Capitalism and Segregation At the Roots (with Video)

The chairperson of the Progressive Youth Organization, Andrés, was invited to speak at Longview Community College surrounding the issue of segregation. As a lifelong resident of Kansas City, in a segregated, now rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, our comrade gives an analysis of segregation as an institution of racism and ties it with the capitalist mode of production. He also comments briefly on the role Kansas City played in segregating America’s cities and how even after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act Kansas City continued and continues to remain a very segregated city. The video of the lecture is provided as well as the presentation paper to go along with it.

The Roots of Racism

slave_trade_1650-1860_b - www.slaveryinamerica.org
The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalised the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moments of primitive accumulation. . . . [They all] depend in part on brute force, e.g., the colonial system. But, they all employ the power of the State, the concentrated and organised force of society, to hasten, hot-house fashion, the process of transformation of the feudal mode of production into the capitalist mode . . . . [C]apital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt.
So to begin we should go back to the roots of segregation which is a form of institutional racism. This begs a chicken and the egg question of which came first? Well when we talk of how people perceived one another some groups of people were viewed as being lower than others we see this in how the Romans and Greeks would call non-Romans and non-Greeks “Barbarian”. We see even in the Aztec world in which the slur for nomadic peoples was “chichimeca” or dog-speaker. People had a conception of prejudice of other people throughout millenia, there was a semblance of superiority even, but the institutional aspect of this prejudice taking the form of laws, the social division of labor based on race and nation only come about under capitalism. It would not be wrong to say then that we know what came first in this question. The chicken is capitalism, a capitalism which developed rapidly in the post-feudal, post-Black death age of Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. We should reflect upon just how Western capitalism got it’s first start-up that is it’s first huge surges of capital and wealth, in the process in which Karl Marx called “the primitive accumulation” which he notes in his volume Capital:

The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalised the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moments of primitive accumulation. . . . [They all] depend in part on brute force, e.g., the colonial system. But, they all employ the power of the State, the concentrated and organised force of society, to hasten, hot-house fashion, the process of transformation of the feudal mode of production into the capitalist mode . . . . [C]apital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt. Continue reading “Capitalism and Segregation At the Roots (with Video)”

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Without Womxn The Sky Would Fall: PYO Statement on Domestic Violence Awareness Month

patriarchy
Without Womxn The Sky Would Fall!

Patriarchy manifests itself as the oldest universal oppression felt by women – reaching across class, racial and national lines through varying degrees. October is designated as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” nationwide. Domestic violence affects women and children, as well as men. However, the brunt of domestic violence is felt by women at a much higher rate.1

Patriarchal violence is not something that can be reformed; it has a history reaching back thousands of years, and is now repackaged and reproduced by capitalist society on a psycho-ideological level as well as a physical one. Whether it is through emotional or physical abuse, the feminization/pinkification of certain industries, gender roles, sexual harassment, restrictions on women’s health or the gender wage gap, the intersections of institutional and societal sexism, racism, queerphobia, transphobia and xenophobia all serve to amplify, and often justify, the atrocities perpetuated by a patriarchal system. All these issues together play as an act of violence against women, and they are fundamental to maintaining the structures that support modern day late-capitalism. Continue reading “Without Womxn The Sky Would Fall: PYO Statement on Domestic Violence Awareness Month”

Colum-Bust Day: Genocide Is No Reason To Celebrate!

columbusThe United States of America as it stands is and was founded as a white supremacist settler-colonial state that could not exist without the almost total genocide of the original inhabitants of this land and the enslavement of those with Black skin. To literally and figuratively whiten it’s image and history it has adopted legends surrounding itself which are no more than moral and ideological justifications for Empire. We see this with it’s narrative of Plymouth Rock and the Puritan zealots in their plight to escape oppression, to Thanksgiving where the indigenous people and colonizers sat down together to enjoy a shared meal, to Columbus Day where Christopher Colombus “discovered a continent”. Nothing is mentioned about the fact that he had died thinking this was Asia, and nothing about the fact that people had already been living here for thousands of years and that had cities more vastly populated than anywhere in Europe at the time. Far from being a day of celebration, Christopher Columbus represents one of the darkest chapters in the history of this continent, it represents a chapter full of genocidal murder, human trafficking and unimaginable brutality against the native people of this continent.

For oppressed people of color Columbus Day is a constant reminder that many of our ancestors and their suffering did not matter. In extension we do not matter as well. The schools, the media and the government utilize these days in such a manner to indoctrinate themselves and those they oppress to accept their lot. While lionizing the image of the colonizers and omitting and failing to mention the history of those who resisted the invasion of this world, we are taught to look up to people who look like them and to hate ourselves.

Even among supposedly progressive narratives we are given an image of indigenous people as cattle lining up for the slaughter or that they didn’t exist at all. The truth is that their descendants are still fighting and resisting this unwarranted aggression to this day. From Agüeybaná, to Oscar López Rivera, from Nat Turner to Malcolm X the oppressed have always resisted their oppressors. Continue reading “Colum-Bust Day: Genocide Is No Reason To Celebrate!”