Marx's Theory of Surplus Value Inherently White Supremacist?

10 posts

President Camacho

Much has been said of Marx's supposed "racism" and Western-centric focus; it is obvious, at any rate, that his theories were designed to animate the proletariat of industrialized Western countries and he viewed the Slavic east as totally backwards and hopeless.

But it is overlooked by Marx's sympathizers (to the extent that they still exist) that not only was Marx's focal point concentrated on the West; his entire economic worldview and specifically his theory of "surplus labor"-- which Marx holds must rightfully be accrued to the worker instead of the capitalist-- is totally contingent on the existence of the Jus Publicum Europaeum and can apply only to the proletariats within its confines. So far as I can tell, nobody has really picked up on this fact besides Oswald Spengler, in a portion of The Hour Of Decision :

Viewed in this light, the "rise of the middle class" across the Western world over the past two centuries can be explained not as a limitless, ascending straight line but as a transient phenomenon that was totally dependent upon the domination and exploitation of the non-Western world.

When the non-Western world closes the gap and inches towards parity in wages and technical sophistication, one would expect precisely the results experienced over the past few decades in the West: the stagnation of wages, chronic unemployment cycles, the rise of make-work labor supplied by the government, and the stratification of society towards pre-modern norms. Spengler understood this and warned in vain that the security of the Western economies and polities were dependent upon shunning the outside world from the fruits of technological development.

The modern liberal voter has appropriated Marx's theory of surplus value and tried to apply it towards the colored world ("better wages and transparency in the Pakistani garment industry!"), but he is unwilling to accept the fact than an improvement in colored wages necessarily results in downward pressures on his own wages and purchasing power. He believes naively that "everyone benefits" from the ascendancy of the third world, but it is obvious that Marx himself harbored no such delusions.

One reason, if not the main reason, I believe that the Left turned against Sovietism in the 1960s and sought out peculiar sources of inspiration (namely Maoism) is because it became clear to ideologues in both the colored world (Mao himself no less) and the white world (see thinkers like Chomsky and Foucalt) that the USSR itself was an empire that was aiming to capture foreign states and exploit them for assymetrical benefit of Russian labor and the material demands and needs of the Soviet state.

The theory of the ''deformed workers state'' was basically an attack on Soviet imperialism more than it was any meaningful theory of history. Yockey and others of course viewed this as the ''Jewish'' strain of communistic thought opposing a Russian autocratic socialism - the latter being bound up with a national/territorial imperative and the former representing essentially an anti-European/pro-colored revolutionary tendency in the world.

The primary shortcoming of the Soviets, politically, I suppose in the late Cold War was their inability to deliver material incentives to non-aligned states as opposed to America who was able to deliver lavish rewards to their allies in the form of investment and developmental loans and long term liquidity. The Russians couldn't ''buy off'' the peoples they conquered in other words - the Soviet Empire came to rely entirely on punitive military force and the threat of it to preserve its hegemony.

America's big propaganda coup in the Cold War was the ''German miracle'' - West Germany within a decade and a half had become the jewel of the capitalist bloc and America claimed that these kinds of spoils would be available to every state that cooperated. In contrast, the Soviet's seminal moment in foreign policy as per world perception was Hungary, 1956 - ''obey or we'll crush you''.

Empires built entirely on fear of massive reprisal by the imperial state aren't politically sustainable.

Bob Dylan Roof

PC, that's an interesting Spengler quote. But I believe Marx was a "white supremacist" only in the sense that he thought western colonialism to be a necessary developmental precondition for the advancement of the non-western periphery toward socialism.

Bob Dylan Roof
President Camacho

It's been nearly a decade since I've read it, but Lenin's book on imperialism is an interesting elaboration of Marx's understanding of the "core-periphery" interaction. It's actually a sensible description of capitalist imperialism if you believe in the "crisis of overproduction" (it seems Keynes did). Lenin's description is similar to Spengler's here.

His argument is that the capitalist production process in the west reached a crisis of production, wherein worker inability to afford the commodities they produce and the dwindling natural resources of the west created a falling rate of profit for the bourgeois. In response, the capitalist class used the state superstructure to colonize the third world, extract new resources, attract cheaper labor (for resource extraction), make local industry dependent on western investment, and create new markets for commodities. In certain respects this relieves the plight of the western working class (assuming no immigration) at the expense of foreign countries and creates Lenin's famous "labor aristocracy."

Our own experiences in the last thirty years seem to confirm that Lenin and Spengler were right. The prescience of the early Marxists is astounding.

I agree w/you in large part but Marx's blind spot nonetheless was his account of war and peace in the 19th century between European states. The last Napoleonic Wars, the British Empire's conquest of the Asian subcontinent, the crisis in the Crimea, and the strategic focus of France on Southeast Asia (and Britain's response to their adventurism in theater) can't simply be explained away as efforts to capture virgin markets, exploit productive capacity, resolve the stress of overproduction, or a ploy to pursue foreign war to neutralize the emergence of a domestic popular front against bourgeoise oppression.

One thing I believe Norman Davies is right about is that he constantly returns to the theory that the causus belli of European wars is exceedingly complicated. He often begins his analysis with the example of the first European crusades - which were in large part driven and animated by French belief in the need to propagate and defend the Faith. Marxists like Howard Zinn always maintained that these efforts were driven by economic imperatives - Liberal theorists always claimed that these wars were caused by religious ''bigotry'' or false beliefs that held profound sway over the Medieval mind. Neither of these things seems to be true if we examine the European ''culture of war'' and the social, religious, and political ideals that constituted the European ethical view of the world.

With some exceptions, war is usually bad for short term economic development or profit. Often, men of commerce are at a loss as to how to actually profit from national warring. In Davies' treatment of the 1095-98 Crusade, he makes the point that Jerusalem was largely ethnically cleansed of hostile sectarian elements, thus rendering it useless as a commerce hub. Some of the later knightly orders pushed to allow for non-Christian Arabs and Jews to return to the Latin kingdom, and some trade bases were established thusly, but this was in large part motivated by a need to create capital sources in theater to continue to fund military endeavors against the Saracens.

I believe this is par for the course in Western wars, even through the modern era - conquest is an impulse unto itself, with people subsequently trying to figure out how the enterprise can be profitable.

Bob Dylan Roof

I agree, Thomas777 .

If there is a material cause that can more accurately account for war than the various traditional psychological and economic causes of friend-enemy groupings, it's likely some sort of macro-evolutionary principle rather than the Marxist/economic reduction to the the distribution of resources. Even if you reclassify "glory," spiritual purpose, the minds of other potential believers, etc., to be "goods" in an economic sense, you're merely applying the calculus of game theory to the psychology of actors that value these "goods."

At the macro level you can have theories that produce identical predictions but fail to adequately describe the underlying phenomena that cause the predicted event. e.g., Marxists and Austrians can both predict that the rich will deploy the state for crony capitalist purposes by relying on incommensurable premises. Lenin may be wrong about the absolute motivation of the old imperialists, but I think he's right about the immediate consequences. The same goes for Spengler in PC's quote.

The General Council of the International Working Men’s Association To Committee Members of the Russian Section in Geneva

Source : MECW , Volume 21, p. 110;
Written : by Marx, 24 March 1870;
First Published : in Russian in Narodnoye Dyelo, No. 1, April 15, 1870;
Transcribed : Andy Blunden .

At its meeting of March 22, the General Council declared by unanimous vote that your programme and rules accord with the general rules of the International Working Men’s Association. It immediately admitted your section into the International. I am pleased to accept your proposal to take on the honourable duty of being your representative on the General Council.
You say in your programme:
“... that the imperial yoke oppressing Poland is a brake equally hampering the political and social emancipation of both nations — the Russian just as much as the Polish.”
You might add that Russia’s violent conquest of Poland provides a pernicious support and real reason for the existence of a military regime in Germany, and, as a consequence, on the whole Continent. Therefore, in working on breaking Poland’s chains, Russian socialists take on themselves the lofty task of destroying the military regime; that is essential as a precondition for the general emancipation of the European proletariat.
A few months ago I received from St. Petersburg Flerovsky’s work The Condition of the Working Class in Russia . This is a real eye-opener for Europe. Russian optimism , which is spread over the Continent even by the so-called revolutionaries, is mercilessly exposed in this work. It will not retract from its worth if I say that in one or two places it does not fully satisfy criticism from the purely theoretical point of view. It is the book of a serious observer, a courageous worker, an unbiased critic, a great artist and, above all, of a person intolerant of oppression in all its forms and of all national anthems, and ardently sharing all the sufferings and all the aspirations of the producing class.
Such works as Flerovsky’s and those of your teacher Chernyshevsky do real honour to Russia and prove that your country is also beginning to take part in the movement of our age.
Fraternal greetings,
Karl Marx
London, March 24, 1870
Works of Frederick Engels 1890

Foreign Policy of Russian Tsardom

Source: Time, April and May 1890;
Transcribed: by Tony Brown.

The overthrow of the Tsar’s despotic rule in Russia would also directly help on this process. On the day when Tsardom falls — this last stronghold of the whole European Reaction — on that day a quite different wind will blow across Europe. For the gentlemen in Berlin and Vienna know perfectly well, in spite of all differences with the Tsar about Constantinople, etc., that the time may come when they will throw into his maw Constantinople, the Bosphorus, the Dardanelles, anything he wants, if only he will protect them against Revolution. On the day, therefore, when this chief stronghold itself, when Russia passes into the hands of the Revolution, the last remnant of confidence and security of the reactionary governments of Europe is gone; they will be thrown upon their own resources, and will soon learn how little they are worth then. The German Emperor might perhaps be tempted into sending an army to restore the authority of the Tsar — than which there could be no better way to destroy his own authority.
These are the points why Western Europe in general, and especially its working class, is interested, very deeply interested, in the triumph of the Russian Revolutionary Party, and in the overthrow of the Tsar’s absolutism. Europe is gliding down an inclined plane with increasing swiftness towards the abyss of a general war, a war of hitherto unheard-of extent and ferocity. Only one thing can stop it — a change of system in Russia. That this must come about in a few years there can be no doubt. May it come to pass in good time before the otherwise inevitable occurs.
Now, to address some of the points:

Camacho, you make an excellent point. It goes to show, that class solidarity doesn't cross racial borders - and to a certain extent, both Marx and Engels followed a hegelian approach to third world nations, which would make them (India, china, etc.) "ahistorical nations", i.e. nations that have no destiny of their own, no progress and thus don't even fall under discussion when they speak of revolution.

This is one of the talking points when,for example, Marx and Engels discuss the democratic panslavist movement. While on one hand it should be useful to further their goal, the revolution, they judge that ahistorical peoples of Slavic nations and tribes, other than Poles and Russians, hardly have any value since they don't have any history.

Thomas & Roland,

the idea that Russians exploited the captured territories to their own benefit is wrong and factually easy proven. When compared to the conquered countries of Europe, USSR wasn't in any significant way doing much better than the rest of the folk according to GDP per capita, the richest country being DDR, moreover the quality of life within the Soviet bloc was constantly evening out. That is actually one of the reasons Cuba and Northern Korea had collapsing economies after the fall of the USSR and the main reason Romania and Bulgaria have now gone down the drain:

In 1990:
26 German Democratic Republic (GNP) $9,679
27 Brunei $9,600
28 Soviet Union (GNP) $9,211
29 Northern Mariana Islands (GNP) $9,170
30 Virgin Islands $9,030
31 Greenland (GNP) $9,000
32 British Virgin Islands $8,900
32 Ireland $8,900
33 Israel (GNP) $8,700
34 Czechoslovakia (GNP) $7,878
35 Guam (GNP) $7,675
36 Man, Isle of $7,573
37 Bahrain $7,550
38 Portugal $6,900
39 French Polynesia $6,400
40 Macau $6,300
41 Hungary (GNP) $6,108
42 Cyprus $6,100
43 Oman $6,006
44 Taiwan (GNP) $6,000
45 New Caledonia (GNP) $5,810
46 Bulgaria (GNP) $5,710
47 Greece $5,605

the USSR actually propped up the economies of allied states with the help of Comecon by distributing production among regions to create a single unified and interdependent body, where each region and country had its own important input into socialist economy (i.e. Czech trains were a standard across all Soviets republics, guaranteeing virtually unstoppable growth for that industry in Czechoslovakia; DDR specialized in high-precision tech; Bulgaria was a popular resort for the whole Warsaw bloc; Romania was both, an agricultural and oil powerhouse; Poland produced steel; The USSR itself was no different - its own republics also specialized, the Central Asian ones being the core of the textile industry; the Caucasian ones - oil industry; the Baltics - military shipbuilding and commerce fleet; The Slavic republics compiled the core of the automative, R&D industries.

The biggest plan was to create a single economical planning body (the draft was already approved) that would treat the whole socialist sphere as single industrial organism with local peculiarities. It was a united structure catered to improve the quality of life for the general embetterment of all.

It goes to prove that Yockey thought in more traditional European-centric imperialist tradiition, i.e. since imperialism is inherent to European history and since Russia is expanding, that must be continuation of this tradition - neither side could understand the USSR during its transformation in 30-s and especially after 40 - the Soviet Union transformed not into a Russian imperialist project, but into a Russian eschatological project, envisioned and predicted by the development of whole Russian intellectual tradition - Solovyov's deification of humanity, the "Godmanhood', required conformity and unity to establish a truly unified collective for salvation of the human race; the concept spread and garnered support from Berdiaev, Trubetskoy, Lossky, etc. Soviet Union was a culmination of Russian raison d'etre.

This is from Wilmot Robertson's Instauration magazine, Vol 20 Iss 3, February 1995.