The end of necro-capitalism – Media Diversified
Capitalism: an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. It now seems an apt term to describe an economic model that is collapsing and devouring itself but that given its foundational premise could have had no other end. The contemporary economic system and its theories are truly a ‘Western product,’ developed over four centuries and inextricably linked with the Enlightenment, slave trade, the colonial enterprise, Industrial Revolution and – over time and until recently – unsurpassed Western global hegemony. Western economic historians, economists, even thinkers interested in economics, on the left and right appear equally trapped in their ideological prisons. The left is tied to simplistic positions of inflated victimhood and guilt and/or dialectics of power, where horrors are inflicted by the elite, the proletariat always suffer, and multicultural hypocrisy functions as a sop for superficial colonial guilt at home just as knee-jerk anti-war rhetoric does abroad. The rightist view is equally inaccurate as it relies on ahistorical hagiographies of private enterprise, a mythical innate ability of the ‘West’ to innovate and a refusal to acknowledge not only how colonial wealth powered the Industrial Revolution but also how economic hegemony has been maintained after official decolonisation. Regardless of whether one sees the early days of mercantilism as an early stage of capitalism or not, the assumption that wealth, sourced for Europe from abroad, could be gained at relatively low cost – as proven by the very profitable Slave Trade and extraction of resources from the colonies – was established as a foundational, albeit not necessarily explicit principle of Western economic philosophy. Key philosophers throughout the 18th and 19th centuries not only benefited from the economics of slave trade and colonialism, but took it so much for granted as to not often take them into significant account. In the intervening centuries, this view has continued to underpin Western economic philosophies, implicitly but clearly building global economic structures on an unchallenged right to access resources of the non-European and premised on controlling their territories and resources in perpetuity. Once colonies could not be held formally, most former colonisers attempted an economic sleight of hand. A series of cartel-like international trade decisions were taken despite official decolonisation in order to maintain an indefinite economic hegemony. The post-war order required a combination of political and economic policies to ensure that the former colonies were maintained in poverty, incapable of challenging existing hegemonies, continuing to serve only as sources for cheap raw materials and markets. Economic and political policies are not disconnected, and some of the strongest challenges to Western economic hegemony are being posed by a combination of the two. Over the years, and despite the global economic ‘malaise’, such challenges from the emerging economies of former colonies have only grown, and in tandem with an inexorable European decline and an increasingly dysfunctional USA. However, just as the relative silence around the role of the colonial enterprise in the development of Western capitalist structures has ensured flawed analysis in the past, its continued and willful disregard ensures that contemporary analyses of capitalism retain the lacuna. For too long now, Western politicians have colluded in maintaining this flawed economic model, even when the arithmetic stopped making sense. The US, a relative newcomer to the game of empires, is struggling to maintain its economic advantage at home and abroad even as its populace grows more restive.
Internationalizing Feminism in the 19th Century, Introduction
Between the publication of Mary Wollstonecrafts Vindication of the Rights of Women and John Stuart Mills The Subjection of Women ideas, social movements, and individual feminists migrated across land and sea, generating a powerful new context for the advancement of womens rights. In this era, the terms womens rights and womens emancipation were widely used to refer to what we today would call feminism. Women abolitionists endorsed womens rights in 1837, and in the 1830s the American Female Moral Reform Association launched their aggressive campaign against the sexual double standard and promoted womens right to control their own bodies. After visiting the Raritan Bay community in 1852, Elizabeth Cady Stanton declared, “All our talk about womens rights is mere moonshine so long as we are bound by the present social system…. Woman must ever be sacrificed in the isolated household.” Fouriers criticism of marriage as an oppressive institution for women and womens subordination in society more generally inspired extensive contemporary debate and discussion in Europe and the United States. Despite his economic radicalism, in many ways Owens views of women remained traditional, and Thompson and Wheelers Appeal went beyond him by viewing womens oppression from womens point of view. Women within the movement downplayed the free love idea and, after reading Fourier, advocated womens economic independence. In Germany the Revolution of 1848-1849 produced similar uprisings on behalf of expanded civil, political, and economic rights, and there too womens voices emerged to urge women to claim a place in public life. Regard for the American womens movement deepened in the 1850s when European and British support for feminism expanded faster among the middle classes than among socialists. Rather than constructing utopias or achieving womens equality by fundamental changes in the organization of society, most British, European and American feminists focused on improving womens legal status in society as it existed. Married womens property rights and womens right to vote became feminists main rallying points even as they continued to demand equal opportunities in education, employment, the church and the family. Historian Bonnie Anderson noted that Taylors article “Enfranchisement of Women,” referred to by speakers at almost all subsequent American womens rights conventions, was reprinted many times as a pamphlet and “Became one of the best-selling tracts of the U.S. womens rights movement.” In 1866 Bodichon launched the womens suffrage movement in England by co-founding the Womens Suffrage Committee, a group that organized a womens suffrage petition that John Stuart Mill presented to the House of Commons. The New York City convention of 1856 passed resolutions to encourage “The supporters of the cause of women… the worthy successors of Pauline Roland and Jeanne Deroin, who, in the face of imperial despotism, dare to tell the truth.” This inclusive spirit within the American womens rights movement continued in the Equal Rights Association convention of 1869, where Mathilde Anneke spoke passionately on behalf of womens right to vote. The trajectory of growth in European and British feminism carried many women activists into interaction with women in the North American movement, where a robust convention movement was collectively advocating womens rights in ways that had no precedent or parallel in Europe and Great Britain. At the same time that Annekes call for woman suffrage symbolized the integration of European feminism into the American womens rights movement, it also revealed the narrowing of the goals of European and American feminism to focus on the right to vote.