Racism, among other things, functions to enlist, energize, and stabilize a cross class coalition of white people. And the racist glue that holds it together is material as well as ideological and political. The biggest winners in this coalition are those who sit at or near the top of the economic and political chain. Racism allows them to expropriate enormous wealth, amass power, and fend off political challenges from below. But others down the chain secure advantages too, even if they pale in comparison to those at the top. Without this, the unity and durability of this socially diverse coalition could fray. Said another way, the downward distribution of some of the “fruits” of racism is necessary to bind this coalition together, not to mention breathe life into racist ideology.
As the popular mood shifts against Trump and more incriminating evidence piles up, I have to think that the courts won’t be friendly to his stonewalling of Congress.
It strikes me that the politics of marxism are still insufficiently developed. Often they are left abstract and general, not concretely informed by the particularities of the moment or conjuncture. Reflexive slogans substitute for strategic and tactical analysis. It’s no cure all, but reading Lenin, who goes unappreciated these days, could help out in this regard. The elaboration of strategy and tactics in the context of concrete realities were hallmarks of his politics.
At the disruptive heart of racialized capitalism is its re-occurring process of asset stripping, land and wealth dispossession, forced migration, and confinement and segregation of people of color to designated geographical spaces — the ghetto, barrio, reservation as well as particular zip codes, cities, and towns. When I lived in Detroit, I saw the operation and effects of this pernicious process at first hand.
When I visit there now, the city seems to be rebounding, and that is understandably welcomed by many Detroiters, but the rebound appears to me lopsided, uneven, and still in the hooks of the re-occurring process mentioned above, albeit in new forms and conditions. The new centers of wealth making and economic activity, while dynamic in some ways, fail, using my very unscientific eye test, to radiate across the city and combine with a sea of deep and endemic poverty, dispossession, depopulation, long term unemployment and underemployment, desolate neighborhoods, struggling schools, and more of the like.
All of which makes me think that any resolution of Detroit’s long crisis will require, first of all, a political fix, that is, a new correlation of democratic and progressive political power at the city, state, and federal levels, supported and nudged along by a sustained surge of grassroots activity. It goes without saying that defeating Trump and his Republican acolytes next year at the ballot box is absolutely essential.