[Marxism] REFORMATTED: Capital accumulation, South Africa and the American SWP tradition.

dave.walters at comcast.net dave.walters at comcast.net
Thu Feb 15 20:50:01 MST 2007

[sorry about that...DW]

While pretty much agreeing with most of what Phil F has written of late 
on S. Africa and Ireland, I too was a little surprised that he thinks that 
the lack of investigation into the "accumulation of capital in the US" was 
some sort of major flaw of the SWP (and, by extension, the entire 
Marxist left in the US). Partly, the history of early Marxism (1870 
onward) was a study of this "in pactice", with little reason to examine it 
as it was so obvious in it's results.

The reason to study this in Russia, as Joaquín suggests, was political 
for Lenin...and not only him, but *everyone* there and why it 
dominated the debates among Russian social-democrats. Capital 
accumulation, more importantly in it's fullest or broadest meaning "the 
development of capitalism", was the question of questions on political 
strategy in Russia. Every debate which way forward was predicated on 
ones position on this. Little of this was debated about Germany, one 
might note, because it was obvious there too, albeit different than the 

Perhaps I might diverge with Joaquín over the issue of genocide of 
Native Americans as being a perquisite for the accumulation of capital 
in the US. I think it was rather the parallel result of this process, but not 
a precondition for it, nor even necessary. 

The most glaring aspect of the accumulation, and the most important, 
a result that effects our lives today: slavery, as it dominated capitalism 
North and South in the US, was the undisputed method of early capital 
accumulation into the 1840s. But few questioned the need for socialist 
revolution after Reconstruction was betrayed, it simply wasn't a debate, 


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