Jim Farmelant farmelantj at
Sat Oct 14 13:59:02 PDT 2000

On Sat, 14 Oct 2000 13:36:27 -0400 Yoshie Furuhashi <furuhashi.1 at> writes: As if by serendipity, the newest issue (November 2) of the NY Review of Books has a piece by George Frederickson on American slavery which covers many of the issues in contention in this thread.

Jim Farmelant

> _No one_ in this thread -- _including Genovese_ -- denies that all
> sorts of resistance, etc. occurred (though there may be
> disagreements
> over the scope & character of resistances). The problem is that
> Genovese can't pass off his theory of _paternalism_ -- which
> effectively does away with the difference between chattel slavery in
> the American South and feudalism, ancient slave societies, & other
> pre-capitalist formations -- as a variant of Gramsci's theory of
> hegemony. In Gramsci's theory of hegemony, the ruling class (e.g.,
> slave owners & capitalists, in the South and the North) morally,
> intellectually, & politically lead the "allied and kindred" classes
> and groups (e.g., non-slave-owning white small-holders in the South,
> Northern whites of all classes, lawyers, judges, writers, etc.), who
> "spontaneously" _consent_ to their rule, and form the hegemonic
> bloc;
> and the hegemonic bloc subjugates and sometimes if necessary
> liquidates the classes and groups outside the hegemonic bloc (e.g.,
> enslaved Africans, Native Americans, etc.) _without their consent_.
> In contrast, Genovese's theory of paternalism assumes slaves' &
> Native Americans' own consent to their subjugation, which means that
> Genovese's idea of consent differs radically from Gramsci's.
> I think that Genovese, even when he was a Marxist, never fully
> understood the nature of slave owners' hegemony over
> non-slave-owning
> whites -- nor did he understand what had made chattel slavery in the
> American South different from pre-capitalist slave societies and
> feudalism; and I argue that his inability to understand these two
> points in part explains Genovese's post-Marxist embrace of
> Neo-Confederacy.
> Yoshie

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