Debating slavery: Marx's discussion

Carrol Cox cbcox at
Mon Oct 23 11:35:38 MDT 2000

Borba100 at wrote:

>  And  this was of course recognized by slaves in
> Roman times and slaves in the US, both of whom died in rebellions the purpose
> of which was to achieve "wage slavery."

One error here is interesting. There is an extremly important distinction between
ancient and modern slave revolts. The modern slave revolts were against slavery
as such, slavery as an institution. Ancient slave revolts were *not* revolts
against the institution of slavery as such but 'merely' against the servitude of
those rebelling. The aim of the Spartacus rebellion, for example, was not to
overthrow slavery but to fight their way out of Roman controlled territory and
establish themselves in a territory of their own -- if successful, they might
well have become slave owners themselves.

Slavery was simply taken for granted in the ancient world -- so taken for granted
that there were very few attempts to defend it, since it didn't need defending.
It was merely a fact.


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