Interrogating Racism and Class in the Capitalist World System: Historical Formations and Contemporary Realities

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 11:45 AM
Room: 419
Distributed Paper
Rose BREWER , African American & African Studies, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Minneapolis

Racism and other ‘isms’ are deeply embricated in a global, technologically-driven capitalist world order where the wealth and resources of the globe are held by a small elite of multinational firms and their comprador allies. These are historical formations with tentacles into the contemporary period. Moreover, there is an ideological structure  of racial formations intertwined with global capital. At the core of world-systems analysis is an articulation of how capitalism has engendered underdevelopment in peripheries of the world consistently since 1789 through core-dominated techniques of enfolding the periphery in the world capitalist system according to the interests of the core (Wallerstein 1974). This is a historic process.  Extending this analysis contemporarily, the dispossessed  in advanced Western capitalist societies such as the United States, the dismantling of the social wage through destruction of social welfare, attacks on public education, the increasing incarceration and imprisonment of Black men (and women), and the structural consequences of wealth concentration in the hands of a tiny elite are part and parcel of the global politics of accumulation.   Through austerity and uneven development the process unfolds internally within the U.S. Most recently this entails the bankruptcy and dismantling of an American city.  A brief analysis of Detroit, Michigan is illustrative and examined in this paper.