Race & Capital:Marxist Legacies of Anti-Racism and the Black Radical Tradition
A stream within the framework of Historical Materialism’s Tenth Annual Conference (London, 7-10 Nov; deadline for asbtracts 21 May)
A rich tradition of radical Black, Asian and anti-racist writers, scholars, activists, and poets have deployed Marxist analytical categories and concepts, and indeed, harnessed Marxism’s revolutionary spirit in their engagement with histories of slavery, indentured labour, colonisation and imperialism (among these names are W.E.B. Du Bois, CLR James, Frantz Fanon, Angela Y. Davis, Walter Rodney, Amilcar Cabral, David Roediger, Cedric Robinson, bell hooks, Himani Bannerji, Theodore Allen, Ambalavaner Sivanandan and Stuart Hall). Marxist traditions have been seized, stretched and deconstructed in philosophy and political movements that seek to place race, racism and colonialism at the forefront of their analyses. The legacy of this political thought forms the foundation for contemporary work on the ways in which race, gender, and sexuality are imbricated within capitalism’s machinations. Black radical Marxist thought provides a framework for considerations of how a globalised capitalism established itself through colonial and imperial exploitation, setting in motion trajectories of migration and displacement that constitute some of the most dire and pressing political problems of the present.
At the same time, the relationship between Marxism and Critical Race Studies has always been a fraught one. On the one hand, Marxists were among the earliest supporters of anti-racist and anti-colonial movements, and many scholars, activists and organisations in those movements self-identified with the Marxist tradition. On the other hand, Marxists have frequently been accused, often with good reason, of side-lining issues of race and racism and reducing them to mere epiphenomena.
Race, racism and colonial relations of oppression are central features of contemporary politics. The heavily racialised `war on terror’ continues apace, justified by the first black President of the United States (who himself has been subject to criticism in distinctly racialised terms). Equally, it is impossible to ignore how both the financial crisis and the capitalist austerity offensive have had a racially disproportionate impact on communities worldwide. The continued legacies of racism and colonialism have animated a number of social and liberation movements – one can think of the London riots, Indigenous movements such as Idle no More, mobilisations against police racism, and resistance movements in Palestine. These examples could be extended indefinitely.
Historical Materialism invites papers and panel submissions to a stream on Race and Capital. Understanding this in a broad sense to include issues of race, racism, indigeneity, colonialism, imperialism and migration, we would be especially interested in panels or papers concerning:
Radical Black thought and activism
Black Marxist feminisms
Slavery and indentured labour
Migration and refugees
Housing, racism and the sub-prime crisis
Indigenous Marxisms and indigenous self-determination
Subaltern histories and anti-colonial movements
Anti-caste politics, adivasi movements and left politics in South Asia
Contemporary forms of dispossession (land, intellectual property, natural resources, homes)
Critical International Relations and Third World approaches to international law
Terrorism, security and anti-muslim racism
Critical whiteness studies
The politics of abolitionism
Cultural imperialism and orientalism
Submit abstracts(100-200 words) and panel submissions at historicalmaterialism.org by 21 May 2013.