An 1868 engraving showing a man representing the Freedmen’s Bureau standing between a group of white planters and formerly enslaved people. (Digital Library of Georgia)

There is broad agreement on the left that race has played a key role in the development and continuation of global capitalism. Yet race is often still seen as a distinct system of inequality, or an accidental byproduct of capitalist, hierarchical human relations.

In the year following the George Floyd uprising, and amidst an ongoing global pandemic, we are embarking on the 2nd part of our long term study on race. We aim to better understand how race and capital co-create each other, and reflect on our organizing experiences and daily confrontations with race.

In PART 1 of the study that took place in 2019-2020, we studied historical and logical aspects of racialization, beginning with primitive accumulation, and focusing heavily on the period of slavery in the United States. We used Marxist and Fanonian categories of labor, alienation, and accumulation, drawing heavily from social reproduction theory and unitary theory. Check out our interviews on Rev Left Radio where members reflect on the study and read our Open Syllabus.

For PART 2, we start with a short review of part 1. Then, we intend to revisit the pre-1860s time period to expand our understanding of race beyond the Black-white relation. The texts we’ve selected look at settler colonialism, Indigenous struggle, and their relationship with capitalism. We will then look at Reconstruction, followed by the period of segregation and industrialization:

  1. Settler Colonialism & Indigenous Racialization (YouTube summary)
  2. 1860s – 1870s: Reconstruction (YouTube summary)
  3. 1880s – 1930s: Segregation & Industrialization

We will also be discussing each new section of readings on our YouTube channel.

We encourage you to follow along with our syllabus and join in conversations on our social media channels. We hope you will engage with us as we carry on this long-term study on race. Stay tuned for Part 3!

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