Ellen Meiksins Woody Allen

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu May 24 13:29:18 MDT 2001

One of the explanations for the poor quality of Woody Allen's movies, Saul
Bellow's novels, etc., is that when you become a mega-star, an editor or
critic has a tendency to fawn over everything that is produced because of
prior reputation. Since these artists are ego-driven to begin with, you
can't expect them to correct themselves.

Is it any different with our academic Marxist superstars like Brenner and
Wood? With a lifetime of blue ribbon awards and graduate students showering
adulation on them, we must expect a decline in self-critical awareness.

This is the only explanation for Wood writing drivel such as this in the
ATC article:

At the same time, Spain, the dominant early colonial power and the leader
in "primitive accumulation" of the classical kind, which amassed huge
wealth especially from South American silver and gold mines, and was well
endowed with "capital" in the simple sense of wealth, did not develop in a
capitalist direction. Instead, Spain expended its massive colonial wealth
in essentially feudal pursuits, especially war and the construction of its
Habsburg empire in Europe.

In her MR defense of Brenner and in this article, she makes repeated
assertions about Spain without any scholarly documentation. Doesn't anybody
have the guts to tell her that she should read something about Spain before
opening up her mouth in such a foolish manner? Where does she get her
information? From Zorro movies?

James Lang, "Conquest and Commerce: Spain and England in the Americas"
(Harcourt Brace, 1975):

"The seventeenth century belies most of our common assumptions about the
Spanish empire in America. Creoles exerted strong pressure on bureaucratic
administration. The proof of the vitality of that power is that the
economic interests and needs of the colonists in the long run determined
the nature of the economy. Whether it was the regulation of the Indian
labor, the restrictions on intercontinental trade, the prohibitions against
the contraband traffic, or the limitations on vineyards and olive groves,
the initiative of the monarchy had, at best, mixed results. Our image of
colonial Spanish America as a stagnant morass capable only of silver
production is false. So is our assumption of remorseless Spanish
exploitation that deprived the New World of all its silver in exchange for
a rigid political theocracy that imposed the will of Madrid. In the
seventeenth century, the colonists of the New World retained the greatest
share of silver for their own use, investing it in the domestic economy or
employing it to purchase foreign goods either through the Indies fleet or
contraband channels. They built ships, carried on trade, developed
plantation agriculture oriented toward tropical products, and invested in
mining and 'obrajes' (an early version of textile sweatshops). The
merchants of Lima were no less resourceful than those of Boston, and their
influence was often extensive."

Louis Proyect
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