[Marxism] Fwd: Slavery and Capitalism - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Dec 13 15:14:29 MST 2014

On 12/13/14 4:59 PM, Ralph Johansen via Marxism wrote:
> The essential point is that a system which is by its nature an openly
> despotic form of reproduction resting on ownership and unrestrained
> political exploitation of slaves is incompatible with capitalism, where
> the producers are also consumers and where therefore this would create
> enormous complications in the core of this system of reproduction; and
> therefore, "wage-slavery" is preferable as the preponderant form, and
> especially in the metropolitan areas.

This is an abstraction and much too hypothetical. The keystone of 
American capitalism until 1865 was slavery. It was not outside of 
capitalism; it was its beating heart. The key word, which you used in 
the first sentence, was *system*. The capitalist system in the USA was a 
mixture of free wage labor and slavery. The two forms of exploitation 
were not competing with each other. They were complementary. And even 
after slavery was abolished, "extra-economic" coercion prevailed through 
the South, at least after Reconstruction ended and until mechanization 
on a large scale penetrated the South.

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