emancipation and the american revolution

dms dmschanoes at earthlink.net
Mon Aug 25 00:14:36 MDT 2003


I guess I'm missing something here, since I said that slavery was part of
developing, established capitalism.  I said I don't think Williams showed or
anyone has shown is how the accumulated mercantile and slave based wealth
lead to the changes society that produced the  fundamental social relation
of production that Marx explored in his analysis of capitalism.

Williams doesn't show it.  His argument is not that slavery contributed to
the development of capitalism but that the existence, the emergence of
capitalism was directly dependent and directly sprang from slavery.  That's
his argument in both Capitalism and Slavery and From Columbus to Castro.
His books are still read because they are great books with tremendous
insight into the waxing and waning of the colonial inputs to the world
markets.

No, revolutions are not just initiated by angry peasants.  Revolutions are
initiated when the means and relations of production come into conflict,
when a  growth or existence of the means of production cannot be sustained
in the face of certain dominant social relations that are part of the very
development of the system as a whole.  Hmmm.... hey that sounds like the US
Civil War. And it sounds like modern, even current conditions.  Thus we get
overproduction, the falling rate of profit, the disruption of all previous
forms by capital's greater demands for profit, i.e after OPEC the need for
the Philippine sugar barons to mechanize production, etc.  Then classes are
set in motion, i.e. the unleashing of the civil rights movement after the
"invasion" of the South by the mechanization of agriculture after WWII, and
that moment bringing forward the critical moment in US capitalism's history,
the role of black labor.  I think that that is exactly what Marxism
analyzes, and I think it is absolutely verified in the course of real
revolutions.

Because the outcome of the Civil War did not lead to the distilled versions
of social relations that Marx abstracted in his analysis, did not lead to it
everywhere and all at once, does not change the facts of the determinants of
the war itself.

As for  British and the North American colonies reliance on slavery--
Britain gets the asiento after 1713, by 1730 its slave trade revenues have
quadrupled.  As for the US, as I said, Georgia actually prohibited slavery
prior to 1749, and the number of slaves imported to the US grows with the
British domination of the slave trade.

To say that slavery was abolished throughout Latin America without a single
bullet being fired is just wrong.  Took a 10 years war in Cuba to lead to
the emancipation; it took sustained combat on the part of Maroons, was part
of the war of independence of Mexico, etc.

Did it take a civil war like the US?  No.  But what's the point?  Are you
saying that the North wasn't about free soil?  About freeing its existing
and developing capitalism from the restrictions of the slave economy?  Or
are you saying that the US slave economy was part and parcel of the
development of that capitalism.  If the former then there's a serious
disagreeement.  If the latter, there is serious agreement.

Sorry you are put off by the Grundrisse or grundrissism explorations into
the interpenetration of use and exchange, or wage-labor and private
property, but really, that sounds like a personal problem. It was the best I
could do on such short notice.

Cue the "bible" references.







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