[Marxism] Blog Post: Slavery by Another Name

MICHAEL YATES mikedjyates at msn.com
Thu Feb 23 12:07:48 MST 2012

Full at http://cheapmotelsandahotplate.org/2012/02/23/slavery-by-another-name/

"Right-wingers like Fox’s Bill O’Reilly are fond of saying that whites don’t have a monopoly on racism. Some black people hate whites, so they are racist too. Whites must stop being racist, but so must blacks. The implication of this way of thinking is that racism evens out in the end. It is seen as an individual defect, common to all of us.

The problem with this way of perceiving racism is that it ignores the larger social structures in which individual attitudes are shaped. In his book, Inequality and Power: The Economics of Class, economist Eric Schutz suggests that as we make individual choices about all sorts of things, we, at the same time, make “social choices.” These structure the larger society, which, in turn, conditions our individual decisions. Our political system is a case in point. The United States was founded as a nation whose prosperity depended heavily upon slavery, which was the dominant mode of production in the southern states and tightly integrated into northern capitalism. The slave trade, the production of important commodities such as cotton and tobacco, the textile industry, shipping, construction, the manufacture of agricultural implements, and many other economic activities were intimately tied to slavery."

Note: I took the title of this essay from the fine recent PBS documentary of the same name. There is a link to the documentary in the text. 		 	   		  

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