The New Racial Domain in the US

With respect to the US, Manning Marable (2004) has used the concept of racialization to connect to modes of production there. He has described the current era in the US as ‘The New Racial Domain’ (NRD). This New Racial Domain, he argues, is ‘different from other earlier forms of racial domination, such as slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and ghettoiza- tion, or strict residential segregation, in several critical respects’ (ibid.). These early forms of racialization, he goes on, were based primarily, if not exclusively, in the political economy of US capitalism. ‘Meaningful social reforms such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were debated almost entirely within the context of America’s expanding, domestic economy, and a background of Keynesian, welfare state public policies’ (ibid.). The political economy of the ‘New Racial Domain’, on the other hand, is driven and largely determined by the forces of transnational capitalism, and the public policies of state neoliberalism, which rests on an unholy trinity, or deadly triad, of structural barriers to a decent life (ibid.). ‘These oppressive structures’, he argues, ‘are mass unemployment, mass incarceration, and mass disfranchisement’, with each factor directly feeding and accelerating the others, ‘creating an ever-widening circle of social disadvantage, poverty, and civil death, touching the lives of tens of millions of U.S. people’ (ibid.). For Marable, adopting a Marxist perspective, ‘[t]he process begins at the point of production. For decades, U.S. corporations have been outsourcing millions of better-paying jobs outside the country. The class warfare against unions has led to a steep decline in the percentage of U.S. workers’ (ibid.). As Marable concludes:

Within whole U.S. urban neighborhoods losing virtually their entire economic manufacturing and industrial employment, and with neoliberal social policies in place cutting job training programs, welfare, and public housing, millions of Americans now exist in conditions that exceed the devastation of the Great Depression of the 1930s. In 2004, in New York’s Central Harlem community, 50 percent of all black male adults were currently unemployed. When one considers that this figure does not count those black males who are in the military, or inside prisons, its truly amazing and depress?ing (ibid.).Moreover, the new jobs being generated for the most part lack the health benefits, pensions, and wages that manufacturing and industrial employment once offered (ibid.).

Connecting to capitalist modes of production, for Marxists, is not as Mills (2009, p. 274) claims ‘a manifestation of dogmatism’, but a serious attempt to understand racism’s interconnections with capitalism historically and contemporaneously. In making connections with modes of production, the Marxist concept of racialization, I must conclude, provides a more convincing account of racism in capitalist societies than do CRT emphases on ‘white supremacy’ on the one hand, and ‘race’ rather than class on the other.

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