[Marxism] Fwd: Genovese, Slavery, Capitalism | Politics / Letters

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Sep 8 17:39:45 MDT 2014


http://politicsslashletters.com/genovese-slavery-capitalism/

Genovese, Slavery, Capitalism
By James Oakes

Theoretically, Genovese’s definition of slavery as “direct domination” 
effectively collapses the distinction between slavery and every other 
form of subordination except wage labor. A lord’s domination of the 
serf, lacking a cash nexus, is direct. A husband’s domination of his 
wife, lacking a cash nexus, is direct. Indeed, Genovese’s definition 
seems to divide all of human history into two categories, wage labor and 
everything else. Serfdom, clientage, tribalism, patriarchy—all involved 
direct domination and are all therefore identical in what Genovese liked 
to call “the essentials.”

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I am a huge Oakes fan.

I should add that Charles Post has more in common with Genovese than 
meets the eye. Post describes slavery as "precapitalist", a pretty 
useless term. Oakes makes a similar critique: "Indeed, Genovese’s 
definition seems to divide all of human history into two categories, 
wage labor and everything else."



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