[DEBATE] : Re: Muna on Harvey and racism-twist
p.waterman at inter.nl.net
Thu Jun 1 08:52:40 BST 2006
Thanks for your kind words on myself and Peter Rachleff (whose argument was
certainly more informed than my own).
One further Marxism-Twist, however. I am not sure whether capitalism 'needs'
or 'wants' - far less whether 'it' gets these.
The abstract logic of capital accumulation works out in the most varied ways
through history, across the world, by industry, by company.
I just saw a great DVD about the struggles of immigrant tomato pickers in
Florida (two or three different origins). The end is getting an end-user,
Taco-Bell, to actually pay back to the workers 1 cent per pound, thus
doubling their income, as well as requiring of the employers that they
respect a series of worker rights. This outcome could hardly have been
predicted on the basis of the process of capital accumulation or the law of
Nor can it help us predict the effect of this small if dramatic victory. The
Imokalee (?) Workers Coalition actually received the congratulations of
Sweeney, boss of the AFL-CIO. So we could see the IWC (which had succeeded
thanks to an alliance with the 'petty-bourgeois'
students and an 'obscurantist' church - and woman priest) could decline into
a conventional US trade union, and lose its convention-breaking and
emancipatory character. Or it might add to the pressures for a re-invention
of US unionism.
Indeed, materialist anthropologists and anti-capitalist feminist theorists
(middle-class, white, western and infected by post-modernism) have
de-constructed 'capitalism' in order to show to what extent the gift
economy, or non-capitalist sectors persist despite capitalism.
What I think all this helps us see is that capitalism is not pure and total
domination. It is a highly contradictory, changeable and disputable social
My own expectation is that the next hegemonic capitalist ideology (by which
I mean the dominant, not the sole one) might be a global neo-keynesianism. I
have argued this before on this site. But even if this is NOT the case, we
need to think about scenarios alternative to Neo-Liberalism v. Socialist
Revolution. NL is in profound do-do - in all parts of the world and in all
kinds of ways. And there exist neither a viable historical model nor the
contemporary social forces for a SR (Thank Goddess!). In so far as a GN-K
would be at best a kinder gentler capitalism, then those concerned with its
surpassing would need to have a sophisticated understanding and strategy in
order to avoid either being swallowed up by such or going into paroxysms of
purity and self-isolation.
Recognising on the one hand the (increasing) complexity of capitalism(s) and
the potential of collective radical-democratic subjects (workers of many
kinds, women, indigenous peoples, professionals, schoolkids, rural workers
and farmers), a strategy which appeals to all, and avoids prioritising one
of them, would seem to maximise capacity for self-organisation. And even for
a radically re-invented socialism, in other words a socialism that had
learnt from the struggles of these movements, and from those theorising
----- Original Message -----
From: "muna" <muna at iafrica.com>
To: "debate: SA discussion list " <debate at lists.kabissa.org>
Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 9:38 AM
Subject: [DEBATE] : Re: Harvey and racism-twist
between Peter Waterman and Peter Rachleff, they get close to creating an
outline within which I believe the oppression of women is framed, as well as
clearly bringing to my mind the issue of the NEEDS of capitalism - who is it
that created the media hype that woemn should not b at home, and should have
careers as well? Note, this is not a comment on whether women want / wanted
it or not...
capital wanted highly skilled people that they could pay less to - and by
making women feel that "they can have it all", also generated a demand for a
whole new range of products to sell... 'convienience food', harmful
microwave ovens, you name it...
so, even women who would innately wish to be at home, feel pressured to get
a career, and if you chat to women today, you will find that those who are
at home, doing the most important work in the world (raising kids!) seem
somehow ashamed of NOT having a career...
so, people, as many have said before me, you cannot have environmental
protection and capitalism, similarly, you will never cease oppression under
capitalism - remember, business is war by proxy, as war is business by
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