relationships (Geshwender and Levine 1994). Overall, there is no denying the fact that national-liberation movements and indigenous groups fighting for sovereignty, together with heterogeneous alliances and coalitions, cannot be fully understood without a critical analysis of the production of surplus value and its expropriation by the propertied class--that is, capital accumulation. As John Rex noted, different ethnic groups are placed in relations of cooperation, symbiosis or conflict by the fact that as groups they have different economic and political functions.Within this changing class order of [colonial societies], the language of racial difference frequently becomes the means whereby men allocate each other to different social and economic positions. What the type of analysis used here suggests is that the exploitation of clearly marked groups in a variety of different ways is integral to capitalism and that ethnic groups unite and act together because they have been subjected to distinct and differentiated types of exploitation. Race relations and racial conflict are necessarily structured by political and economic factors of a more generalized sort (1983, 403-05, 407). Hence race relations and race conflict are necessarily structured by the larger totality of the political economy of a given society, as well as by modifications in the structure of the world economy. Corporate profit-making via class exploitation on an international/globalized scale, at bottom, still remains the logic of the world system of finance capitalism based on historically changing structures and retooled practices of domination and subordination.

Race is a social construction borne of capitalism


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

If we consider "race" to be a connotative, expressionist cluster of social rela? tions in the terrain of certain historical and economic relations, and class to be an ensemble of property-oriented social relations with signifying practices, it is easy to see how they are formatively implicated. From this standpoint, one could say that modern "race" is a social culture of colonialist and imperialist capitalism. "Race," therefore, is a collection of discourses of colonialism and slavery, but firmly rooted in capitalism in its different aspects through time. As it stands, "race" cannot be disarticulated from "class" any more than milk can be separated from coffee once they are mixed, or the body divorced from consciousness in a living person. This inseparability, this formative or figurative relation, is as true for the process of extraction of surplus value in capitalism as it is a commonsense practice at the level of social life. Economic participation, the value of labor, social and political participation and entitlement, and cultural marginalization or inclusion are all part of this overall social formation

Class and race are mutually constitutive—capital created the concept of race for its own ends


Brodkin 2000 (Karen, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of California Los Angeles, “998 AES Keynote Address": Global Capitalism: What's Race Got to Do with It?”, American Ethnologist 27:2, May 2000, WILEY)//AS

In the remainder of this article, I will use the United States as an illustrative caseto develop further my argument that capitalism is causally and systemically linked to the construction of race and racism. I will show that relations to the means of capital- ist production in the United States have been organized in ways that are consistent with nationalist constructions of national subjects and internal aliens. The central theoretical point I wish to advance is that race in the United States has historically been a key relationship to the means of capitalist production, and gender construc- tions are what has made race corporeal, material, and visible. In Marxist thought, re- lations to the means of production are class relations. To argue that race is a relation- ship to the means of production is not to reduce race to class. Rather, it is to complicate each term, to argue that race and class are mutually constitutive, two facets of thesame process that apply to both the structure of productive relationships and people's consciousnesses or identities. It is in such socially structured identities that the nation- alist and capitalist projects connect. Current interest in identities-especially the conventional threesome of race, class, and gender-has addressed the cultural content of identities for actors, as well as for the national hegemonic structures that make them meaningful for people to in- terpret, enact, and embrace. I think it is fair to say that they are dialectical: State pol- icy, law, and popular discourse make race and gender matter for one's life chances; people embrace these categories because they matter, but they do not inhabit them in the ways hegemonic institutions and discourses construct them; popular enactments in turn reshape hegemonic practices. Class is often the Cinderella in analyses of this threesome with respect to national projects. That is, it is treated as a "lifestyle choice of you and your family," as Lillian Robinson (1995:8) puts it when criticizing scholars who treat class as if it were a set of cultural choices that are unrelated to economic structures. But one could also challenge the lack of attention to economics in analyses of race in the same way that Robinson does for class. True, the state, nationalism, and civic discourse have gotten a lot of play on the structural side of race. But the organi- zation of production and the racial division of labor, though well described, are poorly theorized. Thinking theoretically about the ways that race and ethnicity work as a relationship to the means of capitalist production in the United States can help us understand how global capitalism might feed nationalism even as it seems to erode states.



The concept of race did not exist before capital—racial divisions are created and maintained to sustain the labor force


Brodkin 2000 (Karen, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of California Los Angeles, “998 AES Keynote Address": Global Capitalism: What's Race Got to Do with It?”, American Ethnologist 27:2, May 2000, WILEY)//AS

Soon after the reopening of immigration in 1965, a Federal Interagency Commit- tee was formed to create for the Bureau of the Census a classification of race and eth- nicity reflective of the nation's new immigration and attentive to the progress of af- firmative action. The result was the now-familiar four racial groups: American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, black, and white. The committee de- cided that the fifth group, Hispanic, was an ethnic group but not a race. The govern- mentese term Hispanic emphasizes the Euro-origins of Spanish speakers from many nations. These "Hispanics" are not exactly white, which they were in the 1960 cen- sus. Rather they are modified, not-quite whites, as in Hispanic whites (Wright 1994: 50-51). In sum, although race was initially invented to justify a brutal regime of slave la- bor that was profitable to Southern planters, race making has become a key process by which the United States continues to organize and understand labor and national belonging.Africans, Europeans, Mexicans, and Asians each came to be treated as members of less civilized, less moral, less self-restrained races only when they were recruited to be the core of the U.S. capitalist labor force. Such race making depended andcontinues to rest upon occupational and residential segregation (Massey and Denton 1993). Race making in turn facilitated the degradation of work itself, its or- ganization as "unskilled," intensely driven, mass-production work. Race making is class making, just as much as class making is race making. They are two views of the same thing.

Racism was the most convenient way for capital to divide and oppress the masses—only undoing capitalism solves racism


GLW 10 (Green Left Weekly, “Why capitalism needs racism”, GLW Iss. 823, 1/24/10, http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/43086)//AS

The capitalist social pyramid is black at the base and white at the top. In South Africa, until apartheid was formally abolished in 1994, this pyramid was legally sanctioned. Elsewhere, while slavery and segregation have been outlawed, the richest people are still the whitest and the poorest are the blackest.Racism suits capitalism because it's an important way of justifying economic discrimination. It's no accident that wherever you find racism, someone seems to be making money from it. Racist ideas help capitalism get away with super-exploiting racial and ethnic minorities, and all non-white people. "Those Arabs" or "Those Asians", we're told, "are used to doing dirty, hard work, and they'll be glad to get a job at all." Or when unemployment is on the rise, it's always handy to blame "Asians", or whichever ethnic group is being demonised at the time, for taking jobs away from "real" Australians. And when governments in the rich countries impose welfare funding or wage cuts on working people, they always start by targeting the most vulnerable groups — non-Anglo migrants or indigenous people. International students are often the first to cop attacks on higher education. Racism fosters the idea that the massive under-development and deprivation faced by the people of the Third World is "their fault".This leads to acceptance of the idea that, while rich countries should give some aid orloans, it should be tied to the recipient government agreeing to terms favourable to the donor countries, including huge interest charges. Without racist and nationalist ideas prevalent in the populations of imperialist countries, people would be less likely to accept as "natural" or "inevitable" the huge inequalities between the First and Third Worldsor endorse wars on Third World peoples who resist imperialist domination. In other words, racism is a way for the capitalist class to divide ordinary people from each other, within and between countries: divide and rule.
Capitalism is the root cause of racial division – race is a tool to divide the working class and preserve capitalism

Hill 9, teaches at Middlesex University and is Visiting Professor of Critical Education Policy and Equality Studies at the University of Limerick, Ireland (Dave, “Culturalist and Materialist Explanations of Class and "Race"”, Cultural Logic 2009 http://clogic.eserver.org/2009/Hill.pdf)

The capitalist system – with a tiny minority of people owning the means of production – oppresses and exploits the working class. This, indeed, constitutes the essence of capitalism: the extraction of surplus value – and profit – from workers by capitalist employers. These capitalists may be white, black, men, women, (high caste) Brahmin, or(“untouchable”) Dalit. In India as well as in Britain, there are millionaire men, women, Brahmin, and Dalit capitalists – and politicians. Marxist analysis also suggests that class conflict, which is an essential feature of capitalist society, will result in an overthrow of capitalism given the right circumstances. There has been considerable debate, historically, in different countries over whether this can, or will, be achieved either by revolutionary force or by evolutionary measures and steps for example through the evolutionary, reformist measures of social democracy). Important examples of such debate- between protagonists of revolutionary socialism and those of evolutionary socialism/social democracy are the late nineteenth century debates in Germany over “Revisionism” associated with the revisionist Eduard Bernstein (e.g., in 1899, his The Prerequisites for Socialism and the Tasks of Social Democracy – see Tudor and Tudor, 1988) on the one hand, and on the other hand, , orthodox revolutionary Marxist critics of revisionism such as Rosa Luxemburg (for example, in Reform and Revolution, in 1899/1900. Today such debates are carried on between revolutionary socialists/ Marxists such as the various Trotskyite groups, parties and internationals on the one hand, and social democratic parties and internationals on the other. As for where the former communist parties stood, a historical transition was made in the 1970s and 1980s by various communist parties and leaders when they foreswore revolution and adopted gradualist social democracy. 3 These arguments and conflicts take place within many leftist revolutions. Today, for example, in Venezuela, Trotskyites argue for a revolutionary rupture with capitalism, while others urge caution, an accommodation with capitalism and capitalists. (See Gonzalez, 2007; ISG, 2007; Esteban et al, 2008; Fuentes, 2009.) And Trotskyite, revolutionary, anti-capitalist groups and parties have persistent major problems working within larger left formations, united fronts and popular fronts. Thus PSOL at first joined the PT government in Brazil but left in 2004 in protest at(Brazilian President) Lula’s neoliberal pro-capitalist policies, and in 2007 Sinistra Critica pulled out of the broader left Rifondazione Comunista. There is considerable current debate within the Trostskyite movement and internationals over the incompatibility of socialist revolution with social democratic broader parties. (See, for example, Bensaid, 2009.) 4 Historically, and indeed in current times, it is, of course the armed/police forces of the capitalist state that shoot first – and where the local capitalist state is not powerful enough in the balance of class forces in any particular site, then in come the United States cavalry, acting on behalf of transnational capital and its national capital – on behalf of the international capitalist system itself. (See, for example, Brosio, 1994.) And yet there are denials, by postmodernists and other theorists of complexity and hybridity and postmodernists and post-ists of various stripes, that we no longer live in a period of metanarratives, such as mass capitalism, social class, working class, 7 or, indeed, “woman” or “black.” 5 For many theorists since the 1980s, history is at an end, the class war is over, and we all exalt in the infinite complexity and hybridity of subjective individualist consumerism. It is interesting, and rarely remarked upon, that arguments about “the death of class” are not advanced regarding the capitalist class. Despite their horizontal and vertical cleavages (Dumenil and Levy, 2004), they appear to know very well who they are. Nobody is denying capitalist class consciousness. Opposition to the rule of capital and its policies (either its wider policies, or specific policy) is weakened when the working class is divided, by “race,” caste, religion, tribe, or by other factors. When I say “divided,” I am using it here as an active verb, to mean that the capitalist class divides the working class, for example by its ideological state apparatuses- its media, its formally or informally segregated school systems. This is “divide and rule.” Examples of schooling systems perpetuating such divisions are in apartheid South Africa, Arab-Jew segregated schooling in Israel, Protestant-Catholic religiously segregated Northern Ireland, and parts of the USA – in particular its inner cities, and, indeed, parts of Britain, where, in some inner-city working-class schools, more than 90 percent of the pupils are from minority ethnic groups. 6 In many of the cities of the USA and Britain the ethnic division is localized. But such segregation and division is overwhelmingly a class stratification. It is rarely the millionaire and capitalist minorities who live in the ghetto, or poor minorities or whites who live in “millionaires row.”
Statistics flow neg – class is the most important factor in educational accomplishment

Hill 9, teaches at Middlesex University and is Visiting Professor of Critical Education Policy and Equality Studies at the University of Limerick, Ireland (Dave, “Culturalist and Materialist Explanations of Class and "Race"”, Cultural Logic 2009 http://clogic.eserver.org/2009/Hill.pdf ***CRT is Critical Race Theory)

Gillborn (2008) is right about underachievement by Blacks (Black Caribbean and Black African school students) in England and Wales. However, to repeat the points made above in relation to Dehal’s data and analysis, most of this underachievement is related to class location –Black Caribbeans are, with Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Traveller/Roma, the most heavily working class of any ethnic group. When class location – as measured by those claiming and in receipt of Free School Meal (FSM) – is accounted, the all minority ethnic groups other than Gypsy Roma/travellers perform better than whites. Regarding more privileged groups in society, Strand (2008b) points out that (at age 16) “White British pupils from high SEC” (Socio-Economic Class) “homes are one of the highest attaining ethnic groups, while White British pupils living in disadvantaged circumstances are the lowest attaining group” (p. 2). Gillborn (e.g., pp. 54-56), too, draws attention to this, showing that with regard to non-FSM students (for example at age 16 in their national GCSE assessments) that white students perform better than (most) other ethnic groups. To repeat, and, as shown by the final Dehal table above, the poor white working class (as measured by FSM), being in receipt of free school meals, performs less well than the working class of nearly all other ethnic groups. Most BME groups do better than whites, once allowance has been made/controlled for class location as measured by FSM. It seems that Gillborn’s own statistics (in Gillborn and Mirza, 2000) and other empirical data I present or refer to in this paper (see also Independent Working Class Association, 2005) lend compelling support to a Marxist critique of “race” salience theories in general (such as, currently, Critical Race Theory) offered, for example, by Cole, Maisuria, Miles and Sivanandan, and the Institute of Race Relations that he founded, in Britain, 15 and in the USA by the Red Critique journal, for example, Young, 2006. In his work on Critical Race Theory, Gillborn in most cases ignores and in other cases belittles the class dimension, a class dimension that, ironically, his own statistics of 2000 (Gillborn and Mirza, 2000) draw attention to. Gillborn (in his chapter 3, 2008, p. 45) does refer to the relative importance of and intersections between, inequalities based on “race,” class, and gender. He does, as have I, following Strand and Dehal (Dehal, 2006; Strand, 2007, 2008a, b) above, note that “economic background is not equally important for all students.” On p. 46 he criticises an “exclusive focus on class.” On p. 69 Gillborn notes that “the data certainly confirms that social class background is associated with gross inequalities of achievement at the extremes of the class spectrum.” He repeats: “However, class does not appear to be equally significant for all groups.” He then adds, importantly for his argument (i.e., an argument that seeks to avoid concentrating on data concerning the poorest strata in society), “the growing emphasis on FSM students projects a view of failing Whites that ignores 5 out of 6 students who do not receive FSM.” But contemporary and recent Marxist work, including my own work, does not have an exclusive focus on class. As this article, and an accompanying article (Hill, 2009), I hope, makes clear, we adhere to a notion of “raced” and gendered class, in which some (but not all) minority ethnic groups are racialised or xeno-racialised (explained below) and suffer a “race penalty” in, for example, teacher labelling and expectation, treatment by agencies of the state, such as the police, housing, judiciary, health services and in employment. Gillborn gives specific recognition to the analysis that social classis “raced” and gendered (e.g., p. 46), but gives relatively little – in fact very substantially less – explicit (other than implicit)recognition that “race” is classed (and gendered). While his work is not silent on social class disadvantage and social class based oppression, his treatment of social class analysis is dismissive and his treatment of social class underachievement in education and society, extraordinarily subdued. In Hill(2009), Race and Class in Britain: a Critique of the 15 statistical basis for Critical Race Theory in Britain: and some political implications, I also critique what I regard and analyse as the misuse of statistics in arguments put forward by some Critical Race Theorists in Britain showing that “Race” “trumps” Class in terms of underachievement at 16+ exams in England and Wales. 16 Accepting the urgent need for anti-racist awareness, policy and activism – from the classroom to the street 17 – I welcome the anti-racism that CRT promulgates and analyses while criticising its over-emphasis on “white supremacy” and its statistical misrepresentations.
Emphasis on culture over materialism is flawed

Zavarzadeh 3 - retired professor of English at Syracuse University (Mas'ud, “The Pedagogy of Totality” Journal of Advanced Composition Theory 2003 JAC Online ***“the event” Zavarzadeh refers to is 9/11)

Underlining his pedagogy is, in other words, a view of history as an expansionism of "power" (see Hardt and Negri) and as conflicts of "ideologies" (see Fukuyama). It is based on the notion that "discourse" and "ideas" shape the world since, ultimately, history itself is the discursive journey of the Soul toward a cultural and spiritual resolution of material contradictions. This theory mystifies history by displacing "class" (labor) with "ideas" and "discourse," and it consequently produces world history as a "clash of civilizations" that rewrites the world in the interest of the Euroamerican capitalism (see Huntington). According to the clash theory (which is the most popular interpretive axis of 9/ 11), people do what they do because of their "culture" not because they exploit the labor of others (and live in comfort), or because their labor is exploited by others (and therefore they live in abject poverty). The event, in other words, is an instance of the clash of civilizations: culture ("values," "language," "religion," the "affective") did it. "They" hate "our" way of life ("Their 'values' clash with our 'values"'). Since "values" are transhistorical, the clash is spiritual, not material. But culture, didn't do it. Contrary to contemporary dogma (see Hall, "Centrality"), culture is not autonomous; it is the bearer of economic interests. Cultural values are, to be clear, inversive: they are a spiritualization of material interests. Culture cannot solve the contradictions that develop at the point of production; it merely suspends them. Material contradictions can be solved only materially-namely, by the class struggles that would end the global regime of wage labor. The event is an unfolding of a material contradiction not a clash of civilizations. If teaching the event does not at least raise the possibility of a class understanding of it, the teaching is not pedagogy; it is ideology (as I outline it later in this essay). To be more precise, the CIA fought the Soviets (and then the Taliban) because U.S. capitalism needs to turn Afghanistan into a "new silk road." The conquest of Afghanistan, in other words, was planned long before the event, and its goal was neither liberation of the Afghani people nor what the CIA calls "democratization." It was simply aimed at turning the country into a huge pipeline station. In his testimony before the "House Committee on International Relations Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific" on February 12, 1998 (three years before "9/11"), John J. Maresca, the Vice President for International Relations of Uno cal Corporation, stated that The Caspian region contains tremendous untapped hydrocarbon reserves, much of them located in the Caspian Sea basin itself. Proven natural gas reserves within Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan equal more than 236 trillion cubic feet. The region's total oil reserves may reach more than 60 billion barrels of oil-enough to service Europe's oil needs for 11 years. Some estimates are as high as 200 billion barrels. In 1995, the region was producing only 870,000 barrels per day (44 million tons per year [Mtly]). (Monthly Review, Dec. 2001) The problem for U. S. capital was how to get the energy to the market. The safest and most profitable way to get the energy to the West was, Maresca testified, by building "A commercial corridor, a 'new' Silk Road" through Afghanistan. Developing "cost-effective, profitable and efficient export routes for Central Asia," according to Maresca, is the point of converging "U.S. commercial interests and U.S. foreign policy": Afghanistan had to be liberated to build the new silk road not because of a "clash of civilizations." A pedagogy that brings up the event in the classroom has a responsibility at least to raise these issues: to limit "knowledge" to "background information" and then substitute CIA stories for conceptual analysis of material causes is not curing ignorance but legitimating it. Attributing the causes of the event to culture, therefore, is to obscure the world class relations and the fact that their "hatred" is not the effect of an immanent evil in their religion or language or values but the brutal exploitation of capital that has tom apart "their" way of life to build new silk roads all over "their" world. The silk road always and ultimately leads to "events." To blame other cultures, as Berube does when he refers to "searing images of cheering Palestinian children," is to let capitalism off the hook. It is a practice that produces a "false consciousness" in students so that they make sense of the world through spiritualistic "values" that marginalize the actual struggles over the surplus labor of the "other"- which is what makes their own life comfortable. This is not curing ignorance; it is the corporate pedagogy of a flag-waving nationalism.

Capitalism is the root cause of race and racism – their methods dismiss class as a factor in oppression

Brodkin 98 – professor emeritus Department of Anthropology at UCLA, Ph.D. from the University of Michigan (“Global Capitalism: What's Race Got to Do with It?” American Ethnologist published May 2000 JStor)

Such nationalistic and xenophobic movements are broadly enmeshed in the na- tionalist project of subject making. The idea that national subjects and colonial sub- jects have been historically constructed as races (or ethnicities, languages, or reli- gions), classes, and styles of manhood and womanhood is well established (e.g., Kerber et al. 1995; Ong 1996; Stoler 1989; Tamanoi 1998; Williams 1996). There has been a historic isomorphism (or overdetermination or fit) between the ways states construct national subjects and the ways capital organizes production and its labor forces on the basis of gender, race, and ethnicity (recent analyses include Fikes 1998 and Medina 1998). Although nation and capitalism are separate projects, each de- pends on and shapes the other. In the remainder of this article, I will use the United States as an illustrative case to develop further my argument that capitalism is causally and systemically linked to the construction of race and racism. I will show that relations to the means of capital- ist production in the United States have been organized in ways that are consistent with nationalist constructions of national subjects and internal aliens. The central theoretical point I wish to advance is that race in the United States has historically been a key relationship to the means of capitalist production, and gender construc- tions are what has made race corporeal, material, and visible. In Marxist thought, re- lations to the means of production are class relations. To argue that race is a relation- ship to the means of production is not to reduce race to class. Rather, it is to complicate each term, to argue that race and class are mutually constitutive, two facets of the 239 same process that apply to both the structure of productive relationships and people's consciousnesses or identities. It is in such socially structured identities that the nation- alist and capitalist projects connect. Current interest in identities-especially the conventional threesome of race, class, and gender-has addressed the cultural content of identities for actors, as well as for the national hegemonic structures that make them meaningful for people to in- terpret, enact, and embrace. I think it is fair to say that they are dialectical: State pol- icy, law, and popular discourse make race and gender matter for one's life chances; people embrace these categories because they matter, but they do not inhabit them in the ways hegemonic institutions and discourses construct them; popular enactments in turn reshape hegemonic practices. Class is often the Cinderella in analyses of this threesome with respect to national projects. That is, it is treated as a "lifestyle choice of you and your family," as Lillian Robinson (1995:8) puts it when criticizing scholars who treat class as if it were a set of cultural choices that are unrelated to economic structures. But one could also challenge the lack of attention to economics in analyses of race in the same way that Robinson does for class. True, the state, nationalism, and civic discourse have gotten a lot of play on the structural side of race. But the organi- zation of production and the racial division of labor, though well described, are poorly theorized. Thinking theoretically about the ways that race and ethnicity work as a relationship to the means of capitalist production in the United States can help us understand how global capitalism might feed nationalism even as it seems to erode states.
Anti-blackness is a tool of capital to prevent union power – empirically proven

Bonacich 76 - Professor of Sociology and Ethnic Studies at University of California Riverside, Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard (Edna, “Advanced Capitalism and Black/White Relations in the United States: A Split Labor Market Interpretation” American Sociological Review Feb. 1976 JStor)

The substitution of black labor for white was, in part, accompanied by the process, described earlier, of division of skills into simpler, assembly line tasks. Black migrants were largely unskilled while the union movement's strength lay in controlling access to training in complex skills. A way of cracking the unions' power was to break down the skills and substitute unskilled labor. Black labor was not the only source of substitution, but it was an important and growing element. Returning to Figure I, the efforts to develop the black labor force aroused the ire of white labor (4) which felt a threat to their efforts to improve their lot. The antagonism towards black workers was not simply race prejudice but a fear that blacks, because of their weakness in the labor market, could be used by capital as a tool to weaken or destroy their organizations or take away their jobs. As Spero and Harris (l966:l28) state: "The use of Negroes for strike breaking has . . . led the white trade unionist to regard the black workers as an enemy of the labor movement." White workers reacted by trying to exclude black workers or to keep them restricted to certain jobs. (See Bonacich, I972, for a more thorough discussion of the reasoning behind these reactions.) Black workers came on the industrial scene unfamiliar, for the most part, with the aspirations of organized labor. 1'hey were not an easy element to organize to start out with, but whatever potential for organization was pre- sent was discouraged by white union antipathy and exclusion (5). Union policies frequently meant that black workers had no alternative but to turn to strike-breaking as the only means of entering white-dominated lines of work. Sometimes even strike-breaking did not secure long-term employment as white workers roared back, anxious to see them dis- missed. Interaction 5 was mutually reinforcing. Blacks distrusted the unions because they discriminated, and the unions discriminated because blacks didn't support them. The circle of antagonism was difficult to break out of. Even if the unions opened their doors, as was not uncommon, black workers were apt to view the action as self-sewing, to protect the unions from scabbing by blacks. It would take more than non-discrimination to end the dis- trust, and many white unionists were not willing even to take the first step of lowering the barriers to membership? The policies of the employer fed the division between black and white workers (6). Employer paternalism led black workers to feel they had more to gain by allying with capital than with white labor. Besides, behind it lay a veiled threat: blacks would be hired and given preference over white workers so long as they remained out of the unions. Interaction 6 helped sustain interaction 5. Foster (l920:2 I ) vividly makes this point: They know little of the race problem in industry who declare that it can be settled merely by the unions opening their doors to the Negroes. It is much more complex than that, and will require the best thought that conscientious whites and blacks can give to it. The Negro has the more difficult part to solve in resisting the insidious efforts of unscrupulous white employers and misguided intellectuals of his own race to make a professional strike-breaker of him, The antagonism of the labor movement to black workers weakened still further the latter's position in the labor market (7). White labor severely restricted the alternatives of black labor by maintaining control over important lines of work. The perpetuation of the black labor force in a weak position kept_ them as a target group for capital's efforts to undermine the union movement. Finally, to close the "system," the efforts by capital to utilize black labor to their detriment added to the militance of white workers (8). Strikes were sometimes called over this very issue, which could unite white workers in a common grievance (Tuttle, 1970a: 107-8).

Racism is rooted in capitalism


Cole 07( Mike Cole is research professor in education and equality at Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln. His latest book, Marxism and Educational Theory : Origins and Issues, is published by Routledge- The Heart of the Higher Education Debate- “'Racism' is about more than colour” November 23 2007 http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/311222.article Researched: 7-20-13)

The problem with standard critical race theory is the narrowness of its remit, says Mike Cole. One of the main tenets of critical race theory is that "white supremacy" is the norm in societies rather than merely the province of the racist right (the other major tenet is primacy of "race" over class). There are a number of significant problems with this use of the term "white supremacy". The first is that it homogenises all white people together in positions of power and privilege. Writing about the US, critical race theorist Charles Mills acknowledges that not "all whites are better off than all non-whites, but ... as a statistical generalisation, the objective life chances of whites are significantly better". While this is, of course, true, we should not lose sight of the life chances of millions of working-class white people.To take poverty as one example, in the US, while it is the case that the number of black people living below the poverty line is some three times that of whites, this still leaves more than 16 million "white but not Hispanic" people living in poverty there. In the UK, there are similar indicators of a society underpinned by rampant colour-coded racism, with black people twice as poor as whites, and those of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin more than three times as poor as whites. Once again, however, this still leaves some 12 million poor white people in the UK. That such statistics are indicative of racism, however, is beyond doubt, and to interpret them it is useful to employ the concept of "racialisation". Given that there is widespread agreement among geneticists and social scientists that "race" is a meaningless concept, racialisation describes the process by which people are falsely categorised into distinct "races". Statistics such as these are indicative of racialised capitalism rather than white supremacy. A second problem with "white supremacy" is that it is inherently unable to explain non-colour-coded racism. In the UK, for example, this form of racism has been and is directed at the Irish and at gypsy/traveller communities. There is also a well-documented history of anti-Semitism, too. It is also important to underline the fact that Islamophobia is not necessarily triggered by skin colour. It is often sparked by one or more (perceived) symbols of the Muslim faith. Finally, a new form of non- colour-coded racism has manifested itself recently in the UK. This has all the hallmarks of traditional racism, but it is directed towards newly arrived groups of people. It has been described by A. Sivanandan, director of the Institute of Race Relations, as "xeno-racism". It appears that there are some similarities in the xeno-racialisation of Eastern European migrant workers and the racialisation of Asian and black workers in the immediate postwar period, a point I address in my latest book. "White supremacy" is counterproductive as a political unifier and rallying point against racism. John Preston concluded an article in The Times Higher advocating critical race theory ("All shades of a wide white world", October 19) by citing the US journal Race Traitor , which seeks the "abolition of the racial category 'white'". Elsewhere, Preston has argued "the abolition of whiteness is ... not just an optional extra in terms of defeating capitalism (nor something which will be necessarily abolished post-capitalism) but fundamental to the Marxist educational project as praxis". Indeed, for Preston, "the abolition of capitalism and whiteness seem to be fundamentally connected in the current historical circumstances of Western capitalist development".From my Marxist perspective, coupling the "abolition of whiteness" to the "abolition of capitalism" is a worrying development that, if it gained ground in Marxist theory, would most certainly further undermine the Marxist project.I am not questioning the sincerity of the protagonists of "the abolition of whiteness", nor suggesting in any way that they are anti-white people but merely questioning its extreme vulnerability to misunderstanding. Anti-racists have made some progress in the UK at least in making anti- racism a mainstream rallying point, and this is reflected, in part, in legislation. Even if it were a good idea, the chances of making "the abolition of whiteness" a successful political unifier and rallying point against racism are virtually non-existent.The usage of "white supremacy" should be restricted to its everyday meaning. To describe and analyse contemporary racism we need a wide- ranging and fluid conception of racism. Only then can we fully understand its multiple manifestations and work towards its eradication.


Capitalism is the root cause of slavery and racism


Crawford 5 – Graduate student @ Queen’s U studying race theory and critical whiteness (“Henry Winant. “The New Politics of Race: Globalism, Difference, Justice.”, Canadian Journal of Sociology Online, March-April 2005, Henry Winnant is a professor of sociology @ UC Berkeley, RSpec)

The second section of Winant’s book is dedicated to comparative racial studies. This section discusses at length the historical transition from “racial domination” to “racial hegemony,” and does so through connecting the Atlantic slave trade system to capitalism and abolitionism to democracy. Racism has been essential to the development of modernity as well as a global capitalist system. Winant argues that it was not racism that created slavery, but slavery that created racism, and that slavery became racialized as a practical way to meet labour demands at the time (p. 84). He extends the argument of slavery as creator to the establishment of capitalism, and suggests that through resistance to slavery, modern forms of democracy and culture were made possible. Thus, the Atlantic slave trade is argued by Winant to represent “the first truly multinational capitalist enterprise,” in the same way that abolitionism comes to be represented as “the first multinational social movement” (p. 88). As such, Winant argues that abolitionism was an effort to “fulfill the political promise of democracy” as well as an extension of “the cultural logic of enlightenment” (p. 87). Abolitionism seemed to render notions of democracy and equality, despite the fact that such notions were not fully materialized, and several emancipatory tasks remain. Democracy is conceptualized as the opposite of slavery, and as such, race and racism are viewed as intricate components of the development of modern forms of democracy. Winant draws several concrete linkages between the Atlantic slave trade and the racialized divide between the global North and the global South. This is perhaps one of the book’s greatest strengths, insofar as it reminds the reader that, as Winant writes, “the pattern of northern racialized rule has continued unbroken” (p. 88). Furthermore, that what exists now is “global apartheid,” and this is evidenced in the massive exploitation and endemic indebtedness of the global South as well as in the global distribution of resources.

Race is rooted in capitalism- they are suppressed by economics

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 essay advances a materialist theory of race. In my view, race oppression dialectically intersects with the exploitative logic of advanced capitalism, a regime which deploys race in the interest of surplus accumulation. Thus, race operates at the (economic) base and therefore produces cultural and ideological effects at the superstructure; in turn, these effects—in very historically specific way—interact with and ideologically justify the operations at the economic base [1]. In a sense then, race encodes the totality of contemporary capitalist social relations, which is why race cuts across a range of seemingly disparate social sites in contemporary US society. For instance, one can mark race difference and its discriminatory effects in such diverse sites as health care, housing/real estate, education, law, job market, and many other social sites. However, unlike many commentators who engage race matters, I do not isolate these social sites and view race as a local problem, which would lead to reformist measures along the lines of either legal reform or a cultural-ideological battle to win the hearts and minds of people and thus keep the existing socio-economic arrangements intact; instead, I foreground the relationality of these sites within the exchange mechanism of multinational capitalism. Consequently, I believe, the eradication of race oppression also requires a totalizing political project: the transformation of existing capitalism—a system which produces difference (the racial/gender division of labor) and accompanying ideological narratives that justify the resulting social inequality. Hence, my project articulates a transformative theory of race—a theory that reclaims revolutionary class politics in the interests of contributing toward a post-racist society. In other words, the transformation from actually existing capitalism into socialism constitutes the condition of possibility for a post-racist society—a society free from racial and all other forms of oppression. By freedom, I do not simply mean a legal or cultural articulation of individual rights as proposed by bourgeois race theorists. Instead, I theorize freedom as a material effect of emancipated economic forms. I foreground my (materialist) understanding of race as a way to contest contemporary accounts of race, which erase any determinate connection to economics. For instance, humanism and poststructuralism represent two dominant views on race in the contemporary academy. Even though they articulate very different theoretical positions, they produce similar ideological effects: the suppression of economics. They collude in redirecting attention away from the logic of capitalist exploitation and point us to the cultural questions of sameness (humanism) or difference (poststructuralism). In developing my project, I critique the ideological assumptions of some exemplary instances of humanist and poststructuralist accounts of race, especially those accounts that also attempt to displace Marxism, and, in doing so, I foreground the historically determinate link between race and exploitation. It is this link that forms the core of what I am calling a transformative theory of race. The transformation of race from a sign of exploitation to one of democratic multiculturalism, ultimately, requires the transformation of capitalism. 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.


People are not desriminated against solely based on color- social practices contribute to their oppression

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
However, the experiential, the "real", does not adequate the "truth", as Collins implies. Collins rejects the "Eurocentric Masculinist Knowlege Validation Process" for its positivism but, in turn, she offers empiricism as the grounds for validating experience. Hence, the validity of experiential claims is adjudicated by reference to the experience. Not only is her argument circular, but it also undermines one of her key claims. If race, class, gender, and the accompanying ideological apparatuses are interlocking systems of oppression, as Collins suggest, then the experiential is not the site for the "true" but rather the site for the articulation of dominant ideology. On what basis then, could the experiential provide grounds for an historical understanding of the structures that make experience itself possible as experience? Asante and Collins assume that experience is self-intelligible and in their discourse it functions as the limit text of the real. However, I believe experience is a highly mediated frame of understanding. Though it is true that a person of color experiences oppression, this experience is not self-explanatory and, therefore, it needs to be situated in relation to other social practices. Experience seems local but it is, like all cultural and political practices, interrelated to other practices and experiences. Thus its explanation come from its "outside". Theory, specifically Marxist theory, provides an explanation of this outside by reading the meaning of all experiences as determined by the economic realities of class. While Asante's and Collins' humanism reads the experience of race as a site of "self-presence", the history of race in the United States—from slavery to Jim Crow to Katrina—is written in the fundamental difference of class. In other words, experience does not speak the real, but rather it is the site of contradictions and, hence, in need of conceptual elaboration to break from cultural common sense, a conduit for dominant ideology. It is this outside that has come under attack by black (humanist) scholars through the invocation of the black (transcendental) subject.
Capitalism has allowed for federal manipulation by the private sector that resulted in slavery

Blackmon 01 - an American writer, journalist and a Pulitzer Prize winner in 2009 for his book, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II. (Douglas, “From Alabama's Past, Capitalism Teamed With Racism to Create Cruel Partnership”, The Wall Street Journal, 7/16/01, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB995228253461746936.html) //JA

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — On March 30, 1908, Green Cottenham was arrested by the Shelby County, Ala., sheriff and charged with vagrancy. After three days in the county jail, the 22-year-old African-American was sentenced to an unspecified term of hard labor. The next day, he was handed over to a unit of U.S. Steel Corp. and put to work with hundreds of other convicts in the notorious Pratt Mines complex on the outskirts of Birmingham. Four months later, he was still at the coal mines when tuberculosis killed him.¶ Born two decades after the end of slavery in America, Green Cottenham died a slave in all but name. The facts are dutifully entered in the handwritten registry of prisoners in Shelby County and in other state and local government records.¶ In the early decades of the 20th century, tens of thousands of convicts — most of them, like Mr. Cottenham, indigent black men — were snared in a largely forgotten justice system rooted in racism and nurtured by economic expedience. Until nearly 1930, decades after most other Southern states had abolished similar programs, Alabama was providing convicts to businesses hungry for hands to work infarm fields, lumber camps, railroad construction gangs and, especially in later years, mines. For state and local officials, the incentive was money; many years, convict leasing was one of Alabama’s largest sources of funding.¶ ‘Assault With a Stick’¶ Most of the convicts were charged with minor offenses or violations of "Black Code" statutes passed to reassert white control in the aftermath of the Civil War. Mr. Cottenham was one of more than 40 Shelby County men shipped to the Pratt Mines in the winter of 1908, nearly half of them serving time for jumping a freight train, according to the Shelby County jail log. George Roberson was sent on a conviction for "assault with a stick," the log says. Lou William was in for adultery. John Jones for gambling.¶ Subjected to squalid living conditions, poor medical treatment, scant food and frequent floggings, thousands died. Entries on a typical page from a 1918 state report on causes of death among leased convicts include: "Killed by Convict, Asphyxia from Explosion, Tuberculosis, Burned by Gas Explosion, Pneumonia, Shot by Foreman, Gangrenous Appendicitis, Paralysis." Mr. Cottenham was one of dozens of convicts who died at the Pratt Mines complex in 1908.¶ This form of government and corporate forced labor ended in 1928 and slipped into the murk of history, discussed little outside the circles of sociologists and penal historians. But the story of Alabama’s trade in human labor endures in minute detail in tens of thousands of pages of government records stored in archives, record rooms and courthouses across the state.¶ These documents chronicle another chapter in the history of corporate involvement in racial abuses of the last century. A $4.5 billion fund set up by German corporations, after lawsuits and intense diplomatic pressure from the U.S. and others, began making payments last month to the victims of Nazi slave-labor programs during the 1930s and 1940s. Japanese manufacturers have come under criticism for their alleged use of forced labor during the same period. Swiss banks agreed in 1998 to a $1.25 billion settlement of claims related to the seizure of Jewish assets during the Holocaust.¶ Traditions of Segregation¶ In the U.S., many companies — real-estate agents that helped maintain rigid housing segregation, insurers and other financial-services companies that red-lined minority areas as off-limits, employers of all stripes that discriminated in hiring — helped maintain traditions of segregation for a century after the end of the Civil War. But in the U.S., recurrent calls for reparations to the descendants of pre-Civil War slaves have made little headway. And there has been scant debate over compensating victims of 20th century racial abuses involving businesses.¶ The biggest user of forced labor in Alabama at the turn of the century was Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Co., the U.S. Steel unit that owned the mine where Mr. Cottenham died. Dozens ofother companies used convicts, too, many of them now defunct or absorbed into larger businesses. Executives at some of the corporate descendants say they shouldn’t be asked to bear responsibility for the actions of executives long dead or the practices of businesses acquired decades ago.¶ U.S. Steel says it can find no evidence to suggest that the company ever abused or caused the deaths of convicts in Alabama. U.S. Steel spokesman Thomas R. Ferrall says that concerns voiced about convict leasing by Elbert H. Gary, the company’s chairman at the time, helped set the stage for "knocking the props out from under" the system. "We think U.S. Steel proper was a positive player in this history … was a force for good," Mr. Ferrall says.¶ The company’s early presence in Alabama is still evident a few miles from downtown Birmingham. There, on a hillside overgrown with brush, hundreds of sunken graves litter the ground in haphazard rows. A few plots bear stones. No other sign or path marks the place. Only a muddy scar in the earth — the recently filled-in mouth of a spent coal mine — suggests that this is the cemetery of the Pratt Mines complex.¶ "The convicts were buried out there," says Willie Clark, an 82-year-old retired coal miner. He grew up in a house that overlooked the cemetery and the sprawling mine operation that once surrounded it. "I heard my daddy talking about how they would beat the convicts with pick handles. If they didn’t like them, they would kill them."¶ He and other older people living in the ramshackle "Pratt City" neighborhood surrounding the old mining site still call the graveyard the "U.S. Steel cemetery." There are no records of those buried on the hillside. Mr. Cottenham could be among them.¶ When Mr. Cottenham died in 1908, U.S. Steel was still new to convict leasing. But by then, the system was decades old and a well-oiled machine.¶ After the Civil War, most Southern states set up similar penal systems, involving tens of thousands of African-Americans. In those years, the Southern economy was in ruins. State officials had few resources, and county governments had even fewer. Leasing prisoners to private individuals or companies provided revenue and eliminated the need to build prisons. Forcing convicts to work as part of their punishment was entirely legal; the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1865, outlaws involuntary servitude — except for "duly convicted" prisoners.¶ Convict leasing in other states never reached the scale of Alabama’s program. By the turn of the century, most states had ended the practice or soon would because of opposition on humanitarian grounds and from organized labor. Convict leasing also wasn’t well-suited to the still largely agrarian economies of most Southern states. But in Alabama, industrialization was generating a ravenous appetite for the state’s coal and iron ore. Production was booming, and unions were attempting to organize free miners. Convicts provided an ideal captive work force: cheap, usually docile, unable to organize and available when free laborers went on strike.¶ Under the convict-leasing system, government officials agreed with a company such as Tennessee Coal to provide a specific number of prisoners for labor. State officials signed contracts to supply companies with large blocks of men — often hundreds at a time — who had committed felonies. Companies entered into separate deals with county sheriffs to obtain thousands more prisoners who had been convicted of misdemeanors. Of the 67 counties in Alabama, 51 actively leased their convicts, according to one contemporary newspaper report. The companies built their own prisons, fed and clothed the convicts, and supplied guards as they saw fit.In Barbour County, in the cotton country of southern Alabama, nearly 700 men were leased between June 1891 and November 1903, most for $6 a month, according to the leatherbound Convict Record still kept in the courthouse basement. Most were sent to mines operated by Tennessee Coal or Sloss-Sheffield Steel & Iron Co., another major industrial presence in Birmingham.¶ Sheriffs, deputies andsome court officials derived most of their compensation from feescharged to convicts for each step in their own arrest, conviction and shipment to a private company. That gave sheriffs an incentive to arrest and obtain convictions ofas many people as possible. They also had an incentiveto feed the prisoners as little as possible, since they could pocket the differencebetween what the state paid them and what they spent to maintain the convicts while in their custody. Some convicts had enough money to pay the fees themselves and gain their freedom; the many who didn’t were instead put to work. Company lease payments for the convicts’ time at hard labor then were used to cover the fees.




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