[Marxism] Roediger and Zweig: an exchange on race and class

Charles Brown cbrown at michiganlegal.org
Wed Dec 13 15:00:18 MST 2006

Rakesh Bhandari 
-clip- would fewer people suffer poverty if not for racism--a 
reasonable argument of course which needs however to be made, and can  only
be made through complex and perhaps comparative argument; how  many fewer;
what are the other causes?).

CB: See Victor Perlo's _Economics of Racism_ I and II. I think he probably
estimates the increase in the overall poverty rate attributable to racism.
He estimates the size of superprofits from racism as well, which would be a
part of the complex argument that racism increases overall poverty. Maybe
somebody can do an updated study, using Perlo's methods.

White workers, _ as a group_ gain economically immediately, on the surface ,
from racist privilege. But were they to unite , especially residentially
integrate ( stop moving out to the suburbs running away from Black masses in
the cities; that's the main form of working class, self-initiated
racism)with Black and Brown workers, there would be an increase in
everybody's piece of the pie, so the argument goes.

Black,Brown and white, unite and fight !


Following the publication of Economics of Racism II: The Roots of
Inequality, USA," Perlo received the Myers Center Award for the Study of
Human Rights in North America "for the outstanding work on intolerance in
North America." 

The book is a gold mine of information proving that the monopoly banks and
corporations squeeze enormous superprofits from the system of racist job
discrimination. Perlo calculated that these extra profits rose from $56
billion in 1947 to $197 billion in 1992. Perlo ended the book with a chapter
on the Communist Party USA's "People's Economic Program" calling for full
employment at decent wages, affirmative action to achieve full job equality,
affordable housing, quality public education and universal health care. 

It was perhaps the widest and most influential of his books. The first
edition in 1973 coincided with an upsurge in the struggle against racism and
his book was used as a college text in many African American studies
courses. It went into several editions.

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