Sunday, November 4, 2007

George Jackson and Ayn Rand

Hey all,

So I wrote this while reading George Jackson since I was thinking about his economic and politic views in relation to his racial theories.

In my reading of George Jackson, especially in his espousal of the detriments of racism in capitalism, it seems that while he wants to disregard the capitalist system he is actually somewhat supporting Ayn Rand's theories on capitalism. Ayn Rand, of course, was a staunch proponent of laizze faire economics based on a market economy and Jackson, in my reading, does seem to be in favor of a form of fascism. At first they seemed like they would be opponents but in closer reading of Jackson's letter dated April 4, 1970 on page 233 and of Rand's diatribe in "Atlas Shrugged" via John Galt, they overlap in some of their theories, at least on racism in the government and economics. Rand argues against collectivism, unions and government intervention on the grounds that it slows down the economy and hurts free enterprise, as is shown through the governmental intervention towards one of her main characters in "Atlas Shrugged," the industrial powerhouse Hank Rearden. She continues though to say that for the economic independence she argues for to exist, there must be a moral code amongst businessmen to use only the most qualified and "best" workers and products in their industries. This caveat includes getting rid of racism in the economy and marketplace. This overlaps with George Jackson even though she doesn't specifically advocate for civil rights in "Atlas Shrugged" it is implied in later works that racial discrimination is unionism at it's lowest form. Jackson, possibly unwittingly even though his letters were written after Rand's book and he is a self proclaimed intellectual, supports this concept. He rages against capitalism calling it the "wrecker of worlds, scourge of the people" (p. 246) but then admits that his ideas come from the institutionalized racism in capitalism that his father succumbed to and he fights against. He expresses how capitalism caused the African Americans to fight against each other and how it keeps them down. He argues that a recession or depression is far worse for African Americans and it is the capitalist system that causes this through it's government endorsed racism. Rand's ideas are in opposition to almost all of Jackson's political theories, however, they are able to agree tacitly that racism is a bane on capitalism. Rand might think that it only is another hindrance of the government on the free market while Jackson might believe that it is a device of capitalism to push the African Americans even farther down. They are in agreement that racism is bad for capitalism. Who knows if Jackson would have become a proponent of fascism if the governmental racism hadn't been a factor in his arrest or his family's economic situation. He could have read "Atlas Shrugged" or "The Fountainhead" instead of Chairman Mao and Marx and let Rand's propagation of capitalism sway him in the absence of a racism system.

-Peter Lubershane


HanginWithMrCooper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
leah said...

On a different note, today in class Professor Potter mentioned in passing that Hillary Clinton was once a Goldwater conservative. I was wondering if anyone knew anything more about this, or if you thought this would be an interesting thing to consider when looking at her politics today?
-Leah Lucid

Lauren said...

I find this website very helpful because we hear a lot about candidates but we don't know their full voting records.

Peter said...

If you look through donors and other stuff this site also can be very fascinating. It shows where all the money for the campaign comes from:

-Peter Lubershane

HanginWithMrCooper said...

Leah, it's not that surprising considering that she's always been pretty conservative. She's basically in the wrong party and only a "democrat" because Bill was. She says she will pull US troops out of Iraq, but in the debate at Dartmouth, she said she couldn't promise to have withdrawn them by the end of 4 years. She also supports downsizing of the federal government and low taxes. There's no way she could be considered a liberal. She's not going to change the country much if she gets elected. She's very mainstream, white elite status quo. I will take this opportunity to say vote for Obama. He is the most honest and liberal progressive candidate for president that I've ever seen, and I'm sure my grandma who's seen for longer than I have would agree. He's ambitious and fresh, not cynical or afraid to push for change. "Obama is the candidate of the future and Hillary is the candidate of the past" (Channel 12 guest analyst). Vote Barack!

-Steve C.

Emily said...


You might like this article, from a September issue of the NY Times, about Clinton's transition from a Goldwater Republican to a Democrat while at Wellesley.

-Emily Schmidt