[Marxism] Marx on the Transition Debate: English model

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue May 10 07:27:28 MDT 2005

>where does marx warn of using England's transition to capitalism as the 
>template for understanding the development of capitalism in other countries?
>thanks in advance

First Draft of Karl Marx's Letter To Vera Zasulich

1) In dealing with the genesis of capitalist production I stated that it is 
founded on "the complete separation of the producer from the means of 
production" (p. 315, column 1, French edition of Capital) and that "the 
basis of this whole development is the expropriation of the agricultural 
producer. To date this has not been accomplished in a radical fashion 
anywhere except in England... But all the other countries of Western Europe 
are undergoing the same process" (1.c., column II).

I thus expressly limited the "historical inevitability" of this process to 
the countries of Western Europe. And why? Be so kind as to compare Chapter 
XXXII, where it says:

The "process of elimination transforming individualised and scattered means 
of production into socially concentrated means of production, of the pigmy 
property of the many into the huge property of the few, this painful and 
fearful expropriation of the working people, forms the origin, the genesis 
of capital... Private property, based on personal labour ... will be 
supplanted by capitalist private property, based on the exploitation of the 
labour of others, on wage labour" (p. 341, column II).

Thus, in the final analysis, it is a question of the transformation of one 
form of private property into another form of private property. Since the 
land in the hands of the Russian peasants has never been their private 
property, how could this development be applicable?

full: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1881/03/zasulich1.htm

For a discussion of Marx's letters to the Russian populists, see Teodor 
Shanin's "Late Marx" (Monthly Review Press).



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