McQueen, Humphrey: Born free: wage-slaves and chattel-slaves

Humphrey McQueen

Born free: wage-slaves and chattel slaves‘, Honest History, 31 March 2019

To adapt Marx’s linking of cotton and slavery with capitalism to the civilising enterprise of the South Australian Company: “Without chattel slaves, the Angases have no mahogany to import and no market for their exports; without those profits they have no hoard. It is chattel-slavery which gives the South Australian Company its founding philanthropist. Thus, slavery is an economic category of the greatest importance for free settlement.”

Not every bluestone in Adelaide is mortared with the blood of a slave as is charged against the bricks of Bristol and Liverpool. Yet the fine particles that cemented the City of Light’s Proclamation Tree were mixed with the blood of West Indian slaves and Kaurna bones, since plastered over with an insouciance of scholarship.

This pdf is a slightly amended version of the author’s chapter in Carolyn Collins & Paul Sendziuk (ed), Foundational Fictions in South Australian History, Wakefield Press, Adelaide, 2018, pp. 43-63. It is one of many items made available to Honest History by courtesy of the author, for many years Australia’s leading Marxist historian. Find more on our author listing or by using our Search function.

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