Debating slavery: Marx's discussion

Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky Gorojovsky at
Mon Oct 23 05:56:45 MDT 2000

En relación a RE: Debating slavery: Marx's discussion,
el 22 Oct 00, a las 18:15, Austin, Andrew dijo:

> Charles wrote that emancipation represented "abolition of one of the
> main private property forms in the U.S. system, private property in
> human beings. This is what gives it, in Marxist terms, a revolutionary
> character. It was a fundamental change in the property relations."
> Slaves were generally conceived as chattel. Chattel is simply a
> moveable form of property. Other examples of chattel are draught
> animals and cattle. After the US civil war slave-owners were
> dispossessed of some of their chattel. Suppose that an amendment to
> the US Constitution forbid the private ownership of cattle, would this
> constitute a social revolution?

Now, Andy, wait a minute. You have changed the terms of the debate.
You turn to a legal definition ("chattel") and lose sight of the
peculiarities of this kind of ownership. Probably the adequate
question would have been "Suppose that an amendment to the US
Constitution forbid the private payment of wages, would this
constitute a social revolution?"  Slaves were not chattel in general,
they were the only form of chattel that could add value to the
remaining properties of the slaveowner.

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at

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