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Black Scare / Red Scare: Theorizing Capitalist Racism in the United States--Dr. Charisse Burden-Stelly in conversation with Kamau Franklin

Event date: 
Friday, March 8, 2024 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is encouraged. Please register HERE. This event takes place at the Auburn Avenue Research Library, 101 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30303.

Charis and Auburn Avenue Research Library welcome Dr. Charisse Burden-Stelly in conversation with Kamau Franklin for a discussion of Black Scare / Red Scare: Theorizing Capitalist Racism in the United States, a radical explication of the ways anti-Black racial oppression has infused the US government’s anti-communist repression. This event is co-hosted by the Black Alliance for Peace, Atlanta Citywide Alliance, and Community Movement Builders

In the early twentieth century, two panics emerged in the United States. The Black Scare was rooted in white Americans’ fear of Black Nationalism and dread at what social, economic, and political equality of Black people might entail. The Red Scare, sparked by communist uprisings abroad and subversion at home, established anticapitalism as a force capable of infiltrating and disrupting the American order. In Black Scare / Red Scare, Charisse Burden-Stelly meticulously outlines the conjoined nature of these state-sanctioned panics, revealing how they unfolded together as the United States pursued capitalist domination. Antiradical repression, she shows, is inseparable from anti-Black oppression, and vice versa.
 
Beginning her account in 1917—the year of the Bolshevik Revolution, the East St. Louis Race Riot, and the Espionage Act—Burden-Stelly traces the long duration of these intertwined and mutually reinforcing phenomena. She theorizes two bases of the Black Scare / Red Scare: US Capitalist Racist Society, a racially hierarchical political economy built on exploitative labor relationships, and Wall Street Imperialism, the violent processes by which businesses and the US government structured domestic and foreign policies to consolidate capital and racial domination. In opposition, Radical Blackness embodied the government’s fear of both Black insurrection and Red instigation. The state’s actions and rhetoric therefore characterized Black anticapitalists as foreign, alien, and undesirable. This reactionary response led to an ideology that Burden-Stelly calls True Americanism, the belief that the best things about America were absolutely not Red and not Black, which were interchangeable threats.

Black Scare / Red Scare illuminates the anticommunist nature of the US and its governance, but also shines a light on a misunderstood tradition of struggle for Black liberation. Burden-Stelly highlights the Black anticapitalist organizers working within and alongside the international communist movement and analyzes the ways the Black Scare/Red Scare reverberates through ongoing suppression of Black radical activism today. Drawing on a range of administrative, legal, and archival sources, Burden-Stelly incorporates emancipatory ideas from several disciplines to uncover novel insights into Black political minorities and their legacy. 

Dr. Charisse Burden-Stelly is an Associate Professor of African American Studies at Wayne State University and a 2023-2024 Visiting Scholar at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University. She is the author of Black Scare/Red Scare: Theorizing Capitalist Racism in the United States, the co-author of W.E.B. Du Bois: A Life in American History, and the co-editor of Organize, Fight, Win: Black Communist Women’s Political Writings and of Reproducing Domination: On the Caribbean Postcolonial StateDr. Burden-Stelly has published in peer-reviewed journals including Small Axe, Souls, Du Bois Review, Socialism & Democracy, International Journal of Africana Studies, and CLR James Journal and in popular publications like Monthly Review, Boston Review, Essence magazine, The Nation, Teen Vogue, Black Perspectives, and Black Agenda Report. She is a member of the Black Alliance for Peace.

Kamau Franklin is the founder of Community Movement Builders, Inc. Kamau has been a dedicated community organizer for over thirty years, beginning in New York City and now based in Atlanta. For 18 of those years, Kamau was a leading member of a national grassroots organization dedicated to the ideas of self-determination and the teachings of Malcolm X. He has spearheaded organizing work in various areas including youth organizing and development, police misconduct, and the development of sustainable urban communities. Kamau has coordinated and led community cop-watch programs, liberation/freedom schools for youth, electoral and policy campaigns, large-scale community gardens, and organizing collectives and alternatives to incarceration programs. Kamau was an attorney for ten years in New York with his own practice in criminal, civil rights, and transactional law. He now lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and two children.

Event address: 
Auburn Avenue Research Library
101 Auburn Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30303
Black Scare / Red Scare: Theorizing Capitalist Racism in the United States By Charisse Burden-Stelly Cover Image
$31.20
ISBN: 9780226830155
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Chicago Press - November 14th, 2023

A radical explication of the ways anti-Black racial oppression has infused the US government’s anti-communist repression.
 
In the early twentieth century, two panics emerged in the United States. The Black Scare was rooted in white Americans’ fear of Black Nationalism and dread at what social, economic, and political equality of Black people might entail.


Organize, Fight, Win: Black Communist Women's Political Writing By Charisse Burden-Stelly, Jodi Dean Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9781839764974
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Verso - October 4th, 2022

Black Communist women throughout the early to mid-twentieth century fought for and led mass campaigns in the service of building collective power in the fight for liberation. Through concrete materialist analysis of the conditions of Black workers, these women argued that racial and economic equality can only be achieved by overthrowing capitalism.


Reproducing Domination: On the Caribbean Postcolonial State (Caribbean Studies) By Percy C. Hintzen (Editor), Charisse Burden-Stelly (Editor), Aaron Kamugisha (Editor) Cover Image
By Percy C. Hintzen (Editor), Charisse Burden-Stelly (Editor), Aaron Kamugisha (Editor)
$36.00
ISBN: 9781496841520
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University Press of Mississippi - November 29th, 2022

Reproducing Domination: On the Caribbean Postcolonial State collects thirteen key essays on the Caribbean by Percy C. Hintzen, the foremost political sociologist in Anglophone Caribbean studies.


W.E.B. Du Bois: A Life in American History By Charisse Burden-Stelly, Gerald Horne Cover Image
$82.80
ISBN: 9781440864964
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: ABC-CLIO - September 13th, 2019

This book provides a new interpretation of the life of W.E.B. Du Bois, one of the most important African American scholars and thinkers of the 20th century.


Event Summary: 
A radical explication of the ways anti-Black racial oppression has infused the US government’s anti-communist repression.