Capital was kickstarted by the rape of the African continent, a phenomenon that is central to neither Gramsci nor Marx. According to Barrett (2002), something about the Black body in and of itself made it the repository of the violence that was the slave trade. It would have been far easier and far more profitable to take the white underclass from along the riverbanks of England and Western Europe than to travel all the way to Africa for slaves.
The theoretical importance of emphasizing this in the early 21st century is twofold. First, capital was kick-started by approaching a particular body (a black body) with direct relations of force, not by approaching a white body with variable capital. Thus, one could say that slavery is closer to capital’s primal desire than is exploitation. It is a relation of terror as opposed to relation of hegemony. Second, today, late capitalism is imposing a renaissance of this original desire,
the direct relation of force, the despotism of the unwaged relation. This renaissance of slavery, i.e., the reconfiguration of the prison-industrial complex has, once again, as its structuring metaphor and primary target the Black body.
➴ The Prison Slave as Hegemony’s (Silent) Scandal, Frank B. Wilderson III
❝ That’s how I see the body, as a living political archive. You already have this archive. It’s not like you choose things that are more or less outside of yourself to add onto it. You realize that your body is really dense, stratified, and huge. There are connections and relationships that are already there. If you carefully look at it, you realize that your body archive is connected to the history of the city, the history of design, technologies, and goes back to the invention of agriculture like eighty thousand years ago. Your body is the body of the planet. When I add a few molecules of testosterone, in a huge living archive, well that’s just a minor detail. It’s a way of intensification in terms of a cognitive experience—suddenly you are intensifying processes that are already going on in your body.
➴ pharmacopornography-an interview with beatriz preciado