DONATE NOW TO HELP UPGRADE LIBCOM.ORG

Was the Union war against the Confederacy a progressive war or imperialist bloodbath?

188 posts / 0 new
Last post
lettersjournal
Offline
Joined: 12-12-11
Feb 7 2016 18:34

People like Chomsky often cite India’s invasion of Pakistan in 1971 as an example of a 'good war'. If one feels capable of surveying history and picking the good (or, "progressive") wars, it seemed like a possible candidate.

The idea of a "progressive war" does not make sense to me, unless we accept some idea of divine or communist Providence.

RC wrote:
The progressives are ignoring the question: what were the Northern troops fighting for?

Quote:
If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

But why would communists, given their meager resources and numbers, dedicate themselves to defending wars of previous centuries?

Hieronymous's picture
Hieronymous
Offline
Joined: 27-07-07
Feb 7 2016 18:53
lettersjournal wrote:
People like Chomsky often cite India’s invasion of Pakistan in 1971 as an example of a 'good war'.

Did Indians cite the U.S. Civil War? How?

If, as RC alleges, slaves lacked "will and consciousness," was this still true when they were fighting the "general strike" for their own liberation? I don't want to put words in anyone's mouth, but it makes them sound sub-human.

lettersjournal
Offline
Joined: 12-12-11
Feb 7 2016 18:56

For me, the question is not so much the "non-existence of the will" but the inutility of the concept.

Hieronymous's picture
Hieronymous
Offline
Joined: 27-07-07
Feb 7 2016 19:14

Sidetracking comment removed.

S. Artesian
Offline
Joined: 5-02-09
Feb 7 2016 21:35

The Union troops were fighting against secession, for the Union. But It's not only a case of what troops are fighting for; , the issue is also what they are fighting against. The troops of the Union Army were fighting a slaveholders' rebellion; against the expansion of slavery.

RC wrote:
Do the progressives want to say that the general imposition of wage labor on the North American continent was a step on the stairway to communism? S. Artesian thinks the progressive nature of the civil war was “realized” in such things as the right to vote and public education. Is that another step?

Yeah, I think the general dominance of wage labor, and the abolition of slavery by wage labor, is a prerequisite for the abolition of wage labor and the creation of communism. Kind of the ABC of the difference between socialism scientific, socialism grounded in the real development of social production, and socialism utopian.

The progressive impulse of the US Civil War was the impulse to the emancipation of black labor, which the Reconstruction governments attempted to articulate, within the historical limits of the time (RC clearly doesn't believe there is any difference between 1860 and 1990), through the adoption of programs for public education, equality of legal standing between whites and blacks, the right to vote, the rights to establish specific contracts specifying duration and compensations for work.

Now if RC doesn't think that's a step-up, progress, versus slavery-- that's OK. Ignorance is its own critique.

So just so I leave no stone unturned, and no feather unruffled-- yeah I think the attempt of the Reconstruction governments and the Freedmen's bureaus to establish wage-labor for the ex-slaves, breaking the notion of the laborer in body and soul as property of the owner, was a giant step forward, a real measure of progress from slavery.

S. Artesian
Offline
Joined: 5-02-09
Feb 7 2016 21:44
lettersjournal wrote:
People like Chomsky often cite India’s invasion of Pakistan in 1971 as an example of a 'good war'. If one feels capable of surveying history and picking the good (or, "progressive") wars, it seemed like a possible candidate.

I'm not like Chomsky. I'm not one of those people. 1971 is not 1861.

Quote:
The idea of a "progressive war" does not make sense to me, unless we accept some idea of divine or communist Providence.

Was the war the Convention pursued against the enemies of the French Revolution a "progressive war"?

Why or how can we claim a revolution is "progressive" when it relies sooner and later, on force of arms to preserve itself from counterrevolution, and then claim that the war undertaken by the revolution can't be revolutionary?

Quote:
But why would communists, given their meager resources and numbers, dedicate themselves to defending wars of previous centuries?

Why should we, given our meager resources and numbers, defend previous revolutions? Why defend the revolution in Haiti? Denmark Vesey's rebellion against slavery? John Brown? Why defend the Paris Commune? The soviets of Russia? The Canton Commune? The cordones of Chile? Maceo's struggle against Spain? Or that of the Philippine rebels against Spain and then the US?

Why defend the meaning, the legacy of anything? Sounds to me like all your saying is a take on Ford's "history is bunk."

lettersjournal
Offline
Joined: 12-12-11
Feb 8 2016 14:44
S. Artesian wrote:
Why defend the meaning, the legacy of anything?

I'm not sure meaning and legacy are the same thing, but it's interesting that something about pro-revolutionary thinking leads to these fights about the legacy of historical events. It's similar to the concept of periodization, which your account of wars and revolutions seems to rely on (thus, "1860 is not 1960").

I think you're right that defending the wars of the past is a way to prepare for defending the "revolutionary" wars to come. I hope you'll lose your nerve when you see the bodies.

S. Artesian
Offline
Joined: 5-02-09
Feb 8 2016 16:31
lettersjournal wrote:
S. Artesian wrote:
Why defend the meaning, the legacy of anything?

I'm not sure meaning and legacy are the same thing, but it's interesting that something about pro-revolutionary thinking leads to these fights about the legacy of historical events. It's similar to the concept of periodization, which your account of wars and revolutions seems to rely on (thus, "1860 is not 1960").

What fight about historical events? So far you have studiously avoided the slightest shred of historical analysis of anything-- substituting instead pop psychology, pseudo philosophy, and ahistorical skepticism.

The point being, IP's mischaraterization of the US Civil War is not about the US Civil War, or even Marx's "mistakes" "errors" or "failures," but an actual distortion serving its own ideological purposes.

That's where this discussion began, and why it began; and it's also why nobody from IP will pursue the historical, material issue on this thread.

Like you, IP has naught but a philosophy of the abstract that capitulates to things as they are.

Alf's picture
Alf
Offline
Joined: 6-07-05
Feb 8 2016 20:58

Trying to keep up with this discussion, which seems quite significant. Will aim to write more eventually. But so far I am fundamentally in agreement with the argument in defence of Marx's position on the American civil war, advocated by Artesian and others.

Also, with the view that the disagreement over this historical point is linked to divergences about the question of revolutionary war in the future.

On the underlying issue of historical method - I would say, of the marxist historical method - I will reflect further on how to broach this.

Alf's picture
Alf
Offline
Joined: 6-07-05
Feb 8 2016 21:20

late addition: Marx's position was also that of the IWA of the day. See 'The address of the International Workingmen's Association to Abraham Lincoln', if not linked already:

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/iwma/documents/1864/lincoln-letter...

Sander
Offline
Joined: 28-05-08
Feb 8 2016 22:27

The civil war was like the Napoleonic wars, the world wars and all the others in that the common, non-exploiting people rally behind the flag of their exploiters and are sent to fight and die for the goals of their exploiters. This is the main point, which remains true regardless whether the wars had also results that can be considered to be beneficial to the exploited.

The real issue is what constitutes “progress”?

Clearly the possibility of communism, as the communist left, and today’s communizers understand it did not exist in the 19th century, though when Marx sent his famous letter to Lincoln he believed that the conditions for proletarian revolution were fast ripening, and that the end of feudalism and other pre-capitalist social relations, chattel slavery in the Americas, for example would quickly provide the social conditions for the overthrow of capitalism too. Today, we know better.

Napoleon’s wars of conquest demolished feudal institutions, accelerated the development of capitalism and thereby also the development of the working class. But do Napoleon’s progressive reforms outweigh the 15 million deaths his conquests produced? The civil war formally ended slavery. But does this progress (mostly limited to a decade of improvements wiped away by Jim Crow) outweigh the 600 000 deaths and uncountable misery the war created? World War 2 also has beneficial effects, ending Nazi-rule etc. Does that mean pro-revolutionaries had to participate in that carnage, send congratulations to Churchill? In every one of those wars, the victory of one side is more desirable than the victory of the other, seen from the pov of which one does more for the development of capitalism. There is always a side to pick, which is what Marx did.

But while the development of capitalism was inevitable (once it was constituted in one country), the development of the consciousness needed to overthrow it, is not. From a pro-revolutionary pov, progress can only be progress of the latter’s development, that is, of the autonomization of the revolutionary subject from capital. Marching behind the banners of our own exploiters is exactly the opposite.

This is not pacifism. When the revolutionary subject autonomizes from capital, it is never the result of a military campaign but it will be attacked militarily by capital ( Paris commune, Russian revolution) and of course pro-revolutionaries then support a vigourous miltary defense, advocating at the same time radically different social relations than those of a traditional army. But it is silly to discuss events of 150 years ago, just to score points, without explaining how this is relevant to the questions of our present time.

James MacBryde's picture
James MacBryde
Offline
Joined: 26-10-15
Feb 8 2016 22:54

Sander:

Quote:
...when Marx sent his famous letter to Lincoln he believed that the conditions for proletarian revolution were fast ripening, and that the end of feudalism and other pre-capitalist social relations, chattel slavery in the Americas, for example would quickly provide the social conditions for the overthrow of capitalism too. Today, we know better.

We now have the end of feudalism and other pre-capitalist social relations and I agree with Marx that the conditions for proletarian revolution are ripe.

Quote:
In depicting the most general phases of the development of the proletariat, we traced the more or less veiled civil war, raging within existing society, up to the point where that war breaks out into open revolution, and where the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie lays the foundation for the sway of the proletariat.

Hieronymous's picture
Hieronymous
Offline
Joined: 27-07-07
Feb 10 2016 01:38

There's also a question of which side you're on. When the youth of Ferguson, Missouri rise up, they're not rallying "behind the flag of their exploiters." There's a pretty clear line from Jim Crow to the suburbanizing white flight in St. Louis County, tempered by more recent closures GM and Chrysler plants. This struggle has its roots in slavery and the Civil War.

In 1993, when the Aryan Brotherhood, Black Gangster Disciples and Muslims came together in a common struggle during an 11-day uprising and occupation of the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility at Lucasville, they unified as a "class" (their own words). Racism permeates every aspect of daily life in the U.S. It has a divisive effect on class struggle and can only be overcome in struggle -- like in Lucasville, where 5 insurgents are still on death row for the crime of having had cross-racial unity in a prison uprising.

Those practicing left communist orthodoxy -- despite neologisms like "pro-revolutionary" -- seem practically allergic to discussions of race and racism. Hence the acrimony in discussing agency of liberated slaves and the causes of the U.S. Civil War. Comrades, does revolutionary struggle only happen abstractly between your ears, or is it carried out by real human beings in an imperfect practice of fighting against oppressive and exploitative social conditions in their myriad forms? If it's the latter, these battles are not going to leap from the pages from Das Kapital, but instead might be launched when strikes, riots, prison uprisings, mass looting, land and building occupations, and other forms of social unrest spread throughout society and generalize. Or they might come from the most unexpected sources. History is important for the cautionary lessons about what not to do, rather than blueprints of how to overthrow capital (and all its forms, from value, the commodity, wage labor, the state, parliaments, police, courts, standing armies, money, etc., etc., etc.).

But when young non-white proletarians rise up and fight against the police in Baltimore, Oakland, New York City, Minneapolis -- and across the world -- and against the forces who've just killed one of their own, which side are you on?

S. Artesian
Offline
Joined: 5-02-09
Feb 9 2016 04:31
Sander wrote:
The real issue is what constitutes “progress”?

No, that's not the real issue. The real issue is the one that initiated this discussion: IP's claim that Marx's mechanistic, determinist conception of history led him to offer congratulations to Lincoln on his re-election at the very moment that the world's "first industrialized war" was slaughtering "half a million proletarians." Here let me refresh your memory:

IP wrote:
Nonetheless, Marx was responsible for his theories and the actions they guided during his lifetime. Thus, his early deterministic and stage-ist theories led him to congratulate Lincoln on his re-election even while the first industrialized war was still in the course of murdering over half a million proletarians

.

I then asked you where IP comes up with the "over half a million" number. Does IP consider the troops of the slaveholders' rebellion to be proletarians? Proletarians in uniform? You did not answer. You still haven't answered.

I also asked how you could characterize the Union Army as proletarian when only a minority of those forces came from an industrial working class that was hardly yet formed? No answer to that one either.

You did state that IP might have "exaggerated" the numbers of proletarians. To which I responded, more or less, "bollocks." Why exaggerate? Since when do Marxists exaggerate in making a materialist historical analysis?

If you think the issue isn't whether or not the war was a sacrifice of proletarians in order to preserve the dominant property relations, but rather the issue is as you stated earlier and repeat here, the numbers lost, the suffering of war, then why include anything about "proletarians" in that faux critique of Marx's position? Why not just state that the suffering, even on behalf of the abolition of slavery, just isn't worth it? Why produce the assertion that Marx was circumscribed by a mechanistic view of history, when it is not history, the prospects for the emancipation of labor, that informs your view, but simply the mass of suffering?

Why? Because that's not your goal. You have an ideological goal; to provide a rendering of history that justifies your current positions based on a false interpretation of the past. Your argument is so shoddy, and so superficial, that you claim Marx is making this flawed gesture as a consequence of his mechanistic view of history, in the same period of time when Marx's writings on the history of capitalism, the relations of capitalism, and the pre-capitalist background are at their most lucid, liquid, flowing, poetic even. Doubt me? Read the Economic Manuscripts 1857-1864.

You write:

Sander wrote:
Napoleon’s wars of conquest demolished feudal institutions, accelerated the development of capitalism and thereby also the development of the working class. But do Napoleon’s progressive reforms outweigh the 15 million deaths his conquests produced? The civil war formally ended slavery. But does this progress (mostly limited to a decade of improvements wiped away by Jim Crow) outweigh the 600 000 deaths and uncountable misery the war created? World War 2 also has beneficial effects, ending Nazi-rule etc. Does that mean pro-revolutionaries had to participate in that carnage, send congratulations to Churchill? In every one of those wars, the victory of one side is more desirable than the victory of the other, seen from the pov of which one does more for the development of capitalism. There is always a side to pick, which is what Marx did.

You again want to put things on a scale and see if they can be balanced: Napoleon's demolition of feudal institutions vs the millions of deaths, as if history is an accounting exercise, a form of double-entry bookkeeping.

Well, here's one thing you are missing: Napoleon's wars occur after the revolution has been defeated; after the revolutionary wave has ebbed, and not just ebbed, but had been eviscerated in the attack upon the Commune, and the sans-culottes, by the radical Jacobins, followed by, naturally, the attack on the radical Jacobins themselves.

That is not the case with the US Civil War. It is not a war undertaken after the defeat and circumscribing of the revolution. It is the introduction to the prospect of a revolution, a prospect that is the core of future struggles-- the emancipation of black labor. That that prospect, that impulse, foundered, was abandoned by the bourgeoisie; that that prospect was done in by a terrorism organized by the former Confederates [still proletarians, I guess?] doesn't change the fact that the destruction of slavery was the necessary precursor to the prospects of the more general emancipation of labor.

Likewise, in your "discussion" of WW2, you miss the essential point: WW2 occurs, is the result of, is made inevitable by and through the defeat of the proletarian revolution. So in supporting that war, Marxists would be supporting, and reproducing, the defeat of revolution. Which is exactly what occurred.

You write:

Sander wrote:
From a pro-revolutionary pov, progress can only be progress of the latter’s development, that is, of the autonomization of the revolutionary subject from capital. Marching behind the banners of our own exploiters is exactly the opposite

.

That's swell. Except how is there to be autonomization (what a horrible word. You mean "self-organization"? Then just say that) of a "revolutionary subject from capital in 1861" when the revolutionary subject against capital is barely being formed and without that soon to be formed class not forthrightly, explicitly, engaging in the struggle against slavery?

Quote:
But it is silly to discuss events of 150 years ago, just to score points, without explaining how this is relevant to the questions of our present time.

Exactly so. So why did IP put that "discussion" of Marx and the US Civil War in its statement? One can only conclude, again, for ideological reasons-- to provide an interpretation of history that in fact does not explain historical events, but serves to justify an organizational position.

lettersjournal
Offline
Joined: 12-12-11
Feb 9 2016 15:45
Hieronymous wrote:
But when young non-white proletarians rise up and fight against the police in Baltimore, Oakland, New York City, Minneapolis -- and across the world -- against the forces who've just killed one of their own, which side are you on?

I still can't figure out what Sherman's March to the Sea has to do with communism.

Hieronymous's picture
Hieronymous
Offline
Joined: 27-07-07
Feb 9 2016 16:15
lettersjournal wrote:
Hieronymous wrote:
But when young non-white proletarians rise up and fight against the police in Baltimore, Oakland, New York City, Minneapolis -- and across the world -- against the forces who've just killed one of their own, which side are you on?

I still can't figure out what Sherman's March to the Sea has to do with communism.

I can't see how your nihilism has anything to do with anything. Care to explain how your passivist defeatist determinism leads to communism?

S. Artesian
Offline
Joined: 5-02-09
Feb 9 2016 19:29
Hieronymous wrote:
lettersjournal wrote:
Hieronymous wrote:
But when young non-white proletarians rise up and fight against the police in Baltimore, Oakland, New York City, Minneapolis -- and across the world -- against the forces who've just killed one of their own, which side are you on?

I still can't figure out what Sherman's March to the Sea has to do with communism.

I can't see how your nihilism has anything to do with anything. Care to explain how your passivist defeatist determinism leads to communism?

H.--

What he's really saying is: "I still can't figure out why I should be concerned about the fate of slaves, and the persistence of slavery"

He says that about 1861.

And you know what? He'd say a similar thing about 1961: "I still can't figure out why I should care about civil rights in the South? What do "freedom rides" and voting rights have to do with communism? Great, so blacks can have lunch at Woolworth's, and go to law school at the University of Maryland. What's that got to do with "free association of producers?"

And in 1967? "I still can't figure out why I should care about black people burning down the city of Detroit, laying siege to police stations, outsmarting, and outgunning, the National Guard, and the deployment of the 82nd Airborne, the "home guard" division tasked with protecting the US in case of invasion by another country, to Detroit. What do black rioters have to do with communism?"

And today? You know what he'll say.

James MacBryde's picture
James MacBryde
Offline
Joined: 26-10-15
Feb 9 2016 22:26

Hieronymus:

Quote:
But when young non-white proletarians rise up and fight against the police in Baltimore, Oakland, New York City, Minneapolis -- and across the world -- against the forces who've just killed one of their own, which side are you on?

I appreciate your question but why the necessity for the prefix, 'young non-white'?

laborbund's picture
laborbund
Offline
Joined: 1-03-10
Feb 10 2016 00:21
James MacBryde wrote:
Hieronymus:

Quote:
But when young non-white proletarians rise up and fight against the police in Baltimore, Oakland, New York City, Minneapolis -- and across the world -- against the forces who've just killed one of their own, which side are you on?

I appreciate your question but why the necessity for the prefix, 'young non-white'?

The qualifier 'young non-white' is important because institutional racism is a central feature of US capitalism and the rebellions Hieronymus cited above are rebellions against institutional racism as such. Likewise, the Civil War - regardless of the Northern bourgeoisie's initial weak fence sitting - was fought against a particularly pernicious manifestation of US institutional racism - slavery. So the question of whether or not the US Civil War was a pointless imperialist bloodbath that had nothing to do with proletarians is really a question whether or not one sees struggles against institutional racism as such as worthy of communist support even though such struggles don't necessarily lead in a straight line towards communism. For my own part I believe anti-racist struggles are absolutely worthy of communist support and pissing and moaning about southern soldiers being fellow proletarians is ahistorical garbage.

Been lurking on this thread for a while. Great posts Artesian, Hieronymus, and Ocelot! I love that whole "not viewing historical events ahistorically" thing you guys do!

Soapy's picture
Soapy
Offline
Joined: 30-05-10
Feb 10 2016 00:56

@laborbund yes it is remembered as a war waged against slavery but barring the brief respite enjoyed by southern blacks during reconstruction slavery was simply reimposed in a an all-encompassing system of convict leasing the extent of which is not fully understood to this day. (In fact Dubois' sociological study referencing the subject was literally destroyed by the US government) so what did the death of 500,000 proles accomplish really?

RC
Offline
Joined: 11-07-08
Feb 10 2016 03:41

Hieronymous wrote:

Quote:
RC wrote:

The Indians must have been impressed.

Who are you referring to?

Since you like to read history

S. Artesian
Offline
Joined: 5-02-09
Feb 10 2016 04:03
Soapy wrote:
500,000 proles accomplish really?

Again, where do you get that number?

And look what happened after the French Revolution-- why 15 million dead according to Sander, so what's the big deal with the Commune? The Cordeliers? The Conspiracy of Equals? BFD, if you ask me.

And look what the Russian Revolution brought. Civil war, famine, the Cheka, confiscation of grain. Fuck it, the whole thing's pointless.

Oh yeah and look at the Spanish revolution, the millions killed in that civil war, and for what? Pointless man. Not even worth arguing about, discussing.

And Algeria?-- better off letting the French stay... until of course the real communist revolution, the one where nobody will ever suffer, reaches down and lifts up those poor souls from their ignorant striving.

Fuck it, I'm gonna go back and read Lukacs (see Mac's comments in the IP thread), because he really understood everything about history and class consciousness, which of course explains why and how he, Lukacs, was only too eager to fall in line behind Stalin, without a second thought.

I'll take any member of SNCC in 1963-- hell, I'll take any former member of SNCC today, including those who have joined the Democratic Party, over these phony communists. John Lewis over Lukacs? Absolutely. Every time.

Any single member of the Deacons for Defense, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, the Lowndes County Black Panther Party for Self Defense, knows more about, and has more to offer the development of, class consciousness than all the "autonomist" posers combined.

Hieronymous's picture
Hieronymous
Offline
Joined: 27-07-07
Feb 10 2016 04:20
RC wrote:
Hieronymous wrote:

Quote:
RC wrote:

The Indians must have been impressed.

Who are you referring to?

Since you like to read history

Damn, Holmes, you better stop reading Wikipedia. It's retarding your intellectual development (unless you're just being a passive-aggressive Henry "History is Bunk" Ford again).

Here's where Indians live.

RC
Offline
Joined: 11-07-08
Feb 10 2016 04:49

There is something strange about communists looking at American history to find progress toward communism. It is not a history that has been kind to radical opponents of capitalism. So this leads to a desperate effort to find progress toward communism in the spread of capitalism itself. S. Artesian writes:

Quote:
Yeah, I think the general dominance of wage labor, and the abolition of slavery by wage labor, is a prerequisite for the abolition of wage labor and the creation of communism. Kind of the ABC of the difference between socialism scientific, socialism grounded in the real development of social production, and socialism utopian.

Why should the existence of something be a condition for its abolition? It is also like saying: the plague must become an epidemic before it can be eliminated. That doesn’t sound scientific.

The only “prerequisite” for the creation of communism is people wanting it. This depends on the conclusions people draw from their experience as wage labor. That's why communists criticize free wage labor, because of the harm it does people. But here S. Artesian is affirming wage labor because it is in the interest of some general social development that people are the instruments of -- "progress."

This type of exercise probably has to do with a psychological need of leftists to find some confirmation that their ideal is realistic ("little steps") in the face of a reality that is hostile to their ideal. Anybody who disagrees can only be a dreamer or utopian.

Hieronymous's picture
Hieronymous
Offline
Joined: 27-07-07
Feb 10 2016 06:08

RC, you come on here and say erroneous, contrarian, shallow and reactionary garbage. You are totally ignorant about U.S. history, geography, and Native Americans. Your deepest thoughts are actually taken from Wikipedia. Then you start playing psychoanalyst and diagnosing people based on impressions on your computer screen. Which begs the question: why are you so fucked up?

S. Artesian
Offline
Joined: 5-02-09
Feb 10 2016 05:56
RC wrote:
So this leads to a desperate effort to find progress toward communism in the spread of capitalism itself.

The progress such as it is, is in the struggle against the modes of expropriation; in how much and how deeply the modes of expropriation create the conditions for the struggle against themselves. So the progress is in the struggle against slavery, and yes, wage-labor creates a stronger basis for the struggle against exploitation and brutalization than does continued slavery. Not to put too fine a point on it.

Quote:
Why should the existence of something be a condition for its abolition?

Priceless. Start with the Introduction to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right and continue reading through the three volumes of Capital, omitting none of the Economic Manuscripts 1857-1864. Get back to me when you've finished.

RC wrote:
The only “prerequisite” for the creation of communism is people wanting it

Magical thinking trumps history every time. And that quarter under your pillow, the tooth fairy brought it. Yeah, that's the ticket. If only we all hold hands and wish for something real hard, and click our heels together and repeat "There's No Place Like Home..." we'll wind up in Kansas, home of the Koch Bros.

RC wrote:
Anybody who disagrees can only be a dreamer or utopian.

Not just anybody, and not just those things. In your case, ignorant. Could also be a fool.

I don't care if you disagree, but you can't even offer a stab at why and how historical events of significance occur-- other than "enough people wanting it."

And exactly how and why did the numbers of people wanting the abolition of slavery change? Did they all just wake up one morning and while brushing their teeth say-- "Hey, let's all be against slavery today. Sounds like fun."???

S. Artesian
Offline
Joined: 5-02-09
Feb 10 2016 05:58

Let me just repeat my question:

Where and how does anyone come up with the US Civil War "murdering" or causing the death of 500,000 proletarians?

donald parkinson's picture
donald parkinson
Offline
Joined: 11-06-12
Feb 10 2016 06:00

How is this even a question of debate? Of course the Civil War was a progressive war, it fits the classic marxist schema of a "bourgeois revolution" better than almost anything else especially considering how much industrialization and therefore the labor movement spread in its wake. It was a war to restore the Union that Marx correctly saw would mean the abolition of slavery if the Union was victorious. Slaves certainly had agency in their liberation, but this agency didn't exist independent from greater historical factors. The Union Armies occupation of the South was essentially in securing the defeat of slavery by forcing reactionary local rulers to follow anti-slave measurements. The destruction of slavery in the USA was a social revolution, one that defeated a backwards mode of production in favor of a more progressive one; it is however a revolution that is incomplete.

donald parkinson's picture
donald parkinson
Offline
Joined: 11-06-12
Feb 10 2016 06:04

When people say the absurd notion that Confederates were proletarians in Uniform I laugh. Most of the population in the south was engaged in household production, even if they were poor. They weren't proletarians for the most part, they were at best in the process of proletarianization. So even in the most economistic sense of 'proletarian' this is nonsense. The Confederate army were cannon fodder for a reactionary slaveocracy, not "a proletariat" as in waged workers struggling as a progressive class in history. This doesn't mean they weren't also capable of deserting and undermining the Confederate struggle (and they they did) but this wasn't revolutionary defeatism because there's no "third" proletarian front in the war that can even exist!

James MacBryde's picture
James MacBryde
Offline
Joined: 26-10-15
Feb 10 2016 08:10

Thanks Alf for directing us to the Address of the International to President Lincoln. I note that Marx refers to the war in question as the American Antislavery War, not the American Civil War as I was taught in School.

laborbund:

Quote:
The qualifier 'young non-white' is important because institutional racism is a central feature of US capitalism and the rebellions Hieronymus cited above are rebellions against institutional racism as such.

Pardon me, I thought these insurrections were a rebellion against the proletarian condition in general, not exclusively one aspect of it