Volume 40 part 1 (April 1995)
VIJAY PRASHAD, Marks of Capital: Colonialism and the Sweepers of Delhi
In a sub-field of Marxism, A.G. Frank and E. Laclau debated the intricate details of Frank's critique of the "dualist thesis". That thesis argued that capitalism failed to overcome feudalism in its colonial adventure; Frank argued that to posit the duality between capital and feudal forms does violence to the structural integration of feudal forms into the logic of capital. Frank's critique, however, remained wedded to a level of abstraction which was unable to reveal the full implications of his suggestions. In this essay, I attempt to show that the logic of capital during colonial rule produced a municipal sanitation regime which relied upon the control over the labor of manual sweepers mediated through jobbers, overseers and contractors. Far from being the embodiment of "tradition", the sweepers since colonial India bear on their bodies the marks of capital. This essay reveals those marks as well as demonstrating the integral relation between the logic of capital and barbaric colonial rule.
ROGER FAGGE, "Citizens of this Great Republic": Politics and the West Virginia Miners, 1900-1922
The West Virginia Miners engaged in remarkable inter-ethnic rebellions in the early twentieth century, against the "feudal" conditions in the Mountain State's coalfields. This paper challenges the view that these actions were backed by an equally radical and class-conscious language based on Americanism. It shows how due to various barriers, ranging from ethnic differences to electoral interference, political involvement on the part of the miners was sporadic and unsuccessful, and they were unable to form a common, coherent political identity. Instead they articulated a broad and ultimately ambiguous appeal to "American" rights and values, which focused on the exceptionalism of West Virginia, and took the interpretation of Americanism to be self-evident.
NORMAN CAULFIELD, Wobblies and Mexican Workers in Mining and Petroleum, 1905-1924
The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), or "Wobblies", represented a transitional stage in Mexican labor movement history. The Wobblies enjoyed support from workers because their philosophy corresponded to the Mexican labor movement's deeply-rooted anarchosyndicalist traditions. While cooperating with Mexican radical labor organizations, the IWW advocated workers' control, better pay, conditions, and union recognition. In mining and petroleum, the IWW built upon the earlier organizational efforts of mutual and gremial organizations. And, although the Wobblies failed to establish a permanent foothold inside Mexico, their efforts resulted in the eventual organization of industry-wide unions.