[Marxism] Post gets pasted

MAK mccainenl at gmail.com
Thu May 30 17:44:54 MDT 2013

Widespread landownership equals land nationalization? And this abolishes
ground rent? That strikes me as a bizarre argument...

On Thu, May 30, 2013 at 3:38 PM, Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:

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> Science and Society, April 2013
> The American Path of Bourgeois Development Revisited
> by Daniel Gaido
> (From the Haymarket author's page: "Gaido is a researcher at the National
> Research Council (Conicet) in Argentina. He is the author of The Formative
> Period of American Capitalism and is currently working on a book on the
> history of German social democracy."
> Conclusion
> "The American Road to Capitalism" is an attempt to apply to the United
> Sates Robert Brenner’s model of the transition from feudalism to capitalism
> in England. According to Brenner, English landlords gave birth to
> capitalism in the countryside by turning their peasants into tenants in the
> early 16th century. Since in the United States there was no class of feudal
> landlords to act as prime movers of an “agrarian” capitalist development,
> Post makes the merchant-turned-land speculator the demiurge of American
> capitalism, asserting, against all historical evidence, that this class was
> able to “impose a social monopoly on land” shortly after the American
> revolution. The rest of Post’s theses on the American revolution, Southern
> plantation slavery, the Civil War and reconstruction are just elaborations
> of this fundamentally mistaken interpretation.
> What the historical record shows is that the two American bourgeois
> revolutions — a notion that Brenner, Post and their fellow “political
> Marxists” reject — actually facilitated access to the land at nominal
> prices for white settlers. This widespread landownership amounted to a form
> of land nationalization that created favorable conditions for capitalist
> development through the abolition of ground rent, which constitutes a
> precapitalist barrier to the development of the productive
> forces under capitalism. This, and the absence of an absolutist state
> bureaucracy, in turn fostered the generalization of commodity production in
> the countryside, creating a wide home market for the development of
> industry in the North, which eventually dominated the Union in the
> aftermath of the Civil War. That is what Lenin showed in his analysis of
> the American path of bourgeois development,” which remains the foundation
> of any materialist approach to American history. Due to the weakness of
> Marxism in the United States, progress in this field has consisted mostly
> in setting the “American path of bourgeois development” in its peculiar
> settler colonialist — i.e., white supremacist — context, but the
> peculiarities of American capitalist development, their impact on class
> struggles and, through them, the ways in which those peculiarities shaped
> American political history largely remain to be explored.
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