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Systemic Oppression In America

How has capitalism and the United States government reinforced the cycle of systemic racism in minority communities, predominately Black communities?

Over the past few years, you’ve likely heard the term “systemic racism” when conversing in reference to the Black Lives Matter movement. Some say it’s race-based oppression; others call it class-based. However, oppression in America goes far beyond the constructs of race and oppression in America and goes far beyond the constructs of race and class.

Photograph of a BLM Protest

In fact, oppression of the traditionally marginalized stems from the extrinsic factors of capitalism and inherent monetary profit motive that we fall victim to under the hierarchy of the upper class to substantiate claims on the existence of oppression in modern day America, and we must first look at our history, science and economics related to it that created the lasting oppressive forces today.

Firstly, it is important to note that systemic hatred does not come to fruition at the scale that it has in America without some form of benefit to fuel it.

For example, with nothing to gain from systemically imprisoning minorities during the Civil Rights Era, there would be no reason no reason to continue it.

Photograph of a Civil Rights March

However, the benefit that arose from mass incarceration was found to be the benefit of cheap prison labor that is used by capitalists to exploit the disenfranchised. The extrinsic societal construct of inferiority had already bought its way from Europe through colonization of America. However, it had largely remained existent throughout the 20th century. Using the construct of inferiority in addition to the repressive practices of capitalism, the working class in African Americans have faced horrifying conditions and exploitation that remain existent to this day.

After blatantly racist legislation had been abolished after the signing of the Civil Rights Act, capitalists and remaining segregationist policy-makers had worked together in the realization that the years they had spent impoverishing and oppressing minorities will now pay off by oppression of the working class. Due to the fact that most minorities at the time were already impoverished, legislators took action against the working class. This is why we hear “it's a class-based issue” today while race certainly isn’t irrelevant in these times, the more important factor to consider is class and how the upper class utilizes capitalism to oppress the working class and benefit from it to this day.

Now America has commodified almost every aspect of life. A price tag is put into healthcare, food, water, housing, higher education, and so much more. This constant expenditure to pay for the basic necessities of life have kept the poor even poorer. This is all a result of capitalism and how capitalists seek to commodify everything so that they can make money off of basic human necessities. The commodification of said necessities have led to nothing but oppression of the working class as they struggle to provide for their families.

From this point, the working class citizens of America are given three sensical options:

To join the military
To commit a crime
Or, to continue to be exploited through the labor they perform for capitalists.

Committing a crime would presumably provide someone with a large amount of money. However, going to prison for said crime would benefit the capitalists that exploit prison labor for the sake of cheaper work for maximized profit. Joining the military would give the average working class American education and healthcare benefits. However, American capitalists have commodified imperialism to profit off of countries for the extraction and theft of all. Regardless of the route you choose as a blue collar American, you contribute to capitalist oppressors whilst simultaneously being exploited for the labor you perform.

This is how the working class functions and reminds the oppressed in America of the inability to break the cycle.

No matter what you do to escape this constant cycle of poverty, you will find yourself expending an increasing amount on your need to survive. This expenditure only benefits capitalists as the proletariat is left with nothing in response to the labor they perform. Though productivity remains at an all time high, workers’ wages remain stagnant as thousands of Americans are left with no access to healthcare or education. Capitalism will continuously seek to do this as long as it creates wealth for the ruling class. Freer markets with no regulations are only direct pipelines to impoverishment of the proletariat of America and any feasible solution is shot down as “radical” or “unrealistic”. The only way to combat this economic repression is to unionize the workers of America and demand fair wages, access to healthcare and education, and an end to the commodification of our human needs.

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