Of course, it is perfectly
> obvious that capitalism doesn't require racism!
1. Historically, the only capitalism we have known certainly can be said to have required racism, as racism played and plays an incredibly important structural role in its reporduction.
2. Theoretically, while the exact historical racism that was inseparable from capitalism may not have been required (although that is a maybe, we cannot know that capitalism would have thrived without it) *hierarchy* certainly is necessary to capitalism, hierarchy between and among classes. Arbitrary physiognomical traits assigned social significance have played an absolutely crucial (from the standpoint of capitalist reproduction) role in mediating intra-class competition. Capitalism requires that the abstract hierarchy in actual practice be mediated somehow--race, gender, nationality, etc.
Just back after two weeks off e-mail, and slowly working through the posts, so sorry if I'm not on top of all that has gone down through these threads.