outline of argument to be posted the class discussion list as a critique of frederickson, as soon as we get the group paper done
1. frederickson argues that white supremacy was borne out of large scale global forces of capitalist accumulation of capital & subsequent industrialization, and that white supremacy was a byproduct of this. therefore, the case can be made that if white colonizers were not operation under a capitalist mode of exploitation/production, they would not have engaged in policies of white supremacy. (white supremacists happen to be victims of capitalism) hence, comes the argument that fighting capitalism is the first “stage” or more “fundamental” than engaging gender or race discrimination, as they are all byprodructs thereof.
2. jesse interprets robinson to follow frederickson’s line of thought. “Robinon … complements… Frederickson.. and deeper theoretical background” (Goldman, 2005 freedommovements.blogspot.com/2005/02/linking-racism-and-capitalism-robinson.html) I disagree with this reading. What Robinson engages in is the kind of practice encouraged by Malcolm X’s prison mentor ( in the film) where all texts produced by white men (including dictionaries, bibles and encyclopedias) are to be reinterpreted/recontextualized and used against them.
Robinson is being careful in handling the material, as in the 80’s, when the book “Black Marxism” was published, to talk about differentiating class and race was a contentios political issue (e.g. how should labor unions respond to outsourcing and/or the new influx of colored immigrants under the 1965 IIRRA reform and the early signs of the rise in competitive edge of the service industry over manufacturing ones)
The first point of departure is the spatiality of the first bourgeois in european mercantislim and the european civilization manifesting itself through capitalism. Traditional marxist discourse as used by Frederickson claims that the bourgeoisie rose up as a new class that engaged in a power struggle with the existing feudal aristocracy during the late mercantislit and early industrialist periods.
It also claims that the bourgeoisies constituted a continuation of the old world order – they did not form as a response to late middle age economic and environmental crises, but rather survived the 14th/15th century crises of the state. ” the bourgeoisies of the sixteenth century accumulatied in the interestices of the state. (Robinson, 20)
Robinson argues that external labor – able bodies coming from outside national, city or racial borders constituted a core part of european economic structure: “there has never been a moment in modern european history (if before) that migratory and/or immigrant labor was not a significant aspect of european economies” (Robinson, 22)
The bourgeoisie thatled the development of capitalism were drawn from particular ethnic and cultural groups; the European proletariats and the mercenaries of the leading states from others; its peasants from still other cultures; and its slaves from entirely different worlds. The tendency of European civilization through capitslim was thus not to homogenize but to differentiate – to exaggerate regional subcultural, and dilaectical differences into “Racial” ones. (robinson 26)
In the first sentence, Robinson is emphasizing the need for capitalism to draw upon labor from the big pool of “other”, be it peripheral, rural or black.
He also criticizes Immanuel Wallerstein for engaging in studies that only advanced his particular agenda of the core and periphery as nationally defined boundaries:
“Wallerstein … can devote a mere page to this phenomenon, including a single paragraph on the ethnic division of sixteenth-century immigrant labor.” (Robinson, 22)
A second point of departure is to claim that european civilization did not rise up as a result of capitalism, but the other way around: european civilization created capitalism in order to fullfill its needs of targetted ethnic/racial hierarchization within