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Racism and class struggle

Class, Race, and Marxism
Forfatter: David Roediger
Forlag: Verso Books (USA)
Only a radical abolition of the structural conditions for workers' exclusion – blacks as whites – could slow the ongoing social exclusion process in the United States, historian David Roediger claims in a new book.

This article was translated by Google and R.E.

One of the crucial issues today in the United States is the question of the relationship between class and race – how they are connected and what comes first. Is the fight against exploitation still the basic contradiction, or is it the difference between white and black? In an attempt to navigate around both color-blind Marxists – for example, David Harvey, who sees no class struggle in the Ferguson riots and reduces slavery to a purely historical phenomenon – as identity-political liberals – those who do not want to change the system, but merely fighting for social mobility, as if several rich blacks or more blacks in the administration would make any difference, for the millions of African-Americans who are in prison or unemployed – American historian David Roediger tries in his new book Class, Race, and Marxism, to show how an analysis of the relationship between «race» and the reproduction of the class relationship is interrelated and is necessary for a theory of the dismantling of capitalism.

White capitalism. As Roediger shows, the relationship between capital and labor in the United States is not race-neutral, but on the contrary has always been racially coded. Roediger is one of the most important theorists in the so-called whiteness studies, describing how white workers are privileged by the local capitalist class and endowed with 'white privileges' or white benefits, as he prefers to call it. For more than three centuries, the capitalist class in the United States – from plantation owners to the multinational American capital – has endowed white workers with social status and privileges to avoid allying with black workers, whether it was the 17th and 18th centuries. . .

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Mikkel Bolt
Professor of political aesthetics at the University of Copenhagen.

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