[Marxism] Capitalism needs racism: A response to the NYT 1619 Project | Joel Wendland-Liu | People's World

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Jan 19 11:32:15 MST 2020

On 1/19/20 1:13 PM, Patrick Bond via Marxism wrote:
> On 1/10/2020 6:51 PM, Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo via Marxism wrote:
>> https://peoplesworld.org/article/capitalism-needs-racism-a-response-to-the-nyt-1619-project/ 
> Actually, there's such a big theoretical problem here, as to whether 
> capitalism 'needs' racism, or can jettison even its most profound 
> manifestations  - such as apartheid - when more effective systems of 
> surplus extraction emerge. The South African case is exemplary, and the 
> main writers on this have tried over several decades to specify when 
> racism is functional, and when it creates contradictions that become 
> debilitating. If you're interested in identifying the contingent versus 
> the necessary, have a look at Ben Magubane's historical work, e.g. 
> http://unrisd.org/80256B3C005BCCF9/(httpAuxPages)/63265CAFF973018D80256B6D005785D1/%24file/dmaguban.pdf 

This takes us a bit far afield. The big question prompted by Project 
1619 is not so much about how surplus value is extracted but over the 
dynamics of American history. WSWS and its historian allies both 
exaggerate the democratic character of the 1776 revolt and minimize the 
importance of slavery in the rise of American capitalism. As I pointed 
out in a piece on this, one of the articles that irked Wood and 
McPherson, two of WSWS's allies, was based on the work of Sven Beckert, 
Edward Baptist et al who come out of the Eric Williams tradition. If 
there was an afterlife, I'd like to think of Jim Blaut up on a cloud 
somewhere grinning at the pendulum swinging in his direction at last.

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