Forwarded from Nestor (Huato)

dms dmschanoes at
Fri Jul 4 16:51:56 MDT 2003

Perhaps comrade Proyect can provide some detailed information to back up
Nestor's typically flamboyant (and ahistorical) claims that the US Civil War
was in reality a war between the US bourgeoisie and the British bougeoisie,
with the South being Britain's proxy or cat's paw, which would make slavery
at best a secondary issue, at worst a subterfuge. I haven't been able to
find any evidence.

Certainly, there was considerable sympathy within the British ruling class
for the Confederacy, but sympathy is not the same thing as direct combat.
In fact, France, under Louis Napoleon is much more sympathetic, and provides
much more direct aid to the Confederacy than Britian ever did.

The British working classes were absolutely forthright in their opposition
to the South and for that reason, and particularly after the storm of the
Trent affair died out, the British were restricted in their actions.
Lincoln's proclamation of emancipation sealed the deal, and correspondence
from the Confederacy is filled with moaning and groaning over Britain and
Europe's refusal to recognized the Confederacy as a sovereign nation.
France, it should be understood, refused to act without British support and
concurrence. In fact, Jefferson Davis considered declaring his own
emancipation proclamation if Europe would intervene on behalf of the
Confederacy.  No takers were found.

The bulk of British capital invested in the US was invested, at that time,
in the North, particularly in US railroads, and that too, along with grain
imports made the British moderate their affinity for slaveholdings.

In fact, slavery was the issue that precipitated the war, and prevented the
British from intervening as its own emancipation of slaves some 30 years
prior, its own abolition of the slave trade prevented the "seamless
integration" of slave economies with the industrialized system.

If memory serves me, I believe Britain would not accept confederate currency
for payment and insisted on payment in specie.  No?

The sympathy of British mercantile interests, based on the cotton trade,
should not surprise us nor make us think the British were behind the
secession, no more than the sympathy of the northern mercantilists in Boston
and NY should be read as the "real" enemy of the Union.

Despite the South's role in providing cotton to Britain, the cause  of the
civil war was over expansion of economic systems.  The confederacy although
incapable of reproducing itself, providing for an economy of expansion,
wanted to block the expansion of free land, free soil, free labor, into the
territories, holding the territories as occupied, but unused territories by
the slave system.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at>
To: <marxism at>
Sent: Friday, July 04, 2003 11:26 AM
Subject: Forwarded from Nestor (Huato)

> Been watching Julio H.´s new "discoveries" in silence, but this is almost
> too much:
> "When two different modes of production interact, and one of them is in
> business of shaping the world to 'its image and likeness,' then the
> difference is going to necessarily mutate into conflict and antagonism.
> That conflict may not arise immediately, but it will arise."
> That´s a square-cornered scheme, which does not allow for capitalism
> the world to its image and likeness by subduing different modes of
> production, keeping their "useful" traits alive and resignifying them
> the logics of surplus value exchange. This cornerstone concept by Julio
> already old for Marx and Engels themselves when they begun to study the
> Irish question.
> Afro American slaves in the South were not proletarians, of course. They
> were slaves, they did not own their own work force and could not rent it
> a capitalist in exchange for money. But the particularity of this kind of
> slavery, as compared to Ancient slavery, was that it was embedded deep not
> into the South but in the Lancashire textile mills, in the general circuit
> for the realization of capital the world over. It did not "conflict" with
> British capitalism. It _came to_ conflict, eventually, with American
> capitalism, and thus you had a civil war ("You see, you see, says Huato
> here, he is conceding my point!").
> But this civil war (please read Marx) was in the end a war between a
> national-popular front led by the American bourgeoisie and the British
> bourgeoisie, not between American slaveowners and British capitalism. Much
> to the contrary, British bourgeois were FOR American slaveowners, and
> American bourgeois turned against them ONLY WHEN IT PROVED UNTENABLE to
> develop a self-centered capitalist economy in USA while keeping the
> propertied classes of the South free from attacks on their long seated
> property rights. It is seldom remembered that the Southern slaveowners
> expropriated of a good deal of their capital, in the same way that the
> French aristocrats were expropriated in 1789 and onwards.
> Had the British won the war through the Southern slaveowners, the seamless
> integration between slavery and industrial manufacture would have lived
> longer than it did. "Shaping the world to ´its image and likeness´" does
> mean, for capitalism, to nurture and spawn new fully developed capitalist
> countries, a move that can only be retarded by the natural backwardness of
> the colored peoples. It simply means that the world must be turned into
> arena for the realization of capital, regardless of the dominant
> relation, while it is ensured that a thick enough layer of the human
> is able to act as the active demand of goods (that is, the -in this sense-
> privileged classes of the First World).
> Oh, I don´t know what do I write these things for. Huato will not accept
> them, and others already know them. Last time. I promise. Last time. Bye.
> Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list:

More information about the Marxism mailing list