[Marxism] white privilege vs white supremacy - please be more specific

Ethan Young ethanyoung at earthlink.net
Sat Nov 3 22:47:36 MDT 2007

I'll try to address spencer's questions from 2 Nov 2007, but this thread seems to be of little or no interest to this list. The farther it gets from concrete
applications, the less interest it commands. Anyone hungry for more should visit
Michael Staudenmaier's blog, http://sojournertruth.blogsome.com/.

To my understanding there is no distinction between 'white skin privilege' and
'white privilege.' Both deal with racism in the context of, and as a central
component of class relations in the US. This is clear from the early statements,
beginning with the first, Ignatiev's "White Blindspot'

As the concept developed it began to emphasize cultural and psychological impacts
of privilege making whites [across class lines] view themselves as superior to
those they perceived as non-whites, intensifying oppression and making class
solidarity an impossibility short of a conscious break from 'whiteness.' This
break is not ruled out—if it was it would make any political discussion pointless
outside of Weatherman's 'fifth column for the third world.' 

On white supremacy, Allen writes: "With deliberateness, the planters wrote their
policy into law. In 1682, Virginia law made color the mark of slavery and hence
made freedom a privilege of a white skin. In 1705 the distinctions between white
servants and Black slaves were fixed: Black slaves were to be held in life long
hereditary slavery and whites for five years, with many rights and protections
afforded to them by the law. … The capitalist planters in this way made white
supremacy the keystone of capitalist rule in this country where it has remained
ever since and they fixed it in place with the mortar of race privileges for
white-skinned labor, privileges which left white labor poor, exploited and
increasingly powerless with respect to their rulers and exploiters."

Freedom Road [http://freedomroad.org/], which recently produced the new text 'The 
Cost of Privilege' [http://costofprivilege.com], holds to the 'Black nation
thesis' as well as the white privilege thesis. How their definition of
'self-determination' differs from the 1930s Comintern line adopted by the CPUSA
in the early 30s, and by various Maoist groups in the 1970s, is a longer
discussion that would really put the patience of this list to the test.

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