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Jeffrey B. Perry Blog

White Supremacy by Ruling Class Design

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in "The German Ideology" (1846), part 1, write --
"The ideas of the ruling class, are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e., the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force."

Looking back to the era of capitalist racial slavery throughout the South we see Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts explaining in the course of his March 7, 1850, oration on the proposed Compromise of that year --

". . . the general lead in the politics of the country, for three-fourths of the period that has elapsed since the adoption of the Constitution, has been a southern lead."

Alexander Stephens, the future Vice-President of the Confederacy, boasted in January 1861 --

"We [the southern slaveholder states] have always had control of it [the Federal government] . . . we have had a majority of the Presidents chosen from the South, as well as the control and management of most of those chosen from the north. We have had sixty years of southern presidents, to their 24, thus controlling the executive department. So of the judges of the Supreme Court, we have had 18 from the south, and but 11 from the north; although nearly four-fifths of the judicial business has arisen from the free states, yet a majority of this court have always been from the south. This we have required, so as to guard against any interpretation of the Constitution unfavorable to us. In like manner, we have been equally watchful to guard our interests in the legislative branch of government. In choosing the presiding presidents (pro tempore of the Senate) we have had 24 to their 11. Speaker of the House, we have had 23 and they 12. While the majority of the Representatives, from their greater population, have always been from the North, yet we have so generally secured the Speaker because he, to a great extent, shapes and controls the legislation of the country . . . Nor have we had less control of every other department of the general government."

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 at http://www.jeffreybperry.net/works.htm (top left) Read More 
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Response to the Great Depression -- White Supremacy by Ruling Class Design (by those who make the rules)

In his book, “When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America,” Ira Katznelson explains how the national policies enacted from the 1930s through the 1950s – initiatives such as Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act, emergency relief, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the G.I. Bill – “constituted a massive transfer of quite specific privileges to white Americans” and “widened the gap between white and black Americans.”

Katznelson describes how the South’s representatives in both Houses of Congress “built ramparts within the policy initiatives of the New Deal and the Fair Deal to safeguard their region’s social organization” and he cites three particular mechanisms that they used. First, “they sought to leave out as many African Americans as they could . . . not by inscribing race into law but by writing provisions that . . . were racially laden.” The “most important instances concerned categories of work in which blacks were heavily overrepresented, notably farmworkers and maids.” These groups, which constituted over 60% percent of the Black labor force in the 1930s and nearly 75% of those employed in the South, “were excluded from the legislation that created modern unions, from laws that set minimum wages and regulated the hours of work, and from Social Security until the 1950s.” Second, “they successfully insisted that the administration of these and other laws, including assistance to the poor and support for veterans, be placed in the hands of local officials who were deeply hostile to black aspirations.” Third, “they prevented Congress from attaching any sort of anti-discrimination provisions to a wide array of social welfare programs such as community health services, school lunches, and hospital construction grants, indeed all the programs that distributed monies to their region.” In this way “a wide array of public policies” gave preference to whites and “most black Americans were left behind or left out.”

One of the most glaring examples cited by Katznelson concerns the impediments to African Americans getting GI Bill home loans that had features such as low interest and zero down payments. The many impediments to African Americans were not limited to the South, and in New York and the northern New Jersey suburbs “fewer than 100 of the 67,000 mortgages insured by the GI Bill supported home purchases by non-whites.”

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 at http://www.jeffreybperry.net/works.htm (top left)  Read More 
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