Communist Party USA

  Why are workers endlessly fighting poverty wages, a mass incarceration system that can’t stop imprisoning and even killing our people, and interminable roadblocks to a fully funded and equitable public education system? Why does this country seem unable to stop forcing millions of its people to live in fear of deportation? Why do we, like a pendulum, move between one political party that preys on our worst views and ideas, while the other seems unable or unwilling to making permanent change? Questions like these have few satisfactory answers and raise serious doubts about the functioning of the U.S. political-economic system. While the legitimacy of capitalism itself — an undeniably racist, corrupt, and violent project — is put into doubt by this reality, few people attempt to think beyond it. Two recent books, in which so many of the right questions have been asked, reveal this limit: Jim Freeman’s Rich Thanks to Racism and Heather McGhee’s The Sum of Us. While both explore the dangerous strife manufactured strategically by capitalists, neither author regards racism as a necessary feature of the capitalist system itself, leaving in doubt whether their approaches to the problem offer the best solutions. The obligatory fight against racism, for full equality of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and people of color today is immediately decisive to relieve the widespread suffering and enhance the well-being of people targeted for extra-exploitation and oppression. It is one of the indispensable features of working-class unity and its strategic sources of strength. Democratic struggles, however, are limited to temporary solutions and half measures — as meaningful as can be — unless we build a clear vision for transforming the social relations and the balance of power between owners of capital and the working-class majority.   1% racism Freeman, a civil rights lawyer, criticizes mainstream approaches that erroneously define these questions as policy failures. Problems of inequality and working-class powerlessness are caused fundamentally by what he calls “strategic racism” deployed by corporate America, Wall Street CEOs, and the ultra-wealthy class of billionaires and multimillionaires. They deploy “strategic racism” to advance profit-seeking goals. For example, corporations like CoreCivic or the GEO Group directly profit from private prisons and immigration detention centers. He lists an array of finance capital, information technology companies, weapons manufacturers, builders, security firms, and communications technology businesses. Amazon, Microsoft, Motorola, Chase, Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, IBM, Lockheed Martin, FedEx, Bank of America, Northrup Grumman, JP Morgan, McDonald’s, State Farm, Black Rock, and a host of others are on the hook.  Capitalists realize massive profits from the world’s largest, most abusive system ever of mass incarceration, criminalization, militarization, and surveillance. Not only is it unable to keep us “safe” from crime, but this system deliberately targets and occupies many people of color communities and many of the countries of the world. McGhee, an attorney with decades of experience in social justice think tanks, also identifies the universal harms of 1% racism. While both authors acknowledge the complicity of most whites in the reproduction of white supremacy, they generally agree that racism harms the bulk of the 99%, even most white workers and small business owners. This deep, long-term harm, they argue, outweighs almost all immediate benefits provided by white privilege. For example, McGhee writes, “The advantages that white people [have] accumulated were free and usually invisible, and so conferred an elevated status that seemed natural and almost innate.” The white accumulation of power and wealth transcends history: access to the right to vote, the nearly exclusive acquisition of stolen Native lands through the Homestead Act which created 1.6 million white landowners (who today have more than 45…

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Manufacturing division: Why capitalism wants you to hate