PEN-L exchange on capitalism as a world system

Xxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx at
Wed Jun 20 20:35:48 MDT 2001

What on earth this pen-l exchanger is trying to say for my sake? Is it so
difficult to decide whether South Africa is capitalist or precapitalist?
Yes or No? One word. Why to patronize the debate with such contentless talk
and cut and paste style of argumentation? Write ten pages of article *with
your own words*, and let's see your abilities. I have been following some
of this thread here, and Mark's and Lou's responses to those on pen-l who
are engaged in all sorts of "sweeping generalizations'" about South Africa
without any concrete knowledge. Leaving aside social democratic red baiters
like Casey and Burford, since I believe they deserve zero response, I am
surprised to see the refusal among others to go to library and do some
reading on Africa. If they can't do this,  why don't they just WITHDRAW TO
COMMENT and leave Mark and Lou to EDUCATE them. Jim Devine is attacking Lou
for mischarecterizing his position. How so and on what grounds, I wonder?.
He has said *practically* nothing about South Africa. Except his
SPECULATION  that Apartheid is product of  *both capitalist and
precapitalist formations*, he still talks in the manner of a South African
specialist. At least, Brenner is consistent with his Kaustkism in
characterizing social formations outside Britain "non-capitalist". I fear
you guys are left with a deeper form of *closet* Kaustkism on pen-l+
intellectual ignorance!

Educators need to be educated. Mark and Lou are writing so brilliantly that
there is always something to learn from their posts. clear
writing+concerete analysis. keep up the good work!

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

> From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at>
> To: marxism at
> Subject: PEN-L exchange on capitalism as a world system
> Date: Wednesday, June 20, 2001 7:47 PM
> Yoshie Furuhashi:
> > With regard to the early days of modern colonialism (when capitalist
> > relations were in the process of emergence), it's possible to speak
> > of two or more modes of production confronting one another
> I don't see any meaningful sense in which this is true. What
> 'pre-capitalist' m of p or social formation *effectively* or
> EVER confronted capitalist states? I can't think of one. There was no
> confrontation of historical equals, there was a total world historical
> process.
> Your entire conception of the 'emergence' of capitalism into a
> non-capitalist or precapitalist (precapitalist, in some teleological
> sense?) is entirely post hoc reasoning. What Louis and I and others are
> asserting and attempting to prove both in theory and empirically, is that
> capitalism was a product of a total, pre-existent world system. So the
> that its appearance was first of all spatiotemporally localised does not
> alter the fundamental feature of capitalism, which is that it is an
> inflection or product of a world system which was already there, and
> may have had many contingent forms of appearances, many layers of
> instantiation, but nevertheless was already a totality. Without this
> particular totality, capitalism could never haved 'emerged' in the
> countryside' or anyone else specific. That indeed is exactly what is
> by coevality and by viewing the subjects of the world-historical process
> sharing the same historicity. Without the totality which included the
> specific histories of Eurasian, African, American cultures and
> civilisations etc, and without the specific geographies and endowments of
> these regions, and without the specific prior development of commodity
> production, capitalism would not have appeared. All talk of articulated
> modes etc, simply misses the point; and this is why we insist on (a)
> and combiend development as the characteristic dynamic, the key word
> *development* and the key descriptor being *imperialist*.
> Mark Jones
> Louis Proyect
> Marxism mailing list:

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