[Marxism] Imperialism and the US working class (Was YADL)
Waistline2 at aol.com
Waistline2 at aol.com
Sun Apr 5 15:04:35 MDT 2009
In a message dated 4/5/2009 4:51:16 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, Waistline2
writes: I second Artesian's motion that you supply us with some hard
information, particularly trend data, demonstrating the transfer of wealth from the
colonial and semi-colonial world to the advanced capitalist countries and then
on to their working classes. <<
Actually, Artesian and I engaged this question the better part of a decade
ago on Marxmail.
It got real bloody, he beat me up pretty bad.
"Damnit stop quoting Engels and say what you means."
The issue was presented a little more sharply and I could not extrapolate
the history of the national wage rates peculiar to America against a
"magnitude of surplus" extracted from the colonies that enter into the wages of
American labor. This dispute caused an epiphany for me:
"Why not simply describe something - anything, as accurately as possible,
rather than proceeding from a conclusion or ideological formulation?"
For instance, the historical privileges men have had over women do not
require an elaborate theory and ideology first, but demands description,
articulation and then a study of the history. The same applies to blacks in
relationship to whites. Although, I would not admit it at the time, what I was
essentially trying to describe was the relative differences in wages and living
circumstances between whites and blacks, which gets real confusing when dealing
with heavy industry where many blacks were once concentrated.
Then of course blacks were tied to the land and one cannot compare
agricultural labor to industry labor and call the difference in wage rates bribery.
One cannot compare wage rates in auto with those in the retail sector and
called the difference privilege or bribery. From confusion, one enters the path of
ideological madness when the wage rates of all whites in the core South are
compared to the blacks of the North. Industry versus agricultural rates and
union versus non union labor enter the picture and one can never be wrong if
the approach is to first accurately describe what we are looking at, and then
fight to inch closer to truth.
>From that moment until now I have tried to write without thick ideology and
question all formulations I inherited from the period of Lenin. I was
already on that path along with everyone else.
Daniel De Leon coined the term, "labor lieutenants" of the capitalist class.
Family members and I were "labor lieutenants of the capitalist class."
This term is purely American and one cannot be historically or currently "wrong"
to deploy it. However, what is being isolated is the upper strata of labor
in its organizational expression.
This is not to say that the workers in America are not in a "privileged"
position in the world system of bourgeois production. Privileged is in quotes to
denote being at the front of the curve of industrial development and capital
investment. This issue really becomes complex when magnitude of capital
deployed in a sector is compared with wages and surplus value yield. No one denies
the historically horrible genocidal treatment of the colonial or former
colonials at the hands of imperialism; the role of the ideology of white
Simply because Lenin deployed certain terms and concepts that were accurate
in the era he lived, does not mean these terms and concept retain the same
validity 90 years later.
"Labor lieutenants" of the capitalist class. I like that term and concept,
which is not to say I am prepared to open a discussion on De Leon and
Lassalle's Iron Law of Wages.
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