The Balkans and Black Marxism

Toward the abolition of white supermacy in Europe

How can Black Marxism as an expression of the Black Radical Tradition help us critically study today’s Balkans? In his book Black Marxism, Cedric Robinson underscores the importance of feudalism and racialized social conventions for the beginnings of capitalism even while reformulating the significance of the Balkan–Eastern Mediterranean space as the periphery’s first geography of the Third World. Seen from this perspective, the development of capitalism as racialism connects this area, both spatially and historically, with the transatlantic slave trade. The historical connectivity derived from this relation generates new correspondences where the one phenomenon may be analyzed in terms of the other. Critical Balkan Studies can be withdrawn from a Eurocentric universality and refocused on the historical particularities of racial capitalism. Since slavery defined Europe as the West, the Western discursive construction of the Balkans as the Other, as imperfect Europeans, as crypto-colonial or abject Europeans, should be viewed as secondary to the primary goal of Balkan Studies: the abolition of Europe as a civilization of racial capitalism.

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