Brenner thesis

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx at
Mon Oct 23 12:11:47 MDT 2000

1) This labeling of "economisic deterministic framework" attached to
Sweezy and Wallerstein by Brenner is really NONSENSE. Not only Brenner
is nonsense attempts to read these thinkers through the eyes of Brenner
are *double* nonsense. No evidence, no citation from original documents.
Just hypothetical assumptions. This muddles the political discourse on
this list and prevents any attempt from engaging in a meaningful
communication about  the development of capitalism outside Europe,
exploitation of periphery by the center, global inequalities and
imperialism.  Yesterday I sent an article by Foster to  the list
suggesting that Brenner's analysis of Asian crisis is  BOMBASTICALLY
deterministic and Smithian. The big historian publishes a report about
Asia and the Asian economies rarely appear in the report. Brenner did
not give a damn about how these countries were forced to liberalize
their economies, how the US  funneled tons of finance capital as an
excuse to impose IMF austerity programs, and used the crisis to further
its hegemony in the region.

2) Dependency theory is associated with world system theory. I have come
to the conclusion that people who make such comments are either
reluctant to cite _original_ documents or ignorant about the theories of
development/ underdevelopment, including the ones by Emmanuel, Furtado,
Frank, Cardosa, Santos, who do not always agree with each other. There
is a lack of unified dependency theory so the picture is more complex
than people simplify here. Frank was recently  criticized by
Wallerstein, Samir and Giovanni in the latest publication of _Review_.
On top of all, the whole literature of underdevelopment discusses
whether is possible to escape underdevelopment, the role of national
liberation movements, the question of autonomy from imperialism,
dependent development etc. Furtado, for example, is famous for favoring
autonomy as a solution to national development. He opposed "imperialism
and foreign penetration into domestic economy" although  unlike other
dependency theorists on the Marxist left failed to take in to
consideration the role of comprodor bourgeoisie in the periphery.
(Chilcote, p.231).   Walter Rodney in _How Europe Underdeveloped AFrica_
(1972), how pessimistic it sounds, amasses a lot of  historical detail
about  how underdevelopment is related to capitalist, imperialist and
colonialist exploitation in Africa. What he is talking about is
CONTEMPORARY  underdevelopment  (*not* pre capitalism or feudalism) as
part of the  historical process (product)  of "capitalist development
that shaped the development of progressive areas".  I suggest people to
pick up and read Ronald Chilcote's book _Dependency and Marxism: Toward
a Resolution of the Debate_. It discusses different perspectives on the
relationship of dependency to Marxism and comes up with a solution of
integrating questions of dependency and economic imperialism  to the
theoretical framework of Marxism. So the problem is to reach a
progressive union between Marxist, dependency and world system theories
without rejecting  either. Without this union, Marxism is doomed to  a
mirror of liberal economics with a Marxian verbiage; vulgar materialism
or Bernstenian revisionism the most, which what the pseudo intellectuals
in the core imperialist countries subscribe to.  Lenin noticed this long
ago? Why not us?

3) This progressive resolution is impossible with Brenenr because the
man categorically rejects imperialism (as Lou said) when he insists to
describe slavery in Latin America as a  pre- capitalist institution. His
logic is plain wrong. Modern  slavery is a _reflection_ of  the
development of capitalist system as a whole: the surplus extraction from
the peripheral areas, benefiting both slave owners (local capitalist
class) in the periphery and capitalists in the core.. The unequal
relation between the center and periphery invites us to think the
problem of class struggle as well. With the transfer value from the
periphery to the center improves the conditions of the labor at the
center (which Lenin called labor aristocracy) so the proletariat at the
center aligns itself with its own bourgeoisie  to ensure the status quo
and exploitation of weak nations (which is what is happening to Yugo at
the moment. Even its own working classes are coapted by imperialist
enemy classes) . That is why analysis of imperialism and dependency is
URGENT for Marxists  to understand the *paradoxes* of class struggles in
the context of the world system.

4) Lou is accused here for not being moderate, and the frame of
reference is Doug Henwood. How long are we gonna witness defense of Doug
Henwood on this list? Whenever we discuss something, the topic always
comes to defense of H and debates here and there are cheerfully cross
posted on other list servs in order to red bait people from marxism list
serv. What is your problem, dude?  What the hell is the discussion on
slavery related to Henwood at the moment?

5) Brenner's stand on the editorial of ATC is inexcusable. Editing a
journal cheering Australia's intervention in East Timor???.At least, W
did not stand on the editorial of such journals. At least, Frank, on wsn
network, denounced US interventions in Yugo on his daily updated "My
Nato/Kosova homage", with a signature "My conclusion is the same as
Pogos: We have met the enemy and it is US".They may not be perfect, but
they evidently  deserve more credit than Brenner here.

6) I agree with Lou and Andy's analysis of slavery here ; the issue of
consent versus coercion etc..  They have said more than I have said,
with citations and plausable arguments. I also agree with Blaut who have
invited people to read the Brenner debate in details.




Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
PhD Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222

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