Category: Race & Race Relations

Trump Takes Another Step Toward Authoritarian Government

Socialists must organize a national movement against Trump’s national emergency.

In Defense of Black Sentiment

A Comment on Cedric Johnson’s Essay Re: Black Power Nostalgia

Johnson asks the reader not to pivot on certain ethnically motivated political affiliations lest we lose our class-conscious focus, and yet I find myself thinking about the ways Blackness is constructed in the arguments presented and how that matters.

Black Exceptionalism and the Militant Capitulation to Economic Inequality

Cedric G. Johnson’s “The Panthers Can’t Save Us Now” is a compelling, historically grounded critique of contemporary anti-racist campaigns against police brutality and mass incarceration. While Johnson is encouraged by the swell of organized opposition to the carceral state and . . .

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Only a Class Politics Can Save Us From Police Violence and Fascism

Lessons from Rosa Luxemburg and Cedric Johnson

How Johnson’s critique of the Black Lives Matter movement elaborates on Luxemburgist themes and provides a path to addressing not only police killings, but also the larger capitalist assault that drives them.

The American Left After Black Lives Matter

Historian Cedric Johnson’s essay “The Panthers Can’t Save Us Now,” published in 2017 in the new socialist journal Catalyst, generated a lot of discussion and won the Daniel Singer Memorial Prize. 
Addressing a historic discussion about the . . .

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Who’s Afraid of Left Populism?

Anti-Policing Struggles and the Frontiers of the American Left

My 2017 Catalyst article, “The Panthers Can’t Save Us Now,” was addressed to a specific conundrum within contemporary left politics and anti-policing struggles in particular: that is, the strategic problem of building a counterpower capable of winning in the context . . .

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White Supremacy and its Allies

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Perhaps the difficulty in capturing and defining the phenomenon of white supremacy lays in its ubiquity. Throughout American society (and more generally, across the Western world), ‘whiteness,’ symbolizes a status quo, a dominant set of norms and behaviors to which individuals are expected to adhere.

The Soaring Writer Who Landed on His Feet

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Bill Fletcher, Jr. The Man Who Fell From the Sky. Hard Ball Press, $15, trade paperback, 350 pp.

“Race” as a biological category differentiating humans has been a spurious and discredited marker for more than a century. From Franz Boas’ early pioneering studies of the Inuit to Barbara Fields’ contemporary savaging of race-based ideology, we should all understand that humans are one race, end of discussion!

Anchoring an Argument

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Scott McLemee considers Leo R. Chavez's Anchor Babies and The Challenge of Birthright Citizenship, which makes clear how little has been added to the stock of anti-immigrant rhetoric over the past century.

Reports of the forcible separation of parents and children at the border by U.S. immigration authorities tell only part of the story of the violence now being directed against hard-won norms of civil society.

The 2018 National Prison Strike: A Movement Making its Mark

ImageOn August 21st, forty-seven years after the assassination of key movement organizer and theoretician George Jackson, prisoners across the country have once again begun mobilizing. Ranging from sit-ins to work stoppages, boycotts to hunger strikes, their actions have followed a nationwide call for sentencing reform, improved living conditions, greater access to rehabilitative programming, and an end to what strike organizers call “modern day slavery.”

Race, Capitalism, and Resistance in the United States

 

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Introduction and My Experiences

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and protect one another other. We have nothing to lose but our chains”.

You may recognize this as the rallying cry for the Black liberation movement in the United States, as written by Assata Shakur.

Black Neighborhoods Matter

An Interview with Lawrence Brown on Community Trauma and Healing

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Lawrence Brown associate professor of public health in the School of Community Health and Policy at Morgan State University. He is the grandson of sharecroppers who lived in the Mississippi Delta and a native of West Memphis, Arkansas. He is a historian, critical geographer, and political economist who sees public health from a critical, interdisciplinary perspective and advocates for holistic approaches to healing the Black communities of Baltimore. His book The Black Butterfly: Why We Must Make Black Neighborhoods Matter (Johns Hopkins Press) is forthcoming.

Libya under Gaddafi

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A CNN report last November about slave auctions in present-day Libya shocked the world.1 The existence of these slave auctions was widely treated as a new development in the country and a result of the chaos that resulted from the NATO-supported overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. In truth, however, what CNN discovered is but a surviving remnant of Gaddafi’s regime—the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya—a police state with systematic racism and abuse both of Libyans of sub-Saharan African descent and of sub-Saharan African migrants.

The AFT, Janus, and the fall of the Berlin Wall

Reflections on AFT's national convention

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Reflecting on the days I spent as a delegate during the AFT national convention in Pittsburgh (held July 13-16), I was reminded of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Soviet Communism in 1989-90. No one predicted it, and it seemed to come out of nowhere. But peace activists in the West who organized international support for struggles of dissidents in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe saw the social ferment.

UFT shows how Not to protect unions and the public sector

ImageIn its January meeting, after a pro-forma discussion, the Delegate Assembly of the UFT (United Federation of Teachers), which still has the legal right to bargain collectively on behalf of New York City's teachers, voted down a resolution to work with community groups to support Black Lives Matter in the schools in February. LeRoy Barr, UFT's assistant secretary, co-staff director, and Chairperson of the Unity Caucus, gave the UFT leadership's rationale for rejecting the motion. Support for BLM was, he contended, a splinter issue, divisive, at a time when the union had to stay focused on what was key, the Janus decision and the threat to collective bargaining rights.

Racist Societal Views of The Black Male Body

And Appreciating My Black Body for What It Is

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This work is a creative nonfiction work which highlights the imperialist white supremacist capitalist colonial gaze of the Black male body, conventional beauty standards, systemic weightism, and instances of subversion against these oppressive norms in appreciating my body for the way it is.

On the 98th Anniversary of His Birth

Theodore W. Allen’s Work on the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy

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Theodore W. “Ted” Allen (1919-2005) was an anti-white supremacist, working class intellectual and activist. He developed his pioneering class struggle-based analysis of “white skin privilege” beginning in the mid-1960s; authored the seminal two-volume The Invention of the White Race in the 1990s; and consistently maintained that the struggle against white supremacy was central to efforts at radical social change in the United States.  Born on August 23, 1919, in Indianapolis, Indiana, he grew up in Paintsville, Kentucky and Huntington, West Virginia and, after moving to New York City, lived his last fifty-plus years in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn.

Racism — North and South

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A well-researched article by John Eligan in the Aug. 18  N.Y. Times goes beyond denouncing the symbolic racism of Charlotteville’s Confederate statues to expose the more pernicious structural racism embedded in the separate-but-unequal physical segregation of the city. (See “In Charlottesville, Some Say Statue Debate Obscures a Deep Racial Split.”) [1]

Ironically, this segregation was imposed, not during the rise of the KKK in the 1920s, but during the 1960s under the progressive guise of ‘urban renewal.” It was then that the vibrant, relatively prosperous, historical black neighborhoods like Charlotteville’s Vinegar Hill were deliberately razed, left long vacant, and ultimately replaced by soulless public housing and institutional projects.

Trump Set Them Free

ImageAmidst so much to read and digest about events in Charlottesville and Trump’s response to them, and what seems (but is not) a new, highly violent emergence of neo-Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacist organizations, this blog by Adam Shatz on the website of the London Review of Books seems to me one of the more eloquent, insightful analyses.

We Will Replace You

 

ImageThe “Unite the Right” rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend attracted several hundred white men from the "alt-right," the neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan who marched with torches through the University of Virginia chanting, “You will not replace us.” Nothing better explains the fear at the root of their racist movement than that chant. They fear, as their political ancestors feared, that they will be replaced by blacks. They have now come to fear also that they will be replaced by Latinos and by Asians. They fear too that they will be replaced by women, by gay men or lesbians or bisexuals. Or by trans people or the disabled. Above all, they fear.

Beyond Anger: Immigrants and Trump's Presidency

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To understand Trump's ascendance to presidency, instead of looking into the structure of the society, we need to look into the software of the society; the way people operate culturally.

It has been three months since the inauguration of President Trump and the nation still is engaged in agonized self-scrutiny to fathom the ascendance of Trump to the highest office in the country. Some explanations blamed it on the establishment’s inability to read and respond to electors’ interests. Other arguments deplored the Democratic Party for clearing the way for Hillary Clinton despite her trust problem. Other opinions maintained that Hillary Clinton did not speak to young voters, African Americans and working class. She was also censured for not addressing the real grievances; that is the economic concerns of the public. Clinton criticized the FBI for releasing the letter eleven days before the Election Day. Some explorations highlight the large number of people who sat at home and did not vote.

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