Rosa Luxemburg‚Äôs The Accumulation of Capital, postcolonial theory, and the problem of present day imperialisms (New Formations 94, Autumn 2018)
Author: Kanishka Chowdhury
Rosa Luxemburg‚Äôs classic work The Accumulation of Capital reveals, with a great degree of clarity, the¬† function of imperialism in determining the global movement and accumulation of capital. Her attention to¬† the constitutive role of international credit, tariffs and militarism, not just as manifestations of imperialism but as methods integral to the project of capital accumulation, continues to have a significant bearing on our own time, offering us valuable insights for disrupting current theories of globalisation and¬† the postcolonial. The reason for highlighting the inadequacies of these particular theories is because over¬† the last three decades, they have become the predominant analytical lens through which asymmetrical global¬† relations have been viewed. While acknowledging the gaps in Luxemburg‚Äôs analysis of imperialist practices,¬† I will, nevertheless, consider how her fiery critique of imperial activities of her time hold tremendous¬† possibilities for investigating the vexed dialectic between capitalist and non-capitalist organisations as reflected in existing global arrangements, even as I specify ways to trouble those categories. Indeed, what¬† may Luxemburg‚Äôs categorisation of a non-capitalist space look like in the current conjuncture, where it is almost impossible to escape the centrality of capitalist relations? Moreover, if postcolonial theory in¬† its many formations remains the predominant mode of analysing global asymmetries, how¬† might its uncovering¬† of these asymmetries be strengthened by an attention to Luxemburg‚Äôs¬†work?