Robin D.G. Kelley: Disrupting the Dominant Capitalist Ideology

Ryan Honeyman
3 min readAug 31, 2022

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Today on the Next Economy Now Podcast, we welcome esteemed public intellectual and author Professor Robin D.G. Kelley. Robin is the Distinguished Professor and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in U.S. History at UCLA and has researched and published extensively on the history of social movements in the US, the African Diaspora, and Africa. He has also spent time focusing on Black intellectuals, music and visual culture, Surrealism, and Marxism.

We get to cover a few of these areas of expertise, spread across his wide range of articles and books, with Robin opening up about racial capitalism, the role of the state, his personal background, and what we should expect of private companies. He also talks about reimagining some of the commonly held views of the market economy, and how this can enable us to build a healthier future for a larger portion of the world.

One of the biggest takeaways from our chat is the idea of refocusing on communal needs, and how this might best be achieved in a realistic manner. Join us to catch this high-level, yet approachable exploration of what it means to build a successful economy, the roots of anti-capitalism, and a whole lot more, with Professor Robin D.G. Kelley.

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Key Points From This Episode:

  • Some of Professor Kelley’s background and route into his particular area of expertise and research.
  • The theories that began the disruption of the dominant capitalist ideology.
  • Understanding the role of the state; balancing utopianism with the need for realistic change.
  • Examples of the kinds of community initiatives that are sustainable and socially empowering.
  • Working with private companies; how business can evolve to benefit a larger number of people.
  • A new definition and a fuller depiction of success.
  • The intersection of racism and capitalism; Professor Kelley talks about the links.
  • Professor Kelley’s perspective on society’s pressing need for further education.

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“There are solutions, some of them are short-term, some of them are long-term, sometimes the short-term solution creates the conditions for long-term vision .” — Robin D.G. Kelley

“You don’t need to bring in a high-paid consultant to figure it out, people are figuring it out on the ground, and that, to me, is way more important.” — Robin D.G. Kelley

“There are ways to make companies more amenable to the needs of communities and consumers.” — Robin D.G. Kelley

“We are being assaulted by, not just misinformation, but a kind of ideological, neoliberal common sense which is really, really dangerous. This idea that there is only one way to think about the economy.” — Robin D.G. Kelley

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Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Robin D. G. Kelley —


Africa Speaks, America Answers

Thelonious Monk

Freedom Dreams

Hammer and Hoe

Black Bodies Swinging

How Europe Underdeveloped Africa —

Kwame Ture —

Cedric Robinson —

Black Marxism

Lauren Halsey —

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Show Notes + Other Links

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Ryan Honeyman

Partner at LIFT Economy. B Corp Nerd. Coauthor of “The B Corp Handbook” and "The Next Economy MBA." Co-host of "Beyond the B" and "Next Economy Now" podcasts.