Foundations of American Bourgeois White Male Supremacy

A 14 week study with the Revolutions Study Group

The white race remains the most peculiar and contentious identity in American life since its origin in the class struggle of colonial Virginia and Maryland. In The Invention of the White Race Volumes I & II, Theodore W. Allen offers a historical materialist analysis of racial slavery; a system put in place in the decades following the second phase of Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676 when an army of European and African chattel bond laborers burnt Jamestown to the ground and temporarily drove Governor Berkeley into exile across the Chesapeake Bay. In a conscious response to labor solidarity the plantation bourgeoisie enacted a series of laws and practices in the late 17th and early 18th century which first put in place the system of white racial privileges which 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-Americans 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.

Admission is sliding scale. No one is turned away for inability to pay.

Ecological Imperialism, Settler Colonialism & Indigenous Resistance

A 10-Week Study Group led by Fred Murphy and Gerardo Renique
February 8 – April 12, 2017
9 Sessions Remain

The inspiring struggle at Standing Rock has united Native Americans across many tribes and countries against the Dakota Access Pipeline, in defense of water and life and for territorial sovereignty. Throughout the Americas, land grabs for massive energy and extractive projects are calling forth similar resistance from indigenous peoples, local farmers, and allies among urban working people. This study group will use materials from the #StandingRockSyllabus and other readings to deepen our understanding of ecological imperialism, settler colonialism, and indigenous resistance in both North and South America. We will also critically examine the varied approaches that Marxists have taken toward these questions.

Fred Murphy studied and taught historical sociology at The New School and has traveled extensively in Latin America as a journalist. He is currently translating the memoirs of Hugo Blanco, a leader and activist in Peru’s peasant, indigenous and environmental movements since the 1950s.

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.