No more “slave” labor? so, i’ve been informed.
i use the the terms “slave” state, wage slaves, slave state parties…demi-shits, republic-rats and some… all?… my FB friends scratch their heads. WTF?
most of us share a background of M-L Trotskyism.
we shared nearby limbs of that political tree when i, we were much younger. over the course of decades, we traveled similar though not identical paths. few have become out and out right wingers… though a few cross the class line… for “good” causes they tell themselves.
as an avowed socialist/communist immersed in the M-L-T milieu, i regarded capitalism, colonialism, imperialism as a recent phenomena…perhaps stretching back to the industrial revolution of the 19th century, the colonialism of the late 15th, early 16th centuries…perhaps back to the mercantile capitalism of 13th, 14th century european city states.
our, my project was to remove the capitalist class from the commanding heights of the economy & society. in our version of that, we w’d create a mega-state that we (following the M-L-T tradition) designated a “worker’s state”, the “dictatorship of the proletariat” that w’d be “temporary”, a bridge to a society where we w’d realize our vision (which i still regard as wonderfully utopian) of “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need“.
this served as my ideological mind set for most of my adult life. when i regarded the anarchist views of the state as the source of our oppression, i dismissed them without much concern…after all Marx, Engels, the 2nd Int’l had expelled them from their midst way back when. and we/i idolized the Russian Revolution model for the future…and everything nasty in that was a necessary evil. (to paraphrase Pangloss in Candide).
leap ahead 40, 50 years…as a friend of mine said “man with mouth open will wait a long time for a crust of bread to fall out of the sky into his mouth”.
simply put…100 years after the RR, i’ve entered a period of re assessment.
have i abandoned my hostility towards the capitalist class and it’s war mongering ways? NO.
have i abandoned my concern for my fellow toilers…the humanity that i* …sometimes… identify with? NO. in most cases, i’m far to the left of most of my former comrades.
(*following in the buddhist tradition, the concept of I is a dubious one.)
what has changed?
i’ve examined the views of my youth regarding the history of capitalism, oppression. this oppression is not a recent…19th or 15th or 13th century european creation.
i now take a longer view and link slavery to the transition from the paleolithic life of humanoids to settlement agriculture, generally called the neolithic. that takes us back to the origins of the “slave” state…in various regions of the world. 6-10,000 years ago.
reading James C. Scott’s against the grain & seeing like a state, i realized that the history of the last 10,000 years of humanoid existence is the history of the neolithic settlement state project of enslaving those that refused to bow their heads and work their fields and industries for them. the wars described in various regions…europe, asia, the american continent, africa …were rarely wars of extermination but slave grabbing expeditions. often the defeated party…another slave state agricultural settlement, sometimes paleolithic tribes… suffered or rendered slaves to the winning party to temporarily end the conflict.
there were many permutations of this over the course of 10,000 years…
though the settlement slave states claimed all the earth…the euro colonists did not invent those type of claims for the new world…in fact, the neolithic state was geographically circumscribed, usually to its own city walls for most of history. the claims, however, are as old as the neolithic town/city slave states. for most of history, these claims were grandiosely farcical.
the history of self claimed and historically designated “empires” is one of expanding their supply of slaves for their large agricultural projects. these projects often required large scale infrastructure to progress…think Rome, Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, the Aztec & Inca projects on this side of the Atlantic.
if an “empire” achieved scale, they could enslave whole peoples for their project. the Roman empire transformed Egypt into its breadbasket. we see that in the modern age, with China and much of SE Asia transformed into industrial goods producers for American and European corporations & their markets.
i realized that the modern capitalist state & the states created on the Russian model were continuations of the neolithic slave state project
i’m not interested in convincing others of this insight AND i can make common cause with them on short term projects…while rejecting on a theoretical level…what i now regard as their …no longer shared by me… end vision of a new, “better” slave state.
most of them w’d grudgingly agree that the RR & it’s progeny have not resulted in the democracies or freedoms we all hoped for. they can explain…..???
i, also, hoped there was a “reasonable, convincing” explanation.
as a young adult facing the Vietnam War, institutionalized racism, vicious colonialism, a farcically limited “democracy”, etc, i did not accept the rationalizations offered for capitalism.
i’m not a kid…perhaps never was…and i now take a longer view of the history of our oppression and agree with Scott (who’s not an avowed anarchist) and with avowed anarchists that the source of our oppression and exploitation is the slave state. the modern panopticon, all intrusive slave state has the dna of the ancient neolithic agricultural slave state regardless of its claims to have “progressed” or the various name changes it gives itself or are given by its “enemies”… historians, ideologues or competitor states.
the history of humanoids & the neolithic slave state… of which capitalist and the industrial proletariat is a subset… is the history of paleolithic people …the world’s population of humanoids… avoiding and if captured escaping from the slave-toil intended for them by the neolithic slave state.
this realization has parallel components ideologically…for me. though i am not familiar with the anarchist tendencies…and as with the command party tendencies, they are legion… i now question many of my previously held M-L-T concepts. the command party model of participation in political activity and it’s vision of a command party state are no longer desirable.
so how can leftists, wanna be revolutionaries proceed? there are other models. none have realized the utopia we/i desire.
if we study previous slave state empires we can see their collapse is caused by war, drought, famine, pestilence…and the fleeing of their populations.
we see this in Syria, Yemen, Palestine, the middle east in general, central america with segments of the population attempting to escape. the dominant slave states have been largely successful in cutting of their attempts.
where, when, how will this end? in favor of the slave states or the would be Maroons?
time will tell…you think you’re in heaven but you’re living in hell. – Bob Marley