The Anti-Capitalist Aftermath of George Floyd’s Murder

The Chiseler, June 6, 2020. — J.R.



Once again, The Chiseler’s Daniel Riccuito fires off an adrenal email to Jonathan Rosenbaum. It would seem that current protests, spreading globally, fuel both men with hope – as opposed to handwringing dismay.

DR: One of my pet worries has been that Me Too operates within the same bourgeoise comfort zone that always seems to define (and even helps establish adamantine parameters around) the most represented form of “Feminism” – the word itself has historically been equated with American whiteness, racism and elitist “glass cieling” (a metaphor that reveals all) politics. Ask Angela Davis. The glorious thing about our current global “crisis” (I call it “OPPORTUNITY!”) is that we can no longer avoid socio-economic class – i.e., the intrinsic relationship between capitalism and racism. When we focus on black people and ask “What could possibly make life fairer,” ALL the issues automatically come into play: environmental racism, mass incarceration, unacceptable poverty rates, race-based joblessness, lack of medical care, defunded education – we are COMPELLED to attack capitalism at its roots.

JR: I share your optimism. This is anti-capitalism without much of the privileged white delusion of 60s radicals that we need to wipe the slate clean and start all over again from scratch (as if any of us even knew what scratch consisted of). Sharpton’s address at the George Floyd memorial brought me back to the unparalleled experience I was fortunate to have in the late 50s of attending a black funeral in rural Alabama –- the collective vibe that made grief and joy two sides of the same coin (and not capitalistic coin, either), pinpointed by the preacher’s poetic intuition that “we are all graveyard travelers, traveling to the grave…” Both the eloquence and the practical wisdom of the black discourse around the demonstrations are what impress me the most.

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