Forwarded from Anthony (Brenner)

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at SPAMosu.edu
Sun Nov 26 16:00:47 MST 2000



>Re. Spanish colonizers, appears that pattern in which ostensibly
>absolutist-centralist form overlays essentially regionalist reality
>was transferred to Americas.     Michael Hoover

The political & economic underdevelopment of the American South based
upon white supremacy & plantation labor, underwritten by federalism
with so-called states' rights, certainly made the USA much more
reactionary with regard to domestic policy compared to highly
centralized & social-democratic France & many other West European
nations.  Had the American South won the Civil War it could have
become as poor as Bolivia or worse.

And compare North America and Latin America.  Around 1800 Latin
America appeared much richer & more promising than North America.
After the American Revolution & then the belated Civil War, however,
the USA created a coherent national economy, breaking its
subordination to England (politically during the Revolution &
economically during the Civil War); in this process, plantation
owners in the American South _had_ to be defeated, and they were, to
a certain extent.  As everyone recalls, America experienced its
Gilded Age _after_ the Civil War, with rapid urbanization &
industrialization.  In contrast, Latin America could not create one
nation that brought together all the erstwhile Spanish & Portuguese
possessions.  Simon Bolivar's dream of the Gran Columbia failed to
become a reality as well.  While slaves were formally emancipated
during or after the wars of independence, neither former slaves nor
Amerindians became integral parts of new-born nations.  Instead of
embarking upon the path of autonomous economic development:

*****   The revolutions in Latin America opened up a wide vista to
British trade, once the barriers of Spanish mercantilism had been
broken down, while Britain's alliance with Portugal gave her a
privileged position in Brazil.  "The nail is driven," wrote [George]
Canning in exultation, "Spanish America is free, and if we do not
mismanage our affairs sadly she is English."  Brazil took
one-twentieth of total British export in 1821, one-twelfth in 1832;
the exports increased two and a half times.  Foreign colonies in
North and South America, which accounted for one-thirteenth of the
total British export trade in 1821, took more than one-seventh in
1832; the exports trebled in value during these years.  The new Latin
American governments found willing lenders in English financial
circles.  "The more a country borrowed," says [Leland] Jenks, "the
better its credit, it seemed."  Liverpool forgot Jamaica, Grenada and
Barbados; it traded and thought now in terms of Valparaiso,
Antofagasta, Callao and Guayaquil.

In 1821 British exports to the world amounted to forty-three million
pounds; in 1832 they were sixty-five million, an increase of
one-half. In both years Europe took nearly half of the total.  The
East Indies and China took one-twelfth in 1821, one-tenth in 1832;
the exports increased by three-quarters.   (endnotes omitted, Eric
Williams, _Capitalism and Slavery_, Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina
P, 1994 [originally published in 1944], p. 132)   *****

In fact, to speak of "nations" with regard to Latin America was & is
still premature.  As Nestor often reminds us, nationalism is an
unfinished project, in that only by liquidating
neo-feudal/neo-colonial structures of land ownership & social
relations -- solving the problem of the landless & the Indigenous
Question -- can Latin America create an ensemble of social relations
that hold the idea of "nation" together; it takes revolutionary
socialism to _truly_ accomplish that.  I believe that Nestor has no
great fondness for Robert Brenner (neither do I, to tell you the
truth), but one thing that he does agree with Brenner is that "the
development of underdevelopment" cannot be properly understood
without attention to the vicious circle of neo-feudal social
relations at home reinforcing neo-colonial subjection to imperial
powers & the world market & vice versa.

Yoshie







More information about the Marxism mailing list