22.12.2023 Feature Article

The Problem Might Not Be Capitalism At All

The Problem Might Not Be Capitalism At All
22.12.2023 LISTEN

After reading Fanon's avant garde work, Black Skin, White Masks; Biko's I Write What I Like, and annotations by black scholars like Frank B. Wilderson, Jared Sexton and Saidiya Hartman; I stopped having problems with Capitalism!

This is because I began to appreciate that in inter-subjective relations structured by anti-blackness, black bodies are afflicted by fungibility and accumulation in a way not too unsimilar to cattle.

In other words, I concluded that blacks, irrespective of our performance and positionality in an anti- black world subsumed by slave relations, are not humans but commodities among other commodities. Blackness is robbed of humanness!

Secondary to that, the usurpation of black people's lands amount to colonialism, and colonialism is a comprehensive system which assumes an Imperialistic countenance which robs a conquered people of their humanness and ipso facto every aspect of their lives, including sovereignty and the ability to establish a polity.

In concrete terms, the culmination of colonialism is the conquered slave devoid of any agency to establish political order, and, consequently, a conquered slave is automatically foreclosed in any endeavour to establish an economic system to manage his wealth and resources at political and geopolitical levels.

As a rebar, colonized black bodies are relegated to mere objects, and the land is metamorphosed into plantations -- both as utilities to facilitate the existence of the white colonizer!

A colonizer, who is decidedly a foreigner who has left his home country on his marauding mission, doesn't exist outside of some existential philosophy upon which his desires are foregrounded.

At a lower scale of abstraction, the colonizer exists within a certain consciousness which guides him to fashion his preferred political ontology and political economy.

Accordingly, the country that he has just colonized will be transformed into a replica of his birth country in almost all areas of human endeavor. This observation is indispensable to my synopsis and I'll reinforce it again below as I elucidate...

This is why countries and black natives which were colonized by Portugal adopted Portuguese as the official language, and were also ruled apropos to the Portuguese cultural moorings on religion, law, economics etc.

The same is applicable to Afrikan countries which were colonized by Britain and France etc.

Now, in the same way that Christianity was the official religion in colonialist countries which subjugated certain Afrikan countries, and was imposed on these colonized people as theirs also; Capitalism was also an economic system privileged by the colonizers in their countries, and they duly imposed it on the colonized people.

Remember the point I headlined earlier that a colonized country's political ontology and political economy is modelled around the home country of the colonizer? This is where I reinforce it.

By way of another necessary detour in this synopsis; in the same way that Britain privileged Christianity as an opportune conceptual framework to manage it's subjects on questions of morality, spirituality and eschatology; Britain also privileged Capitalism as a favourable system for one or the other reason.

In the countries of the colonizer which are largely homogenous aporos to race, religion and a host of other socio-ideologo-politico aspects; a corollary is that, given the nature of Capitalism, there will be stratified classes of people birthed by their relations to the factors of production.

This is to say in this kind of environment there's a greater chance to initiate worker consciousness given the volatile nature of the relationship between the working class and the owners of the means of production.

In essence, Capitalism in white, European colonialist countries like Britain is likely to precipitate into struggles for the decent distribution of the country's wealth.

Apropos to struggles which might ensue in the colonized black countries of Afrika, however, things take on a different and grievous turn.

Because both protagonists (the colonizer and the colonized) are not homogeneous but dissimilar in terms of race, culture, religion and indigenousness; the struggles which will ensue in this set up will be more tremendous.

At this time, you should remember that when the colonizer sets up a political order in the native's usurped land, he brings with him his libidinal economy, political ontology and political economy -- and what happens next is the annihilation of the colonized people's culture, language, political ontology and the agency to establish a polity!

This, then, is Colonialism and not Capitalism!

Accordingly, as the first step towards liberation from anti-black colonial shackles, the colonized blacks should jettison any discourse which privileges the anti Capitalism subalternity, and the discourse which agitates for the end on Colonialism should take preponderance.

Biko understood this, hence his unbridled disavowal of any theory which circumvented the race issue, and why he so vociferously repudiated white participation within the black subalternity.

This is because Biko knew that the black and white divergent lived experiences birthed different sets of consciousness to phenomenon and ipso facto our world view and our response to our challenges.

From this summary, Capitalism, like Marxism, is just a system preferred by other folks regardless of their skin colour or religion.

This is to say it just happens to be the weapon of choice in the distribution of the resources and wealth which accrue from our ursurped lands!

At the higher scale of abstraction, because blacks are reduced to objects, and our lands to "white monopoly capital"; when white folks pick up arms to struggle against Capitalism; they're actually complaining about how they don't get a fair share in the wealth which accrue from fungible black bodies and wealth accruing from the usurpation of the black people's land.

In a word, lamentations of Capitalism by white folks in this anti-black, colonialist world is essentially white folks complaining that white supremacy is not benefitting them they way it benefits other white people!

And here we have black folks saying "Capitalism is evil" and who also refer to our land and resources illegally gained and hoarded by genocidal colonialists as "capital".

Forget those first two words in "white monopoly capital", they are superfluous and pretentious -- just focus on the third word "capital" and you'll see just why we need Biko and Sobukwe today more than ever before!

To call the present world-system “capitalist” is, to say the least, misleading. Given the hegemonic Eurocentric “common sense,” the moment we use the word “capitalism,” people immediately think that we are talking about the “economy”.

However, “capitalism” is only one of the multiple entangled constellations of colonial power matrix of what I call, at the risk of sounding ridiculous, “Capitalist/Patriarchal Western-centric/Christian- centric Modern/Colonial World- System.”

Capitalism is an important constellation of power, but not the sole one. Given its entanglement with other power relations, destroying the capitalist aspects of the world-system would not be enough to destroy the present worldsystem.

To transform this world-system it is crucial to destroy the historicalstructural heterogenous totality called the “colonial power matrix” of the “world system” with its multiple forms of power hierarchies.

Give thanks to MaTseba
MoKga-a-Bjwala Edward Mitole, PhD