A POST on Post, and vice versa

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Sep 1 16:19:52 MDT 2003


>No need to be churlish, Louis, I was, as you so often urge us all to do,
>thinking out loud.  Charles Post writes an article about the ANTEBELLUM
>plantation system in the South.

Yes, I know. I am actually reminded of Jim Blaut's "Robert Brenner in the
Tunnel of Time", which calls attention to "a form of tunnel-vision which
tries to explain the rise of capitalism, and the rise of Europe, by looking
only at prior European facts, looking, as it were, down the European tunnel
of time, ignoring the history of the world outside of Europe both as cause
of change within Europe and as the site of historically efficacious change
in its own right." While Brenner's tunnel ends in 1492, Post's ends in 1865.

>I think we have to allow the artist his medium so to speak, and analyze the
>article he presents for its validity or lack thereof based on the
>specificity of the topic, i.e antebellum, not post-bellum Southern property
>relations.

Well, unlike Charles I am considering antebellum, bellum and postbellum
class relations. At no time did blacks participate in a marketplace for
free labor. Just to repeat, it is fairly trivial in my estimation whether
plantations were stagnant (Genovese) or highly efficient (Engerman-Fogel).
I think that they combined stagnation and efficiency, but then again I am
committed to combined and uneven developments in history. That's my
intellectual tradition, unlike Brenner's.

>You now state that I'm trying to sweep the collapse of Reconstruction, the
>KKK, and Jim Crow under the rug, or is that under the carpetbagger?  What's
>next, accusations that I'm racist?

Of course not. I don't think that there's anything racist about sweeping
things under the rug in order to score debating points. I see this on the
left all the time.

>If I was the type to take offense at  non-sequitor, ignorant, ad hominem
>arguements, I would take offense.

No problem. Just make sure to clip extraneous text and avoid the dreaded
"staircase" effect if you do.

>But I'm not that sort of person. I am more than willing to discuss the rise
>of Jim Crow, the collapse of  Reconstruction on the basis of the very
>property relations that define the Southern economy in the development of
>the US, and the property relations that manifest themselves throughout the
>development of the US as a whole,  just as Post's article discusses the
>actual elements of the ANTEBELLUM Southern economy in terms of those
>property relations.

That is most excellent.

Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org




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