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In 1880, Karl Marx wrote his friend Friedrich Sorge to ask for an update on economic conditions in California. “California is very important for me,” Marx told the founder of America’s oldest socialist party, “because nowhere else has the upheaval most shamelessly caused by capitalist centralization taken place with such speed. This “shameless upheaval” forms the backdrop for this talk, which takes interconnected processes of African enslavement, Native genocide and mass Asian migration to 19th Century California as a point of departure for examining historic interactions among communities of color, the effect of U.S. racial capitalism upon these communities, and the subsequent rise of multiracial, interethnic mobilizations against U.S. racism and empire.

You can read the introduction to book this talk is based on here

NOTE: This is a hybrid event - for those external to King's please register here to attend in person; to attend via Zoom here.


Daniel Widener completed his PhD at NYU, although his educational journey began at the Echo Park-Silverlake People’s Childcare Center. To make ends meet, he teaches history at UC San Diego, where he is also interim director of the program in Global South Studies. Widener is the author of Black Arts West: culture and struggle in postwar Los Angeles (2010) and Third Worlds Within: multi-ethnic movements and transnational solidarity (2024). Since 2022, he has served as the director of the UC San Diego Institute of Arts and Humanities (IAH). He is a member of Pillars of the Community, a San Diego-based organization that advocates for communities and people negatively impacted by law enforcement and the punishment system.

Event details

Lecture Theatre 3 (NE 0.01)
Bush House North East Wing
Bush House North East Wing, 30 Aldwych, WC2B 4BG