22 May 2013

Development is Class Struggle

Development, Part 7

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Development is Class Struggle

David Moore’s article (attached; download linked below) “The Brutal Side of Capitalist Development” appeared in the now-defunct Johannesburg newspaper “ThisDay” in 2004, as an “op-ed” feature.

At the time, at the height of the Mbeki Presidency, the article was remarkable in the mainstream South African media for being frank about the class struggle. Most of such material one would read at that time, in the depths of the 1996 Class Project years, was of the one-eyed “Development Studies” variety.

Moore only had to say how dull and derivative all this other material had been, to win the case unarguably.

The dispute between “neo-liberal GEARs and social-welfarist RDPs” is a sterile one, he says. Like a new broom, Moore swept away all the “happy synergistic tales”, while reminding people of “capitalism’s brutal genesis” and also its saving grace, the “vibrantly emerging working classes.”

The document is a nice, short read, though packed with hints and pointers. Now in 2013, eight years later, there is continuing talk of a “developmental state” and perhaps an implied assumption that what we already have is that very “developmental state”. Yet the diverse origins of “developmentalism” have hardly been re-examined. Hence the other, longer documents that will be introduced this week, for the sake of completeness. But this article of David Moore’s will be more than adequate as a discussion text.

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” wrote Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in the Communist Manifesto of 1848, meaning that the entire historical development of humanity had been driven by the dynamic of class struggle. It still is being driven by class struggle.