The Racialized Global Capitalist Economy: Reading Samir Amin in the 2020s

In: Bandung
Bjorn H. NordtveitAssociate Professor and Chair of Department of Educational Policy, Research & Administration, College of Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, USA
Visiting Professor, Zhejiang Normal University, China

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Using Samir Amin’s theories of worldwide value and historical materialism, this article seeks to show that capitalism is inherently racist, at least since the TransAtlantic enslavement, and that its proponents are perpetuating racism by using it as a tool to deepen economic divides, and to destroy solidarity between workers. The global health crisis of Covid-19 demonstrates the expendability of frontline workers, a large proportion of whom are Black people and has exasperated the economic injustice propagated by the capitalist model. The racist and exploitative structure is global, with a Center extracting rent from the Periphery, where political power and “corruptionists” collude with global corporations. In low-intensity democracies such as the US, paid elections at best will lead to politicians making superficial discursive changes at Superstructure level, whereas the racist Base remains the same. Movements such as Black Lives Matter can be shaped and contained through manipulation of media. To change the Base, this article argues the need for “delinking” of the Periphery from the monopoly economy, and rehabilitation of Marxism through creation of a new global organization – a new Internationale of Workers, or a new Bandung. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in Spring 2022 adds a layer of complexity to the international situation (as it is opening for discourses that are strengthening the monopoly economy worldwide, e.g., in arms manufacturing), but may eventually lead to the demise of the autocratic-capitalist system in Russia, with international repercussions.

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