From Class to Race

Essays in White Marxism and Black Radicalism

By (author) Charles Mills

Publication date:

19 November 2003

Length of book:

312 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9780742513013

In From Class to Race, Charles Mills maps the theoretical route that brought him to the innovative conceptual framework outlined in his academic bestseller The Racial Contract (1997). Mills argues for a new critical theory that develops the insights of the black radical political tradition. While challenging conventional interpretations of key Marxist concepts and claims, the author contends that Marxism has been "white" insofar as it has failed to recognize the centrality of race and white supremacy to the making of the modern world. By appealing to both mainstream liberal values and the structuralism traditionally associated with the left, Mills asserts that critical race theory can radicalize the mainstream Enlightenment and develop a new kind of contractarianism that deals frontally with race and other forms of social oppression rather than evading them.
"Taking us from impeccably argued, textually based, and highly original reconsiderations of the key notions of 'ideology,' 'materialism,' and morality in Marxian thought, through a psychologically profound analysis of how decent people could have become Stalinists, and on into questions about race, racism, and social contract, Charles Mills enhances his already considerable reputation with the publication of this volume. His elegant writing style and rapier intellect make it a joy to read despite the grim reality of white supremacy that has by now come to serve as the leitmotif of his philosophical reflections."