"Stagism," Etc. (was Re: Two Cents)

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at SPAMosu.edu
Fri Nov 3 13:36:07 MST 2000

>>Actually, the sort of "criticism" that Lou, etc. have made of Robert
>>Brenner has been sadly off the mark, falsely associating Brenner
>>(with his Trotskyist tradition) with Eugene Genovese, Eric Hobsbawm,
>>& other CP or CP-related historians with the "stagist" view.
>The plain truth is that Robert Brenner never writes about contemporary
>politics. He is best known for his articles in Past and Future from 25
>years ago that laid out the thesis that capitalism began in 15th century
>England. His NLR article that followed up these articles was 85 percent a
>restatement of that thesis, and a conclusion that charged Paul Sweezy and
>Paul Baran with mixing up Adam Smith and Karl Marx.
>Then 2 years ago he wrote a book length article in NLR on the world economy
>that barely spoke about politics (or the third world).
>If you look at the online archives of Against the Current going back to
>1995, there is a single article by Brenner--a short version of his NLR
>article. In all my email exchanges with Brenner, I have never found him to
>express an interest in anything that did not fall in his immediate purview
>of early English history and the financial meltdown. What an odd
>'Trotskyist'. Leon Trotsky wrote prolifically every day of his life around
>a universe of topics and you never had to speculate on his beliefs.
>Brenner, on the other hand, is fairly inscrutable. I guess you need to
>maintain that kind of profile to get ahead in academia. Alan Wald once told
>me that the process of getting tenure is a lot like getting housebroken.
>Only the strongest have the ability to piss on the floor.
>Louis Proyect
>Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org

Lou, that's a reasonable criticism, but you have been wrong about
what Brenner _did_ write.  I reiterate that criticism has to be
accurate, for otherwise it's pointless.


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