POLS 3651/ MIST 3651
October 7th, 2013
Lecture 4 – Week 5
Racism and the Law
The Political Economy of Racism
• Critical Race Theory vs. Marxist Theory (Difference?)
• Political Economy of Racism: what are we trying to emphasis?
The economic aspect that is tied to economics
Looking for the relationship between economics and politics
Political economics is the undoing of the separation of economics and politics
When we talk about political economy of racism we are distancing ourselves from a cultural approach
to some extent critical theory.
Capitalist world, capitalism is the main mode of production.
Racism, discrimination, unequal relations is not something fixed in hate, that is why we face and we
are capable of seeing the difference in treatments to minorities. For instance, in the states, we can see the
treatment of minorities differs from situation to situation.
Going back to Marxism:
• Much of the social analysis that focuses on the injustices and inequalities in U.S. society has been
influenced by the ideas of Karl Marx and the Marxist tradition.
When he talks about justice and that his justice is class informed, equality informed we are making
some references to Marxism. We are doing this because we do not want to focus mainly or try to
understand racism at the personal level. We would like to go beyond this personal level.
Challenging the Liberal View:
• Racism is about more than individual prejudice.And it is hardly the relic of a past era
When we look at capitalism we are not looking and finding capitalism the way liberals do. But we are
looking at capitalism as a social phenomena, social entity, social structure. In this social structure, there
is the political system, policies, modes of production etc.
If you want to understand issues of race and racism in Canada in the last two/three decades, in terms of
objective, conjuncture and subjective conditions we need to focus on globalization and new liberal
Particular events cause Conditions Conjuncture might be 9/11
racism Material (objective and subjective will act
and affect minorities and
The it is the interaction of all this that
conditions Conditions Non
material Political Economy of Racism:
• How the persistence of racism can be explained in terms of the changing economic and political
needs of different groups of capitalists.
These fractions of capitalism may treat the same minority group differently.
The capitalist are not a class with monolithic or unchanging interests in a particular form of
racism, but the form of racism changes with the different groups of capitalism. There are
different forms of capital and different forms of capital.
Different groups of capitalism practices racism differently.
• Melvin Leiman (The political economy of Racism- in the states): all workers are subject to the
cyclical upturns and downturns of capitalism.
Capitalism goes through these cycles. Periods of cyclical expansion and contracts when there is
a recession can affect all workers to some extent equally. Recession, inflation and depression.
However, the author argu