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Class is the most fundamental form of oppression, and is of paramount importance because everyones economic survival are determined

by them. Belkhir 1 (Jean, director of the sociology program at Southern U @ New Orleans, [www.colorado.edu/Sociology/gimenez/work/cgr.html] AD: 7-6-11, jam) Nevertheless, I want to argue against the notion that class should be considered equivalent to gender and race. I find the grounds for my argument not only on the crucial role class struggles play in processes of
epochal change but also in the very assumptions of RGC studies and the ethnomethodological insights put forth by West and Fenstermaker (1994). The

assumption of the simultaneity of experience (i.e., all interactions are raced,

classed, gendered) together with the ambiguity inherent in the interactions themselves , so that while one person might think he or she is "doing gender," another might interpret those "doings" in terms of "doing class,"

highlight the basic issue that Collins accurately identifies when she argues that ethnomethodology ignores power relations. Power relations underlie all processes of social interaction and this is why social facts are constraining upon people. But the pervasiveness of power ought not to obfuscate the fact that some power relations are more important and consequential than others. For example, the power that physical attractiveness might confer a woman in her interactions with her less attractive female supervisor or employer does not match the economic power of the latter over the former. In my view, the flattening or erasure of the qualitative difference between class, race and gender in the RGC perspective is the foundation for the recognition that it is important to deal with "basic relations of domination and subordination" which now appear disembodied, outside class relations. In the effort to reject "class reductionism," by postulating the equivalence between class and other forms of
oppression, the RGC perspective both negates the fundamental importance of class but it is forced to acknowledge its importance by postulating some other "basic" structures of domination. Class relations -- whether we are referring to the relations between capitalist and wage workers, or to the relations between workers (salaried and waged) and their managers and supervisors, those who are placed in "contradictory class locations," (Wright, 1978) -- are

of paramount importance, for most people's economic survival is determined by them. Those in dominant class positions do exert power over their employees and subordinates and a crucial way in which that power is used is through their choosing the identity they impute their workers. Whatever identity workers might claim or "do," employers can, in turn, disregard their claims and "read" their "doings" differently as "raced" or "gendered" or both, rather than as "classed," thus downplaying their class location and the class nature of their grievances. To argue, then, that class is fundamental is not to "reduce" gender or racial oppression to class, but to acknowledge that the underlying basic and "nameless" power at the root of what happens in social interactions grounded in "intersectionality" is class power.

Class domination must be tackled first- it is the most universal form of oppression and it exacerbates other antagonisms. Movements against racism and sexism will fail unless they also fundamentally transform the economy Marsh 95
(James L., Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University, Critique, Action, and Liberation p. 282-283 GAL) Next, we must consider the question concerning the relationship among racism, sexism, and classism. A

tendency now exists in leftist circles to talk about racism, sexism, and class domination as distinct, coequal forms of domination. Such a tendency is understandable in the light of the economism and reductionism of much of the Marxist left,
but is finally not justified. Three different models are possible here, a vulgar Marxist model that denies any autonomy at all to the sexual or racial domains, the three-sector model mentioned above, and a

sophisticated Marxist model that asserts the dominance of class exploitation but allows relative autonomy on lived and ideological levels to the other two

spheres. The sophisticated Marxist approach, in my opinion, is the best account. It allows some diversity, specificity, and autonomy between and among spheres. The sophisticated Marxist model thus retains the strengths of the other two while avoiding and overcoming their onesidedness. Why is class domination ultimately more fundamental and important and overriding? It is more universal, extending not only over the United States and Western Europe but also over the Third World in Africa. Asia, and South America; not only over women and African-Americans but also most men and whites. Class struggle is the most antagonistic of conflictsfundamental cooperation is emerging between the sexes and races but not between labor and capital. Racism and sexism in the West and North we are approaching rejecting in principle but not capital. The reign of capitalism up to this point has been nonnegotiable in the West. Capitalism defines the modern in a way that sexism and racism do not. Indeed, sexism and racism are holdovers from prior epochs and. as such, subordinate moments in the capitalistic mode of production. Also, an asymmetry exists between racism and sexism, on the one hand, and capitalism on the other. Progress in overcoming racism and sexism occurs up to the point where that overcoming infringes upon fundamental capitalistic social relations. The fate of Martin Luther King's civil rights movement when it came North and began to be more openly economic in its orientation is one example; the fate of women professionals asking for salaries equal to men in a context of economic retrenchment is another. Capitalism will transform sexual and racial relations to achieve its goals, but the reverse is generally not true. Capital twists racism and sexism to its own ends, using the former to fragment the working class and the latter, of which American foreign policy in Vietnam and Nixon's machismo on the Watergate tapes is a dramatic example, to legitimize a tough-minded, quantitative, technocratic, onedimensional domination. Also, if Habermas is correct, late capitalism has more or less immunized the monopoly sphere
of the economy from serious conflict. The result is that conflict has been displaced to other spheres more or less peripheral to this central monopoly sphere. Racism

and sexism, then, to an extent are indirectly displaced forms of class domination and colonization, like the contradiction between symbolic interaction and purposive rational action. As such displaced forms, and in their own right as well, they are important and must be fought, but they are not equal in importance to class domination. Racism and sexism serve capital as ideology. If this fact is not recognized, then at a certain point the revolutionary elan of the civil rights and feminist movements is negated. We make the mistake of thinking that an African-American person is fully liberated if he becomes an NFL quarterback and a woman if she becomes an executive on Wall Street <CONTINUED>

<CONTINUED> . Both movements at that point have simply degenerated into demands for equal participation in the rat race.
Another way of putting the same point is to say that capitalism is a process of self-expanding value oriented to the production of surplus value. As such, capitalism, to the extent that it fully comes into its own.

will relate racism and sexism to itself and incorporate them in various ways. Racism and sexism are like other holdovers from precapitalist epochs, like rent or interest, which come in fairly late in Marx's analysis in volume 3 of Capital. Capital, because of its thirst for surplus value, has an infinity to it and tends to overcome limits and incorporate them into itself, twisting them to its own ends. In this
respect, racism and sexism, without downplaying their tremendous moral evil and the enormous suffering they inflict in their contemporary manifestations, are no different from rent and interest. One

does not get at what is specific and essential in capitalist modernity by talking about rent or interest or racism or sexism as such, but by understanding these phenomena as related to and incorporated into this process of capitalist valorization. As a glance at and reflection on the streets of Los Angeles after the 1992 riots shows (see below), capitalized racism is not the same as precapitalist racism. As reflection on the use of women in advertisements to sell products indicates, capitalized sexism is not the same as precapitalist sexism. Destroying the capitalist state solves all identity based oppression Herod 7 (James, Columbia U graduate and political activist, Getting Free Pg. 101-102 JF) But on the neighborhood level, in self-governing free communities, the question of identity takes on an entirely different cast ecause of the already-achieved equality of power and wealth. Much of the struggle of blacks has been to get the same civil rights everyone else had. Women have sought equal rights under the law as well as equity in pay and workloads. Old people have wanted to live with dignity and independence, and not be shoved off to die in some holding pen. In autonomous neighborhoods based on democratic decision making, cooperative labor, and shared wealth, all these things would be theirs as a matter of course. It's hard to see how identity politics as we have known it this past quarter century could even exist under anarchy. Identities in the neighborhood that would exist that would surely exist would devolve into the standard difficulty of majority/minority relations. There will be minorities on just about every issue. But will these minorities be based on race, gender, age, or language? I doubt it. They will be political or philosophical minorities. One reason I'm so committed to deliberative assemblies is that they seem to offer us the best chance of overcoming distinctions that might be inappropriate to particular cooperative decisions Through a process of discussion, we can discover whether a distinction really matters on any given issue. If gender is relevant to a particular issue, it can be factored in; if it is not, it can be factored out. Existing gender prejudices will undoubtedly influence the discussion. But perhaps open discussion in small assemblies will enable us to expose and defuse these prejudices. Thus, we can come to see whether race, gender, ethnicity, age, intelligence, beauty, articulateness, or what have you, is actually relevant to or has a bearing on any given issue in dispute that is up for discussion and decision. In this way, reasoning can be brought to bear on our collective lives. Our divisions will come to be based more on different takes (political, philosophical, and theoretical) on the issues than on identities such as race, gender, or ethnicity. Our identities will come to be based more on what we believe rather than on the color of our
skin, the language we speak, our sexuality, the nation we reside in, or our age
in the

long run, that is.

bell hooks politics only put a human face on capitalismit amounts to bearing witness to the crimes of capitalism but doing nothing to struggle for its replacement. Young 2006 (Robert, Red Critique, Winter/Spring, Putting Materialism back into Race Theory, http://www.redcritique.org/WinterSpring2006/puttingmaterialismbackintoracetheory.htm) Here, then, is one of the primary effects of the postmodern knowledge practices: class is deconstructed as a metaphysical dinosaur. In this regard, postmodernists collude with the humanists in legitimating the sanctity of the local. Both participate in narrowing cultural intelligibility to questions of (racial) discourse or the (black) subject and, in doing so, they provide ideological immunity for capitalism. It is now very difficult to even
raise the issue of class, particularly if you raise the issue outside of the logic of supplementaritytoday's ruling intellectual logic which provides a theoretical analog to contemporary neo-liberal political structures.

In one of the few recent texts to explore the centrality of class, bell hooks' Where We Stand, we are, once again, still left with a reaffirmation of capitalism. For instance, hooks argues for changes within capitalism: "I identify with democratic socialism, with a vision of participatory economics within capitalism that aims to challenge and change class hierarchy" (156). Capitalism produces class hierarchy and, therefore, as long as capitalism remains, class hierarchy and antagonism will remain. Hence, the solution requires a transformation of class society. However, hooks mystifies capitalism as a transhistorical system and thus she can assert that the "poor may be with us always" (129). Under this view, politics becomes a matter of "bearing witness" to the crimes of capitalism, but rather than struggle for its replacement, hooks call for strategies of "self-actualization" and redistributing resources to the poor. She calls for the very same thingcollectivitythat capitalism cannot provide because social resources are privatized under capitalism. Consequently, Hooks' program for "self-esteem" is an attempt to put a human face on capitalism.
Whether one considers the recent work by African-American humanists, or discourse theorists, or even left-liberal intellectuals, these various groupsdespite their intellectual differencesform a ruling coalition and one thing is clear: capitalism set the limit for political change, as there is no alternative to the rule of capital. In contrast to much of contemporary race theory, a transformative theory of race highlights the political economy of race in the interests of an emancipatory political project. Wahneema Lubiano once wrote that "the idea of race and the operation of racism are the best friends that the economic and political elite have in the United States" (vii). Race

mystifies the structure of exploitation and masks the severe inequalities within global capitalism. I am afraid that, at this point, many contemporary race theorists, in their systematic erasure of materialism, have become close (ideological) allies with the economic and political elites, who deny even the existence of classes. A transformative race theory pulls back into focus the struggle against exploitation and sets a new social priority "in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all" (Marx 31).

A). They are equally reductionist, and B). They arent really opposed to reductionism, they are just rejecting a class understanding of race, which is a link. Young 2006 (Robert, Red Critique, Winter/Spring, Putting Materialism back into Race Theory,
http://www.redcritique.org/WinterSpring2006/puttingmaterialismbackintoracetheory.htm)

The linguistic turn in social theory enables the recent anti-reductionist views on race. Concepts like Winant's "racial formation" ("Racial Formation Theory" 130), Paul Gilroy's

"multi-modal" (There Ain't 28) and David Theo Goldberg's "grammatical" reading of race ("Racist Discourse" 95) reflect the current anti-reductionist logic that currently dominates contemporary theorizing on race. All three theorists vigorously oppose reducing race to class, but apparently, it is acceptable to "reduce" race to a "hybridity" of factors (Goldberg 93), which once again establishes liberal pluralism as the limit of politics. Indeed, at the moment, it is fairly commonplace to "reduce" race to culture, or politics, or desire. Hence, these theorists are not so much opposed to reductionist theories, they simply are opposed to class understandings of race and, in this way, they articulate a conceptual displacement of materialism (in the name of epistemological skepticism) and, consequently, they reclaim the autonomy of race (in the name of liberalism).

Race is inherently related to existing property relationshipsthey reduce racial oppression to discourse, without connecting it to the larger social structure of capitalism. Young 2006 (Robert, Red Critique, Winter/Spring, Putting Materialism back into Race Theory,
http://www.redcritique.org/WinterSpring2006/puttingmaterialismbackintoracetheory.htm) In Goldberg, the

obsession with autonomy engenders a reification of discourse and the political implications of this are quite revealing. For Goldberg, discoursenot class strugglebecomes the motor of history: "it is in virtue of racist discourse and not merely rationalized by it that
such forced manipulations of individual subjects and whole populations could have been affected" (95). He continues: "[i]nstruments

of exclusionlegal, cultural, political, or economicare forged by subjects as they mould criteria for establishing racial otherness" (95). Racial alterity makes sense not on its own terms but in relation to "instruments of exclusion". However, to move beyond Goldberg, I suggest that these instruments, in turn, must be related to existing property relationships. In short, the logic of alterity justifies and hence assists in the maintenance of class generated social inequality. The preoccupation with "autonomy" and "racial discourse formation" makes it seem as if social life is a matter of "contingency". This view blocks our understanding of the one constant feature of daily life under capitalism: exploitation. Under capitalism, exploitation is a not a discursive contingency but a structural articulation, and this structure of exploitation underpins (post)modern social life. At the moment then, the discourse of autonomy displaces the structure of exploitation and, in this regard, I believe one can map out the ideological collusion taking place in race theory . As I pointed out earlier, the humanists posit the "uniqueness" of black subjectivity and now we can see the postmodern corollary which posits the "uniqueness" of racial discourse. I refer to these positions as the "pedagogy of autonomy" because both instruct subjects to value the local. In both instances, the discourse of autonomy provides an ideological framework for protecting the "unique" against its conceptual otherknowledge of the social totality. The pedagogues of autonomy assume that the "unique", in its immediacy to the concrete, provides access to the real and therefore grounds knowledge. These (anti-reductionist) pedagogues reduce knowledge to the concrete and, consequently, mystify our understanding of race because they disconnect it from larger social structures like class and ideology.

Embracing experience or standpoint as the basis for epistemology ignores the mediated nature of experienceExperience is just another site for articulating the dominant ideology because it ignores the historical continuity of class domination in favor of a local understanding of oppression. Young 2006 (Robert, Red Critique, Winter/Spring, Putting Materialism back into Race Theory, http://www.redcritique.org/WinterSpring2006/puttingmaterialismbackintoracetheory.htm) Bourgeois philosophical assumptions haunt the Afrocentric project and, in the domain of black feminist theory, Patricia Hill Collins provides an instructive example of this intersection. In Black Feminist Thought, Collins posits the "special angle of vision" that black women bring to knowledge production process (21), and this "unique angle" (22) provides the "standpoint" for Afrocentric feminism, a feminism that she equates with humanism (37). Similar to the experiential metaphysics of Black women's standpoint theory, Collins also situates Afrocentric feminist epistemology "in the everyday experiences of African-American women" (207). Consequently, Collins suggests that "concrete experience" constitutes a criterion of meaning (208). However, the experiential, the "real", does not adequate the "truth", as Collins implies. Collins rejects the "Eurocentric Masculinist Knowlege Validation Process" for its positivism but, in turn, she offers empiricism as the grounds for validating experience. Hence, the validity of experiential claims is adjudicated by reference to the experience. Not only is her argument circular, but it also undermines one of her key claims. If race, class, gender, and the accompanying ideological apparatuses are interlocking systems of oppression, as Collins suggest, then the experiential is not the site for the "true" but rather the site for the articulation of dominant ideology. On what basis then, could the experiential provide grounds for an historical understanding of the structures that make experience itself possible as experience?
Asante and Collins assume that experience is self-intelligible and in their discourse it functions as the limit text of the real. However, I believe experience

is a highly mediated frame of understanding. Though it is true that a person of color experiences oppression, this experience is not self-explanatory and, therefore, it needs to be situated in relation to other social practices. Experience seems local but it is, like all cultural and political practices, interrelated to other practices and experiences. Thus its explanation come from its "outside". Theory, specifically Marxist theory, provides an explanation of this outside by reading the meaning of all experiences as determined by the economic realities of class. While Asante's and Collins' humanism reads the experience of race as a site of "self-presence", the history of race in the United Statesfrom slavery to Jim Crow to Katrinais written in the fundamental difference of class. In other words, experience does not speak the real, but rather it is the site of contradictions and, hence, in need of conceptual elaboration to break from cultural common sense, a conduit for dominant ideology. It is this outside that has come under attack by black (humanist) scholars through the
invocation of the black (transcendental) subject.

Class domination is the dominant form of injustice- it twists all other antagonisms to its own needs, and presents a common enemy that can link coalitions of diverse social movement Marsh 95
(James L., Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University, Critique, Action, and Liberation p.343-344 GAL)

Because capitalism is a system with interrelated social, economic, and political components, the containment of crisis in one area, the economic and especially monopoly capital as a sector of the economic, causes crisis to break out elsewhere. Citizens become aware that their life-world is being "colonized" by a capitalist system whose imperatives are alien to the structure of that lifeworld. In many, though not all. cases, the conflicts are not fueled immediately by issues of economic production or consumption but by issues related to
quality of life, what Habermas call "the grammar of forms of life." Why are we not safe on the streets of our city? Why is the environment ugly? Why are women treated as second-class citizens? Why is my government engaged in an illegal, unjust foreign war or intervention?^

The motivation for such social movements is not or does not have to be capitalist class domination; we have to avoid a simplistic reductionism here. However, it would be equally simplistic to deny any relationship whatsoever to such domination. In late capitalism, class structure and domination are often rendered latent but are nonetheless real, and other conflicts and crises are in some way displaced effects of this domination and have their own kind of relationship to it. Militarism, as we have already indicated, is a great source of profit for many industries and contributes to empire as a way of life. The environment is being depleted of raw materials because of the imperatives of capitalist growthif profit is the goal, then more profit is better than lessand the environment is being rendered unhealthy and ugly because of the tendency within capitalism to value profit over human beings, wealth over human welfare, quantity of money over quality of life. Male chauvinism operates both as a supporting ideology for capitalism and for justifying the role of women in the home as unpaid managers of consumption and child-rearing. Such social movements, then, if not immediately related to capitalist class domination and even if they have their own relative autonomy and distinctiveness, are ultimately related. Moreover, because capitalism twists other forms of injustice such as sexism or racism to its own ends, capitalist class domination still is the dominant form of injustice in
capitalist society. What has changed from early capitalism is that this domination is concealed rather than overt, mediated positively by the state and other cultural media rather than immediate. What has also changed is the introduction of new kinds of crisis and the importance of new kinds of groups other than, although not necessarily ex-eluding, the working class for instigating social change. Indeed we can go further and say that not

only is capitalist domination linked to other forms of domination, but. in keeping with my argument in Chapter 13. is the main obstacle to social change in these areas. The principal, although not the only adversary of women and AfricanAmericans and homosexuals, has been and is business. In the struggle for equal pay for equal work, an end to racial and sexual stereotyping of jobs, elimination of discriminatory'hiring, promotion, and retention policies, and affirmative action and restitution for past discrimination, women and African-Americans and homosexuals have struggled to limit the power of capital. Some political economists have argued that the next phase of
struggle against discrimination is likely to be the development of standards of comparative worth, by which to judge whether employers are illegally discriminating in the money awarded for unequal or dissimilar jobs; here disadvantaged groups will directly challenge the

increasingly desperate plight of unemployed African-Americans. Hispanics. and women, the increasing number of <CONTINUED> <CONTINUED> patients with AIDS, and the situation of the homeless is linked to and rooted in capitalist priorities and policies, which in the United States take the form of attacks on labor and welfare and capital flight toward regions with fewer environmental restrictions, weaker unions, and more raw materials.

employer's right to set wage rates. Moreover in the 1980s and 1990s the

I do not wish to overstate this point. There

is a distinctiveness to racial or sexual or heterosexist injustice that cannot be reduced to the structure of class domination; racial epithets directed
against an African-American baseball player or women's struggle for abortion rights or gay bashing in the streets of New York illustrate the point. Nonetheless in this social system racism,

sexism, and heterosexism. as we have seen in Chapter 13. are twisted and used by capital to achieve its own ends. The more potent, deeper adversary of the struggles against racism, sexism, and heterosexism is capital. Here is one reason that a merely pluralist liberal or postmodern politics partially misses the mark . I will pursue this point later on in this chapter. The adversary is a unity in difference, not simply capital nor simply racist, sexist, and heterosexist practice and structures of domination, but a racist, sexist, heterosexist capitalism. The opposition, therefore, should not be a simple unity, the working class, nor a simple diversity' composed of social movements, but a unity' in difference, many social movements linked positively by common aspirations, norms, and ideals and a common enemy.