(fwd from Melvin P) Reply to primitive accumulation

T R Ramesh rameshtara at hotmail.com
Sat Aug 30 12:39:33 MDT 2003

-------Original Message-------
From: marxism at lists.panix.com
Date: Saturday, August 30, 2003 11:14:47 PM
To: marxism at lists.panix.com
Subject: Re: (fwd from Melvin P) Reply to primitive accumulation
Here's another one for those keeping score, I think Melvin is right again
in that uneven and combined development and permanent revolution are not
manifestations of the coincidence of primitive accumulation with modern
capitalist accumulation.
Now uneven and combined development, and permanent revolution as historical
manifestations of capitalism's inherent tendencies to overproduction, I can
get with that, but not primitive accumulation.
As a result of the NAFTA agreeements, traditional Mexican agriculture,
subsistence, small, medium and large hacienda style has been placed under
tremendous strain and distress with the inevitable expansion of the larger,
more capitalized, elements at the expense of the smaller, subsistence ones,
with the resulting emigration, internal and external, of former agricultural
producers to cities, the US, to the manufacturing areas of the
maquilladoras. This disruption of traditional agricultural is mirrored in
the disruptionof the "traditional" family roles, with young women moving
from village, home, domestic labor into manufacturing, shared housing, home,
domestic labor, with traditional suppression being modified, replaced, by
the social and physical abuse of capitalism, including predatory murder.
Nevertheless, this is not primitive accumulation. The social relations of
capital are already established, and those social relations precipitate
these changes.
Melvin criticizes the examples of prostitution and the lottery and his
analysis is correct. That is not primitive accumulation, as it does not
reproduce itself in the dispossession and purchase of the labor of others--
unless you're a pimp, and even that isn't primitive accumulation.
I offer a more gruesome example-- extraction of gold from the teeth of those
killed in the concentration camps (and the battlefields, victors always
claim spoils, sometimes this is called, as in Vietnam, 'souveniering,' as in
'I souveniered his AK 47, his belt buckle, and a gold ring.'). A few
fortunes were made thusly, and indeed that accumulation even found its way
into the general reproduction of capital as the gold was maintained in
Swiss, British, French banks and used as both collateral and reserves for
loans. But that is not primitive accumulation. Such a process required
the prior existence of capitalist relations of production to enable it.
Welcome back MP.
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