The "unification" of States (was American Civil War)

Gil Hardwick (
Sun, 30 Apr 1995 06:53:57 GMT

The idea of the American Civil War arising from the refusal of the
then southern states to give up slavery, vis a vis in all other new
states no slavery to be permitted at all, is a crock.

In that particular case the alleged conflict over "slavery" was only
concerned with the enslavement of black Africans within a plantation
economy. The allegation fails significantly to address the changes in
economic thought which heralded the precedent Industrial Revolution,
which called alternatively for a new class of factory wage slaves to
take their place as a "more efficient" deployment of human labour.

In all cases of State "unification" brought on by European industrial
expansion everywhere in the world, the purpose was clearly to create
new centrally administered territories which could be exploited for
their natural resources on the one hand, while on the other hand to
disenfranchise local land-based economies so as to "free up" large
pools of "labour" to be exploited similarly.

That is precisely the post-Civil War fate of the American Southern
States, and like all others they became simply "territories" of the
"Union". The opening up of the American West serves to reinforce the
point, since there too people dependent upon an autochthonous economy
were similarly disenfranchised, although unsuited it would appear to
working 70-hour weeks at machinery they were instead systematically
reduced in numbers by the military, with the remainder herded onto

The same thing happened here in Australia, except that here with only
a sparse population of "stone age" indigenes likewise systematically
reduced in numbers, we enjoyed the experience of very large numbers
of convicts and "rural unemployed" mass transported here to make up
the industrial workforce instead. Who were also being mass transported
to North America prior to the War of Independence only 3-4 generations
earlier, by the way.

The same process of industrialisation took place everywhere else for
that matter; even as an excellent example the Japanese (who were at the
time rebuilding their own military/industrial complex along the English
and German model) "opening up" Manchuria for the same reason, and then
later going to war for even more territory still under an ideology of
"Asia for Asians".

A noble ring to the clarion? I should think so! Else people would see
the Emporer's nakedness spontaneously for themselves.

Not to be remiss in forgetting the pre-Ghandi British occupation of the
Indian sub-continent either. Or the French occupation of Viet Nam up
to their defeat in 1954, and the subsequent routing and humiliation of
the US war machine there by mere peasants simply wanting their own
land back. Or poor old Africa . . .

I'll not start on the war against "communism" . . .

Simply have a look in any world atlas, and you can see exactly the
pattern of world expansion, appropriation and exploitation simply by
tracing out all the world's railway lines with a coloured pencil. You
can do the same thing by tracing all the roads and highways, perhaps
with a different colour pencil not that it matters much.

Finally, still today the American black slaves supposedly "freed" by
the Civil War have no status within the extant economy, beyond their
apparent usefulness as factory workers.

Try coming up to speed on economic history. Also if you want a good
read on labour systems get hold of:

Wiles P.J.D., 1979, *Economic Institutions Compared*, Oxford:Basil

It contains such gems of chapter headings as, "Incentives to Work",
"Property and Ideology", "Peasants, Agriculture and Populism",
"Cooperatives, Communities and Communes", "Trade Unions and Hired
Labour", "The Implementation of Detailed Plans", "Market Optimality",
"Administrative Optimality", "Investment Finance, Thrift and Risk",
and such like.

Read it in conjunction with Wallerstein's *The Modern World System*
and any other reference of that ilk. Get the American Civil War into
perspective for a change; into its historical context surely . . .

He who refuses to qualify data is doomed to rant.
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