Here’s an email I sent recently to Michael Parenti:
I’d like your take on the role of transnational capital in the civil rights and women’s rights movements.
The standard line we are given is that a groundswell of popular movements were the sole cause of the social gains made by the civil rights and women’s rights movements in the United States. Yet at the same time that those movements were having success transnational capital (not national capital) was emerging as the world’s most powerful force.
Transnational capital, unlike national capital, is anti-racist, since most of the world’s potential markets are brown-skinned people. Tiger Woods is a model citizen of this type – a mixed race individual who makes corporations millions of dollars.
Just one year after Martin Luther King, Jr. switched his message from civil (African-American) rights to the rights of the poor he was assassinated. Some of the powers that be don’t mind him asking for rights for blacks, but none of the powers that be like the poor.
It’s a terrible myth that anti-racism is progressive. It’s transnational. By no means am I saying that racism is progressive. Racism is aligned with national (Western, largely White) capital.
My further argument is that there has been no “change of consciousness” or in Chomskyian terms no “civilizing process” involved in the civil rights movement, since what really happened was a switch from racist ideology, which supports national capital, to anti-racist ideology, which supports transnational capital.
This argument will likely never gain popularity, not due to it’s lack of truth but rather due to it not appealing to any powerful political group – progressives as I’m sure you’re aware enjoy congratulating themselves for their “change of consciousness” concerning a transition from racism to anti-racism and aren’t in the business of upsetting their own self-esteem.
This may or may not matter to what I’m saying, but I’m a global socialist who believes that the best way to help the world is to elevate the material well being of the world’s poor, to enable a “living wage” baseline for human control over resources.
Thanks for reading and responding to this,