Best initial price for shrinkwrapped set of 2 vols. of The Invention of the White Race by Theodore W. Allen -- CLICK HERE








Jeffrey B. Perry
Slide Presentation/​Talk
on Theodore W. Allen's
"The Invention of the White Race"
especially Vol. II
"The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America"
January 31, 2013
Brecht Forum, NYC
Hosted by
The Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen Society




For Videos of the Slide Presentation/​Talks in the series “Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen, and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy” by Jeffrey B. Perry see

1. " Theodore W. Allen, 'White Skin Privilege,' 'The Invention of the White Race,' and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy," by Jeffrey B. Perry, Slide Presentation/​Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, July 26, 2014

2. “Hubert Harrison, St. Croix, Early Years in New York, and Black Working Class Intellectual Circles (1883-1909)," by Jeffrey B. Perry, Slide Presentation/​Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, August 2, 2014

3. “Theodore W. Allen, 'White Skin Privilege,' 'The Invention of the White Race,' and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy," by Jeffrey B. Perry, Slide Presentation/​Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, August 9, 2014

4. “Theodore W. Allen, 'White Skin Privilege,' 'The Invention of the White Race,' and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy," by Jeffrey B. Perry, Slide Presentation/​Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, August 16, 2014

The Problem


Allen sought to challenge what he considered to be the two main arguments that undermine and disarm the struggle against white supremacy in the working class:

1. the argument that racism is innate, and
2. the argument that European-American workers benefit from racism.

The first argument is associated with the "unthinking decision" explanation for the development of racial slavery offered by historian Winthrop Jordan in his influential, National Book Award-winning, "White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812." The second argument is associated with historian Edmund S. Morgan's similarly influential, triple-award-winning, "American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia", which maintains that, as racial slavery developed, "there were too few free poor [European-Americans] on hand to matter."

Morgan, a past president of the Organization of American Historians and recipient of the 2000 National Humanities Medal for "extraordinary contributions to American cultural life and thought," went even further in "American Slavery, American Freedom" and in his 1972 article "Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox." In these writings he offered a master narrative, which Allen described as "an assessment of white supremacism in relation to the foundation of the United States as a republic in a positive light." Its essence, to Allen, was "the thesis . . . that democracy and equality as represented in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of 1789, were, . . . made possible by racial oppression"; or, as Morgan stated it, "the slavery of Afro-Americans made possible, indeed was essential for, the emergence of the notion of equality as the fundamental constitutional principle of the United States." Allen considered Morgan's thesis to be both inaccurate and a hindrance to the struggle against white supremacy.

Allen was convinced, however, that it was not enough to simply counter Morgan's thesis and the arguments that racism is innate and that workers benefit from racism. What was needed, he concluded, was "a self-standing completely opposite theory." That is the task that "Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race" begins. Allen's new theory is built, as he explains, on "three essential bearing-points" that challenge both Jordan and Morgan and "from which it cannot be toppled":

First, racial slavery and white supremacy in this country was a ruling-class response to a problem of labor solidarity. Second, a system of racial privileges for white workers was deliberately instituted in order to define and establish the "white race" as a social control formation. Third, the consequence was not only ruinous to the interests of the Afro-American workers but was also "disastrous" . . . for the white worker.

"White supremacism was the Achilles heel of the labor, democratic, and socialist movements in this country."





Melissa Anyiwo
Hosted Allen Class
Curry College
Milton, Mass.




1. "Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen, and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy," by Jeffrey B. Perry, Slide Presentation/​Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, July 26, 2014

2. “Hubert Harrison, St. Croix, Early Years in New York, and Black Working Class Intellectual Circles (1883-1910)," by Jeffrey B. Perry, Slide Presentation/​Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, August 2, 2014

3. “Hubert Harrison, the Socialist Party, the Founding of the 'New Negro Movement,' and the Liberty Congress (1911-1918)," by Jeffrey B. Perry, Slide Presentation/​Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, August 9, 2014

4. “Theodore W. Allen, 'White Skin Privilege,' 'The Invention of the White Race,' and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy," by Jeffrey B. Perry, Slide Presentation/​Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, August 16, 2014

Theodore W. Allen


On the Life, Work, and Legacy of Theodore W. Allen



Jeffrey B. Perry -- Slide Presentation/​Talk on
The Invention of the White Race (Verso Books) by Theodore W. Allen
with special emphasis on Vol. II: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America.
Hosted by “The Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen Society”
Filmed by Fred Nguyen on January 31, 2013
Brecht Forum, New York City
.




“Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen,
and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy"
by Jeffrey B. Perry (Introduction)
July 26, 2014
The Commons, Brooklyn, NY








Rudolph Lewis in his Chicken Bones: A Journal website dedicates a section to
Theodore W. Allen and his Insights

Video




Jeffrey B. Perry Discusses Theodore W. Allen on “The Invention of the White Race,”
Labor History, and the Centrality of Labor Struggle Against White Supremacy


Interview conducted with Caesar Pink and staff of Arete Living Arts Center (Brooklyn, NY) on Saturday, June 8, 2013, at the Labor and Working Class History Association (LAWCHA) National Conference, at Brooklyn - CUNY Center for Worker Education, 25 Broadway, 7th floor, New York, NY, 10004. Posted on 7 April 2014.

For additional information on Jeffrey B. Perry CLICK HERE!
For key insights from Theodore W. Allen on U.S. Labor History CLICK HERE!
For information on Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” CLICK HERE!
For additional writings by and about Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE!
For writings by and about Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE!
For information on Arete Living Arts Foundation
CLICK HERE!


"The Invention of the White Race"
Dr. Jeffrey Perry Discusses the New Expanded Edition The Invention of the White Race (Verso Books, 2012)
Interview by Gary Glennell Toms
January 29, 2013.



Theodore W. Allen interviewed by Stella Winston on "The Invention of the White Race"





Jeffrey B. Perry on Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen and the "white race" as a ruling class social control formation.
Interview conducted by Ingemar Smith at Morehouse College, March 4, 2010.





Presentation on Theodore W. Allen's "The Invention of the White Race" by Jeffrey B. Perry for the James Connolly Forum, Troy, New York, May 11, 2013



October 19, 2013
Saturday, 2 PM - 4:30 PM -- Theodore W. Allen's The Invention of the White Race (Verso Books) especially Volume 2 The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America is discussed in a slide presentation/​talk by Jeffrey B. Perry at the Dudley Branch Library 65 Warren Street, Roxbury, MA. CLICK HERE


Audio


Host Allen Ruff interview with guest Jeffrey B. Perry on A Public Affair, WORT 89.9 FM Madison, Wisconsin, July 10, 2014. . They discussed the life and work of Hubert Harrison (“The Father of Harlem Radicalism"), the work of Theodore W. Allen (author of “The Invention of the White Race”), and the centrality of the struggle against white supremacy. Listen HERE



Jeffrey B. Perry WBAI Radio interview/discussion with host Hugh Hamilton on Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” (Verso Books) and on Hubert Harrison “The Father of Harlem Radicalism”

Jeffrey B. Perry interview/discussion with host Hugh Hamilton on Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” (Verso Books) and on Hubert Harrison “The Father of Harlem Radicalism.” WBAI Radio (99.5 FM, NYC) Broadcast, Thursday, March 14, 2013 from 4 to 5 PM. To listen please go HERE -- (to the second hour of the two-hour radio program) [Special thanks to Michael G. Haskins for his assistance with this program]

The Invention of the White Race




“When the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no ‘white’ people there; nor, according to colonial records, would there be for another sixty years” writes Theodore W. Allen on the back cover of Volume 1 of his seminal, two-volume, "The Invention of the White Race." Allen meticulously details how the “white race” was invented as a ruling-class social control formation in response to labor unrest in the wake of Bacon’s Rebellion (1676-77), how it was created and maintained through “white race” privileges conferred on laboring class European Americans relative to African Americans, how these privileges were not in the interest of African Americans or laboring class European Americans, and how the “white race” has been the principal historic guarantor of ruling-class domination in America.

Since publication in the mid-1990s, "Invention" has been recognized as a “classic.” Volume One reviews the origin of racism debate and utilizes the "mirror" of Irish history to show the relativity of “race” and racial oppression as a form of social control not based on “phenotype.” Volume Two focuses on colonial Virginia and describes the invention of the “white race” as a ruling class social control formation and the development of racial oppression and racial slavery in Anglo-America.

Key Components of Theodore W. Allen's Analysis in
"Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race"


When the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no "white" people there; nor, according to the colonial records, would there be for another sixty years.

Throughout much of the seventeenth century conditions in Virginia were quite similar for Afro-American and Euro-American laboring people and the "white race" did not exist.

There were many significant instances of labor unrest and solidarity in Virginia, especially during the 1660s and 1670s, and it is of transcendent importance that "foure hundred English and Negroes in Arms" fought together demanding freedom from bondage in the latter stages of Bacon's Rebellion.

The "white race" was invented as a ruling class social control formation in response to the labor unrest in the latter (civil war) stages of Bacon's Rebellion of 1676-77.

The "white race" was developed and maintained through the systematic extension of "a privileged status" by the ruling class to European-American laboring people who were not promoted out of the working class, but came to participate in this new multi-class "white" formation.

The non-enslavement of European-American laborers was the necessary pre-condition for the development of racial slavery [the particular form of racial oppression that developed in the continental plantation colonies].

The "white race" social control formation, racial slavery, the system of white supremacy, and white racial privileges were ruinous to the class interests of working people and workers' "own position, vis-à-vis the rich and powerful . . . was not improved, but weakened, by the white-skin-privilege system."

Slavery in the continental colonies was capitalism, the slaveholders were capitalists, and the chattel bond-servants (including those enslaved), were proletarians.



QUOTATIONS FROM THEODORE W. ALLEN


Theodore W. Allen's Four Challenges for the Work Ahead




“When the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no ‘white’ people there; nor, according to the colonial records, would there be for another sixty years.”
Theodore W. Allen
The Invention of the White Race, Vol. 1, 1994
(Written after searching through 885 county-years of Virginia’s colonial records)



“In the latter half of the seventeenth century, [in] Virginia and Maryland, the tobacco colonies . . . Afro-American and European-American proletarians made common cause in this struggle to an extent never duplicated in the three hundred years since.”
Theodore W. Allen
Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race, 1975


“ . . . the plantation bourgeoisie established a system of social control by the institutionalization of the ‘white’ race whereby the mass of poor whites was alienated from the black proletariat and enlisted as enforcers of bourgeois power.”
Theodore W. Allen
Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race, 1975



“ . . . the record indicates that laboring-class European-Americans in the continental plantation colonies showed little interest in ‘white identity’ before the institution of the system of ‘race’ privileges at the end of the seventeenth century.”
Theodore W. Allen
The Invention of the White Race, Vol. 1, 1994


“ . . . their (the poor “whites”) own position, vis–a-vis the rich and powerful . . . was not improved, but weakened, by the white-skin privilege system.”
Theodore W. Allen
Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race, 1975


“Given this understanding of slavery in Anglo-America as capitalism, and of the slaveholders as capitalists, it follows that the chattel bond-laborers were proletarians. Accordingly, the study of class consciousness as a sense the American workers have of their own class interests, must start with recognition of that fact.”
Theodore W. Allen
“On Roediger’s The Wages of Whiteness,” 2001


“The most vulnerable point at which a decisive blow can be struck against bourgeois rule in the United States is white supremacy. White supremacy is both the keystone and the Achilles heel of U.S. bourgeois democracy, the historic font of bourgeois rule in the United States.”
Theodore W. Allen
“The Most Vulnerable Point,” 1972


“ . . . among the masses of white workers, the bourgeoisie established the dominance of race consciousness as against proletarian class consciousness.”
Theodore W. Allen
“Presentation for a Panel Discussion,” 1972


“All the while their white blindspot prevents them from seeing what we are talking about is . . . the ‘white question,’ the white question of questions – the centrality of the problem of white supremacy and the white-skin privilege which have historically frustrated the struggle for democracy, progress and socialism in the US.”
Theodore W. Allen
“White Blindspot,” 1967


“(In) three periods of national crisis [Civil War and Reconstruction, Populist Revolt of 1890s, and the Great Depression of the 1930s] characterized by general confrontations between capital and urban and rural laboring classes . . . The key to the defeat of the forces of democracy, labor and socialism was in each case achieved by ruling-class appeals to white supremacism, basically by fostering white-skin privileges of laboring-class European-Americans.”
Theodore W. Allen
[New] “Introduction” to “The Kernel and the Meaning:
A Contribution to a Proletarian Critique of United States History,” 2003


“[This ‘white race’] . . . this all-class association of European-Americans held together by ‘racial’ privileges conferred on laboring class European-Americans relative to African-Americans – [has functioned] as the principal historic guarantor of ruling-class domination of national life”
Theodore W. Allen
“Summary of the Argument of The Invention of the White Race,” 1998


“The ‘white race’ is the historically most general form of ‘class collaboration.’”
Theodore W. Allen
Taped Interview with Chad Pearson, SUNY-Albany, May 13, 2004


“ . . . the ‘white race’ must be understood, not simply as a social construct, but as a ruling class social control formation.”
Theodore W. Allen
“Summary of the Argument of The Invention of the White Race,” 1998


Shortly before his death, Allen, as both an intellectual and an activist, posed four basic challenges for the work ahead:

1. To show that white supremacism is not an inherited attribute of the European-American personality.

2. To demonstrate that white-supremacism has not served the interests of the laboring-class European-Americans.

3. To account for the prevalence of white-supremacism within the ranks of laboring-class European-Americans.

4. By the light of history, to consider ways whereby European-American laboring people may cast off the stifling incubus of "white" identity.




“The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy” by Jeffrey B. Perry is now available at http://www.jeffreybperry.net/works.htm (top left)

This is a pre-publication version of an article that will appear online in "Cultural Logic"




"An Introduction to Theodore W. Allen” by Jeffrey B. Perry



"Insights From the Work of Theodore W. Allen, on
'White Skin Privilege,' The Invention of the White Race,
and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy"
Slide Presentation/​Talk by Jeffrey B. Perry, at “The Center for Marxist Education,” Cambridge, Massachusetts
Filmed by Doug Enaa Greene on October 25, 2014.
.


Hubert Harrison:
The Voice of
Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918

Find Authors