Category Archives: Politics

Cheap Talk (310/415/485)

 

Adolph Reed, professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, talks to the Institute for New Economic Thinking about the elections, race, and economic disparities in America.

Lynn Parramore: As the elections approach, media pundits seem focused on the idea that the country is facing a racist and xenophobic breakdown promoted by Trump and the GOP. The Democrats posit themselves as the answer to this threat. What do you make of this framing?

Adolph Reed: Immediately after Trump’s victory, I was particularly struck by the debate over how to interpret the victory. In my mind, this was always a debate over how to respond strategically and point towards the midterms and 2020.

The debate got condensed around the notion that Trump’s victory shows or has spurred a complete breakdown in the country around race and gender and homophobia and nativism. A lot of scholars have done intellectual work purporting to show that the white vote for Trump in 2016 was a reflection of status anxiety rather than economic anxiety. It boggles my mind that people think that it’s possible to separate the two in a neat way. But the big problem all along for those who wanted to push the white supremacist line is those 7-9 million people who voted for Obama and later for Sanders, then voted for Trump. How does racism explain that?

I had a very sharp and studious black undergraduate student wholly inside a race-first understanding of politics. When I mentioned the white people who had voted for Obama once if not twice who also voted for Trump, his response was, well, of course you can’t say that voting for Obama means that you’re not a racist. I said, yes, that’s true, but by the same token you can’t say that voting for Trump means you are a racist, right? Which they don’t want to accept.

 

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Socialists

…. Under capitalism, we’re forced to enter the market just to live. The libertarian sees the market as synonymous with freedom. But socialists hear “the market” and think of the anxious parent, desperate not to offend the insurance representative on the phone, lest he decree that the policy she paid for doesn’t cover her child’s appendectomy. Under capitalism, we’re forced to submit to the boss. Terrified of getting on his bad side, we bow and scrape, flatter and flirt, or worse — just to get that raise or make sure we don’t get fired.

The socialist argument against capitalism isn’t that it makes us poor. It’s that it makes us unfree. When my well-being depends upon your whim, when the basic needs of life compel submission to the market and subjugation at work, we live not in freedom but in domination. Socialists want to end that domination: to establish freedom from rule by the boss, from the need to smile for the sake of a sale, from the obligation to sell for the sake of survival.

From https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/24/opinion/sunday/what-socialism-looks-like-in-2018.html

Supine Sam (310/485)

Prone, actually, but it’s alliterative.

The present generation, I am persuaded, scarcely takes note of what the Confederate soldier meant to the welfare of the Anglo Saxon race during the four years immediately succeeding the war, when the facts are, that their courage and steadfastness saved the very life of the Anglo Saxon race in the South – When “the bottom rail was on top” all over the Southern states, and to-day, as a consequence the purest strain of the Anglo Saxon is to be found in the 13 Southern States – Praise God.
I trust I may be pardoned for one allusion, howbeit it is rather personal. One hundred yards from where we stand, less than ninety days perhaps after my return from Appomattox, I horse-whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds, because upon the streets of this quiet village she had publicly insulted and maligned a Southern lady, and then rushed for protection to these University buildings where was stationed a garrison of 100 Federal soldiers. I performed the pleasing duty in the immediate presence of the entire garrison, and for thirty nights afterwards slept with a double-barrel shot gun under my head.

Source: Julian S. Carr, “Unveiling of Confederate Monument at University. June 2, 1913” in the Julian Shakespeare Carr Papers #141, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Note the year. The monumentalization of the Confederacy and its transmutation into the fable of the Lost Cause was integral to the rise of Jim Crow as a legal and cultural formation.

from http://hgreen.people.ua.edu/transcription-carr-speech.html