Join us for “Profit Making and Power Building: Debt’s Role in Racial Capitalism” featuring Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and others
This event is hosted by Debt Collective, in partnership with the Ford Foundation, Neighborhood Funders Group, and the UCLA Luskin Center on Inequality & Democracy.


Join us on January 20, 2022 at 1pm et, as we discuss the growing crisis of indebtedness. Using the latest data, this session will examine debt as a key vector of inequality and expose debt’s racialized effects on democracy.

Featuring an esteemed group of scholar-activists whose work stretches across movements and communities, this session will sharpen our analysis of debt’s central role in racial capitalism to reveal where, how, and for whom profits are made—and at whose expense. Only by understanding how this system evolved, from the history of the transatlantic slave trade through the rise of neoliberalism, can we figure out how best to build the power to contest financialization, spur productive investment, and provide for people’s real needs.

Confirmed speakers include:

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Professor in the Department of African-American Studies at Princeton University.
Hannah Appel, Associate Professor and Associate Director, UCLA Institute on Inequality & Democracy
Jalil Mustaffa Bishop, Vice-Provost Postdoctoral Scholar and Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
Astra Taylor, Debt Collective Co-Founder

This session will show how a debt analysis is critical for advancing:

Labor and Economic Justice: A large portion of people’s wages and stimulus checks get eaten up by debt payments, which are a form of wealth transfer from the poor to the rich.

Racial and Gender Justice: The history and prevalence of predatory lending, redlining, and discriminatory financial and criminal punishment systems in the US mean that people of color are disproportionately burdened by debt—Black women most of all.

Democracy: Debt threatens and diminishes democracy by transforming public matters, including budgetary priorities and even the right to vote, into financialized relationships in which obligations to creditors become a singular priority.

The speakers will explore whether Covid upended prior patterns of expanding inequality, what debt reveals about profitability under racial capitalism, and why debt must be central to any attempt to ensure a more equitable society.

In February, we will host an accompanying session to discuss strategy and examine how Debt Collective approaches collective action and power-building under racial capitalism and growing indebtedness.

This is a public event. Please share with interested colleagues.
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