Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/06/09/neoliberal-capitalism-depends-white-supremacy
Excellent, important piece.
I was going to pull some key points out of this article but I would have to quote the whole thing. It is a very important piece that gets to the heart of how we got to where we are with trump/neoliberal capitalism.
There are countless people I have encountered over the years that feel:
“safety net programs, taxes on the wealthy, unions, and government regulations were not in the interest of whites but were just designed to help blacks and other minorities.”
It has been stunning to discover who harbors these ignorant, toxic beliefs since trump has— in essence— given them permission to come out of their racist/classist closets.
Same goes for neoliberal dems I know that “don’t want to pay for obese, sickly people’s health care when they don’t take care of themselves”
Yes, I had someone say that to me in his defense of voting for Joe Biden.
How to change this? It seems to be in some human’s DNA now after decades of racism and blaming “the other” for their fears along with the need to control . . .
RE: Roosevelt helping to save capitalism and the New Deal.
Perhaps this is why I have a visceral reaction (averse) to the term “Green New Deal”
No, actually, neoliberal capitalism does not depend on White supremacy. It uses White supremacy, it has used it in the past, and it will presumably use it again. But it works perfectly well with other sorts of classist, status-conscious hierarchical nonsense. Again, it has used such things before, and it will use them again.
It does fine with anti-Semitism. It does fine bashing Palestinians. It has no trouble separating rich from poor, Germans from Greeks, foreigners from natives, sick and aging from actively working. It can condemn women and children to textile mills and computer assembly factories and then sell them the goods to celebrate their “right to work” while it charges extra for the more chic propaganda boosting the next “regime change” war by pointing out that gender roles or understandings may not be identical in various societies.
Of course neoliberals exploit White racism against Blacks in the States: there is so bloody much of it. That does not keep it from exploiting anti-racism as well. That does not mean that racism and anti-racism are the same or similar. It means that neoliberalism exploits them both.
A bit similarly, White racism uses capitalism. Individual racists, racists in positions of corporate and institutional power, use the largesse of capital remaining from centuries of empire to oppress people. Being racist, they particularly target those against whom they have prejudice.
This is a big thing, since capitalism is a far more potent weapon, one that does not discern at all whether or not it is wielded by a racist fool.
Before 1619? What are you even thinking about, the Sumerians?
On September 20, 1986 in Punta Del Este, Uruguay a deal was signed between the Global South oligarchs and the Global North oligarchs, doing an end run around democracy permanently locking in capitalism to the exclusion of all other paradigms, and creating a one way race to the bottom on wages and working conditions globally, and privatization of once public services- and creating a new World Trade Organization, to lend this theft an illusion of legitimacy. Significantly, most of the Global South oligarchs were the immediate descendants of the people in their countries who collaborated with colonial governments with few exceptions So basically neoliberalism continued the wealth relationships created under colonial regimes, with a simple shift in ideology. It also strikes a blow against any kind of preferences or affirmative action because the obligations created in this deal seem to have nullified the previous ones to indigenous people (In Australia) and historically mistreated groups and women (in the US) Because the obligations owed under the treaty are international, not national. The local disputes seem to have been deemed solved. So instead of an obligation to help historically disadvantaged local groups there is a new preferences obligating countries to use contracts won to to help the most unequal countries richest firms (see the LDC Services Waiver) (presumably under trickle down economics also) .
Good point. Here in the US, and in many other parts of the Global North, white supremacy is deeply embedded into the fabric of neoliberal capitalism. But, it is possible to have neoliberal capitalism without white supremacy and it is possible to have white supremacy without neoliberal capitalism. Eliminating one does not imply the elimination of the other. We work to erradicate both.
Strike Against The Machine.
Do Not Use The Companies Of The Machine.
Never Again Use Amazon, Facebook, Any Organization That Profits Excessively On The Backs Of It’s Workers.
Use Your Head.
No. Nor 1619. Nor before White supremacy. Before.
Yes, thank you. That’s the idea.
Yes. And this would be racists using capitalism and eventually neoliberalism, no? And when US candidates (usually Republicans after 1968) have used racist arguments to garner support, this is primarily capitalists using race.
But we have had racism without capitalism (let alone neoliberalism), and capitalism without racism. And the world has had various oppressive regimes with various sorts of racism, and without racism per se.
Also, and I think that this is a particularly important point here, there are neoliberals who may at least claim to not be racist and yet favor severely oppressive neoliberal and neoconservative policies. In some cases, they might really not be racist. But if this is the case, their neoliberal capitalism does not depend on it.
The two go together and will tend to. The two use each other, and will tend to. They are not coterminous.
I think we’re shifting into a world where poor is the new black. behavior of people we now consider racist, is really elitist, they consider themselves to be entitled to ignore all laws and the rights of other people.These are the people who want us to disinvest in America because it doesnt meet their standards for elitism any more- (this is the real reason) Instead they want only to ‘invest in’ other elitists…
Both parties have lots of these kinds of people although they hide it very well. I think money is a closer proxy for their biases because they will let only let their hair down with other rich people - race doesnt matter. “elite” status does. What we see as racism often is just elitism.
This is a problem because currently in the US peoples lives are valued, financially by their incomes. We need to change our society from one that values people’s lives by how much money they might make themselves or somebody else, to one where peoples lives are all valued highly and whatever standards exist, they make equivalent efforts to do the best that is possible by people, otherwise the result of disinvesting in all society will be a rapidly growing gulf between rich and poor, and genocide of some kind (this is already happening to poor people because they cant afford healthcare) eventually, because the gulf in terms of lifestyles between rich and poor will be so great they will share absolutely nothing in common. Thats what some people want, and we cant let it happen to America. Because of the way WTO rules work, we cant have a only slightly tiered healthcare system, it has to be no tiers, or ever growing worse tiers. Thats what its set up to do and a lot of work has gone into creating traps for the unwary. Man-years of time.
We need to understand. Lives hang in the balance if we allow that kind of thinking to become embedded in our national laws. That kind of thinking is already in (Bad) treaties like the (WTO) “GATS” agreement which hijacks all services- like healthcare, education, and not only wont allow substantiative change unless we leave it, we need to get out of them to fix anything at all, otherwise we can only make it worse, this is called the ratchet clause effect and its real, we cant pretend we’re smarter than it, we’re not. We will lose.
Our politicians misled us, because the truth is horrible, but its truth, and there is no middle ground. We cannot ignore the treaties either. That will guarantee failure.
This is why we NEED real, not just superficial change, in Washington.
Yes, I suspect that most racism and gender prejudice will slowly pass just because it is ultimately a drag on production and service to pretend that people are less competent just because they are black or gay or female. The idea that women cannot do most sorts of work has receded considerably, and companies are very happy to hire them (for less money), generally without taking responsibility for the disruption of childcare and family structure that is often attendant on wage or salary-earning responsibilities. Of course, the same responsibilities were dodged when men were hired away from more family-integrated roles in pre-mechanized agriculture.
I do not see the same resolution of financially related bigotries around class, of which class itself and differences of income and wealth are largely constituted, because these iniquities are the fundamental mission-critical abuses of capital. This is mostly how labor is coerced, though of course the system is abundantly backed by armed force and lubricated by variously institutionalized propaganda–not only government-generated propaganda and control of news, but advertising and a lot of what happens in what is called education.
Of course, if we are to address income and wealth disparity in the US, we have to address the traditional bigotry as well, since it is such a large and egregious part of all that, and because, at least for now, it is still very much in evidence.
White guys love Oprah and Michael Jordan.
Neoliberal Capitalism depends on money.
One need only look at India and China. China is NOT a Communist nor a Socialist State nor is India. China has harnessed what Lenin referred to as “State Capitalism”.
Neither can be deemed “white supremacist” states.
Systems that follow the dominator model, where one small group of peoples dominate the masses so as to use them to generate personal wealth and power , will use whatever tools come at hand from racism to religion from the caste system to slavery.
Capitalism is a hierarchy . Whether it defined as “neoliberal” Capitalism or not does not change that and such systems will always find a way to claim one group superior and more deserved than another.
And of course the capitalism arranges the domination even without white supremacy. And the racism, in many circumstances, arranges the domination without capitalism.
If I read you correctly, this is very much in line with what I have written.
Agreed, but with the recognition that in the USA, white supremacy and capitalism have always been and still are tightly interwoven. They must be understood as such, and simultaneously confronted.
White supremacy and capitalism both emerged from the European “enlightenment” and liberalism, and were wedded in the colonization, genocide and enslavement – the “primitive accumulation” – that led to the founding and emergence of the USA as a capitalist state.
Astute article, but too loose in ignoring the role of the Democratic Party in the ascendency of neoliberalism in the USA.
By narrating the past 55 years of white supremacy solely in terms of the Republican Party, now embodied in the Trump administration; by insisting that it is imperative to vote for Joe Biden (without ever naming Biden let alone assessing the effectiveness of Biden’s white supremacist politics, and without ever naming the Democratic Party except peripherally in reference to the Willie Horton ad that targeted the Dukakis campaign); Mogulescu elides the enabling and advancing role of the neoliberal Clintonite “third way” Democratic Party in the neoliberal duopoly dance to the right over the past 40 years that led to Trump.
Trump and the Republicans are shamelessly terrible and should certainly not be voted for. But we, working class and people of color, have been sold-out and dehumanized by the Democrats over the same time period, and we know it in our guts even if we can’t articulate the analysis in these terms.
It might be worth mentioning that the original KKK (not the reconstituted KKK of the 20th century) was disbanded by its Grand Wizard due to the fact that it was being overrun by equally racist hillbillies from the Appalachia who were too uncouth for the Southern white gentlemen who founded it. See Colin Woodard “American Nations” for that tidbit and other interesting historical context.
What do you think will happen if the below becomes the norm in workplaces all across America in dozens of different kinds of workplaces including most of the jobs that currently employ most of what is today’s US middle class… Black and white and brown and Asian, the workers who do jobs today, what if they are replaced by contractors working like described in the link in large numbers?
what will happen if all those workers are replaced, also what happens to Social Security and Medicare when the people who are paying in become temp workers who are paid a fraction as much, who work here for five or six years and then leave?
(Note that government spending is dependent on well paid working people paying taxes into the system. Only the very beginning of rich peoples incomes go to Social Security taxes, also generally, rich people often have ways to get out of paying taxes so they dont add to the general tax revenues as much as the middle class despite their higher incomes, they have tax people whose job it is to minimize their tax footprint. What I am asking is, what if we no longer have the middle class we have today, what happens?) Does racism decline? What about immigration, or emigration? Who leaves, who stays, who comes here, and why?
There is a growing body of evidence that morbid obesity epidemic is caused by exposure to chemicals in the environment. Which change the body’s energy setpoint. They also cause all sorts of cancers, breast cancer, prostate cancer and many others. Also lots of other costly diseases like diabetes, metabolic syndrome, etc.
These “endocrine disrupting” chemicals (some of them are called obesogens) are in all sorts of things that are around us and constantly in intimate contact with us. The costs of the diseases they cause are astronomical in the EU but here in the US we dont know because lots of people get sick but have no medical record like they do in other countries. We can guess however that the costs are likely much higher here because laws on these chemicals in the EU are quite a bit stricter than they are here so there are fewer of them in the environment. (Although the US is pressuring them to change them to be more like ours, in other words, lower)
These chemicals also pose a threat to human reproduction.