Proposed reforms at the federal level would not have saved the life of Tyre Nichols. Only the fundamental transformation of systems of punishment that have been normalized in American society and culture can do that.
Du Bois’s mode of analysis in "Black Reconstruction" can help us look past so much of the ephemera of our politics to focus on the roles of power, privilege and, most important, capital in shaping our political order and structuring our conflicts.
W. E. B. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction in America is one of the greatest modern studies of revolution and counterrevolution. It’s also an extraordinary example of a materialist and class analysis of race under capitalism.
What distinguished DuBois' close study of slavery and Reconstruction (and does so even today) was its Marxism. Black Reconstruction was his first extended effort to shine Marxism’s sweeping floodlight on the tortured history of his homeland.
Du Bois’ time as editor of The Crisis was just as much about critically embracing careful, systematic, empirical science as it was about skewering the popular view that Blacks (and other nonwhites) were naturally inferior.
At the Jefferson School students were expected to study Marxism and to take that education into the street in mass actions including protests, and political organizing. This mission resonated with Du Bois’ goal to create inter-racial solidarity.
Du Bois biographer David Levering Lewis delivered a speech during the Du Bois 150th Birthday Celebration. Du Bois at age 95 was more radically unorthodox than virtually any other engaged intellectual of the 20th century. The real problem was really the manipulation of race in the service of wealth.