[Marxism] The Brenner thesis and L* P*

Charles Brown cbrown at michiganlegal.org
Tue Nov 1 12:05:48 MST 2005

rrubinelli :
In this case, it isn't the critics of Brenner, it's the happy
capitalists, the Panglossian marketeers, arguing that capitalism is the
most perfect, the most natural condition, the "goal" to which all human
beings would naturally strive toward.

CB; OK , well that's the Marxist thesis, not the Brenner thesis. Brenner has
no more special claim to that than any other Marxist. And no more claim to
it than the Marxists arguing with Brenner on this thread and going back ten
threads on this and related lists, like PEN-L. 

On this list, by and large , the criticisms of Brenner are not from the
standpoint of the "happy capitalists". We are in agreement with Brenner in
his argument with bourgeois thinkers, as to capitalism not being some
natural outgrowth of human "nature", but rather the result of a historical
materialist process, as Marx sets out in several places.


Rr: Try historical specificity.

CB: Right. Part of the hisorical specificity of the rise of capitalism comes
from resurrection of the Greaco-Roman ideology of slavery and colonialism ,
which had been relatively quiescent during the European "Dark Age".  It is
this historically specific, European ( the self-designation of the
bourgeoisie)ideology that is just as real ( and non-biological or non
-"natural") as the wage-labor relation invented in the English countryside.
_Both_ are historical specifics of capitalism. _Not_ just the historical
developments in the English countryside. The merchants going all around the
world, in the historical spirit of the Greeks and Romans ( that's what they
had in their heads, that's the history they had in their heads; it wasn't
"natural"), starting colonies and slave gangs was a critical historical
specificity of the emergence of capitalism.

The historical tendency and specificity of capitalism to slavery, or
specially oppressed labor, and colonialism continues to this very day. See
the new colony in Iraq and the Women of Juarez ( new specially oppressed
labor), as examples.

Slavery and colonialism are of the "essence" of the historical specificity
of capitalism as much as the wage-labor/capital relation.

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