Fri Oct 13 08:14:57 PDT 2000

Correction: extending the Gramscian analysis to American slavery.

In a message dated Fri, 13 Oct 2000 11:11:03 AM Eastern Daylight Time, JKSCHW at writes:

<< I cannot censor the use of any term, but if you think "racist" is a scientific term, you are deceiving yourself--it is a slur, even when it is true. If you were to read Gevonese or understand Gramsci, or even to read what I said about them, you would understand that to say that slaves "consented" in a Gramscian sense, as a general rule, is not to say they were happy under slavery. Moreover the fact that not all racism takes the form of explicit avowals of racial inferiority does not mean that someone who denies racial inferiority, like Genovese, is racist. Finally, Gramsci does not limit his notions of capitalsim--for one, he applies them expressly to the ancient world and theRenaissance, and even if he did, Genovese's genius was in extending them to capitalism. [oops! I mean US slavery.]

Do you write your briefs to the court this way, Charles?


In a message dated Fri, 13 Oct 2000 9:26:12 AM Eastern Daylight Time, "Charles Brown" <CharlesB at> writes:


>>> JKSCHW at 10/13/00 03:09AM >>>
In a message dated 10/12/00 5:21:04 PM Eastern Daylight Time, CharlesB at writes:

<< You describe his racist thesis in what you say following here. The thesis that the slaveowners ruled significantly by consent is a racist thesis. Not revolting and accomodating yourself to force is not CONSENT. Upon legal analogy, agreeing to do something under duress is not consent.


Even if the thesis is false it is not racist. It does not say or imply or presuppose that the slaves were biologically or in any other way, say culturally, inferior to whites as a race.


CB: What you describe is not the only form racism takes. In fact, since the Civil Rights Movement the main forms of racism are not in the form of a claim that Black people are inferior biologically or culturally. The New Racism , since Reaganism, takes the form of denying that one is racist, claiming that there is no racism in America anymore , except the reverse racism of Black people and other people of color.

A thesis that slaves significantly consented to being slaves is a warmed over version of the slavocracy's own ideology, i.e. that slaves were happy in slavery. The claim that slaves significantly consented to be slaves is of the same genus.


Moreover, the terms "consent" and "coercion" here are derived from Gramsci, who argues that no ruling group can long maintain its power by mere brute force ("coercion"), but must also rule largely by accommodating, to the extent necessary to prevent revolt, the interests of the subordinate groups, and to make a claim that is at least accepted by the acquiesence of those groups, to rule by right. This is "consent," and it is compatible with a lot of resentment and resistance to a ruling group's rule as klong as that resistance is not fundamental.


CB: Gramsci's theory is more specific to capitalism. I don't recall Gramsci applying it to slavery. Marx , I think or at least Marxists, differentiate between the form of rule under wage-labor and under feudalism or slavery. The latter involves overt coercion more than the former. The accomodation of slaves in the U.S. slavery system was only because of the gross force that was made clear to them.


Gramsci's complex notionof consent is partly intended to attack the naive liberal idea that mere consent legitimates a group's rule, end of story. Gramsci was talking about workers and capitalists, but Genovese extended his idea brilliantly to slaves and masters. Moreover, I think he was right. So did Malcom X, I will remark,a lthough he did not know Gramsci or Genovese. But the ideas are in his writing.

I think it would be more productive for you discuss where you disagree and why than to spatter slurs.


CB: "Racism" is a scientific term, not a slur. You can't censor its use. I have discussed at length on this very list.

Censorship of the use of the term "racism" is one of the main methods of the racism of the year 2000. Get up to speed on current theory of racism. Take a look at some BRC materials. Gunnar Myrdal is way out of date and was pretty weak when he came out with his book.



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