more racism

jones/bhandari djones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Fri Apr 7 01:42:48 MDT 1995


>I agree that categorization by race only obscures much of relevance.

Despite what I wrote earlier, I now agree with Lisa that the use of racial
categories in any kind of social analysis can only be misleading--at best.


I now also agree, with Yehudi Webster, that it is not at all obvious that
conflict among workers is "racial", or can be explained that way.  As
Webster puts it in his book, "Marx's analysis does not refer to racial and
ethnic antagonisms but to intra-working class competition.  It does not
accord a 'reality' to the racial nature of the slurs hurled at Irish
workers; its object of study is the labor competition that the results from
the 'condition of capital'--wage labor.  The alleged failure of Marxist
theory to explain race relations derives from an analytical irreducibility
between racial and class theories of social change.  Marxist political
economy need not and cannot explain race relations." (p.244)

Yehudi Webster, The Racialization of America (NY:St. Martin's Press, 1992)

 Similarily the  Marxian critique  does not speak in terms of the  the
relative capacities of certain groups or races to survive as civilization
becomes more technologically complex (a major theme of Charles Murray's )
but rather  theorizes the progressive increase in the reserve army of labor
in a declining capitalism .

Here, as elsewhere, Marxism redescribes social relations as they are
described   in order to advance the only non-absurd explanation of and real
solution to capital's law of motion, i.e., its crisis tendency as
experienced by the proletariat.

The revolutionary solution of the abolition of commodity production and the
state will of course require unity among the proletariat, not better race
relations.

Webster argues: "The analysis in Marx's Capital contains an implicit
suggestion of WHAT IS NOT TO BE DONE in attempting to eradicate the
exploitation of the working class.  To capitalize on race consciousness as
a means of fomenting revolutionary class consciousness is self-defeating.
The use of class to analyze or explain race relations results in a schizoid
race-class consciousness.  The dissemination of racial analyses develops
race consciousness, just as class consciousness is function of the
propagation of a class theory of social relations [Webster is given to
idealism].  If race is an ideological construct used by the ruling class to
perpetuate the status quo, it cannot foster a revolutionary working class
consciousness." (233)

Rakesh





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