Forwarded from Anthony (primitive accumulation, etc.)

dmschanoes dmschanoes at
Mon Sep 15 21:51:08 MDT 2003

----- Original Message -----
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at>

 What does overproduction have to do with my point?  The question  under
debate is whether this was capitalist production or not.

Decaf only for you Louis after 6PM, that's my suggestion.....

You wrote:
Of course. But Marx was utterly consumed with the task of understanding the
key industrial societies of Western Europe where a proletariat would be the
key agency in overthrowing the capitalist system. The whole point of
Capital is to describe the historical evolution of societies like Great
Britain where categories like variable surplus value served to describe the
living reality of class relations at the point of production.

So I thought, incorrectly, it turns out, you wanted to know if the terms of
Marx's analysis-- like variable capital, wage-labor, overproduction,
proletariat where applicable to the production of coffee.  And of course,
Marx's analysis is exactly applicable.  It's a shame that you haven't looked
a  little bit deeper into Marx's work to see where overproduction is
something more, and more essential to capitalism, than simply the "anarchy
of capitalist production" or "disproportion between departments 1 and 2,"
because they aren't the real, revolutionary content of Marx's examination of

Of course, coffee production on plantations in Nicaragua is capitalist
production.    I haven't been to Nicaragua but I know about sugar harvesting
on the haciendas in the Philippines-- technically backward until post OPEC 1
and the end of US sugar preference quotas, utilizing debt shackled tenants,
migrants, and sharecroppers-- and that was part of the capitalist system
also, and the changes in that production then like the changes in the coffe
markets now confirm, and painfully so, the capitalist nature of that sector.

But here are questions for you, based on your own statement:  Do you think
the proletariat is NOT the key agent for the overthrow of capitalism outside
of Western Europe?  Or outside the OECD, (and perhaps the "transition
economies" of  Eastern Europe and the former USSR)?  Do you think for
example that there is a class other than the proletariat capable of
overthrowing capitalism on the world scale?  On a local level, do you think
for example in Indonesia there is a class other than the proletariat capable
of overthrowing capital?  South Korea?  Brazil?

Just wondering....

Yours truly,

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