[Marxism] Imperialism and the US working class (Was YADL)

Shane Mage shmage at pipeline.com
Mon Apr 6 06:50:51 MDT 2009

On Apr 6, 2009, at 6:29 AM, sabocat59 at mac.com wrote:
> And if you want data about transfer of wealth from slave workers to  
> the newly forming industrial proletariat, then how about this:
> In terms of one commodity, sugar:
> "He wryly observes (p. 148) that the plantations, in addition to  
> providing a place for capital to work and serving as a market for  
> “machinery, cloth, instruments of torture, and other industrial  
> commodities”, may have had one more use: as a source of “low-cost  
> food substitutes, such as tobacco, tea, and sugar, for the  
> metropolitan laboring classes”. When he calculates (p.191) that an  
> acre of land would yield about eight million calories just from  
> sugar (not counting energy from using the byproducts of extraction),  
> and points out that for comparable energy potato would need four  
> acres, wheat 9-12 and beef over 135, we sense a master at the height  
> of his craft."
> Here is a direct transfer of caloric energy directly from the third  
> world for the benefit of the english working class. Cheap energy  
> gathered from slave labor.  The same can be said of coffee and other  
> commodities designed to supply the working class with cheap energy  
> so they could produce more cheaply.

Read this again.  "low-cost food substitutes."  The reality--the  
explicit reality--was a direct assault on the most vital interest of  
the English workingclass, its health.  The "benefits" of tea and sugar  
to the workers included rotted teeth.  And there were lots of English,  
as well as African, slaves "transported" to the colonies as   
punishment for "crime."

And this is the reality of imperialism.  Statistics always show no net  
benefit to the metropolitan economy or even a net loss (because the  
costs of empire--cf., the US military budget--equal or exceed the  
profits to be repatriated). They in fact show that imperialism is a  
cost, not a benefit, to the proletariat.  Because it is the  
"privileged imperialist working class" who pays the cost of empire in  
money and blood while the profits go directly into the pockets of  
their exploiters

Shane Mage

> This cosmos did none of gods or men make, but it
> always was and is and shall be: an everlasting fire,
> kindling in measures and going out in measures."
> Herakleitos of Ephesos

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