[Marxism] Welcomed Back
rrubinelli at earthlink.net
Fri Oct 21 13:51:36 MDT 2005
"Rome would be a great city if it weren't for the Pope and all those
churches" -- Garibaldi
Missed all of you, and I know you all feel the same...but a couple of
horses I'd like to raise from the dead and beat to the water-- is that
Anyway-- in reference to Brenner and Pomeranz and things that make you
go hmmm... the moderator was kind enough to offer his agreement with my
analysis provided "we understand the clash between North and South in
terms of different sectors of the capitalist class." And would I be so
churlish to differ on this understanding, and reject this agreement?
Rhetorical question, right?
I have to differ. The Southern plantation owners were not the
bourgeoisie. They were not capitalists. Were they feeding into a world
wide capital system? Absolutely. No less than the tobacco, sugar, hemp
plantation owners of the Philippines; no less than the Russian
landowners before/after the "end" of serfdom. But none of them, not the
Southerners, not Philippine plantation owners, not the Russian landed
"aristocracy" were the bourgeoisie. In fact the "liberation" of the
bourgeoisie required the destruction of just those landed rulers. That
such "liberation" was accomplished just once in the three case is a
difference in...history. It is the difference in capitalism of 1860 vs
that of 1895 vs that of 1905/1917.
After 1865; after 1871 and the Commune; after the rolling back of the
Irish rebellion; after the destruction of Radical Reconstruction in
1877; the truth is out-- the destruction of the landed, "archaic" forms,
the emancipation of labor from land slavery, is essential to economic
development, but capital, configured/determined/ensnared by itself as
private property, cannot achieve that destruction without triggering the
emancipation of labor itself from all private property, without
triggering the overthrow of capital itself. This is precisely the
conflict between means and relations of production that runs like a red
thread through every page of Capital.
Which is why I answer so emphatically in the affirmative when Charles
Brown asked if, because of 1877, that meant there could be no "fronting"
with the bourgeoisie. Exactly.
And yes, if you look at the history, the development, or lack thereof ,
of the Southern railroads leading up to and during the Civil War,
contrast that with the North's, the inescapable conclusion is that the
Sourthern RRs served a different economic organization; served a
different economy; were not organized as capital in a capitalist
Which gets me to another horse of a different color-- the discussion of
the "national front." The Republican Party of the 1860s was no way,
shape, or form, a front. The support it received from Marx, and
socialists was not fronting. This was 1860, this was the bourgeoisie
breaking the social relations of dominance that were in conflict with
its means of production.
If you want to look at a 19th century front or two, we could look at the
revolutionary struggle of 1848/1849 in France, Germany, and Italy.
There you have a front-- with the workers providing the blood and the
"radical democrats" providing the program. And what were the results?
Destruction of the workers. Capitulation by the radicals. The
bourgeoisie turning to this or that man on a horse to deliver them from
the horrors of ..... from the what? Exactly what were they so afraid
of? Why, it was socialism, wasn't it?
While I'm at it.... Despite the British investment in the US during the
first half of the 19th century, no way the US resembled a British
"colony" before the Civl War. The US home market was never suppressed
as is historically the case for colonies under domination of a
Getting back to fronts, or is that getting fronts to back? Either/both.
Charles takes up the issue again and claims that there was a radical
change in world, so I guess a radical change in capitalism, or the
bourgeoisie or both, around 1930? I guess, that made a popular front
"viable." Hmmm... so after WW1... so after the bourgeoisie had been
overthrown in one country, after Lenin wrote his Imperialism and most if
not all Marxists were talking, arguing, and fighting that capitalism was
indeed obsolete, that in fact advanced states were little more than
blood-sucking, and blood-letting coupon clippers, living in their
rentier-states of bliss, something happened to make a liberal-democratic
program valid? something happened to make submerging the independent
interests of the working class in opposition to its own national capital
imperative? something happened, in the world of capital now, to make
alliances with not the petit-bourgeoisie, but the big bourgeoisie,
Well we all know what that something must have been: the existence of
the Soviet Union.
So I have to ask-- now that the USSR has been overthrown-- is that a big
enough change to warrant dispensing with popular fronting?
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