From racial division to class unity

Study Questions


1. Where did the ideas of race, racism and white supremacy come from?

2. What is the role of ideas? Can ideas change the world? Why or why not?

3. What is the role of revolutionaries in the battle of ideas?


Nations, race and slavery

1. Prior to capitalism, how were peoples' places in society defined?

2. What is the connection between the rise of capitalism and the idea of race?

3. What is the relationship between the development of nations and the idea of race? How did it serve to unify nations?

4. What was the relation between African slavery and the idea of race?


Slavery and race in the United States

1. What was the economic foundation for the development of slavery in the U.S.?

2. What were the ideas of the American School? What role did it play in upholding slavery?

3. How did these ideas end up being applied to white workers?


The stages of development of the ideology of race in the United States

1. What is social privilege? Where does it come from?

2. What is the purpose of social privilege?


Colonial roots

1. Describe the development of privilege in the colonial period.

2. Why did racial hatred have to be created?

3. How did competition among workers feed white supremacy? What effect did it have for all workers?

4. What effect did the ideology of race have in the South in particular?


Reconstruction and after

1. Why was revolution in the workers' interests possible after the Civil War? What would it have looked like? Why didn't it happen?

2. How did Northern capitalists use the struggle of the African Americans during this period? Why did they do it?

3. What was the economic foundation of the sharecropping system? What were its effects?

4. Discuss attempts by African Americans and whites to unite during this period. What factors disrupted their efforts? What role did violence play?

5. What was the effect of the suppression of the African Americans on the poor whites in the South?

6. Explain the following statement: "The maneuverings of the ruling class during the Reconstruction years and after were not simply aimed at keeping whites dominant." What does the phrase "Wall Street controls the South and the South controls the nation" mean?


World War II and after

1. Why was the mechanical cotton picker so important?

2. What impact did it have on the African American people? On the structure of southern politics? On all of society?

3. What was the world economic and political situation after WWII?

How did the U.S. want to take advantage of this situation?

4. What was the role of the South in their plans? Why did they want to get rid of segregation?

5. What was the relationship between the Freedom Movement and the goals of the ruling class during this period? How did the rulers try to use it? Were they able to control it? Why or why not?

6. How did they preserve "their ultimate weapon"?

7. What was the impact of desegregation? What was the impact of other civil rights legislation? What impact did it have on the whole of society? What role did electronics play?


New possibilities of unity - the end of the color line?

1. Why have African Americans and whites not been able to unite?

What is different today?

2. What role does electronic technology play? Why does it signal the end of the capitalist system?

3. Discuss the stages of development of the new class. Why is the new class "a mortal danger to the capitalist system"? Does this mean race and racism is no longer important? Why or why not?

4. Why do the rulers have no other alternative but to control this growing new class? How have they used racist ideology to assist in doing this?

5. What do we mean by the ideology of the proletarian movement?

6. Why must we not simply oppose racism? What do we replace it with?

7. Why was temporary organizational unity as much as we could do in the past?

8. Why is class unity possible today? Why is it absolutely necessary?

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Last updated 4/27/15