Monday, August 15, 2011

a comment to Richard Seymour about race and class

In the comments at LENIN'S TOMB: The competing common senses of the riots, I wrote:
There's a reason why "diversity" is a capitalist buzzword. I doubt there's a corporate web site that does not mention it. But look for a reference to class, and you won't find it. People like Tim Wise make big bucks going to the private universities of the rich and teaching them that the reasons for oppression are racism and sexism...but they don't talk about class injustice. On identity politics in general, I'm with David Harvey and Adolph Reed Jr. That doesn't mean racism and sexism aren't problems. It means they're problems that capitalists are willing to acknowledge, because they know they can find an Obama or a Clinton to serve them in the name of diversity.

There's a very simple test for whether a riot is about race: who joins in? If the vast majority of the folks arrested in the riots have dark skin, I'll happily agree that the key to this riot is race. I've been trying to find out what the racial mix of the arrested are. So far, this is the best I've got. It's from the Telegraph, which explains why it's a surprise to them, but shouldn't be a surprise to a red: "Most interestingly of all, they were predominantly white.”