Spain: colonizer and colonized

Patrick Bond pbond at
Fri Jul 11 05:47:05 MDT 2003

Sorry, have been away from the computer for a week at conferences.

On questions like this:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Julio Huato" <juliohuato at>
> In what proportion it was theft,
> in what proportion it was the edge of the capitalist mode of production,
> what proportion it was local, in what proportion it was aided by
> extra-economic expropriation and appropriation.

don't comrades want to revisit Luxemburg and especially the idea of
accumulation by appropriation?

> The issue to me is, what is the main tendency of this historical process?
> And, in today's capitalism, what is the main source of expansion of
> capitalist production?  If the answer to this question was somewhat clear
> Marx's time, it should be even clearer today.
> As we look forward, how should we think strategically about capitalist
> development?  Is it all a based on forced labor and forceful expropriation
> of producers and appropriation of someone else's wealth?

Partly because of reading David Harvey's recent work, I really am convinced
that what he relabels 'accumulation by disposession' is indeed a 'main
tendency' within neoliberal capitalism, which of course extends far beyond
labour and into all facets of life and nature.

> >Similarly - and to finally return to Julio's argument - capitalism has
> >called the neocolonial, peripheral reserve army into existence, and
> >do without it. Julio thinks that peasants, slaves and unemployed people
> >places like southern Africa (maybe Patrick Bond can help me - Zimbabwe's
> >unemployment is above 50% and SA's 30%, I think) are structurally and
> >functionally not part of the global capital labour pool, and are instead
> >suffering from incomplete capitalist development "primitive accumulation,
> >colonialism, imperialism, prevarication of public wealth, not capitalist
> >accumulation proper".
> Non sequitur.  There is no basis for you to impute on me the belief that
> people who live in "the neocolonial, peripheral" parts of the world,
> "peasants, slaves and unemployed people in places like southern Africa are
> structurally and functionally not part of the global capital labour pool."
> They are indeed part of the global labor pool.  But it doesn't follow from
> this that they are not suffering from incomplete capitalist development.
> They are as well.

Depends on the meaning of 'complete', eh? Perhaps the most revealing feature
of this process is the water privatisation problem. As Lou forwarded about
six weeks ago, the NYT ran a front-page piece on the struggles against water
apartheid here. And the privatisers are basically fed up. Is it because of
resistance? Partly. But also it's the 'completeness' of the problem of
insufficient effective demand that would allow poor people to pay for
(unsubsidised) water. That's the major constraint to accumulation via the
market; so capital moves to accumulation via dispossession, including taking
the realm of public goods and nature (as water shows, and as air appears to
be next thanks to the carbon-trading phenomenon), milking a profit and
leaving when they have milked the stone dry.

I did a paper at that Havana conference on Marx in early May, concerning
African anti-capitalism. It reflects upon uneven development problems such
as limits to 'normal' accumulation. Would be happy to get feedback if
anyone wants it (offlist at pbond at

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