"the sociohistorical process by which racial categories are created, inhabited, transformed, and destroyed. Our attempt to elaborate a theory of racial formation will proceed in two steps ... [W]e argue that racial formation is a process of historically situated projects in which human bodies and social structures are represented and organized. Next we link racial formation to the evolution of hegemony, the way in which society is organized and ruled. ... From a racial formation perspective, race is a matter of both social structure and cultural representation."
Friday, June 29, 2012
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
The Daily Mail has bad news for "right-thinking" people everywhere: Racism is "hardwired" into the human brain. Even well-meaning progressives "make unconscious decisions based on a person's race". It is inescapable.The one small hitch in this story is adverted to in that shopworn phrase "scientists say". A discordant note should always sound in the reader's mind when a journalist opens an article with this assurance. For, in point of fact, scientists don't say.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
*Class polarisation. The business and employer class gave 35.9% of its vote to New Democracy and 20.3% to Golden Dawn. Self-employed farmers also gave New Democracy 35.9% of its vote, and Golden Dawn received 7.5%. Meanwhile, SYRIZA mobilised 32.5% and 32% of public and private sector workers, respectively. Intriguingly, it mobilised similar proportions of the unemployed and artisans, and slightly higher shares of the vote among the sub-categories of skilled workers and middle manager ranks in the public sector.
*Age polarisation. Existing breakdowns had indicated a sharp polarisation by generation, with voters over 55 years old giving the two main austerity parties a far higher share of the vote than the rest. This analysis confirms the trend. Among 18-24 year olds, only 2.4% voted for PASOK, but 45.5% votes for SYRIZA. Those over 65 gave 49.4% of their vote to New Democracy and 19.1% to PASOK. Interestingly, the generation politically formed in the dictatorship era and the struggle against the Colonels seems to be the last stronghold of the two parties which emerged as the dominant forces in the metapolitefsi.
*Spatial polarisation. Being unfamiliar with the geographical terrain in Greece, I don't find it easy to parse the results. The imprecision of Google's translation makes it harder. But it seems we can see the following trends: key to New Democracy's victory was the mobilisation of bourgeois votes in high to medium-sized areas; SYRIZA mobilised voters in working and middle class urban areas; PASOK held on to a high percentage of votes in middle income, medium-sized urban areas; while LAOS had mobilised an upper middle class urban vote, Golden Dawn's vote is more purely popular, based in the areas with a high concentration of employed workers.
Friday, June 22, 2012
The London-wide bus strike today is the first for 30 years. It is an offensive strike, in that rather than defending existing conditions the drivers want something more: a bonus of £500 for their work during the Olympic Games. It is also strategically offensive, since part of the aim of the union is to restore collective bargaining across the capital, rather than conditions being decided at the company level.The significance of this may be lost on London's transport bosses. Most strike actions in recent years have tended to be defensive, attempting to either prevent or mitigate cutbacks. Moreover, the defining context for most industrial action today is the public sector's attempt to defend itself against the Tories' cuts. In this case, however, the vote for strike action over an offensive issue was 94%. The union says the strike is solid, and TFL is warning of serious disruption. This doesn't suggest that the workers are in a timid mood...
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Richard Seymour's new book, "American Insurgents", presents a historical analysis of anti-war protest in the United States. His previous books are "The Liberal Defence of Murder", now published in paperback, and "The Meaning of David Cameron". He blogs at Lenin's Tomb, and writes regularly for the Guardian. Seymour is a PhD candidate at the London School of Economics. He discussed his new book with New Left Project's David Wearing.
David Wearing: Can you summarise for us the subject of your new book?
Richard Seymour: American Insurgents is a brief history of anti-imperialism in the US, from the revolution to the present. Now, this is an odd subject: what's so American about it? What's so anti-imperialist about it? It doesn't seem to sit right. Apart from anything else, most pundits and historians imply that there's something profoundly paradoxical about the idea of an American Empire. Thus, we are treated to lapidary formulations about the 'Empire of Liberty'. This has to do with its ambiguous revolutionary legacy, which is something I explore in the book.What can be said is that the liberal-democratic ideas that animated the revolution are in some respects in conflict with imperialism. The legatees of that revolution have often operated on that tension, using the inherited liberal-democratic discourse - the principle of self-determination, consent of the governed, etc - against imperialism. Thus, the Anti-Imperialist League, a mass movement included such luminaries as Mark Twain, Henry James and Jane Addams, appealled to the constitution, and the declaration of independence, against the US colonial war in the Phillipines in 1898. That is what is specifically American about the anti-imperialism I'm discussing.As for what's so anti-imperialist about it, I should say up front that I have not restricted my purview to those movements which explicitly considered themselves anti-imperialist as that would be mainly a chronicle of marginalia. This is a study of the concrete political formations that arose against specific imperialist ventures. For, even if at an ideological level specific groups or individuals did not understand the problem as imperialism, the political struggle they were conducting was against imperialism. This is not to say that it doesn't matter whether groups self-identify as anti-imperialist or not. Their analysis matters, largely because it is a determinant of how successful they can be. It is just that it would be unduly restrictive, and finger-wagging, to adopt an ideal-type of anti-imperialism against which to measure those whose struggles we need to learn from....
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Sunday, June 17, 2012
real tribute to the material power of European capital in this situation. The media hysteria, and the massive withdrawal of savings, has tilted the balance in the last week of the election.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
...However, the latest spending squeeze, which includes 63% cuts to coal subsidies resulting in thousands of job losses, has provoked furious and desperate resistance by Spanish miners. The cutback came just as the government spent billions rescuing the banks. So, toward the end of last month, approximately 8,000 workers went on strike, indefinitely. In the Asturias province where the mines are largely based, the main square of Oveido was occupied by workers using the same tactic as the indignados.
This is not to say that the miners are simply following the indignados. As one of their most widely seen banners put it: "No Estamos Indignados, Estamos Hasta Los Cojones" ("We Are Not Indignant, We Are Pissed Off To Our Balls")...
Sunday, June 10, 2012
"Also useful to this is Gramsci’s concept of the ‘national – popular’. I do not suggest a return to traditional left-wing flirting with a ‘national’ rhetoric that can blur class antagonism, but to the complex process, political, ideological and social, through which the people can re-emerge in a situation of struggle, not as the abstract subject of the bourgeois polity, but as the potentially anti-capitalist alliance of all those social strata that one way or the other depend upon their labour power in order to make ends meet. This also means a new form of popular unity, especially against the dividing results of racism, an urgent task in a country also facing the rise of the neo-fascists." [link added]