[Marxism] Retrieving Rosa Luxemburg

Patrick Bond pbond at mail.ngo.za
Tue Dec 25 05:44:15 MST 2018

On 2018/12/24 16:20, Philip Ferguson via Marxism wrote:

> *"Rosa Remix *is downloadable at http://www.rosalux-nyc.org/rosa-remix-3/.
> The book was published “with support from the German Federal Foreign
> Office” and has been promoted and distributed by the Democratic Socialists
> of America (DSA). . ."
> full at:
> https://rdln.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/rosa-remixed-up-100-years-after-the-accumulation-of-capital/

Hi Phil,

As usual, thanks for posting from rdln. But as I vaguely recall arguing 
with you before at some point, Walter's way too cranky:

"Another author who deals with imperialism is Patrick Bond from South 
Africa, who effectively dissects his country’s sub-imperialist 
exploitation of the rest of sub-Saharan Africa (and more generally the 
BRICS’ pretensions to anti-imperialism), as he often does. But here he 
also seems to be trying to shoehorn the data into Luxemburg’s particular 
theory, even though he says (in parentheses) that her “orientation to 
[Marx’s] reproduction schemas” was “ultimately mistaken.” He repeatedly 
quotes her statements to the effect that “capital cannot accumulate 
without the aid of non-capitalist relations.” But the main examples he 
provides are those of extractive industries that strip the continent of 
minerals, and he vividly describes the infamous massacre of platinum 
miners at Marikana in 2012. How is this an example of 
“super-exploitative relations between capitalist and non-capitalist 
spheres” being confirmed in Africa today?"

Look, for so many marxist scholars working in this sphere of capitalist 
'accumulation by dispossession,' we have much more acute consciousness 
of the 'free gifts of nature' as well as the free gifts of social 
reproduction (women's unpaid labour), than did earlier generations.

In the current edition of Paul Zarembka's journal Research in Political 
Economy, I have a very long explanation of how in Africa, consistent 
with Luxemburg's 1913 book The Accumulation of Capital, the 
commodity-based capitalist/non-capitalist relations can be understood - 
and measured at around $150 billion annual net loss, which is far 
greater than profit repatriation and illicit financial outflows from 

Here's a link - 
- but I'm not sure if there's a non-paywalled copy so if you want my 
galley-stage version, do let me know...


Ecological-Economic Narratives for Resisting Extractive Industries in 
Africa, in Paul Cooney , William Sacher Freslon (ed.) Environmental 
Impacts of Transnational Corporations in the Global South (Research in 
Political Economy, Volume 33) Emerald Publishing Limited, pp.73 - 110


     The World Bank report Changing Wealth of Nations 2018 is only the 
most recent reminder of how much poorer Africa is becoming, losing more 
than US$100 billion annually from minerals, oil, and gas extraction, 
according to (quite conservatively framed) environmentally sensitive 
adjustments of wealth. With popular opposition to socioeconomic, 
political, and ecological abuses rising rapidly in Africa, a robust 
debate may be useful: between those practicing anti-extractivist 
resistance, and those technocrats in states and international agencies 
who promote “ecological modernization” strategies. The latter typically 
aim to generate full-cost environmental accounting, and to do so they 
typically utilize market-related techniques to value, measure, and price 
nature. Between the grassroots and technocratic standpoints, a layer of 
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) do not yet appear capable of 
grappling with anti-extractivist politics with either sufficient 
intellectual tools or political courage. They instead revert to easier 
terrains within ecological modernization: revenue transparency, project 
damage mitigation, Free Prior and Informed Consent (community 
consultation and permission), and other assimilationist reforms. More 
attention to political-economic and political-ecological trends – 
including the end of the commodity super-cycle, worsening climate 
change, financial turbulence and the potential end of a 40-year long 
globalization process – might assist anti-extractivist activists and NGO 
reformers alike. Both could then gravitate to broader, more effective 
ways of conceptualizing extraction and unequal ecological exchange, 
especially in Africa’s hardest hit and most extreme sites of devastation.

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