Tag Archives: weaponized identity

Leo Panitch and Steven Colatrella on Neoliberalism, Race and Solidarity

Leo Panitch, Emeritus Professor at York University, on barriers to  the formation of a new popular front, appearing on Paul Jay’s The Analysis podcast. (Transcribed remarks.)

Do we have the discipline to unify?

“One has to ask whether the protest movements which have reignitied this year so impressively and have been so biracial in their composition, whether they will have the discipline in the current critical moment to unify in such a way so that the protests be of a kind that does not invite the kind of repression that Trump is pointing to.

On the discourse of white supremacy

And especially I’d like to ask whether the discourse of white supremacy, which is partly intended, and rightfully so, to remind people of the history that the US was built on as a faux democratic capitalist society, whether that discourse of white supremacy does not undermine the ability to create the popular front we need.  Because people resent, and people fear, especially working class communities, resent being guilted by this.

Anti racism and practical politics: Lessons from Weimar

Of course they shouldn’t.  But they do.  And I do think we have to face in a very different context from 1932 in Germany whether the divisions that exist around this question of class versus race, which should not be divisive since it is a racialized capitlaism, whether this will not replicate the same divisions between the social democrats and the communists in 1932. These are serious questions which it is not a matter of dealing with morally, it is a matter of dealing with practically in the weeks to come.

Steven Colatrella, Professor of Politics at the University of Padua, on the reactionary nihilism of the New York Times 1619 series from which the Times is now (understandably) distancing itself.  (See here.)

Our shared history and traditions: tools against, not of, repression

“A problem with the 1619 Project is that it comes just as we are desperately trying to preserve and defend American values and institutions from Trump and the danger of dictatorship, as well as from a growing neo-Nazi threat allied with him. Saying, as the project does, that the country is not founded on the values of 1776, but on racism, whiteness, and slavery means that there is nothing to defend or worth defending, and no tools from our history to use in such a battle. (See Marco Rubio’s speech yesterday in the Senate.) This project leaves us – the left, the center-left, democracy and the republic – open to exactly this kind of criticism and attack from the right. As if there were only continuity between 1619 and today.

Racism: As North American as Apple Pie

And by the way, why 1619 and not 1565 when St. Augustine, Florida was founded, the real first settlement in what became the United States? Because only English-speakers count? And that exclusion of the Latino history of the country which came before the Mayflower or Jamestown is itself not racism how? So, we either start the country when the landbridge allowed passage across the Bering Straight during the last Ice Age, or we start in 1776 when we actually found a nation and not just settlements of varying cultures, degrees of injustice, religiosity, and multiculturalism. And we defend that legacy against and try to make the country live up to it, as Dr. King, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Susan B. Anthony, Eugene Debs, Cesar Chavez, Abraham Lincoln, and so many others did.

1776 vs. 1610

There is something almost Christian about the 1619 project and not in a good way – the world begins with a sin, not with a paradise, with the Fall of Man, not with the Declaration of Independence, with the slave ship and not with Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Yet, it is BECAUSE  the founding document said “All Men are Created Equal” that a long struggle erupted to make that a reality. Nothing like that effort, not like abolition, ever happened in the history of Rome in all its centuries. Treasure that, and see 1776 as a first salvo in the long war AGAINST and to overthrow 1619.