Monthly Archives: December 2018

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12/12 David Harvey #5

Throughout this series of lectures, we have engaged with seemingly disparate subjects which tie together in their long histories or comes together in the larger network of socio-economical relationships across time and space, an example of this is how the full employment of fixed capital changed the British diet to enjoy bitter marmalade. Bitter marmalade was produced in the 19th century when the Kentish conserve industry needed to keep its fixed capital fully employed through times of the year when there was no more fresh local produce, by getting Spanish oranges in the winter and making bitter marmalade. The challenge we face is how to create a way of thinking these relations effectively which is partly what Marx intended to do in his theory of capital.

It is important to note that Marx had a theory of capital, not of capitalism and when he mentions capitalism its in reference to a “capitalist social formation” or “the capital as a social formation”. He uses the power of abstraction as a means of analysis which exists at a certain level of the general. He states that he’s not interested in the particularities since the particularities will have a different dynamic, an example of this is when he refuses to take on the issue of supply and demand in the first volume of the capital.

In this lecture series we used a diagram which is an abstraction of capital as value in motion. Money capital becomes the means of production, which becomes a new commodity. The commodity is then taken to the market and sold and the value is monetized. This money is then distributed through wages, taxes (which can both come back as demand) and is then divided between several distributed factions and comes back as reinvestment in the money capital. This system is also an expanding system and its not static. The three volumes of capital integrate in this diagram, volume 1 takes you through the first part of the diagram, left side, in which it’s assumed there are no issues about the problem of distribution or realization of capital. Capital is analyzed from a perspective which asks you to consider all the issues of realization and distribution as constant or irrelevant. In Volume 2 he looks at the realization process, where the market is and how its guaranteed and Volume 3 is about distribution, in each of these volumes the other two perspectives are considered as constant or irrelevant.

So, we have three perspectives on capital which are in these three volumes of capital, placed on this diagram, However its clear from the introductions to these works that these three volumes are meant as part of totality and the totality or “theory of capital” is encompassed by all these volumes.

At the same time there are several contingents and contextual relations that must be there for this process to work out, one of which is the theme of social reproduction, another is the formation of one’s needs and desires (in volume 2) and the free gifts of knowledge, technologies and culture which capital is constantly transforming.These contextual relations are very important and in focusing on each of these themes, as Cindi Katz does with social reproduction, and expanding them new issues can be articulated which haven’t been addressed in the general model.

The same expansion happens when we talk about the production of nature and the metabolic relation to nature.In so doing we realize that this system is inadequate for encompassing the totality of what needs to be addressed however its important to understand that Marx using the power of abstraction is teaching us about the dynamics of this system and some of its laws in motion and those laws of motion have been very significant in what this totality of capitalism is about.

The analogy that I have used in contradictions to capitalism is useful here, if you are on an ocean liner, there may be thousands of things going on, but in the basement, there is an engine room. What Marx does is explain how this engine works, explaining the engine room may not explain everything, or every possible way in which the ocean liner might sink, it might sink for external reasons. However, if the engine stops, we are in real problem, what we see now is that increasingly the globe is being powered with this engine of capital accumulation and the dynamics and internal contradictions of this engine are becoming problematic. The speed and the acceleration and growth of this engine is also accelerating these problems which raises the question how long can the metabolic relations of this system to nature, or culture facilitate this expansion. It seems like this exponential growth cannot continue at the pace in which it has.

However, things are happening that would question these assumptions, it’s not clear that Marx’s value theory is as relevant as it once was. These expansions are no longer necessarily material, instead valuation of knowledge and immaterial elements are now more important than stuff. The way in which for example a corporation is valued is mostly based on expectations rather than material conditions. Therefore, immateriality is the core of what contemporary capitalism is about. If capital can shift from a material base into an immaterial one its in fact becoming something that evades a lot of these contextual constrains.  It is possible that we are moving into a new form of capitalism and capital which is not a form that can be best understood using this framework.

Then we must consider if a new model can better explain the reality that we are observing. Central to this model, Harvey argued, is a working understanding of finance. Harvey defined finance as “the circulation of interest-bearing fictitious capital.” Where in Volume I, Marx goes looking for a theory of value and discusses money only as an expression of value within the circulation of capital. The heart of Marx’s model throughout Capital is the manufacture of commodities and the extraction of value, but finance, Harvey argued, is money for money’s own sake, and yet bears tremendous value in the contemporary capitalist system.

Interest-bearing fictitious capital that is lent to families in order to buy land, or money lent to landowners for the purpose of building infrastructure on it, for example, enters the circulation of capital at a very different time and place than goods produced through the factory process. The simple truth of the matter is capitalism is different now. Not only is it more global than ever before but Harvey argued it also is more deeply centered on creating consumer-effective demand and enabling consumption at all costs. While Marx certainly predicted rising debts and an increased importance of interest-bearing fictitious capital, it would have been impossible to predict it would become the basis of an entire debt economy.

With this in mind, Harvey reminds us in his final lecture of how Marx’s own theory of capital changed and evolved significantly from the beginning of Capital Vol. I, through all of the thoughts and essays comprising Vol. 3. Just as Marx’s analysis and critique evolved, so too should our own. Harvey encourages us to develop a new model of the circulation of capital — one updated for the contemporary form of capitalist social structures. In our renewed model for understanding the circulation of capital, Harvey argued we may no longer be able to rely on Marx’s theory as the be-all-end-all of capitalism. Instead, we must find new ways to understand how capitalism exists or else, as Harvey warned us, the theory of capital will remain stagnant. To allow our theories to remain stuck in antiquated modes of production, would be to fail at our most important task in this class: To engage in anti-capitalist action.

The end of the lecture felt almost as if Harvey were responding to all of the course’s most impactful speakers. He listed off areas of capitalism Marx had left unexplored, but which we had discussed this semester. In forming our new model for understanding capital, Harvey encouraged the class to look more closely at racial, gendered, and cultural differenced in the experiences of and functions of capitalism, much like many of the highly-engaging faculty who spoke to us throughout the course. He told us to pay attention to the role of social reproduction in creating not only a capitalist economy, but of a capitalist political and social organization.

Toying at this concept of growing beyond traditional understandings of capital himself, Harvey concluded with an example of how we can apply Marxist theory to new concepts, and update them for the contemporary world. He discussed whether we should view the Chinese government as class traitors for joining the World Trade Organization, and engaging in the coercive laws of competition or if we should try to understand how the needs of the people in China forced the government to join the WTO in order to meet them. Once China had entered the world market, however, Harvey argues they were forced into a situation where, in order to survive, China had to operate under the coercive laws of competition and engage in the exploitation of Chinese labor to make enough from cheap commodities to be able to expand their resources and elevate the standard of living across China.

Q & A

  • Knoweldge? On the question of appropriation, how do we speak of it when speaking of knowledge production? How to think on immaterial values through the theory of Accumulation by dispossession, with the history of knowledge so interwoven with epistemicide?

Marx primitive original accumulation ideas are related with the proletarianization process because once the proletariat is form, its formed and has to be dealt with. This is a historical and contemporary process, as observed for example with the proletarianization in China and India of the rural population, where people are being forced out of the land.

However, this is the classical form of appropriation by disposition, surplus value accumulation from the working class. There are also other forms of appropriation, such as the ones that take place not in the Production stage, which is normally related with exploitation, but in the Realization moment. As for example the credit system, speculation in the land value, or knowledge in practice as the pharmaceutical system, when they are able to charge ridiculous prices for patents because of need.

In this sense, Marx and Engels speak of secondary exploitation. We can even speak of economies of dispossession. As when the shopkeeper, the landlord, between other different examples, appropriate by taking advantage of their own role. We can even speak of disposition of rights, as the employees of American Airlines and United who suffered when the companies filed for Bankruptcy. These economies of dispossession became extensive through the neoliberal period due to the need of the expansion of capital.

However, the concept of cognitive capitalism is polemic. Knowledge by itself is not capital. Incorporation of knowledge into the machine and how its incorporated by Capital, its realization, is what Marx was interested in.

  • How do you explain the fall of the Soviet Union through the theory of the seven elements?

It has to do with what revolutionary change is all about. The Soviet Union used a single bullet theory. By changing only, the productive forces, they thought they could solve all the other problems. There was no coevolutionary theory of the social and no attention to any of the other seven elements. Which produced a lack of dynamism that ended with its fall.

On the other side, China has not done the same. It says a lot that every regime in China starts off with them doing reforms. There the system is conceived as a totality. In this sense we can understand the importance of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The reading that Marxist tend to make is that capital is about the transformation of the labor process. But what Mao understood is that it’s not just labor, but social relationships. The need to address the cultural understanding and the cultural relations was fundamental for the revolution. In this sense, the Cultural Revolution aimed to take power from the Chinese elite dominating it. Through this we can understand why the detention of Chinese students nowadays is also a result of the strength of the Maoist revolution.

One has to remember that capital was built not because of the labor process during the industrial revolution, but already was set in practice through the accumulation produced by feudal technology. The dependency on the single bullet theory shows why so many revolutionary processes have failed in the last century.

  • Social Movements and teaching. A question on the method of presentation. The problem on how to bring the dynamisms of these kind of analysis on to people or social movements that might be looking for concrete solutions on concrete problems.

One of the main conclusions when working with social movements, Harvey states, is that social movements don’t need to be explained their own material conditions or why their being exploited. Most of them have read Marx and even his books. They understand why they are where they are.

However, what can be promoted through teachings and discussions is to conceive their own plight as a continuation of larger scale processes and even see that other similar conflicts arise in different latitudes and have echoes in different geographies.

In conclusion, there is no problem in teaching these subjects to any social movement. They irony of it is that, normally the ones that are recalcitrant on learning it are Graduate Students. There seems to be resistance on learning these subjects between students in different faculties, but it might seem redundant when teaching in a penitentiary, due to that most of the inmates have already have a clear idea of how the system works.

  • Totality or Seven? It was asked if how to put together in emancipatory concept both the conception of totality and the seven moments?

To illustrate this point, we started by speaking on the struggle of Taxi unions in China. This example was taken into consideration to discuss a historical moment in which there still was the discussion in China on the possibility of continuing a Maoist kind of governance instead of the entrepreneurial neoliberalism of today. Because of the failure of the first, the second won ground and became the leading model.

In this sense, regionality offer examples that relate to the totality and should not be disregarded. The union of different regional movements, as the resistance in Barcelona of the development of the city and its new urban resistance, can lead to transnational movements.

Lead Bloggers Anthony, Marzieh, and Roberto

Lesley Gill and Sharryn Kasmir

For our discussion today, we had the pleasure of hosting Lesley Gill and Sharryn Kasmir as they presented both their independent and collaborative research and insights. Both researchers are collaborating together to investigate questions of “Why is labor fragmented in the present? “

Presentation 1:

Lesley Gill raised provocative questions as to various pathways towards creating an anthropology of labor, while also asking how has labor as a political formation been fragmented and disorganized. In her definition of labor, she clarifies that it is not the same as livelihood or class (class consciousness), but a political configuration.

In her analysis she gravitated towards Frederic Cooper´s metaphor of “lumps” to describe and capital and spaces of uneven development.   Which pose questions about labor, its struggles and organization in relation to the state and capital, which also make lumps; ¨no smooth surfaces.¨ She briefly refers to iterations of labor and the struggle of working people, most notably chattel slavery, indentured servitude, sharecropping, prison labor, and other forms of contractual and paid labor. She asks how do structures and networks penetrate place, and what is the role of social reproduction within these processes?

“The politics of labor involves on-the-ground social relations among working people that cohere around social reproduction and crafting enough autonomy to shape the future. It entwines working people with more dominant groups and always stands in relationship to international fields of capital and state power.” In this sense labor is different from both livelihood (a set of individual or family strategies) or class (a political expression), the focus of labor is working people engaged in the “making, unmaking, or remaking of social relationships within interconnected fields of power”. In relation to the false promises of capitalist development, she demystifies processes of uneven development. In particular, the matrix of transnational development which create unequal interactions between cores and peripheries. However, she states these insights are inadequate to describe the present, unevenness is not simply a result of capital’s omnipotence and it’s tied to struggle. Looking at how power coalesces in certain spaces and recedes in others, we need a keener eye on how these struggles of labor, capital and the state are making these lumps.

At the beginning of Gill´s presentation she presents Leon Trotsky´s thoughts, and references in his words  Russian ¨backwardness¨ and ¨advanced¨ development, while noting that Trotsky believed that Russia could follow a path from Feudalism directly to communism, although it remains unclear if he also thought Russia could arrive by bypassing the capitalist phase of development. She briefly refers to retiring stale arguments as to the fate of the ¨nation-state in neoliberalism¨ and recognizing that neoliberal capitalism reconfigures the scale at which power operates as well as the relationships between different scales. It also clarifies the multiple struggles—global, national, regional, local—that reshape the spatial dimensions of global capitalism and condition how the many differentiated parts combine and intertwine to create novel configurations.

A key feature of Gill´s analysis is the sensitivity with which she reviews how practices, organization, and social relations are fractured by different temporalities. She urges that within this fragmentation we need to develop and discover new methods and analytical tools. To accomplish this, she refers to Escobar´s ¨ alternative modernities, ¨ and Gibson Graham´s work to examine how spatial-temporal modalities are made and unmade through capital.

Saturn GM, Springhill, Tennessee

The centerpiece of her presentation was recent research she has done surrounding the General Motors plant in Springfield, Tennessee, which is the largest plant in the US opening in the 1990s. Their business model presented the 100-year company, which promised steady work to 7,000 people who relocated to Tennessee to work at Saturn. This site was developed with causal links to other historical moments and distinct places, Japan’s share of the small car market, Centers of investment in auto industry in Brazil or Mexico where labor costs were lower and new management regimes were easier to implement. She also observes central to this business model is the concept of “flexible production. Saturn’s brand slogan, “A Different Kind of Company,” and the rural imagery of its campaign directed both at consumers and inwards at workers positioned Saturn as counterpoint to auto factories in declining industrial-centers. As such Saturn employed a diverse work force composed of Mexican, African American, female joining the ubiquitous white male workforce.

Planning began in the 1960´s-70´s after the wildcat strike manifested changes, among which were challenges to embedded structural racisms. A slogan of the time was “respect rather than wages”.

American workers formed the Revolutionary Union Movement and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, challenged racism in the auto industry and in the UAW, the interconnections between auto-workers and other sectors of a differentiated, global proletariat contributed to autoworkers organizing as a powerful segment of the US working class. As a reaction GM, moves away from these centers of militancy and moves to the south, and in response UAW unionized all plants by 1979. The union locals refuse new management changes proposed by GM and are threatened with whipsawing (originally a labor tactic) and plant closures to force local level concessions from labor.

Developing from this was how the national union became a federation of local unions, with international strategies of protectionism and politics of localism to attract global capital. Various forms of capital flight resulted from the instigation of competition between states and towns, creating a zero-sum game for labor in general. These competitions were so pervasive that for Saturn, school children wrote letters asking Saturn to choose their city, a country song was written to attract Saturn, etc. Gill highlighted how localism can greatly undermine solidarity among the working-class as it pits workers from different areas against one another.

More than a spatial assault, localism had a temporal dimension as well. labor’s temporalities rooted in family security, 30 years to retirement, sufficient household stability for children, were in conflict with the time-scale of capital, whipsawing and product investment cycles. General observations also included that the Saturn struggle institutionalized localism; however, the struggle was for time and place which was insecure and fragmented. It also highlights labor’s active role in making spatial and temporal unevenness distinct.

Presentation 2: Sharryn Kasmir investigated the spatial temporal enclave of oil through the intervention of Standard Oil corporation in Colombia. This followed a general trend of emergent oil enclaves in Mexico and Venezuela, which imposes a spatial vision upon the landscape. This vision was imposed on indigenous people and spaces in the logic of ¨primitive accumulation.¨ Oil industry remade temporalities by imposing industrial time scales on territory. Another axis of organization was that imperialism was not a foreign concept, and formed another liberatory basis of struggle.

This first generation of Colombian oil workers were isolated from Mexican and Venezuelan workers. These new oil enclaves were highly racialized and regimented; they were divided by race and required workers to carry a pass for access. The tensions that arose amongst the different groups co-habitating these enclaves disturbingly organized hierarchically based on race, not surprisingly could not be contained, as English speakers were placed in affluent neighborhoods, while other workers were in disease ridden camps. Uprooted migrant workers formed solidarities with peasants, petty merchants and sex workers. As oil workers and migrants realized they should strengthen ties, there was a general upsurge in organizing, resulting in uprisings and civic strikes.

In 2001, Anti-imperialist struggles of Colombia were taken over by right wing paramilitaries that targeted, suppressed and regulated insurgent workers in the region. The paramilitaries’ arrival and their use of political violence dealt a severe blow to the local working-class movements. Arriving in the region in 2004, Kasmir observed an ongoing strike that she first interpreted as an illustration of the workers’ movement strength in Barrancabermeja, only to realize that this was in fact the last collective action of what was once a highly mobilized and organized working-class.. These new ¨lords of the city made it impossible for political dissidence. Paramilitary incorporated people into illegal labor and the drug trade, as neoliberalism spread to Colombia it incorporated people against their consent for the extraction of oil, gold, and other resources. The country was reconfigured as new spaces for capital.

This new context of infiltration followed a path similar to that of Mexico with the neoliberal production of the paramilitary ¨narco¨ as an informal agent of worker suppression for primitive accumulation. In the following Q and A session Sharryn Kasmir referred to how these representations in pop culture of the ¨narco¨ created a type of ¨narco tourism¨ which does violence to Colombia´s history by reducing, falsifying, and glamorizing the violence of the drug wars in Colombia. As these paramilitaries displaced peasants through violence and were key to the development of neoliberalism.

Questions from the audience included:

Request to elaborate on solidarity between oil workers with the sex workers, which was met by a description of  how sex workers organized soup kitchens to support the strike of the oil workers (social reproductions famous breakfast before the revolution). However, Kasmir also warned us not to romanticize the alliance between oil workers and sex workers as the solidarity movement between the two weakened in the second half of the 20thy century.

Structural heterogeneity of labor, how to put it together in a political movement, alliances and networks to create blocks to confront capital and the state in relationship to other movements and pasts of these movements. Alliances between peasants with workers, migration struggles to move the conversation forward. The issue of migration was deemed particularly important as it puts in touch people coming from different perspectives, potentially allowing radical ideas to spread from one area to another.

David Harvey inquired: ¨where was the geographical analysis in relation to discussions of uneven development, and capital mobility?¨ Later referring  to the annihilation of space by time, described by Marx, which might be applicable here to these explorations.

Another inquiry concerned the expulsion of indigenous groups, to which we heard a  summary of the annihilation of the indigenous populations by the oil industry, which occurred as labor moved from the coastal banana industry to the interior oil territory.

This elaboration continued with a breakdown of US cold war interventions into Latin America where US security employed national armies who became ¨police forces¨ involved in the dirty wars which by the 1980s became the drug wars initiated by Clinton by channeling billions of dollars into paramilitaries that strengthened right wing backlash.

Preceding this was a democratic opening, which resulted in all the anti-imperial dissident labor organizing described above, this left was crushed by ¨Plan Colombia¨ and the drug war.

Another question concerned the relationship between ¨combination¨ to intersectionality. Jeff Mayakovsky elaborate on a book called ¨Marxism in Social movements,¨ where struggles are not framed by labor, and also have lineages and histories. This book examines these plural unified struggles, what voices are coming together. However the book also described an ¨intersectional crisis¨ as collective organizing and movements fall apart in struggling to manage ¨difference¨ and inequity. Fallacies in this process is that movements are blamed rather than wider structural crisis.

Questions:

  • Lesley Gill and Sharryn Kasmir present us with two cases of enclave economies; that of the GM factory in Tennessee and that of the oil industry in Barrancabermeja. What elements help us understand why solidarity movements emerged in the Colombian case but failed to do so in the North American one?
  • When it comes to organizing workers, what tools might be at our disposition to overcome localism, which pits workers against each other, and build a network of solidarity that would respond to Karl Marx’s famous call “workers of the world, unite!”?
  • In relation to the necessity of working from the specificity of the local context, yet building networks of international solidarity, can the work of Enrique Dussel guide us here through his rethinking the later unpublished work of Marx from the last 19 years of his life, which Dussel calls the unknown decolonial Marx? Taking a cue from Dussel, what liberatory potential can be found from adapting the thought of the unknown decolonial Marx to the constraints of the local?

 

 

11/28 Bianca Williams

Bianca Williams is professor of anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center and a co-founder, in 2015, of Black Lives Matter 5280 in Denver, Colorado. Williams began her presentation by showing a clip from the group’s MLK Day 2016 action, where co-leaders demanded Denver cops release recordings of the murder of Michael Marshall. Their analysis linked mental health and police brutality to the city’s homelessness and housing crisis (including a 200% rent increase over five years) and its criminalization of “urban camping.”

The broader Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement is now five years old, and has had up to 45 chapters in the United States, as well as in Toronto, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Various chapters have a high degree of autonomy, differing approaches to prison abolition, bail abolition, and a critique of capital. BLM is one network within the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), which comprises over sixty groups organizing together. In August 2016, M4BL released its platform, a year in the making, titled “A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom & Justice.” This document addresses the relationship between Black labor and premature death to the exploitation of capitalism, presenting a transformative vision for the future. The set of demands includes: demilitarization of the police, bail abolition, the decriminalization of drugs and sex work, an end to the criminalization of youth and trans and gender-nonconforming people, divestment from fossil fuels, investment in universal healthcare and education, community control over police and schools, protection for unions, and a universal basic income. Williams shared Robin DG Kelley’s overview of the platform’s document, claiming it is not just wealth that will be the cure to poverty but justice.  

In describing BLM 5280 as an anti-capitalist formation, Williams emphasized the constant negotiations the group undertook to establish an everyday anti-capitalist organizational practice. Decision-making protocol features centrally here, with members acknowledging the limits of simple majority rule, as well as discussions around fiscal status, childcare at events, payment for organizing, and members’ class positions. When a Black woman landowner offered the BLM 5280 a reduced rate on a derelict plaza and Denver’s Black mayor offered to cover the difference in exchange for a say in what the plaza was used for, the chapter ultimately refused the deal. For Williams, these kinds of decisions and discussions – often less-visible and more quotidien than protests or direct action – were are important ways of “denaturalizing” capitalism practically.

Discussing her time organizing with BLM, Williams highlighted the everyday tensions that arise between theory and practice, especially as it regards managing money. In deciding to pay one of the organizers for her work as an administrator, BLM 5280 members differed in opinion on whether it was fair to pay just one person in the group. Similarly, by attaining fiscal status as a non-profit, the organization was constantly figuring out what sources of funding would or would not compromise their goals.

Williams also described the dynamics between BLM and other groups. Standing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) was a mostly white group that often took part in the riskier aspects of actions in order to minimize the vulnerability of people of color during protest. BLM members trained SURJ members, who then participated in actions, directly using white privilege as a strategy for attaining political recognition in spaces where black bodies are the most vulnerable to police prosecution, violence and murder.

While Black churches and the Nation of Islam were uncomfortable with some of the gender politics of BLM, they nonetheless showed their support during actions and offered their security services during public actions. BLM activism was in this way a lesson in building solidarity within and across groups through an ongoing, and at times exhausting, negotiation of individual race and gender power dynamics and politics.

Williams addressed how fundraising and grant proposals as well as general organizing led to a tension among group members between the theory of Black equality and resistance and the everyday practice of fighting for it. They would often refuse to accept certain grants because of where the money came from while fighting for the fact that people lacked everyday necessities of food and shelter.  BLM 5280’s participation in the Mother and Father’s Day bailouts was also a point of contestation as it reinforced in the power of the carceral state while aiming to solve the more pressing need to free people from jail. BLM was also criticized more broadly for not recruiting enough non-college educated working class people of color, claiming that BLM fights for Black equality while excluding those most marginalized groups,  reproducing an exclusive membership of black excellence. Williams also expressed frustration at the graduate student member who would bring up the history of Black resistance and revolution when needing to confront the everyday urgency to protect oneself from poverty and police violence.

The political pursuit of Black owned and controlled capital as a means to attain social and political autonomy was brought up in class as a debatable form of Black progress.  Only placing and extracting wealth from Black-owned businesses, organizations and banks directly increases economic power to select black communities and generally perpetuating capitalist inequality. The strategy of using capitalist competition to level the playing field for Black people’s participation in the system may neglect the need to undermine capitalism’ role in maintaining unequal access to resources as well as racial justice according to Robin Kelley’s understanding.

Considering the gender and sexuality politics that arose through the confrontation of Black patriarchy, such as with Black preachers and Nation of Islam as well as in organizing meetings, Williams pointed to the need in both academia and activism, to address how paying attention to emotions can be a means to achieve pedagogical and emotional justice. Both within the classroom and the activist spaces, the emotional body is an often neglected yet crucial means to help us understand how systems of race, class, capitalism and power embed themselves onto the body and shape our everyday experience.

Discussion questions:

1. The BLM economic platform invokes a concept of democracy that is separate from capitalism. Does democracy have potential beyond capitalism, and/or as a strategy in anti-capitalist movements?

2. One of the things BLM supports is Black Christmas, an event encouraging consumers to spend their money only at Black-owned businesses and to bank with Black-owned banks. This sparked in class discussion on whether this could be an anti-capitalist strategy or not. Can it? Can a historically informed strategy of racial justice be achieved through capitalist means?

3. Should BLM, a movement firmly based in social media networks  have a more centralized national platform for black equality or should strategies be shaped by the particular racial and economic dynamics of each local community?   

4. What are ways that personal emotions be used as the content of anti-capitalist and anti-racist intervention, thought and action?