[Marxism] on the Lincoln debate - my two cents worth

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Dec 2 08:26:56 MST 2012

On 12/2/12 12:04 AM, Gary MacLennan wrote:
> The question though of the individual versus the collective is I
> think being confused with the role of a specific individual - viz Abraham
> L. Lou seems determined to dig up the dirt here and I support him
> wholeheartedly.  Why? Well I am reluctant to subscribe a heroic role to any
> bourgeois politician and that reluctance has contemporary resonances.

I have mostly paid attention to the Civil War in terms of Charles Post's 
theorizing it as an example of the Brenner thesis. Check for 
"Capitalism, slavery and the Brenner thesis" at 
http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/mydocs/origins.htm. I found the whole 
thing dubious in terms of the outcome. One form of forced labor (chattel 
slavery) was replaced by another (Jim Crow laws).

Interestingly enough, Post--as a Brenner acolyte--denies that there is 
such a thing as a bourgeois revolution. In the talk he gave a while back 
chaired by fellow Brennerite Vivek Chibber 
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0T4LIxDRNAs), Chibber posed the 
question whether there was a single instance of a bourgeois revolution 
in history--namely the American Civil War. Post did not seem to concur.

Although I haven't put in sufficient time to think through and research 
the question, I tend to have more in common with the "political 
Marxists" (ie., the Brennerites) about the so-called bourgeois 
revolution. For example, I found George Comninel's arguments that the 
French revolution was not a revolution pretty convincing (I have yet to 
read Neil Davidson's book on the topic yet.) 

To be more exact, I am coming around to the idea that the bourgeois 
revolution--if it exists--has always been about the preservation of the 
agrarian aristocracy and forced labor that supposedly is its target. 
That, in fact, is what happened in not only in the Meiji Restoration and 
the Junkers state but also in the American Civil War that Lenin viewed 
as a "revolution from below".

In fact, the preservation of forced labor in the American South was 
almost certainly something that was preordained. More on this when I 
find the time.

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