Race and Class in America

The New York Times, Michael Eric Dyson and the politics of race

By Barry Grey, 14 July 2016

The Times is on guard and ready to denounce anything—a political development, a book, even a movie—that challenges its racialist agenda. This agenda has become more and more central as the class struggle has grown more intense.

Obama in Dallas: Platitudes and lies on police killings

By Bill Van Auken, 13 July 2016

To deliver an honest speech, Obama would have had to admit that the epidemic of police killings as well as the shootings in Dallas are either the direct product of or blowback from his administration’s policies.

“The records were full of evidence of dissent and insurrections by common people”

An interview with Victoria Bynum, historian and author of The Free State of Jones—Part 1

By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 12 July 2016

We are posting a conversation with Victoria Bynum, whose research helped inspire the film Free State of Jones, about an insurrection by Southern Unionists against the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Race, class and police murder in America

By The World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board, 11 July 2016

The campaign to portray the United States as riven by racial hatred serves definite and reactionary social and political aims.

“I am against something wrong, regardless of what the color of someone’s skin is”

Protesters speak out on police killings

By Nick Barrickman and Matthew Taylor, 11 July 2016

Protesters in Washington DC and Jacksonville, Florida, among the thousands who demonstrated against police killings this weekend, spoke with the World Socialist Web Site.

The police killings in Louisiana and Minnesota: The class issues

By Andre Damon, 8 July 2016

Millions of people around the world have reacted with shock, outrage and revulsion at the latest videos and images of police murder in the United States.

Law-and-order campaign follows sentencing in Stanford sexual assault case

By Eric London, 30 June 2016

The California state legislature is poised to enact new mandatory sentencing laws that will greatly expand the prison population and the police powers of the state.

Charles Blow of the New York Times

The right-wing, racialist attacks on the film Free State of Jones

By David Walsh, 30 June 2016

Free State of Jones, about a white farmer in Mississippi who led an insurrection against the Confederacy from 1863 to 1865, has come under sharp attack from the “new right” of identity politics advocates.

Divided Supreme Court rejects challenge to affirmative action

By Tom Carter, 27 June 2016

The protracted and embittered litigation over affirmative action highlights the policy’s central importance to the political, corporate and military establishment.

Political prisoner Gary Tyler freed from Angola prison after 41 years

By Helen Hayes, 2 May 2016

Gary Tyler’s frame-up and decades-long incarceration expose the brutal class character of the American judicial system and its vast prison complex.

The political agenda behind the racial politics of the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof

By Niles Williamson, 5 April 2016

Amid mounting signs that interest in socialism is on the rise, Kristof is doing his best to promote racialist politics to divide the working class and block the development of class consciousness.

The New York Times on race and art

By Hiram Lee, 4 April 2016

A review published in this Sunday’s New York Times Book Review advances a racialist view of art and culture with thoroughly reactionary implications.

“This is not a race issue—we need everyone to support this”

Detroit Public School students take a stand with teachers, spreading protests

By Nancy Hanover, 1 February 2016

High school students throughout Detroit speak up, walk out and protest to make their stand with teachers.

The class character of the student protests on US campuses

By David Walsh, 17 November 2015

The student protests initiated over the past two weeks have a decidedly upper middle class character, aimed not at fighting for social equality but at carving out greater privileges for relatively privileged African American and other minority professionals.

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution: No lessons learned

By Clare Hurley and Fred Mazelis, 9 October 2015

Riveting video footage along with complacent commentary adds up to a misleading account.

Grace Lee Boggs dies at 100 years old

By Shannon Jones, 9 October 2015

Boggs passed briefly through the Trotskyist movement in the early 1950s before becoming a supporter of black nationalism, feminism and the Democratic Party.

Hillary Clinton and Black Lives Matter: A revealing confrontation

By Patrick Martin, 22 August 2015

The much-publicized encounter sheds light on the essentially right-wing character of both the Democratic frontrunner and the proponents of identity politics.

Democratic Party moves to drop “Jefferson-Jackson” name from fundraisers

By Tom Mackaman, 13 August 2015

The move to disassociate the Democratic Party from the two figures it has long claimed as its founders, allegedly because they were slave-owners, marks a new milestone in the party’s embrace of identity politics.

How the New York Times distorted its own poll on race relations

By Barry Grey, 28 July 2015

A careful reading of the actual poll indicates that racial animosities are continuing to fade and basic class issues are coming to the fore.

Why the politicians have united to take down the Confederate flag

By Barry Grey, 30 June 2015

The rush to take down symbols of racism that the American political establishment has kept in place for decades is a defensive response to an outpouring of public horror over the Charleston killings and popular hostility to racism.

Race and class in America: The case of Rachel Dolezal

By Niles Williamson and Barry Grey, 24 June 2015

The revelation that the head of a local NAACP chapter, since forced to resign, is a white woman has driven the purveyors of identity politics into a furor.

The social roots of racism in America

By Andre Damon, 23 June 2015

The political establishment has seized upon the tragedy in Charleston to promote the conception that race is the fundamental category in American society.

Fraternity banned, students expelled from University of Oklahoma after racist video appears online

By Nick Barrickman, 11 March 2015

Sigma Alpha Epsilon, which has historical ties to the antebellum South, has been involved in a rash of incidents of a reactionary character.

Selma and the legacy of the US civil rights movement

By Fred Mazelis and Joseph Kishore, 9 March 2015

Obama’s commemoration of “Bloody Sunday” was a political farce aimed at sanctifying a corrupt apparatus with the blood of those who made great sacrifices as part of the civil rights movement.

Race, class and police violence in America

By Joseph Kishore, 9 December 2014

In response to popular anger over police violence in the US, the Obama administration has strengthened the apparatus of repression while deploying the practitioners of identity politics to obscure the basic class issues at stake.

Man charged in killing of 19-year old Detroit resident Renisha McBride

By Lawrence Porter, 26 November 2013

The killing of McBride, who was shot on the doorsteps of a suburban home, is being seized on by sections of the political establishment to promote racial politics.

Alabama posthumously pardons Scottsboro Boys

By Matthew MacEgan, 25 November 2013

The Alabama Board of Pardons and Parole decided unanimously to posthumously pardon three of the “Scottsboro Boys,” who were wrongfully accused of two rapes during the early 1930s.

At University of Michigan symposium Angela Davis offers political cover for Obama

By Helen Halyard and Shannon Jones, 31 January 2013

In recent years, Davis has been brought forward as part of an effort to give an oppositional gloss to the Democratic Party.

The Sherrod affair and American social reality

By David Walsh, 27 July 2010

The Shirley Sherrod affair, the case of the black US Department of Agriculture official fired July 20 because of an allegedly racist remark, is profoundly discrediting to every wing of the American establishment.

Arizona immigration bill: A frontal assault on democratic rights

By Patrick Martin, 26 April 2010

The new anti-immigrant law passed in Arizona last week and signed by Governor Jan Brewer is a blatantly racist and anti-democratic measure authorizing police-state methods against the Hispanic population of the state.

Trial begins in killing of Ecuadorean immigrant in New York suburb

By Peter Daniels, 24 March 2010

A trial began last week in a tense courtroom in the town of Riverhead, Long Island, in connection with the killing of an Ecuadorean immigrant 16 months ago.

Obama administration reaches $3.4 billion settlement with Native American landowners

By Hiram Lee, 14 December 2009

The US government will settle a class action lawsuit brought against it by the American Indian owners of land trusts who say the government has deprived them of billions of dollars in royalty payments.

The black “insiders” and the Obama administration

By Lawrence Porter, 17 November 2008

The Obama presidential campaign carefully cultivated the illusion that an African American president would prove sympathetic to the plight of average working people. However, the social layers that Obama represents have different class interests; far from being sympathetic to the conditions of the working class or the poor, they have used their connections to take advantage of the very people they claim to defend.

US Supreme Court clears way for execution of likely innocent death row inmate

By Kate Randall, 16 October 2008

The US Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to hear the appeal of Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis. The case against Davis, convicted in the 1989 killing of an off-duty Savannah police office, has gained worldwide attention, with demands by human rights activists and high-profile figures for his life to be spared.

Affirmative action and the right to education: a socialist response

By Joseph Kay and Patrick Martin, 3 May 2001

Conflicting rulings by two federal district court judges on lawsuits against the affirmative action policies of the University of Michigan may well provide the vehicle for a major ruling by the US Supreme Court on the subject, for the first time in 23 years.

The University of Michigan Law School case and affirmative action: the politics of race

By Joseph Kay, 3 May 2001

During the University of Michigan (U-M) Law School case and afterward, U-M and various radical groups on campus have taken up the defense of affirmative action, advancing a political perspective that in no way addresses the basic crisis of education in the United States. What is their program? That the University should remain off limits to the majority of working class and most middle class youth, but that it should be made “diverse” through the selective admission of a small percentage of minority students, who are given preference over qualified white students.

Ebonics and the danger of racial politics

A socialist viewpoint

By Helen Halyard, 21 April 1997

The main issue in the dispute over Ebonics is not language, but perspective. Those who base themselves on the permanence of capitalism are seizing upon racial differences in order to make them a barrier to unifying working people in the struggle to change society. They promote the conception that the great division in American society is between black, white and Hispanic or American born and foreign born.

Who is promoting Ebonics and why?

13 January 1997

Until very recently, the term Ebonics (literally, black sounds) was unknown to all but a handful of academics and black cultural nationalists. Within the last month, however, the public has been bombarded with news reports, talk shows and opinion columns all dealing with the issue.