Russell R. Menard on Eric Williams

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx at
Tue Oct 24 17:02:16 MDT 2000

Michael, my claim that "Genovese can be considered a new left" is not an
unsubstantiated assertion. I  had explained why. With all due respect,  you should
read the posts carefully before responding. Despite your reading of Genovese many
years ago (good for you!), the fact that you have *failed* to mention his Weberian
language in your *original* post explains why you were subconsciously sympathetic
to Genovese in the first place. Here is the part of your post I responded before
*you made the revisions* . In my view, it is wrong to call Genovese *Marxist*
without bothering to mention where his bad marxism comes from.


M. H said:

Michael Hoover wrote:

>Genovese has always held antebellum US South to be feudal-like >periphery

> >and thought southern conservatism to have markers common to >European
> >tradition.  His Marxist writings portray region/period in manner that
> >manifests itself in recent works as respect for "organic" tradition and >its
> >critical attitude toward role of marketplace.

I said in *response* to the post (above)  which the poster *cut* in his response
to me:

> > Genovese's work on slavery is a premature Gramscian analysis wrapped in
> > Weberian language. His treatment of  black slaves as "paternalistic" beings
> > has nothing to do with Gramsci or
> > Marx in common. It is just a bad Marxism or a culturalist study at most. If
> > he
> > had really wanted to do good Marxism, he should have struggled to prove how
> > in
> > fact slavery plundered  the value and cultural system of black people rather
> > than positing culture as an obstacle to efficieny.
> > He is Weber at his apogee here!  So he can
> > still
> > be considered a *new left* for breaking away with historical materialism.
> > >
> > > Re. Engerman, can any listers confirm New Left background?
> >
> > Mine
> With all due respect, I *knew* upon reading EG about 26 years ago that
> he was wrong.  And I didn't - and don't - need to refer to weberian
> language, pre-mature (or is that immature) Gramsci, bad marxism,
> intellectual whatever, to know that he was wrong.
> Crux of my post was brief response to Lou P's comment that Genovese &
> Engerman began as new leftists. I *knew* that EG had not started out
> as NL and my post offered evidence to that effect.  I have my doubts
> about SE and provided a couple reasons for why I have such doubts.
> But I asked (you included my question in your post) if any listers could
> confirm whether or not Engerman has new left orgins.
> Unsurprisingly, no one has responsed to my question.  Apparently no
> one knows answer (of course, I long ago grew accustomed to my posts
> to e-lists eliciting no responses so maybe few people read my
> question).  My e-list experience tells me that getting an answer to
> questions such as one I posed about SE pales beside willingess of
> folks to express their opinion about anything and everything.  Of
> course, having such answers and being correct about such
> characterizations may not be important to others.
> btw: I'm sure Louis will correct me if I've misunderstood him but I took
> him to mean 1960s New Left that Genovese held in contempt.  Your
> assertion that Genovese can be considered *a new left* is actually
> quite postmodern in suggesting that words are fickle "things" that
> may be put to many uses, including ones unintended by their authors.
> Michael Hoover (who guesses he'll try to find out about Engerman on his own)


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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