[Marxism] Capitalism and slavery

Mark Lause markalause at gmail.com
Tue Jan 10 14:58:57 MST 2012


All of this recalls Barrington Moore's comparative approach to the social
origins of dictatorship and democracy, which marked an important break in
how many of us looked at the Southern system.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/barrington-moore-515628.html

It stood in stark contrast to the "Marxist" distinctions Eugene Genovese
made between the class character of the sections . . . which always struck
most of us as quite bizarre.

But these were settled questions 30-40 years ago for most people reading
and thinking about them.  I well remember discusisons on this very subject
among Marxist scholars back in Chicago in the 1970s.  NOT A SINGLE ONE
THOUGHT THAT THE SLAVEHOLDING SOUTH WAS ANYTHING BUT CAPITALIST!

The problem is that in the academic world, the attention span isn't that
much longer than in the wider society.  Of course, the larger academe has
become, the less likely it is for the reinventors to know the field with
any real expertise, which reinforces the tendency to think strictly in
terms of who's saying what in the elite universities, etc.  In the end, the
drooling idiocy of post-modernism came from there, with the rest of academe
largley following in a vast and otherwise unmanageable herd.  And grants
for those that drank the kool aid with no jobs and scorn for those who
wouldn't.  And--surprise, surprise--as the funding well started to run dry,
there came the "discovery" that post-modernism was a bunch of hogwash.
Brilliant.  More grants for the same people to dissect the nonesense they
foisted upon the fields.

So we can't be surprised that there are periodic reinventions of the wheel
under the guise of rounditudiness.  And without a counterbalancing
perspective, the whole thing just goes in circles and makes us dizzy.

The point is that "the Left"--well, Marxists anyway--need to stop aping the
cycles of academe and start thinking seriously about how we can find ways
of collaborating on some alternative approaches.

Solidarity!
Mark L.


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