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Jeffrey B. Perry Blog

Theodore W. Allen's The Invention of the White Race Slide Presentation/Talk by Jeffrey B. Perry June 11, 2015 Thursday, 6 PM

June 11, 2015
Thursday, 6 PM
Theodore W. Allen's The Invention of the White Race (Verso Books) especially Volume 2 The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America will be discussed by Jeffrey B. Perry in a slide presentation/talk at the Bogota Borough Public Library 375 Larch Ave. Bogota, NJ, 07063. Contact person Radwa Ali, Branch Director, 201-488-7185.
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Theodore W. Allen's The Invention of the White Race Slide Presentation/Talk by Jeffrey B. Perry June 20, 2015 Saturday, 10 AM

Theodore W. Allen's
The Invention of the White Race
Slide Presentation/Talk by Jeffrey B. Perry
June 20, 2015
Saturday, 10 AM
June 20, 2015
Saturday, 10AM
Theodore W. Allen's The Invention of the White Race (Verso Books) especially Volume 2 The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America will be discussed by Jeffrey B. Perry in a slide presentation/talk sponsored by Bergen County Historical Society and Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center, 355 Main St., Hackensack, NJ. Contact person Peggy Norris.
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Review of Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White Race New Expanded Edition, Verso Books by Sean Ahern in Online University of the Left

Review of Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White Race, New Expanded Edition, 2 Volumes, Vol. 1: Racial Oppression and Social Control; Vol. 2: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America; Verso Books, by Sean Ahern, in Online University of the Left CLICK HERE Read More 
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Review of Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White Race New Expanded Edition, Verso Books by Sean Ahern in Black Commentator

Review of Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White Race, New Expanded Edition, 2 Volumes, Vol. 1: Racial Oppression and Social Control; Vol. 2: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America; Verso Books, by Sean Ahern, in Black Commentator CLICK HERE Read More 
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Theodore W. Allen Theses on “The Invention of the White Race” and Lessons from Three Crises Presentation by Jeffrey B. Perry




Theodore W. Allen (1919-2005) pioneered his “white skin privilege” analysis in 1965, co-authored White Blindspot in 1967 and authored the accompanying “Can White Workers Radicals Be Radicalized?’” in 1969, wrote the ground-breaking Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race in 1974/1975, wrote the seminal two-volume The Invention of the White Race in 1994 and 1997, and authored a number of other extremely important published and unpublished pieces.

His "The Invention of the White Race," with its focus on racial oppression and social control, is one of the twentieth-century's major contributions to historical understanding. This two-volume classic (Vol. 1: "Racial Oppression and Social Control" and Vol. 2: "The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America") details how the "white race" was invented as a ruling-class social control formation and a system of racial oppression was imposed in response to labor solidarity in the wake of Bacon's Rebellion (1676-77), how the "white race" 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.

This brief video presents three of Allen’s theses related to the invention of the “white race” and his important analysis of the white supremacy’s role in beating back struggles from below in three great crises in U.S. history.

The article “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 offers the fullest treatment of the development of his thought. Click Here (at top left) or Click Here

For A Slide Presentation/Talk on Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” at the Brecht Forum in New York City Click Here

For information on Theodore W. Allen Click Here and Click Here

For information on Jeffrey B. Perry Click Here
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SUPER SPECIAL SALE on THE INVENTION OF THE WHITE RACE (2 vols., Verso Books) by Theodore W. Allen 40% off, free shipping & e-book

SUPER SPECIAL SALE on THE INVENTION OF THE WHITE RACE
(2 vols., Verso Books)
by Theodore W. Allen
Each volume at 40% off with free shipping and an e-book version bundled free.

See
Vol. I: Racial Oppression and Social Control

Vol. II: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America

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“Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen, and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy" by Jeffrey B. Perry (Introduction)

“Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen,
and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy"
by Jeffrey B. Perry (Introduction)




“Hubert Harrison, Theodore W. Allen, and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy” Introduction to 5-Session Class by Jeffrey B. Perry
July 26, 2014
at The Commons in Brooklyn, NY


This course focuses on the relevance today of important insights from Hubert H. Harrison (1883-1927) and Theodore W. Allen (1919-2005), two of the twentieth century's most important writers on race and class. The St. Croix, Virgin Island-born, Harlem-based Harrison was the leading Black activist and theoretician in the Socialist Party; a brilliant writer, orator, and editor; the founder of the "New Negro Movement," the major radical influence on A. Philip Randolph and Marcus Garvey, and a self-described "radical internationalist." He is known as "The Father of Harlem Radicalism."

Theodore William Allen (1919-2005), was an anti-white-supremacist, proletarian intellectual and an autodidact who pioneered his "white skin privilege" analysis in 1965, authored Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race, in 1975, and authored the two-volume The Invention of the White Race, (2 vols., Verso Books, 1994, 1997, new edition 2012) and "Summary of the Argument of The Invention of the White Race" (1978).

Jeffrey B. Perry edited “A Hubert Harrison Reader” (Wesleyan University Press, 2001) and authored “Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918” (Columbia University Press, 2008). Perry also contributed new front and back matter to the new edition of Allen's “The Invention of the White Race” and he authored "The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy" (“Cultural Logic,” 2010). He is currently working on a new edition of "When Africa Awakes" by Hubert Harrison for Diasporic Africa Press and Vol. 2 of the Hubert Harrison biography.

Dr. Perry is also preserving and inventorying the Theodore W. Allen Papers. He edited and introduced Allen’s Class Struggle and Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race (1975; Center for the Study of Working Class Life, State University of New York, Stony Brook, 2006) and he has authored numerous other pieces on Allen including "The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy"(Cultural Logic, July 2010). Most recently he contributed new introductions, back matter, internal study guides, and expanded indexes for the new (Verso Books, November 2012) expanded edition of Allen's two-volume The Invention of the White Race. (Vol. 1: Racial Oppression and Social Control and Vol. 2: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America.)

For the article “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, CLICK HERE

For information on Hubert Harrison --
CLICK HERE for reviews of "Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918"
and CLICK HERE for information on "A Hubert Harrison Reader"
and CLICK HERE for writings, audio, and video abour Hubert Harrison

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

For a Slide Presentation/Talk on Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” CLICK HERE

Also see the following links –

For information on Theodore W. Allen's "The Invention of the White Race" Vol 1: Racial Oppression and Social Control (Verso Books) CLICK HERE and for Vol. 2: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America CLICK HERE

For additional writings by and about Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE

For a video presentation on Theodore W. Allen's "The Invention of the White Race," which draws insights from the life and work of Hubert Harrison CLICK HERE

For key insights from Theodore W. Allen on U.S. Labor History CLICK HERE

Go to the following link to read 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"

For information on Jeffrey B. Perry CLICK HERE

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. "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,"[Part 1] by Jeffrey B. Perry, Slide Presentation/Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, August 16, 2014

5. “Theodore W. Allen, 'White Skin Privilege,' 'The Invention of the White Race,' and the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy," [Part 2] by Jeffrey B. Perry, Slide Presentation/Talk at The Commons, Brooklyn NY, September 6, 2014
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The Invention of the White Race by Theodore W. Allen Slide Presentation/Talk (Video) by Jeffrey B. Perry


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
.


Note -- On this cold January night in 2013 the Brecht Forum, when it was still located in lower Manhattan, had no heat. The standing room only audience is testimony to the interest in Theodore W. Allen's important work and the struggle against white supremacy. For more on Theodore W. Allen's The Invention of the White Race CLICK HERE!

Please mark this video for viewing and share with others!
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Slide/Presentation Talk by Jeffrey B. Perry on Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White RaceFriday, Jan. 31, 2014, 6:30 PM WORD Book Store 126 Franklin St. Brooklyn, NY

The Invention of the White Race, Vol. I: Racial Oppression and Social Control (New Expanded Edition, Verso Books, November 2012) ISBN: 9781844677696
The Invention of the White Race, Vol. II: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America (New Expanded Edition, Verso Books, November 2012) ISBN: 9781844677702

Theodore W. Allen’s two-volume The Invention of the White Race, republished by Verso Books in a New Expanded Edition, presents a full-scale challenge to what Allen refers to as “The Great White Assumption” – “the unquestioning, indeed unthinking acceptance of the ‘white’ identity of European-Americans of all classes as a natural attribute rather than a social construct.” Its thesis on the origin and nature of the “white race” contains the root of a new and radical approach to United States history, one that challenges master narratives taught in the media and in schools, colleges, and universities. With its equalitarian motif and emphasis on class struggle it speaks to people today who strive for change worldwide.

Allen’s original 700-pages magnum opus, already recognized as a “classic” by scholars such as Audrey Smedley, Wilson J. Moses, Nell Painter, and Gerald Horne, included extensive notes and appendices based on his twenty-plus years of primary source research. The November 2012 Verso edition adds new front and back matter, expanded indexes, and internal study guides for use by individuals, classes, and study groups. Invention is a major contribution to our historical understanding, it is meant to stand the test of time, and it can be expected to grow in importance in the 21st century.

“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.”


That arresting statement, printed on the back cover of the first (1994) volume, reflected the fact that, after pouring through 885 county-years of Virginia’s colonial records, Allen found “no instance of the official use of the word ‘white’ as a token of social status” prior to its appearance in a 1691 law. As he explained, “Others living in the colony at that time were English; they had been English when they left England, and naturally they and their Virginia-born children were English, they were not ‘white.’” “White identity had to be carefully taught, and it would be only after the passage of some six crucial decades” that the word “would appear as a synonym for European-American.”

Allen was not merely speaking of word usage, however. His probing research led him to conclude – based on the commonality of experience and demonstrated solidarity between African-American and European-American laboring people, the lack of a substantial intermediate buffer social control stratum, and the “indeterminate” status of African-Americans – that the “white race” was not, and could not have been, functioning in early Virginia.

It is in the context of such findings that he offers his major thesis -- the “white race” was invented as a ruling class social control formation in response to labor solidarity as manifested in the later, civil war stages of Bacon's Rebellion (1676-77). To this he adds two important corollaries: 1) the ruling elite, in its own class interest, deliberately instituted a system of racial privileges to define and maintain the “white race” and 2) the consequences were not only ruinous to the interests of African-Americans, they were also “disastrous” for European-American workers, whose class interests differed fundamentally from those of the ruling elite.

In Volume I Allen offers a critical examination of the two main lines of historiography on the slavery and racism debate: the psycho-cultural approach, which he strongly criticizes; and the socio-economic approach, which he seeks to free from certain apparent weaknesses. He then proceeds to develop a definition of racial oppression in terms of social control, a definition not based on “phenotype,” or classification by complexion. In the process, he offers compelling analogies between the oppression of the Irish in Ireland (under Anglo-Norman rule and under “Protestant Ascendancy”) and white supremacist oppression of African Americans and Indians.

Allen emphasizes that maximizing profit and maintaining social control are two priority tasks of the ruling class. He describes how racial oppression is one form of ruling class response to the problem of social control and national oppression is another. The difference centers on whether the key component of the intermediate social control stratum are members of the oppressor group (racial oppression) or the oppressed group (national oppression).

With stunning international and domestic examples he shows how racial oppression (particularly in the form of religio-racial oppression) was developed and maintained by the phenotypically-similar British against the Irish Catholics in Ireland; how a phenotypically-similar Anglo bourgeoisie established national oppression in the Anglo-Caribbean and racial oppression in the continental Anglo-American plantation colonies; how racial oppression was transformed into national oppression due to ruling class social control needs in Ireland (while racial oppression was maintained in Ulster); how the same people who were victims of racial oppression in Ireland became “white American” defenders of racial oppression in the United States; and how in America racial oppression took the form of racial slavery, yet when racial slavery ended racial oppression remained and was re-constituted in new form.

In Volume II, on The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America, Allen tells the story of the invention of the “white race” in the late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Anglo-American plantation colonies. His primary focus is on the pattern-setting Virginia colony, and he pays special attention to the fact that England alone, of all the European colonizing powers, exported so many of its own surplus poor laboring population. He also pays particular attention to the process by which tenants and wage-laborers in the majority English labor force in Virginia were reduced to chattel bond-servants in the 1620s. In so doing, he emphasizes that this reduction was a qualitative break from the condition of laborers in England and from long established English labor law, that it was not a feudal carryover, that it was imposed under capitalism, and that it was an essential precondition of the emergence of the lifetime hereditary chattel bond-servitude imposed upon African-American laborers under the system of racial slavery.

Allen describes how, throughout much of the seventeenth century, the status of African-Americans was being fought out and he documents significant instances of labor solidarity and unrest, especially during the 1660s and 1670s. Most important is his analysis of the civil war stage of Bacon’s Rebellion when, in the final stages, "foure hundred English and Negroes in Arms" fought together demanding freedom from bondage.

It was in the period after Bacon's Rebellion, in response to class struggle, that the “white race” was invented as a ruling-class social control formation. Allen describes systematic ruling-class policies, which conferred “white race” privileges on European-Americans while imposing harsher disabilities on African-Americans resulting in a system of racial slavery, a form of racial oppression that also imposed severe racial proscriptions on free African-Americans. He emphasizes that when African-Americans were deprived of their long-held right to vote in Virginia and Governor William Gooch explained in 1735 that the Virginia Assembly had decided upon this curtailment of the franchise in order "to fix a perpetual Brand upon Free Negros & Mulattos," it was not an "unthinking decision." Rather, it was a deliberate act by the plantation bourgeoisie and was a conscious decision in the process of establishing a system of racial oppression, even though it entailed repealing an electoral principle that had existed in Virginia for more than a century.

The key to understanding racial oppression, Allen argues, is in the formation of the intermediate social control buffer stratum, which serves the interests of the ruling class. In the case of racial oppression in Virginia, any persons of discernible non-European ancestry after Bacon's Rebellion were denied a role in the social control buffer group, the bulk of which was made up of laboring-class "whites." In the Anglo-Caribbean, by contrast, under a similar Anglo- ruling elite, "mulattos" were included in the social control stratum and were promoted into middle-class status. For Allen, this was the key to understanding the difference between Virginia’s ruling-class policy of “fixing a perpetual brand” on African-Americans, and the policy of the West Indian planters of formally recognizing the middle-class status “colored” descendant and other Afro-Caribbeans who earned special merit by their service to the regime. This difference, between racial oppression and national oppression, was rooted in a number of social control-related factors, one of the most important of which was that in the West Indies there were “too few” poor and laboring-class Europeans to embody an adequate petit bourgeoisie, while in the continental colonies there were '’too many’' to be accommodated in the ranks of that class.

The references to an “unthinking decision” and “too few” poor and laboring class Europeans are consistent with Allen's repeated efforts 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 white supremacism is innate, and (2) the argument that European-American workers “benefit” from “white race” privileges and that it is in their interest not to oppose them and not to oppose white supremacy. These two arguments, opposed by Allen, are related to two master historical narratives rooted in writings on the colonial period. The first argument is associated with the “unthinking decision” explanation for the development of racial slavery offered by historian Winthrop D. Jordan in his influential, White Over Black. The second argument is associated with historian Edmund S. Morgan’s similarly influential, American Slavery, American Freedom, which maintains that, as racial slavery developed, “there were too few free poor [European-Americans] on hand to matter.” Allen’s work directly challenges both the “unthinking decision” contention of Jordan and the “too few free poor” contention of Morgan. Allen convincingly argues that the “white race” privileges conferred by the ruling class on European-Americans were not only ruinous to the interests of African-Americans; they were also against the class interest of European-American workers.

The Invention of the White Race is a compelling work that re-examines centuries of history. It also offers Allen’s glimpse of “the future in the distance.” When he completed Volume II sixteen years ago, the 78-years-old Allen, in words that resonate today, ended by describing “unmistakable signs of maturing social conflict” between “the common people” and “the Titans.” He suggested that “Perhaps, in the impending . . . struggle,” influenced by the “indelible stamp of the African-American civil rights struggle of the 1960s,” the “white-skin privileges may finally come to be seen and rejected by laboring-class European-Americans as the incubus that for three centuries has paralyzed their will in defense of their class interests vis-à-vis those of the ruling class.” It was with that prospect in mind, with its profound implications for radical social change, that the independent, working class intellectual/activist Theodore W. Allen (1919-2005) concluded The Invention of the White RaceRead More 
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Presentation on “The Invention of the White Race” at the Brooklyn Public Library (10 Grand Army Plaza) Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 4 PM Please Help to Spread the Word!

I will discuss Theodore W. Allen's “The Invention of the White Race” (Verso Books) especially Volume 2, “The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America,” in a slide presentation/talk on Saturday, December 7, 2013, at 4 PM, at the Brooklyn Public Library, Dweck Center, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11238.

Theodore W. Allen was an independent working class scholar, long-time resident of Brooklyn (he lived at Brooklyn Ave. and Dean St.), and an employee of the Brooklyn Public Library.

“The Invention of the White Race” has been described as a “classic” and widely praised by scholars and activists for its seminal contributions to our understanding of race and class and for its extraordinary primary research (much of that primary research was done over a thirty-year period in Virginia archives and at the Brooklyn Public Library).

For the new 2012 edition of “The Invention of the White Race” I prepared new introductions, internal study guides, a biographical sketch, suggested readings, and expanded indexes

The event is free and people are encouraged to attend, to bring friends, and to share this announcement with those who might be interested. People who have heard of Allen’s important work and have not yet had a chance to read it are especially encouraged to attend.

The presentation will be followed by a question and answer period.

For information on the new expanded edition of Volume 1: “Racial Oppression and Social Control” CLICK HERE

For information on the new expanded edition of Volume 2: “The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America” CLICK HERE

For information on the Brooklyn Public Library Events Calendar CLICK HERE

For other writings by and about Theodore W. Allen CLICK HERE

To join the event on Facebook and to invite others via Facebook CLICK HERE
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