[Marxism] Brenner, Post, Capital, Now and Later

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Oct 13 07:29:18 MDT 2005

>Check out the differences between railroads in the north US vs the south 
>US at the
>time of and during the civil war.
>Check out how critical that becomes as the north mobilizes to move the 
>Army of the
>Potomac west to Tennessee to rescue Rosencranz.

I see no reason to disagree with this as long as we understand the clash 
between the North and the South in terms of different sectors of the 
capitalist class. The Northern bourgeoisie viewed slavery as inimical to 
its own interests and sought to integrate the South into a nationally 
unified economy based on wage labor and manufacturing. The Southern 
bourgeoisie preferred to maintain the plantation system and all the customs 
that went along with that, including racial subjugation. What I can't 
accept is the notion that the slavocracy was outside the capitalist system 
in the way, for example, that certain preserves for indigenous peoples in 
the Amazon rainforest are outside the capitalist system. We are not dealing 
with Yanomami but a bourgeoisie that had commercial ties all across the 
world, particularly in Great Britain. After dispensing with the Asiatic 
mode, Marx and Engels identified 4 distinct economic categories in human 
history: tribal, ancient, feudal, and capitalist. I can't imagine anybody 
believing that the USA was divided between an ancient (or feudal) system 
and a capitalist system before the Civil War. The South was the main engine 
of economic growth during the early years of the Republic. The Southern 
bourgeoisie swore by John Locke, not Thomas Aquinas. This was a capitalist 
system that employed slave labor at its core. Eventually that would change, 
of course.



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