[Marxism] Indians and Blacks as slaves in Brazil and the Andes

Nestor Gorojovsky nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
Thu Nov 3 07:39:26 MST 2005


Respuesta a:"Marxism Digest, Vol 25, Issue 5"
Enviado por:marxism-request at lists.econ.utah.edu
Con fecha:3 Nov 2005, a las 5:38

> what makes a "people"  "suitable" for slave labor?  Is it biological?
> Genetically based?
> 

Of course not.  People are a social product.  Indians in societies 
classified in the scale of Morgan-Engels as higher stage of barbarism 
were quite different from those in other stages.  

As to "old" versus "new" authors (Renato P.), I am not very convinced 
that anything recent is always "better knowledge" than all that is 
old.  This may well be true in natural science (and not always), but 
certainly not in history.

As to Ribeiro, his last opus, "O povo brasileiro", is not so old by 
the way.  It dates back to the 1990s.

And though there is no denying that indians were captured for slave 
work, and that there has been a too strong trend of "pro-Africanism" 
and "anti-Indianism" in many authors of the Brazilian sociological 
and anthropological élite (inaugurated, BTW, by Freyre), facts are 
stubborn.  

Indians knew how to deal with the forests, black people, did not.  
Indians could (and did) escape inland.  Blacks found it more 
difficult.  A lot more difficult.  Particularly when they were 
redistributed destroying their original links among different 
slaveowners, thus forcibly turned into "abstract persons", or we 
should rather say "concrete non-persons".

Slavery in the South is not the kernel of slavery in the North.  It 
was the plantation that predicated slavery on Brazil as a whole.  The 
manhunt for slaves which led to the formation of the Bandeirante 
complex in São Paulo (the "bandeira paulista" was completely 
different from the bandeira in the Northeast, in this sense: and this 
is why the "paulistas" were the preferred slaughterers when there was 
a rebellion of slaves in the North) is, IMHO, a further demonstration 
that indians did simply not endure the conditions of the plantation.

They simply did not last.  Hunger for new human blood was not tapped 
by Indians.

As to the Pacific rim countries, it should be noted that many trades 
(different kinds of craftmanship, for example) required Black people 
in Perú and today's Bolivia because not even the Quechua or Aymara 
indians, already drilled into subservience by the Incas, could 
develop them.  And, as a side result, this brought into the Andean 
countries of the South a wonderful veneer of Black music (Nicomedes 
Santa Cruz, for example, has rescued lots of that music) which little 
people know about.

By the way, as a rule, Indians in the Perú mines were not slaves.

And this, just to begin with.

Anyway, I would leave my simple case here, because, again, I am no 
pundit on Brazil.  I will try to grab the book that Renato has 
recommended.

Este correo lo ha enviado
Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
[No necesariamente es su autor]
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"La patria tiene que ser la dignidad arriba y el regocijo abajo".
Aparicio Saravia
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