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Jul 13, 22

Cracks in the Racial Order?: A Discussion on Race, Class and the Ongoing Impact of Noel Ignatiev

On this episode of It’s Going Down, we speak with former comrades of radical organizer and author Noel Ignatiev, who passed away in 2019 and is most well known for his involvement in the radical journal, Race TraitorBefore his passing, Ignatiev was also involved with Hard Crackers, which chronicles working-class life, struggle and revolt while continuing the political project that began with Race Traitor. A collection of Ignatiev’s written works, Treason to Whiteness is Loyalty to Humanity, which includes selections from How the Irish Became White and the Race Traitor journal, has also now been published on Verso press.

During our conversation, we discuss the ongoing impact and importance of Ignatiev’s ideas, which built upon and continued the work of anti-capitalist Black revolutionaries like W. E. B. Du Bois and CLR James. Along with contemporaries like Ted Allen, Ignatiev, who was also deeply involved in radical, anti-capitalist organizing – began to ask how racism affected class struggle in the United States and why white workers were often hesitant to stand in solidarity with workers and poor people of color. Ignatiev argued that white supremacy, a cross-class relationship between lower and working-class whites and those in power, was the mechanism which hindered wider class struggle from breaking out across society. If whites could crack the racial caste system that put whiteness at its top, then maybe they could begin to struggle alongside those already attacking it.

Throughout our discussion, we also touch on the George Floyd rebellion, Trumpism, and the current Supreme Court decision to roll back bodily autonomy. We discuss if January 6th marked an attempt to re-solidify whiteness within society, lessons from the Civil War and reconstruction, and what people can – and should do to topple the racial order of American capitalism.

More Info: Noel Ignatiev interview with It’s Going Down and Hard Crackers home page.

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It’s Going Down is a digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements. Our mission is to provide a resilient platform to publicize and promote revolutionary theory and action.

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