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On 2017/09/06 06:41 PM, Walter Daum via Marxism wrote:

Hi Patrick, Of course I agree that the three “grabs” you mention occur, and that they are crucial for capitalist production. But I don’t agree that they are, in today’s conditions, non-capitalist. They are part of how capitalist economy works; they exist in addition to the direct extraction of surplus-value in the sphere of production.

The "in addition to" is what we're trying to get at, using the theory of uneven and combined development in application sites such as South Africa.

Luxemburg held that capitalism required not just the grabbing of extra surplus-value outside the production sphere – it needed to loot by force non-capitalist *modes of production.*

Yes, the way we have traditionally described that process in this part of the world is as the "articulations of modes of production" (Harold Wolpe developed the concept during the 1970s, making some unfortunate errors en route, by failing to distinguish necessary from contingent processes within this articulation, such as the apartheid state form).

Harvey's student Neil Smith remarked how this process of articulation was a moment within capitalism's uneven development. (More on this: p.5 of https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304622213_Uneven_Development_and_Scale_Politics_in_Southern_Africa_What_We_Learn_from_Neil_Smith_Uneven_Development_in_Southern_Africa )

The Marikana massacre was the forcible suppression of a strike within capitalist production, a strike by proletarian miners whose labor was super-exploited by capitalists.

Yes, but in a context of migrant labour, which is the main symptom here of articulations of modes of production. There's not space in Louis' allowed commentary - still, I think 35kb - but there are plenty of good articles and a few books which make it abundantly clear how the workers demanded a $1000/month living wage because they were compelled to keep two households - one in the shack settlements of Nkaneng and Wonderkop, and the other back in their home region. This was the logic of a system in which Lonmin draws profits not just from surplus value at the point of production, but also from "free gifts of nature" (platinum, water, coal to fire electricity) and from ongoing disruption of the reproduction of a rural society (in labour-sending areas) that, for centuries before mining-based colonialism, was itself a coherent mode of peasant production. Marikana must be seen in context.

Luxemburg’s scheme doesn’t apply here. As John Smith said in the post that triggered this discussion: “Harvey is right to draw attention to the continuing and even increasing importance of old and new forms of accumulation by dispossession, but he does not recognize that imperialism’s most significant shift in emphasis is in an entirely different direction – toward the transformation of its own core processes of surplus-value extraction through the global labor arbitrage-driven [i.e., by super-exploitation] globalization of production, a phenomenon that is entirely internal to the labor-capital relation.” Yes, my comments were grumpy. I grump especially at reformist institutions that inappropriately appropriate Luxemburg’s revolutionary good name. But my main point was to grump at theorists (Harvey and Wolff) who suggest that the center of imperialism has moved South, or that it is the oppressed countries in the global South that extract surplus-value from the imperialist countries in the global North. Those fictions turn the real imperialist globe upside down. Walter

Look, I'm rushed now, but I think is an ungenerous, indeed uncomradely reading of Harvey - and I really doubt he'd agree that "the center of imperialism has moved South" (though it is unevenly developing, as the rise of the sub-imperialist BRICS shows).

Full respect to MR for advancing the debate - and my two cents on how Africa looks in this context is here: https://monthlyreview.org/2017/09/01/africa-rising-in-retreat/ - but it would have been better for Smith (and you, Walter), to seriously consider what the Harvey/Smith approach to uneven development looks like as it has developed over the past 50 years or so since Harvey first start confronting extreme uneven urban development in Baltimore. Otherwise you risk caricature.

More soon...

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