Capitalists Wage War, Capitalists Wage Work

Homestead_riot_harpers_3c26046v
Pinkerton Detective Agents during the “Homestead Riot.” The Pinkerton Detective Agency was a private militia hired by Capitalists and the U.S. government to put down strikes, infiltrate unions, and harass and murder workers and the Molly Maguires. Now owned by Securitas (the 2nd largest security firm in the world), Pinkerton is the direct ancestor of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), which was founded after Congress passed laws preventing the government from using their services any longer.

 This week:

Essays from Naomi Jacobs, , Heathen Chinese, Sean Donahue, Al Cummins & Linda Boeckhout, and a review by George Caffentzis

Links

We highly recommend the 30 Day Real Black History Challenge.

Prepare now for the Flood….

Have you seen Mad Max, Fury Road yet?  Damn good–but Jacobin’s got a great point about Christian Apocalypse fantasies and fears about the end of Capitalism.

Poverty’s effects on the mind are just as significant as on the body.

 

Glossary

Primitive Accumulation

Pre-Capitalist methods of gathering large amounts of wealth, often involving direct violence by political actors. [Note–“Primitive” means ‘primary’ or ‘initial,’ not ‘uncivilized’]

Feudalism (where Aristocrats forcibly took 1/3 of a peasant’s production), Colonialism (where Empires stole wealth from foreign peoples), and Slavery (where the powerful enslaved people to derive wealth from their labor) were all forms of Primitive Accumulation.  The wealth derived from the violent expropriation of other people’s wealth or labor is the source of most modern Capital.  The conquest of the Americas, the enslavement of Africans, the Crusades, and the theft of indigenous land were all acts of Primitive Accumulation and produced the Capital which now rules our lives.

Primitive Accumulation still occurs–wars in the Middle East by Western countries, the direct selling-off of indigenous lands by states to private owners, and the exploitation is easier to see in these instances than in the Capitalist exploitation of labor.

To understand both Capitalism and Primitive Accumulation, consider that the gathering of wealth from others is an exploitative act.  Both forms involve people taking from other people in order to become wealthy.  By taking wealth and land-rights away from peasants and indigenous peoples, a new class was created who could only survive by selling their labor/time–the “Proletariat,” or working-class.  Without that original theft, Capitalism could not exist.

Quotes

“…a modern boss is tolerant, he behaves like a colleague of ours, sharing dirty jokes, inviting us for a drink, openly displaying his weaknesses, admitting that he is “merely human like us”. He is deeply offended if we remind him that he is our boss – however, it is this very rejection of explicit authority that guarantees his de facto power.

This is why the first gesture of liberation is to force the master to act as one: our only defence is to reject his “warm human” approach and to insist that he should treat us with cold distance. We live in weird times in which we are compelled to behave as if we are free, so that the unsayable is not our freedom but the very fact of our servitude.”

–Slavoj Žižek

“…the worst slave-owners were those who were kind to their slaves, and so prevented the horror of the system being realised by those who suffered from it, and understood by those who contemplated it…”

–Oscar Wilde