[Marxism] Imperialism in a coffee cup | openDemocracy

Ismail Lagardien ilagardien at yahoo.com
Thu Jul 18 12:55:11 MDT 2019

What is ‘a rounded Marxist-feminist-ecological-race-conscious critique”? 

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On Thursday, July 18, 2019, 6:10 PM, Patrick Bond via Marxism <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

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Yes, but...

On 2019/07/18 3:00 PM, Louis Proyect via Marxism wrote:
> https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/oureconomy/imperialism-coffee-cup/

     Great stuff, here, regarding unequal exchange based on 
super-exploitative labor relations.

     (For those interested, one of the originators of this thesis, Samir 
Amin, died on 12 August 2018 and will be commemorated here in 
Johannesburg, at Wits University, a year later - as we tend to do in 
these parts - as well with allies in Dakar where he worked these 
arguments into all sorts of fascinating applied critiques of imperialism.)

     One of the most critical aspects of our own Southern African 
migrant labor super-exploitation, is how gendered it is, with women 
ensuring the rates of pay can often dip below social reproduction costs, 
since those are borne by women in far-away rural areas with only 
sporadic remittances. Child-care, healthcare and elder care are 
massively subsidised by women and girls. The role of patriarchy 
amplifying such capitalist power relations would surely be feasible for 
Smith to add? (The literature here is rich, dating in some respects to 
Rosa Luxemburg's 1913 Accumulation of Capital, and more explicitly 
since, 40 years ago, Annette Kuhn and Ann-Marie Wolpe wrote Feminism and 
Materialism: Women and modes of production.)

     And there's a parallel socio-ecological process, unequal ecological 
exchange, in which the non-renewable resources looted from most South 
locations (e.g. 88% of African countries) are too rarely calculated, 
much less incorporated into critiques of imperialism.

     So what Smith scathingly points out about the North's failure to 
properly count Southern labor - "Evidence of the persistence and indeed 
pervasiveness of imperialism is all around us, yet liberals, social 
democrats and even many who consider themselves revolutionary socialists 
are blind to this" - also goes for his own failure to properly count the 
natural wealth of the South that's looted when extractive industries 
don't provide meaningful compensation for non-renewable resources, i.e., 
wealth 'that doesn't grow back' once lifted by TNCs (unlike his case of 
coffee beans, which do).

     I've tried to point this out in debate with Smith (and David Harvey 
- who I feel is also inadvertently guilty here), i.e. that study of 
imperialism - and any forms of uneven and combined development 
associated with resource-intensive countries of the South - must be more 
cognizant of the way 'free gifts of nature' are simply removed, without 
shareholder profits recirculated or capital reinvested (unlike in 
Canada, Norway, Australia, the U.S. and other resource-rich countries 
whose TNCs return the fruits of the plunder to their own countries' 
shareholders or fiscus):

http://roape.net/2018/04/18/towards-a-broader-theory-of-imperialism/ and


     And here are some other (2018) sites where you can determine if 
this argument adds to the anti-imperialist repertoire, as I think it 

    New evidence of Africa’s systematic looting, provided by an
    increasingly schizophrenic World Bank

    Corporate Looting: Sub-Saharan Africa Loses $100B A Year

    Ecological-Economic Narratives for Resisting Extractive Industries
    in Africa

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