#32: White Supremacy and Capitalism, From 1492 to Ferguson

historical roots of white supremacy & capitalism; anti-police rebellion; Ebola

Listen to the Episode — 91 min

Summary

Rebellion has erupted around the country in the aftermath of grand jury decisions to allow the murderers of Mike Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York to go free without legal charges. Why did this happen, when authorities knew that this would spark furious protests and international condemnation? To try to understand the persistence of racist police violence, Clara and Alanis delve into the historical roots of capitalism and white supremacy from the origins of European conquest and colonization of the Americas. Along with a survey of resistance and backlash since the grand jury announcements, we share excerpts from the recent feature "The Thin Blue Line is a Burning Fuse," tracing the role of anti-police anger in catalyzing nearly all recent major social upheavals around the globe. Agency, a new anarchist media project, shares an excerpt from an article analyzing the Ebola outbreak and anarchist perspectives on public health. We run through a wide range of news, discuss listener comments on transcripts and international coverage, and even offer a radical holiday song!

Notes and Links

  • Contents:
    • The Hot Wire [2:33]
    • Excerpt from “An Anarchist Response to Ebola”, from the Agency [14:17]
    • Introduction: Rebellion and Reaction Since the Grand Jury Decisions. [21:04]
    • Excerpt from “The Thin Blue Line is a Burning Fuse: Why Every Struggle is Now a Struggle Against the Police” [31:26]
    • The Past Doesn’t Pass: White Supremacy, Capitalism, History, Part I [42:01]
    • Listener Feedback [1:20:34]
    • Holiday Song: “No Christmas,” by Dan Mac and the Bullet [1:31:10]
    • Next Week’s News [1:35:32]
  • The Hot Wire [2:33]
  • Excerpt from “An Anarchist Response to Ebola”, from the Agency [14:17]
  • Introduction: Rebellion and Reaction Since the Grand Jury Decisions. [21:04]
  • Excerpt from “The Thin Blue Line is a Burning Fuse: Why Every Struggle is Now a Struggle Against the Police” [31:26]
  • The Past Doesn’t Pass: White Supremacy, Capitalism, History, Part I [42:01]
  • Listener Feedback [1:20:34]
  • Holiday Song: “No Christmas,” by Dan Mac and the Bullet [1:31:10]
  • Next Week’s News [1:35:32]
  • Heads up, everyone: this episode includes some frank discussions of really horrifying racist realities, from the present day unfolding around us as well as centuries back in history. Please take care as you listen.

  • As per his request, we have posted the letter written by imprisoned anarchist Luke O’Donovan to the Carrboro Anarchist Book Fair that a supporter read on our last episode. You can read the text in the partial transcript for Episode 31.

  • Anarchist Agency promotes contemporary anarchist perspectives and practices through commentary on current events, media relations, and educational campaigns. The project’s goal is to influence the way anarchists are represented in mainstream media, using several tactics, including tracking mentions of anarchists in the media and creating and circulating analysis by anarchists written for the general public. We featured an article they published by Carwil Bjork-James and Chuck Munson titled “An Anarchist Response to Ebola: Visions and Questions”.

  • There are innumerable books, zines, articles, and conversations that informed the history and analysis in this episode. Here is a necessarily woefully incomplete bibliography for reading more about the history of white supremacy and capitalism.

  • We drew heavily on materials from Challenging White Supremacy workshop, including Sharon Martinez’s definition of white supremacy and “What is the United States?”

  • On the roots of the global economy in slavery and racist oppression, see Capitalism and Slavery by Eric Williams and How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney.

  • We also drew on Orlando Patterson’s Slavery and Social Death, a brilliant synthetic and analytical history of the institution of slavery. Patterson’s work was an important influence on the “Afro-pessimist” tradition of criticism, including writers such as Frank Wilderson, Saidiya Hartman, Hortense Spillers, and Jared Sexton, which deserves a much deeper engagement than we can give with our limited understanding.

  • On the history of the concept of whiteness, don’t miss Theodore Allen’s indispensible Invention of the White Race, Volumes I and II, as well as David Roediger’s The Wages of Whiteness and Noel Ignatiev’s How the Irish Became White. The History of White People is an interesting and wide-ranging but surprisingly apolitical account.

  • On the origins of Spanish white supremacy in the Iberian reconquista and “limpieza de sangre” ideology, see “European Race-Colored Glasses” in “Understanding Racism: An Historical Introduction”; on the origins of English white supremacy in the oppression of the Irish, see Theodore Allen’s Invention of the White Race, Volume I.

  • For some of the statistics we cited about the realities of racism in contemporary America, we drew on a Washington Post article on the black/white economic gap and this comparison of life for black folks in Obama’s America versus apartheid South Africa, among others.

  • We read a long excerpt from the CrimethInc. blog feature “The Thin Blue Line is a Burning Fuse: Why Every Struggle is Now a Struggle Against the Police”.

  • Greek anarchist prisoner Nikos Romanos successfully won his demand to be allowed to attend university classes while in prison! You can read many of his statements and updates on solidarity actions via 325.nostate.net.

  • We shared the song “No Christmas” by Dan Mac and the Bullet.

  • The New Yorker released an interesting article about anarchists in the Hong Kong occupation movement.

  • Upcoming prisoner birthdays:
    Chelsea Manning #89289
    1300 N Warehouse Rd
    Ft Leavenworth KS 66027–2304
    {December 17, 1987}

    Connor Stevens #57978–060
    FCI McKean
    P.O. Box 8000
    Bradford, PA 16701
    {December 17, 1992}

    Jerome White-Bey #37479
    South Central Correctional Center
    255 West Highway 32
    Licking, MO 65542
    {December 28th, 1955}