WRM has written the lead piece in the latest issue of The American Interest, which broadly deals with the subject of race and class in America. Drawing on themes that regular readers of Via Meadia will recognize, the essay traces the long arc race relations have traveled since the founding of the country to today—four years into the Obama presidency. A taste:
Over the past two centuries, the question of race in America has been indissolubly linked to the general social and economic development of the country. That is not surprising; blacks and whites live and work in the same economy and the same forces act on their lives. But race and the history of race have meant that these forces play out in different ways. Just as past compromises going back to 1787 were based on the political economy of the day, the Compromise of 1977 reflected the nature of American economic and political life at that time. The United States was then still in the late heyday of the “blue social model.” Stable corporate oligopolies provided lifetime employment for both blue- and white-collar workers. Both public and private entities were bureaucratically organized with large clerical staffs dedicated to relatively low-skilled information processing. Employment in government and in the academy was rapidly expanding, and real wages had been rising for a generation. Manufacturing employment was high and presumably headed higher. The Compromise of 1977 was predicated on the assumption that these conditions would endure; they have not, and race relations must once again be rethought.
Give it a read this weekend.