SAT NOTES: Du Bois and Black Economic Development
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Du Boisian Scholar Network, 2019 Convening
Session Notes
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Note Taker(s):Demar Lewis
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Email of Note taker(s):demar.lewis@yale.edu
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Date:Sat, May 4
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I. TopicsII. Summary CommentsIII. Action Item
IV. Date of First Contact/Follow Up
V. Contact Lead Name(s)VI. Contact Lead Email
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Relevance of Du Boisian Analyses for Understanding Economic Development (speaker 1 comments)Studying economic development in places we are from is often viewed as illegitimate
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Tension between "mesearch" and "research"
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Du Bois understood that those who were racialized subjects were most adequately equipped to study colonialism and racialized modernity
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Du Bois' research agenda unequivocally structured to study "negro problems" of the oppressed based on the lived experience of the oppressed
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Du Bois didn't study Black people because they were understudied; he did his work to emancipate Black people from the forces of the oppressed that are actively dominating them
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How much attention is being payed to local economic development in a global context?
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Need to ground studies of economic development in history and the social processes of colonialism and racialized capitalism
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Struggle for emancipation is a global struggle against racism, white supremacy, and patriarchy to dismantle global capitalist system
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Academia continues to incentivize us as researchers to divest from community initiatives, organizing, or other activities grounded in the pedogogy of the oppressed
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What does economic development mean?
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How can we be safe and in solidarity with global commuities when conducting our scholarship?
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Technical Elements of Du Bois' Thinking on Econ Development (speaker 2 comments)The U.S. economy is a segregated economy (i.e., African American economy vs. white economy)
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1899: Philadelphia Negro is a description of a community that is experiencing the grip of colonialism
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African American post-slavery economy is a poverty trap
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Black people tried to create food service businesses to serve Blacks and whites, though sometimes resulting in economic competition
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African Americans tried working in factories and owning farms to generate wealth
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Some Black people tried to build a Black enclave economy, but it resulted in Black people serving Blacks
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These endeavors didn't create the desired results
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Goals: 1) economic autonomy; 2) economic development; 3) Economic growth
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The post-slavery economy has evolved and the exploitation of afrcan Amerifcans is at the foundation
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Du Bois understands ecnomic democracy in US only made possible by which that is
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Du Bois--we must begin mobilizing as consumers to mobilize the collective economic capabilities of the US'
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Du Bois-organize around retail distributions to affect the current flows of capital into local US communities through strengthening small businesses
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Counter-Revolution of Capital--Du Bois recognizes that we are not going to be able to overthrow this system without it fighting back
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Moving from "mesearch" to "wesearch"We need to commit to "wesearch" as a practical and epistemological enterprise
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What would Du Bois' contemporaries think about the economic problems of Black people today? (e.g., predatory lending, home foreclosures) What solutions can we develop to address issues that are macrostructural and embedded within resilient, exploitative economic institutions?Black ownership of real estate is a powerful tool of asserting rights and privileges of citizenship in the US. Only place we witness this in NYC, where we witness coalition-building among communities and businesses
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How do we think about programs and policies that advance the cause of reparations for Black people in the United States? Should reparations be for members of the global African diaspora or just African Americans from the United States who are descendants of slavery, Jim Crow, etc.?Black middle class has mixed perspectives on who is Black and deserving of reparations. They also do not have universal politics to inform
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How do we recover Du Bois' radical transnational politics while also acknowledging how the oppression of colonization exists today? Comparing Du Bois' capitalism vs. Gandi's capitalismDu Bois did not want Black people to accept the racialized capitalistic economy on white people's terms. Du Bois felt that Booker T. capitulated vs. resisting more
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The forces of the market do not work in ghettoized economies. Black communities need to leverage "planning" to get it beyond the grip of racism to allow basic market forces to work. Thus, there is a convergence between Du Bois and Garvey's politics--there is a need for market forces, though they are not always working
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Du Bois understood "planning" to be a project to dismantle structural racism from capitalism to allow for the market to work. He also understood that one danger of this project is that we create a class of Black capitalists that further entrenches Black communities in the cycle of economic exploitation in the system of racial capitalism
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What are the connections and relevance of Du Bois' analysis to take advantage of the capitalist economy and "democratize" it? What, too, are the implications of digitazation on the global economy and the exploitation of labor, relations of production, etc.?We see rise of Black executives in major companies. Hopefully they will find ways to contribute to the economic resurgence of Black communities
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Black entrepreneurs are surviving via digital media
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In the 21st century, the economy is not as segregated as it used to be. What are the implications of Black integration on socioeconomic progress in the 21st century? How can we recover from the impact of digitization on local economies? What might Du Bois say about thisAfrican American economy--and African Americans in the economy--in the 21st century are still subject to exploitation and commodification. Intellectuals are not immune to this process of exloitation, too
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Du Bois dealing with Black poverty in 1940 is different than the Du Bois who was trying to deal with Black socioeconomic mobility in the early 20th century
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Capacity of US State to allow Black people to be citizens (a la Black Reconstruction)Du Bois not surprised by violence of US State
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Astutely aware and interested in the capacity of US to tend to the citizenship claims of Blacks because he witnessed them supporting white people
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White affluent men have the ability to negotiate with white working class folks to maintain racial domination and economic exploitation of Black Americans and themselves
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How do we deal with ending incarceration as an issue of economic development?
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American state failed to take seriously the notions of economic democracy that arose from Black subjectivity
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Black communities outside of US experience incarceration and police violence in similar ways as Black Americans
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Du Bois focused on Southern legislatures as sites of economic democracy during the Reconstruction period
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Du Bois and entrepreneurshipDo not forget that everyone starts from different positionalities to get to "freedom" and "liberation"
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in developing countries the conditions are different, so the relationship to entrepreneurship is different
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We need to talk about compatibility of Black entrepreneurship agendas despite differences in the politics of the entrepreneurs
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Need to stop promoting the "billionairre savior" solution
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Du Boisian Scholars Network Political AgendaNeed to develop an agenda to specify our leanings and policy prioritiesDevelop DSN Agenda Driven by Existing Research to Translate Policy Suggestions to Electoral Candidates. Desire to take collective knowledge of the network to develop this agenda/these solutionsDee Royster; Orly Clergedeirdre.royster@nyu.edu; oclerge@ucdavis.edu
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Need to leverage our positionality to support poor people and those who have been subjected to colonization, slavery, etc.
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Unanswered QuestionsHow do we leverage Du Boisian framework to think about gentrification?
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Summary Comments from the session:
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