(fwd from Rakesh) DMS/Rakesh exchange
dmschanoes at earthlink.net
Fri Sep 5 18:07:22 MDT 2003
Parse? I try to refrain from the point counterpoint method, although
sometimes I avail myself of it. In this case, the problem is that so much
criticism is extraneous to the direct topic, it's hard for me to use the
parse technique. But once more into the breach....
RB: Well yes but why. Was this a struggle by the South to maintain and
improve the balance of political power or by North to open up the swelling
Kansas market for its mfgs? This whole emphasis on market outlets seems
dms:Parse 1. It's not either or. It's each existing in the organization,
the necessity of the other. The South fearing encapsulation of its system,
with expanding Northern industry and the Northern population agitating
against slavery. The North knowing that its expansion, the reproduction of
its system, the expansion of agriculture, railroads would be throttled by
the existence of slavery.
RB:> Two things. 1st this would have had to have been crystal clear well
> the Civil War if Northern industrialists were fighting the Civil War for
> market outlets as such rather than a large protected market.
dms Parse of 1st of 2 things: No it would not have to be clear to the
North. Consciousness and necessity are not automatically identical. But it
was clear to all that this conflict was about the development of Northern
capitalism at the expense of the slaveholders. That was clear from the
gitgo, in the South's insistence on the establishment of the Senate, and
the 3/5ths rule; in South Carolina's nullification and secession attempt
1828-1832. No capitalist has to think or say, "Hey we're doing this to make
money," to actually be doing something to ensure future returns. The
capitalist can say, "We're doing this to eradicate the moral evil of
slavery, to bring the benefit of free soil, free labor, progress to all."
Same thing to us, but we aren't coincident with that class and that history.
But the coincidence of those two things, and their convergence in a real
struggle is what defines the "suitability" of this particular class to
assume undivided power.
RB: Post writes the economic history of the US in a way that forgets much
> much, in my opinion. Violence, extra economic coercion and the state all
> recede in the background. It's an economistic Marxism.
dms: But that's not what he's writing here, in this article, the article I
posted my Post on Post about.
RB: plantations and the Midwestern family farm for the North's mfg goods.
> you have provided no such data; nor does Post in this article.
dms: Parse of the 2nd: In an earlier post not on Post I believed I
reproduced data from the census of 1850 and other periods about the absolute
values of manufactured instruments used by each state in agricultural
production, total agricultural output, total manufacturing output. It isn't
just farmers buying and using articles, its the reorganization of property
that allows for expanded reproduction of the system as a whole. That is the
critical import of the US Civil War, and that is why slavery was destroyed.
Note: the defeat of Reconstruction is another issue.
RB:> Yes the difference is not in doubt. But didn't you yourself point out
> slaves were rented out to mfg establishments in the South? This is
> Starobin's book, right?
dms: Yes, and as Starobin points out, the slaveholders viewed and operated
this rental exactly as a rental of machinery, livestock, or land, as did the
establishments doing the renting-- there was no distinction in the
components of the production process, thus not need to augment, beyond what
the temporary limitations of the market required, the labor process through
the substitution of machinery. The difference for industrial capitalism is
that the capitalization of property, the instruments of production through
the exchange with wage labor must always drive over and against the markets
for the realization of the surplus value. It must, without even conscious
appreciation by our capitalist captains of industry, expel the proportion of
labor to realize the product of the surplus labor, thus finding its existing
markets almost immediately obsolete.
RB: But this does not seal the case. Yes the North and West were better
> for the reaper but that does not mean the Midwestern family farmer
> a better market overall for industrial goods than the Southern
dms: If the output, the productivity, and the rate of growth don't seal the
deal then I have no way of convincing anyone.
RB: By not drawing on said research, Post cannot provide an accurate picture
> slavery's place in North America's total economic development. Again by
> last section he has withdrawn that opening paragraph which only applied to
> the West Indies and England, anyway. I can't imagine black people are
> dancing in joy about that.
dms: Back to dancing are we? But this paper is about the contradictions of
the slave system. I can't imagine anyone, black, white, red, yellow, pink,
dancing for joy about anything regarding slavery, except its destruction.
Talk about not sealing the deal.... You say Post cannot provide an accurate
picture of slavery's place in NA total economic development. We'll have to
see, won't we? That's why I asked for the other references.. to see what
else he has written and if it is indeed flawed and if flawed, flawed as a
logical extension of the analysis presented in this specific paper.
f:Regarding your position on the disincentives of slavery to
> >technical improvement and expansion-- yes, you stated, if this
> >is what you are referring to that Post's argument --
> >capitalism "expels" labor from the production process-- is
> >mistaken, because actually capitalism adds to the overall
> >labor used in the production process.
RB: Well if you would parse my posts and respond, then you wouldn't have to
> mis-state what I say. Why not take advantage of this medium to have a
> systematic discussion?
dms: Is that an inaccurate representation of your statement in the Post?
That part was pretty clear to me. If I misunderstood it, then it's my
RB: If plantation capitalists using gang labor couldn't have relied on free
> wage labor then they had to turn to slave and other forms of formally
> unfree labor even if these forms of exploitation hindered continuous
> mechanization. Which wouldn't have been true when the turn was made
> especially after Bacon's rebellion to slavery because the technical
> possibilities for continuous mechanization did not even then exist. At any
> rate, slavery does not make this plantation agriculture in land rich,
> malarial zones any less capitalist, any less profit oriented, any less
> dependent on the valorization of capital due to the monetization of the
> inputs than what you are calling capitalist agriculture. In fact
> slavery was more capitalist in character than Midwestern family farming as
> Marx recognized in that passage which Post for obvious reasons does not
dms: Post is not arguing any of these points in this paper. But what is
obvious is that the social relations contained in free soil farming, the
capitalization of property, based on the separation of components of the
productive process, contains in itself, in its need to aggrandize ever more
surplus vale as just that, liquid, exchangeable, "free" value, requires the
increased application of the technical components in order to potentiate
> Let's be clear about why this denial of the capitalist character of
> is important: exactly because American slavery was ruthlessly capitalist
> rather than non capitalist and paternalist as Ulrich Phillips and Eugene
> Genovese (Philips in Gramscian clothing as Clarence A Walker has put it)
> would have it did slavery gave birth to humankind's most monstrous
dms: the capitalist character of slavery is important for it reveal a
pivotal element in the development, but perhaps not the origin, of capital
that becomes a fetter upon capital's further development. This is a
manifestation of the conflict between the means and relations of production
that is the pivot, the overture, the introduction of a period of
revolution. The struggle against slavery is more than important, it is
vital, for it throws into bold relief the pivotal role of
black labor in US history and will lead us to see the emancipation of that
labor as possible only in a class based struggle.
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