Brenner Redux (was Re: Russell R. Menard on Eric Williams)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Oct 23 18:46:11 MDT 2000

>In other words, do your questions (e.g., "Is X capitalist or
>pre-capitalist?") fit the social formations that you seek to analyze?
>Should the choices _only_ be "capitalist or pre-capitalist"?  Why?
>Isn't that a residue of "stagism"?  :)  Do your questions help us
>learn from concrete reality or excuse us from doing so?  Do they
>enlighten us politically?

I don't want to make you uncomfortable but I am trying to pin you down.
Everybody else who has been involved in these debates for the past
half-century has no problem recognizing that Laclau, Brenner and Genovese
argue that there WAS capitalism in Great Britain and precapitalism in
places like the Deep South and Bolivia in the 18th century.

I have no idea why you would be such a big fan of Brenner and have trouble
answering yes or no. And, yes, as a matter of fact I reject these kinds of
"stagist" categories myself. I agree with Wallerstein that capitalism
involved free labor in Great Britain and bonded labor in Dixie and Bolivia.
Okay? That being said, somebody like Brenner who was trained in the stagist
AM school does not. If you think Brenner is so brilliant, why not buy into
his categories?

Well, maybe you want to synthesize Jim Blaut, G.A. Cohen, Mariategui, Doug
Henwood, Rakesh Bhandari, Ellen Meiksins Wood, Jim Heartfield and Kathe
Pollitt. Be my guest. Myself I am not feeling so ecumenical nor charming
nowadays. Must be something I ate.

Louis Proyect
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