Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Truest statement of the week II

A relevant critique of the relationship between the American presidency, white supremacy, antiradicalism, and capitalist exploitation is possible. During the height of McCarranism and McCarthyism, Claudia Jones contended that Harry Truman and his anticommunist regime found her threatening because she was a “Negro woman” that “dared to challenge the civil rights lip-service cry of his reactionary administration which [was] yet to lift a finger to prosecute the lynchers, the Ku Klux Klan, or the anti-Semites.” She also argued that Cold War immigration laws, which restricted immigration from all Caribbean islands to a mere 100 persons per year, were not only racist, but were also antiradical, insofar as they aimed to drive out “progressive ideas.” Moreover, she linked U.S. governmentality to that of Hitler’s Germany, because both repressed labor, trampled upon democratic rights, murdered and jailed communists and other radicals, promoted war and militarization, and of course, oppressed Black and other racialized folk. For Jones , white supremacy was not a matter of attitude or morals, but rather of property rights, access to resources, and the hierarchical organization of American society. In fact, she rejected the idea that racism and discrimination were acts of individual choice, and stressed that they were forms of structural domination that needed to be eradicated if liberation for all people was to be achieved.
While virtually all of Jones’ critiques of the Truman administration are applicable to the current presidency—take for example the immigration ban, the suspension of DACA, threats to invade Venezuela and North Korea, the pardoning of Joe Arpaio, and the failure to condemn white terrorism in Charlottesville—Coates zeros in on what he perceives to be the moralistic failures of voters whose actions represented a commitment to white fantasy. This is not withstanding the social and political economic exigencies that have given rise to right populism not only in the United States, but also in parts of Latin America and Europe.

-- Charisse Burden-Stelly, "Why Claudia Jones Will Always Be More Relevant than Ta-Nehisi Coates" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

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