Capitalism and the Reactionary Power of White Identity Politics

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

“Yet the end that planters and poor whites envisaged and, as the fight went on, the end that large numbers of the Northern capitalists were fighting for, was a movement in the face of modern progress. It did not go to the length of disfranchising the whole laboring class, black and white, because it dared not do this, although this was its logical end. It did disenfranchise black labor with the aid of white Southern Labor and with the silent acquiescence of white Northern labor.”

— W.E.B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880

Momentum for building a post-neoliberal U.S. has been gaining strength with each passing day. However, despite the rise of new and exciting figures, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the tide of striking teachers in even GOP dominated states, we must remain aware that whenever there has been potential for revolutionizing government and politics, there has always followed a reactionary and brutal backlash.

For instance, during Reconstruction, a counterrevolutionary force swept across the South, erecting a system of apartheid and which stripped away newly won economic and political rights for most African Americans. Similarly, in the late 1960s/early 1970s, as African Americans fought to end apartheid across the country, their efforts were met with violence and terror.

Whenever there has been possibility for the U.S. to free itself from capitalist rule, there has always been a countervailing force…

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