June 17, 2023
Capitalism, Slavery, and the Non-Appearance of Blackness:
A Review of Nick Nesbitt’s The Price of Slavery and Denise Ferreira da Silva’s Unpayable Debt
- Unpayable Debt by Denise Ferreira da Silva. London: Sternberg Press, 2022
- The Price of Slavery: Capitalism and Revolution in the Caribbean by Nick Nesbitt. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2022
From G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx learns that essence cannot appear as itself. The laborer’s wage, for example, appears as paid. If the wage invisibilizes exploitation, with the laborer producing more than their cost, the price of labor also expresses a socially necessary truth: labor has been made commensurate (a mass of abstract quantity). As an expression of both commodity-exchange and the juridical relation between buyer and seller, the emergence of generalized equality and freedom is decipherable from within capitalism’s one-sided socio-historical formulation of essence. Form, then, tells us something important about its relationship to its content—from “social form” can be excavated both determinant possibilities and limits. Marx frequently underscores capitalism’s peculiar combination of emancipatory potential and degradation through a comparison with the slave, whose entire person is commodified and whose labor (dominated by the property form) appears more plainly “unpaid.” In order to remain, as Marx writes, “the free proprietor of his own labor-capacity, hence of his person,” a worker must keep something in withdrawal. The worker sells only a piece of themselves (their labor-power), parceled through time, “for if he were to sell it in a lump, once and for all, he would be selling himself, converting himself from a free man into a slave, from an owner of a commodity into a commodity.”
Nick Nesbitt and Denise Ferreira da Silva’s new books, each synthetic achievements by authors who have long been clearing new pathways for critical theory and black studies, slow down the speed of conversion from slave to laborer, cracking open the formal elements that shape the appearance of slavery in the differentiated unity of Marx’s critique. Each book is framed by a figural image composed as part of a broader collage: a woman’s bust and outstretched hand overlaying a banknote; a fist, forearm, and lit match graphically arrayed translucent against the background of a book’s page. Triangulated between living labor, the commodity, and its monetary price, the banknote of The Price of Slavery registers Nesbitt’s reconfiguration of the relationship between the long postslavery present and the specific “social forms” that make up what he rigorously interrogates as “capitalist slavery” and its “tropical” interpretations. The forearm from Rajkamal Kahlon’s 2012 gouache painting, set against a text celebrating the Washington Capitol, draws each chapter of Unpayable Debt into the universe of Octavia Butler’s novel Kindred. Dana’s arm, stuck in the plaster wall of her Los Angeles apartment during her travels back from antebellum Maryland, makes present the irredeemable interval of the book’s titular debt. Where Nesbitt’s image indexes what must appear, as he seeks to penetrate the theoretical problem its amalgam represents through the price-form of slavery, Ferreira da Silva’s image activates, in her words, a “re/de/compositional” tool of refusal. Both engage slavery at the edge of Marx’s delimitation of capitalism: Nesbitt’s close reading of the three volumes of Capital cogently argues that slaves do not produce surplus value but do capture profit through competition; Ferreira da Silva unleashes what does not appear to recompose the descriptors of value to begin with.
The difference between the condition for more Marxist theorizing or for “reading otherwise,” in Ferreira da Silva’s words, comes not only from divergent methodological and political predispositions but from the difference the appearance of slave-as-commodity makes to a whole universe of critical inquiry. While teasing out this appearance—the slave’s relative availability for demystification and incorporation into a differentiated whole—helps elaborate fundamental tensions between and within Marxism, black studies, and the popularization of the phrase “racial capitalism,” the non-appearance of blackness puts a singular pressure on immanent critiques of Marxism in ways Ferreira da Silva’s analysis symptomatically activates. Here it is not the difference between capitalism and slavery or even between divergent totalities of capitalism and antiblackness that is at issue but the way the latter is inscribed into the former as its impossible limit that makes the slave such a confounding figure for generations of Marxist thought.
Internal to a Marxist state of affairs, The Price of Slavery should be considered the best synthetic overview to date to address both why slavery matters to Marxism and how previous theorists have got this relevance wrong. Nesbitt first recognizes the challenge and strength of Eric Williams’s intervention into the doxa of his times with the 1944 publication of Capitalism and Slavery. Though turning the cogs of the early industrial world, slavery’s ultimate incompatibility with capitalism meant formal abolition owed more to economic forces than the humanitarian ones celebrated by the British Empire. But the Williams thesis remains stuck in its opening inquiry: the provocative conjunction “capitalism and slavery.” Because wealth, money, and profit have existed throughout much of human history, Williams’s empirical proclivity for “technological determinism” and “productionist anthropology” misses “the forest for the trees,” leaving “in suspense,” Nesbitt writes, “the essential nature of the relation of these two categories.”Nesbitt’s point is that if slavery was indeed “decisive” for the formation of capitalism, capitalism itself—and its inverted relationship between appearances and essences—cannot go uninterrogated. Along the way to critically apprehending capitalist slavery through the monetary form, Nesbitt provides an intellectual and theoretical genealogy of Marxist engagements since Williams, from cliometric modeling and the New Economic History to the transition debates and the New History of Capitalism, whose historiographic attempts to incorporate slavery through the archival recovery of financial instruments, technological innovations, and routines of violence fail to provide an account of social relations that don’t presuppose an immutable economic backdrop. Historians in the aftermath of the Williams thesis remain stuck in a volley between “quantitative analysis of wealth production” and “experiential evocation of human suffering” and lack methods to approach what is socially and historically specific about capitalism or slavery, let alone their interrelationship.
Instead of theorizing a problem in slavery—something specific about its social organization of violence that lends it the character of capitalism’s vanishing mediator—Nesbitt leans into a more familiar Marxologist itinerary, following the posthumous and filtered publication of Capital’s subsequent volumes, as well as the late discovery and translation of the Grundrisse. This delayed backdrop, and the more circumscribed humanist reception of Marx, sets Nesbitt’s interpretative stage for the politics of wealth redistribution in the global South, whose valorization of industrialization and nationalization locked thinkers like C.L.R. James into a Ricardian political economy. If Nesbitt believes that Marx provides a more robust resource than what has otherwise been realized, he also acknowledges that the uneven quality of Marx’s theorizing on slavery has led Marxists to cherry-pick preferred answers to already reductive questions as to whether or not slavery was capitalist. Marx’s engagement with slavery, Nesbitt admits, is largely a “negative” one, spelling out “what slave labor cannot do (appear as an exchange value; produce surplus value), while what it positively affirms (that slave labor creates concrete commodities) is true transhistorically of all slave labor.” To begin to sort out a systematic theory that accounts for the importance of theorizing capitalism and slavery as both “historically entangled yet analytically distinct,” Nesbitt turns to the “monetary theory of value” through thinkers like Fred Moseley and Patrick Murray, whose inclusion in the International Symposium on Marxian Theory forms a longer critical-methodological itinerary, informed by the Grundrisse and attentive to the question of form in Marx’s method of presentation, that Nesbitt charts from works including those of I.I. Rubin and the Neue-Marx Lektüre.
Walking readers through a sifting procedure, separating ancient slaves and their feudal bedfellows from what Marx has to say more specifically about capitalist slavery, Nesbitt spells out the implications of Marx’s reading of slaves as fixed constant capital—a “means of production identical in this sense to land, work animals, machines, and raw materials.” The capitalist planter doesn’t enter the slave’s labor in his accounts. Slaves themselves are commodified—receiving no wages, their labor itself is not bound by a wage and thus cannot appear in the monetary form. The slaveowner does account for slaves’ living expenses—food, housing, and upkeep, like any machine or animal—and these elements become part of what Marx refers to as a commodity’s “cost price.” When planters bring their sugar loaf to market, they know little about the relative composition of necessary and surplus labor that go into other commodities. The fetishistic character of the wage, in distorting the genesis of capital’s growth, ensures that those coming to market are only interested in the cost price remaining lower than the final market price, not in detangling the distribution of variable and constant capital or penetrating capital’s hidden abode. The process, Marx says in Capital’s Volume One, “does not reveal the conditions under which it takes place, whether it is happening under the slave-owner’s brutal lash or the anxious eye of the capitalist.”
It is at this juncture—the relationship between cost price, value, profit, and competition—that Nesbitt finally arrives at the place of slavery in Marx. Drawing together a reading of the third, never completed volume of Capital with William’s assertion that beet sugar, produced by wage labor, “freed the slaves on the sugar cane plantations of the French colonies,” Nesbitt deftly untangles the interplay between capitalist competition and industrial slavery. Most usefully, he follows Marx’s strategically hyperbolic case, in Volume Three, in which a commodity composed of “no variable capital” (slave production without, say, middlemen) enters the global mass of commodities in circulation. At the market, the slaveowner’s cane sugar (comprised of constant capital) and the capitalist’s beet sugar (a combination of variable and constant capital) both receive an “aliquot part” of profit. Value diverges from its phenomenological appearance in price because the rate of profit does not correspond to a commodity’s “organic composition,” meaning the slaveowner’s cane sugar ends up capturing some of the profit that would otherwise correspond to beet sugar’s surplus value. In Marx’s overthrow of David Ricardo’s individualistic account of value, the capitalist receives not the surplus value commensurate with the labor employed in the production of each commodity but a fraction of a distributed whole. Again, we return to appearances: riffing on Marx, Nesbitt writes, “in the case of slave labor, unlike wage labor, which appears to be paid in full, it is ironically the very visibility of the violently extracted, unpaid labor that hides the impossibility of the commodity’s producing surplus value.” What also goes hidden for Nesbitt is the diminishing returns of slave labor, its inability to increase relative surplus value.
With capitalist slavery tending towards its own dissolution, Nesbitt brings us the most fully updated Marxist account of slavery, reinterpreting debates that stretch from W.E.B. Du Bois to the conceptual currency of racial capitalism. Pushing against limitations of Leninist-inflected humanism for anticolonial movements, the book’s second half shows a longue durée of Caribbean critique anticipating (but rarely adequately addressing) the register of “social form” in a collective creative and political coming to terms with the convergence between the social organization of the plantation and a world “governed by the general tendency for all things and relations to take the form of commodities.” The Price of Slavery may read more or less as a polemic for the monetary theory of value and against those orientations which fail to meet its measure, unless one also considers social form to be a reflexive category—a category that reflects on the relay between social organizing principles and our conceptual reconstructions. Such reflection might lead one to wonder why it has taken so long for a serious Marxist value-form encounter with slavery like Nesbitt’s. The obvious answer—that wage-labor is capitalism’s social form, the genesis of value—reaffirms the theoretical centrality of the constitution of capital more than its dynamics of competition but doesn’t mean the latter isn’t well worth working out and can rebound on the former.
With Nesbitt’s Marxist corrective in hand, we can, however, proceed to a question at the edges of Nesbitt’s demonstration: What if slavery has yet to be theorized? What if there is something particular about slavery’s social life such that its theorization always seems to splinter off into something else? The Price of Slavery renders capitalism essential for theorizing slavery but has little sustained investigation into the inverse: how slavery might itself be essential to capitalism. It is the transition from slavery to capitalism, and how Caribbean critical thought interprets this period’s “chaotic mutations and anomalies,” that dominates the book’s understanding of slavery, not the preconditions for racial slavery itself. Instead, Nesbitt follows Marx’s Grundrisse in which “Negro slavery—a purely industrial slavery—which is, besides, incompatible with the development of bourgeois society and disappears with it, presupposes wage labor.” This presupposition takes for granted that slavery, absent capitalist social forms, would always revert to its (conceptually underdetermined) “pre-civilized” state. But what if Marx’s description of capitalism cannot be a description of slavery or, more precisely, is a description insofar as slavery’s absence tells us something essential about the relay between race and class, slavery and capitalism?
Enter Unpayable Debt, whose interrogation of labor as a “conceptum” tracks a presence that does not—cannot—figure into Marx’s formal presentation of value. Rather than conjuring a “more comprehensible concept” (like Nesbitt’s “capitalist slavery”), Ferreira da Silva deploys the logics of this not. The slave, in her demanding reading, is caught less in the logics of “negation”—the prior and alternative moments of capitalism that dialectically provide other ways of being—than in the “negative,” the absence of the components (the capacity to produce values) that make up capital’s ethical scene. By developing this negative, Ferreira da Silva brings into view the asymmetry in which the governing conflict between capitalist and worker (negation) positively overwhelms that between capitalist and slave (negative). The contract, and Capital’s tracing of its “appearance of independence,” theoretically builds on the Hegelian struggle of two independent self-consciousnesses, establishing equality as an objective necessity of exchange at the same time that it relies on splitting those who sell their labor as a commodity from those who are themselves rendered a commodity.. This second movement, activating what Ferreira da Silva later labels “the secret behind the secret” that is value, presupposes Marx’s qualified doubled freedom for the wage-laborer. The slave is not recognized as another self-consciousness in a Hegelian drama of life and death or Marxist class struggle; never being party to a contract, the slave’s status as anterior to equality and absent of will has never been secured, necessitating the repetition of “total violence.”
Ritually invoking the “wounded captive body in the scene of subjugation” as the referent for blackness (instead of skin color), Ferreira da Silva charts the ways blackness is described as cause and effect of its own violation and the ways the mythic circularity of this “racial dialectic” can be dissolved. Her piercing use of Saidiya Hartman’s theorization of “fungibility” and Hortense Spillers’s reading of “flesh” as a “praxis and a theory, a text for living and dying,” provides tools towards “reading otherwise,” recalling how the slave’s negation is also active, a “negativation” she poses as also a “negativ(e active)ation.” Ferreira da Silva opens her work with a warning: each chapter is engaged in this negativation, meaning attempts at summarizing will fail, “because a description of what is done cannot repeat how it is done.”While this limit poses a challenge to the reviewer, we can trace the gravitational outline of Ferreira da Silva’s critique, as it pulls thinkers from Aníbal Quijano to Sylvia Wynter, Edmund Husserl to Du Bois, and Gayatri Spivak to Karen Barad into the task of opening the closed circuit of the racial dialectic.
The bright star the book orbits around, in a trajectory drawn more from quantum than celestial mechanics, is Marx. For Ferreira da Silva, those who attempt to return to the violence of accumulation (Rosa Luxemburg and David Harvey) or to penetrate the truth of “racial capitalism” (Stuart Hall and Cedric Robinson) have yet to open the question—shared in many ways between Nesbitt and Ferreira da Silva—of how slavery might itself have shaped capital’s social forms without being exterior to them. Like The Price of Slavery, Unpayable Debt cannot claim that slaves also produce surplus value without either flattening capitalism into a generic form of profit extraction or overthrowing the fundamental components of capitalist critique altogether. While Nesbitt tracks the consequences of such a flattening, Ferreira da Silva’s attention to the “nonsignificance of ‘slave labor’” embraces a version of overthrowing born from different priorities. “Without the pretension to come up with a new reading of Marx or the commitment to not misread him,” she writes, “I can start from anywhere.”
Ferreira da Silva doesn’t necessarily start from anywhere: her movement consists in exploring what labor’s “conceptum” takes for granted—how it answers only the questions it was posed to ask—and “pinpointing” the fissures through which the “wounded captive body” breaks open the historical-materialist text. In her earlier Toward a Global Idea of Race, Ferreira da Silva found Marx a proponent of the “transparency thesis,” where revolution secreted away self-determination in historical materialism’s account of domination. In the third chapter of Unpayable Debt, Ferreira da Silva’s appreciation of Capital’s construction as “flawless, beautiful even,” is drawn from a closer reading whose preparatory maneuvers she also admits are ultimately “disingenuous” on her part. Ferreira da Silva spends considerable effort mimicking Capital’s structure, following especially the formula of constant and variable capital in Chapter Seven of Volume One, only to knowingly “violate” the text by moving from labor’s historical specificity back to a seemingly transhistorical sense of raw material.
Returning to the equation that generates surplus value, Ferreira da Silva activates a “strategically naïve” withdrawal from the determinants that provide Marx his socio-historical specificity, retaining only “creative (material) capacity” from the historical materialist text. As raw material, the energy of the slave transfers latent potential from instruments of production into “excess” for the slave owner, an excess corresponding to what Ferreira da Silva calls the slave’s “negative accumulation.” Tracking cotton in the “same position and performance” as blackness not only renders indeterminate the juridical difference between slave labor and wage labor, it also begins to incorporate the wider universe, the quantum “elementa” inclusive of solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. Nesbitt might argue something is lost in this transfer to cosmic scales. By desiring to release labor from the grip of its ethical principles and juridical forms, we may be losing sight of what Marx’s dialectic does reveal—how equality and freedom are emergent determinants of capitalism’s history of separability, and how self-determination becomes real through its figuration—along the way missing ongoing determinants of violence. Self-determination is immanent to Marx’s figuration of creative material capacity, and it is unclear whether one can be excised from the other without the remainder that renders blackness. Ferreira da Silva’s method is avowedly non-dialectical, but it may be that her tools are only wieldable if we keep in sight Marx’s categories, not only pursuing exploitation along expropriation, but also continuing to historically frame the colony and polity’s social ontology in ways that don’t seem altogether different from Marx’s own. On the one hand, by understanding labor as both a historical operator and conceptual delimitation, Ferreira da Silva registers ongoing disputes on the relationship between “free and unfree labor,” mode of production and mode of subjugation, and explicitly opens questions akin to Marxist feminists’ accounts of the “hidden abode of reproduction.” On the other hand, by countering a primarily Ricardian Marx (a Marx for whom forms are ideational illusions and labor a transcendental constant), Ferreira da Silva’s de/re/composition leaves space for a more authoritative Marx to reappear.
From the perspective of the monetary theory of value, Unpayable Debt underplays the centrality of the dialectic between essence and appearance, presentation and critique, in two central ways; by 1) claiming that totality is a Lukácsian misinterpretation of the relationship between Hegel’s totality and Marx’s, the latter of which should be seen as “quantitative”; and by 2) locating the critique of capital as the delimitator of slavery’s productive capacity, not capital itself. Monetary theorists of value derive insights from the negative totality of Marxist theorizing (see, for example, Riccardo Bellofiore, Tony Smith, Chris Arthur, Helmut Reichelt, and Nicole Pepperell), in which Marx’s presentation of the domination of the commodity-form is also a critique of it. This non-identity also means that Marx’s account of the juridical difference between slave and laborer is not uncritical. Nesbitt himself offers a reading of Marxist interpretations, centering on Étienne Balibar, that reckon with the socio-historical composition withdrawing labor’s newly emergent “abstract universality” from the slave. Marx’s deployment of capacity builds on this implicit social ontology, reconstructing the transformation of labor from the realm of necessity to contingency, forwarding capacity over Aristotelian actuality and rendering species-being a form of species-becoming that dialectically activates the open-ended fullness of human social powers. This maneuver may seem anthropocentric—the transparency thesis on full display—but it reflects, for Marx, a paradoxical opening made possible by the socio-historical transformation of labor into both its alienated and abstracted appearances. Given Ferreira da Silva’s retention of creative material capacity, the question remains whether her slave might be recuperated by a more rigorous, metaphysically attuned Marxist social ontology.
If Nesbitt and Ferreira da Silva are at cross-purposes—one interested in a Marxist corrective; the other, emphatically not—do these positions (or the tentative synthesis suggested above) represent the only available alternatives? Instead of positively theorizing the social form of slavery within the capitalist totality (Nesbitt’s immanent critique) or fracturing totality’s descriptive power (Ferreira da Silva’s anterior critique), what happens if we affirm the efficacy of capitalism as a descriptor of social forms by identifying racial slavery as an index of that which cannot appear (in or for social form)? From here we can ask whether the blackness of the “non” can be converted into the “everything” of the plenum or elementa without entrapping Ferreira da Silva’s fractal approach into another racial dialectic, now driven by the antiblackness of capacity. If the “non” mediates the difference between the transparent I and affectable other (terms resuscitated from Ferreira da Silva’s Towards a Global Idea of Race), then the danger is that repurposing capacity through physics, without addressing capacity’s conceptual trajectory, recapitulates a transhistorical variety of postracialism that ensconces a new and more intractable form of self-determination. Humanism coming home to roost.
Ferreira da Silva does move beyond the more hermetic materialism of Marx (capacity as socially determinant, both limit and possibility) and the inexhaustibly active materialism of Barad (capacity as infinity, itself an ambivalent reference point in the book) through her reading of Spillers’s “flesh.” Unpayable Debt’s cosmic reordering of things stays with social histories of separability, returning to its “primal scene” in the conditions that cultivate “labor” as such, conditions that “transduct” drops of blood and screams of pain into the indecipherable presuppositions of all scales of social form. In this respect, Ferreira da Silva’s speculative vision takes off where Nesbitt’s ends, with Suzanne Césaire’s invocation of a “veritable alliance between the thing and the human” whose indeterminacy integrates “the human within the cosmos, placed in direct contact with the elements.” Ferreira da Silva’s reading of a cotton-slave transduction shares with Césaire’s “plant-human” an exposure of the conditions for what the latter calls a great “Caribbean conflagration.” Along these lines, a real, if somewhat buried, promise of Unpayable Debt is its potential to offer such a “blacklight” to the monetary theory of value, precisely through the indeterminacy of the “non” with respect to its primal scene. The book “makes shine” how slavery’s appearance exceeds both the “brutal lash” and labor’s (objectively necessary) appearance of distorted capacity. “As the common name given to Humans who are nothing, objects without value, the Category of Blackness,” Ferreira da Silva writes, “signals but does not express—because it is itself a product of modern thought—a metaphysics without necessity.” The world of capital, in other words, spins its positive substance as an immanent effect of blackness’s lack. This would mean freedom is not only a juridical delimitation veiled by capital (“the secret behind the secret”); freedom is activated by its lack.
Marx, on the other hand, might be taken less as a secret liberal, with liberty historical materialism’s “guiding principle,” than as an immanent critic whose appreciation for what violence makes possible within given social forms remains invaluable, even as he eclipses the negativation blackness indexes and Ferreira da Silva’s blacklight makes shine. And while it may seem imprudent to strive for a new synthesis, these two books together suggest the benefits of a speculative overcorrective that tilts the question to how capitalism gets incorporated into slavery, how form reflects its negative, not only to overwhelm the force of the internalization of the Marxist problematic (the need to make Marx our measure), but also because such overcorrection insists on a negativation whose representation as antiblackness can never reveal the full horror of its ongoing violence.
 Marx, Capital, vol. 1, 271.
 Nesbitt, The Price of Slavery, 2.
 Ferreira da Silva, Unpayable Debt, 15–7.
 Ferreira da Silva, 211.
 Nesbitt, The Price of Slavery, 22.
 Nesbitt, 16–7.
 Nesbitt, 27.
 Nesbitt, 89.
 Nesbitt, 3.
 Nesbitt, 63–4. See Moseley, Money and Totality; Murray, Mismeasure of Wealth.
 Nesbitt, 65.
 Marx, Capital, vol. 1, 291.
 Nesbitt, The Price of Slavery, 27.
 Marx, Capital, vol. 3, 299.
 Nesbitt, The Price of Slavery, 94–95. Marx, Capital, vol. 3, 258.
 Marx, Capital, vol. 3, 348. See also Tomich’s Slavery in the Circuit for a reading of beet sugar that informs Nesbitt’s own.
 Nesbitt, The Price of Slavery, 93.
 Nesbitt, 108–09.
 Nesbitt, 80.
 Nesbitt, 138.
 Marx, Grundrisse, 224.
 Ferreira da Silva, Unpayable Debt, 179.
 Ferreira da Silva, 55.
 Ferreira da Silva, 40–1. See Marx, Capital, vol. 1, 719.
 Ferreira da Silva, 228
 Ferreira da Silva, 41.
 Ferreira da Silva, 37.
 Ferreira da Silva, 137.
 Ferreira da Silva, 96–9.
 Ferreira da Silva, 25–39.
 Ferreira da Silva, 55.
 Ferreira da Silva, 16.
 Ferreira da Silva, 207.
 Ferreira da Silva, 194.
 Ferreira da Silva, 198.
 Ferreira da Silva, 188–93.
 Ferreira da Silva, 200.
 Ferreira da Silva, 245.
 Ferreira da Silva, 235.
 Ferreira da Silva, 241–42.
 Ferreira da Silva, 287.
 Ferreira da Silva, 248; 261–62; 292.
 As Ferreira da Silva claims in footnote 117.
 Ferreira da Silva, 246–47. For an effective recent overview of the “hiddenness” of social reproduction, see De’Ath, “Hidden Abodes.”
 Ferreira da Silva, Unpayable Debt, 187n37.
 Nesbitt, The Price of Slavery, 37–41.
 See Jaffe, “From Aristotle to Marx.”
 See Marriott’s Lacan Noir for a development of the non as the “n’est pas.”
 On postracialism’s embeddedness in antiblack relationality itself, see Terada, Metaracial.
 Ferreira da Silva, Unpayable Debt, 278.
 Césaire, Great Camouflage, 20; Nesbitt, Price of Slavery, 187.
 Césaire, 30, 45.
 Ferreira da Silva, Unpayable Debt, 290.
 Ferreira da Silva, 246.
 Ferreira da Silva, 54.
Butler, Octavia E. Kindred. Boston: Beacon Press, 1988.
Césaire, Suzanne. The Great Camouflage: Writings of Dissent (1942–1945). Edited by Daniel Maximin. Translated by Keith L. Walker. Middletown, CT.: Wesleyan University Press, 2009.
De’Ath, Amy. “Hidden Abodes and Inner Bonds: Literary Study and Marxist-Feminism.” In After Marx: Literature, Theory, and Value in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Colleen Lye and Christopher Nealon, 225–39. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022.
Ferreira da Silva, Denise. Toward a Global Idea of Race. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007.
Hartman, Saidiya. Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
Jaffe, Aaron. “From Aristotle to Marx: A Critical Philosophical Anthropology.” Science & Society 80, no. 1 (2016): 56–77.
Marriott, David S. Lacan Noir: Lacan and Afro-pessimism. Cham: Palgrave MacMillan, 2021.
Marx, Karl. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume One. Translated by Ben Fowkes. New York: Penguin, 1976.
——. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume Three. Translated by David Fernbach. New York: Penguin, 1981.
——. Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy. Translated by Martin Nicolaus. London: Penguin, 1973.
Moseley, Fred. Money and Totality: A Macro-Monetary Interpretation of Marx’s Logic in “Capital” and the End of the “Transformation Problem.” Chicago: Haymarket, 2017.
Murray, Patrick. The Mismeasure of Wealth: Essays on Marx and Social Form. Chicago: Haymarket, 2017.
Spillers, Hortense J. “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book.” Diacritics 17, no. 2 (1987): 65–81.
Terada, Rei. Metaracial: Hegel, Antiblackness, and Political Identity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2023.
Tomich, Dale W. Slavery in the Circuit of Sugar: Martinique and the World-Economy, 1840–1848. 2nd edition. Albany: SUNY Press, 2016.
Williams, Eric. Capitalism and Slavery. 2nd edition. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014.