instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

Jeffrey B. Perry Blog

Insights From Theodore W. Allen on the “five-stage cycle”


Insights From Theodore W. Allen on the “five-stage cycle”


In recent articles, including pieces in “Counterpunch” and “Black Star News,” the author David Rosen addresses the themes of a “deepening social crisis gripping the U.S” and “that white skin privilege is being eroded.”

Theodore W. Allen, whose anti-white supremacist, class struggle-based, theoretical approach pioneered “white skin privilege” analysis in the mid-1960s offered important insights relevant to the currently developing conjuncture. In an instructive 1974 talk on the economic situation, and in a 1997 update that he presented before the Union of Radical Political Economists, Allen suggested that “the history of class struggle in the U.S. could be interpreted as a five-stage cycle in which:

1) The normal course of capitalist events brings on a deterioration of the conditions of the laboring classes.
2) The substance of the white-skin privileges becomes somewhat drained away by increased insecurity and exploitation.
3) The laboring-class “whites” manifest, to a greater or lesser extent, a tendency to make common cause with laboring-class Blacks against capital.
4) The ruling class moves to re-substantiate the racial privileges of the white workers vis-à-vis the Blacks.
5) The white workers take the bait, repudiate solidarity with Black laboring people and submit themselves without radical protest to exploitation by the privilege-givers.”

Allen emphasized the crucial importance of anti-white supremacist, working class struggle at all stages, but particularly between phases 3 and 5. For Allen, this was an especially key period to challenge the re-substantiation of “white race” privileges and to heighten anti-white supremacist struggle.

For more on Allen’s discussion of the 5-stage cycle and the fullest IN-DEPTH TREATMENT of his forty-plus years of writings on “white skin privilege” and class struggle see “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 in PDF format at the TOP LEFT Here
or at “Cultural Logic” HERE
For writings by and about Theodore W. Allen see HERE

For a video of a slide presentation/talk on Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” see HERE

For information on “The Invention of the White Race” Vol. II: "The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo America" (including comments from scholars and activists and Table of Contents) see HERE

For information on “The Invention of the White Race” Vol. I: “Racial Oppression and Social Control" (including comments from scholars and activists and Table of Contents) see HERE

For information on Theodore W. Allen’s “Summary of the Argument of The Invention of the White Race” Part 1 see HERE and for Part 2 see HERE

For a video of a Slide Presentation/Talk on Hubert Harrison see HERE

For comments from scholars and activists on "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918" (Columbia University Press) see HERE

For articles, audios, and videos by and about Hubert Harrison see HERE

 Read More 
Be the first to comment

On Recent David Rosen Articles in "Counterpunch" and "Black Star News" and Theodore W. Allen's Five-Stage Cycle

Insights From Theodore W. Allen on the “five-stage cycle”


In recent articles, including pieces in “Counterpunch” and “Black Star News,” the author David Rosen addresses the themes of a “deepening social crisis gripping the U.S” and “that white skin privilege is being eroded.”

Theodore W. Allen, whose anti-white supremacist, class struggle-based, theoretical approach pioneered “white skin privilege” analysis in the mid-1960s offered important insights relevant to the currently developing American conjuncture. In an instructive 1974 talk on the economic situation, and in a 1997 update that he presented before the Union of Radical Political Economists, Allen suggested that “the history of class struggle in the U.S. could be interpreted as a five-stage cycle in which:

1) The normal course of capitalist events brings on a deterioration of the conditions of the laboring classes.
2) The substance of the white-skin privileges becomes somewhat drained away by increased insecurity and exploitation.
3) The laboring-class “whites” manifest, to a greater or lesser extent, a tendency to make common cause with laboring-class Blacks against capital.
4) The ruling class moves to re-substantiate the racial privileges of the white workers vis-à-vis the Blacks.
5) The white workers take the bait, repudiate solidarity with Black laboring people and submit themselves without radical protest to exploitation by the privilege-givers.”

Allen emphasized the crucial importance of anti-white supremacist, working class struggle at all stages, but particularly between phases 3 and 5. For Allen, this was an especially key period to challenge the re-substantiation of “white race” privileges and to heighten anti-white supremacist struggle.

For more on Allen’s discussion of the 5-stage cycle and the fullest IN-DEPTH TREATMENT of his forty-plus years of writings on “white skin privilege” and class struggle see “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 in PDF format at the TOP LEFT CLICK HERE

For a video of a slide presentation/talk on Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” CLICK HERE

For information on “The Invention of the White Race” Vol. II: "The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo America" (including comments from scholars and activists and Table of Contents) CLICK HERE

For information on “The Invention of the White Race” Vol. I: “Racial Oppression and Social Control" (including comments from scholars and activists and Table of Contents) CLICK HERE

For information on Theodore W. Allen’s “Summary of the Argument of The Invention of the White Race” Part 1 CLICK HERE
and for Part 2 CLICK HERE

For a video of a Slide Presentation/Talk on Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

For comments from scholars and activists on "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918" (Columbia University Press) CLICK HERE
and CLICK HERE

For articles, audios, and videos by and about Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

Sample David Rosen discussing “white skin privilege” and the developing crisis can be found CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE

 Read More 
Be the first to comment

"Deteriorating Conditions and Theodore W. Allen's Comments on the History of Class Struggle in the U.S. in Terms of a Five-Stage Cycle"


The article by Hope Yen, “80 Percent Of U.S. Adults Face Near-Poverty, Unemployment: Survey,” brought to mind Theodore W. Allen’s Discussion of the history of class struggle in the U.S. in terms of a five-stage cycle in which:

1) The normal course of capitalist events brings on a deterioration of the conditions of the laboring classes.

2) The substance of the white-skin privileges becomes somewhat drained away by increased insecurity and exploitation.

3) The laboring-class “whites” manifest, to a greater or lesser extent, a tendency to make common cause with laboring-class Blacks against capital.

4) The ruling class moves to re-substantiate the racial privileges of the white workers vis-à-vis the Blacks.

5) The white workers take the bait, repudiate solidarity with Black laboring people and submit themselves without radical protest to exploitation by the privilege-givers."

In describing these stages Allen explained that “one important aspect of white supremacist capitalist rule in this country” is that “the unemployment rate for white workers is supposed to be only half as much as that for black workers.” He wryly noted, though “they don’t exactly believe in quotas . . . they manage that one.” But, there is “a limit on how much unemployment can be put on the back of black workers.”

Thus, if you follow the proportion of white to Black unemployment “you will find that in the years when the depression reaches a crisis, that the differential is narrowed, that in times of prosperity it is the greatest.” In the first phase conditions get bad then, in the second, “some substance of white skin privilege begins to be drained away, . . . the preference is there but the differential of the substance narrows.” Regarding stage four, Allen showed that “the differential between black and white unemployment went up” between 1929 and 1941. All of this followed the “first hired, last fired” pattern of racial privileges for “whites.”

Allen emphasized the crucial importance of anti-white supremacist, working-class struggle at all stages, but particularly between phases 3 and 5. For Allen, this was an especially key period to challenge the re-substantiation of “white race” privileges and to heighten anti-white supremacist struggle. To counter the past pattern of an “upsurge of mass struggle” that gets “swept into . . . white supremacist errors,” Allen urged keeping two principles in mind. “One, anything that cuts profit is good” and two, maintain “anti-white supremacist, proletarian hegemony” in mass struggles. He warned, “any other kind than anti-white supremacist proletarian hegemony . . . is not going to avoid phase 4 of the cycle.”

For more on this subject see Jeffrey B. Perry “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy,” p. 54-55 by going to the top left of THIS PAGE or by CLICKING HERE
 Read More 
Be the first to comment