Colonial Latin America and socialist revolutions (was Re: Gunder Franknude (was Re: The MIR (was Re: Dependency theory debate

Xxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx at
Sat Jun 9 10:57:07 MDT 2001

Nestor wrote: 

>It is simply not
> true that the social structure of colonial Latin America was _as
> capitalist as_ any other capitalist structure in the world, and that
> there were no remnants from the old, pre-capitalist, world, shaping
> the concrete formation in many decissive ways.

Nestor is missing the point. Lou was not arguing that the social structure
of colonial Latin America was exactly the same as any other capitalist
structure in the world (let's say Britain). What we are saying is that,
which you you are refusing to understand, we need an analysis of Latin
America's unique position in the world system of social stratification as
well as an appreciation of the complexity of Latin America's class
structure. If you are telling us that Latin America in the _colonial_
period was _not_ capitalist, we have a serious trouble here. Part of the
problem is that you can not ahistorically apply the meaning feudalism, as
it apperead in Europe before the 14th century, to a class structure of
_contemporary_ Latin America in colonial times. If  you do, you will be
comparing oranges and apples.What you have instead is a world wide system
of "primitive accumulation" (in Marx's use of the term) through which
capitalism emerged _with_ other forms of social relations such as unfree
labor. It is precisely _because of_ colonialism that you will see the
_reenforcement_ of  SEEMINGLY feudal remnants of social relations together
with the emergence of capitalism in the Latino _context_, but this process
did not transform the Latin American economy in the way that it transformed
the British country side. As Marx says, imperialism _exploits and plunders_
but does not transform.  Take the example of Mexico's rural latifundista's
class (large landholders). Latifundistas was a ***"function of world wide
economic conditions, starting in the colonial period  with the exploitation
of cheap labor for the mines or for direct export to the metropolises.
Latifundismo is not a matter of mechanical transplant of  feudalism from
the old world to the new world . The hacienda was a notably a prosperous
business enterprise based on labor repressive systems and the high value of
land and its products. Even after a major agrarian reform in Mexico in the 
1930s , latifundismo renewed its vigorous development when demand from the
metropolis for food imports during world war 2 triggered a commercial
response  in Mexico's country 1970, half of mexico's peasants were
once again landless and today a small class of large land owners
monopolizes Mexico's agribusiness. This RETROGRESSIVE social development
could happen only because the earlier agrarian reform, while TEMPORARILY
alleviating Mexico's rural social problems, did not break the overall
capitalist structure of society"**** (agf, cockroft, johnson, p.17)
> To begin with, and sorry to contradict one of Lou's most beloved
> ideas, the _mita_ was NEVER a wage relation. But I am preparing
> something more complex and quite longer on this essential issue.

ohh, we have a sweatshops in the United States (and elsewhere in the world)
, and it is not a wage relation?... actually, you know what, labor
repressive social relations have nothing to with capitalism. glorious!

> Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
> gorojovsky at

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
Ph.D Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222

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