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.

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Black Marxism

Black Marxism: The Making of The Black Radical Tradition
Nicholas Power

Eight more sessions beginning October 18 through December 6, 7:30-9:30 pm

As always, capitalism has crises. Again, a new generation turns toward Marxism. How do we apply this wide ranging and controversial revolutionary tradition to our current times? Writer and professor, Cedric Robinson╒s magnum opus, Black Marxism will be our lodestar for this class. We will discuss Robinson’s critique of Marx’s Eurocentric frame of reference and explore how and if Marxism has value for today’s multi-cultural left which at times turns much to anarchism, whether conscious or not of the Marxist tradition. We will also cover the Marxist legacy of C.L.R. James, Langston Hughes and Richard Wright on their own and as Robinson studied their relationships to Marxism.

Nicholas Power is a poet, journalist and Associate Professor of Literature at SUNY Old Westbury. His second book The Ground Below Zero: 911 to Burning Man, New Orleans to Darfur, Haiti to Occupy Wall Street was published by Upset Press in 2013. His writings have appeared in The Indypendent, The Village Voice, Truth-Out and Alternet.

Admissions are sliding scale. We do not turn anyone away if all they can pay is less or are without the ability to pay. $10 per session.

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