What is a comprador bourgeoisie?

MARIPOWER716 at aol.com MARIPOWER716 at aol.com
Wed Feb 13 17:15:03 MST 2002

[ bounced Feb 11 due to HTML format. Les ]

In a message dated 2/8/2002 8:54:03 AM Central Standard Time, lnp3 at panix.com

   Etymologically, it means "buyer". "Comprar" means to buy in Spanish
   or Portuguese. In colonial times, it had a specific meaning
   according to Oxford. It was "the name of a native servant employed
   by Europeans, in India and the East, to purchase necessaries and
   keep the household accounts: a house-steward."

   C. Lockyer's 1711 "Trade in India" states "Every Factory had
   formerly a Compradore, whose Business it was to buy in Provisions
   and other Necessarys."

   Miss Bird's 1880 "Japan" states, "Each firm has its Chinese
   compradore, a factotum, middleman, and occasionally a tyrant."

   With the development of imperialist control of colonial colonies,
   these comprador elements began to become a kind of ruling class,
   even though it was not so much rooted in ownership of the means of
   production but as middlemen.

I concur. In that segment of the North American movement of students
of "Marxism" from which my concepts were formed during the last reform
movement within capital, the ideological formulations of the
revolution in China was assimilated and with it a category called the
comprador bourgeoisie.  In as much as the reform movement shattered
the legal - and so legal, structures of segregation, that portion of
the African American people that were drawn into the "middle class" -
primarily government leaders and what was called "poverty pimps" by
some, were called the comprador bourgeoisie. This was so because their
perceived aim was the "sale of the hopes and dreams of a people" to
the capitalist as a class."

This application of the word comprador, in retrospect appears
absurd. In as much as the comprador was a material category and link
in the organizations of human labor power for utilization in the
process of production on behalf of capital foreign to indigenous

For reasons I cannot explain it seems that ideological rationale very
often outrun reality. In as much as support of revolutions against
imperialism was the boundary that defined the activity of many people
in North America, often the ideological rationale of the peoples and
states freed from imperial domination was assimilated.

The comprador bourgeoisie was a real identifiable group of people with
income derived from organizing the peoples and resources needed to
activate the productive process imported to a subject land for the
purpose of the creation of surplus value and with it profits. My
description of the peoples who entered the employ of the government
that were African American, was incorrect twenty-five years ago in as
much as they were called the comprador bourgeoisie, although they
"felt" like the comprador.

Today the outstanding African American leaders in government and in
service to the government (administrative committee for capital) and
the policy of the Bush Administration are agents of capital. It is my
understanding that the evolution of history has more than less
shattered the comprador as a material category. And with it all absurd
ideological categories the seek to use the concept of comprador when
it is not applicable.

The comprador became a material index in the context of the historical
collapse of the world colonial structures and was counterpoised to the
national bourgeoisie who was patriotic and opposed to foreign
capital. One form of capital was "more favorable" to the foreign brand
------- of soup. One sector of capital gave you money, contacts and
human resources to block and overthrow another sector of capital that
blocked the development of "your very own capital." I do not belittle
the feeling of peoples oppressed by foreign "devils."

For reasons I cannot adequately explain there is something in the
human constitution that prefers the "devil I know" to the devil "I
don;t know" although the "devil that I know" always commits violations
the devil "I do not know" will not commit.

Joe Freemen

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