[Marxism] Fwd: Capitalism, slavery and primitive accumulation | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Apr 27 12:45:41 MDT 2015

On Saturday morning I attended a panel discussion on Mike Zmolek’s newly 
published “Rethinking the Industrial Revolution” at the Historical 
Materialism conference at NYU. This is a 1000-page work based on his 
dissertation that he began 20 years ago on the suggestion of his adviser 
George Comninel that the Brenner thesis should be extended forward 
historically to account for the industrial revolution. While I am sure 
that the book has a lot of interesting research based on a cursory 
glance at the dissertation in Proquest, my reaction is to wonder why the 
Political Marxism tendency, to which Comninel and Zmolek belong, has so 
little interest in another kind of extension, namely geographical. How 
in the world can you continue to ignore economic and social developments 
in the colonial world in the period of early modernity? In some ways it 
reminds me of that famous New Yorker cartoon where you see a map of the 
USA in which all the states recede in size increasingly as you move 
westward from Manhattan with California finally the size of a postage 
stamp. Substitute the British Isles for Manhattan and you get the 
Political Marxism perspective.


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