Brenner feedback.

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Oct 18 08:38:19 MDT 1999

>#3- It is perhaps unfair to oppose sharply Brenner to Perry Anderson,
>given the fact that I've evidence that Anderson is more concerned with
>strictly political developments and -as I know from evidence- has always
>regarded Brenner very highly.
>Carlos Rebello

Actually Anderson is on the staff of Brenner's Center for Social Theory and
Comparative History at UCLA right now, so I doubt that any differences
between them have the sort of character that mark Jim Blaut's critique of
Brenner, who he regards as an out-and-out Eurocentrist. I wish I had the
time to investigate the entire history of these debates. I suspect that the
Marxist research into the transition from feudalism to capitalism is deeply
flawed by a tendency to use some of Marx's initial thinking on the
question, which George Comninel points out is based largely on French
liberal historiography. When I first began looking at some of these
questions, provoked by Comninel's highly original observations on 1789, I
took out Daniel Guerin's history of the French Revolution, which argues
that everything revolutionary came from the popular classes. I didn't have
the time to read it from cover to cover, but what I did read found
extremely impressive. Guerin was a Trotskyist in the 30s who evolved into
an anarchist. His book "Fascism and Big Business", written from a
Trotskyist standpoint, is a classic. His book on the French revolution was
not, to my knowledge, influenced by the "revisionist" writings such as
Furet's that is the subject of Comninel's book.

Louis Proyect

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