Blood and Money

From Primitive Accumulation to Racial Capitalism

Capital Studies Group of The MEP

All tickets are sliding scale. No one is turned away for inability to pay. Email info@marxedproject.org for zoom info if you are unable to pay

The birth and development of capitalism since its origins in the fifteenth century is entirely bound up with the subordination of racialized peoples. Even before capitalism arose – in a process Marx termed the “so-called primitive accumulation” – money and markets were implicated in the rise and fall of states and empires that conquered and enslaved vast numbers of human bodies. This group will address these histories and their persisting consequences. We will read and discuss David McNally’s Blood and Money: War, Slavery, Finance, and Empire and Jairus Banaji’s The History of Commercial Capitalism, both new works along with the now-classic text Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition by Cedric Robinson. Additional readings will include chapters from Marx’s Capital; essays by Robin D.G. Kelley and Barbara Fields; and selections from the July-August 2020 Monthly Review devoted to Racial Capitalism.

The CAPITAL STUDIES GROUP has been meeting on Saturdays for nearly four years. We are a group of workers, students, activists and teachers who have nearly completed a chronological reading all three volumes of Marx’s Capital along with other important works such as these sessions will explore. Newcomers are always encouraged to join.

 

Invention of the White Race

a reading and discussion group convened by The Revolutions Study Group with Sean Ahern

Since its origin in the class struggles of colonial Virginia and Maryland, the “white race,” the most peculiar aspect of the “Peculiar Institution,” has remained the most contentious and misunderstood identity in American life.

The Invention of the White Race Volumes I & II, Theodore W. Allen’s historical materialist analysis of racial slavery, documents how the plantation elite put in place this system of social control following Bacon’s Rebellion of 1676. In the final stage of this uprising, an army of European and African chattel bond laborers burned Jamestown to the ground and temporarily drove Governor Berkeley into exile across the Chesapeake Bay. The terrified planter bourgeoisie, in a deliberate response to this display of labor solidarity, enacted a series of laws and practices in the late 17th and early 18th centuries which implanted a system of ‘white’ racial privileges that enabled the imposition of racial slavery and white male supremacy.

Theodore W Allen’s The Invention of the White Race, particularly Volume 2, subtitled The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America, has been widely recognized by activists and scholars alike as a seminal work and deeply radical history. Allen was drawn to study of the “white” race by his engagement in the movements of his time; in West Virginia coal mines, the Congress of Industrial Organization, the Communist Party, the Civil Rights/Black Liberation/anti-war and student led movements of the 1960’s and 70’s and his reading of W.E.B. Du Bois’ Black Reconstruction. Allen had concluded by the mid 1960’s that white supremacism was the central obstacle to progressive movements in American life, past and present, yet the “white” race itself remained the most peculiar, contentious and generally misunderstood “identity,” blocking all efforts to achieve a just society. Accordingly, Allen spent the next 40 years in writing and primary research to discern when, where, how and why the Plantation Bourgeoisie invented this “white” race in colonial Virginia and Maryland (and how and why it has been maintained since then). Through a careful reading of this text supported by discussion, a new narrative of our history emerges that offers strategic guidance to the momentous struggles now unfolding.

Allen concludes Volume II with the following message to a new generation of activists: “Perhaps in the impending renewal of the struggle of ‘the common people’ and the ‘Titans,’ the Great Safety Valve of white-skin privileges may finally come to be seen and rejected by laboring-class European-Americans as the incubus that for three centuries has paralyzed their will in defense of their class interests vis-a-vis those of the ruling class.”

The Revolutions Study Group (started at the Brecht Forum) has met since 2009. The groups has recently completed a year-long study of W.E.B. Dubois’ Black Reconstruction. Participants have come and gone, however the group has held together, studying in depth a wide range of history including the French Revolution, the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917, the Mau-Mau Revolt in Kenya, the Haitian Revolution, the 1848 European Revolutions, the May 68 movement in France and the Hot Autumn of Italy and much more.

All fees are sliding scale. No one is turned away for inability to pay. Please write to info@marxedproject.org for more information.

Invention of the White Race

a reading and discussion group convened The Revolutions Study Group with Sean Ahern

Since its origin in the class struggles of colonial Virginia and Maryland, the “white race,” the most peculiar aspect of the “Peculiar Institution,” has remained the most contentious and misunderstood identity in American life.

The Invention of the White Race Volumes I & II, Theodore W. Allen’s historical materialist analysis of racial slavery, documents how the plantation elite put in place this system of social control following Bacon’s Rebellion of 1676. In the final stage of this uprising, an army of European and African chattel bond laborers burned Jamestown to the ground and temporarily drove Governor Berkeley into exile across the Chesapeake Bay.The terrified planter bourgeoisie, in a deliberate response to this display of labor solidarity, enacted a series of laws and practices in the late 17th and early 18th centuries which implanted a system of ‘white’ racial privileges that enabled the imposition of racial slavery and white male supremacy.

Allen defines racial slavery as a particular form of racial oppression homologous with gender and class oppression. The system of racial privileges defined and established the “white” race as a “bourgeois social control formation with consequences ruinous to the interests of the Afro-American workers but also disastrous for the white worker.”

Allen concludes Volume II with the following message to a new generation of activists: “Perhaps in the impending renewal of the struggle of ‘the common people’ and the ‘Titans,’ the Great Safety Valve of white-skin privileges may finally come to be seen and rejected by laboring-class European-Americans as the incubus that for three centuries has paralyzed their will in defense of their class interests vis-a-vis those of the ruling class.”

The Revolutions Study Group (started at the Brecht Forum) has met since 2009. The groups has recently completed a year-long study of W.E.B. Dubois’ Black Reconstruction. Participants have come and gone, however the group has held together, studying in depth a wide range of history including the French Revolution, the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917, the Mau-Mau Revolt in Kenya, the Haitian Revolution, the 1848 European Revolutions, the May 68 movement in France and the Hot Autumn of Italy and much more.

 

fees are sliding scale. no one is turned away for inability to pay.

Resistance and Solidarity Across the US-Mexican Border

Gerardo Renique will cover the history and political implications of the making of the US-Mexican international for contemporary struggles for labor, immigrant and civil rights across the US-Mexican border. Significant consideration will be given to the tensions and contradictions generated by the uneven interdependence of capitalist development in the borderlands; the long history of solidarity, struggle and resistance against racial and capitalist oppression waged by Native Americans, Mexican Americans and the multinational working class in the region; and, the potential of these developments for the political challenges posed by transnational capitalism and globalization in Mexico and the United States.
Gerardo Renique teaches history at the City College of the City University of New York is a frequent contributor to Socialism and Democracy and NACLA: Report on the Americas. His research looks at the political traditions of popular movements in Latin America; race, national identity and state formation in Mexico. He co-directed with Tami Gold the video-documentary Frozen Happiness. Elections, Repression and Hope in Oaxaca, Mexico; and co-authored with G. Katsiaficas “A New Stage of Insurgencies: Latin American Popular Movements, the Gwangju Uprising, and the Occupy Movement” in Socialism and Democracy.