[Marxism] Rosa Luxemburg 100 years on

Patrick Bond pbond at mail.ngo.za
Tue Oct 23 03:54:49 MDT 2018

I have enjoyed debating (this reviewer) Walter Daum for many years, and 
so on it now goes...

On 2018/10/23 11:21 AM, Philip Ferguson via Marxism wrote:
> full at:
> https://rdln.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/rosa-remixed-up-100-years-after-the-accumulation-of-capital/
> _________________________________________________________


> 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?

Well, the capitalist sphere of exploitation, in basic theoretical terms, 
entails capital and labour coming together in the production of value 
and surplus value. The 'super-exploitative' realm arises when there 
exists extra-economic power to extract 'free gifts.' At least three 
places from which these can be systematically drawn from Luxemburg's 
(and Luxemburgist) work, are within the 'natural economy' of 
pre-capitalist and non-capitalist relations, specifically in societies 
and states that have decommodified commons; in the non-compensated 
reproduction of labour power by women; and in the extraction of natural 
resources (and related society-nature interactions). Her theory of 
imperialism advanced our understandings of capitalist and non-capitalist 
relations by describing in great detail the South African (as well as 
Namibian and Congolese) systems of accumulation, as central to her main 
work, the 1913 book, The Accumulation of Capital.

The Rosa Remixed from RLS-NYC necessarily entailed simplification and 
popularization. I've done an update on all this for an Austrian journal 
so let me know if you'd like that offlist (feedback is warmly 
welcomed)... but it starts like this:

Luxemburg’s critique of capital accumulation, applied again in Africa
Journal für Entwicklungspolitik, December 2018

Rosa Luxemburg’s Accumulation of Capital provided Africa’s first known 
Marxist account of class, race, gender, society-nature and regional 
oppressions. She was far ahead of her time in grappling with the theory 
and practice of capitalist/non-capitalist relations that today not only 
characterise Western multinational corporate extraction but also that of 
firms from several contemporary ‘emerging’ economies. This article 
contends that in her tradition, two recent areas of analysis now stand 
out, even if they have not yet received sufficient attention by critics 
of underdevelopment: the expanded understandings of value transfers from 
Africa based on natural resource depletion; and the ways that 
collaborations between imperial and subimperial national powers (and 
power blocs) contribute to Africa’s poverty. Using these two 
newly-revived areas of enquiry, several aspects of Luxemburg’s 
Accumulation stand out for their continuing relevance to the current 
conjuncture in contemporary Africa: capitalist/non-capitalist relations; 
natural resource value transfer; capitalist crisis tendencies and 
displacements; imperialism then and imperialism-subimperialism now; and 
the need to evolve from protests to solidarities through socialist ideology.

REST: pbond at mail.ngo.za

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