How Should Marxists Characterize Chattel Slave Labor?

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Mon Oct 30 09:08:01 MST 2000

>>> furuhashi.1 at 10/29/00 04:00PM >>>
Luko wrote:

>    Why do you need to press everything into a schema?  Why not describe
>slavery under capitalism as it is, as slavery under capitalism, how it
>emerged, the role it played, how it had to die?

A sensible recommendation, in my humble opinion.


CB: Chattel slave labor was integral to the international division of labor of
industrial capitalism until the U.S. Civil War and the rise of the imperialist phase
of capitalism. It's shadows informed many forms of oppressed labor in imperialism.

No facts should be pushed into a Procrustean bed, however, we must have theory, or
else we fall into empiricism , as Yoshie has warned against. Analysis of slavery as a
form of oppressed labor and relations of production that is causally reciprocally
related with other forms of labor,oppressed and waged,  in the division of labor of
capitalism is a Marxist theoretical approach.

As to waged-labor and oppressed-labor as subjects of struggle, we might see the Civil
War as the enslaved African oppressed laborers struggling through cunning to a
significant radical reform, if Andy doesn't like the term "revolution".

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