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Catalyst Fall 2021

Catalyst Fall 2021

13,00  inkl. MwSt., zzgl. Versand

It’s been a year and a half since George Floyd’s murder catapulted racial oppression into the center of political debate. The evolution of that debate has offered much for activists and scholars on the Left to think about. For most of the twentieth century, movements against racial oppression in the United States had a visible socialist and working-class component or were heavily influenced by one. From the 1920s to the civil rights era in particular, calls for racial liberation placed the interests of black workers and the poor at the center of their strategic perspective. Hence, this perspective went beyond just political enfranchisement and formal equality, so that economic demands for jobs, education, housing, and health care became strategic anchors for the movement. This not only implanted the black working class as the moral and political ballast of racial liberation but created a potential bridge for linking its advancement to the advancement of the working class as a whole. Not so today. Politics, as the saying goes, abhors a vacuum. For some time now, the distinctive feature of mainstream black politics has been the near-total absence of a socialist or working-class organizational force. Instead, as Adolph Reed, Cedric Johnson, and others have persistently argued for years, political discourse has been hegemonized by a stratum of black politicos and professionals. The space that was once occupied by a socialist perspective on race is now occupied by this elite grouping, which has crafted a latter-day version of black nationalism to advance its own narrow interests. This issue of Catalyst examines some central dimensions of this elite black nationalism. All nationalisms create a fictive history around an “imagined community,” the putative nation that the discourse seeks to represent. Imagined communities need imagined histories. In the opening essay, James Oakes presents a devastating critique of the New York Times’s 1619 Project, a historiographical enterprise that seeks to present slavery and racial conflict as the taproot of American historical development. Oakes shows that the project not only creates a fictional history but, in so doing, rather blatantly advances an elite political agenda.

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Weight: 0.4 kg
Dimensions: 20.5 × 13.5 × 1.5 cm
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