You are here

How White Leftists Hide The Point of Production From The Rest of Us

UC Workers/Union Against State Violence

The true point of production has been hidden from Africans and other colonized peoples of the world. And the white left is guilty of hiding it.

Generally, the most advanced sectors of the white world are those who claim to represent ALL workers. They say that society is capitalist and, in it resides an inexorable contest between the exploiting capitalist class and the exploited working class. This contest is to be found primarily in the workplace, the prototypical example being a factory located somewhere in the U.S. or Europe. Until now, the workplace has been seen as THE point of production and as a result, the locus of exploitation.

Marxists have taught the world that capitalists exploit the workers at the point of production through a process whereby the worker is forced to either work for the capitalist or starve. Although she puts in a full day's work, the worker is only compensated for a fraction of the day. The unpaid portion of the day is called surplus-value, a form of surplus which becomes available for exchange in the market. This pursuit of surplus-value and the drive for capital accumulation go hand and hand. They say that this unending thirst to accumulate surplus-value by the roving vampires of capital is the mechanism that produces and reproduces the exploitative relationship between boss and worker. 

However, the claim that the capitalist mode of production rests upon the exploitation of bosses and workers locked into a contest for control of surplus-value at the job-site, is a white perspective, or the perspective of Europe. As we will see later, we might say that it represents the perspective of partially commoditized workers, a more objective designation.

The insights of scholar-activists like W.E.B. Du Bois take us beyond the limited understanding of exploitation. In "Socialism and the American Negro," Du Bois provided valuable insight into the perspective of colonized workers when he contemplated whether the high wages of white workers "came not so much out of the profits of the employers as out of the low wages of colored labor." In some sense, according to Du Bois, black workers are exploited both by capitalists and white workers. Either way, he is correct to perceive that there's a structural relationship between the two categories of labor.

However, Du Bois's statement only scratches the surface. For black workers, the scope of colonial exploitation goes far beyond the workspace. It encompasses the entirety of black life, which is made to serve as a source of profit. This exploitation applies to all colonized workers, and the profit it generates extends to both the white ruling class and the white worker.