[Marxism] A critique of Walter Benn Michaels

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Sep 4 12:28:17 MDT 2009

Yesterday somebody posted a query on my blog:

	I’m wondering if you’ve read Walter Benn Michaels’s recent article on 
race and class in the LRB? Here it is: 
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n16/mich02_.html. I’d love to read your take on 
it, and I’m sure that other loyal readers would as well!

In answering this, I should mention first of all that the always 
brilliant Richard Seymour of Lenin’s Tomb fame has taken up Michaels’s 

I should also mention that Michaels has written another provocative 
article on race, gender and class in the New Left Review. Titled 
“Against Diversity”, the NLR article can best be summarized as an 
old-fashioned defense of class trumping race and gender. Although this 
has associations with the kind of dogmatic Marxism that allowed the 
CPUSA to stigmatize Malcolm X as a Black fascist and attack the Equal 
Rights Amendment, it is really a widespread tendency and has a long 
history as we shall see.

For example, shock jock Don Imus could be heard in the aftermath of 
Hurricane Katrina explaining the neglect of Black New Orleans residents 
as a “class” issue rather one of “race”. I don’t believe that NLR 
invited Don Imus to write something on these questions, however.

read full article: 

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