Racial Capitalism and Social Reproduction: Reflections from South Africa
Discussions of racial capitalism in South Africa have often drawn on analyses of gender and reproduction as well as race. This applies especially to analyses of the unwaged householding labor of Black women. Such labor sustains the reproduction of Black life in dispossessed circumstances. Yet theorists of exploitation have shown how it subsidizes the reproduction of labour-power at lower costs to capital. Building on these contributions, we will revisit them with attention to the fetish-forms of capitalist society, and their bearing on issues of race, gender, exploitation, and reproduction. If Fanon is correct that in antiblackness the Black person "symbolizes the biological," how do dynamics of reproduction, both personal and social, shape racial capitalism? We will approach this through the abstract nature of labor-power in capitalist society, then the relations among that abstraction, gendered processes of reproduction, and fetishistic forms of antiblack racism. Contrary to Ferguson, treatments of Black lives as socially surplus are specifically an effect of racial-capitalist development.