Capitalism, the Highest Stage of Imperialism

Oct 19, 2012

Posted by on The Speed of Dreams

By Omali Yeshitela, Chairman of the African Socialist International. Thanks to an Uhuru comrade from Milwaukee for making this piece available.

“Elaborating, Marx declared, “The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black skins, signalized the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief momenta of primitive accumulation…

In the same work Marx also explained, though not intentionally, the obvious contradiction impacting the relationship between white people, including “workers,” and Africans and most others, the contradiction that is responsible for a commonality of cross-class interests within European society:

“Whilst the cotton industry introduced child slavery in England, it gave in the United States a stimulus to transformation of the earlier, more or less patriarchal slavery, into a system of commercial exploitation. In fact the veiled slavery of the wage workers in Europe needed, for its pedestal, slavery pure and simple in the new world.”

African Internationalists are historical materialists whose investigation and analysis of the world has as its starting point an examination of the world from the objective reality and experiences of Africans and the vast majority of the people on the planet, including the “white” or European people.

So it is clear to us that imperialism is not a product of capitalism; it is not capitalism developed to its highest stage.

Instead, capitalism is a product of imperialism.

Capitalism is imperialism developed to its highest stage, not the other way around.

The imperialism defined by Lenin has as its foundation the “primitive accumulation” spoken of by Marx.

Finance capital, the export of capital, monopoly, etc., are all articulations of a political economy rooted in parasitism and based on the historically brutal subjugation of most of humanity.

Unlike Marx and Lenin, we African Internationalists deny that there has ever been anything progressive about capitalism.

Capitalism was born parasitic.

Capitalism was born in disrepute, born of the rapes, massacres, occupations, genocides, colonialism and every despicable act humans are capable of inflicting on others.

Capitalism was not responsible for some great, otherwise unimaginable leap in production, which—despite its contradictions—resulted in progress and enlightenment.

What capitalism did was to rip the vast majority of humanity out of the productive process—in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Australia and what has come to be known as the Americas.

The hundreds of millions dead due to the slave trade and slavery itself; the millions exterminated everywhere Europeans ventured—these are people whose hands were forever removed from a relationship with nature that would result in “production.”

Europeans achieved their national identity by way of this bloody process.

This is not something that only happened a long time ago. The world’s peoples are suffering the consequences of capitalist emergence even now.

Locked in colonies and indirect rule of neocolonialism, restricted to lives characterized by brutality, ignorance and violence in the barrios of the Americas and other internal colonies characterized as Indian reservations and black ghettos, kept under the paranoiac, nuclear-backed, armed-to-the-teeth watch of military forces born of a state power that has its origins in protecting the relationship between capitalism and its imperial pedestal, capitalism has been the absolute factor in restricting production and development by concentrating productive capacity in the hands of the world’s minority European population that sits atop the pedestal of our oppressive reality.

Capitalism was not the good, “progressive” force that is the precursor to something better for “humanity.” Capitalism was a disaster that rescued Europe from a diseased feudal existence at the expense of the world.

Europe is not the center of the universe.

In the seventeenth century Galileo, an Italian scientist ran afoul of the Catholic church with his claim that the Earth circumnavigated the sun, as opposed to the prevailing view, supported by the church, that it was the Earth that was the center of the universe.

His view, supported by science, challenged views informed by the limited perspective of the terrestrial world.

Today’s white left is also locked into a worldview that places the location of Europeans in the world as the center of the universe. It always has.

Otherwise, Marx would have been forced to declare that the road to socialism was the destruction of the “pedestal” upon which all capitalist activity occurs, not some maturation of contradictions within the capitalist society upon the pedestal, a society that owed its success to the existence of that pedestal.

Destroy slavery to destroy capitalism

In an earlier work entitled The Poverty of Philosophy, Marx made this startling admission, “Direct slavery is just as much the pivot of bourgeois industry as machinery, credits, etc. Without slavery you have no cotton; without cotton you have no modern industry. It is slavery that gave the colonies their value; it is the colonies that created world trade, and it is world trade that is the pre-condition of large-scale industry…”

“Without slavery North America, the most progressive of countries would be transformed into a patriarchal country. Wipe North America off the map of the world, and you will have anarchy—the complete decay of modern commerce and civilization. Cause slavery to disappear and you will have wiped America off the map of nations.”

What an excellent formula for the overthrow of capitalism!

Certainly this is the view of the African People’s Socialist Party and consistent with the trajectory of the Black is Back Coalition and the Break the Silence demonstration designed to bring the cause of the “slaves” of the world center-stage.

The slavery of today is comprised of the colonial, subject and oppressed peoples of the world. The Break the Silence mobilization is part of the trajectory to cause slavery to disappear and objectively, to achieve its predicted attendant consequence.

African Internationalism is the way forward

African Internationalism has brought us to a different understanding than that held by Marx and Lenin regarding the way forward in the struggle against capitalism. It is rooted in our recognition, supported by the extensive quotes from Marx above, that it was imperialism that gave birth to capitalism and not the other way around.

We claim that “African Internationalism is a scientifically falsifiable theory as can be seen in this question: Would capitalism and the resultant European wealth and African impoverishment have occurred without the European attack on Africa, its division, African slavery and dispersal, colonialism and neocolonialism?” (One People! One Party! One Destiny!)

Lenin stated that imperialism is capitalism that is characterized in part by parasitism. But from what we have already seen from the pen of Marx, capitalism was born parasitic.

That is the meaning of the enslavement, colonization and annexation of other countries and peoples by Europe.

A direct line of connection, a unity of opposites, a dialectical relationship, exists between the vast majority of the planet and Europe and Europeans.

Struggle against the pedestal which rests on top of the majority of the world!

There is no other explanation for the vast differences in the conditions of existence of Europeans and the rest of us.

America, Australia, Canada, the Caribbean and much of Asia and the Middle East and almost everywhere the U.S. and Europe are currently engaged in bloody wars and intrigues – represent what Marx has objectified with the term “primitive accumulation.”

Indeed, the current crisis of imperialism, one from which it will never fully extricate itself, is responsive to the imperialist “pedestal,” the very foundation of capitalism extricating itself from its supporting role of the capitalist edifice.

Objectively, this is the meaning of Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Venezuela, Bolivia, etc. It is in defense of itself that the U.S. and its partners are engaged in every effort, no matter how brutal or duplicitous, to protect the capitalist status quo.

This is the meaning of AFRICOM, the U.S. military project created to ensnare the entire African continent in the permanent embrace of U.S. imperial domination to the exclusion of other avaricious imperialist contenders and African people ourselves.

The future of capitalism also rests on the continued subjugation of Mexicans and “Indians” within current U.S. borders, and especially of internally-colonized Africans whose conditions of existence demand a permanent state of resistance, often spontaneous and unorganized, but always present.

Our hatred of imperialism and oppression is what makes it necessary for the African People’s Socialist Party, African Internationalists, to be in the front ranks of the Black is Back Coalition’s Break the Silence mobilization.

It is precisely because we understand that the future of capitalism will be determined by the struggle against parasitism, against imperialism, against the pedestal upon which capitalism relies for its survival.”

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