Class, Race, and Marxism

David R. Roediger. Verso, $26.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-78663-123-7
Roediger, a professor of American studies and history at the University of Kansas, reflects on the ongoing connections between racial and class-based oppression in the United States in these six essays, all previously published between 2006 and 2016. The introduction to the collection is both timely and incisive as Roediger “urges less dismissiveness” between socialists and Black Lives Matter activists, which he sees as undermining solidarity. The essays that follow offer little more than a tasting platter of Roediger’s scholarship over the years. Roediger is eloquent on, for example, the journey of the historian George Rawick from orthodox Marxism to engagement with racial liberation movements of the 1960s. Similarly, his 2009 essay (cowritten with Elizabeth Esch) on the relationship between race and labor management is insightful about the birth of modern production processes. But the essays as presented in the collection, not updated or placed in dialogue with one another, add nothing to their original publication. Readers who have not previously engaged with Roediger’s work may appreciate these works—particularly the final and most recent essay, “Making Solidarity Uneasy”—as a useful introduction to his scholarship, but those who are already familiar with his ideas are not likely to find much here of note . (July)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2017
Release date: 07/04/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
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