On US CIvil War as "Struggle between two systems" (Marx)

Borba100 at SPAMaol.com Borba100 at SPAMaol.com
Mon Oct 23 02:47:51 MDT 2000

Marx from previously posted (rather long) piece, in case people didn't read
through his learned discussion of the politics of the border states (the
point of which was to show that the Southern secession was AGGRESIVE).  He
then says:

One sees, therefore, that the war of the Southern Confederacy is in the true
sense of the word a war of conquest for the spread and perpetuation of
slavery. The greater part of the border states and Territories are still in
the possession of the Union, whose side they have taken first through the
ballot-box and then with arms. The Confederacy, however, counts them for the
"South" and seeks to conquer them from the Union. In the border states which
the Confederacy has occupied for the time being, it is holding the relatively
free highlands in check by martial law. Within the actual slave states
themselves it is supplanting the hitherto existing democracy by the
unrestricted oligarchy of three hundred thousand slaveholders.

Were it to relinquish its plans of conquest, the Southern Confederacy would
relinquish its capacity to live and the purpose of secession. Secession,
indeed, only took place because within the Union the transformation of the
border states and Territories into slave states seemed no longer attainable.
On the other hand, were it to cede the contested territory peacefully to the
Southern Confederacy, the North would surrender to the slave republic more
than three-quarters of the entire territory of the United States. The North
would lose the whole of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, except the
narrow strip from Penobscot Bay to Delaware Bay, and would even cut itself
off from the Pacific Ocean. Missouri, Kansas, New Mexico, Arkansas and Texas
would draw California after them. Incapable of wresting the mouth of the
Mississippi from the hands of the strong, hostile slave republic in the
South, the great agricultural states in the basin between the Rocky Mountains
and the Alleghenies, in the valleys of the Mississippi, the Missouri and the
Ohio, would be compelled by their economic interests to secede from the North
and enter the Southern Confederacy. These north-western states, in their
turn, would draw after them into the same whirlpool of secession all the
Northern states lying further east, with perhaps the exception of the states
of New England.

What would in fact take place would be not a dissolution of the Union, but a
reorganisation of it, a reorganisation on the basis of slavery, under the
recognised control of the slaveholding oligarchy. The plan of such a
reorganisation has been openly proclaimed by the principal speakers of the
South at the Congress of Montgomery and explains the paragraph of the new
Constitution which leaves it open to every state of the old Union to join the
new Confederacy. The slave system would infect the whole Union. In the
Northern states, where Negro slavery is in practice unworkable, the white
working class would gradually be forced down to the level of helotry. This
would fully accord with the loudly proclaimed principle that only certain
races are capable of freedom, and as the actual labour is the lot of the
Negro in the South, so in the North it is the lot of the German and the
Irishman, or their direct descendants.

The present struggle between the South and North is, therefore, nothing but a
struggle between two social systems, the system of slavery and the system of
free labour. The struggle has broken out because the two systems can no
longer live peacefully side by side on the North American continent. It can
only be ended by the victory of one system or the other.

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