the role of forced labor

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Sat Nov 25 15:31:26 MST 2000

>Ohh! wait a minute you are telling me that Navigation Laws were hardly
>capitalist because they were part of the Mercantilist Trade System?

The question is not whether X is or is not capitalist here.  We are
talking about the causes of abolition of the slave trade & chattel
slavery.  What was helpful at one point in history became unhelpful
at another point.  Think dialectically.

>did not block the development of British liberal bourgeoisie. On the contrary,
>it fed it with slavery and colonialism.

Right, but as capitalism developed, mercantilism & chattel slavery
became unnecessary, leading to their eventual abolition, no?  Or is
it your opinion that nothing changes under capitalism, that blacks
still live under chattel slavery in the West Indies, the American
South, etc.?

If not the development of forces of production (coupled with slave
resistance & abolitionist agitation, which were dialectically united
with it), to what cause do you attribute the abolition of the slave
trade & then of chattel slavery?

Historical materialism, it seems to me, should help us explain
_changes_: (1) change between one mode of production to another; and
(2) changes within one mode of production.  To understand changes is
important not just in the science of history but also our
contemporary politics.  To understand changes politically means to
learn to see opportunities amidst dangers unleashed by changes.


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