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The wages of whiteness in the absence of wages: racial capitalism, reactionary intercommunalism and the rise of Trumpism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2482-2500
Number of pages19
JournalThird World Quarterly
Issue number11
Early online date7 Sep 2017
Accepted/In press13 Aug 2017
E-pub ahead of print7 Sep 2017
PublishedNov 2017



King's Authors


In November 1970, Black Panther Party leader Huey P. Newton gave a lecture at Boston College where he introduced his theory of intercommunalism. Newton re-articulated Marxist theories of imperialism through the lens of the Black liberation struggle and argued that imperialism had entered a new phase called ‘reactionary intercommunalism’. Newton’s theory of intercommunalism offers nothing less than a proto-theorisation of what we have come to call neo-liberal globalisation and its effects on what W. E. B. Du Bois had seen as the racialisation of modern imperialism. Due to the initial historical dismissal of the Black Panther Party’s political legacy, Newton’s thought has largely been neglected for the past 40 years. This paper revisits Newton’s theory of intercommunalism, with the aim of achieving some form of epistemic justice for his thought, but also to highlight how Newton’s recasting of imperialism as reactionary intercommunalism provides critical insight into the rise of Trumpism in the US.

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