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Historical Materialism

Volume 21, Issue 3, 2013 CONTENTS Lukcs on Science: A New Act in the Tragedy Author: Paul Burkett Post-Coup Honduras: Latin Americas Corridor of Reaction Authors: Todd Gordon ; Jeffery R. Webber Transcoding Kant: Kracauers Weimar Marxism and After* Author: Mike Wayne The American Civil War: A Reply to Critics Author: John Ashworth Stephen Miller on Capitalism in the Old Regime: A Response Author: Henry Heller Introduction to The Change in the Original Plan for Marxs Capital and Its Causes* Author: Rick Kuhn The Change in the Original Plan for Marxs Capital and Its Causes* Author: Henryk Grossman Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 18831918, Jeffrey B. Perry, New York: Columbia University Press, 2009 Author: Paul M. Heideman Camarades! La naissance du parti communiste en France, Romain Ducoulombier, Paris: Perrin, 20101 Author: Ian Birchall Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power: Community Organizing in Radical Times, Amy Sonnie and James Tracy, New York: Melville House, 2011; The Hidden 1970s: Histories of Radicalism, edited by Dan Berger, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2010; Stayin Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class, Jefferson Cowie, London: The New Press, 2010 Author: Ravi Malhotra The Matter of Capital, Christopher Nealon, Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 2011; The Zukofsky Era: Modernity, Margins, and the Avant-Garde, Ruth Jennison, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012 Author: Alex Niven

Driven from New Orleans: How Nonprofits Betray Public Housing and Promote Privatization, John Arena, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 20121 Author: Parastou Saberi Crisis in the Global Economy: Financial Markets, Social Struggles, and New Political Scenarios, edited by Andrea Fumagalli and Sandro Mezzadra, Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2010; Finanza bruciata, Christian Marazzi, Bellinzona: Casagrande, 2009; Il comunismo del capitale. Finanziarizzazione, biopolitiche del lavoro e crisi globale, Christian Marazzi, Verona: Ombre corte/UniNomade, 2010; Dalleuforia al panico. Pensare la crisi finanziaria e altri saggi, Andr Orlan, Verona: Ombre corte/UniNomade, 2010 Author: Damiano Palano Gender Mainstreaming Author: Victor Rego Diaz Notes on Contributors

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Lukcs on Science: A New Act in the Tragedy

Paul Burkett

Indiana State University, Terre Haute Paul.Burkett@indstate.edu

Abstract The rejection of the dialectics of nature has long been thought of as the most fundamental factor distinguishing Western Marxism from official Soviet-style Marxism. Yet, in Tailism and the Dialectic, Georg Lukcs perhaps the most influential figure in Western Marxism strongly endorses the existence of an objective dialectic in nature. A close examination of Lukcss main writings on science shows, however, that he still in effect denied the possibility of applying dialectical method to nature. This paradox is bound up with a dualistic conception of natural and social science with distinctly adverse implications for the development of an ecological Marxism. Keywords nature, dialectic, anti-positivism, science, dualism

The recent publication of Tailism and the Dialectic has revealed that Georg Lukcs a founding figure of Western Marxism did not deny the existence of the dialectic as an objective property of nature.1 This is important insofar as the rejection of the dialectics of nature has long been held to be the most fundamental factor distinguishing Western Marxism from official Soviet-type Marxism. Tailism and the Dialectic clearly shows that the passages in Lukcss History and Class Consciousness, and in his classic review of Bukharins Historical Materialism, that seem to suggest such a rejection, in fact have two
1.Lukcs 2000. The key passage in this connection is on p. 102, where Lukcs states: Selfevidently society arose from nature. Self-evidently nature and its laws existed before society (that is to say before humans). Self-evidently the dialectic could not possibly be effective as an objective principle of development of society, if it were not already effective as a principle of development of nature before society, if it did not already objectively exist. (All emphases in quotes in the present article are as in the original.) Several pages later, Lukcs reiterates his endorsement of the view that objective dialectics are in reality independent of humans and were there before the emergence of people (p. 107). Among the many who claimed that Lukcs denied the naturedialectic are Lucio Colletti (Colletti 1973, pp. 181, 195) and Russell Jacoby (Jacoby 1983, p. 525).
Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2013 DOI: 10.1163/1569206X-12341313

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other, co-related purposes: (1) to emphasise the socially mediated character of people-nature relations, and of human knowledge about natural phenomena; (2) to oppose the importation of the positivist methods of natural science into historical materialism.2 Moreover, in pursuing these two themes, Tailism and the Dialectic highlights important nuances in Lukcss views on science which, while visible in the other two works, were not defended in nearly as much detail. This newfound manuscript thus provides an excellent opportunity to re-evaluate Lukcss conception of science, especially in view of the increasing interest among Marxists in ecological questions that call for new combinations of natural and social-scientific analyses. Accordingly, the main purposes of the present paper are to develop an immanent critique of Lukcss conception of natural and social science, based on a joint reading of the three crucial texts mentioned above, and to use this critique to (very briefly) interpret the subsequent development of Marxist thought from an ecological standpoint.3 A secondary, more instrumental, purpose is to show that despite Lukcss acceptance of an objective naturedialectic, he still in effect denied the possibility of applying dialectical method to nature. The latter denial leads to a dualistic perspective on natural and social science with distinctly adverse implications for the development of an ecological Marxism. The social mediation of nature Tailism and the Dialectic begins its consideration of the nature-dialectic by asking the question: do people stand in an immediate relationship to nature, or is their metabolic interchange with nature mediated socially?.4 Lukcs responds to this question with a blanket denial that there is a socially unmediated, i.e. an immediate relationship of humans to nature in the present stage of social development.5 Indeed, referring to the development of productive forces under capitalism, and the attendant revolutionisation of the metabolism between people and nature, he argues that the development goes
2.Lukcs 1971, 1972a. Matters were not helped by Lukcss own apparent admission, subsequent to his late-1920s recantations, that his earlier work had opposed the dialectic of nature. See, for example, his 1967 Preface to History and Class Consciousness (Lukcs 1971, pp. xvivii). 3.It is presumed that these three texts exhibit the same basic conception albeit from different angles. This assumption seems plausible insofar as Tailism and the Dialectic is a strident defence of History and Class Consciousness and the review of Bukharin was written in 1925, i.e., at roughly the same time as Tailism. 4.Lukcs 2000, p. 96 5.Lukcs 2000, p. 106.

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in the direction that ever more strongly emphasizes the predominance of the social moment.6 Lukcs also considers the dialectic of use value and exchange value as an example of the social mediation of the people-nature metabolism.7 In short:
It would not only be a narrow and inflexible conception, but also a dualistic one that did not consider our real relationship to nature...by starting from our exchange of matter with nature, and did not consider this exchange of matter with nature in its double determination, as much as an interaction with nature which exists independently from humans as well as simultaneously determined by the economic structure of society at any one time.8

Since the human-nature metabolism is the material basis of our knowledge of nature, it follows that our knowledge of natural phenomena is also socially mediated.9 Hence, Lukcs insists that Our consciousness of nature, in other words our knowledge of nature, is determined by our social being.10 I am of the opinion that our knowledge of nature is socially mediated, because its material foundation is socially mediated; and so I remain true to the Marxian formulation of the method of historical materialism: it is social being that determines consciousness.11 As an example, Lukcs emphasises capitalisms development of natural science.12 Lukcss anti-positivism Lukcss opposition to the importation of positivist science into historical materialism is most clearly stated in his review of Bukharin. Here, the essential error in Bukharins conception of historical materialism is said to be its closeness...to bourgeois, natural-scientific materialism. More specifically, Lukcs points to Bukharins

6.Lukcs 2000, p. 99. See the related discussion in Burkett 1999, pp. 2831, 678. 7.Lukcs 2000, pp. 99100. The ecological significance of Marxs value analysis is further developed in Burkett 1999, Chapters 68. 8.Lukcs 2000, p. 113. 9.Ibid. This incidentally explains why, in History and Class Consciousness, Lukcs speaks always...only of knowledge of nature and not nature itself (Lukcs 2000, p. 97). The nonrecognition of this distinction helps account for the common misinterpretation that this work denies an objective nature-dialectic. 10.Lukcs 2000, p. 100. 11. Lukcs 2000, p. 106. 12.Lukcs 2000, pp. 115ff. and 1301.

P. Burkett / Historical Materialism 21.3 (2013) 315 use of science (in the French sense) as a model. In its concrete application to society and history it therefore frequently obscures the specific feature of Marxism: that all economic or sociological phenomena derive from the social relations of men to one another. Emphasis on a false objectivity in theory leads to fetishism.13

Lukcs goes on to illustrate how Bukharins attempt to make a science out of the dialectic takes the form of technological determinism. Finally, Lukcs suggests that Bukharins leanings towards the natural sciences and his frequently acute dialectical instinct are...inevitably in contradiction.14 But what, precisely, is the character of the false objectivity of which Bukharin is purportedly guilty? It is not enough merely to say that it lies in the failure to recognise the socially mediated character (for human beings) of nature and our knowledge of nature. One still has to explain the connection between social mediation and the inadequacy of natural-scientific methods. There are two choices here. First, one can develop an immanent critique of natural science showing how specific social mediations (e.g., class, gender, and race both within science and between science and the rest of society) create internal contradictions in the objective categories and procedures of naturalscientific practice. Here the goal would be to develop a new kind of natural science more in tune with historical materialism as a basis for enriching both.15 Second, one can instead try to show that the socially mediated phenomena of interest to historical materialism are less objective, and therefore less amenable to investigation by natural science. Unfortunately, Lukcs chooses the latter alternative. I say unfortunately because this choice leads to an idealistic conception of natural-scientific practice itself, or, more precisely, it limits historical materialism to a merely external critique of natural science. Lukcss choice is actually already made in History and Class Consciousness. It is here that he specifies the more objective character of natural phenomena compared to social phenomena. Lukcs first asserts that the dialectics of nature can never become anything more exalted than a dialectics of movement witnessed by the detached observer, as the subject cannot be integrated into the dialectical process, at least not at the stage reached hitherto.16 He then states:
From this we deduce the necessity of separating the merely objective dialectics of nature from those of society. For in the dialectics of society the subject is included in the reciprocal relation in which theory and practice become dialectical with
13.Lukcs 1972a, p. 136. 14.Lukcs 1972a, p. 139. 15.See Levins and Lewontin 1985. 16.Lukcs 1971, p. 207.

P. Burkett / Historical Materialism 21.3 (2013) 315 reference to one another. (It goes without saying that the growth of knowledge about nature is a social phenomenon and therefore to be included in the second dialectical type.)17

In short, the objectivity of extra-human nature stems from the absence of subjective human beings. Human society is more subjective than extrahuman nature precisely because, and insofar as, human consciousness and preconceived actions have determinate effects in the former but not in the latter. This schema presumes, of course, that extra-human nature has no subjective consciousness, i.e., it accepts a kind of human/nature dichotomy.18 This dichotomy is problematic in two important respects, both of which tend to inhibit the development of an immanent materialist critique of naturalscientific practice (see below). First, it ignores the fact (one Lukcs himself notes in passing in Tailism and the Dialectic) that people and their labour are a part of nature, so that human consciousness is nature itself become conscious.19 Second, it presumes that extra-human nature has no subjectivity a highly problematic claim given recent research on animals. It is unfortunate that Lukcs expresses such ridicule for Rudass admittedly awkward attempt to assert the unity of humans and animals as natural species.20 Relatedly, Lukcs seems to define the specificity of human labour (which includes scientific labour) mainly in terms of the element of preconception, downplaying its specific social character compared to other species.21 As a final link to the natural-science question, it should be noted that John Reess otherwise useful Introduction to Tailism and the Dialectic conflates two distinct claims: (a) that Lukcs...had no intention of rejecting the dialectic of

17.Ibid. 18.The dichotomy is also evident in Lukcss critique of Engels on the thing for us and in/ for itself (Lukcs 2000, pp. 119ff.). As John Rees puts it in his Introduction: For a natural object to become for-itself it would have to become self-conscious, which is the one thing it cannot do (Rees 2000, p. 31). The question of subjectivity in nature is not directly raised in the corresponding discussion in History and Class Consciousness (Lukcs 1971, pp. 1313). 19.Lukcs 2000, p. 98. Interpreting Marx, Alfred Schmidt observes that Nature attains selfconsciousness in men, and amalgamates with itself by virtue of their theoretical-practical activity...which is a part of nature, and it therefore constitutes natures self-movement (Schmidt 1971, p. 79). For further details on this element in Marx and Engelss view of nature, see Burkett 1997, p. 166. 20.Lukcs 2000, pp. 80, 98, 141. Lszl Rudas is one of the two critics (the other being Abram Deborin) that Lukcs responds to in Tailism and the Dialectic. 21. On this issue, see Burkett 1998, p. 123, and Burkett 1999, p. 28. At one point, Lukcs recognises that the material foundation of consciousness that arises here [in the human labour process] is fundamentally different from that of animals (Lukcs 2000, p. 98). But he does not explicitly recognise the social dimension of this fundamental difference.

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nature (i.e., he did not deny the existence of an objective dialectic in nature);22 (b) that Lukcs was not hostile to the idea that Marxs method could be extended to account for developments in the natural world (i.e., Lukcs did not deny the applicability of dialectical method to nature).23 One implication of the present discussion is that while claim (a) is verified by Tailism and the Dialectic, claim (b) should still be rejected. From anti-positivism to scientific dualism It may seem paradoxical to suggest that, in fighting against the importation of positivist natural-scientific methods into historical materialism, Lukcs lapsed into an idealist view of natural-scientific practice. Yet, when one notes the role of the objective (nature) versus subjective (society) dualism in his critique of positivist historical materialism, the paradox becomes less inscrutable.24 By viewing the objects of natural science as more objective, Lukcs slides into the view that natural science itself is more objective, and therefore less internally problematical than social science. He does this in spite of his own insistence on the social mediation of natural science. The lapse is already clear in History and Class Consciousness, where we are told that When the ideal of scientific knowledge is applied to nature it simply furthers the progress of science. But when it is applied to society it turns out to be an ideological weapon of the bourgeoisie.25 The same dualistic attitude toward natural/social science, with natural science being viewed as relatively unproblematical, is exhibited in Lukcss observations on the similarly objective character of capitalist economic processes and the processes of nature:
Nor is it an accident that economics became an independent discipline under capitalism. Thanks to its commodity and communications arrangements capitalist society has given the whole of economic life an identity notable for its autonomy, its cohesion and its exclusive reliance on immanent laws. This was something quite unknown in earlier forms of society. For this reason, classical economics with its system of laws is closer to the natural sciences than to any other. The economic system whose essence and laws it investigates does in fact

22.Rees 2000, p. 30. 23.Rees 2000, pp. 12. 24.Although its implications cannot be pursued here, there is a definite tension between this dualism and Lukcss numerous discussions of how subjective political developments can become objective factors in history. 25.Lukcs 1971, p. 10.

P. Burkett / Historical Materialism 21.3 (2013) 315 show marked similarities with the objective structures of that Nature which is the object of study of physics and the other natural sciences.26

Here, classical economics is in effect viewed as more adequate to its subject matter (the objective laws of motion of capitalism) insofar as its practice conforms more closely to that of the natural sciences with their focus on the objective structures of nature. True, as previously noted, Tailism and the Dialectic does emphasise how capitalist development influences the development of natural science. But the emphasis seems mainly to be on external and at best isomorphic relations, developed in a kind of functionalist fashion.27 What is lacking here is the kind of organic, dialectical analysis of the internal relations between science and the material-social forms of capital that is developed by Marx.28 As a result, Tailism and the Dialectic maintains a relatively uncritical stance on the internal practice of natural science. Lukcs thus asserts: That specialist research in the natural sciences, leading to impartial and therefore objective, correct results, is still possible, has its basis in the metabolic relationship between society and nature, which tends in our transitional period to the process of revolutionising society.29 This undialectical approach to the internal relations of natural science (corresponding to the denial that the dialectical method is applicable to extra-human nature, in spite of the objective existence of a nature-dialectic) is maintained despite Lukcss recognition that the natural-scientific categories that appear today as eternal, as categories directly taken from nature, e.g. work in physics, are actually historical, determined by the specific exchange of matter between capitalist society and nature.30 This (at first sight) paradoxical stance is enabled by a relegation of historical materialism to the status of a
26.Lukcs 2000, pp. 2312. 27.See, for example, Lukcs 2000, p. 115, and Lukcs 1971, pp. 27, 131. 28.Here it should be noted that much of Marxs analysis in this area is contained in portions of the 18613 manuscripts that were unavailable to Lukcs. See Burkett 1999, pp. 15863. Despite this, it is striking how, in his 1925 review of Wittfogels Science of Bourgeois Society, Lukcs observes that an adequate critique of science under capitalism must proceed from the methodologically fundamental chapters of Marxist theory, beginning with commodity fetishism, to discover the structure of the various sciences. This in turn makes it possible to ascertain the class-determined sociology of their formations and their methods. Only then would it be possible to elucidate the typical problems of modern bourgeois science, its formalism, the specificity of its division of labour (the problem of the rigidly divided and, at most, eclectically combined individual sciences), and so on, as concrete sociological problems (Lukcs 1972b, p. 145). But Lukcs does not seem to have pursued such an analysis himself. 29.Lukcs 2000, pp. 1301. 30.Lukcs 2000, p. 131.


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kind of external philosophy or conscience of the evolution of natural science. As Lukcs puts it:
only the materialist dialectician is in a position to recognise the driving forces of the driving forces, to go back to the material source of the emergence of the contradictions, problems, errors, the seeds of correctness, in as far as he derives their necessity from the transformation of the economic structure of society, from the class position of the thinker in question, inasmuch as he exposes the naive immediacy that the thinker himself is caught up in as a product of social development.31

The internal logic of natural-scientific practice remains relatively untouched by the dialectic here, because this practice is still counterpoised to the real process of history. For Lukcs, the dialectical method is applicable to the subjective phenomena of human history, but not to the objective phenomena of nature and only the former phenomena are real.32 By using this approach, according to John Reess Introduction to Tailism and the Dialectic, Lukcs hopes to preserve the proper relation between what has to be proven by historical materialism and what can be proven by an experimental method which lacks this philosophical framework.33 But this begs two questions. First, what about a natural science that does not lack this philosophical framework in the here and now? Why is this ruled out a priori? Second, can the experimental method of natural science be validly counterpoised to social science and human-social practice in general? Lukcs (and Rees) do not directly confront the first question. As for the second question, Lukcs does try to contrast the respective possibilities of experimental methods in the natural and social sciences. For example, in his review of Bukharin, Lukcs argues that predictions are less feasible for social than for natural phenomena, due to the formers less objective character: Bukharins bias towards the natural sciences has made him forget that our knowledge of directions or tendencies [in social phenomena] rather than statistical predictions is not a result of the differences between what we actually know and what there is to be known, but of the objective, qualitative difference in the object itself.34 Natural scientists, on the other hand, deal with more objective phenomena, so that in this case (as Tailism and the Dialectic puts it) the experimenter is...in a position to recognize objectively and correctly an objective partial cohesion in reality, even though as mere
31. Lukcs 2000, p. 96. 32.Lukcs 2000, p. 109; cf. Lukcs 1971, pp. 1445. 33.Rees 2000, p. 32. 34.Lukcs 1972a, p. 141.

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experimenter he/she is far from being in a position to say anything true and dialectical about the reality of that world of appearance whose parts he[/she] researches correctly.35 In short, Lukcs does not question the internal adequacy of experimental procedures in the natural sciences; rather he is concerned about the distortions and losses of accuracy that result if the experiment is used as a category of knowledge of society and history. In the latter case, the methodological precision that the experiment had in the natural sciences is lost (strict isolation of the objects under investigation, exclusion of interference, repetition under identical conditions, etc.).36 Throughout this analysis, Lukcs presumes that natural-scientific practice is not a praxis in a dialectical-philosophical sense but rather a contemplative attitude.37 The undialectical character of the scientists own conscious practice is taken as given. Lukcss dualistic treatment of science is similar if not identical to Bhaskars argument38 regarding the specificities of natural and social science.39 It thus suffers from the same problems: an underestimation of empirical regularities in social phenomena, and an idealisation of the experimental methods of natural science. As Magill has noted, constant conjunctions of events, which is to say certain event types being regularly connected, are a ubiquitous feature of [both] the natural and social worlds and this is precisely why prediction is not only possible but absolutely necessary for both natural and social sciences.40 And, one might add, the empirical regularities observable in society are often connected with the need for human beings to materially reproduce themselves in and through society, i.e., with the fact that people are not just a social but also a material, that is, natural, species. Magill observes further that even in natural-scientific laboratory experiments, there will always be some variation in antecedent conditions and therefore in results, so that in some cases, predicted experimental results just dont happen at all.41 In other words, Bhaskar and Lukcs both overstate the amount of control obtainable by human subjects (scientists) in the natural sciences subjects possessing limited knowledge about what they are trying to control (otherwise why would the experiment be necessary?). This constraint has to do not only with the limited material vantage point of scientists as
35.Lukcs 2000, p. 125; see also Lukcs 1971, p. 132. 36.Lukcs 2000, p. 126. 37.Lukcs 2000, pp. 1256; see also Lukcs 1971, p. 132. 38.Bhaskar 1998. 39.This apparent isomorphism is curious, considering that elsewhere Bhaskar criticises Lukcs for falling into a positivistic misconception of science (Bhaskar 1983, p. 436). 40.Magill 1994, p. 118. 41. Magill 1994, pp. 11819.


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natural beings, but also with the historically limited internal social relations of scientific practice. Clearly a dialectical analysis of the internal relations of science together with the internal relations of the economic structure is called for here. But the present point is just that the simple division between natural and social sciences in terms of their methods and results cannot be maintained. Scientific dualism, ecology, and the great Marxist divide The basic problem here lies in the ascription of an artificial objectivity to nature (compared to society) and the extension of this objectivity from nature to natural science (but not to social science). This is the root of Lukcss idealisation of natural-scientific experimentation and, more generally, of his relatively uncritical stance on the internal practice of science as applied to nature in itself. This partial lapse into a subject (social) versus object (natural) dichotomy contradicts Lukcss general emphasis on social mediation and subjectivity as objective realities. It therefore takes the form of a rejection of positivist historical materialism based on a primarily external critique of positivist natural science. In this respect, at least, Lukcs does not fully overcome the polarity of idealism and positivist materialism as two sides of the same undialectical coin.42 Lukcss slide into a dualistic perspective on natural and social science had tragic implications for the future development of Marxism, especially in the area of ecology. As Foster observes,43 one effect of Western Marxisms idealist/anti-scientific reaction to positivist Second and Third International Marxism was that the possibility of a more profound understanding of ecological connections, including a coevolutionary perspective...was lost. This result might have been at least partially avoided if Western Marxists had been exposed to Tailism and the Dialectics discussions of the metabolic relationship or real dialectical interaction between the economic structure of society and exchange of matter with nature.44 Like much else, the publication of this valuable text and the liberating intellectual potential of its author were
42.Marx 1976, p. 615; Marx and Engels 1980, p. 159. 43.Foster 2000, p. 245. 44.Lukcs 2000, pp. 108, 130. For other passages in this vein, see Lukcs 2000, pp. 96, 1037, 112 13. It is interesting that, in his 1967 Preface to History and Class Consciousness, Lukcs emphasised the absence of labour as the mediator of the metabolic interaction between society and nature as a primary weakness of that work which accentuated its (in his later view) overly subjectivist character (Lukcs 1971, p. xvii). Yet, in Tailism and the Dialectic, Lukcss main defence of the work in question, the metabolic dimension is quite prominent. At minimum this suggests that

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preempted by the rise of Stalinist bureaucratic dictatorship in the context of Western capitalisms assault on and isolation of the Russian Revolution during and after the defeat of the post-World War I worker-uprisings in Central and Western Europe. The available writings of the unrecanted Lukcs did not give the same prominence to the metabolic dimension; but, as shown here, they did exhibit the same dualistic approach to natural and social science that is contained in Tailism and the Dialectic. In the cultural perspectives developed by the Frankfurt School, this dualism was exaggerated to the point where, paradoxically, the external critique of science, and indeed of all instrumental reason, was no longer grounded in concrete capitalist social relations, but itself almost imperceptibly became their quasi-transcendental principle or foundation.45 This substitution of a romantic critique of intellect and science for a socio-historical critique of capitalism meant that the Frankfurt Schools ecological critique was itself almost entirely culturalist in form.46 The unfortunate impact that Lukcss scientific dualism would have on Marxist thought was in effect predicted by Gramsci:
It would appear that Lukcs maintains that one can speak of the dialectic only for the history of men and not for nature. He might be right and he might be wrong. If his assertion presupposes a dualism between nature and man he is wrong because he is falling into a conception of nature proper to religion and to Graeco-Christian philosophy and also to idealism which does not in reality succeed in unifying and relating man and nature to each other except verbally. But if human history should be conceived also as the history of nature (also by means of the history of science) how can the dialectic be separated from nature? Perhaps Lukcs, in reaction to the baroque theories of the Popular Manual [Bukharins Historical Materialism], has fallen into the opposite error, into a form of idealism.47

Even though Gramsci does not formally distinguish the dialectic in nature from the dialectic as a method of analysis, he clearly perceives how any attempt to separate natural science from historical materialism would prevent Marxism from achieving a holistic and relational perspective on society and nature. In this sense, Gramsci remained heedful of the warning issued by the founders of Marxism against the imposition of false dichotomies on material and social reality:

the difficulties with History and Class Consciousness are to found elsewhere than in the factors suggested by the elder Lukcs. 45.iek 2000, p. 157. 46.Colletti 1973, p. 175; Foster 2000, p. 245. 47.Gramsci 1971, p. 448; cf. Foster 2000, pp. 2445.


P. Burkett / Historical Materialism 21.3 (2013) 315 We know only a single science, the science of history. One can look at history from two sides and divide it into the history of nature and the history of men. The two sides are, however, inseparable; the history of nature and the history of men are dependent on each other so long as men exist.48

Western Marxisms failure to pursue this vision reinforced the analytical walls dividing it from positivist Soviet Marxism. These walls were further heightened by the consolidation of the Stalinist regime in the 1930s, which smothered the real advances in ecological theory and practice that had been achieved in the Soviet Union in the years following the October Revolution.49 In this way, the development of a Marxism recognising the metabolism of society and nature was temporarily foreclosed. It is up to us to fulfil this project. References
Bhaskar, Roy 1983, Science, in Bottomore (ed.) 1983. 1998, The Possibility of Naturalism, Third Edition, London: Routledge. Bottomore, Tom (ed.) 1983, A Dictionary of Marxist Thought, First Edition, Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press. Burkett, Paul 1997, Nature in Marx Reconsidered: A Silver Anniversary Assessment of Alfred Schmidts Concept of Nature in Marx, Organization & Environment, 10, 2: 16483. 1998, Labour, Eco-Regulation, and Value: A Response to Bentons Ecological Critique of Marx, Historical Materialism, 3, 1: 11944. 1999, Marx and Nature: A Red and Green Perspective, New York: St Martins Press. Colletti, Lucio 1973, Marxism and Hegel, translated by Lawrence Garner, London: New Left Books. Foster, John Bellamy 1999, The Vulnerable Planet: A Short Economic History of the Environment, First Edition, New York: Monthly Review Press. 2000, Marxs Ecology: Materialism and Nature, New York: Monthly Review Press. Gramsci, Antonio 1971 [192935], Selections from the Prison Notebooks, translated and edited by Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, New York: International Publishers. Jacoby, Russell 1983, Western Marxism, in Bottomore (ed.) 1983. Levins, Richard and Richard Lewontin 1985, The Dialectical Biologist, Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press. Lukcs, Georg 1971 [1923/67], History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics, translated by Rodney Livingstone, Cambridge, MA.: The MIT Press. 1972a [1925], N. Bukharin: Historical Materialism, in Lukcs 1972c. 1972b [1925], Karl August Wittfogel: The Science of Bourgeois Society, in Lukcs 1972c. 1972c, Tactics and Ethics: Political Writings 19191929, translated by Michael McColgan and edited by Rodney Livingstone, New York: Harper and Row. 48.Marx and Engels 1976, p. 34. See also Marx 1964, p. 143: One basis for life and another basis for science is a priori a lie.... Natural science will in time incorporate itself into the science of man, just as the science of man will incorporate into itself natural science: there will be one science. 49.Foster 1999, pp. 96101; Foster 2000, pp. 2434; Mirovitskaya and Soroos 1995.

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2000 [1925/6]: A Defence of History and Class Consciousness: Tailism and the Dialectic, translated by Esther Leslie, London: Verso. Magill, Kevin 1994, Against Critical Realism, Capital & Class, 54: 11336. Marx, Karl 1964, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, New York: International Publishers. 1976 [1845], Theses on Feuerbach, in Marx and Engels 1976. Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels 1976 [18456], The German Ideology, Moscow: Progress Publishers. 1980 [1844], The Holy Family, Moscow: Progress Publishers. Mirovitskaya, Natalia and Marvin S. Soroos 1995, Socialism and the Tragedy of the Commons: Reflections on Environmental Practice in the Soviet Union and Russia, Journal of Environment and Development, 4, 1: 77110. Rees, John 2000, Introduction, in Lukcs 2000. Schmidt, Alfred 1971, The Concept of Nature in Marx, London: New Left Books. iek, Slavoj 2000, Postface: Georg Lukcs as the Philosopher of Leninism, in Lukcs 2000.

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Post-Coup Honduras: Latin Americas Corridor of Reaction

Todd Gordon

Laurier University, Brantford tsgordon@wlu.ca Queen Mary, University of London j.r.webber@qmul.ac.uk

Jeffery R. Webber

Abstract This article offers an historical-materialist account of the coup in Honduras on 28 June 2009, which ousted democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. It draws on over two dozen interviews with members of the Frente Nacional de la Resistencia Popular [National Front of Popular Resistance, FNRP], and participation in numerous marches and assemblies over two periods of fieldwork January 2010, and JuneJuly 2011. The paper steps back in time to provide an historical cartography of the basic material structures of the Honduran economy and its integration into the world market, as well as the geopolitical role it played as a launching pad for Ronald Reagans counter-insurgency campaigns against guerrilla forces elsewhere in the region during the 1980s. We show how the defeat of mass guerrilla insurgencies in Guatemala and El Salvador, as well as the triumph over the Sandinista government in Nicaragua by 1990, allowed for the neoliberal pacification of Central America as a whole, including Honduras. We further demonstrate how the centre-leftist Manuel Zelaya, elected to the Honduran presidency in 2006, modestly encroached upon neoliberal orthodoxy and forged geopolitical alliances with left and centre-left governments elsewhere in the region, laying the bases for his violent overthrow. Finally, the paper traces the origins, trajectory, and heterogeneity of the resistance that emerged almost immediately after the coup had been carried out. Keywords Honduras, Zelaya, coup, neoliberalism, imperialism, social movements, resistance

In the pre-dawn hours of 28 June 2009,1 the Honduran military overthrew the social-democratic government of Manuel Zelaya and replaced him temporarily
1.The authors thank Karen Spring of Rights Action for her essential assistance in securing interviews, and for sharing her extensive knowledge of Honduran political dynamics. They also thank everyone who agreed to be interviewed, but particularly those in the resistance
Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2013 DOI: 10.1163/1569206X-12341316

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with Roberto Micheletti, a figure from a competing faction of Zelayas own Liberal Party, bringing to an end the countrys halting democratic experiment, in place since 1982.2 Having been expelled from the Organization of American States (OAS) for the interruption of democratic rule, elections designed to provide the regime with a new legitimate face were carried out in November that year. Porfirio Pepe Lobo, of the National Party, won this deeply fraudulent election and was inaugurated on 27 January 2010 in the midst of mass-resistance protests on the streets of Tegucigalpa and elsewhere. The ousting of Zelaya was the second successful coup dtat in the Western hemisphere since Alberto Fujimoris auto-golpe, or self-orchestrated coup, in Peru in 1992.3 This paper traces the origins of the coup, the political and economic dynamics of its consolidation, and the complex forms of its contestation in the shape of a national resistance movement. A full account of the coup, and the resistance it has spawned, needs to take seriously the wider history, political economy, and popular cultures of opposition and struggle in both Honduras and Central America over the course of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The current conjuncture cannot be seriously understood in isolation from this past. We begin, then, with the historical foundations of the Honduran economy and its integration into the world market, as well as the geopolitics that emerged from this material foundation, which saw Honduras transformed into an integral hub of Ronald Reagans counter-insurgency campaigns against guerrilla forces elsewhere in Central America throughout the 1980s. The military defeat of mass guerrilla insurgencies in Guatemala and El Salvador, combined with the triumph over the Sandinista revolutionary government in Nicaragua by 1990, set the stage, we argue, for the neoliberal pacification of Central America as a whole over the course of the 1990s. Honduras was no exception to this general rule. It was out of the socioeconomic catastrophe intensified by neoliberal restructuring in Honduras that the centre-left government of Manuel Zelaya emerged. Once in office, Zelaya modestly encroached on neoliberal orthodoxy across a range of social and economic policies, and, in foreign affairs, aligned himself increasingly with left and centre-left governments in the region, even if for largely pragmatic purposes. These domestic and foreign moves together
courageous fighters against incredible odds. Finally, the authors thank Dana Frank for her enthusiastic support of our research, and for her unusual generosity in sharing sources and information regarding unfolding developments in Honduras. Todd Gordon received financial support for this project from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. 2.Salomn 2012, p. 58. 3.A successful coup was carried out against Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti in 2004, and unsuccessful attempts were made against Hugo Chvez in Venezuela in 2002 and Evo Morales in Bolivia in 2008. At the time of writing, what appears to be a third successful coup, of a parliamentary variety, has just been carried out in Paraguay. See Gordon and Webber 2012.


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explain his violent overthrow. A smooth consolidation of the coup has been consistently thwarted, however, through the tenacity of a heterogeneous movement of national resistance, the origins, trajectory, and composition of which we outline in some detail.4 The stakes of the current conjuncture, with its shifting balance of class forces, could hardly be higher. The present Honduran moment encapsulates a wider fusion of neoliberalism and militarism stretching across the greater Central American corridor, from Colombia in the south to Mexico in the north.5 The full implementation of Barack Obamas proposed Plan Central America would finally bridge the synthesising security apparatuses of the Isthmus, initiated with Plan Colombia under Bill Clinton and continued with Plan Mexico under George W. Bush. The associated war on drugs in Mexico carried out during the presidency of Felipe Caldern left at least 55,000 dead between 2006 and 2012, while the Colombian programme has pumped US$3.6 billion into the militarisation of counter-narcotics regulation and enforcement in that country since 2000.6 Cementing the Lobo regimes clasp over Honduran society is a linchpin in the coercive component of emerging accumulation strategies of North American capitals and their domestic allies in Central America, traversing as they do the conflict-ridden sectors of open-pit mining, hydroelectrical development, tourism, biofuel plantations, carbon-credit forests, and lowwaged textiles and manufacturing the maquiladora zones.7 FDI flows into Honduras totalled US$1.014 billion in 2011, 27% more than the figure for 2010, according to the latest report issued by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The largest investor in Honduras was the United States (28.6% of the total), followed by Canada (18.4%) and Mexico (15%).8 Historical foundations The modern history of Honduras is the paradigmatic narrative of a banana republic. The banana industry developed relatively rapidly from its nascent beginnings in the 1860s. By 1928, three American corporations the Cuyamel Fruit Company, Standard Fruit Company, and the United Fruit Company
4.This paper does not attempt to provide an analysis of the role of the US or other imperial powers in the orchestration and consolidation of the coup, focusing instead principally upon the domestic and regional contours of the conjuncture. 5.Grandin 2011. 6.Littell 2012; Paley 2012, p. 22; Stokes 2005. 7.Bird 2012a, p. 35. 8.ECLAC 2012.

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oversaw the production and export of more bananas from Honduran soil than any other country in the world. These old-school multinationals consequently dominated domestic political as well as economic life. The banana crop accounted for more than 90 per cent of the countrys export profile.9 But this was also a typical enclave sector, situated narrowly on the northern Atlantic coast, which was inaccessible from most other parts of the country by rail or road. Prices were subject to the whims of fluctuating international supply and demand. In the wake of the Great Depression, bananas took a considerable beating and coffee emerged as an important parallel source of foreign exchange, one just as vulnerable, however, to massive peaks and troughs in the world market. Built on two shaky pillars, the Honduran political economy in the first half of the twentieth century was the most backward in Central America, with both the subordinate and dominant classes... historically the least developed, allowing for the vulgar domination of the country by foreign companies.10 In the 1950s and 1960s, capitalist modernisation slowly began to penetrate social relations throughout much of the rest of the country and alter its mode of incorporation into the world market export diversification expanded to encompass cotton, cattle and sugar, alongside the earlier staple crops. The political expression of this evolving social structure took form in the shape of two malleable and faction-ridden parties the Liberal Party, which first appeared in the late nineteenth century, and the National Party, a split from the Liberals, which made its presence felt in the early twentieth century. The two parties have since monopolised the official sphere of public life until the present day, apart from sometimes lengthy military interregna. The longest such period of successive military regimes lasted from 1963 until 1982, after which a very restricted transition to electoral democracy occurred, followed a decade later by a neoliberal transformation of the economy.11 Outside the confines of the Liberal Party, National Party, and authoritarian spheres of official regime politics, vibrant traditions of peasant and worker radicalism began to take root alongside and against capitalist expansion in the middle part of the twentieth century. The most explicit asseveration of workers new-found capacities was expressed in the 1954 strike against the
9.Bulmer-Thomas 1991, pp. 193, 196. 10.Robinson 2003, pp. 11819. 11. Regime transitions throughout Latin America in the 1980s and 1990s generally involved a shift from direct authoritarian military rule to low-intensity democracy, or polyarchy, a system in which a small group actually rules, on behalf of capital, and participation in decision making by the majority is confined to choosing among competing elites in tightly controlled electoral processes. See Robinson 2004.


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United Fruit Company. It marked a historic turn, suggests historian Walter LaFeber. The society loosened and even began to liberalize as certain workers rights were recognized for the first time.12 In straightforwardly economic terms the workers only achieved small wage hikes, but politically they won legal recognition for unions and the right to organise. The reaction of Cold Warriors in both Washington and Tegucigalpa to Communist participation in the 1954 strike insinuated itself over the coming decades into the states relationship with the Honduran labour movement. The guardians of liberty exercised blunt coercion against radicals in concert with consensual strategies of cooptation, such as the sponsorship of free and democratic anti-Communist labour organisations.13 The countryside, meanwhile, witnessed a veritable explosion of peasant mobilisation beginning in the 1960s, not least because of the Cuban revolutionary example in 1959. Peasant mobilisations and occupations over the course of the next two decades forced military governments to redistribute close to two hundred thousand hectares of land to landless and land-poor rural dwellers.14 These land struggles, intersecting with labour actions in the banana plantations, persisted into the 1980s and 1990s in various forms.15 Peasant militancy in the early 1960s erupted initially in the same area of the northern Atlantic coast as the location of the strike of 1954. The peasants were spurred by expropriations of their land as the United Fruit Company expanded its operations. They formed the Federacin Nacional de Campesinos Hondureos [Federation of Honduran Peasants, FENACH], an independent and militant organisation rooted in mass direct action oriented toward the occupation or recovery of dispossessed ejidal, or communal, land. FENACH was founded with the help of former union leaders still in the area after having been fired for their roles in the 1954 strike, leftist political activists, radicalised students, and incipient revolutionary guerrilla movements.16 The response to peasant mobilisation from the Honduran state and its American imperial backer mirrored in many respects their answer to labour activism. Efforts at cooptation were articulated most visibly in the overtly anti-Communist Asociacin Nacional de Campesinos Hondureos [National Association of Honduran Peasants, ANACH], organized with substantial assistance from the United States through the AFL-CIO and its Latin American arm, the Inter-American Regional Organization of Labor (ORIT). The coercive
12.LaFeber 1993, p. 179. 13.Bulmer-Thomas 1991, pp. 2234. 14.Booth 1991, p. 48. 15.See, for example, Corr 1999, pp. 3050. 16.Brockett 1991, pp. 25960.

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side became most visible after the overthrow of the civilian regime in 1963 and the forceful liquidation of FENACH as an organisation: the leaders who were caught were jailed, its offices and archives were demolished, and its membership repressed.17 The clampdown increased in intensity throughout the 1980s, as we will see momentarily. In spite of the fact that state coercion was moderate when compared to the horrors being orchestrated by the dictatorships in neighbouring El Salvador and Guatemala, illegal detentions, disappearances, and targeted killings were nonetheless common in Honduras.18 The United States had established a special formal relationship with the Honduran military in 1954, through which the Hondurans began to receive aid to professionalise their military.19 Still, it took a sea change in Central American politics ignited initially by the successful Sandinista Revolution in 1979, and fuelled further by simultaneous mass guerrilla insurgencies in El Salvador and Guatemala to solidify and accelerate the special US-Honduran military relationship. Internally, Honduras was undergoing momentous change in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The country was suffering a major economic crisis, as income per capita plummeted by roughly 12 per cent over the first four years of the 1980s.20 Elections were held in 1981 for the first time since 1963, bringing to office Liberal Party candidate Rafal Suazo Crdova. Even as the transition to electoral democracy unfolded, however, the role of the military in domestic affairs was actually expanding with an unprecedented inflow of American aid. Honduras became a principal staging ground in the American effort to bring down the Sandinista government and prevent similar guerrilla movements from coming to power in El Salvador and Guatemala. Cold War counterinsurgency Part way through 1980, Jimmy Carter had already sent an American major general to inform the Hondurans of their role as a bulwark of antiCommunism against the pressures of popular revolt.21 Under the subsequent administration of Ronald Reagan, though, the crusade against the Communist dominos acquired unforeseen dimensions. Eight hundred Honduran soldiers were cycled through the infamous School of the Americas for military training in the 1980s as the country became the pivotal base of operations for Central
17. Brockett 1991, p. 259. 18.Booth 1991, p. 54. 19.LaFeber 1993, p. 182. 20.Robinson 2003, p. 124. 21.LaFeber 1993, p. 264.


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American counterinsurgency.22 Immediately after Reagans inauguration, the new head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), William Casey, was briefed by Honduran officers who pitched their idea of organizing fleeing members of Nicaraguas National Guard into a counterrevolutionary expedition that could destabilize the Sandinista government.23 Thus the Contras were born. Honduras effectively metamorphosed into the rearguard for 20,000 Nicaraguan contra troops, whose supply lines involved a vast network stretching from US and Honduran military bases to the contra camps along the border with Nicaragua.24 At the same time, the Honduran border with El Salvador became another important front against left-wing guerrilla operations in that country.25 Between 1980 and 1992, Honduras received $1.6 billion in economic and military aid from the United States.26 The American Empire established its own military and airforce bases, intelligence centers, and regional command posts, and a training center for Salvadoran soldiers run by US commandos, until it was closed down in 1985.27 American aid provided Honduran forces with mobile training teams of US personnel, artillery, night-vision capabilities, high-tech communications equipment, reconnaissance planes, and patrol boats to police its coasts.28 Moreover, Honduras provided sanctuaries from which counterinsurgent Salvadoran pilots, under CIA direction, could launch air attacks on Nicaragua as well as supply Contra forces with resources to sustain their campaigns of terror.29 As early as 1983,
the U.S. operation was so large that the C.I.A. opened a press bureau in a Honduran Holiday Inn to brag about its exploits. Some 300 to 400 North American military personnel worked in the small country. The 116 members of the U.S. Embassy made it one of the largest in all Latin America.30

This formal support from the US state was fortified by an allied international network of actors supporting the anti-Communist efforts in Central America. The intricate web included the authoritarian junta in Argentina until its demise after the Falklands War in 1982, the Saudi Arabian, Taiwanese, Panamanian,
22.Gill 2004, p. 83. 23.Grandin 2006, p. 114. 24.Robinson 2003, p. 124. See also Chomsky 1987, pp. 1289. 25.Flynn 1984, p. 113. 26.Robinson 2003, p. 121. 27.Robinson 2003, p. 123, emphasis in original. 28.Flynn 1984, p. 111. 29.Chomsky 1987, pp. 1289. 30.LaFeber 1993, pp. 31011.

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and Israeli states, and a variety of non-state components, including conservative religious organisations of the American Christian Right, private mercenaries and arms dealers, security firms, and drug traffickers.31 If, on the one hand, the military build-up in Honduras was geopolitically motivated by the countrys propitious geographical proximity to the Nicaraguan and Salvadoran fronts, it also served to capacitate domestic coercion against real and potential popular resistance or preemptive counterinsurgency at home. Even though Honduras did not possess a major guerrilla insurgency, anthropologist Lesley Gill observes, military hard-liners targeted students, unionists, and peasants, as well as anyone who belonged to political parties or groups considered leftist.32 At a minimum, 290 teachers, union activists, peasants, and labour militants disappeared between 1980 and 1984 at the hands of the Honduran states coercive apparatus. Another wave of resistance against the militarisation of Honduran society in supposedly democratic times was led in 1986 and 1987 by peasant movements, drawing on their long historical traditions of struggle. The state riposte was a rash of assassinations against both peasant and labour leaders.33 Trade-union and peasant federations, radical Christian grassroots communities inspired by liberation theology, and militant student organisations that had cropped up in the struggles of the 1970s, continued to mount resistance even as some were coopted into the party system as electoral politics became increasingly important. These social movements were joined, on the one hand, by human rights organisations and, on the other, by a small number of ephemeral guerrilla fronts in the early 1980s. In response, Honduras was visited... by counterinsurgency and state terrorist methods never before used in the country, such as anti-terrorist laws, disappearances, and state-organised death squads, as the population fell victim to the same mass violation of human rights as in neighbouring countries.34 This violent cleansing of popular movements was the sine qua non for the subsequent introduction of neoliberalism. With a few important exceptions, Grandin has observed, state- and elite-orchestrated preventive and punitive terror was key to ushering in neoliberalism in Latin America. The prerequisite for the rapid economic restructuring that took place throughout the Americas beginning
31. Most famously, Grandin writes, [Oliver] North [of the National Security Council] created an elaborate circuit of exchange that, with the help of Israeli arms traders, sold U.S. missiles to Iran at inflated prices, with the profits from the deal used to supply the Contras. There is ample evidence, not the least of which comes from Norths handwritten notes, that the CIA employed Latin American cocaine and marijuana dealers as middlemen, using their planes to ship arms to the contras in exchange for easy access to American markets. Grandin 2006, p. 115. 32.Gill 2004, p. 83. 33.LaFeber 1993, pp. 312, 3312. 34.Robinson 2003, p. 124.


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full throttle in the 1980s, he remind us, had as much to do with the destruction of mass movements as it did with the rise of new financial elites invested in global markets.35 Neoliberal pacification With the end of the Cold War on the international scene, the defeat of the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua in the 1990 elections, and the ending of the civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala, the region transitioned from a period of state terror and guerrilla struggle in the 1980s to an epoch of neoliberal consolidation over the course of the 1990s what James Dunkerley has called the pacification of Central America.36 With its own particularities, the trajectory of Honduras largely mirrored this regional turn. The ascendance to the presidency by Rafael Callejas of the National Party in the 1990 elections marked the earnest inauguration of neoliberal restructuring in the country. Callejas, an agricultural economist, banker and member of one of the wealthiest families in Honduras, headed up a newly hegemonic wing of the National Party, dominated by neoliberal technocrats and externallyoriented sections of the Honduran bourgeoisie.37 Indeed, a defining feature of politics since the neoliberal transition has been the emergence of internecine factional conflicts within the still-dominant Liberal and National parties, as externally- and domestically-oriented sections of Honduran capital come into conflict the former (and more powerful) wing of capital has interests in sustaining and deepening neoliberal restructuring based on the emergent export-oriented model of accumulation, and the latter (weaker) fraction, who remain tied to features of the domestic market which are in decline, is compelled to forge contradictory and episodic populist alliances with the popular classes.38 Callejas introduced the first of three structural adjustment packages (SAPs) implemented in Honduras in the 1990s, agreeing to a range of measures advocated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, and other foreign lenders. Callejas ushered in an austerity programme, consumption-tax hikes, liberalisation of price controls, privatisation of various state-owned enterprises, and tariff
35.Grandin 2004, p. 14. 36.Dunkerley 1994. 37.Robinson 2003, p. 127. 38.See Robinson 2003, pp. 12732, for details on the political expressions of these externallyoriented fractions of Honduran capital in the form of New Right clusters within both the National and Liberal parties.

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reductions. These measures constituted the pillars of a wider orientation in political economy toward free markets, tourism, non-traditional exports, free-trade zones, and maquila (assembly-plant manufacturing) promotion, an orientation that would continue under successive Liberal and National governments over the next decade and a half.39 Roberto Reina, representing a centre-left populist current within the Liberals, won the next presidential elections in 1993. With a public profile as a human rights leader, Reina campaigned on putting a stop to political corruption and curtailing military powers. He temporarily dampened some of the military control over social and political life; however, he simultaneously deepened and extended the neoliberal model when he agreed to a new SAP. His Liberal successor in the presidency, Carlos Roberto Flores Facuss (19972001), represented the far-right of the party, but, given a spike in urban and rural protests against neoliberal restructuring under Reina, even Flores was obliged to campaign on a platform critical of IMF loan conditionalities in the 1997 elections. Of course, once in office, Flores changed his tune and set to work expanding the maquila industry, tourism, and the non-traditional agro-export sector, not least through the implementation of a third SAP.40 Flores was succeeded by the ultra-conservative Ricardo Maduro (20015) of the National Party, who continued neoliberal orthodoxy in the economy and reintroduced military control in civilian affairs through a dramatic escalation of the war on gangs. One consequence of neoliberal restructuring in the countryside has been the dramatic dispossession of large numbers of peasants from their land and their subsequent migration either to the United States or to the slums of the major cities principally to the capital Tegucigalpa in the Southwest, with its richer traditions of left-wing activism, or to the free-trading industrial city of San Pedro Sula, characterised more by the dominance of the Honduran Right in social, cultural and political affairs.41 The 1992 Law for Modernisation and Development of the Agricultural Sector (LMDSA) attempted to irrevocably reverse the gains of the 1975 agrarian reform that had been set in motion as early as 1990. The LMDSA focused on strengthening individual property rights to land, extending titling efforts including the privatization of cooperative lands, activating land rental markets and private credit markets, and removing the government from all forms of direct land redistribution efforts that did not involve market mechanisms.42 Roughly 30,500 hectares of land acquired
39.Booth, Wade and Walker 2006, p. 144; Robinson 2003, p. 129. 40.Booth, Wade and Walker 2006, p. 145. 41. For a detailed discussion of this general trend across the Global South, see Davis 2006. 42.Ruben and van den Berg 2001, p. 109.


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by peasants through the agrarian reform of the mid-1970s were sold between 1990 and 1994.43 Once disembedded from pre or non-capitalist relations of reciprocity, Robinson notes, this new reserve army of labour is fit to work in the maquiladoras, the new agricultural centers, and service sectors, dominated by inflows of foreign capital.44 Agriculture as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined from 15.2% in 1995, to 14% in 2000, to only 13.6% in 2005. Agriculture in these figures includes hunting, forestry, and fishing, meaning that declines in crop agriculture are more than likely underestimated by significant margins. Agricultural employment declined from 42% of the economically active population in 1990 to 36% in 2005. Finally, agricultural exports as a percentage of total exports shrunk from 60% in 1995 to only 29.5% in 2005.45 With the downturn in the countryside, the urban population grew from 43 to 48% of the total population between 1995 and 2005, and is projected to rise to 51 and 53% in 2010 and 2015, respectively.46 Land-use patterns and rural class structures were changing dramatically. Rural poverty rates rose to above 70% by the late 1990s, according to figures provided by the World Bank.47 By the early 2000s, nearly half of the rural population operated farms with less than five hectares of land. Rural landless constituted an additional 27% of the rural economically-active population. These peasants were increasingly pushed into semi-proletarian or proletarian status as they were increasingly forced to sever their permanent ties to the land to seek a variety of forms of nonfarm employment.48 Geographically, almost 80% of small-holder farming in the country takes place on hillsides, as the fertile valleys came to be dominated by large foreign agroindustrial capitals devoted to livestock production, sugar cane, bananas, and palm oil cultivation.49 As we will see later in the paper, when the topic of peasant resistance is explored in detail, some of the most striking expressions of these new trends in the Honduran agrarian structure were to be found in the Bajo Agun region. Countrywide, approximately 30,500 hectares (over 75,000 acres) of peasant lands acquired through the agrarian reform were sold between 1990 and 1994, according to Tanya Kerssen.
43.Kerssen 2011. 44.Robinson 2003, p. 131. 45.Edelman 2008, pp. 23940. 46.CEPAL 2009a, p. 33. 47.Boucher, Barham and Carter 2005, p. 108. 48.Ruben and van den Berg 2001, p. 550. 49.Ruben and van den Berg 2001, p. 551. For some basic detail on this matter, see also Kok 2004, pp. 7389.

T. Gordon, J.R. Webber / Historical Materialism 21.3 (2013) 1656 These lands were concentrated in the most resource-rich parts of the country: areas with the most fertile soils, water resources and access to communication, energy and transport infrastructure. So while the national average for land re-concentration during this four-year period was less than 10 per cent, in the Aguan Valley and Atlantic coast regions (areas suitable for high-value crops like bananas and African palm) it was over 70 per cent. In Aguan, of the 28,365 hectares awarded to peasant cooperatives by the agrarian reform, 20,930 were sold off. Three palm-oil magnates were the primary beneficiaries: Ren Morales Carazo, Reynaldo Canales and the richest man in Honduras, Miguel Facuss Barjum (who has earned the nickname palmero de la muerte or palm grower of death). In all, 40 peasant cooperatives lost their lands in Aguan. This is also where one of the strongest movements for land rights would emerge.50


Within a few years of the first SAP in 1990, foreign direct investment flooded into five new government-sponsored, export processing zones, as well as five privately run industrial parks, in which the majority of workers were cheap, female, and non-unionised. A maquila workforce of only 9,000 in 1990 ballooned to 20,000 in 1991, 48,000 in 1994, and 100,000 by the turn of the century.51 The changes to the urban class structure of the country wrought by the economic transformations of the 1990s are outlined in Tables I and II. By 2007, value-added export earnings from the maquila sector amounted to US$1.2 billion, relative to US$203.7 million in 1996. This made maquiladoras the second most important source of foreign exchange after family remittances flowing in from the United States. Parallel to the maquila sector and remittances, tourism revenue increased from US$29 million in 1990 to US$556.7 million in 2007.52 FDI eclipsed old records in 2007, reaching US$815.9 million, the better part of which was directed toward the maquiladoras, transport, communications (particularly cell phones), the financial sector, and tourism.53 The same record-breaking year, however, brought with it the slow beginning of a fall in US demand for Honduran-manufactured exports, as well as increased competition from lower-cost producers in Asia.

50.Kerssen 2011. 51.Robinson 2008, p. 120. 52.EIU 2008, pp. 1516. This report also points to the rise since the mid-1990s of non-traditional exports such as shrimp, tilapias, melons and African palm oil. In the traditional agricultural sector it charts the renewal of high prices in coffee since 2004 and the increased production that has consequently arisen, whereas bananas have suffered from increases in tariffs in the European Union. One of the areas it highlights will be of great interest to foreign investors in mining of zinc, silver, lead and gold. Honduras is thought to have large unexploited mineral deposits that could become available for foreign investors if controversial environmental legislation can be passed. 53.EIU 2008, p. 24.


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Table I:Top of Honduran Urban Class Structure, 198098 Year 1990 1994 1998 Capitalists* 0.5 1.2 0.9 Professional/Executives** Petty Bourgeoisie*** 4.9 6.8 7.0 2.3 4.3 5.2

*Owners of firms employing five or more workers. **Salaried administrators, university professionals, and technicians in firms employing five or more workers. ***Owners of firms employing fewer than five workers plus own account professionals and technicians. Source: Derived from Portes and Hoffman 2003, pp. 567.

Table II:Bottom of Honduran Urban Class Structure, 198098

Public 14.4 11.3 9.5 Formal Workers Private* Sub-total 26.3 30.5 29.5 40.7 41.8 39.0 MicroEnterprise** 13.2 11.0 11.7 Informal Workers Own Domestic Sub-Total Account*** Service 31.7 29.5 31.4 6.7 5.4 4.6 51.6 45.9 39.5

Year 1990 1994 1998

*Waged workers in firms with five or more workers. **Waged workers in firms with fewer than five workers. ***Excludes professionals and technicians. Source: Derived from Portes and Hoffman 2003, pp. 567.

Table III:Growth of GDP in Honduras, 1980s1990s

19801985 19851990 19801990 GDP 1.5 3.2 2.4 1990 0.1 1995 3.7 1996 3.7 1997 5.0 1998 3.3 1999 2.0

Source: Derived from CEPAL 2000a, p. 68.

As indicated in Table III, in spite of an influx of FDI and positive appraisals from the international financial institutions regarding the pace and character of neoliberal reform, macroeconomic growth in Honduras over the course of the 1990s only peaked above 4 per cent for one year (1997), and the decade was book-ended by periods of negative growth. The next decade, though, witnessed a distinct shift. Between 2003 and 2007, Latin America experienced the most remarkable period of economic growth since the long post-World War II boom that ended in the mid-1970s, generated by the extraordinary combination of

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four factors: high commodity prices, booming international trade, exceptional financing conditions and high levels of remittances.54 The economy of Honduras echoed these trends. Together with remittances, high commodity prices,55 and primed demand in the US, Honduras qualified in 2005 for debt relief as part of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.56 Having fully complied with the rigours of an IMF poverty-reduction and growth facility (PRGF) programme by 2004, Honduras became eligible for an HIPC facility; the initiative is scheduled to bring US$1.2 billion in debt relief between 2005 and 2015, some of which is supposed to go toward reducing poverty in Honduras as part of United Nations Millennium Development Goals.57 A brief perusal of Table IV will indicate that GDP accelerated quite rapidly between 2003 and 2007, surpassing 6% in 2005, 2006 and 2007, before tumbling with the onset of the global economic crisis in 2008. The global crisis, and particularly its American dimensions, began to hit Honduras in 2008 through weakening demand for Honduran exports, declining family remittances, and truncated inflows of foreign direct investment.58 The GDP growth rate fell to 4.2% that year. However, these mechanisms transmuting the crisis from the core of the world system really only took full effect in 2009, as GDP growth entered into negative territory at -2.1, with a modest and fragile recovery in 2010 and 2011. In spite of high growth rates in the mid-2000s, social conditions at the end of this period remained abysmal. Of 177 countries listed in the United Nations Development Programmes Human Development Index (HDI) for 2009, Honduras ranked 112. Of the Latin American and Caribbean countries, only Bolivia (113), Guyana (114), Guatemala (122), Nicaragua (124) and Haiti (149) fared worse.59 By 2011, Honduras had dropped to 121.60 75% of the population lived below the poverty line and 38% below the indigence line in 1990, the inaugural year of neoliberalism.61 By 2002, just prior to the commodities boom, those figures had in fact risen to 77% and 54%, respectively. By 2007, in the wake of the boom and auspicious conditions for improving social conditions,

54.Ocampo 2009, p. 704. 55.It should be noted that while Honduras benefited overall from the high price of its principal export commodities in these years it also suffered from the high price of oil between 2004 and 2007 given its status as a petroleum importer. 56.ECLAC 2006, p. 129. 57.EIU 2008, p. 17. 58.ECLAC 2009, p. 113. See also Mapstone 2009. 59.UNDP 2009. 60.UNDP 2011. 61. CEPAL 2000b, p. 269.


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Table IV:Growth of GDP in Honduras, 2000s 2000 2004 2005 2006 GDP 4.1 5.7 6.2 6.1 2007 6.3 2008 4.2 2009 2.1 2010 2011* 2.8 3.2

Source: Derived from CEPAL 2008a, p. 85; CEPAL 2011b, p. 96. *Preliminary figure.

poverty and indigence levels had only receded to 69% and 46%, respectively.62 In 2009 poverty and indigence figures were 65.7% and 41.8%, while by 2010, in the fallout from the 2009 contraction, these had worsened to 67.4% and 42.8%, one of only two countries in the region the other being Mexico to register a significant increase in poverty and indigence rates in all of Latin America and the Caribbean over this period.63 Likewise, the figures for national income distribution depicted in Table V illustrate regression rather than progress since the outset of neoliberalism, in spite of the favourable economic environment for radical redistribution between 2003 and 2007. The marginal drop in the proportion of national income going to the richest 10% of the population between 2002 and 2007 was largely passed on to the next highest 20% of income earners. The poorest 40% of the population still took home less of the national income in 2007 than they did in 1990, and the boom years of the 2000s actually erased some of the extremely modest gains they had made over the course of the 1990s (see Table V). Even after the boom years, the basic infrastructural underpinnings of the countrys economy were still massively underdeveloped, with the railway network first established to serve the banana companies having gone into disuse the majority of the 785 kilometres of track missing from theft and only 21.3% of the 15,628 kilometres of primary, secondary, and municipal roads having been paved.64 According to the countrys official statistics, 11% of households are overcrowded, one in six people over 15 years of age is illiterate, and approximately 15% of households go without an adequate sewage system.65 Violent insecurity The rural and urban popular classes resisted the neoliberal assault on their livelihoods over the 1990s and into the 2000s, but this epoch was also notable
62.CEPAL 2009b, p. 16. 63.CEPAL 2011a, pp. 1617. 64.EIU 2008, p. 13. 65.EIU 2008, p. 11.

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Table V:Distribution of National Income in Honduras

Year 1990 1999 2002 2006 Poorest 40% 10.2 11.8 11.4 8.8 Next 30% 19.7 22.9 21.7 22.5 20% Below Richest 10% Richest 10% 27.1 29.0 27.6 29.3 43.1 36.5 39.4 39.3

Source: Derived from CEPAL 2008b, p. 230. *Projected figures.

for its persistent state repression and punctuated remilitarisation of politics under the aegis of the war on crime and the war on gangs. Peasant movements remained an important social force in Honduran politics. Indeed, Tegucigalpa acted as the headquarters for probably the most important transnational peasant movement in the world, the Va Campesina, between 1996 and 2004.66 Nonetheless, the collective power of Honduran peasants to resist the reigning power structure at home began to diminish between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s, as the political economy of the countryside plunged into precipitous decline. In the labour movement, banana workers and increasingly women banana workers struggled to survive plantation closures, new production systems, and other machinations of the banana corporations not to mention Hurricane Mitch.67 New womens groups, worker and peasant organisations, and community associations continued to emerge in their dozens over the course of the 1990s and engaged in different modes of struggle.68 By 2003, urban social movements against the privatisation of state-owned utilities and public services were able to draw 25,000 people onto the streets.69 All the same, by the late 1990s the overarching character of Honduran political and social life was made manifest not in effective rural and urban class-struggle from below, but in the emergence of new and violent social pathologies among the poor and dispossessed, alongside the remilitarisation of the state. The latter was ostensibly meant to ameliorate plebeian violence, but in reality acted as the coercive guarantee for the preservation of the neoliberal order.

66.On the Va Campesina, see Desmarais 2007. 67.Frank 2005, p. 58. Hurricane Mitch, which struck in October 1998, left more than 11,000 dead and an astonishing 2 million people homeless (of a total population of 7.1 million). Among the worst hit were the rural-to-urban migrants who had settled on the crowded hillsides surrounding Tegucigalpa, which were washed away. Booth, Wade and Walker 2006, p. 145. 68.Robinson 2003, p. 132. 69.Booth, Wade and Walker 2006, p. 147.


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Violent crime has increased dramatically throughout Latin America in the wake of neoliberal restructuring.70 Central America is at the leading edge of this phenomenon. The burgeoning lumpenproletariat, tossed out of the peasant world and refused admittance to the formal urban economy, was thrust cavalierly over the last two decades into a setting in which crime became one means of survival. The Isthmus was transformed into a main thoroughfare for the shipping routes of drug cartels, with large numbers of unemployed, demobilised (but still armed) ex-combatants from the civil wars, and repatriated gang members from California deported by the United States government in large numbers in the mid-1990s filling the ranks of the lower echelons of the trade.71 At best, Grandin argues, the energy of the dispossessed is channelled into movements demanding a social-democratic redistribution of wealth, as happened in Bolivia and Argentina during their recent meltdowns. At worst, the poor seek remedy through more vengeful outlets, such as rightwing nationalism, religious fundamentalism, or street-gang brutality.72 In the Honduran scenario, anthropologist Jon Wolseth concurs: In the face of social suffering caused by neoliberal economics, evangelical Christian faiths have offered disenfranchised youth in Honduras a spiritual response to individual pain while gangs have offered self-empowerment predicated on interpersonal violence.73 In Honduras, in 2006, there were 3,108 killings, a yearly average of 46.2 violent deaths per 100,000 people, which exceeded by five times the global average.74 The two principal gangs operating in the country are Pandilla 18 and Mara Salvatrucha (MS), and the state has used their presence as a justification for the remilitarisation of security and politics. In the early 2000s, the municipal government of Tegucigalpa initiated a 2 a.m. curfew in the capital, reinforced shortly thereafter by the mano dura, or iron fist, policy of President Ricardo Maduro at the federal level in 2002. As the streets begin emptying at night, one reporter explains, combined military-police units sweep into the citys barrios marginales the poor neighborhoods surrounding the city, on the slopes of the surrounding hillsides, also known as the belt of misery with the stated aim of disrupting youth gangs and arresting their members. Harking back to the dark days of the 1980s, these incursions have names like Operation Cage, Thunderclap, and Patria, and occur weekly.75
70.Portes and Hoffman 2003, pp. 6670. 71. Edelman 2008, p. 247. 72.Grandin 2006, p. 207. 73.Wolseth 2008, p. 99. 74.Meja 2007, p. 27. 75.Ibid.

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While the mano dura approach to crime has resolutely failed to achieve any reduction in the number of homicides, it has filled the countrys prisons to the brink of collapse, and, most importantly, allowed the state to reverse the embryonic civilian control over the military set in motion through various measures taken in 1996 under the Liberal presidency of Roberto Reina. Under Maduro, the divisions between the military and police were dissolved, as was any pretence of civilian control over the coercive apparatuses of the state.76 For example, his Operacin Guerra Contra la Delincuencia [War Operation against Crime] deployed 10,000 police officers into the streets under the authority of a military official. Such tactics facilitated the continuation of social cleansing methods already more than 1,500 street youth were killed between 1998 and 2002 through a combination of state death-squads and private security forces and an intensification of politically-motivated assassinations of social movement activists.77 A few representative examples of the political violence will suffice. Ernesto Sandoval, a leading activist in the Comit de Derechos Humanos de Honduras [Human Rights Committee of Honduras, CODEH], was assassinated in February 1998.78 Padre Tamayo, a well-known priest and environmental activist with the Environmental Movement of Olancho, had a bounty of US$40,000 taken out on his head and has survived multiple kidnappings and murder attempts not least among these experiences was the moment at a MAO rally in 2001 against rampant deforestation by multinational logging companies when
Padre Tomayo was isolated by the head of the local police, who forced a live grenade into his mouth before moving quickly away. I took it out and threw it as far as I could. It exploded in a nearby field, he says, smiling. Now the police have a case against me for causing a disturbance.79

Human-rights lawyers and judges were routinely murdered in the mid-2000s, the offices of social movements ransacked, and those identified with the left murdered or intimidated into submission with death threats.80 This militarisation of politics and society, operating under the guise of a war on crime, is actually the first line of defence for those benefiting from the violent neoliberal order. And it is only with this historical backdrop clearly in mind that we can begin to understand the relative ease with which Roberto Micheletti
76.Meja 2007, p. 28. 77.Booth, Wade and Walker 2006, p. 147. 78.Booth, Wade and Walker 2006, p. 146. 79.Bracken 2008. Two other MAO activists, Heraldo Ziga and Roger Ivan Cartagena, were assassinated by national police agents in 2006. 80.Ibid.


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organised and orchestrated the violent and repressive coup against Zelaya in late June 2009. The Zelaya interregnum Zelaya, a wealthy ranch owner and business magnate in the logging industry, assumed the presidential office in January 2006 as leader of the dissident Movimiento Esperanza Liberal [Liberal Hope Movement] current inside the traditional Liberal Party. His ascension to government took place roughly eight years into a significant, if uneven, social and political shift to the left across large parts of Latin America, and close to a decade into what has proven to be a prolonged legitimacy crisis of the neoliberal model. At the same time, Zelayas rise to office coincided with the intensification of efforts by imperialist forces and the Latin American Right to turn back the clock.81 Zelaya had been a Liberal congressperson for three consecutive terms between 1985 and 1999, and he headed up the World Bank-funded Fondo Hondureo de Inversin Social [Honduran Social Investment Fund, FHIS] between 1994 and 1999. In the presidential campaign of late 2005, he faced off against National Party challenger Porfirio Lobo Sosa. The campaign pivoted almost exclusively around the issue of violent crime and youth gangs, with Lobo Sosa pledging to continue the mano dura approach and to reintroduce the death penalty, which had been abolished in 1937. Zelaya, by contrast, opposed the death penalty and the anti-gang legislation, arguing that this type of repressive framework in the past had actually exacerbated the countrys crime problem. Instead, he offered vague promises of new social programmes to alleviate high levels of poverty and unemployment, which he believed to be central factors driving youth into the gangs. Once in the presidency, Zelaya made some modest moves toward progressive social and economic reform. He introduced free school enrolment, raised the salaries of teachers, and made initial efforts to reduce rising fuel costs.82 He also increased the minimum wage by 60%, from US$6.00 to US$9.60 per day, apologised for the executions of street children at the hands of security forces in the 1990s, advocated the legalisation of some narcotics as opposed to escalating the war on drugs, and vetoed legislation that would have made the sale of the morning-after pill illegal.83 In the domain of natural-resource extraction, Zelaya introduced mining legislation for approval by Congress that
81. Webber and Carr 2013. 82.EIU 2008. 83.Grandin 2009a.

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outlined stricter environmental regulations, including the prohibition of openpit mines. A new Forest Law passed in September 2007 introduced measures to prevent further ecological collapse, designating 87.7% of Honduran national territory as protected areas.84 In spite of pressure from business groups and right-wing factions of his own party, the president also refused to privatise the state-owned electricity company, Empresa Nacional de Energa Elctrica (ENEE), and the telecommunications firm, Hondutel.85 At the same time, it is easy to exaggerate the leftist turn of the Liberals under Zelaya, which, at least in domestic policy, never escaped the parameters of modest reformism.86 Public spending on education remained at merely 3.8% of GDP. In April 2006 Honduras joined the Dominican RepublicCentral American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) with the United States, an accord meant to abolish tariffs and other trade barriers and establish an environment attractive to foreign direct investment, particularly on the part of export-oriented multinational firms with an interest in making Honduras their launching pad.87 Two years later, in April 2008, Zelayas government signed a standby agreement with the IMF that commits the government to maintaining macroeconomic stability, lowering current spending (particularly the governments wage bill), achieving a fiscal deficit of 1.5% of GDP, and focusing public expenditure on infrastructure and poverty reduction.88 What is more, to the extent that Zelaya enacted social reforms, it was in no small part due to consistent and intense pressures exercised from below through increasingly militant trade unions, peasant organisations, and student groups influenced by revolutionary-left ideologies and liberation theology. There were no fewer than 722 officially recorded social conflicts over the first thirty-two months of his presidency, against privatisation and free trade and for salary increases and subsidies to control the price of the basic breadbasket.89 As noted, Honduras entered a steep economic downturn in 2008 associated with the spiralling global crisis, and particularly the deepening slump in the United States, Hondurass main export market and source of tourists, remittances, and foreign direct investment. It was in this context that Zelaya pragmatically opted for joining ALBA in September of that year. As part of the deal, Venezuela... offered to buy Honduran bonds worth $100m, whose proceeds will be spent on housing for the poor. Mr. Chvez has also offered
84.EIU 2008, p. 12. 85.EIU 2009. 86.Romero 2009, pp. 12938. 87.EIU 2008, p. 10. 88.EIU 2008, p. 10. 89.Navarro 2009.


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a $30m credit line for farming, 100 tractors, and 4m low-energy light bulbs (Cuba will send technicians to help to install them, as well as more doctors and literacy teachers).90 The international financial press saw this move on the part of Zelaya not as a matter of ideological association, but rather one driven by financial need.91 Nonetheless, as history has indicated, it is hardly necessary for Latin American governments to adopt social-revolutionary measures before the traditional elite and conservative military forces feel threatened and act violently in protection of their interests. Tensions sharpened in the lead-up to the Zelaya-supported nonbinding referendum to be held at the end of June 2009. This referendum was to ask Hondurans if they wanted to hold a binding referendum during the national elections in November on whether or not to call a constituent assembly. Hondurass current constitution was adopted during military rule in the 1980s. Zelaya called on the military to distribute the ballots for the referendum after the Supreme Court had ruled that the referendum was illegal.92 The head of the Honduran armed forces, General Romeo Orlando Vsquez Velsquez, refused to comply. Zelaya dismissed Vsquez as head of the armed forces, and the General went on to play the leading military role in the coup against Zelaya.93 Once Vsquez had been fired, the minister of defence, ngel Orellana, resigned and the Supreme Court ruled that Vsquezs dismissal was illegal. The majority of Congress, including the right-wing faction of the Liberal party led by Micheletti, turned against the president.94 A medley of conservative social forces saw their opportunity and converged around the overthrow of Zelaya:
Conservative evangelicals and Catholics including Opus Dei, a formidable presence in Honduras detested him because he refused to ban the morning90.The Economist 2008a. 91. The Economist 2008b. 92.Supporters of the coup, Mark Weisbrot notes, argue that the president violated the law by attempting to go ahead with the referendum after the Supreme Court ruled against it. This is a legal question; it may be true, or it may be that the Supreme Court had no legal basis for its ruling. But it is irrelevant to what has happened: the military is not the arbiter of a constitutional dispute between the various branches of government. Weisbrot 2009. 93.Vsquez, it is relevant to point out, was trained at the School of the Americas on two separate occasions, in 1976 and 1984. The commander of the air force, Javier Prince Suazo, who also played a part in the coup dtat, was trained at the school in 1996. Brooks 2009. 94.The composition of the 128 seats in Congress was as follows: Liberal Party (62); National Party (55); Partido de Unificacin Democrtica [Democratic Unification Party, PUD] (5); Partido Demcrata Cristiana [Christian Democratic Party, PDC] (4); and the Partido Innovacin y Unidad Social Demcrata [Social Democratic Innovation and Unity Party] (2). The only party that formally took a position against the coup was the PUD.

T. Gordon, J.R. Webber / Historical Materialism 21.3 (2013) 1656 after pill. The mining, hydroelectric and biofuel sector didnt like him because he didnt put state funds and land at their disposal. The law-and-order crowd hated him because he apologized on behalf of the state for a program of social cleansing that took place in the 1990s, which included the execution of street children and gang members. And the generals didnt like it when he tried to assert executive control over the military.95


Dystopic cities As noted, Zelayas term in office introduced a modest break with neoliberal orthodoxy, but post-coup Honduras has witnessed its vengeful return, first under Micheletti, and then under Lobo. There has been perhaps no clearer indication of Lobos commitment in this regard than the investment conference held in Trujillo in May 2011, Honduras is Open for Business, the motto of which was a moment of change, a horizon of opportunities. The conference was accompanied by the publication of a government document, Honduras: A Country Open for Investment.96 As the government report explains, legislation is rapidly being introduced to facilitate the implementation of the various facets of two overarching development plans, Country Vision (20102038), and The Nation Plan (20102022). The preeminent objective of both is to attract foreign direct investment into six areas in which the Lobo government believes Honduras enjoys a competitive advantage: infrastructure, renewable energy, tourism, agribusiness, forestry and textiles, and electronic and business services.97 Additionally, Lobo was able to introduce a massive restructuring of the educational system, which will help to erode the influence of the powerful teachers union.98 Inflation has been pressed down to the lowest level in two decades. A law facilitating public-private partnerships a key edifice of all neoliberal reforms in the region, facilitating, in effect, privatisation of public assets with the nominal participation of the government was passed in 2010. A US$202 million stand-by arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expired in March 2012, but there are expectations of a new deal. In the face of IMF pressure, the Economist Intelligence Unit reports, the government is likely to step up efforts to stem excessive spending on wages

95.Grandin 2009b. 96.Gobierno de Unidad Nacional de Honduras 2011. 97.Gobierno de Unidad Nacional de Honduras 2011, p. 1. 98.EIU 2012, p. 3.


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and consumption throughout 201213, although this may be partially thwarted by the run-up to the 2013 presidential elections.99 Arguably the most sensational and emblematic feature of the neoliberal acceleration under Lobo, however, was the attempt to push forward the special development regions, or model cities, fashioned out of the concept of charter cities, conceived by Paul Romer, an economics professor at New York University. The charter-city idea advanced by Romer, who actually worked as a consultant with the Honduran government, is in effect a corporate-run city-state initiated and controlled by foreign investors. The Lobo regime passed a constitutional amendment allowing for what amounts to internal start-ups quasi-independent city-states that begin with a clean slate and are then overseen by outside experts. They would have had their own government, written their own laws, managed their own currency and, eventually, held their own elections.100 Their governance was to feature a transparency commission constituted by a board of technocrats unelected foreigners a kind of board of trustees that appoints the governors, supervises their actions and is meant to make sure that the entities are beyond reproach.101 Even the most basic elements of procedural liberal democracy would only have been introduced gradually, that is, only when the transparency commission deems that the time is ripe will citizens be able to elect the members of the normative councils in effect, local parliaments,102 while taxes were to be capped at 12% for individuals, and 16% for corporations. However, this plan for neoliberaldream enclaves appeared to have gone too far for even the countrys Supreme Court (which supported the coup against Zelaya), which struck down the legislation as unconstitutional on the grounds that such regions were outside the control of Honduran law.103 Out of the interstices An unanticipated consequence of the coup plotters casual breach of liberal institutions has been the emergence of a powerful popular opposition, characterised by ideologies and practices much closer to the best revolutionaryleft traditions elsewhere in Latin America than had been the case in most of the modern political history of the Honduran left.104 The resistance erupted
99.EIU 2012, p. 6. 100.The Economist 2011. 101. Ibid. 102.Ibid. 103.Associated Press 2012. 104.Rojas Bolaos 2010, p. 111; Senz 2009a, pp. 13945; Senz 2009b, pp. 14754.

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almost immediately. While Micheletti celebrated his triumphal seizure of the presidency, elsewhere in the capital, and throughout the country, an eruption of the popular classes led by teachers, urban workers, students, indigenous communities, peasants, the urban poor, environmentalists, womens organisations, and others was taking shape and braving waves of repression. Makeshift barricades were erected in Tegucigalpa, highways were blockaded, tyres burned in the streets, clashes between protesters, police and the military erupted, and graffiti labelling Micheletti a fascist, and, better, Pinocheletti, sprung up on walls throughout the cities.105 They want to kick Zelaya out at whatever cost, the peasant leader Rafael Alegra exclaimed, but the only thing they have achieved is to present our country as savage, where the rules of democracy are not respected. Or do you know of another case in the world in which a poll has originated a coup dtat?106 Between 28 June and 29 November, when the national elections consolidating the coup were held, there were roughly 150 days of continuous resistance activities, with charged pinnacles on 5 July when Zelaya unsuccessfully attempted a return from exile by plane and 15 September when the FNRP organised a parallel march and demonstration of political defiance against the official state celebrations of National Independence Day.107 The institutional core of the FNRP consists of different sectors of the labour movement particularly teachers, banana workers, public sector workers, and bottling-plant workers. However, it also incorporates an array of social-movement actors, including peasants, women, alternative media groups, indigenous and Afro-indigenous sectors, human rights organisations, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists, among others.108 Delegates from these various social-movement and trade-union bases are sent to participate in the central coordinating body of the front as representatives of their sectors. More than simply calling for the return of Zelaya, the FNRP almost immediately began calling for a Constituent Assembly to fundamentally refound the country on the basis of social justice and equality. In ideology, and through its reliance on direct, mass actions that have built up the capacities of popular sectors to organise themselves under dire conditions, the FNRP represents an increasingly radical social left in the Honduran landscape. In order better to delve more deeply into the relational formation of political subjectivity at play in these incipient socio-political formations of the left, it
105.Pinocheletti refers to Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean dictator in power between 1973 and 1990. 106.Cano 2009. 107.Clix 2010, p. 44. 108.Frank 2010.


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makes sense at this stage in our analysis to shift registers somewhat, from the preceding macrohistorical, multiscalar, analytical lens toward a more refined, ethnographic focus rooted in our investigations in the field. Ethnographies of opposition We witnessed the spirit of the resistance most vividly in the streets of Tegucigalpa on Wednesday, 27 January 2010, the date of Lobos inauguration. It was clear that with the transfer of power from Micheletti to Lobo, businessas-usual would not go uncontested. Despite the black-suited sharpshooters visible on the tower edges of buildings running parallel to the resistance march, and the hundreds of military and police troops weighed down with automatic weapons, it was hardly obvious that the protesting masses had more to fear than Pepe Lobo. Indeed, as one popular resistance t-shirt proclaims, Nos tienen miedo porque no tenemos miedo [They fear us because were not afraid]. In a meeting in Tegucigalpa on the eve of Lobos inauguration, Radio Globo journalist Felix Molina suggested to us that Honduras was entering a fourth moment of the coup. The first phase involved its preparation and execution. The second saw the gathering of domestic-elite and imperial forces around the San Jos Accord. The third carried out that accord. A week before Lobos inauguration, the fourth moment began to congeal. Posters plastered the walls of the capital celebrating the commencement of the new government of national unity. This fourth moment, Molina argued, was
about constructing normality, ostensibly with peace and reconciliation. Its about selling a supposed project of national integration. Essentially, the objective is to say that nothing happened here, that coups can be a democratic method to correct a democracy gone awry. The point of this fourth moment is to legalise the coup.

As quickly as the states posters of calm and consensus marked the avenues of Tegucigalpa, graffiti artists of the resistance offered their response Fuera golpistas asesinos! [Out with the coupist assassins!]. The corporate media cast Lobo as the elected president, whereas the FNRP repudiated him as the son of a coup. The corporate media celebrated a national-unity government of integration, whereas the FNRP refused dialogue with Lobos regime, and denounced it as the latest incarnation of the original coup of June 2009. This war of words found its material expression in the protesting cascades of hundreds of thousands, marching from downtown toward the airport, on 27 January. The march paid homage to Zelaya as he finally escaped four

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months of sequestration in the Brazilian embassy for exile in the Dominican Republic and, at the same time, announced that the struggle against the coup regime would continue. We approached the first row of military police and the crowd rang out, urging folks to study and learn so that they will never have to be on the other side of the barricades.
Estudiar, aprender, para chepo nunca ser! Study, learn, so youll never be a cop!

A group of energetic 10-year-olds danced amidst the marchers, chanting concordantly for the death of the golpista regime. Peasants, trade unionists, feminists, and different left groupings walked arm-in-arm and cheered ecstatically as cars moved in the other direction honking in solidarity. Teenagers leaned out of the windows of a passing bus, their fists raised in the air.
El pueblo dnde est? El pueblo est en las calles exigiendo libertad! Where are the People? The people are in the streets demanding liberty! Ests cansado? No! Tienes miedo? No! Entonces? Adelante, Adelante, que la lucha es constante! Are you tired? No! Are you afraid? No! So? Forward! Forward! In constant struggle!

The resistance has two principal pillars, Rafael Alegra, a principal peasant leader in the resistance, informed us during the march. A social pillar for the revindication of the peoples rights, in which the resistance accompanies people in their daily struggle, for agrarian reform, for just salaries, and opposition to the privatisation of social services. This is the pillar of social mobilisation. The other pillar, Alegra emphasised, is the political arm to convert ourselves into a militant political force which will work towards taking political power in our country.


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We asked Alegra about the Constituent Assembly, as the crowd around us thundered:
Qu somos? Resistencia popular! Qu queremos? Constituyente! What are we? Popular Resistance! What do we want? Constituent Assembly!

The power of the people, he told us,

is going to result in massive transformations in this country. We are demanding a Constituent Assembly that is going to transform this country, into a participatory democracy. It will be a new Honduras a country with social justice, with equality, with a new model of development in which everyone is included, and, as the Bolivians say, so that our entire country can live well.

Alegra contrasts this vision with the current situation, in which there is a privileged oligarchy, which owns and controls everything, while on the other hand there is an immense mass of impoverished people. This cant continue. Two days earlier, in a gathering of the resistance outside the Brazilian embassy to celebrate National Womens Day in Honduras, we met with Brenda Villacorta, of Feminists in Resistance, who expressed many of the same sentiments.
Lobos possession of office doesnt represent anything. It is the continuation, the perpetuation of the coup dtat that took place in this country on 28 June 2009. The protagonists have changed but the scenario is exactly the same.

The marchers of 27 January agreed:

No existe Presidente! Si a la constituyente! There is no President! We demand a Constituent Assembly!

The resistance will take to the streets again and again, Villacorta said. This is the only way we can apply pressure, or at least the most effective way of

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doing so. The process to create the Constituent Assembly will be a long one, she estimated, but worth the struggle. The old constitution was established under a military dictatorship, and it does not benefit the Honduran people, the authentic Honduran people. Instead, it works in the interests of the business class and the big power groups. For the Honduran resistance, Lobo does not signify an end of the coup but rather its consolidation under the veneer of democratic legitimacy. One day into his presidency, Lobo had already declared a financial emergency, and called for new fiscal austerity measures. Together with the amnesty law for protagonists of the coup and the opening up of mining concessions, all signals pointed to the consolidation of a hard-right shift in domestic and economic policy, designed to roll back the modest reforms introduced by Zelaya. The coming socioeconomic assault on the popular classes, in the midst of a deep recession exacerbated by the coup plotters, alongside continuing repression and political intimidation, presented formidable challenges to the resistance looking forward. If 27 January revealed anything, however, it was that there were two sides to Honduras. The pole of Pepe Lobo and the imperialists, on the one hand, and a multi-headed hydra of exploited and oppressed, on the other. If the masses had not yet gathered sufficient power to toss Lobo into the dustbin of history, they had demonstrated that they would not easily be cowed, by a tiny minority, even one armed to the teeth. Complexities of left-rearticulation Returning to Honduras in June 2011 we encountered a resistance that seemed to have entered its fifth moment. Just over a month prior to our arrival, on 22 May 2011, the Cartagena Accord had been signed. Promoted by Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos and his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chvez, the accord was signed on 22 May 2011 by Santos, a representative for Chvez, Lobo and Zelaya. In exchange for Chvezs backing of Hondurass readmission into the OAS achieved on 1 June the Honduran government pledged to allow an end to Zelayas exile outside the country and to annul all legal proceedings against him. The agreement further committed the regime to adhere to the rule of law, to ensure the protection of human rights, and to permit popular plebiscites around political, economic and constitutional matters. Finally, the Lobo regime, through the Cartagena proceedings, pledged to recognise any move by the FNRP to transform itself into a formal political party. While the accord, in Articles 5 and 8, explicitly required the Honduran state to take responsibility for the protection of human rights, little had changed on this score by June 2011. Indeed, the cynicism of the Lobo regime in this regard


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defied imagination. According to Bertha Oliva of COFADEH, shortly after the accord was signed two people were assassinated in Tegucigalpa. One of the victims, a woman, was a close friend of Zelayas wife, and was in the Brazilian embassy with Zelaya after his first return to Honduras from exile in September 2009. This bold assassination was an unambiguous signal that even those close to Zelaya were touchable. Those of us who are here on the ground, who understand the reality of the human rights situation, think that the Accord is a trap, or could easily become a trap, Oliva told us in an interview on 24 June.
We know that before the Cartagena Accord, during the Cartagena Accord negotiations, and during the reintegration of Honduras into the OAS, violations of human rights continued.... The OAS is not interested in human rights. On the day of the readmission of Honduras into the OAS there were serious violations of human rights occurring.

On 5 June, two weeks after Cartagena was signed, three peasant activists in the Bajo Agun region were assassinated near their San Esteban cooperative. The same day, security guards working for Miguel Facuss, a large landowner with interests in expanding his biofuel empire, entered the National Agrarian Institute and opened fire on the peasants who had taken refuge there in the winter following a previous wave of repression. One person was seriously injured. The shooting rampage in the National Agrarian Institute was followed on 10 June by an invasion of several other peasant cooperatives in the Agun region by police, military, and private security forces. The Agun situation offers a particularly chilling portrait of the routinisation of political violence in post-coup Honduras as it intersects directly with contemporary patterns of international accumulation of increasingly limited arable-land supply. The peasant land reclamation struggles there, which had gained some traction during the Zelaya presidency, are coming up against a powerful landowner in Facuss one of the richest persons in the country who is linked to the US and World Bank efforts to expand international biofuels production. State security and his own private security forces have operated with impunity from the Honduran government, the World Bank and the US in their brutal enforcement of the local operations of the global biofuels regime, assassinating more than 40 peasant activists since the coup, as well as a lawyer representing one of the peasant organisations in the fall of 2012.109 Meanwhile, death threats
109.Bird 2012b; Frank 2012; Millennium Challenge Corporation 2010. The World Banks International Finance Corporation has provided approximately $30 million in loans to Facusss Dinant Corporation since the coup, while the US has provided Honduras with over $200 million in aid through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). On the MCCs role in land

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against other members of the resistance we talked to, including activists in Trujillo who were organising against Canadian-financed mega-projects in the tourism sector, continued to be an all-too-common feature of community struggles in the country. Impunity reigned in post-Cartagena Honduras. We are living in a state, Oliva reminded us, in which the security forces can torture, and nothing will happen, where they can detain people without cause, and nothing will happen. According to Oliva, they can persecute and assassinate their political opponents and nothing will happen. They can drive into political exile whatever quantity of people they desire, and nothing will happen. At the basis of this escalation of intimidation was a sustained effort by the coupists to create a state of fear so crippling, to establish an environment in which people were so terrified, that their will to struggle could be extinguished. While the targeting of grassroots activists was the most pernicious and wide-reaching feature of post-Cartagena repression, the states apparatus for quelling dissent had begun to extend its reach into the highest echelons of the official resistance. In what Zelaya himself insisted was a violation of Article 3 of the Accord one that is supposed to guarantee the return, safety, and freedom of the former officials of the government who were exiled his former Chief of Staff, Enrique Flores, was put under house arrest by a judge on 15 June, after having returned to Honduras on the same plane as Zelaya. The charges against Flores appeared to be rooted in a trumped-up corruption scandal. That the Honduran state would detain such a high-profile figure was a warning that no-one who crossed the dictatorship would be protected from its punitive actions. The case of Flores was also telling because it revealed the utter confidence with which the state was willing to carry out its agenda even with the ink of the Cartagena Accord barely dry. The Cartagena Accord, the OAS legitimation of Lobos regime, and the repatriation of Zelaya precipitated a new stage of flux in the socio-political agenda of the always-heterogeneous Honduran resistance. An undeclared battle for hegemony within the Frente was opened up between its three most coherent currents.First, were the oxymoronically-named Liberals in Resistance who, together with affiliates of the Unin Democrtica [Democratic Union, UD] party, constituted what Carlos Amaya of Refoundational Space terms the official resistance. The moniker derives from their political origins, as elite renegades, only recently outcast from the two-party system [bipartidismo],
privatisation and biofuels development, see GRAIN 2010. Between 2000 and 2008 the total land area devoted to palm oil plantations has almost doubled, from 62,000 to 115,00 hectares, leading to a doubling of the harvest of palm fruit from 665,000 metric tonnes in 2000 to 1.3 million in 2008. See Craven 2011, p. 6944.


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that has long seen Honduran political power traded between the Liberals and the National Party. The officialdom of the resistance is, in other words, a persecuted branch of former members of the ruling class. Unsurprisingly, this tendency of the resistance had been the most willing to entertain participation in future elections presided over by the Lobo dictatorship, under the condition that Zelaya be able to run for the presidency from within the country. Equally predictable was their critical embrace of the Cartagena Accord, which they saw, by and large, as a democratic advance. Zelaya, in spite of his tactical embrace of unity between all currents within the Frente, had, from the outset, been closest to this wing. He was, after all, a member of a populist fraction of the Liberal party, until he was tossed out of the presidency at the hands of traditionalist Liberals in June 2009. Second, there was Refoundational Space, an eclectic current of grassroots movements, workers, peasants, indigenous peoples, feminist organisations, LGTB activists, various Marxist and autonomist political groupings, and a host of radical youth organisations. The largest formal organisations active in Refoundational Space were COPINH and theOrganizacin Fraternal Negra Hondurea[Fraternal Black Honduran Organisation, OFRANEH]. This wing of the resistance united around a commitment to building a popular movement from below, rooted in anti-capitalist and anti-oppression politics. Their most important demand had been for a refoundational, self-organised Constituent Assembly. They argued simultaneously that conditions did not exist for fair elections in Honduras, and that any recognition of the Lobo regime as the legitimate government of the country would constitute an unconscionable betrayal of the movement. A third and oscillating force within the resistance was, like Refoundational Space, composed principally of popular classes and oppressed groups, as well as some political organisations of the Honduran far-left. This force had been the muddiest and most ill-defined; it was not a formally organised current, but rather a significant segment of the resistance rank-and-file unaligned with either the official resistance or Refoundational Space. It stood to reason, therefore, that its commitments had shifted between the politics of those two currents at different moments since the popular struggle against the coup began in 2009.While still too early to make definitive statements, it would seem that in the lead-up to the Cartagena Accord, and even more discernibly in the wake of Zelayas return to Honduras, momentum within the resistance moved from Refoundational Space to the official wing of the Frente.

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A tale of two assemblies For the weekend of June 1718, we travelled four hours by bus, from Tegucigalpa to La Esperanza, to attend a gathering of Refoundational Space at COPINHs training centre essentially a community hall on farmland on the outskirts of La Esperanza. The objective of the gathering was to flesh out a common perspective of Refoundational Space for the National Assembly of Resistance to be held in the capital on 26 June. The gathering was remarkable for its revolutionary democratic character and egalitarian ethos. Multiple sessions of discussion, driven by constant participation from the floor, lasted the full two days and determined a host of resolutions for the way forward in struggle in cursory form, yes to building anti-capitalist, anti-racist, antipatriarchal popular power from below; no to participation in elections so long as the coupist power-structure remained intact; and no to any recognition of the Lobo regime. Everyone slept at the encampment on mattresses on the floor or available bunk beds, and communal meals were prepared and served. The participation of women was pronounced, from the coordinators at the front of the room, to participation from the floor. Half of the delegates from Refoundational Space sent to the National Assembly were women. LGBT activists were a visible presence and played an important role in the gathering. Indigenous and peasant representatives from COPINH were leading players in the current, and were a clear force in the discussions over the weekend. Garfuna representatives from OFRANEH were underrepresented at the weekend gathering likely due to the geographical location of most Garfuna communities in the far north of the country but they were represented in the delegation elected to attend the National Assembly in Tegucigalpa.110 The spirit and strategy of struggle from below so evident in the gathering of Refoundational Space had earlier won the day on a national scale during the National Assembly of the Resistance held in February 2011. Gilda Rivera, an activist in Feminists in Resistance, and an active member of Refoundational Space, in an interview on 26 June recalled the resolutions adopted by the resistance in the February 2011 national assembly:

110.The Garfuna are African-indigenous communities that trace their ancestral origins to the survivors of a slave shipwreck in the seventeenth century and Carib and Arawak indigenous nations. They arrived on the Caribbean coast of Central America over 200 years ago after being displaced from their home on St Vincent by the British. UNESCO has officially recognised Garfuna language and culture as an integral part of the human heritage.


T. Gordon, J.R. Webber / Historical Materialism 21.3 (2013) 1656 The decisions of the February assembly were a focus on self-organisation and the rejection of participation in elections. The basis of not participating in elections had to do with the fact that the conditions do not exist, the structures of power responsible for the coup remain in control of the entire institutional apparatus. The February assembly determined that we would not participate in elections that were part of the coupist infrastructure.

There was a period of six months of debate leading up to that assembly, Toms Andino, another delegate from Refoundational Space we talked to on 26 June, recalled in reference to the February Assembly. And in the February assembly itself, there was a thorough and wide-ranging political debate. In the context of extensive debate and discussion that characterised the February assembly, Refoundational Space, which only had a minority of delegates, was capable of winning over a majority to its position, against electoral participation and for the ongoing construction of popular power from below. In addition to the participatory atmosphere of the February proceedings, the ambiguous position of Zelaya himself, still in exile, played a critical part. In the last assembly, Bertha Cceres suggested to us in the 18 June interview,
it was very important that Zelaya was opposed to converting the Frente into an electoral party. But, obviously, at that time he was in exile. Now hes back in Honduras. So its a more complex situation.

The dynamic of the National Assembly of the Resistance in Tegucigalpa on 26 June, which we were able to attend, was distinct by all accounts from the one in February. Despite the presence of 1,500 delegates from around the country, all resolutions were adopted in under three hours, with minimal discussion from the floor. The vast majority of speakers at the open mike were selected from the officialist camp. The caudillismo [big-man leadership] effect of Zelayas presence at the front of the room was palpable. Before any discussion from the floor, he spoke at length in favour of the electoral path and the formation of a Frente Amplio [Broad Front] political party. Discussion from the floor was then repeatedly interrupted by lengthy orations of male representatives of the official resistance on the raised platform at the front of the room, persistently reinforcing the electoral path advocated by Zelaya. When the truncated assembly discussion was cut off, the stance of the official resistance won a majority of the room. It was determined that the resistance would create an electoral party to participate in the 2013 elections. Immediately outside the assembly we caught up with Rivera and Andino of Refoundational Space. Disappointing, Rivera responded, when asked what she thought of the days events.

T. Gordon, J.R. Webber / Historical Materialism 21.3 (2013) 1656 I would say that the decisions arrived at today were a result of the manipulation of the process by the leadership of the Frente, and a disinformation campaign within the population of the resistance. Sections of the leadership of the Frente have always been positioning themselves such that they will be integrated into the existing structures of power of this country. In other spaces of the resistance, this tendency has been defeated, but today they were victorious in this assembly. The decisions made in the last National Assembly of the Resistance, in February 2011, were casually thrown into the garbage.


In terms of the process of the assembly, Rivera added, there was total absence of patient discussion, and a serious manipulation of the process. So, beforehand we had a flood of commentary in favour of the electoral path [in the media, in the months leading up to the gathering], and little discussion in the Assembly. I believe the Assembly lacked political debate, Andino added. There were insufficient opportunities available to challenge the official position. From Andinos perspective, the decisions made today were made without sufficient preparation beforehand, and without adequate discussion. What is more, the decision to opt for forming a party to participate in the elections in 2013 is the wrong one to have made.In my opinion, he explained, the coupists will be happy that the resistance has decided on the electoral path, because this validates the existing political institutions in Honduras, and will likely lead to the continuation of the two-party system [bipartidismo] between Liberals [Partido Liberal] and the National Party [Partido Nacional]. In the conditions that presently exist, conditions in which the regime has been strengthened and the resistance lacks a strategy of struggle, we are left almost to the whims of the regime, to whatever decisions they make.On this view, the Cartagena Accord, the reintegration of Honduras into the OAS, and the return of Zelaya under these circumstances had together tamed, at least temporarily, the dynamics of the resistance, while providing a basis for the legitimation of a dictatorial regime that remains preeminently in control of every dimension of power in the country. The same powers that were responsible for the coup dtat remain in place, Andino stresses,
and the forces that overthrew a legitimately-elected government are the forces that remain in power. The coupists have institutionalised their power. In the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, in the Supreme Court, the same figures that legitimised the coup remain in place, as do the forces in the executive and within the Armed Forces. So are we to expect that these forces that came to power through force are going to give up that power through voting? No! All of these conditions suggest that the only strategy available to the people is to rise up, if they are to really


T. Gordon, J.R. Webber / Historical Materialism 21.3 (2013) 1656 express their will. If we simply move toward participation in elections we are going to be lost.

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal that presently exists in this country is the same one that was in place when the coup dtat occurred, Sandra Snchez, an activist with Refoundational Space, told us in a 26 June interview. This is the same tribunal that said nothing when the government of Zelaya, which it had earlier recognised as having been legitimately elected, was violently overthrown in a coup dtat. And the institutional continuities of coupist power do not stop at the tribunal. According to Snchez, the Supreme Court in this country is the same one that remained completely silent when the coup dtat occurred, that stayed silent when the constitutional order of this country was broken. The grand majority of the deputies currently in Congress are those who argued that Zelaya should write a letter of resignation after the coup dtat had been carried out. In this context, she suggested, who can reasonably suggest that the power dynamics have changed in any serious way that would allow for genuine participation in elections by resistance forces? Freedom and Refoundation On May Day 2012, hundreds of thousands took to the streets across the country in marches of resistance organised by Libertad y Refundacin [Liberation and Refoundation, LIBRE], the new party that emerged out of the resolutions cast at the national resistance assembly on 26 June 2011. Zelayas wife, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, has been selected by LIBRE to stand as its presidential candidate in the 2013 elections. It appears that the initial scepticism with which the most militant popular movements inside the Frente approached the idea of a new party of this type has at least partially given way to accepting some role for participation within its ranks. The new partys declaration of principles is promisingly entitled Revolution Is Inevitable.111 Freedom and Refoundation (LIBRE) interprets and expresses the ideas and force of the people who urgently demand the refoundation of the state, the transformation of society and the political and economic system, it announces. These goals run together with the construction of a truly participatory and inclusive democracy based in equality, liberty, solidarity and justice, through which there will be unrestricted and universal respect for human rights. Popular sovereignty appears first in the list of principles. This
111.Libertad y Refundacin 2012.

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section signifies for LIBRE the continuation of the Honduran peoples historic struggle to achieve its freedom and independence, and will necessarily entail in the present conjuncture, rejecting anti-democratic and oligarchic (tyrannical and dictatorial) forces, and the return of the military into the civic life of the nation. Popular sovereignty will be achieved, the party argues, only through the establishment of an Assembly of Popular Power, as a basic organ for the construction of peoples power and participatory democracy. After popular sovereignty appear social and economic equality, unity of forces and respect for diversity, and connection with the popular sectors. The most forcefully revolutionary sentiment is captured in the first of these three additional principles: We assume, together with all the popular sectors, that there exist class enemies who impede the integral development of our society. The unity of forces meant to be inscribed in the second of these sections is more open to multiple interpretations, including as it does the aim of constantly gathering together more citizens from political movements, popular organisations, and other democratic and progressive sectors. If the multiclass character of the party is stressed here, its accent on the popular is emphasised elsewhere in the document. The party, for example, aligns itself indissolubly with the people, to their popular organisations, to the democratic sectors of the citizenry in the configuration of a bloc that confronts the system and will continue building popular power from the grassroots. Alongside these axioms, the party commits itself to perpetual and nondogmatic renewal of its critical perspective, searching for the fundamental contradictions of society in an effort to improve the partys proposals for transformation, utilising to this end the scientific methods of social analysis. Human rights, human security, honesty and transparency, nature and the environment, and religious freedom constitute the middle sections of the declaration, inflected with the highest element of liberalism, with the last two principles Central American and Latin American solidarity, and antiimperialism, anti-neocolonialism, and international solidarity returning more explicitly to the revolutionary fold. Conclusion While this platform offers the hope of a resonant transformative politics in Honduras and the Central American region, we should not overlook the potential contradictions in this electoral turn of the mass resistance under the leadership of Zelaya and his caudillo partners. The quick and heavy-handed push for an electoral strategy, effectively in place of a strategy to renew democratic grassroots militancy in the streets and communities, and on the


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land, and the relatively rapid accommodation of victorious centre-left parties elsewhere in Latin America to reconstituted neoliberalism, are reasons to be cautious about LIBRE and the current direction of anti-coup, anti-imperialist organising in Honduras.112 Indeed, whether the imperialism-backed nexus of right-wing official politics and the security apparatus allows this party to come to power electorally, or exercise meaningful political independence outside of a framework of reconstituted neoliberalism and militarism, at least without a renewed grassroots militancy driving it forward, certainly remains an open question.113 Honduras has become a linchpin in the US (and to a lesser degree Canadian) geo-strategic response to the emergence of left-of-centre governments in El Salvador and Nicaragua, with their diplomatic ties to Venezuela under Chvez, and, just as importantly, to the emergent militant movements in the region fighting mega-resource development projects. It is a question, of course, of the balance of class forces; the coup clearly had a galvanising impact on socio-political polarisation in the country, emboldening the Honduran ruling class and its imperial backers while inciting a renewal of militancy and a new generation of activists. Nonetheless, the hard edges of this dynamic have been softened, temporarily at least, as the new electoral formation re-channels militant energies towards the ballot box in 2013. Still, those energies unleashed after Zelayas removal from power would need to be drawn upon even to sustain a victory in the electoral sphere; how Zelaya and the rest of LIBREs leadership seek to exploit and direct that energy will be an important determinant in the trajectory of the resistance against authoritarianism in the coming months and years.

112.For a theoretical discussion of reconstituted neoliberalism, see Webber 2011. See also Webber and Carr 2013. Such widespread accommodation across the region is recognised even by neo-Weberian scholars, such as Steven Levitsky and Kenneth M. Roberts, who suggest that of the self-identified leftist regimes only Venezuela has witnessed any radical rupture with the free market model it inherited. On this view, the moderation of the new Latin American left is to be celebrated precisely because some amelioration of poverty and income inequality has been achieved by these governments in the context of a commodities boom without any necessary settling of scores with capital. Levitsky and Roberts note, left-of-center governments were able to offer material benefits to popular constituencies and to do so, moreover, without challenging property rights or adopting highly polarizing redistributive measures. Levitsky and Roberts 2011, p. 11. 113.In a reminder of the dangers facing LIBRE, a peasant activist in the Bajo Agun and congressional candidate of the party narrowly survived an assassination attempt on 10 November 2012, days before national primary elections. See Spring 2012.

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Davis, Mike 2006, Planet of Slums, London: Verso. Desmarais, Annette A. 2007, La Va Campesina: Globalization and the Power of Peasants, London: Pluto. Dunkerley, James 1994, The Pacification of Central America: Political Change in the Isthmus, 19871993, London: Verso. ECLAC 2006, Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2005, Santiago: Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. 2009, Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2008, Santiago: Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. 2012, Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America and the Caribbean 2011, Santiago: Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Edelman, Marc 2008, Transnational Organizing in Agrarian Central America: Histories, Challenges, Prospects, Journal of Agrarian Change, 8, 2/3: 22957. EIU 2008, Honduras: Country Profile 2008, London: Economist Intelligence Unit. 2009, Honduras Politics: Mixed Report Card for Zelaya, London: Economist Intelligence Unit. 2012, Honduras: Country Report, London: Economist Intelligence Unit. Flynn, Patricia 1984, The United States at War in Central America: Unable to Win, Unwilling to Lose, in The Politics of Intervention: The United States in Central America, edited by Roger Burbach and Patricia Flynn, New York: Monthly Review Press. Frank, Dana 2005, Bananeras: Women Transforming the Banana Unions of Latin America, Cambridge, MA.: South End Press. 2010, Repressions Reward in Honduras?, Counterpunch, 25 September, available at: <http:// www.counterpunch.org/frank09232010.html>. 2012, Honduras: Which Side Is the US On?, The Nation, 11 June, available at: <http://www .thenation.com/article/167994/honduras-which-side-us>. Gill, Lesley 2004, The School of the Americas: Military Training and Political Violence in the Americas, Durham, NC.: Duke University Press. Gobierno de Unidad Nacional de Honduras 2011, Honduras: A Country Open for Investment, Tegucigalpa: Gobierno de Unidad Nacional de Honduras. Gordon, Todd and Jeffery R. Webber 2012, Paraguays Parliamentary Coup and Ottawas Imperial Response, The Bullet, 26 June, available at: <http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/657.php>. GRAIN 2010, The New Farm Owners: Corporate Investors and the Control of Overseas Farmland, in Agriculture and Food in Crisis: Conflict, Resistance, and Renewal, edited by Fred Magdoff and Brian Tokar, New York: Monthly Review Press. Grandin, Greg 2004, The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America in the Cold War, First Edition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2006, Empires Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism, New York: Owl Books. 2009a, Democracy Derailed in Honduras, The Nation, 30 June, available at: <http://www .thenation.com/article/democracy-derailed-honduras>. 2009b, Battle for Honduras And the Region?, The Nation, 31 August, available at: <http:// www.thenation.com/article/battle-honduras-and-region>. 2011, Building a Perfect Machine of Perpetual War: The Mexico-to-Colombia Security Corridor Advances, The Nation, 11 February, available at: <http://www.thenation.com/ blog/158492/building-perfect-machine-perpetual-war-mexico-colombia-security-corridoradvances>. Kerssen, Tanya 2011, The Military-Aid Complex, Agrofuels and Land Struggles in Aguan, Honduras, Food First, 6 October, available at: <http://www.foodfirst.org/en/Honduras+land+grabs>. Kok, Kasper 2004, The Role of Population in Understanding Honduran Land Use Patterns, Journal of Environmental Management, 72, 1/2: 7389.

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LaFeber, Walter 1993, Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America, Second Edition, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. Levitsky, Steven and Kenneth M. Roberts 2011, Introduction Latin Americas Left Turn: A Framework for Analysis, in The Resurgence of the Latin American Left, edited by Steven Levitsky and Kenneth M. Roberts, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Libertad y Refundacin 2012, Declaracin de Principios: La Revolucin es inevitable, available at: <http://dataspace.princeton.edu/jspui/handle/88435/dsp01jq085k02j>. Littell, Jonathan 2012, Lost in the Void, London Review of Books, 34, 11: 347. Mapstone, Naomi 2009, Remittance Flows to Latin America Fall Sharply, Financial Times, 12 August. Meja, Thelma 2007, In Tegucigalpa, the Iron Fist Fails, NACLA Report on the Americas, 40, 4: 269. Millennium Challenge Corporation 2010, MCC Completes First Compact, Celebrates Successful Partnership with Honduras, 17 September, available at: <http://www.mcc.gov/pages/press/ release/release-091710-mcccompletesfirst>. Navarro, Luis Hernndez 2009, La conversin de Manuel Mel Zelaya, La Jornda, 1 July, available at: <http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2009/06/30/index.php?section=opinion&article=017a2pol>. Ocampo, Jos Antonio 2009, Latin America and the Global Financial Crisis, Cambridge Journal of Economics, 33, 4: 70324. Paley, Dawn 2012, Drug War Capitalism: Militarization and Economic Transformation in Colombia and Mexico, Against the Current, 159: 216. Portes, Alejandro and Kelly Hoffman 2003, Latin American Class Structures: Their Composition and Change during the Neoliberal Era, Latin American Research Review, 38, 1: 4182. Robinson, William I. 2003, Transnational Conflicts: Central America, Social Change, and Globalization, London: Verso. 2004, Global Crisis and Latin America, Bulletin of Latin American Research, 23, 2: 13553. 2008, Latin America and Global Capitalism: A Critical Globalization Perspective, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Rojas Bolaos, Manuel 2010, Centroamrica: anomalas o realidades?, Nueva Sociedad, 226: 10014. Romero, Juan 2009, La coyuntura econmica del golpe: Crisis del regimen e inestabilidad del modelo de acumulacin, Socialismo o Barbarie, 23/4: 12938. Ruben, Ruerd and Marrit van den Berg 2001, Nonfarm Employment and Poverty Alleviation of Rural Farm Households in Honduras, World Development, 29, 3: 54960. Senz, Roberto 2009a, Tienen miedo porque no les tenemos miedo: Despus del golpe rebellion, negociacin y resistencia, Socialismo o Barbarie, 23/4: 13945. 2009b, El retorno de Mel Zelaya, Socialismo o Barbarie, 23/4: 14754. Salomn, Leticia 2012, Honduras: A History That Repeats Itself, NACLA Report on the Americas, 45, 1: 5861. Spring, Karen 2012, Assassination Attempt against MUCA Leaders and LIBRE Candidate, 13 November, available at: <www.rightsaction.org>. Stokes, Doug 2005, Americas Other War: Terrorizing Colombia, London: Zed Books. The Economist 2008a, Zelaya Plays the Chvez Card, 30 October, available at: <http://www. economist.com/node/12522958?story_id=12522958>. 2008b, Leaning Left: Honduras Joins a Club Promoted by Venezuela and Cuba, 20 October, available at: <http://www.economist.com/node/12451680>. 2011, Hong Kong in Honduras, 10 December, available at: <http://www.economist.com/ node/21541392>. UNDP 2009, Human Development Report 2009, New York: United Nations. 2011, Human Development Report 2011, New York: United Nations.


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Webber, Jeffery R. 2011, From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia: Class Struggle, Indigenous Liberation, and the Politics of Evo Morales, Chicago: Haymarket Books. Webber, Jeffery R. and Barry Carr 2013, Introduction: The Latin American Left in Theory and Practice, in The New Latin American Left: Cracks in the Empire, edited by Jeffery R. Webber and Barry Carr, Lanham, MD.: Rowman and Littlefield. Weisbrot, Mark 2009, Hondurans Resist Coup: Will Need Help from Other Countries, The Guardian, 8 July. Wolseth, Jon 2008, Safety and Sanctuary: Pentecostalism and Youth Gang Violence in Honduras, Latin American Perspectives, 35, 4: 96111.

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Transcoding Kant: Kracauers Weimar Marxism and After*

Mike Wayne

Brunel University michael.wayne@brunel.ac.uk

Abstract Kracauers rehabilitation in the 1990s sidelined his Marxist framework of the middle-to-late Weimar era in favour of the then still dominant if decaying paradigms of poststructuralism and postmodernism. It was also silent on the relationship between Kant and Marxism in Kracauers work. This essay addresses these weaknesses by arguing that Kracauer transcoded the structure of Kants problematic around reification into a Marxist framework in the middle-to-late Weimar period. The essay considers how Kracauer conceived the mass ornament (photography and film especially) as a site of reification and critical pedagogy. It explores his strategies of de-reification and their overlap with Walter Benjamin and the ruptures and continuities between the radical Weimar work and his later Theory of Film. The essay argues that the Theory of Film can be better understood as a transcoding of Kants philosophy of the aesthetic in the third Critique into the film camera itself, although the Marxian framework of the Weimar period is now considerably attenuated. Keywords Adorno, film, Kant, Kracauer, photography, reification

The two Kracauers Siegfried Kracauers reputation, such as it was in the anglophone world of film and cultural studies, used to rest on his two major film works written in exile in America: From Caligari to Hitler (1947) and Theory of Film (1960). Yet the reception of Kracauers work was decisively shaped by the rupture of exile, which seemingly cut both Kracauer and his readership off from an understanding of his lifes work and the trajectory of his thinking. For it turned out there were two Kracauers and the American one could be read in a very different light
*I would like to thank the three anonymous external reviewers and the Historical Materialism editorial board for their constructive feedback on earlier drafts of this essay.
Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2013 DOI: 10.1163/1569206X-12341303


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when viewed from the perspective of the Weimar Kracauer who inhabited a radically different intellectual-political milieu in Germany during the 1920s and early 1930s. The Kracauer who had settled in America in flight from the Nazis seemed to be a sociological reductionist and naive realist, which made him decidedly out of favour once film studies was institutionalised in the 1960s and 1970s when auteur theory, structuralism and anti-realist theories followed rapidly on from one another.1 From Caligari to Hitler in particular, by far the most well-known of the two film books, came to be viewed as very problematic in its reflectionist and teleological model that purported to map a relationship between the German psyche, the films of the Weimar period and the growing receptivity of the German nation towards authoritarianism. From Caligari to Hitler cast a long shadow over Kracauer within academia, but gradually, with the aid of the journal New German Critique and later in the mid-1990s Thomas Y. Levins English translation of The Mass Ornament, a collection of essays and articles from the Weimar period, the perception of Kracauer changed. Between 1921 and 1933 Kracauer published approximately two thousand articles, reviews and essays, mostly in the newspaper where he worked as a journalist and commentator, the Frankfurter Zeitung.2 These writings were, as Elsaesser noted, a revelation.3 For they showed not only Kracauers links with critical theory, but also suggested that he sketched out many of the ideas in the 1920s that were to be subsequently taken up and developed by Benjamin and Adorno who it turned out must have been influenced by Kracauer (or perhaps that Kracauer formed part of a triumvirate in dialogue with each other) to a degree that they themselves had not acknowledged. Restoring Kracauers links to German critical theory also opened up the possibility of re-reading his American writings and discerning there more complexity and sophistication than hitherto.4 I want in this essay to explore the continuities and ruptures between the Kracauer of the Weimar period and the more philosophical and general account of film that Kracauer offers in his late work, Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality. One of the problems with the 1990s reassessment of Kracauers work is that it was largely dominated by the postmodernist and poststructuralist paradigms.5 Although disintegrating, these paradigms maintained their influence in the 1990s, with their motifs and concerns still in circulation and thus overdetermining, along with the continued hegemony of the French
1. Petro 1991, p. 135. 2. Hansen 2012, p. 3. 3. Elsaesser 1987, p. 68. 4. Petro 1991, p. 138. 5. Koss 1996.

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intelligentsia within the anglophone world, Kracauers new reception.6 So Kracauers interest in the fragment, in surfaces and in spectacle were seen to echo and anticipate key contemporary theorists such as Baudrillard, Foucault and Derrida.7 What was downplayed in this reception was how the essays of the Weimar period help us understand Kracauers relationship to Marxism and to what extent that relationship continued in some attenuated and reconfigured form in the work of the American Kracauer. Or perhaps, as some have argued, Kracauers engagement with Marxism was completely erased? To make matters more difficult in assessing Kracauers relationship to Marxism, Adornos account of his friend and one-time mentor seems to confirm Kracauers distance from Marxism.
One looks in vain in the storehouse of intellectual motifs for indignation about reification. To a consciousness that suspects it has been abandoned by human beings, objects are superior. In them thought makes reparations for what human beings have done to the living.8

Unlike many others in the 1960s when he wrote these lines, Adorno had been very familiar with Kracauers Weimar writings (and indeed encouraged the 1963 publication of the German edition of The Mass Ornament) so this statement is uncharacteristically off-beam, as we shall see. But taking her cue from Adorno, Miriam Hansen is not alone in downplaying Kracauers Marxist framework. Adorno rightly sensed that his friends concept of material objects was not dominated by a Marxist theory of reification.9 In his highly problematic assessment of his old friends work, Adorno used the rather disreputable method of building a psychological profile of Kracauer and then reading his work off from that. According to Adorno, Kracauer was a man with no skin. He had been flayed by a difficult childhood where he was subjected to the antisemitism that would of course later grow to monstrous proportions under fascism.10 This left Kracauer constructing defensive barriers to protect himself and, according to Adorno, this included a certain resistance to commitments, including theoretical commitment. Hence there is in Kracauers work a lack of rigour, a suspicion of systematicity, an over-valuation of the importance of the individual and a certain tendency towards adapting to situations that suggests conformism. Kracauer had a knack, says Adorno for successful
6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Petro 1991, pp. 1356. Petro 1991 and Hansen 1992. Adorno 1991, p. 177. Hansen 2012, p. 20. Adorno 1991, p. 161.


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adjustment.11 One of the problems with Adornos assessment is that he makes no distinction between the Weimar Kracauer and the American Kracauer in exile. Could there in fact be a more radical disjuncture between the milieu of Weimar Germany and 1950s Cold War America? Is it not fanciful to assume the possibility of a seamless continuity between the two Kracauers? But the other major problem with Adornos assessment is that it is, quite simply, substantively wrong, as I aim to show, on the question of Kracauers work. For he did indeed have a theory of reification especially in the Weimar period. However, to really appreciate Kracauers Weimar Marxism we have understand how he used it to transcode the work of Kant into historical-materialist terms. Viewing Kracauers social critique from this Kant-Marx nexus will also help us understand how the American Kracauer as the author of A Theory of Film had not abandoned entirely, but rather reconfigured, his critical methodology of the Weimar years. As we shall see, Kracauers theory of reification was closely related to his engagement with photography and film, and one of the things that does change in the work of the two Kracauers is the assessment of these mass-cultural media and their relationship to the problem of reification. Transcoding Kant Despite his highly critical assessment of Kracauer, Adorno acknowledged that it was Kracauer who was instrumental in his appreciation of Kant. For years, he spent Saturday afternoons reading The Critique of Pure Reason with Kracauer, and it was he who made Kant come alive for me. From Kracauer, Adorno learned not to search for systematic unity in Kant (or any other philosophers work) but rather to read the work as a kind of coded text from which the historical situation of spirit could be read.12 In particular, Adorno learned how the objective-ontological and subjective-idealist moments warred within it.13 This war would be played out in the critical procedures Kracauer, Adorno and Benjamin developed, with Kracauer and Benjamin opting for a historicalmaterialist phenomenology, as we shall see. But while Adorno acknowledges the importance of Kracauer in his reception of Kant, it does not quite do justice to the influence of Kant within their work. For the contradictions of The Critique of Pure Reason were to be a model of the problems of critical reason within advanced capitalism simultaneously imprisoned within the limits of a capitalist consciousness, and yet at the same time contradictory enough to
11. Adorno 1991, p. 172. 12. Adorno 1991, p. 160. 13. Ibid.

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require in many instances only the merest of critical inflections to become a critique of reification rather than a reflector of it. Yet the influence of Kant is often disavowed. Kant is even highly influential in as self-consciously a Hegelian book as Lukcss History and Class Consciousness. There Lukcs built on Marxs critique of commodity fetishism, where the relations between commodities in the market, for example their rising and falling prices, their availability or scarcity, their embrace of the masses or their exclusivity, acquires the appearance (not an illusion but an institutional reality within the ontologically stratified real) of an autonomous dynamic between commodities themselves and their universal means of exchange, money. The result is that the consciousness and will, the moral and political dimensions of our social being, atrophy, becoming increasingly contemplative.14 When the commodity structure becomes universalised throughout society (once labourpower has become a universal commodity) its dominance, Lukcs argued, pushes the fetishism inherent in it, throughout all institutional arrangements and conscious life. This generalisation of fetishism Lukcs called reification. As is well known, this generalisation was grasped by Lukcs through his reading and appropriation of Max Webers distinction between formal and substantive rationality. But this distinction in turn derives from Kant, especially The Critique of Pure Reason, which provides the model of the problem for developing a critical consciousness and practice under capitalism. Firstly within the Kantian faculty of the understanding there is the contradiction between sense-perception (grounded in the empirical individuals sensuous experience) and the universe of empirical concepts, and behind them, the pure a priori categories, which organise sense-perception into meaningful and intelligible arrangements. This structure already problematic for Kant had degenerated in the course of bourgeois intellectual history into the empiricism of sense-perception on the one hand unable to deal with the conceptual mediations that can analyse social relations, and the abstraction of universal concepts indifferent to the historical specificity of material life on the other. Its terminus was logical positivism. This contradiction within the faculty of the understanding was intimately connected with the contradiction between the faculty of the understanding and the faculty of reason. The latter as the expression of our species-being capacity for moral-political Ideas has been incapacitated by the social relations of production. This finds its symptomatic philosophical expression in Kants work. Without Ideas that can animate reality according to a moral-political compass, material nature (the nature that we make) suffers from petrification (a favourite metaphor of Kracauers).
14.Lukcs 1971, p. 89.


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Thus Kants aesthetic turn in The Critique of Judgement enters the Kantian philosophical architecture as a resource by which to reconnect reason with the faculty of the understanding and turn the dichotomy within the understanding between abstraction and sense-percepts into praxis. The transcoding of the structure of the Kantian problematic on reification into terms congruent with a Marxist framework brings what is already symptomatically outlined in Kants philosophy to a point of critical consciousness. Furthermore, it grounds the possibility of this consciousness in the historical-material reality itself that needs changing. That Kant was aware of and dissatisfied by the fate of moral-political reason within his philosophy seems to me evident enough from the opening of the third Critique. There he makes a devastating admission, one that the bourgeois tradition of analytic philosophy understandably passes over in silence. For there Kant writes of an immense gulf15 between the faculties of the understanding and of reason, between cognitive judgements according to the visible nature of things and moral judgements according to the supersensible principles of the good. The objects of theoretical philosophy, mapped out in The Critique of Pure Reason, are the concepts of nature16 which generate theoretical cognition governed by a priori principles immune to experience and the individual experiencing subject. Practical philosophy, which formed the basis of the Critique of Practical Reason, by contrast is governed by the concept of freedom, which negates the given determinateness implied by concepts of nature and gives rise to expansive principles for the determination of the will.17 Practical philosophy is thus the domain of moral philosophy, because it is only when we can make choices, when free will becomes a possibility, that the reflection on the moral principles for our practices becomes relevant. But as Kant notes, most practical activity is in fact governed by the a priori conceptual principles of nature (or the transcendental subject). So Kant makes a further distinction within practical activity between the technically practical and the morally practical.18 The technically practical comes under the domain of theoretical philosophy (essentially natural science) while the realm of morally practical action is hugely diminished and circumscribed on all sides by the realm of the technically practical. Reason appears to have little to do, it has little scope for legislation, when it comes to the domain of the technically practical. All it can do, as Kant puts it:

15.Kant 1987, p. 9. 16.Ibid. 17.Kant 1987, p. 10. 18.Ibid.

M. Wayne / Historical Materialism 21.3 (2013) 5785 ...with regard to theoretical cognition (of nature)...(given the familiarity with the laws that it has attained by means of the understanding) is to use given laws to infer consequences from them, which however remain always with nature.19


Thus the shrunken scope of Kants moral reason stands exposed with courageous honesty and it is this that constitutes the central problem which The Critique of Judgement seeks to address, via the aesthetic. Kants aesthetic turn, as a means of thinking through the conceptual blockages of this reified situation, set the pattern for critical German philosophy in the twentieth century. For the Weimar Kracauer the division between technical rationality (or the technically practical in Kant) and reason (morally grounded practical action in Kant) was a historical contradiction, as it was for Lukcs. Under capitalism reason has been hijacked by technical rationality (what Kracauer called the Ratio) reducing reason to an empty formalism poorly mediated with the real nature of things and as indifferent to the self as the transcendental Kantian subject. Kracauers back-story to the way contemporary technical rationality penetrates everyday life and mass-media spectacles is mapped out in his celebrated essay The Mass Ornament (1927). During the early stages of bourgeois/capitalist production (the Enlightenment), reason gradually penetrates nature and breaks down the boundaries which nature has drawn on changing the basis of social life.20 Significantly, from the perspective of the prefigurative role that the aesthetic can play, Kracauer believes that the advance of reason is already latent in pre-modern narratives such as fairy tales with their wish-fulfilment for social justice to triumph over poverty, scarcity and cruelty:
There is a deep historical meaning in the fact that the tales of the Arabian Nights found their way to France during the Enlightenment and that reason in the 18th century recognized the reason of the folk tales as its own. In the early periods of history, pure nature was already superseded [aufgehoben] by the triumph of truth in the fairy tale.21

The aesthetic of the mass ornament preserves the pre-figurative role it had within the fairy tales and represents form-bursting reason in a purer way than those other principles that preserve man as an organic unity.22 What a wonderful phrase that is: form-bursting reason, and how apposite to the cinema as we shall see, and to editing in particular, which disassembles and
19. 20. 21. 22. Kant 1987, p. 13. Kracauer 1995, p. 79. Kracauer 1995, p. 80. Kracauer 1995, p. 83.


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reassembles spatial and temporal relations and how they relate to material nature. Yet the promises of the Enlightenment to fulfil the utopian images of fairy tales went unrealised as capitalism more and more captured reason for its own purposes and turned it into technical rationality. This too finds its expression in the mass ornament. Taking the Tiller Girls as his example, Kracauer associated the abstract formal rationality of Ratio with linearity as opposed to the unity of genuine reason thus once more echoing the distinction between the mechanical sequencing of matter in Kants faculty of the understanding and the moral consciousness of the world to be found in the faculty of reason:
The more the coherence of the figure is relinquished in favour of mere linearity, the more distant it becomes from the immanent consciousness of those constituting it.23

The masses on whom the system is based are the servants of the system, not its masters. Linearity, the mechanical and mathematical organisation of matter, dispels consciousness from the arrangement in favour of the abstract Ratio, thus leaving reason marginalised from material reality just as it was for Kant. Even prior to reading Marx around the mid-1920s, in his 1922 essay The Group as the Bearer of Ideas Kracauer had grounded the Kantian realm of reason in collective practice rather than individual conscience. Ideas, Kracauer argues, invoking the Kantian realm of moral reason, exist in a state of should-being, longing to realise themselves in a material reality that resists transformation. Ideas of moral (or political) reason long to do more than merely, as Kant lamented in the third Critique, infer consequences from the laws of material nature. Although the individual does generate and proclaim the idea...it is the group that bears it and makes sure it is realized.24 This collective focus derives from Kracauers reading of Kant and points to another point of possible transcoding between Kant and Marx. For Kants transcendental subject and moral reason, whatever else can be said about them, are precisely attempts to push philosophy beyond the implicit individualism of empiricism and explicit moral-individualism of bourgeois homo economicus. Implicitly the collective struggle against reification, which Kracauer evokes below, is already acquired from Kant:
It is always in periods of highest intensity that the soul goes beyond the merelyextant, beyond what is rule-governed and necessary, and becomes part of the
23.Kracauer 1995, p. 77. 24.Kracauer 1995, p. 144.

M. Wayne / Historical Materialism 21.3 (2013) 5785 realm of freedom. But its wings cannot bear it aloft very long and, exhausted, it tumbles down toward reality...25


Perhaps Kracauer had in mind here the 1917 Russian Revolution, or other cases when the promises of revolutionary change, the realm of freedom, settled for something less than the Ideas originally enunciated. In so doing, the Idea becomes pure decoration, a faade to disguise the partly rotten interior with which power and extant reality have diverged from the Idea without admitting it. The Idea has been engulfed, raped, and abused by reality instead of transforming that reality according to its terms.26 Crucially, Ideas do not manifest themselves on the surface of material phenomena (and in their linear spatial-temporal relations), for material phenomena are subsumed under the abstraction of universal concepts. In this guise, material phenomena, under the spell of Ratio, is enveloped in a new kind of nature only superficially banished by abstract reason so that mythology reasserts its power over man. In spite of the rationality of the mass pattern, such patterns simultaneously give rise to the natural in its impenetrability.27 However, just because the mass ornament is the aesthetic reflex of the rationality to which the prevailing economic system aspires,28 this did not mean for Kracauer that the mass ornament could be wholly dismissed, any more than Kants partial internalisation of bourgeois ideology could. On the contrary, mass culture was the very site where a critical pedagogy had to be launched. Mass culture and pedagogy In his posthumously published book, History: The Last Things before the Last, Kracauer writes in Kantian fashion that institutionalisation of an Idea inevitably means that clouds of dust gather about it.29 Institutionalisation is equivalent to the universe of dominant concepts whose abstractness does (ideologically motivated) disservice to the Ideas they have appropriated. Thus Kracauer declares that he has always been interested in ferreting around amongst the rubbish of history, those things that have been marginalised and overlooked, which might speak more authentically about an epoch than the dominant voices, the legitimated cultural modes and the prevailing concepts of the time. Here at least there is a strong continuity between the late and early Kracauer.
25.Kracauer 1995, p. 166. 26.Kracauer 1995, p. 167. 27.Kracauer 1995, p. 84. 28.Kracauer 1995, p. 79. 29.Kracauer 1969, p. 7.


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The Mass Ornament opens with what amounts to a foundational statement on the rationale for the study of popular culture in the twentieth century:
The position that an epoch occupies in the historical process can be determined more strikingly from an analysis of its inconspicuous surface-level expressions than from that epochs judgment about itself.30

It is only the powerful who are in a position to make such judgements that silence and erase those voices that have been robbed of a say. Yet their presence and a more profound account of an epoch may be found paradoxically in the apparently superficial mass-cultural expressions of the day. The fundamental substance of an epoch, says Kracauer, and its unheeded impulses illuminate each other reciprocally.31 If for the later Kracauer the unheeded fragment becomes uncoupled from the fundamental substance of an epoch, here at least they are dialectically related and construct something like a totality, although a provisional one closer to that imagined by Benjamin and Adorno than that by Lukcs. Kracauer articulates a powerful democratic interest in the culture of the masses and a healthy scepticism of the pretensions of art. He is scathing of the intellectual class who flee the mass ornament and prefer art that is largely cut off from the dynamics of contemporary reality. He is also dismissive of any attempts to give film or photography cultural pretensions by association with the legitimate arts of theatre or painting. Such strategies are really aimed at prising the new media out of the material nature of industrial modernity, which precisely gives them their political and pedagogic potential. It would be well worth the effort to expose the close ties between the prevailing social order and artistic photography, remarks the Weimar Kracauer.32 Kracauer is able to cross the lines of cultural demarcation separating the intelligentsia from the culture of the masses in a way that makes him close to Benjamin and Brecht and which distinguishes him from Adornos mandarin distance from the popular. Hansen suggests that this is evident in Kracauers willingness to shift to the first-person when discussing the reception of the mass media, either the singular or plural first person, implicating himself in the reception of mass culture in a way that Adorno could not contemplate.33 Adorno recognised Kracauers distinctive methodology but denied it the originality it deserved,

30.Kracauer 1995, p. 75. 31. Ibid. 32. Kracauer 1995, p. 53. 33. Hansen 1991, pp. 723.

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as a precursor to ethnographic participant-observation in the field of cultural studies. Instead, he notes rather sourly:
With Kracauer, in place of theory it is always Kracauer himself who is already present in the gaze that grips the subject matter and takes it in.34

What artistic attempts to boost the cultural legitimacy of mass culture conceal is that which it is most important to learn: the essential emptiness of life under capitalism. The internalisation of the logic of commodification within mass culture empties the mass ornament of an older connection to human feeling, psychology and the individual subject, and in so embodying reification provides an aesthetic experience of the core socio-economic conditions that predominate in contemporary society. When Kracauer uses one element of the mass ornament or spectacle (photography) as a metaphor to critique the social conditions which the spectacle as a whole represents, he demonstrates its potential political and educational value:
The ornament resembles aerial photographs of landscapes and cities in that it does not emerge out of the interior of the given conditions but rather appears above them.35

Mass culture as a pedagogic vehicle for critiquing the very reified conditions it expresses: this sums up Kracauers highly dialectical reading of the situation. Here mass culture, as the embodiment of the Ratio, takes up the same position as the transcendental subject in Kracauers critical reading of Kant. The subsumption of empirical experience to a rigid and abstract transcendental subject that is external to experience and dominates the individual subject from above is graphically translated into this image of the aerial photograph. Kracauers reading of the mass ornament means he reinterprets the by-then popular concept of distraction as a description of mass culture dialectically. While in one important sense it is distraction in the negative sense (diversion, compensation), the mass spectacle is also the place where
...the audience encounters itself; its own reality is revealed in the fragmented sequence of splendid sense impressions. Were this reality to remain hidden from the viewers, they could neither attack nor change it: its disclosure in distraction is therefore of moral significance.36
34. Adorno 1991, p. 166. 35.Kracauer 1995, p. 77. 36.Kracauer 1995, p. 326.


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This from the 1926 article Cult of Distraction summarises Kracauers key concerns: the potential for the audience to encounter itself in the distinct aesthetic form which bears the trace of their presence, their reality and their alienation, and from that to draw moral-political conclusions in the name of reason against the abstract Ratio. The Cult of Distraction essay focuses on the Berlin picture palaces which raise distraction to the level of culture: they are aimed at the masses.37 Kracauer finds in the spectacle the quantitative presence of the working class in Berlin and their demand to be culturally satisfied that has eclipsed the traditional middle-class culture. The older sites of middle-class dominance, such as the churches, are displaced by the new sites of worship just as the churches are also displaced by the new commodified urban spaces such as the hotel lobby. In his essay The Hotel Lobby, Kracauer in Kantian fashion juxtaposes the moral and spiritual collectivity of the House of God with the hotel lobby that transit station for atomised beings going about their private lives and desires. The House of God for Kracauer is structured around a tension between its spiritual yearnings and residual collectivity and the material reality of modern capitalism, whereas the space of the hotel lobby has dissolved all tension into an indifferent relaxation that obscures the fundamental exploitation on which the system is based:
In tasteful lounge chairs a civilization intent on rationalization comes to an end, whereas the decorations of the church pews are born from the tension that accords them a revelatory meaning.38

This invocation of the material object (in a work written between 1922 and 1925) as potentially releasing a revelatory meaning is strikingly similar to Benjamins thinking, although whether this reflects Kracauers influence on Benjamin or Benjamins influence on Kracauer is difficult to say. By 1926, with the urban masses now taking centre-stage in his thinking, Kracauer explores the space of the Berlin picture palaces. This too is a commodified space, like the hotel lobby, but, unlike the hotel lobby, populated by its bourgeois customers, the picture palaces sustain that same tension between utopian longing and material reality that Kracauer espied in the house of worship. Here one pole of the tension lies in the working day of the workers which fills their day fully without making it fulfilling.39 This is matched by an aesthetic which is equally frenetic and shaped by similar imperatives: The

37.Kracauer 1995, p. 324. 38. Kracauer 1995, p. 178. 39. Kracauer 1995, p. 325.

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form of free-time busy-ness necessarily corresponds to the form of business.40 But here Kracauer detects a fragility in the aesthetic, a sense that the emptiness of the forms and the reality they are trying to conceal is ever present: Like life buoys, the refractions of the spotlights and the musical accompaniment keep the spectator above water.41 Although the philosophical framework is radical and coherent, the argument is highly impressionistic and somewhat poetic. There is a tension and potential weakness between what the framework insists is the potentiality of distraction and the sense that the overwhelming tendency of the spectacle obeys the interests of capital. Berlin is the home of the masses who so easily allow themselves to be stupefied only because they are so close to the truth.42 Stupefaction and revelation seem jammed together in a startling juxtaposition, but it is hard to see in concrete terms how the passage from one to the other can be achieved. In part this is a gap between the philosophical framework and practical film criticism. For when Kracauer comes to view the empirical reality of German cinema, just two years later in his essay Film 1928, the sense of potentiality and optimism that someday all this will suddenly burst apart43 has evaporated entirely. German cinema is seen as shoddy, poorly executed, contemptuous of its audience, reprehensible in its evasiveness, escapism and avoidance maneuvers.44 Although film and photography may be emblematic of a new form of consciousness able to round on the alienation which it expresses, like Benjamin, Kracauer finds this potential realised less in empirical film examples than in his own modes of decoding strategies and it is this which closes the gap between potentiality and actuality. Aesthetic strategies of de-reification In his 1928 review of Walter Benjamins then recently published books, The Origin of German Tragic Drama and One Way Street, Kracauer identifies Benjamins strategies of de-reification. Against the Kantian transcendentalism of the first Critique with its subsumption of the particular (sense-impressions) to the universal, Benjamin pursues a monadological approach that is strikingly similar to Kracauers materialist phenomenology. Benjamins approach (and, by implication, Kracauers) is the antithesis of the philosophical system, which
40. Ibid. 41. Kracauer 1995, p. 326. 42. Kracauer 1995, p. 328. 43. Kracauer 1995, p. 327. 44.Kracauer 1995, p. 312.


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wants to secure its grasp of the world by means of universal concepts, and the antithesis of abstract generalization as a whole.45 Yet if Benjamin and Kracauer are critical of Kants transcendental subject from the first Critique, they both use the overall structure of his problematic in which the division between objective material reality and moral-political reason is addressed via the mediating role of the aesthetic. Even within The Critique of Pure Reason, Kant acknowledges the limits of the faculty of understanding, with its linear sequencing of sense impressions (synthetic judgements) subsumed under logical relations (a priori synthetic judgements). Besides the painful fissure between understanding and reason, another site where Kants misgivings emerge is in the distinction between phenomena and noumena, the latter functioning as a rebuke to the limitations of Kants own empiricist philosophical structure. Of course this distinction anticipates Marxs later distinction between phenomenal forms, critiqued as suffering from an extremely restricted cognitive reach, and real relations. Yet Kant also flips the critique around and, reminding reason of its tendency towards idealism,46 identifies reason and rationality as a problem when it becomes too uncoupled from the experiential life of the subject. Marx too, it should be remembered, started Capital with a thing perceptible to the senses: the commodity. With the degeneration of neo-Kantianism into logical positivism, both Kracauer and Benjamin were drawn to a materialist phenomenology that would recover experience from the abstractions of theory and the thinness of the merely empirical. As even Adorno noted:
Phenomenology was for those who wanted to be dazzled neither by ideology nor by the faade of something subject merely to empirical verification. Such impulses bore fruit in Kracauer as in few others.47

If the embryonic outlines of a future logical positivism are retrospectively discernable in Kants Critique of Pure Reason, the origin of the dialectical image, where the experiential is mediated with a critical philosophy that illuminates its social conditions, may equally be discerned in The Critique of Judgement. Kants aesthetic turn is an attempt to link the empirical and experiential to that which transcends the empirical and the experiential (the noumenal essence of things) and that in turn requires a mediating subject of moral reason to mobilise principles and Ideas (or critical theory) to represent supersensible realities. The experiential/empirical, the noumenal/real essences and a critical framework mobilised by the moral-political subject are the three points of a
45.Kracauer 1995, p. 259. 46.Kant 1996, p. 50 [B9]. 47.Adorno 1991, p. 163.

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triangle that constitutes Kracauer and Benjamins materialist phenomenology. Quite explicitly, Kants methodological shift in the third Critique is the aesthetic strategy of metaphor (what will become the dialectical image), which he calls reflective judgement:
To reflect...is to hold given presentations up to, and compare them with, either other presentations or ones cognitive power [itself], in reference to a concept that this [comparison] makes possible.48

At a stroke Kant here opens up a legitimate space for a critical subjectivity that suspends the reified power of universal concepts and makes it possible, through analogy or metaphor, to think a concept through a comparison that it was not possible to think before, under the model mapped out by the faculty of the understanding in the first Critique. Similarly, Kracauer and Benjamin turn their critical gaze against the transcendental subject of the understanding and evoke instead a radically reconfigured Kantian subject of political-moral reason the subject of Ideas which are a discontinuous multiplicity to be found in the murky medium of history.49 The murky medium of history must be recovered from the phenomenal world as it is presented according to the faculty of the understanding whose combination of empirical immediacy and abstract universalisation reveals virtually nothing of the essentials of social life, but is instead a model of ideological thought. As Kracauer puts it: he who faces the world in its immediacy is presented with a figure that he must smash in order to reach the essentials.50 The aesthetic is the methodology of smashing and allegorical reassembling. In The Hotel Lobby the reassembling seems to lean towards a traditional aesthetic of unity:
The more life is submerged, the more it needs the artwork, which unseals its withdrawnness and puts its pieces back in place in such a way that these, which were lying strewn about, become organised in a meaningful way. The unity of the aesthetic construct, the manner in which it distributes the emphases and consolidates the event, gives a voice to the inexpressive world, gives meaning to the themes broached within it.51

After his Marxian turn, however, the reassembling that is envisaged does not aspire to aesthetic unity: the faade must be torn down, and form cut
48.Kant 1987, p. 400. 49.Kracauer 1995, p. 259. 50. Kracauer 1995, p. 260. 51. Kracauer 1995, p. 173.


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to pieces.52 Film provided the philosophical justification for this aesthetic, as Walter Benjamin was to later suggest in The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction:
Our taverns and our metropolitan streets, our offices and furnished rooms, our railroad stations and our factories appeared to have us locked up hopelessly. Then came the film and burst this prison-world asunder by the dynamite of the tenth of a second, so that now, in the midst of its far-flung ruins and debris, we calmly and adventurously go travelling.53

Here Benjamin stresses the potentialities of the medium as a productive cognitive augmentation of the human eye which, in transforming our relations to material nature, is at the same time registering new social meanings, relations and possibilities slumbering within that material nature but unrecognised because we are locked up hopelessly within it. Film explodes this reified world, turning it into ruins and debris, which is to say montage elements that can be reconfigured dialectically for cognitive travelling. The terms ruins and debris remind us that for Benjamin the inert qualities which reified material nature acquires under capitalism can be counteracted when that material nature breaks down in some way. A key term through which we can understand Benjamins conception of the dialectical image is decomposition. This is a double death: the death which the commodity brings to the living and the potential to in turn bring the living back to a more authentic life via the death of the commodity. Decomposition as death in this double sense and as a methodology are linked, for example, in Benjamins theory of the collector. The collector lovingly brings back obsolescent commodities whose original uses and exchange values have died, reconstructing their history as a magic encyclopedia that traces the fate of his object.54 The collector has an intense personal relationship with the commodity ambiguously different from the way the commodity interpellates the subject when the commodity is in its full glory as the prodigies of their day.55 Death makes the commodity more receptive to the living, its powers over the living weaken with its historical displacement into the collectors arrangement of artefacts. Benjamin quotes Marx in the Convolute on The Collector in The Arcades Project: I can, in practice, relate myself humanly to an object only if the object relates itself humanly to man.56 The possibility of a human relationship (of the kind found
52. Kracauer 1995, p. 261. 53. Benjamin 1999a, p. 229. 54. Benjamin 1999a, p. 62. 55.Benjamin 1999b, p. 203. 56.Benjamin 1999b, p. 209.

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today through Freecycle and using second-hand shops) opens up only with the obsolescence of the commodity. At that point the object becomes meaningful, which is to say, through decomposition, the object from history becomes allegorical. As Benjamin cryptically puts it in The Arcades Project: Broken-down matter: the elevation of the commodity to the status of allegory.57 The collector and the allegorist share an interest in recovering meaning from history and this means disrupting the positivist cataloguing of history as a linear sequence of events. Their modus operandi is close to Prousts mmoire involuntaire, where a productive disorder58 predominates. Here memory plays the central role in recovering Ideas from the murky medium of history. All these quintessentially Benjaminian themes around death, montage, the commodity, memory and history are to be found in Kracauers brilliant 1927 essay, Photography. The essay begins with a juxtaposition, or what Benjamin would call a constellation, between two photographs. One is a contemporary photograph of an unnamed film star, a public property whom everyone knows and the other is from the personal family album, a picture of grandmother taken in 1864, about whom family members know rather little, except for a few scraps of information and rumour. Unlike the film star who is alive, the body of the grandmother, because it has no indexical relation to a living body, seems to dematerialise leaving only something of a museum piece a mannequin in a glass, labelled, telling the viewer how women dressed back then: chignons, cinched waists, crinolines, and Zouave jackets.59 The fashions of the time captured in the photo, now dated, suddenly seem funny to the grandchildren whom Kracauer here introduces as amused consumers of this relic from 1864. Interestingly, although Kracauer makes no further reference to it, the Zouave jacket was modelled on the uniform of the French colonial army partly composed of Berber tribes recruited during the annexation of Algiers by France in 1830. It is not, then, just the cultural treasures of the past that come down to us with an underside dripping in blood and barbarism, as Benjamin noted,60 but the frivolous and transient products of mass culture, such as fashion. Although Kracauer ignores the colonial dimension, he notes the theme of death and obsolescence that still protrudes into our own time like a mansion from earlier days that is destined for destruction because the city centre has been moved to another part of town.61 The children laugh, but they also shudder in the presence of this double death (of the grandmother and of the fashionable
57.Benjamin 1999b, p. 207. 58.Benjamin 1999b, p. 211. 59.Kracauer 1995, p. 48. 60. Benjamin 1999a, p. 248. 61. Kracauer 1995, p. 55


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commodities no longer fashionable). The contemporary image of the film star is, by contrast, bolstered in its apparently self-sufficient meaning by the fact that the film diva herself is still alive her corporeal reality62 conceals the hollowness that Kracauer wants us to confront via the 1864 photograph. The old photograph has been emptied of the life whose physical presence overlay its merely spatial configuration.63 In so doing, the public photograph is revealed to be enshrouded in the secrets of private property while the private photograph reveals something interesting about our historical condition. This phenomenological-materialist constellation of photographs bursts out of the historicism which Kracauer sees photography ordinarily buttressing. Historicism, of the kind advocated by Dilthey, expresses the logic of capital and understands events according to a linear succession of causes and effects. Historicists believe that they can grasp historical reality by reconstructing the course of events in their temporal succession without any gaps.64 Photography provides the spatial equivalent of this temporal conception, while the moving-image equivalent would be a giant film depicting the temporality of interconnected events from every vantage point.65 Confronted with this mechanical conception of historical time in which events are only externally related according to immediate cause-effect relations, Kracauer anticipates Benjamins strategy of trying to blast open the continuum of history66 with its myth of progress. The 1864 photograph is used to trigger what Kracauer calls memory images in much the same way that Benjamin looked to Prousts mmoire involuntaire to disrupt official history based on empirical recording and cataloguing. Photography grasps what is given as a spatial (or temporal) continuum; memory images retain what is given only insofar as it has significance.67 Yet it is through photography that photography can be made to speak, to unseal its muteness through memory images that are premised not on an ambition of empirical completeness but on a jumble that consists partly of garbage.68 Once again, decomposition recommends itself as a way of counteracting the meaninglessness of mute nature and recovering a real history buried in the photographic image as if under a layer of snow.69 Unaided by a critical philosophy that can reconstruct what the photograph conceals, photography will follow natural necessity, which is one reason
62. Kracauer 1995, p. 54. 63. Kracauer 1995, pp. 545. 64. Kracauer 1995, p. 49. 65. Kracauer 1995, p. 50. 66. Benjamin 1999a, p. 254. 67. Kracauer 1995, p. 50. 68. Kracauer 1995, p. 51. 69. Ibid.

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perhaps why fantasy genres, going back to Kracauers interest in fairy tales, have long held an appeal for Marxists. In order for history to present itself, the mere surface coherence offered by photography must be destroyed.70 Here it is decomposition which counter-attacks photography as a secretion of the capitalist mode of production.71 Thus the grandmothers dress achieves the beauty of a ruin.72 Recently outdated, it is caught between still wanting to make a claim on us in terms of its nowness and the fact that it is effectively cast aside by the march of history. Disrupting that linear march, Kracauers juxtaposition works to expose the vacuousness and emptiness of the commodity world we have surrounded ourselves with: Those things once clung to us like our skin, and this is how our property still clings to us today.73 Rather than having an uncritical investment in the beingness of things, as Adorno thought,74 Kracauer argues that these are things whose depersonalisation forces us to take a lesson in the indifference of the commodity to human life, but it is a lesson we can only be receptive to when the human figure is displaced by death. Death drives a wedge between the image and that which it resembles and in effect opens the image up to a genuine historical consciousness. Death/ displacement hollows out the unity and linearity of the image: The contiguity of these images says Kracauer, again evoking Kants sequential ordering of sense-percepts under abstractions, systematically excludes their contextual framework available to consciousness.75 Thus death and displacement is in a dialectical relationship with a genuine living historical consciousness at the point of reception, and this again suggests how wrong Adorno was in arguing that dialectical thought for Kracauer never suited his temperament.76 Conversely, the photographs that the new mass media mobilise are a sign of the fear of death which is dialectically related to a fear of a genuine life beyond reification:
In the illustrated magazines the world has become a photographable present, and the photographed present has been eternalized. Seemingly ripped from the clutch of death, in reality it has succumbed to it.77

70. Kracauer 1995, p. 52. 71. Kracauer 1995, p. 61. 72. Kracauer 1995, p. 55. 73. Kracauer 1995, p. 56. 74. Adorno 1991, p. 177. 75. Kracauer 1995, p. 58. 76.Adorno 1991, p. 165. 77.Kracauer 1995, p. 59.


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Just as the proletariat are both commodity and the potential destroyer of commodity society, so mass culture is both the production of commodity consciousness and the potential place where a commodified consciousness can see this reification at work and work against it. Kracauer extended Lukcss analysis into the sphere of the new industrial culture that Lukcs consigned only to the realm of reification and, in so doing, required a very different philosophy of the aesthetic. The engagement with mass culture as the dialectical staging ground for both reification and its critique was for Kracauer the go-for-broke game of history.78 It was to be a game that the left decisively lost with the rise of the Nazis and the death of the Weimar Republic. Theory of Film: continuities and ruptures Miriam Hansen has reconstructed the process of production of Theory of Film (repressed in the finished product) noting its long genesis from draft outlines written as far back as 1940, where Kracauer was still strongly influenced by the radical Weimar culture of the 1920s and 1930s, to the finished product completed during the 1950s, when Kracauers transformation into a liberal humanist conforming to the Cold War American scene was seemingly complete.79 Yet traces of the earlier Kracauer still remain here and there in Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality, and not only in the subtitle of the book which indicates that reality needs to be de-reified or redeemed. They burst out of the page in passages that seem a world away from the overall de-politicised framework and empirical methodology. For example, in the references to Proust and more surprisingly to Benjamin, the flneur and the streets of modernity these all look back, or seem to look back, to the radical culture of the 1920s and early 1930s. However, Inka Mlder-Bach argues that the appearance of continuities between the Weimar and American Kracauer is deceptive:
figures of speech, motifs, and images are preserved, but the structure in which they are embedded has changed. They alter their positions, which become elements of completely different theoretical moves.80

Mlder-Bach reads Kracauer as reversing his earlier critique of photography as the imagistic equivalent of historicism and instead he now celebrates its
78.Kracauer 1995, p. 61. 79.Hansen 1993. 80. Mlder-Bach 1991, p. 153.

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apparent bracketing of subjectivity in the name of a frozen objectivity divorced from the subject. This combined with the eclipse of any critique of abstract rationalism in the later writings and his apparent fetishism of the fragment, or what Mlder-Bach calls the totalization of the periphery,81 in contrast to the dialectic between the inconspicuous and marginalised fragment and its relationship to the totality the fundamental substance of the epoch as he put it in The Mass Ornament would seem to confirm that a chasm exists between the two Kracauers. Broadly I think Mlder-Bach is right to stress a disjuncture, but, nevertheless, some genuine continuities remain and a little more nuance is required. Remembering Kracauers relationship to the Kantian problematic might also aid us here. We may recall that Kracauer did in fact make the displacement of subjectivity part of his critical method in the Photography essay. Although that essay is inseparably bound to the transformative powers of subjectivity,82 those powers could only be generated via the displacement of the subject within the image (the film star, the grandmother). There are thus two models of the subject that Kracauer is working with: a bourgeois model of the subject that puts the subject at the centre of things to the detriment of history and material structures and processes, and a critical subject alive to historical materialism. We have seen that Kracauer consistently attacked any attempt to prise both photography and film out of their embeddedness in industrial modernity by associating them with legitimate cultural practices such as painting and theatre. For this reason Kracauer dismisses those elements of the architecture of the Berlin picture palaces that give film high-cultural pretensions as if designed to accommodate works of eternal significance.83 In Theory of Film Kracauer continues to make the same argument against the work of MoholyNagy and Mary Ann Dorr for example, where the expressive artist pushes photography back towards painting.84 However, if one reads Theory of Film either as a complete rupture from the Weimar Kracauer or without any knowledge of the Weimar writings, then it would be easy to think that Kracauers polemic against bourgeois subjectivity has been turned into a polemic on behalf of a naive theory of realism (the expression of bourgeois materialism rather than bourgeois subjectivism). Thus Kracauers critique of artistic over-composition could be read as a hymn to the mechanical objectivity of the camera, which should be left to catch reality in

81. Mlder-Bach 1991, p. 152. 82. Mlder-Bach 1991, p. 142. 83. Kracauer 1995, p. 327. 84. Kracauer 1997, p. 19.


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its flux as he put it.85 Yet at one level Kracauer very clearly rejects such a model of realism: Actually, there is no mirror at all. Photographs do not just copy nature but metamophose it by transferring three-dimensional phenomena to the plane, severing their ties with the surroundings, and substituting black, gray, and white for the given color schemes.86 Kracauer was a very curious realist, as Adorno rightly noted. The idea of the camera as intrinsically about the morphing of matter, as a matter-morpher, is something I would like to elaborate on. It would seem to suggest a position quite close to, if also stripped of the radical critical framework of, the Weimar years and Benjamins position that with allegory, history (and nature) decays into images and thus becomes subjectively appropriable once more. With the camera, reality is de- or re-composed into images that can then acquire allegorical meaning. Yet Kracauers position, it must be admitted, remains undeveloped and very ambiguous. The general context of his discussion of photography is one that tries to establish what kind of subjective disposition the image producer ought to have vis--vis the camera given the latters own essential characteristics and qualities. The camera, he suggests, has certain built-in affinities with aspects of reality that give it a materialist orientation. For example, it has an affinity towards unstaged reality, which does not at all mean that Kracauer believes that film is or ought to be unstaged, but rather that within that process of staging there will also be a dynamic that testifies to the independence of material nature from our shaping-activity. Linked with the unstaged dimension within the staged is the cameras sensitivity to the fortuitous, the random and the accidental all those contingent dimensions of independent material nature that cannot be predicted. This then links with a third characteristic, that of incompleteness, the fragmentary and open-ended nature of the reality it reproduces. Finally the photographic is marked by a certain indeterminateness in terms of its meaning and here we can see an example of how Kracauer might be read in relation to a poststructuralist notion of polysemy.87 It perhaps ought to be noted that Kracauers prescriptions here are also echoed to some degree by Adorno in his later essay Film Transparencies, but then we have already seen that his assessment of Kracauer was not Adornos finest hour. We may get a better sense of where Kracauer is coming from if we understand his discussion of the camera and its objectively structuring characteristics which turn out to have some of the characteristics often associated with subjectivity (the accidental, the incomplete, the indeterminate) if we see the whole discussion as a transposition of Kants transcendental subject. For Kant,
85.Ibid. 86.Ibid. 87.Kracauer 1997, pp. 1820.

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as we have seen, the transcendental subject of the first Critique is an objective structure independent of the empirical individual and providing the conditions for their sense-perceiving activity. The camera may thus be seen as something like the Kantian transcendental subject, its social-technical basis, derived from industrial modernity, resists excessive artistic over-composition that tries to pull camera-reality back to painting. Yet at the same time the camera is not associated with the kind of reified objectivity that Kracauers Weimar self once ascribed to it as the metaphorical realisation or material embodiment of an abstract universalism that mimics the transcendental subject of the first Critique. Instead he now seems to give the photographic image some of the qualities that he once suggested could only be generated by a subjective re-appropriation of photography by the radical critic adopting de-reifying strategies that could break down the false immediacy of the image. In short, he is modifying the Kantian transcendental subject of the first Critique by giving it (the camera) features that seem to be objectively subjective. Kracauers trajectory thus parallels Kants own aesthetic turn, where in the third Critique Kant explores the possibility of an interpenetration between the objective and the subjective that modifies both, de-reifying the transcendental subject and socialising the individual subject by introducing culture and the aesthetic. If the Weimar Kracauer grounded his critical practice in the theoretical potentialities of industrial mass culture, there was nevertheless, as we have seen, a gap between that potentiality and the actual practice of mass culture, as Kracauers disillusioned essay Film 1928 suggested. The American Kracauer then seems to reverse the terms of the problem by now grounding, in a much more detailed way, the characteristics of decomposition more readily within the medium of the image itself rather than the critical discourse or interpretation, but at the risk of severely attenuating the radical philosophical framework which the critic brings. Nevertheless this objectively subjective quality of the photographic image, or what Kant called the subjectively universal in aesthetic judgement88 may be rephrased as nothing more than saying that the camera is fundamentally about perception and meaning, but that perception and meaning is not to be understood here as subjective in the sense of the empirical individual, but instead it is meaning and perception that is social and cultural in its implications and origins. Here we must return in more detail to Kant because in essence the passage from the first to the third Critique is, as I have indicated, precisely a search for an aspect of the transcendental subject that operates somewhere between the reified universal of nature as given, the abstract principles of moral reason
88.Kant 1987, p. 89.


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where free will is posited but unrealised and unrealisable, and the subjective, empirical and experiential world of the individual subject. Kant finds this aspect of the transcendental subject in the aesthetic, a mediating or middleground judgement between the dualities of Kants philosophical architecture. In the Dialectic of Aesthetic Judgement in the third Critique, Kant asks how an aesthetic judgement, which involves subjective play, can also have characteristics associated with objective concepts (of either the understanding or reason) which demand agreement. His answer effectively is that the aesthetic is a mode of judgement that is both objective and subjective, but the meaning of each term changes when brought together.
A judgment of taste is not based on determinate concepts...A judgment of taste is indeed based on a concept, but on an indeterminate one (namely, that of the supersensible substrate of appearances).89

The aesthetic, then, has certain qualities that lift it beyond the merely private and subjective assertion of judgement, and insofar as that is true it is based on a concept. But this concept is not a determinate one of the kind that governs the faculty of the understanding where cognition is shadowed by reification. The concept is an indeterminate one, not bound by empirical proofs yet still open to inter-subjective assessment and re-assessment. Moreover, the aesthetic judgement is based, like moral reason, on the supersensible substrate that underpins appearances. Kant is here referring explicitly to the supersensible substrate of humanity where this power for aesthetic judgement resides. But we can easily extend the concept of the supersensible substrate out towards the world around us, given that for Kant the noumenal dimension includes both that which is within us and that which is outside us, i.e. that which underpins the world of appearances that do come to our sense-apparatus for cognitive judgement in the faculty of the understanding. Thus we have the basis in Kant for the thinking of the aesthetic in a way that became common within twentieth-century Marxist cultural theory: namely as a critical resource within a reified society. To be sure, I am constructing a genealogy that is only tacitly and rarely self-consciously articulated within the work of Kracauer himself, but so foundational is Kant for him (as for Adorno) that we cannot really understand the play of his thought and development without shading in the great dramatic struggle against reification that Kant himself undertook. In Kracauers late work the qualities of the aesthetic are lodged within the camera itself and not merely the philosophical framework of the critic. It is in this sense that the camera is matter-morphing, it has a social-technical
89.Kant 1987, p. 213.

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built-in predisposition to allegorise in the Benjaminian sense. One example of the way camera-reality is subjectively universal is the way in which it can intervene and re-shape our unconscious interaction with our environment. When our everyday surroundings, objects and people become part of us like our skin...they cease to be objects of perception.90 It is clear that our habitual and unconscious activity within this material environment is a socially determinate one in that the familiar world conditions our involuntary reaction.91 Cinema can defamiliarise this environment to some extent and renew our perceptual engagement with it because its raw material is precisely unknown perspectives. Unlike paintings, film images encourage such a decomposition because of their emphatic concern with raw material not yet consumed.92 Habitualised modes of seeing are thus subjected or at least can be subjected to decomposition by the camera and editings predisposition towards seeing things from new angles and perspectives, from raw material not yet consumed. Kracauer discusses the relationship between material reality, conventional figure-ground optics and the decomposition-by-recomposition possibilities of the camera:
Imagine a man in a room: accustomed as we are to visualize the human figure as a whole, it would take us an enormous effort to perceive instead of the whole man a pictorial unit consisting, say, of his right shoulder and arm, fragments of furniture and a section of the wall. But this is exactly what photography and, more powerfully, film may make us see. The motion picture camera has a way of disintegrating familiar objects and bringing to the fore often just in moving about previously invisible interrelationships between parts of them.93

This example of how structures of perception (the transcendental subject) may be reconfigured by the camera as an aesthetic transcendental/social and technical augmentation of the subject also illuminates Kracauers interest in how material objects partially displace or relativise the centrality of the individual human subject presumed by bourgeois culture. Here Kracauer compares cinema to the bourgeois theatre and notes that where the actor is to fore on the stage, in the cinema, the object may vie with the actor as a co-protagonist. Kracauer cites mad automobiles in comedy films, the cruiser Potemkin in Eisensteins film and the dilapidated kitchen in Umberto D as
90. Kracauer 1997, p. 55. 91. Kracauer 1997, p. 57. 92. Kracauer 1997, p. 56. 93. Kracauer 1997, pp. 534.


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examples where a long procession of unforgettable objects has passed across the screen.94 This foregrounding of the inanimate materiality that makes up the environment contrasts favourably with those films in which the inanimate merely serves as a background to self-contained dialogue and the closed circuit of human relations.95 Here we certainly see a flash of the radical Kracauer from the Weimar years. Hansen sees the impulse to deflate the image of the sovereign individual as the central allegorical meaning in Kracauers interest in the materiality of physical things.96 Discussing the close-up in the films of D.W. Griffiths, Kracauer argues that this disclosure of new aspects of material reality penetrates down into the inner dynamics of reality and thus leads us through the thicket of material life.97 The thicket of material life that is a suggestive metaphor and one in which the physical and the signifying converge in much the same way that Kracauer thought of the hotel lobby as both a real space and an iconic image for detective fiction. When Kracauer talks of the camera metamorphosing nature, he is precisely talking about its cultural mediation by the sign, by matter-morphing. Conclusion Kracauers rehabilitation in the 1990s rather sidelined his Marxist framework of the middle-to-late Weimar era in favour of the then still dominant paradigms of poststructuralism and postmodernism. It was also silent on the relationship between Kant and Marxism in Kracauers work, which I have characterised as a transcoding of the Kantian problematic of reification into a Marxist framework that historicises the problematic and subjects it to a dialectical critique while still maintaining the structural positions of universal concepts that must be called into question, moral-political Ideas that must do the questioning and be activated in relation to the sense-percepts of the empirical individual immersed in history, and, crucially, the aesthetic, which in the third Critique functions as a point of mediation between them. Now, it perhaps has not escaped the readers notice that there is an argument going on here about the place of Kant in Marxist cultural philosophy that goes beyond how far we can discern the influence of Kant on Kracauer from the words of Kracauer himself. As Robert Kaufman has noted, Kants influence on
94.Kracauer 1997, p. 45. 95.Kracauer 1997, p. 46. 96.Hansen 1993, p. 447. 97.Kracauer 1997, p. 48.

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Marxist thinkers such as Adorno and Benjamin does not fit the standard Marxist interpretation of Kants philosophy and aesthetic as the acme of bourgeois thinking.98 Typically Kants influence is disavowed by various strategies. For example, in discussing Benjamins The Origin of German Tragedy, Jameson implies that Benjamin goes beyond and effectively repudiates the Kantian relationship between concepts which are concerned with knowledge of objects and Ideas which are concerned with the moral/political evaluation or truth of concepts. As Jameson notes, Benjamin proposes, very explicitly in The Origin of German Tragedy, that Ideas are the mode of configuring concepts in particular ways. Ideas have no content in their own right but are instead the relationship between a group of concepts.99 But this sounds to me strikingly like Kants argument that Ideas provide, or ought to provide (were it not for the problematic of reification that Kant is struggling to evade) the moral/ political inflection of concepts. They are not, for Kant, as with Benjamin, concepts themselves. This denial by Jameson of the proximity between Kant and Benjamin is typical of the Marxist consensus on Kant. Elsewhere I have suggested that Kants aesthetic, routinely lambasted for its supposed elitism, formalism and subjectivism, has been fundamentally misunderstood by anglophone Marxism which has made it virtually synonymous with ideology.100 A more complete and productive re-reading of Kants aesthetic from a Marxist perspective obviously lies outside the scope of this particular essay, but the argument concerning the Weimar and American Kracauers transcoding of Kant is an attempt to rehabilitate the latter as much as cast new light on the work of the former. In his Marxist Weimar period, Kracauer read Kants transcendental subject as the sign of Ratio, rationality abstracted from reason, materiality (with its linear sequencing of natural cause-effect relations) divorced from a critical subjectivity, and abstract concepts resistant to their inflection by moralpolitical Ideas. Scathing of middle-class culture, Kracauer critically engaged with the mass ornament and its immersion in the life and culture of the masses in the industrial age. It is precisely the mass ornaments embodiment of the logic of reification that gives it a pedagogic value, while its form bears within it the trace of that form-bursting reason disavowed by the Ratio, and even has the potential to foster critical reflection on the condition of reification. The concept of distraction is one example of how Kracauer approached the mass ornament as a contradictory affair. Distraction could be a strategy by which the mind might settle on something apparently marginal that could
98. Kaufman 2000. 99. Jameson 2007, p. 54. 100. Wayne 2012.


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in fact turn out to be the thread that leads to cognitive revelation. In the quasi-poetic linkages within Kracauers thought, appropriate to a philosophy suspicious of what had become of logic and concepts, distraction converges with the notion of decomposition. De-reification of the commodity-image requires the decomposition of history, a productive distraction from the main event. Memory-images are indicative of a cultural resource that can feed a critical philosophy reconstructing what theory and the mass media miss. The American Kracauer is certainly distant in significant ways from the Marxist Kracauer of the Weimar years. There is no dialectic in the later Kracauer between fragment and social totality, no critique of abstract rationalism, no linkage of that to the mass media and no explicit critical framework for de-reification. Nevertheless there are some continuities which suggest a proximity to Benjamin and Kracauers Weimar self. There is a still evident interest in the relationship between the camera and material nature; an underdeveloped and incomplete but still suggestive model of the camera as a matter-morpher. Its own objective qualities have an affinity with the objective qualities of material nature and both are understood to be already mediated by the cultural and the subjective, understood as collectively produced. The transcendental camera is thus predisposed towards decomposing the reality it transforms. This is all part of a continuing subterranean interest in displacing and critiquing bourgeois subjectivity. Kant and Marx still seem to be active ingredients fermenting away in the late work; the Weimar Kracauer has not been completely repudiated by his American other. References
Adorno, Theodor W. 1991, The Curious Realist: On Siegfried Kracauer, New German Critique, 54: 15977. Benjamin, Walter 1999a [1970], Illuminations, London: Pimlico Press. 1999b, The Arcades Project, Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press. Elsaesser, Thomas 1987, Cinema The Irresponsible Signifier or The Gamble with History: Film Theory or Cinema Theory, New German Critique, 40: 6589. Hansen, Miriam 1991, Decentric Perspectives: Kracauers Early Writings on Film and Mass Culture, New German Critique, 54: 4776. 1992, Mass Culture as Hieroglyphic Writing: Adorno, Derrida, Kracauer, New German Critique, 56: 4373. 1993, With Skin and Hair: Kracauers Theory of Film, Marseille 1940, Critical Inquiry, 19, 3: 43769. 2012, Cinema and Experience: Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, and Theodor W. Adorno, Berkeley: University of California Press. Jameson, Fredric 2007, Late Marxism: Adorno, Or, The Persistence of the Dialectic, London: Verso. Kant, Immanuel 1987 [1790], Critique of Judgment, translated by Werner S. Pluhar, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.

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1996 [1781/7], Critique of Pure Reason, translated by Werner S. Pluhar, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. Kaufman, Robert 2000, Red Kant, or the Persistence of the Third Critique in Adorno and Jameson, Critical Inquiry, 26, 4: 682724. Koss, Juliet 1996, Hooked on Kracauer, Assemblage, 31: 809. Kracauer, Siegfried 1969, History: The Last Things before the Last, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1995, The Mass Ornament: Weimar Essays, translated and edited by Thomas Y. Levin, Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press. 1997, Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality, Princeton: Princeton University Press. Lukcs, Georg 1971 [1923/67], History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics, translated by Rodney Livingstone, London: Merlin Press. Mlder-Bach, Inka 1991, History as Autobiography: The Last Things before the Last, New German Critique, 54: 13957. Petro, Patrice 1991, Kracauers Epistemological Shift, New German Critique, 54: 12738. Wayne, Mike 2012, Kants Philosophy of the Aesthetic and the Philosophy of Praxis, Rethinking Marxism, 24, 3: 286402.

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The American Civil War: A Reply to Critics

John Ashworth

University of Nottingham John.Ashworth@nottingham.ac.uk

Abstract This essay replies to critics of my earlier piece in Historical Materialism (Volume 19, Issue 4, 2011) which looked at the origins of the American Civil War. The essay re-emphasises the importance of the shift to wage labour in the North, it re-asserts the need to incorporate slave resistance as a key factor in any causal account of the sectional conflict, and it argues that the ultimate northern victory in that conflict should be seen as constituting a bourgeois revolution. Itengages specifically with the criticisms and some of the alternative interpretations offered by Charles Post, Eric Foner and Neil Davidson. Keywords slavery, American Civil War, ideology, bourgeois revolution

The recent publication in this journal of a symposium on the American Civil War will surely have been welcomed not only by scholars working or maintaining an interest in this area but also by those concerned with some key issues within the Marxist tradition. Was the Civil War a bourgeois revolution? Was the society of the Old South capitalist, pre-capitalist, or perhaps noncapitalist? What was the role of class struggle within the North and within the South and in creating the conflict between them? Whatever else the debate has shown it has demonstrated that one hundred and fifty years after the outbreak of the war, these are still living issues.1 The symposium was especially welcome to me since some of the contributors offered an explicit critique of many of the arguments that I put forward both briefly in the symposium itself and at considerably greater length in my two-volume treatment of the subject, Slavery, Capitalism, and Politics in the Antebellum Republic.2 Before responding to them, I should like to compliment my critics not only on the substance of their criticisms (each of which touches
1. See Historical Materialism, Volume 19, Issue 4 (2011), pp. 33205. 2.Ashworth 1995; Ashworth 2007.
Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2013 DOI: 10.1163/1569206X-12341312


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on the most vital issues) but also on the manner in which they were put forward; I hope that in this rejoinder I will be able to maintain a similar standard of respectful dissent. I shall concentrate on what are probably the four biggest issues that separate me from my critics. First I wish to look again at slave resistance and class conflict in the South. Then I shall re-examine the role of wage labour and of class conflict in the North. The third issue will be the antagonism between the two sections, in effect the causes of the sectional conflict. Finally I shall look at some of the implications of all this for Marxist theory, in particular linking it to the Marxist concept of the bourgeois revolution but also offering some thoughts about the pre-capitalist nature of the slave South. Slave resistance and class conflict in the South In a passage that historians of US slavery have almost entirely ignored, Marx made the following comment about slavery and wage labour:
On the basis of the wages system even the unpaid labour seems to be paid labour. With the slave, on the contrary, even that part of his labour which is paid appears to be unpaid. Of course, in order to work the slave must live, and one part of his working day goes to replace the value of his own maintenance. But since no bargain is struck between him and his master, and no acts of selling and buying are going on between the two parties, all his labour seems to be given away for nothing.3

In other words, according to Marx, the slave, in the sharpest possible contrast with the wage worker, is able to see, quite easily, that he is being exploited. Even the small part of his labour for which he is rewarded in the form of food, clothing and shelter appears to him to have been coerced. It therefore appears that all his labour has been given away for nothing. Meanwhile the wage worker, who has consented to work for his employer, since he is ostensibly a free and an equal party to the contract, is much more likely to believe that the relationship is an at least moderately fair one. Even the unpaid labour (the labour that provides the profit for the capitalist) appears paid. Marx concludes that this false appearance distinguishes wages labour from other historical forms of labour. The result is that the slave, however poorly educated, whether literate or not, is likely to resent his status and to yearn for freedom. Historians of American slavery have confirmed that this was indeed so, though it must be said that it
3.Marx and Engels 196970, pp. 5960.

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took until after the Second World War for them to wake up to the fact. The question is, therefore, whether this yearning for freedom plays any part in the politics, as opposed to the social history, of slavery. At least two of my critics, Eric Foner and Charles Post, believe that it did not, at any rate not until the outbreak of war made it possible for the slaves to flee in large numbers and make a huge contribution to the unravelling of southern society that then took place. Before the war, they believe, it played no significant part. Slave resistance was therefore not a factor in causing the war. Here there is a major difference of opinion. It is my contention that slave resistance was a vital factor in the origins of the conflict. Indeed I would go further and maintain the following proposition: no slave resistance, no Civil War.4 Slave resistance had, I believe, an impact on the southern economy which in turn had political consequences but, putting this matter aside for the moment, let us consider its more immediate political effects. A good way of understanding this is by positing a counterfactual in which, instead of employing human beings as slaves, southerners used machines to grow and harvest their crops. Of course almost everything would then have been different. But this does not destroy the value of the counterfactual. Instead it serves to reveal the importance of the slaves humanity, which allowed them to resist slavery in multiple ways. First, slaves, unlike machines, were able to flee from their masters. This was the essential precondition for the entire controversy over fugitive slaves, a controversy which caused huge excitement at various points in the ten or fifteen years prior to the outbreak of the Civil War and which was cited by some states in 1860/1861 (as well as earlier) as a justification for secession. It is true that only a small number of slaves ever fled to the North or even attempted to do so. Nevertheless the southern response had enormous consequences. It called forth the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 which produced, in turn, Harriet Beecher Stowes Uncle Toms Cabin,5 the greatest of all works of antislavery propaganda. It also helped fuel fears of a Slave Power that were so frequently voiced by virtually every enemy of slavery in the final decades of the antebellum Republic.6 Second, slaves, unlike machines, were able to listen to, and consort with, groups in the South with whom they might be able to make common cause against their masters. It was above all this that made the slaveholders so fearful of the non-slaveholding white majority, whose support for, or at least
4.Foner 2011; Post 2011. 5.Stowe 1852. 6.On the Slave Power, see Richards 2000.


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acquiescence in, the regime they knew they must ensure. The danger from the non-slaveholding whites was present because, it was feared, they might incite the slaves to rebellion or at any rate spread disaffection among them. Once again our counterfactual facilitates understanding: this fear would have been absent if the slaves had been inanimate objects. But since southern slaveholders used slaves and not machines, the activities of those slaves were a matter of enormous importance to them and this in turn made them highly sensitive to any attempt made by northerners to stir up not merely their slaves but also the non-slaveholding whites of the South. Moreover, a comparison with the North is also appropriate here. Northern employers scarcely cared whether their employees consorted with other northern farmers or craftsmen, whether these farmers and craftsmen employed wage workers or not. Slavery produced a different set of class antagonisms, both potential and actual, from those seen in the North; slave resistance was a principal cause. The non-slaveholding whites and the slaves themselves were not the only groups whom southerners feared. Free blacks were also their targets. The slaveholders believed that slaves needed their masters and actually benefited from enslavement; free blacks challenged these claims by their very existence. If slaves consorted with them, free blacks might exert a malign and highly dangerous influence. Once again it was the humanity of the slaves, and their capacity for resistance, that underlay these fears. Third, and perhaps most important, southerners feared the influence of the North and of northerners. Once again it was the slaves humanity that was the key. Slaveholders feared that northerners could turn either their slaves or their own non-slaveholding white population against them. It must be stressed, once again, that machines could not have been turned against their owners just as those machines could not have made common cause with the non-slaveholders. Moreover, many of the northerners whose activities so alarmed the slaveholders (especially abolitionists and radical Republicans) were motivated, at least in part, by a humanitarian concern for the slave. This in turn rested not merely on the humanity of the slaves but also on the fact that they did not wish to be slaves, their at least potential resistance to slavery. The abolitionist project was hazardous enough as it was; if the slaves had been genuinely reconciled to their enslavement it would have become quite impossible. The conclusion is, then, that southern fears of their slaves, of the nonslaveholding whites, of free blacks in their midst and of northern antislavery crusaders derived ultimately from the resistance, potential and actual, of the slaves themselves. How widespread and important were these fears? In fact they precipitated almost all the crises that punctuated the history of the

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sectional conflict. Sometimes the link was obvious. As we have already noted, the entire controversy over fugitive slaves was a product of slave resistance. Many other examples could be cited but I will confine myself to two. The struggles, sometimes armed, that took place in the territory of Kansas in the 1850s marked, as all historians agree, an important stage in the sectional polarisation of that decade. They were caused ultimately by the fears gripping Missouri slaveholders to the effect that a free Kansas would leave them surrounded on three sides by hostile states. These Missourians argued that the result would be to make it impossible for them to retain their slaves who would at best run away, at worst rise up. The Missourians then launched raids into Kansas, voted fraudulently in the elections there and passed draconian laws preventing the discussion of slavery in the territory. These outrages, which were widely reported in the northern press, fuelled northern fears of a Slave Power that was bent, it seemed, on control of the entire nation. The actions of the Missourians, we must remind ourselves, testified to their slaves humanity and to their slaves at least potential resistance to enslavement.7 Finally, in the secession crisis it became apparent that one of the principal fears motivating southerners was that Lincoln as president would use the federal patronage to build up a Republican Party in the South: he would stir up the non-slaveholding whites (as well as the slaves themselves, many added). As we have already noted, this fear was present because the slaves were human beings who resented their enslavement.8 Let us consider a possible objection to this argument. It is, of course, true that the slaveholders did not themselves doubt that their slaves were suited to their enslavement; they failed utterly to understand their longing for freedom. But the argument presented here does not depend on the slaveholders correctly perceiving the real world. Instead the claim is that the masters attended to the consequences of slave resistance even while failing to understand its origins. The masters blamed, of course, outside influences the malign influence of northerners, of degraded southern whites, of free blacks for perverting the nature of otherwise loyal and reliable slaves. Here they were quite mistaken. But the actions they took were in response to slave resistance, both actual and potential, whether they recognised its essential nature or not. The various forms of resistance open to the slaves from flight, to go-slows at work, to insurrection were rooted in the relationship between master and slave. The essence of that relationship was that the master bought not the labour power of the slave (as in the case of a wage worker) but instead the
7.On events in Kansas see, for example, Rawley 1969. 8.This was a major factor in secession, though many historians have been slow to identify it. For evidence of it see Ashworth 2007, pp. 13645.


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slave himself. If we accept that masters and slaves constituted different classes then it makes sense to describe the conflict between them as a class conflict. This proposition in turn does not depend on the claim that there was class consciousness on the part of the slaves, nor on the claim that the resistance was pursued collectively (some forms of resistance were collective; some were not). It is essential that Marxism recognise that class conflict requires neither collective action nor class consciousness.9 Nor should we shrink from emphasising the role of potential as well as actual resistance and conflict. Eric Foner suggests that I run the risk of exaggerating the significance of class-conflict as a catalyst of the Civil War on the grounds that slave-resistance, while widespread on the day-to-day level, did not really come into its own until after the Civil War had begun.... Elsewhere he distinguishes between potential and real class conflict apparently on the assumption that only the latter is truly significant.10 But in what sense is the potential less real than the actual? The fears that southerners displayed over the possible conduct of their slaves (and that of the other groups they feared) can be viewed in one of two ways. Either they can be deemed irrational and dismissed as paranoia, in which case we are back to Civil War revisionism11 (about which I shall say much more later) or they can be seen to have been grounded in the actual and especially the potential resistance of the slaves. In common with all the other contributors to the symposium Foner rejects the revisionist interpretation of the conflict. So it is unclear why he should reject an interpretation based on the slaves potential resistance. Perhaps he has fallen into an empiricist fallacy, in which only that which is observable is real. Foner himself has recently written an excellent volume on Abraham Lincoln.12 The importance of Lincolns role in the sectional controversy is unlikely to be challenged by anyone. But one may suggest that if Lincoln had never been born the war would still have taken place. If the slaves had been fully reconciled to their condition, however, and there had been no class conflict, whether potential or actual, in the South, would there have been a war? It is difficult to see how.13 Before leaving the subject of slave resistance, it is worth looking at its impact on the performance of the antebellum southern economy. Here I must take
9.This is not to say, of course, that the question of class consciousness is of no importance, nor that the role of concerted class action, when present, should be underestimated; it is rather that class is not to be reduced to these forms of consciousness or types of behaviour. 10.Foner 2011, p. 200. 11.This is the claim that the Civil War was needless, brought on by a blundering generation. 12.Foner 2010. 13.The claim that the potential is real, indeed as real as the actual, is central to the approach of Critical Realism in philosophy and specifically derives from the work of Roy Bhaskar. See Bhaskar 1979.

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issue with Charles Post, or perhaps I should say, register a partial dissent from his views. I have suggested that slave resistance set up a constraint on the development of towns, cities and manufacturing in the South because of the problem of containing slaves in these locations or types of employment. According to Post, however, slaves could work well in industry and as skilled workers in agriculture or industry. They could also function perfectly well in cities. As a result my approach cannot explain the absence of technical innovation in agriculture or the relative underdevelopment of urban industry in the antebellum South.14 Post himself favours an alternative interpretation which stresses instead the masters need to ensure that their slaves were constantly working, even in the slack seasons between cotton-crop cycles. This encouraged plantation self-sufficiency in food and other consumer-goods. At the same time the fixed and inflexible costs of reproducing the slave-labour force prevented relatively continuous technical innovation under slavery. The result was the absence of a home-market for industrial production, which constrained both industrialisation and urbanisation.15 I do not wish to deny the validity of these claims. On the contrary, I think they make a major contribution to our understanding of the southern economy. But to establish one constraint is not to deny the existence of others. There is ample evidence in the sources of southerners fears of an urban population and of their relative disdain for manufacturing, partly because of the threat it would pose to the master-slave relation. Moreover, if slaves could function in cities, they nevertheless all too frequently aroused the ire of the white workers there, with whom they were sometimes brought into competition. At this point the racism upon which the regime depended ironically caused problems for the slaveholders themselves, since white labourers could and did protest vociferously whenever they were brought into direct competition with what they deemed to be degraded black labour, whether slave or free. It is difficult to believe that such considerations were unrelated to the encomia that southerners continued to heap upon agriculture and agrarian values at a time when they were being heard increasingly infrequently in the North. Let us note, however, that the constraints Post identifies were a direct result of the relationship between master and slave. It is also essential to note that this relationship contrasts sharply with that between employer and wage worker.

14.Post 2011, pp. 65, 66. 15.Post 2011, p. 68.


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I conclude by suggesting, therefore, that slave resistance was a necessary (though not a sufficient) condition of the sectional conflict and thus of the American Civil War. Wage labour and class conflict in the North Many scholars have recognised the extent of slave resistance in the South and a few have pointed to its political impact. Virtually no one, however, it would appear, accepts that the shift to wage labour in the North had any real role in bringing on the Civil War. Once again, however, one can state this case quite baldly: no shift to wage labour, no Civil War. Once again a counterfactual will help us. If there had been no such shift would the opposition to slavery have been as deep and as potent as it was? Let us look at the various arguments adduced against slavery in the North and examine their relationship to the growth of wage labour there. First, and most obviously, Republicans insisted on the economic inferiority of slave production. A staple of Republican speeches and writings in the mid- and late1850s was a comparison of usually two states, one slave and one free, which had entered the Union at the same time or that were for other reasons comparable. Invariably the conclusion was that the northern state was superior.16 What were the criteria? Many indices were cited but among the most important were the growth of manufacturing and, more generally, economic diversification. Wage labour was the indispensable foundation of the former, and an essential aspect of the latter. It was this that generated the contrast with the South and the economic indictment of slavery. Second, among the moral arguments against slavery, cited most often by radical Republicans and abolitionists, was the one that emphasised the damage done by slavery to the family. This in turn rested upon the assumption that the family should be (but could not be under slavery), as many northerners and their contemporaries in England were wont to express it, a refuge, a source of moral rectitude, a haven in a heartless world. This view also reflected economic diversification: the shift of production away from the home. On a farm, of course, home and work are one and the same. These Americans certainly did not cite the wage labourer as the sole beneficiary of an orderly home and a loving family; instead they claimed that all free men were beneficiaries. In so doing, they erased the distinction between wage workers, the self-employed and employers. But this does not alter the fact that the ideological separation between work and home depended on the employment of wage labour. Here
16.This point is made very effectively in Foner 1970, p. 43.

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was a challenge to the traditional Jeffersonian belief that virtue was promoted above all by the ownership of property and especially landed property. This rejection was necessitated by the emergence in the 1840s and the 1850s of a large and increasingly conspicuous class of permanent wage earners.17 Finally let us examine Republican (and abolitionist) views of social mobility. One of the arguments frequently deployed against slavery was that, for both slaves and non-slaveholding whites, it curtailed opportunities for social mobility. No one stressed this theme more than Abraham Lincoln. This argument clearly rested upon the claim, frequently made by Lincoln and many others, that opportunities were extraordinarily and unprecedentedly wide in the antebellum North. Lincoln argued that virtually all the worthy could and would rise in northern, but not of course in southern, society. And he made it clear, again and again, that the wages system was an integral part of this process. Wages lubricated the social system, allowing the wage-earner to climb first into the ranks of the self-employed and ultimately to become an employer in his turn.18 It is perfectly true, as Eric Foner points out, that there is little reason to believe that the wage workers of the North before the Civil War posed an imminent threat to the northern social order. There is every reason instead to believe that, at least in the antebellum period, workers were being integrated relatively easily into that social order. Although there were a number of conspicuous strikes in the final antebellum years, it would be absurd to claim that they demonstrated a revolutionary consciousness or ferment.19 But once again the crucial question is whether this stability was itself the product of potential class conflict. In my opinion, the evidence is overwhelmingly to the effect that it was. We have noted Lincolns tremendous emphasis upon social mobility in the North. We must also note that all scholars (Eric Foner included) agree that Lincoln and the other Republicans were mistaken: not all the worthy could in reality rise in northern society. So why was this mistake made? It is true that the belief in social mobility (and hence classlessness) has acquired almost mythic proportions in the United States. The American Dream of boundless opportunity and mobility are deeply engrained in the national consciousness. But this merely displaces the question: why has this error attained such proportions? The answer is surely that the United States had initially inherited the traditional suspicion or fear of wage workers who had long been viewed as
17.Ashworth 1995, pp. 17481. 18.See Basler (ed.) 1953a, p. 364; Basler (ed.) 1953b, pp. 24, 240, 438, 462, 4789; Basler (ed.) 1953c, pp. 512, 528. 19.Foner 2011, pp. 2001.


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an unstable element in the social order. But in the antebellum United States, as in few other countries, these workers had the vote. It became necessary for northerners to explain the basis upon which they were to be assimilated into northern society. There was no conspiracy here but the potential conflict between wage earners and employers made it imperative to re-examine northern society and to explain the sources of northern stability. Wage workers, it was said, had the benefits of home and family, of increasing prosperity and unprecedented social mobility in a dynamic, expanding economy. These were the values which northerners pointed to, in order to explain why the potential danger from the propertyless wage worker need not in fact be actualised. They were also values that made slavery increasingly unacceptable. If we reject the idea that these values owed much to the potential threat posed by the propertyless wage worker then we are left with what must be an uncomfortable and improbable conclusion: that when northerners trumpeted the virtues of home, conscience, social mobility and the rest, the fact that these values were of such enormous benefit for wage-labour capitalism in the North was sheer coincidence. I conclude by suggesting, therefore, that the potential resistance offered by the wage labourer was a second necessary (though again not a sufficient) condition of the sectional conflict and thus of the American Civil War. The antagonism between North and South It has been said that Marx combined a realist ontology (in which the potential is as real as the actual or the empirical) with a relational sociology (which is concerned not with individuals or even with groups, but instead with the relations between them). I have already stressed the need to discuss potential as well as actual class conflict. It will readily be seen that the conflict between North and South in the decades preceding the Civil War derives, in my schema, from the relations between employers and wage workers, from the relations between slaves and slaveholders, and ultimately from the relations between the relations. To repeat: it was not that the potential conflicts between slaves and masters, or between employers and workers, were not reconcilable. On the contrary they were eminently so, since neither slaves nor wage-workers were, in 18601, able or willing to mount a successful challenge to the elites in their own society. But the resolution of the potential conflict in the North lay in the enunciation or promulgation of certain values, values that made slavery increasingly unacceptable. So the conflict was not primarily between northern and southern elites, who, considered in isolation, had no irreconcilable differences.

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Nor was it within each section. Instead it derived from the different relations that characterise wage-labour capitalism and slavery, but mediated through the prism of ideology. It will be convenient, for reasons that will, I hope, soon become apparent, to consider briefly the alternative view of the conflict between North and South, and thus of the origins of the Civil War, put forward by the so-called revisionist historians. As we have noted, revisionists like Avery Craven and James Randall drew attention to the errors committed by a blundering generation of statesmen. Their claim was that the differences between North and South were, or should have been, amenable to compromise. Defective statesmanship, however, prevented a successful resolution of the conflict.20 The significance of Civil War revisionism does not derive from its current popularity; at least in this, its classic form, it has few contemporary adherents. But revisionism is stronger than many scholars believe and for one reason: it is difficult to point to differences between North and South that could not have been compromised. Let us take the extremely interesting and provocative analysis offered by Charles Post. Post argues that both sides needed to expand their territory. Southerners, he claims, had to expand because the distinctive structure of the master-slave social-property relation shaped rules of reproduction of this form of social labour that led, inexorably, to geographic expansion. He concludes that geographic expansion was the necessary form of the expanded reproduction of the master-slave relation of production. Meanwhile, according to Post, northern capitalisms expanded reproduction required the geographic expansion of petty-commodity socialproperty relations in agriculture. The result was a collision with the South: the social-property relations of plantation-slavery and agrarian petty-commodity production could not coexist. One or the other set of social-property relations had to dominate the geographic expansion of agricultural production in the US after 1840. The ultimate effect was to make the question of the social character of geographic expansion an explosive and irresolvable issue on the political terrain in the 1840s and 1850s.21 I think there are a number of objections that can be made to this formulation. First, for all the importance that the question of slaverys extension undoubtedly possessed, I think southerners would probably have accepted its non-extension if they could have been assured that non-extension would neither have been cited as a constitutional precedent for abolition nor exploited politically as a means of attacking slavery where it existed (as a result of enhanced northern
20.See Randall 1947 and Craven 1942. 21. Post 2011, pp. 68, 69, 82.


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power in the federal government). This, of course, is difficult to demonstrate either way. But even if we accept that slavery needed to expand for the reasons Post cites, there was plenty of land already within the South for it to expand into. Yet there is a further factor that is of the utmost importance. It would appear that Posts argument is antithetically opposed to revisionism since we have in his pages a clash of apparently irreconcilable economic forces for territorial expansion, resulting in sectional polarisation. Appearances are, however, deceptive, and Posts analysis is, it seems to me, very vulnerable to a revisionist critique. For territorial expansion was not necessarily, as Post and others seem to assume, a zero-sum game with both sides needing to expand, necessarily at the expense of the other. Instead we must ask, as a Civil War revisionist might, why could there not be expansion for both sides? Why not allow both sides to acquire more territory, perhaps by annexing land in Latin America? There was a precedent for sharing the territorial spoils: the Missouri Compromise line had allowed slavery south of 36 30 but not north of it. And territorial expansion was very much in the air in the final antebellum years. Both wings of the Democratic Party in 1860, for example, demanded the annexation of Cuba and there was huge interest in Mexico, Nicaragua and other parts of Latin America too in the final antebellum years. Even if both sides needed territorial expansion, why could both sides not have had it? How do we avoid the conclusion that defective statesmanship blinded Americans to what should have been an obvious compromise? The more general underlying problem is that, at the level of pure economic interest, it is very difficult to find any causes of irreconcilable antagonism between North and South. The two economies were different but differences in the sense of dissimilarities need not entail differences in the sense of conflicts. Post argues that plantation slavery posed a great threat to northern capitalism. As industrial capital became the dominant form of capital in the 1840s and 1850s, he claims, the geographic expansion of plantation-slavery became an obstacle to the development of capitalism in the US. But is it really possible to argue that the annexation of Cuba, or parts of Mexico, or Nicaragua would have posed an economic threat to northern capitalism? One might add that the spread of slavery into New Mexico, Arizona or other parts of the Southwest would have been similarly devoid of major consequences for the northern economy: these lands were simply not very important as far as the trajectory of northern economic development was concerned.22 For this reason, it is important to move away from a more narrowly economic (or economistic) approach to one that emphasises ideology. The collision
22.Post 2011, p. 81.

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was an ideological one, though the ideologies were grounded in material conditions, in class relations and in the need to secure inter-class harmony within each section. But, even from a more narrowly economic perspective, an important question presents itself. The years with which we are concerned saw the creation of an ideology supportive of capitalism (stressing social mobility, economic opportunity, the freedom of the wage worker etc.) and its rise to hegemonic status first in the North, and, partly as a result of the Civil War, in the nation as a whole. Now it is true that no one, even in the wildest flights of neo-classical, cliometric fancy, has ever managed or even attempted to assess the value, in dollars and cents, of this ideology to the northern bourgeoisie. But it is clear that its value was nonetheless immense. Is it not apparent indeed that, even in narrowly financial terms, it was worth infinitely more than the spread of free labour into the sparsely settled and economically marginal regions of the Southwest in the 1850s? So although it is often convenient to distinguish ideology from economy we should remember that ideology can itself have a huge economic payoff. An emphasis upon ideology as opposed to economics narrowly construed has a further advantage. Once again a glance at Civil War revisionism is illuminating. Revisionists might argue that the politicians of the day made many errors of judgement. They might also argue that these errors were enormously important in propelling the nation towards civil war. Both arguments are valid, though neither Marxist nor non-Marxist historians appear to be fully aware of the challenge they offer. Let us consider two examples of major blunders, one committed by northerners, one by southerners. In the aftermath of the Dred Scott decision, northerners began to fear a southern plot to spread slavery into the North. No less a statesman than Abraham Lincoln, whilst admitting that there was no direct evidence to confirm the existence of a conspiracy, nevertheless took pains to explain that the circumstantial evidence was nevertheless conclusive:
When we see a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we know have been gotten out at different times and places and by different workmen Stephen [Douglas], Franklin [Pierce], Roger [Taney], and James [Buchanan], for instance and when we see these timbers joined together...or, if a single piece be lacking, we can see the place in the frame exactly fitted and prepared to yet bring such a piece in in such a case we find it impossible to not believe that Stephen and Franklin and Roger and James all understood one another from the beginning and all worked upon a common plan or draft drawn up before the first lick was struck.23

23.Basler 1953a, pp. 4656.


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There is not the slightest reason to doubt that Lincoln (and others) sincerely believed this. Most scholars have found equally little reason to believe that they were correct. In fact hardly any southerners actually expected to be able to establish slavery in the North and most, including the most ardent secessionists, ridiculed the idea. But if this were indeed a misperception, how significant was it? During the secession crisis Lincoln refused to compromise on the question of slavery expansion. If, as seems highly likely, this refusal was based, in part, on the fear of slavery spreading ultimately into the North, and if, as is still more likely, the refusal played a key role in precipitating the war, then the misperception was of enormous importance. How does the historian meet this challenge and avoid a revisionist conclusion? An emphasis upon economic imperatives that necessitated territorial expansion into the West does nothing to explain Lincolns misperception. Nor is there any reason to accuse him of hypocrisy. Instead we need to recognise first that the misperception was a product of ideology and, second, that that ideology was grounded in the structures of northern society. Ideology often functions by creating a sense of what is natural and thus, in a literal sense, in harmony with human nature. In the antebellum North, Republicans like Lincoln believed that their society catered to what was the most fundamental of human needs: the need for self-betterment, and social improvement. They were equally convinced that southern society did not. Moreover they believed that the superiority of northern society, in these and indeed virtually all respects, was so overwhelming and so self-evident that any success for slavery must be the result of improper influences; corruption and/ or tyranny must have been employed to produce so unnatural an outcome. Only a conspiracy could explain the successes that slavery had enjoyed in the 1840s and 1850s. As we have seen, these assumptions about northern society and its conformity with the needs of humanity were the product of the specific processes that generated Republican views of society and of freedom, in short that generated Republican ideology. So, to avoid a revisionist conclusion we need to go from blunder to ideology and from ideology to material conditions. Let us take a second blunder, or set of blunders, this time perpetrated by southerners. Whenever they contemplated secession, most southern militants committed one of a set of three cardinal errors in and prior to the outbreak of hostilities in 1861. First, many of them assumed that the threat of secession alone might well be enough to compel Republican concessions. Second, some of them were convinced that, if carried out, secession would meet no real resistance from the North: the South would be allowed to depart in peace.

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Third, some of them insisted that if the North sought to resist secession militarily, the South would either quickly emerge victorious on the battlefield or, at the minimum, be able to bring about a military stalemate as a result of which the North would soon abandon the struggle. Although none of these predictions was foolish, they were all proved wrong, and, from the standpoint of the southern elite, catastrophically so. To avoid a revisionist conclusion, once again we must return to the realm of ideology. Like their northern counterparts, southerners believed that their social system was inherently stable. Like their northern counterparts, they believed it corresponded to innate human qualities, in this case especially the inherent racial differences between black and white and the natural suitability of blacks for slavery. Most southern secessionists argued that whites were inherently suited to freedom, blacks to slavery. Slavery was just and benign precisely because it rested upon, and gave expression to, the innate and natural qualities of men and women, white as well as black. From the natural-ness of southern society, much followed. Clearly the North must be unnatural. Logic showed that northern society, based upon free labour, did not correspond at all to the realities of human nature and thus was fatally flawed. As a result it was inherently unstable, both because its economic foundation was shaky and because northerners, living in a hopelessly atomised society where the links binding different groups together were being attenuated or snapped, were swept up by irrational enthusiasms, the most destructive of which were for abolition and Free Soil. Here was the only real threat to southern stability and here too was the explanation for whatever signs of instability the South currently displayed. Safe left to itself, southern society was nevertheless highly vulnerable to northern fanaticism. This was the logic that impelled secessionists. Lacking all confidence in the North, where an unnatural social system had taken root, they had boundless confidence in the prospects of a separate South, where a natural society, based upon slavery, would prevail. Hence the repeated exaggeration of the Souths strength in the 1840s, 1850s and especially during the secession crisis and the belief that Northerners either would not dare to fight, or, alternatively, would in war be quickly overwhelmed or at least be compelled to give up the fight. But hence too the need to resist northern pressure on slavery in whatever form. The danger was of a slow process of attrition, in which southerners might be led step by step to forfeit their constitutional rights, as much as of an immediate and catastrophic social upheaval, in which slaves would be encouraged to rise up and cut the throats of their masters. Of course such resistance might further inflame northern opinion. But this mattered little since the North was, in the last analysis, too weak to threaten a determined and resolute South. Every


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challenge to slavery, from the seemingly most innocuous misinterpretation of the Constitution, to the most wilful attempt to impose free labour on new territories or the most nefarious plots to foster discontent among slaves and non-slaveholding whites in the existing States, must be met with the most determined and steadfast opposition.24 So it was not that northerners and southerners failed to make mistakes. Nor was it the case that these mistakes were unimportant; on the contrary they were momentous. But they were the product of ideology. And the ideology bore the imprint of the class interests within each section. Revisionism assumed that blunders were unrelated to economics; indeed the revisionists believed that the more blunders they could cite, the heavier the blows they were striking against an economic interpretation. But this is a false dichotomy. Blunders can often be traced to ideology. And ideology was grounded in material practice. Here then is a way to vanquish revisionism. In my opinion it is the only way. Marxist theory: a bourgeois revolution? The American Civil War has sometimes been viewed as a bourgeois revolution and the appearance of Neil Davidsons very interesting essay on this question has served to reopen this important question. Clearly it is one about which much can be said. Here I want to offer some fairly brief observations.25 First, we need to assess the scale of the changes inaugurated by the war and the events that accompanied it or were set in train by it. Were they truly revolutionary in impact and, if so, in what respects? Second, we need to ask whether the changes that occurred moved the nation, or the South in a direction that can legitimately be described as bourgeois. Finally we need to ask why these changes took place and whether they were intended by the major participants. As far as the scale of the changes is concerned, there can be little doubt of their revolutionary impact. The abolition of slavery was itself an act of confiscation of revolutionary and virtually unprecedented proportions with calamitous effects upon southern prosperity. The loss of perhaps two billion dollars worth of slave property represented about 30% of total southern wealth. As a result
24.Secessionists were convinced that northern society was such that, even if the South took no action, it would become increasingly hostile to slavery. Hence it was rational for southerners, in an effort to resist antislavery aggressions, to risk inflaming northern opinion. The perception that the North could not be in any way relied upon stemmed directly from the conviction that it was an unnatural society. 25.Davidson 2011; see also Davidson 2012.

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of the changes ushered in by the war, southern agriculture, by far the most important sector in the southern economy, was pauperised by 1865 with the value of southern real estate falling by about half. Similarly, the value of farms, farm products, and livestock in the older states of the Confederacy (that is, all except Arkansas, Texas and Florida) did not regain the levels of 1860 until 1900. In the decade of the Civil War, southern per capita output fell by a little less than 40%.26 These effects were produced by a combination of the war and the ending of slavery, together with a slowdown, occurring simultaneously, in the world demand for cotton. Nor were they of limited duration. On the contrary, southern agriculture, and the southern economy as a whole sank into a position of weakness relative to the nation as a whole from which they would not recover until well after the Second World War.27 This in no way exhausts the list of changes ushered in by the war. The shift in the balance of economic power away from the South was mirrored by a similar shift in political power. Before the war slaveholders had had a hold on the chief offices of the federal government that was (much as Republicans charged) entirely disproportionate to their numbers. Thus residents of the states that would form the Confederacy held the presidency for two thirds of the years between 1789 and 1861, furnished almost the same proportion of Speakers of the House of Representatives and enjoyed a permanent majority on the Supreme Court. In the half century after the war this stranglehold was released: no president, no Speaker and only five out of twenty-five Supreme Court justices came from those states.28 Nor should the changes in the lives of the nations African-American citizens be minimised. Although the period of the Civil War and Reconstruction saw the frustration and finally the failure of attempts to incorporate African Americans into the political and social systems on an equal basis (though this was by no means a universal aim even of Republicans), these years nonetheless produced momentous changes in the lives of the former slaves. To be a black sharecropper in the South, even one whose rights fell far short of those enjoyed by his white neighbour, was not the same as being a slave and the slaves in their millions knew it. Finally, the era of the Civil War saw an ideological shift of major proportions. Prior to the War the Democratic Party, with its agrarian bias and its centre of gravity, so to speak, below the Mason-Dixon line, had ruled both politically
26.Andreano (ed.) 1967. 27.Atack and Passell 1994, pp. 3734, 378; Wright 1986; Decanio 1974, pp. 42246. 28.McPherson 1988, pp. 85960.


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and ideologically. But after the war, the ideology of the Republican Party, with its emphasis upon wage labour, took over. This alerts us to the fact that the changes that took place in these years were not merely revolutionary. They can also be categorised, provided we enter the necessary qualifications and caveats, as contributing to a revolution that was truly bourgeois in nature. The ideology of Lincoln and his party was more in keeping with bourgeois norms than that of any previous major party in the nation. The stress on wage labour, on social mobility, on the work ethic and on the role of the family was quintessentially that of the bourgeoisie internationally.29 There were, of course, limits to these changes. The South, for decades after the war, lay outside the nations political, social and ideological mainstream. The postbellum South was characterised not merely by the racial exploitation of the former slaves (and former free blacks) but also by a stagnant economy which simply failed to keep up with that of the North. The postbellum South possessed neither a dynamic capitalist economy nor a supporting bourgeois ideology. But it differed from its antebellum predecessor in being marginal to the nation as a whole. After the war, the North became the mainstream; the control and influence that the South had previously wielded was largely destroyed. These changes were in part, but only in part, in accordance with the stated goals of the Republican Party and of northerners generally. The destruction of the political power of the South, or at least its scaling back, was at, or close to, the top of the antebellum Republican Partys agenda. Moreover, some Republicans (usually on the conservative wing of their party) wanted not so much to remake the South in the image of the North as merely to remove southern influence in the federal government. In this they were spectacularly successful. But other Republicans had loftier goals and these were not fulfilled. Those on the radical wing of the party who wished to transform southern society so that it resembled that of the North, and to transform race relations in the South did not see their aims fulfilled either in the short or the medium term. Only in the very long term, after the mid-twentieth century, and as a result of developments that had little to do with the Civil War, did meaningful changes on this scale start to become apparent. One cannot therefore attribute the changes brought about in the era of the Civil War to the consciously willed desires of the northern enemies of slavery. No group got exactly what it wanted from the changes of these years. Nor should one argue for a functionalist interpretation in which a bourgeois revolution
29.Ashworth 1995, pp. 30223.

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somehow results in the dismantling of the southern labour system because it was an impediment to northern capitalism. The northern economy of 1861 in no sense faced crisis or stagnation; rather it was booming and would almost certainly have continued to boom even if southern slavery had continued. We must also guard against a still more extreme functionalism, in which economic and social changes are assumed to be optimal for the capitalist system. As we have noted, the postbellum South was scarcely ideal for the development of capitalism in the South or in the nation as a whole. In other words, from the standpoint of American capitalism, after the war one set of sub-optimal conditions in the South replaced another.30 The major difference was that, as we have seen, the sub-optimal conditions in the now marginalised South no longer mattered in the same way. The true meaning of the bourgeois revolution lay in the political and ideological sphere. The collapse of southern power was in accordance with a classic Marxist formulation in which political power reflects, though perhaps in a mediated form, the changes taking place in the underlying economy and society. In other words, as a result of one or more revolutionary convulsions, the political system adjusts to the changed and changing social order. As the northern economy was outstripping that of the South in all the essential features of a modern economy cities, industry, finance so the political system, after the bourgeois revolution reflected that dominance (though again, we should note, without necessarily being optimal for northern capitalism). So in the ideological sphere. Here was the biggest gain for both American capitalism and the capitalist class. What the Republicans had achieved was a triumphant reconciliation of democratic forms with capitalist norms. Though American historians have not always recognised the fact, this reconciliation was new: at the risk of oversimplifying, one can argue that prior to the 1850s those who had been most enthusiastic about democracy had had deep reservations about wage-labour capitalism whilst those most enthusiastic about capitalism had been suspicious of democracy.31 In the 1850s the Republicans transcended these traditional limitations. And the Civil War gave this new synthesis national legitimation. Once again it must be stressed that this achievement did not fully extend to the South, which in this respect too remained a backwater, outside the national mainstream. Nevertheless, popular capitalism, as we might term it, came to the United States early and with momentous consequences. For example, it played a huge part in insulating the United States from the appeal of socialism
30.This functionalism is prominent within certain strains of Marxist writing and also within the work of Charles Beard. 31. This is the main theme of Ashworth 1987.


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in the latter part of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. This was the lasting legacy of the Civil War and constitutes the primary justification for labelling it a bourgeois revolution. Marxist theory: other considerations There is no consensus, either amongst Marxist or non-Marxist scholars, about the relationship between slavery and capitalism. Probably a majority of nonMarxists and at least a large minority (perhaps even a majority) of Marxists believe that slavery, at least in the antebellum South, was a form of capitalism. In my opinion this is an error. The basic facts about antebellum slavery are not in question. There can be no doubt about its commercial orientation. Slaves were involved in the production of crops, and especially, by the eve of the Civil War, in the production of cotton, all of which was sold on the market, and most of it on an international market. Nor is there any reason to believe, as has sometimes been claimed, that slaveholders possessed a pre-capitalist disdain for the acquisition of great wealth. The evidence suggests that slaveholders were every bit as acquisitive as the northern elite. But none of this is sufficient reason to assimilate slavery to capitalism. Instead we should take note of some of the properties of slave societies, or, as we might appropriately phrase it, of the slave mode of production. Although the Old South contained some towns, cities and industry, no slave society has ever managed to industrialise or urbanise and the Old South was no exception. Indeed within the South the following correlation holds good: the greater the concentration of slaves the fewer the towns and cities and the weaker the industrial sector. There is every reason to believe that slavery was unable to industrialise. And the reasons have to do with the relations between slaveholders and slaves, which were, in the most fundamental sense, different from those between employers and wage workers. One of the key differences between slavery and capitalism lies in the greater degree of acquiescence that a capitalist system is usually able to elicit from those exploited within it. This brings us back to the remarks that Marx made and with which this essay began. Those remarks tell us a great deal about the superior productivity of wage-labour capitalism, and about the consequent triumph of the North in the Civil War. They tell us still more about the resilience of the capitalist mode of production both in the United States and in the wider world in the century and a half since that triumph. The conflict between North and South was of epic proportions. It took four years for the northern advantage in men and materiel to make itself felt. It

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also marked an extraordinary watershed: this was the classic confrontation between on the one side the most powerful pre-capitalist regime the world has ever seen and on the other a nascent wage-labour system. Slavery belonged essentially to an older world, one that could not compete with the world of wage-labour capitalism, even though that capitalist system was in its infancy. Slavery in the Old South received an enormous boost from its proximity to, and its interdependence with, the capitalist system in the North but it remained different. And those differences, with the relations between slave and slaveholder, and between worker and employer at their heart, are the key to explaining not only the cataclysm that was the American Civil War but also the bourgeois revolution that accompanied it. References
Andreano, Ralph P. (ed.) 1967, The Economic Impact of the Civil War, Second Edition, Cambridge, MA.: Schenkman. Ashworth, John 1987, Agrarians and Aristocrats: Party Political Ideology in the United States, 18371846, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1995, Slavery, Capitalism, and Politics in the Antebellum Republic, Volume 1: Commerce and Compromise, 18201850, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2007, Slavery, Capitalism, and Politics in the Antebellum Republic, Volume 2: The Coming of the Civil War, 18501861, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Atack, Jeremy and Peter Passell 1994, A New Economic View of American History, Second Edition, New York: W.W. Norton and Company. Baskhar, Roy 1979, The Possibility of Naturalism: A Philosophical Critique of the Contemporary Human Sciences, First Edition, London: Harvester. Basler, Roy F. (ed.) 1953a, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 2, New Brunswick, NJ.: Rutgers University Press. (ed.) 1953b, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 4, New Brunswick, NJ.: Rutgers University Press. (ed.) 1953c, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 7, New Brunswick, NJ.: Rutgers University Press. Craven, Avery 1942, The Coming of the Civil War, First Edition, Chicago: Chicago University Press. Davidson, Neil 2011, The American Civil War Considered as a Bourgeois Revolution, Historical Materialism, 19, 4: 98144. 2012, How Revolutionary Were the Bourgeois Revolutions?, Chicago: Haymarket. Decanio, Stephen 1974, Productivity and Income Distribution in the Post-Bellum South, Journal of Economic History, 34, 2: 42246. Foner, Eric 1970, Free Soil, Free Labour, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2010, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, New York: W.W. Norton and Company. 2011, The Civil War and Slavery: A Response, Historical Materialism, 19, 4: 199205. Marx, Karl and Frederick Engels 196970, Selected Works, Volume 2: 186072, Moscow: Progress Publishers.


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McPherson, James M. 1988, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Post, Charles 2011, Social-Property Relations, Class-Conflict, and the Origins of the US Civil War, Historical Materialism, 19, 4: 5897. Randall, James G. 1947, Lincoln the Liberal Statesman, London: Eyre and Spottiswoode. Rawley, James A. 1969, Race and Politics: Bleeding Kansas and the Coming of the Civil War, Lincoln, NE.: University of Nebraska Press. Richards, Leonard L. 2000, The Slave Power: The Free North and Southern Domination, 17801860, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. Stowe, Harriet Beecher 1852, Uncle Toms Cabin, Boston: John P. Jewett and Company. Wright, Gavin 1986, Old South, New South: Revolutions in the Southern Economy since the Civil War, New York: Basic Books.

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Stephen Miller on Capitalism in the Old Regime: A Response

Henry Heller

University of Manitoba heller@cc.umanitoba.ca

Abstract Stephen Miller attempts to confute the idea that capitalist accumulation characterised the agriculture of the le-de-France prior to the Revolution. Instead he tries to assimilate the agriculture of the north into the Annales model of neo-Malthusian agricultural cycles and Chayanovian subsistence economy which is supposedly characteristic of the Midi. I argue instead that the notion of a northern capitalist agriculture is rooted not only in the extensive modern research of Moriceau but in the political-economic writings of Turgot and Marx which have been largely ignored. Accumulation in the sense of the growth of fixed and variable capital and emerging technological progress characterised northern agriculture. The persistence of small producers which Miller sees as an index of unchanging stasis might better be investigated in terms of the evolution over time of a reservoir of wage labour for larger-scale enterprises as pointed out by Kautsky. Keywords capitalism, peasants, French Revolution, le-de-France, Turgot, Kautsky, Chayanov, Annales

The relationship between the Old Regime and the French Revolution lies at the core of the dispute between Stephen Miller and myself. At the conclusion of his critique Miller announces the startling news that liberal historians like himself accept the view that the French Revolution was bourgeois and capitalist. On the other hand, lest I pop the champagne too soon, Miller hastily offers a caveat. Liberal historians accept that the Revolution was bourgeois and capitalist but do not accept that class and class-conflict were primary factors behind the Revolution.1 However if class and class-struggle had little or nothing to do with the Revolution it would seem incumbent on him to suggest some other explanation for the transition from feudalism and aristocratic rule to capitalism and bourgeois dominance that even he agrees marked the
1.Miller 2012, p. 155.
Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2013 DOI: 10.1163/1569206X-12341314


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Revolution. Adding to the puzzle, a page earlier Miller acknowledges that class conflict was chronic in the period from 1660 until 1789, embodying an ongoing struggle between peasants and plebeians and seigneurial and state power.2 This might have provided the basis for an explanation. But Miller refuses to explore the connection between such struggles in the Old Regime and the Revolution or even to logically reconcile his own contradictory assertions regarding class conflict. The objective of his piece is rather to try to insist on the non-capitalist nature of the whole French countryside so as to forestall the idea that a bourgeoisie might have assumed leadership over the peasant revolution.3 Marx argued otherwise, asserting that the bourgeoisie who lead the Revolution arose dialectically within feudal society. Although study of Marx is today experiencing a revival, the view still lingers that his understanding of history is dpass, that new, archivally-based scholarship has long since superseded his work. Marx in fact extensively studied the scholarly works and published documents of the French Revolution, and, more importantly, brought to bear on them unequalled theoretical insight.4 On the question of the capitalist and bourgeois nature of the Revolution his most valuable observations are to be found in Volume One of the Theories of Surplus Value, the so-called fourth volume of Capital referred to by him as the historical, historico-critical or historical-literary part of Capital.5 In this work Marx attributes the discovery of surplus value in the sphere of production to the Physiocrats, whose
system is presented as the new capitalist society prevailing within the framework of feudal society. This therefore corresponds to bourgeois society in the epoch when the latter breaks its way out of the feudal order. Consequently, the startingpoint is in France, in a predominantly agricultural country, and not in England, a predominantly industrial, commercial and seafaring country.6

In England where capitalism was already highly developed, the attention of economic thinkers like Adam Smith was focused on circulation. In France, on the contrary, the sudden rise to prominence of capitalist relations of production in agriculture prompted the Physiocrats to recognise that the source of surplusvalue lay in the exploitation of agricultural workers. Some of the Physiocrats, reflecting the interests of the bourgeoisie, went so far as to urge that taxes be imposed on rent and not on profit-generating activity since, they argued, rent
2.Miller 2012, p. 154. 3.Miller 2012, p. 145. 4.Lwy 1989. 5.Marx 1963, p. 13. 6.Marx 1963, p. 50.

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was the only real form in which the surplus was embodied. According to Marx, this position anticipated the legislation of the French Revolution.7 In Marxs view, then, the decisive arena in which capitalism developed and the capitalist bourgeoisie emerged was the countryside and he saw this occurring in France prior to the Revolution just as he describes the earlier breakthrough of capitalism in sixteenth-century rural England in the eighth part of the first volume of Capital. In putting forward this perspective, Marx was especially influenced by Turgot who, alongside Quesnay, was the most influential of the Physiocrats. Turgot was aware of the evolution of France toward capitalism and attempted to theorise it within the terms of a society which was still politically and socially feudal. Never quite abandoning his Physiocratic assumptions which stressed the importance of agriculture, Turgot nonetheless arrived at the view that value or wealth derived from the surplus labour of workers which produced capitalist profit both in agriculture and manufacturing. In his principal work, the Rflexions sur la formation et la distribution des richesses (1766), Turgot repeatedly underlines his fealty to the basic principles of Physiocratic doctrine. Nonetheless, in a backwards and forwards fashion, he moves toward recognition of the value-creating potential of both industry and agriculture, of the essential role of capital to the activity of both farmers and manufacturers, and to the common condition of both agricultural and industrial workers in competition to sell their labour to employers in return for a wage.8 The primary focus in Turgots work becomes not land as a material entity which produces wealth but capital as a value which attempts to expand and realise itself whether in farming or manufacture.9 While Turgot harked back to the original Physiocratic definition of wealth as the net product from agriculture at various points in the Rflections, he increasingly acknowledged the role of the category of profit in capitalist activity.10 Turgot also underscored that the more productive and advanced form of farming based on capitalism had become prevalent throughout the north of France.11 Turgots economic principles we conclude like those of other French theorists of the time was a reflection and theorisation of the new capitalist relations which had begun to emerge and which he hoped would develop further. Both Turgot and Marx believed that in the eighteenth century a capitalist bourgeoisie had emerged among the farmers of northern France. The source of their wealth was the exploitation of the labour of rural wage workers.
7.Marx 1963, p. 52. 8.Morilhat 1988, pp. 1589, 164, 1689, 171. 9.Morilhat 1988, pp. 156, 1734. 10.Morilhat 1988, pp. 1678. 11. Turgot 1898, p. 24.


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Jean-Marc Moriceaus thesis on the farmers of the le-de-France offers an important historical reinforcement of this viewpoint.12 According to Moriceau, it was in the latter part of the sixteenth century that an elite of wealthier peasants first consolidated itself as a stratum of capitalist tenant-farmers in the le-de-France. Already endowed with some land, tools and cash reserves, they leased farms held by the nobility and Church while using the wage-labour of their hard-pressed neighbours.13 During the heyday of the Bourbon absolutist state in the seventeenth century, family solidarity and the strict rationalisation of operations made it possible for many of these farmers to sustain profits in the face of increased taxes and rents while preparing the way for the great prosperity and expansion of their power in the next century. Among notable improvements introduced by such farmers were a successful consolidation of land holdings, a greater degree of specialisation, more intensive manuring, and greater traction through improved harnessing of animal draught power.14 By the beginning of the eighteenth century this elite had engrossed the greater part of the land in the le-de-France and had reduced the majority of producers to wage workers. These rich peasants lobbied in favour of a free market in grain as introduced by Turgot during his brief tenure as minister of finance in the 1770s. They organised production using their own tools and equipment and employed a workforce paid in wages. Based on their operations, they derived a profit and as a result paid their landlords what amounted to a capitalist rent.15 Indeed, the farmers of such enterprises had to pay not only these rents, but usually also seigneurial dues, taxes, and tithes. But since their farms were on fertile lands that were close to good roads and towns, they were able to take advantage of high prices and to enjoy profitable returns. They often enhanced their revenues by farming ecclesiastical tithes and seigneurial obligations. As such, the incomes of such farmers were made up of both capitalist profits and feudal rents, something that Miller finds perplexing. Through their business and social connections and their lifestyle, these farmers constituted part of the bourgeoisie alongside those of the middle class who lived in the surrounding bourgs and towns.16 Peasant differentiation, including the existence of a rural capitalist bourgeoisie that dominated the rest of the rural population, is something else that Miller has difficulty coming to terms with.

12.Moriceau 1994a. 13.Moriceau 1994a, pp. 145351. 14.Moriceau 1994a, pp. 61123, 63142. 15.Ado 1996, p. 51. 16.Moriceau 1994a, pp. 70369; Moriceau 1989, pp. 467.

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Looking for a moment at northern France as a whole, this elite of wealthy farmers constituted a smaller fraction of a more numerous and broader group of prosperous peasant ploughmen or labourers. On a lesser scale than the wealthy farmers, they, too, hired wage labour and loaned grain, ploughs, wagons, and money to their less well-off neighbours. As such, they, too, were part of an emergent class of rural capitalists. More generally we can say that the French countryside, especially in the north, saw a halting and tentative progress toward capitalist relations in agriculture and the development of an agrarian bourgeoisie.17 Moriceau notes that in the le-de-France and over much of the rest of the north of France genuine agricultural improvement took place. Especially in regions close to cities that were affected by new agronomic ideas and by the growing availability of manure, productivity significantly increased in the second half of the eighteenth century.18 Undermining Moriceaus perspective is the principal objective of Millers critique, bent as he is on showing that capitalism did not exist in France prior to the Revolution. Miller claims that the large estates of the nobility were not the result of primitive accumulation but rather of defaults due to the widespread abandonment of the land in the crisis of the late seventeenth century.19 Apparently Miller does not realise that defaults which were the result of economic crisis as well as other factors like heavy rents and taxes and violence are at the crux of the long-term historical process of primitive accumulation. Miller does seem to be aware that this process of primitive accumulation was not confined to the late seventeenth century but went on from the sixteenth through the eighteenth century.20 But it is a process the consequences of which he refuses to engage with or outright denies in the name of the idea of the peasants persistent and enduring connection to the land. Despite his attempts to cover up the results of expropriation by pointing to the partial comeback of small property in the eighteenth century,21 the overall result of the secular process of primitive accumulation was an unprecedented concentration of property in the hands of rich farmers and the transformation of most of the producers into full or part-time wage earners. Millers pointing-out of the persistence of small holdings in the le-deFrance is part of his attempt to assimilate agriculture in the north to that of the Midi. His account of the latter is rooted in Chayanovian conceptions of a sempiternal economy of subsistence and Annaliste notions of neo-Malthusian
17. Ado 1996, p. 53. 18. Moriceau 1994b. 19. Miller 2012, p. 146. 20.Miller 2012, pp. 1456. 21. Miller 2012, p. 148.


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cycles that have nothing to do with capitalist development but rather are redolent of the conservative populist ideology of the agrarian myth.22 In fact he would do better to understand the evolution of the situation in the Paris basin and elsewhere in France by developing Kautskys insight into the historic and persistent role of small farmers in supplying wage labour to larger agricultural enterprises the secret of the long-term survival of this stratum and one of the keys opening the door to an understanding of the evolution of feudalism and capitalism in France and Continental Europe and indeed in the rest of the world.23 As a matter of fact, Kautskys views have become part of a sophisticated attempt to redefine the complicated and ever-changing relationship between the exploitation of wage and non-wage labour in the history of capitalism.24 All the more so as Miller is at pains to insist that if one looks at the period from the middle ages to the nineteenth century, one notices that the peasantry made available landless labourers and paupers, but not proletarian labourpower.25 Evidently this included the majority of the French rural population, since Miller is forced to admit that in the eighteenth century only a minority had the land and livestock to avoid reliance on wages....26 For Miller, the essence of the accumulation of capital is the generation of increasing amounts of surplus value as a result of the creation of more and more relative surplus value attendant on the progressive substitution of fixed capital for variable capital a process driven by market competition. Such a transformation is evident in England but not in France, according to Miller.27 Actually, accumulation in the first instance involves an increase in the amount of both fixed and variable capital employed by capitalists and in this light the farmers of the Paris basin were undoubtedly capitalists. The substitution of relative surplus for absolute surplus value which is never complete is a by-product of this process and in this respect there is no doubt that England was ahead of France especially in the eighteenth century. On the other hand, that there was also agricultural progress in the le-de-France, as noted above, is unquestionable. In a selective and tendentious way Miller brings forward the research of Jean-Michel Chevet on the le-de-France to try to suggest that Moriceau is wrong on all counts.28 Interesting as Chevets research is, it does not cast into doubt the radical polarisation between landholding and the
22.Brass 2000. 23.Kautsky 1988, pp. xiiixvi. 24.Brass 2011. 25.Miller 2012, p. 145. 26.Miller 2012, p. 150. The pervasiveness of wage labour is stressed in Heller 2006, pp. 467. 27.Miller 2012, pp. 1434. 28.Chevet 1994.

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landless and the concomitant process of accumulation as outlined by Moriceau. It merely questions the latters understanding of how one measures gains in productivity. Even so, Chevet reaches the important conclusion that the eighteenth century saw a fifty per cent gain in the productivity of agricultural workers.29 Miller offers a backhanded compliment by noting that my account of primitive accumulation at least has the merit of arguing that the inception of sixteenth-century capitalism was the unintentional result of religious violence and seigneurial reaction rather than Moriceaus view that it was the consequence of the intentional logic of growing market demand.30 In fact I argued that both factors helped to initiate capitalist accumulation. In any case, Miller condemns me for hitching my wagon to Moriceau whom he dismisses as being unapologetically Smithian in his account of the inception and development of capitalism.31 In fact Miller misrepresents Moriceaus approach in which the ongoing influence of his training in the Annales school is evident, embracing in its striving for total history human geography, technological innovation, demography, family history, class and class-struggle as well as the history of primitive accumulation and capitalist accumulation proper and finally the role of the market to explain the long-term development of capitalism in the Paris basin. It is doubly ironic that in his conclusion Miller insists that today historians are concerned with the dynamism of the Old Regime rather than the Revolution.32 For while his own view is marked by a sense of historical immobility, the discounted Moriceau, as editor of the vanguard Histoire et socits rurales, has placed himself in the lead in creating a new kind of rural history which is interested in the long-term evolution of the French countryside a history which includes its capitalist phase but predates it and is a history not of stasis but of movement.33 References
Ado, Anatoli 1996, Paysans en rvolution: terre, pouvoir et jacquerie, 17891794, Paris: Socit des tudes robespierristes. Brass, Tom 2000, Peasants, Populism, and Postmodernism: The Return of the Agrarian Myth, London: Frank Cass.

29.Chevet 1994, p. 140. 30.Miller 2012, p. 144. 31. Miller 2012, p. 145. 32.Miller 2012, p. 155. 33.Moriceau 2002.


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2011, Labour Regime Change in the Twenty-First Century: Unfreedom, Capitalism and Primitive Accumulation, Leiden: Brill. Chevet, Jean-Michel 1994, Production et productivit: un modle de dveloppement conomique des campagnes de la rgion parisienne aux XVIIIe et XIXesicles, Histoire & Mesure, 9, 1/2: 10145. Heller, Henry 2006, The Bourgeois Revolution in France 17891815, New York: Berghahn Books. Kautsky, Karl 1988 [1899], The Agrarian Question,Volume 1, translated by Peter Burgess with an Introduction by Hamza Alavi and Teodor Shanin, London: Zwan Publications. Lwy, Michael 1989, The Poetry of the Past: Marx and the French Revolution, New Left Review, I, 177: 11124. Marx, Karl 1963 [18623], Theories of Surplus Value, Volume 1, Moscow: Progress Publishers. Miller, Stephen 2012, French Absolutism and Agricultural Capitalism: A Comment on Henry Hellers Essays, Historical Materialism, 20, 4: 14161. Moriceau, Jean-Marc 1989, Les gros fermiers en 1789: vice-rois de la plain de France, in Les paysans et la rvolution en pays de France: actes du Colloque de Tremblay-ls-Gonesse: 1516 octobre 1988, Paris: LAssociation Tremblay-ls-Gonesse. 1994a, Les fermiers de lle-de-France: lascension dun patronat agricole, XVeXVIIIe sicle, Paris: Fayard. 1994b, Au rendez-vous de la revolution agricole dans la France du XVIIIe sicle: propos des rgions de grande culture, Annales: Economies, Socits, 49, 1: 2763. 2002, Terres mouvantes: les campagnes franaises du fodalisme la mondialisation, 1150 1850: essai historique, Paris: Fayard. Morilhat, Claude 1988, La prise de conscience du capitalisme: conomie et philosophie chez Turgot, Paris: Meridiens Klincksieck. Turgot, Anne-Robert-Jacques 1898, Reflections on the Formation and the Distribution of Riches, translated by William J. Ashley, New York: The Macmillan Co.

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Introduction to The Change in the Original Plan for Marxs Capital and Its Causes*
Rick Kuhn

College of Arts and Social Sciences, Australian National University Rick.Kuhn@anu.edu.au

Abstract In his essay, Henryk Grossman made a powerful case for the continued relevance of Marxist economics. He argued that Capital is a fundamentally coherent whole, structured by Marxs method of moving systematically from more abstract to more concrete levels of analysis. Despite considerable subsequent debate and research, Grossmans account remains the outstanding contribution to our understanding of this aspect of Marxs principal work. Keywords breakdown theory, capitalism, economic crisis, Henryk Grossman, Henryk Grossmann, Karl Marx, Marxism, method

Is Marxs economic theory complete in the sense that it is a coherent and systematic analysis which can be used to identify the most important aspects of contemporary capitalism? Consequently, can it be a guide for political practice? The issue is not whether Marxs every utterance is correct but whether his approach is valid, without the need for major revisions. The answers to these questions were and are crucial in many debates over Marxism. Alan Freemans identification of the central contradiction of Marxist theory in the second half of the twentieth century, namely, its dogged rejection of the most central feature of this theory Marxs economics1 still applies today. The contradiction is, in fact, over a century old. Implicitly or explicitly, prominent Marxist figures before and after World War I rejected core features of Marxs economic theory and argued that his work was seriously flawed
* This Introduction benefited a great deal from Fred Moseleys comments on a previous draft, although points of disagreement remain. 1. Freeman 2008, p. 123. Also see Freeman 2010.
Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2013 DOI: 10.1163/1569206X-12341307


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and/or fundamentally incomplete. Contemporary Marxists who embrace the methodology of neoclassical economics and/or the underconsumptionist arguments of Keynesian economists had predecessors in Social-Democratic neo-harmonists such as Rudolf Hilferding and Otto Bauer, and in the radical underconsumptionism of Rosa Luxemburg. Henryk Grossmans essay The Change in the Original Plan for Marxs Capital and Its Causes dealt with these questions.2 He sought to demonstrate the methodological coherence of Marxs principal economic work and refute theoretical and textual arguments, made by Luxemburg and others, that the unfinished state of Capital when Marx died meant that it was unsatisfactory as a guide to understanding the logic of capitalism. The essay offers a striking exposition and restatement of the method which underpinned Capital s structure and analysis of capitalism. Here and elsewhere, at greater length, Grossman also contended that Marxs theory of economic crisis, in terms of the tendency for the rate of profit to fall, was correct and had been neglected by the neoharmonists and Luxemburg. In other works, he showed that Marxs treatments of the transformation of values into prices and the place of money in his reproduction schema had suffered a similar fate.3 There was an intimate connection between Grossmans economic writings and his continuing commitment to effective, revolutionary, working-class politics.4 When he wrote about Marxs plan for Capital in 1929, he was a salaried researcher at the Institute for Social Research and an academic at the University of Frankfurt, but he had previously gained years of experience as a revolutionary activist, in the Jewish Social-Democratic Party of Galicia and the Communist Workers Party of Poland. After moving to the Institute in Germany in 1925, Grossman was a fellow-traveller of the German Communist Party. He was critical of Social Democracy and, from the late 1920s, counterposed his own understanding of Marx to Stalinist economic orthodoxies. For several years, in the mid 1930s, he also rejected the Stalinist political perspectives of the international communist movement.5 Grossman shared Luxemburgs commitment to revolutionary politics. Although she had been murdered in 1919, her claim that an important aspect of Marxs economic analysis was flawed still had influence on the revolutionary left during the 1920s and early 1930s. She maintained that the treatment of capitalist reproduction, crises and expansion in Capital had to be supplemented and modified in major ways. Her political perspectives were, nevertheless,
2.Grossmann 1929, pp. 30538. 3.See Grossmann 1928; Grossmann 1992; Grossmann 1932a; Grossmann 1932b. 4.Kuhn 2009, pp. 334. 5.See Kuhn 2007.

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grounded in the conviction that capitalism was inherently and necessarily prone to economic breakdown. Consequently, while Grossman had a great deal of respect for Luxemburg as a Marxist theorist, he devoted a considerable effort to vindicating Marxs explanation, as opposed to her account, of capitalisms tendency to break down.6 The discussion below, very briefly, summarises the arguments in Grossmans essay, including his critique of Luxemburg, and then outlines specific controversies over the completeness, the logic and the reasons for changes in the planned, overall structure of Capital. It compares and assesses the conclusions of Grossman and later participants in the debate. Grossmans argument The Change in the Original Plan for Marxs Capital and Its Causes examines Capitals form, the history of its genesis and logic of its structure. In several publications, including his first substantial work on Marxist economic theory, the summary of a lecture delivered in 1919, Grossman had referred to Marxs method of abstraction and/or the issue of the completeness of Capital.7 His 1929 essay on the plan for Capital expanded on these earlier observations. Before this study, there had been discussions of Marxs plans for Capital. Karl Kautsky, the preeminent intellectual of Germany Social Democracy before World War I, noted the difference in the plan set out in A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy,8 published in 1859, and that of the volumes of Capital which Marx published or drafted. For Kautsky, however, Capital was essentially an historical work. Robert Wilbrandt, a Social-Democratic professor and advocate
6.See Grossmann 1992, p. 41. In a letter to Paul Mattick (Grossman 1931), he wrote: Rosa Luxemburg and Sternberg, in his book Imperialism...drew the conclusion that under capitalism this unsalable remainder can only be disposed of in non-capitalist areas, i.e. that capitalism cannot exist at all without non-capitalist colonies! Marx had not seen any of this, so there was an important gap in his system. Indeed he had failed to say the most important thing and Rosa Luxemburg was the first to fill this dangerous gap! I regard refuting this dangerous distortion of Marxs teachings by Rosa Luxemburg and her supporters and repeatedly showing, from different sides, that it is untenable as one of my most important tasks. In my big book and my critique of Sternberg (A New Theory) as well as in my work on The Change in the Original Plan for Marxs Capital , I illuminate this theory from different sides. Translation by Tom OLincoln. The references are to Grossmann 1992 and Grossmann 1928. 7.Grossman 2000, p. 171; Grossman 1924; Grossmann 1928, pp. 1834; Grossmann 1992, pp. 2931. In a letter to Paul Mattick, Grossman drew attention to some of these earlier works that dealt with Marxs procedure of successive approximation (cf. Grossman 1933). 8.Marx 1987.


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of cooperatives, later insisted that Marx had stuck to his original approach and just did not get around to writing all the books foreshadowed in 1859.9 Grossman pointed out that the eventual publication of all of Marxs writings would change the scope for scientific research on Marx. But it was worth drawing conclusions about the plans for Capital on the basis of Marxs work currently available. Earlier plans envisaged six volumes on 1. capital 2. landed property 3. wage-labour 4. the state 5. foreign trade 6. the world market Later plans provided for four volumes: 1. the process of production of capital 2. the process of circulation of capital 3. the structure of the process as a whole 4. the history of the theory Although in places incomplete and unpolished, Capital as published by Marx and, on the basis of his manuscripts, by Engels and Kautsky, matched Marxs mature plan and constituted a whole work. Grossman did not comment on shifts in the structure of Marxs volume(s) on capital but argued that the change to the four-volume plan took place in August 1863, because the earlier conception proved to be unworkable. In the real world, the circuits of different capitals intersect, as they borrow from and lend to each other. So it was not possible to measure the surplus value a capital produced by examining its empirical forms, as the original plan envisaged. That conceptual framework, based on the separate examination of capital, land and labour inherited from classical political economy, was therefore abandoned. Instead, through a process of abstraction, Marx first identified and measured surplus value, the source, before its division into its component forms of industrial profit, commercial profit, interest and rent. There was an intimate relationship, Grossman argued, between Marxs work on his reproduction schema and the change in the plan for his major work.
9.Kautsky 1897, p. v. The translator of the first English edition, based on Kautskys 1897 German edition, which does not include the Foreword, made the same point: cf. Stone 1904, p. 3; Wilbrandt 1920, p. 97.

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In his most abstract account of capitalism, Marx reduced the complexity of real capitalist processes to the fundamental capital relation, expressed in the formula c+v+s=C (where c is constant capital, v variable capital, s surplus value and C the total value of commodities produced), and commodity exchange between the two spheres of production of means of production and means of consumption. To identify the relationships between surplus values and the capitals which produced them, the reproduction schema abstracted from different forms of capital and also from the effects of the sphere of circulation, deviations of prices from values, credit and foreign trade, changes in the value of money and non-capitalist production. Grossman pointed out that [t]he construction of all three volumes of Capital was carried out methodologically on the basis of the meticulously thought-out and actually implemented procedure of successive approximation [Annherungsverfahren], which, logically, is inseparably connected to the reproduction schema. Each provisional simplification correlates with a later, corresponding concretisation. The initial abstract treatment of capitalism is made progressively more concrete.10 The focus on aggregate surplus value, no longer obscured by movements in its concrete forms, made it possible to clearly specify and explain the tendency for the rate of profit to fall, for the first time in the history of political economy. The tendency was a logical consequence of the labour theory of value and a rising organic composition of capital. On the basis of his account of the method in Capital, Grossman refuted Rosa Luxemburgs critique of Marx. She was wrong to assert that Marxs analysis was incomplete and that he had left out a fundamental precondition of capitalist production: the existence of non-capitalist markets for the products of capitalism. Nor, as Grossman demonstrated in his account of the transformation of values into prices of production, was Marxs analysis inconsistent without the modifications proposed by Luxemburg.11 Subsequent evidence and debates Since Grossmans pioneering work, more of Marxs manuscripts for Capital, starting with the Grundrisse, have become available and have fuelled debate over the meaning, relevance and value of Marxs economic work.12 There have
10.For the place of abstraction in Marxs dialectical method, see Ollman 2003, pp. 59112. 11.Grossmann 1932b. 12.Known as the Grundrisse, Marxs first draft of Capital, Outlines of the Critique of Political Economy was written between late 1857 and May 1858. It was initially published in 1939 and only


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been debates over three major issues that Grossmans essay addressed, not only the completeness of Capital, but also the logic of the works structure, and the reasons for changes in that structure. Completeness A decade before the appearance of Grossmans essay, Wilbrandt had argued that the first volume of Capital when it first appeared was in a double sense a torso of the work that Marx still intended to write along the lines of his early six-volume plan. It was only part of the volume on capital, as originally envisaged, which was itself only part of the whole project.13 The Japanese Marxist academic Samezo Kuruma, in 1930, gave greater substance to Wilbrandts assertion by referring to texts Marx wrote between his six-volume plans and the appearance of Capital. In doing so, Kuruma criticised Grossmans essay on Marxs plan, which otherwise attracted very little attention during the 1930s and 1940s.14 For Kuruma, Volume 1 of Capital was in a triple sense a torso: it was the first instalment of a four-part work (if Theories of Surplus Value are included), which was only the first part, on capital in general, of the planned study of capital, which in turn was only one of the six volumes projected. Grossmans textual evidence for a major change in plan was rejected by Kuruma on dubious grounds. Marxs comment that he had to to demolish everything ostensibly referred to the whole of classical political economy rather than Marxs own work. When Marx wrote to Kugelmann in 1866 that his whole work would appear in four books, the whole work was just part of the study of capital. Most importantly, Kuruma asserted that Capital did not deal with competition and credit, which were destined for a later book that was to be another component of the volume on capital according to the original plan which Marx still held to. In fact, these topics are dealt with at length in Volume 3.15 To this case, Kuruma added Marxs references in Capital to future
became widely accessible in German in 1953. The first complete English translation appeared in 1973. The translation used here is Marx 1986b. The second draft of Capital, written in 18613, was first published from 1976, and in English in 1988. Other later manuscripts, many of them very substantial, intended for all three volumes of Capital have also been published. See Jan Hoffs survey of the Marx-commentary literature, from the perspective of the neue Marx-Lektre (Hoff 2009). In 1992, Kenneth Lapides published a valuable article on the completeness of Capital that surveyed the literature. It drew attention to and included translations of sections of Grossmans study (Lapides 1992). 13.Wilbrandt 1920, p. 97. 14.Kuruma 2007. Another exception to the neglect of Grossmans essay from its publication until the 1950s was Paul Matticks favourable review and summary (Mattick 1931). 15.Amongst other treatments of competition in Capital is the discussion of its relationship to economic crises in Marx 1981, pp. 36072; Chapters 23 to 35 deal with credit.

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studies of wage labour and landed property, which may or may not refer to work Marx intended to include in his own project or even to write himself. Roman Rosdolsky confirmed the validity of several of Grossmans arguments in a systematic analysis of the relationship between the Grundrisse and Capital. A leader of the exile organisation of the Communist movement in Polands Ukrainian territories and active in the Austrian Communist Party during the 1920s, Rosdolsky also undertook research on the treatment of the national question in Eastern Europe by Marx and Engels. Between 1934 and 1939 he was a leader of the Trotskyist organisation in Lww in Poland (now Lviv in Ukraine) and researched the dissolution of serfdom in eastern Galicia. Rosdolsky survived Nazi concentration camps and lived in Austria after World War II until, in 1947, he emigrated to the United States where he continued his Marxist research. In The Making of Marxs Capital, published in 1968, he commented favourably on Grossmans accounts of competition, use value and the tendency for the rate of profit to fall in Marxs theory, as well as his critique of Luxemburg.16 Rosdolsky also agreed that Capital was essentially a complete work. Marx had subsumed the material initially projected for the books on landed property and wage labour into the book on capital, although he hoped to deal separately with subject matter planned for the other three projected books.17 But Rosdolsky asserted that Grossman was mistaken about both the timing of and reasons for the major change in Marxs plan for Capital.18 Rosdolsky differed in his interpretation of a letter of 15 August 1863, from Marx to Engels, which Grossman had asserted signalled the change in plan for Capital, and believed that Marx did not adopt the radically different plan until 1864, at the earliest.19 On the basis of a greater corpus of Marxs writings than had ever been available for analysis before, the editors of the collected works of Marx and Engels in 2004 concluded that the plan for Capital changed in August 1863, when Marx began the first draft, available to neither Grossman nor Rosdolsky, of what eventually became the published version of Capital. Rosdolskys later date is now untenable.20 Although Marx did not mention the six-volume plan after 1859, Maximilien Rubel, a council communist, argued in the late 1960s and early 1970s that we must acknowledge the fragmentary state of the Economics, i.e. that Capital was a small part of the incomplete six-volume project.21 Rubels assertion that
16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. Rosdolsky 1980, pp. 43, 73, 878; Rosdolsky 1989, pp. 492, 503. Also see Rosdolsky 1957. Rosdolsky 1980, pp. 11, 23. Rosdolsky 1980, p. 53. Rosdolsky 1980, pp. 223. Roth, Kopf, Vollgraf and Hubmann 2004, p. 1000. Rubel 1981c, p. 181.


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[n]either before nor after the publication of the 1859 Preface did Marx ever betray even the slightest intention of changing the plan of the Economics was, like Kurumas conclusions, based on questionable readings of phrases in Marxs correspondence and works. These included observations in Capital that [a]n exposition of all these forms belongs to the special study of wage-labour, and not, therefore, to this work and similarly [t]he analysis of landed property in its various historical forms lies outside the scope of the present work.22 Wilbrandts conclusion about the incompleteness of Capital, endorsed by Kuruma and Rubel, has been reproduced by other, later commentators. Only a couple of the most influential will be mentioned here.23 In his book on the Grundrisse, Antonio Negri argued that Marxs first draft was the summit of Marxs revolutionary thought and superior to Capital. In effect Negri held that Marxs priorities were wrong: instead of developing his discussions of revolutionary working-class struggle and subjectivity in the Grundrisse into the planned book on wage labour, he became caught up in the objective analysis of Capital.24 Negri maintained that Marxs logic pointed beyond what he actually wrote to the book on wage labour and to (voluntarist) politics.25 His insistence on the theory of the subjectivity of the working class, as opposed to that of capital, expressed in Capital, led Negri to reject Marxs explanation of the tendency for the rate of profit to fall in terms of a rising organic composition of capital and discussion of counter-tendencies, which provided a flexible tool for the analysis of crises. Instead, Negri highlighted the class struggle as a fundamental and rigid variable, in a voluntarist spirit. Paradoxically, the result was an utterly mechanical theory of crisis as the consequence of the irreversible expansion of the value of necessary labour, i.e. wages, at the expense of surplus value.26 Negri pointed out that a commitment to the class struggle pervaded all of Marxs work. This is quite true. But it does not validate the assertion that a discussion of the class struggle and the working class, of the subjective side to supplement the objective account of capital, should have been incorporated into Capital. Negris own attempt to undertake such an analysis at a level of abstraction comparable with Capital resulted in a misleading generalisation of conditions that (he thought) were typical of the 1970s to the whole history
22.Marx 1976, p. 683; Marx 1981, p. 751; Rubel 1981c, p. 193. 23.For a discussion of a more extensive list of participants in the debate, see Hoff 2009, pp. 25566. 24.Negri 1991, pp. 5, 812, 18, 12937. Mario Tronti points out that Negris arguments reflected widespread positions current in Italian operaismo during the 1970s (cf. Tronti 2008, pp. 2313). 25.Negri 1991, pp. 19, 94. 26.Negri 1991, pp. 934, 1013, 1313, 136.

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of capitalism. As Negri was writing, the early stage of the neoliberal counteroffensive against labour was already undermining those conditions. Systematic discussions of class struggles and working-class action, while certainly essential, are studies of specific historical developments, that can now use the framework provided by Capital. They cannot be conducted at a level of analysis even approaching the abstraction of Capitals third, most concrete volume. Marx himself completed exemplary studies of precisely this kind before and during his work on Capital.27 While Negri did not insist that Marx had stuck with his original plan, Michael Lebowitz explicitly endorsed Rubels position on this issue. In the Englishspeaking world, Lebowitz was, for a period, the most prominent proponent of the notion that Capital was fundamentally incomplete. He recapitulated some of Negris key voluntarist arguments, insisting that Capital and those who regard it as providing a fully elaborated system are one-sided. Marxs book on wage labour would have dealt with workers struggles over their needs and consequent changes in wages, dispensing with the assumption in Capital that wages are at the necessary minimum. To his analytical case for the incompleteness of Capital, Lebowitz added Rubels textual evidence and other, equally unpersuasive quotes from Marx.28 Although he was less interested in the issue of whether or not Marx abandoned his early intention to write further volumes on wage labour and landed property, Chris Arthur also asserted the inadequacy of Capital and the need for such additional works. From the perspective of value-form theory, Arthur found Marxs characterisation of labour power and land as commodities inadequate. Marx did not go into sufficient detail about their peculiarities, to the extent that wage-labour cannot plausibly be represented as a purchase of a commodity. Just like land, labour-power is not produced by capital; it is an external condition of capitalist production. To overcome this and other problems in Capital, Arthur contended that we need an account of how wagelabour reproduces itself and embarks on a self-transcending trajectory of contestation and overthrow of capital.29 But the requirement that it is only things produced in factories (or otherwise immediately produced by capital itself ) that deserve the label commodity is arbitrary. Wolfgang Jahn was convinced that Marx never abandoned his plan for all six volumes although he eventually recognised that he would only be able to realise a small portion of it himself. Jahn was a senior academic at the East
27.Notably Marx 1978, 1979 and 1986c. 28.Lebowitz 2003, pp. 29, 467, 51 et seq., 137. 29.Arthur 2006, pp. 8892, 968, 10910. For a persuasive critique of Arthurs broader framework, see Carchedi 2009, pp. 14569.


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German University of Halle, who led the editorial teams for several volumes of the new Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA2).30 In the 1970s, he and his circle initiated the massive undertaking of reconstructing Marxs project. Jahns main argument was that Marxs six-book plan was scientific. To this he added the observation that Marx continued to collect material relevant to all six volumes and trivial textual evidence from Marxs work, like that offered by Kuruma and Rubel. After the unification of Germany in 1990 and the disappearance of the constraints imposed by Stalinism on intellectual labour and honesty, Jahn reversed his publicly stated position to assert, in Wilbrandts terminology, that Capital was a torso after all. His revised assessment suggested that the reconstruction effort was all the more important. But the East German state that had financed it had disappeared and the project rapidly collapsed.31 While rejecting the argument that Capital is incomplete because Marx never gave up on his plan for six books, in the 1990s Michael Heinrich offered a different account of the inadequacy of Capital. Heinrich contested the coherence and validity of Marxs analysis more directly. Having immersed himself in the wealth of Marxs writings that have become accessible through MEGA2, Heinrich stressed the fragmentary, inconsistent and flawed nature of the work and maintained that, late in his life, Marx clearly recognised the need for a fundamental revision of the hitherto existing manuscripts. The evidence for such recognition is as thin as the case for Marxs continued adherence to the six-book plan.32

30. The project of publishing the collected works of Marx and Engels, underway in Russia between 1927 and 1941, was revived in East Germany and Russia in the 1960s. It continued from the early 1990s under the auspices of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences. 31. Jahn 1992/3, pp. 129, 134, 137; cf. Jahn 1986, p. 7. Also see Hoff 2009, pp. 25962, and Heinrich 2002, pp. 92101. 32. Heinrich 2006, pp. 1912; Heinrich 2009, pp. 74, 845; Heinrich 2013, pp. 2831. Heinrichs assertion that Marx thought that his previous manuscripts, which included the drafts that Engels published as Volumes 2 and 3 of Capital, were fundamentally unsatisfactory was based on the following tangential facts. Marx worked out the range of relationships between the rate of surplus value and the rate of profit that were mathematically possible and wrote a cryptic marginal note about the rate of profit and value composition of capital in his copy of the second edition of Capital Volume 1. He investigated developments in the United States and Russia, credit and the industrial crisis of 1879 in Britain, which he wanted to appreciate theoretically, before the publication of the second volume of Capital. He redrafted his account of the law of the tendency for the rate of profit to fall several times. He wanted to change the first volume of Capital for a fourth edition to an extent that went beyond the fewest possible alterations and additions he envisaged for the third edition (cf. Marx 1981, p. 161). A further crucial ingredient in Heinrichs case was his own conviction that there is no tendency for the rate of profit to fall and that Marx was wrong to try to explain crises before his discussion of credit in Volume 3 of Capital.

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In the tradition of the neue Marx-Lektre [new reading of Marx]33 and its hostility to empirical science, Heinrich rejected notions that Marxs theory of value, which he claimed was not in its most developed form a labour theory of value, can be used for the purposes of practical quantitative analysis. Such ideas, Heinrich contended, were typical not only of classical political economy and traditional Marxism but were present in the ambivalences of Marxs own work; they already infect [its] fundamental categories and generate specific problems. Because, according to Heinrich, the transformation problem cannot be solved, there are no systematic relationships between values, derived from the abstract labour embodied in commodities, and prices. Heinrich argued that the reasoning behind the law of the tendency for the rate of profit to fall was likewise false.34 By way of contrast, Isaac Ilych Rubin and, in other essays, Grossman identified Marxs supersession of concepts employed by classical political economy, without abandoning an Enlightenment concern with empirical explanation.35 Amongst others, Rubel and Heinrich complained about Engelss editorial efforts on Volumes 2 and 3 of Capital, primarily on the grounds that he did not live up to contemporary academic standards for the publication of historical manuscripts, casting a further shadow of doubt over the coherence of Capital.36 There is certainly some value in consulting the raw materials that Marx left for Engels, now published in MEGA2. But Engelss concern was not to provide academics with texts that were exact reproductions of the manuscripts and
33.A current of Marx interpretation that emerged in West German academia during the 1960s, the neue Marx-Lektre is a lineal descendent of the Frankfurt School initiated by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno in the 1940s. See Ingo Elbes house history of the current (Elbe 2010). For an entertaining and insightful critique of Elbes position, see Henning 2008, pp. 14958. 34.Heinrich 2012, pp. 50, 634, 148, 153; Heinrich 2006, pp. 12, 17, 26984, 32841; Heinrich 2007; Heinrich 2002. For a critique of Heinrichs break with Marx over the treatment of money, see Henning 2005, pp. 1702. Heinrichs objections to Marxs conception of the transformation of values into prices and account of the tendency for the rate of profit to fall were not original. Proponents of the temporal single system interpretation, in particular, have provided persuasive defences of Marxs approach to both questions; see especially Kliman 2007. For a critique of Heinrichs account of Marxs labour theory of value, see Carchedi 2009, pp. 1568. 35.As Mario Montano put it in a different context, In order to discriminate Marx from Ricardo, it is necessary to move from the analysis of logical forms and sequences to the analysis of the different abstractions in relation to the object (cf. Montano 1971, p. 49). This Grossman and Rubin did, decades before. See Rubin 1979; Grossman 1943a and 1943b; Grossmann 1977a and 1977b. 36.Rubel 1981a, pp. 17781; Rubel 1981b; Heinrich 1996; Heinrich 2009, p. 88; Vollgraf and Jungnickel 2002. For a critique of such assessments see Vygodskii 2002; Kliman, Freeman, Potts, Gusev and Cooney 2013, which also included quotations from Marxs correspondence between 1865 and 1877 indicating that he regarded the three volumes of Capital as, in substance, complete; and Carchedi and McKee forthcoming a and forthcoming b. For refutations of the broader Marxversus-Engels argument, see Hunley 1991 and Rees 1994.


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notes. His task was to present Marxs analysis in a readable book37 that he believed to be faithful to Marxs political commitments and intentions. In doing so, he had huge advantages over recent editors of the MEGA2: decades not only of intellectual and political collaboration with Marx including extensive discussions, many of which are unlikely to have taken the form of the written correspondence we can read today. Logic of Capitals structure Until the 1920s, Kautskys interpretation had been the dominant account of the structure of Capital. In his refutation of Eugen Bhm-Bawerks complaint that there was a contradiction between the theory of value in Volume 1 and the account of prices of production in Volume 3 of Capital, Rudolf Hilferding, for example, had held that in Marxs dialectic[al] method, conceptual evolution runs parallel throughout with historical evolution.38 In contrast, Grossman identified Marxs method of advancing from the abstract to the concrete in Capital as a procedure of successive approximation of reality which structured the whole work. Marx made initial fictitious and simplifying assumptions, that enable us to gain an understanding of the inner structure of the object under investigation.39 In the subsequent analysis assumptions were dispensed with. Marx had himself outlined his method of abstraction in an Introduction, written in 1857 before the Grundrisse40 and first published in Neue Zeit in 1903, to which Grossman referred. This account of the structure of Capital has been widely accepted, including by Stalinist academics. Professor Fritz Behrens sought to strengthen the new Social Science Faculty at the University of Leipzig and particularly its capacity to undertake Marxist research and teaching by recruiting a troop of Jewish emigrants from America. He negotiated Grossmans appointment in 1949. But Behrens soon engaged in a self-criticism and undertook to learn Russian, in order to ward off the accusation that he was a Trotskyist, as the Stalinist authorities eliminated space in universities for open or critical discussion of sensitive theoretical or social issues. He was suspect, not least, because he was associated with the unorthodox Marxist academics he had encouraged to come to his university.41 Two years after Grossmans death in 1950, Behrens demonstrated his soundness in this regard by denouncing Grossman, as a
37. Roth 2009, p. 42. 38. Bhm-Bawerk 1949, p. 30; Hilferding 1949, pp. 170, 195. 39. Grossmann 1992, p. 30. 40. Marx 1986a, pp. 3748. 41. See Kuhn 2007, pp. 21011.

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mechanical crisis theorist, and his explanation of Marxs method in Capital, in similar terms to those employed by Stalins lieutenant in economics Jen Varga in 1930. Behrens acknowledged that Grossman had been the first to ask why Marxs plan for Capital had changed. But in rejecting Grossmans explanation of Marxs method, Behrens in practice restated it by reverting to Marxs Hegelian terminology of abstract and concrete.42 Like Grossman, Rosdolsky recognised that Capital was structured by the passage from the abstract to the concrete.43 Lebowitz appealed to this structure in order to justify his claim that the missing book on wage labour would have progressively dispensed with Marxs assumption in Capital that wages are determined by a constant quantity of means of subsistence.44 David Harvey provided an insightful introduction to Capital, including Marxs method,45 but subsequently complained about the works structure. He noted Marxs criticism of classical political economys distinctions amongst the general, particular and individual as superficial, and approved of Marxs dialectical approach, which involved understanding capitalism as a totality. Later, however, Harvey objected that, instead of using his dialectical and organic formulation to construct his alternative theory, Marx sticks to the framework given by classical political economy even as he uses organic thinking and dialectical relational analysis to build his critique and explore alternatives. Harvey regarded this as a frustrating inconsistency, bemoaning Marxs focus on matters appropriate to the level of abstraction he was operating on at each particular point: Exclusions are almost always justified on the grounds that they do not lie within the field of generality with which Marx is exclusively concerned. This practice is found right throughout Capital. When Marxs analysis rises to a more concrete level in Volume 3, Harvey concluded that Marxs framework cracks.46 This was at odds with Harveys earlier, superior exposition of the argument in the 1857 Introduction, which is ostensibly the basis of his later account of Marxs method.
42.Behrens 1952, p. 46; Varga 1930a and 1930b. 43.Rosdolsky 1980, p. 27. 44.Lebowitz 2003, pp. 459. 45.Harvey 2010, pp. 79. 46.Harvey 2012, pp. 911, 312; Marx 1986a, p. 27. Harvey quoted from the 1973 Penguin edition of the Grundrisse, while the quotations used here are from Marx 1986b. Harveys critique was selfcontradictory in other respects. He claimed that Marx established his new political-economic science through a critique of classical political economy rather than through direct historical, anthropological and empirical enquiry and induction. In fact Marx undertook both extensive theoretical and empirical research, the results of which informed his critique of classical political economy and found their way into Capital. Harvey acknowledged this when he referred to Marxs use of the factory inspectors blue books and reference to events and conditions occurring around him (Harvey 2012, pp. 78).


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Marx did label as superficial the classical political economists identification of the general, particular and individual with production, distribution and exchange, and consumption. But he also endorsed their method of rising from the abstract to the concrete as obviously the correct scientific method. The distinction between his own, evolving approach and those of classical political economists lay in the nature of the abstractions they made: they misidentified the fundamental features of capitalism. Thus
Capital is the economic power that dominates everything in bourgeois society. It must form both the point of departure and the conclusion and must be analysed before landed property. After each has been considered separately, their interconnection must be examined.47

In the Grundrisse, this method helped Marx specify the relationships amongst capital, surplus value and labour power as the core of capitalism. Grossman pointed out, in criticising Lukcss view that Capital was essentially incomplete, how Marxs method of successive approximation, advancing from the abstract to the concrete, is precisely the method he employed in order to grasp the rich totality of many determinations and relations, the living whole.48 Marx eventually went beyond his early plans because he recognised that a more radical abstraction was necessary. He therefore changed the structure of Capital, because landed property (and wage labour) under capitalism could not be understood separately but only in the context of the analysis of capital. There is, Harvey accurately observed, work left for us to do when we seek to move from the realm of Marxs political economy into a world of historical analysis.49 There would, however, be no such work if Marx had not provided us with an account of the fundamental logic/laws of motion of capitalism and had instead dissipated his efforts by trying to capture the totality of capitalism without employing the method of advancing from the abstract to the concrete [which] is simply the way in which thinking assimilates the concrete and reproduces it as a mental concrete.50 Why the change? According to Rosdolsky, once Marx had accomplished the most fundamental part of his task the analysis of industrial capital the former structure of the
47.Marx 1986a, pp. 38, 44. 48.Grossmann 1929, p. 336, quoting Marx 1986a, p. 44. 49.Harvey 2012, p. 18. 50.Marx 1986a, p. 38.

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work, which had served as a means of self-clarification, became superfluous.51 Grossmans account of the method of abstraction and his broader point that Capital takes that method further than the perspective expressed in Marxs early plans is compatible with Rosdolskys very general conclusion. On the other hand, Rosdolsky summarily dismissed Grossmans claim that the change in Marxs plan was associated with the development of his reproduction schemas. Rosdolsky asserted that Marx had already addressed the issue of reproduction in the Grundrisse, which also presented the essence of the critique in Capital of the empirical categories used by Smith and Ricardo.52 The Grundrisse also included a sketch of a five-department reproduction schema.53 But Grossman had suggested that the change in plan was prompted by Marxs work on a schema to replace Quesnays tableau conomique. Quesnay is not mentioned at all in the Grundrisse and Marxs two-department schema of 1863, which he wrote figures in one of the last chapters of my work [that is, the 18613 manuscript] by way of recapitulation, was new and essentially that presented in Volume 2 of Capital.54 While Grossmans dating of the formulation of Marxs mature reproduction schema was accurate, there is nothing in the manuscript of 18613 or the surviving manuscripts of 18637 to indicate that this particular breakthrough was the immediate cause of Marxs change in plan. Nor, on abandoning his previous overall plan, did Marx immediately throw himself into elaborating his reproduction schema. He worked on Volume 1 of Capital, then on what became Volume 3 for a while, before breaking off to write a draft of Volume 2 which featured the reproduction schema. Grossman provided a convincing account of the compatibility between Marxs reproduction schema, that traces the relationship between surplus values and the capitals which create them, and Marxs analysis at a high level of abstraction. It was, however, a mistake to argue that before 1863 Marxs work is organised according to the empirical material. The organising principle of moving from the abstract (capital in general) to the concrete (competition/ many capitals) was already in place in the Grundrisse.55 At most, the mature reproduction schema of July 1863 contributed to a more radical application of the method of abstraction and successive approximation of the concrete.

51. Rosdolsky 1980, p. 53. 52. Rosdolsky 1980, p. 25. 53. The preliminary nature of the treatment is indicated by the comment that [t]his example may or may not be developed later. Does not really belong here. (Marx 1986b, p. 371.) 54. Marx 1985. Moseley 1998 demonstrates that the schema originated in Marxs critique of Adam Smiths theory of price. 55. See Moseley 1995.


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Marx had been employing that methodology for at least five years and it was a necessary precondition for the schema. Although unaware of both the Grundrisse and the economic manuscript of 18613, apart from those elements published as Theories of Surplus Value by Kautsky, Grossman did have access to several plans that Marx wrote in 1857, early 1858 and 18612. The contents of the earliest and sketchiest of them do not prove that the material would be organised according to the methodology Marx had already outlined in his Introduction of 1857. A plan of 2 April 1858 indicated that the first volume on capital, of the six books then envisaged, would deal with capital in general and many capitals. The meaning of these terms was not yet clear, as the outline did not go much beyond the contents of A Contribution to a Critique of Political Economy, published in 1859, which dealt with the nature of the commodity, basic elements of a labour theory of value and money. But a plan for what became Volume 3 of Capital, written in December 1861 or January 1862, provided clear evidence, including treatment of rent, that Marx had already modified his plan for the application of his method of abstraction and successive approximation.56 Grossman, Behrens and Jahn maintained that Marx modified the content of the plan for his project in connection with his development of the concept of surplus value. Unlike Behrens,57 Jahn insisted that the overall plan for six books did not change, while recognising that Marxs conception was not static and that the first volume on capital came to incorporate elements of material originally envisaged for later volumes. Marx had first elaborated his theory of surplus value and the closely related distinction between labour and labour power in the Grundrisse.58 Grossman argued that the formulation of the reproduction schema, which necessarily excluded the concrete forms of surplus value, allowed Marx to demonstrate quantitatively the process of surplus-value creation. The schema became a crucial element in the argument of Capital Volume 2. For Jahn, Marxs exploration of earlier theories of surplus value led him to change his plan by including a preliminary discussion of the concrete forms of surplus value, in Volume 3 of Capital.59 Grossmans, Behrenss and Jahns accounts are, to an extent, compatible. They all regarded the conceptual framework of Capital as a more radical application of the method of advancing from the abstract to the concrete, already outlined in 1857 before Marx wrote the Grundrisse, than the one employed in that first or the second draft
56.Marx 1986a, p. 45; Marx 1983a; Marx 1983b; Marx 1987; Moseley 2009, p. 142, has drawn attention to the plan for Volume 3 in Marx 1991, pp. 3467. 57.Behrens 1952, pp. 434. 58.Marx 1986b, notably pp. 24650. 59.Jahn 1992/3, pp. 1301.

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of 18613. They associated the change in Marxs plan for his work on capital with his development of the theory of surplus value. Successive modifications in his plan for the first volume of the six-volume project suggest that the decision to recast the whole was the result of a reassessment based on accumulated insights rather than a single conceptual breakthrough. Jahn and Heinrich argued that Marx abandoned the concept of capital in general and Heinrich regarded this as pivotal in the change in the plan for Capital. Burketts and Moseleys theoretical, methodological and textual arguments have thoroughly refuted the notion that Marx dropped the concept.60 Grossman and his critics The publication of more of the manuscripts which Marx wrote in the course of his efforts to understand the anatomy of capitalism has undermined some of Grossmans secondary conclusions, about the evolution of Marxs ideas. Grossmans principal argument, about Capitals underlying structure and completeness that the work, despite its lacunae, was coherent stands up well against objections that it was incoherent, profoundly incomplete and/ or flawed in at least some of its fundamental features. Capital does not say everything there is to be said about the anatomy and logic of the capitalist mode of production, let alone the totality of capitalism; Marx was still revising Volume 1 for new editions when he died and was a long way from having made the other volumes ready for publication. If we like, we can all, therefore, play the pointless game of wouldnt it have been nice if in Capital Marx had dealt with issues alpha and omega, x, y and z, or if someone else did so in his spirit (only better)? But that achieves nothing. Capital has provided and still provides a methodology, an integrated set of concepts and conclusions that are a vital basis for both further theoretical investigations and analyses of concrete issues that the working class faces. In this sense, as Grossman argued, Capital...is essentially complete.

60.Jahn 1986, pp. 256; Jahn 1992/3, pp. 1301; Heinrich 1989, pp. 6370; Heinrich 2006, pp. 1859; Heinrich 2009, p. 81; Rosdolsky 1980, pp. 4151; Burkett 1991; Moseley 1995. For a survey of the wider debate, see Hoff 2009, pp. 26675.


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1977b [1941], Marx, Classical Political Economy and the Problem of Dynamics. Part II, Capital and Class, 3: 6799. 1992 [1929], The Law of Accumulation and Breakdown of the Capitalist System: Being also a Theory of Crises, translated and abridged by Jairus Banaji, London: Pluto Press. Harvey, David 2010, A Companion to Marxs Capital, Volume 1, London: Verso. 2012, History versus Theory: A Commentary on Marxs Method in Capital, Historical Materialism, 20, 2: 338. Heinrich, Michael 1989, Capital in General and the Structure of Marxs Capital, Capital & Class, 13, 2: 6379. 1996, Engels Edition of the Third Volume of Capital and Marxs Original Manuscript, Science & Society, 60, 4: 45266. 2002, Der 6-Bcher-Plan und der Aufbau des Kapital. Diskontinuierliches in Marx theoretischer Entwicklung, in Berliner Verein zur Frderung der MEGA-Edition e.V., Wissenschaftliche Mitteilungen, Issue 1, In Memoriam Wolfgang Jahn, available at: <www. oekonomiekritik.de/3061%20Aufbauplan.htm>, accessed 18 July 2012. 2006 [1999], Die Wissenschaft vom Wert, Mnster: Verlag Westflisches Dampfboot. 2007, Review of Karl Marx, Kritik der politischen konomie. Dritter Band, Historical Materialism, 15, 4: 195210. 2009, Reconstruction or Deconstruction? Methodological Controversies about Value and Capital, and New Insights from the Critical Edition, in Bellofiore and Fineschi (eds.) 2009. 2012 [2004], An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marxs Capital, translated by Alexander Locascio, New York: Monthly Review Press. 2013, Crisis Theory, the Law of the Tendency of the Profit Rate to Fall, and Marxs Studies in the 1870s, Monthly Review, 64, 11: 1531. Henning, Christoph 2005, Philosophie nach Marx: 100 Jahre Marxrezeption und die normative Sozialphilosophie der Gegenwart in der Kritik, Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag. 2008, Kultus der Form: Ingo Elbes berwltigender Zettelkasten, in Marx-Engels-Jahrbuch, Berlin: Akademie Verlag. Hilferding, Rudolf 1949 [1904], Bhm-Bawerks Criticism of Marx, in Sweezy (ed.) 1949. Hoff, Jan 2009, Marx global: Zur Entwicklung des internationalen Marx-Diskurses seit 1965, Berlin: Akademie Verlag. Hunley, John Dillard 1991, The Life and Thought of Friedrich Engels: A Reinterpretation, New Haven: Yale University Press. Jahn, Wolfgang 1986, Zur Entwicklung der Struktur des geplanten konomischen Hauptwerkes von Karl Marx, Arbeitsbltter zur Marx-Engels-Forschung, 20: 644. 1992/3, Ist Das Kapital ein Torso? ber Sinn und Unsinn einer Rekonstruktion des 6-Bcherplanes von Karl Marx, in Dialektik. Heft 1992/3: Zur Kritik der politischen konomie 125 Jahre Das Kapital, Hamburg: Felix Meiner Verlag. Kautsky, Karl 1897, Vorwort, in Marx 1897. Kliman, Andrew 2007, Reclaiming Marxs Capital: A Refutation of the Myth of Inconsistency, Lanham, MD.: Lexington Books. Kliman, Andrew, Alan Freeman, Nick Potts, Alexey Gusev and Brendan Cooney 2013, The Unmaking of Marxs Capital: Heinrichs Attempt to Eliminate Marxs Crisis Theory, available at: <http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2294134>, accessed 26 July 2013. Kuhn, Rick 2007, Henryk Grossman and the Recovery of Marxism, Chicago: University of Illinois Press. 2009, Economic Crisis, Henryk Grossman and the Responsibility of Socialists, Historical Materialism, 17, 2: 334. Kuruma, Samezo 2007 [1930], An Inquiry into Marxs Theory of Crisis, available at: <www .marxists.org/archive/kuruma/crisis-inquiry.htm>, accessed 12 September 2012.


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Lapides, Kenneth 1992, Henryk Grossmann and the Debate on the Theoretical Status of Marxs Capital, Science & Society, 56, 2: 13362. Lebowitz, Michael A. 2003 [1992], Beyond Capital: Marxs Political Economy of the Working Class, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Marx, Karl 1897, Zur Kritik der Politischen Oekonomie, Stuttgart: Dietz. 1904, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, translated by N.I. Stone, Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company. 1976 [1867], Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume 1, translated by Ben Fowkes, Harmondsworth: Penguin. 1978 [1850], The Class Struggles in France, 1848 to 1850, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 10, New York: International Publishers. 1979 [1852], The Eighteenth of Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 11, New York: International Publishers. 1981 [1894], Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume 3, translated by David Fernbach, Harmondsworth: Penguin. 1983a, Letter from Karl Marx to Ferdinand Lassalle, 22 February 1858, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 40, New York: International Publishers. 1983b, Letter from Karl Marx to Engels, 2 April 1858, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 40, New York: International Publishers. 1985, Letter from Karl Marx to Frederick Engels, 6 July 1863, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 41, New York: International Publishers. 1986a [1903, written in 1857], Introduction, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 28, New York: International Publishers. 1986b [1939, written 18578], Economic Manuscripts of 185758 [Grundrisse], in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 28, New York: International Publishers. 1986c [1871], The Civil War in France, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 22, New York: International Publishers. 1987 [1859], A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Part One, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 29, New York: International Publishers. 1991 [1905], Economic Manuscript of 186163, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 33, New York: International Publishers. 1992 [1881], Letter from Karl Marx to Nikolai Danielson, 13 December 1881, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 46, New York: International Publishers. 2004, Das Kapital: Kritik der politischen konomie. Dritter Band, Hamburg 1894. Text und Apparat, in Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe, Division 2, Volume 15, Berlin: Akademie Verlag. Mattick, Paul 1931, Review of Henryk Grossmann, Die nderung des ursprnglichen Aufbauplans des Marxschen Kapital und ihre Ursachen, Chicagoer Arbeiter-Zeitung, 10 December: 3. Montano, Mario 1971, On the Methodology of Determinate Abstraction: Essay on Galvano della Volpe, Telos, 7: 3049. Moseley, Fred 1995, Capital in General and Marxs Logical Method: A Response to Heinrichs Critique, Capital & Class, 19, 2: 1548. 1998, Marxs Reproduction Schemes and Smiths Dogma, in The Circulation of Capital: Essays on Volume Two of Marxs Capital, edited by Christopher J. Arthur and Geert Reuten, Basingstoke: Macmillan. 2009, The Development of Marxs Theory of the Distribution of Surplus-Value in the Manuscripts of 186163, in Bellofiore and Fineschi (eds.) 2009. Negri, Antonio 1991 [1978], Marx beyond Marx: Lessons on the Grundrisse, edited by Jim Fleming, London: Pluto. Ollman, Bertell 2003, Dance of the Dialectic: Steps in Marxs Method, Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

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Rees, John 1994 Engels Marxism, International Socialism, 2, 65: 4782. Rosdolsky, Roman 1957, Review of Martin Trottmann, Zur Interpretation und Kritik der Zusammenbruchstheorie von Henryk Grossmann, Kyklos, 10, 3: 3535. 1980 [1968], The Making of Marxs Capital, Volume 1, London: Pluto. 1989 [1968], The Making of Marxs Capital, Volume 2, London: Pluto. Roth, Regina 2009, Karl Marxs Original Manuscripts in the Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA): Another View on Capital, in Bellofiore and Fineschi (eds.) 2009. Roth, Regina, Eike Kopf, Carl-Erich Vollgraf and Gerald Hubmann 2004, Erluterungen, in Marx 2004. Rubel, Maximilien 1981a [1968], A History of Marxs Economics, in Rubel 1981d. 1981b [1972], The Marx Legend, or, Engels, Founder of Marxism, in Rubel 1981d. 1981c [1973], The Plan and Method of the Economics, in Rubel 1981d. 1981d, Rubel on Karl Marx: Five Essays, edited and translated by Joseph J. OMalley and Keith W. Algozin, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Rubin, Isaac Ilyich 1979 [1929], A History of Economic Thought, translated and edited by Donald Filtzer, London: Ink Links. Stone, Nahum Isaac 1904, Preface, in Marx 1904. Sweezy, Paul M. (ed.) 1949, Karl Marx and the Close of His System and Bhm-Bawerks Criticism of Marx, New York: Augustus M. Kelley. Tronti, Mario 2008, Italy, in Karl Marxs Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy 150 Years Later, edited by Marcello Musto, Abingdon: Routledge. Varga, Eugen 1930a, Nakoplenie i krakh kapitalizma, Problemi ekonomiki, 3: 3162. 1930b, Akkumulation und Zusammenbruch des Kapitalismus, Unter dem Banner des Marxismus, 4, 1: 6095. Vollgraf, Carl-Erich and Jrgen Jungnickel 2002, Marx in Marxs Words? On Engelss Edition of the Main Manuscript of Book 3 of Capital, International Journal of Political Economy, 32, 1: 3578. Vygodskii, Vitalii 2002, What Was It Actually that Engels Published in the Years 1885 and 1894? On the Article by Carl-Erich Vollgraf and Jrgen Jungnickel Entitled Marx in Marxs Words? , International Journal of Political Economy, 32, 1: 7982. Wilbrandt, Robert 1920 [1918], Karl Marx: Versuch einer Wrdigung, Leipzig: B.G. Teubner.

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The Change in the Original Plan for Marxs Capital and Its Causes*
Henryk Grossman

As remarkable as it may seem, the set of problems concerning the structure of Marxs chief work, as well as its relation to Theories of Surplus Value, on the one hand, and to the earlier publication A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, on the other, has never been the subject of an investigation. One can scarcely find another book that has shaped a whole century to the same extent, theoretically and practically, and which, despite its enormous importance, has been treated with a greater indifference with regard to its form, the history of its genesis and the logic of its structure! It would be superfluous to speculate here about the reasons for the unsatisfactory state of research on Marx. Suffice it to say that despite all the discussions about Marx that we have gone through over the past three decades, in the advanced capitalist countries of Europe we still find ourselves only at the start of scientific research on Marx. Only the publication of Marxs works announced by the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow will decisively change this situation.1 Regardless, it would be an inexcusable relapse into the mistakes of historicism to remain theoretically inactive until such a time. On the contrary, the following investigation attempts to critically evaluate the problem encompassed in the title on the basis of already-known source materials and to demonstrate that important insights can be gleaned from them. The problem that arises here is twofold. The first concerns the preliminary question whose answer must precede any scientific analysis of Marxs thought, the question of the completeness of the materials that have come down to us. That is, whether Capital, as it exists now including Theories of Surplus
* [Originally published as Grossmann 1929b. This essay has been prepared for the four-volume Henryk Grossman: Selected Works project, to be published in the Historical Materialism book series. Footnotes in square brackets have been added by the editor.] 1. [Grossman refers to Marx and Engels 192741, initially published under the direction of David Riazanov, twelve of whose planned 42 volumes appeared between 1927 and 1941 when the project was killed off by Stalins regime, as many of its German and Russian editors had been.]
Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2013 DOI: 10.1163/1569206X-12341306

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Value essentially comprises the whole thing, apart from individual gaps in its elaboration. Whether, consequently, Capital constitutes a complete system or whether we are dealing here with fragments of a larger work. The second, the real problem, concerns the methodological viewpoints, which were decisive in working up the material, in the arrangement of the work and in the organisation of its elements. Both problems, it will be shown, stand in close relation to each other. I The first problem, of course, could only arise from the fact that Marx himself could only supervise the publication of the first volume; that the remaining volumes were published by Engels from the manuscripts left after Marxs death, and, insofar as they dealt with the theories of surplus value, by Kautsky; that the history of the origins of this work, reckoned from 1859, the publication date of A Contribution to the Critique,2 the first treatment of the opening chapter of Capital, comprises a period of a half-century. It is indicative of how little these problems have been considered that, on the question of the completeness of the existing materials, a cardinal and obvious preliminary question for all analysis of Marx, there prevails the most hair-raising lack of clarity, as the crassest example of which I want to cite the views expressed by Robert Wilbrandt. We know the material Marx wanted to deal with from the Preface to A Contribution to the Critique (1859), where the original plan for the work was specified: I examine the system of bourgeois economy in the following order: capital, landed property, wage-labour; the state, foreign trade, world market.3 The sequel to the original work, as it exists in the three volumes of Capital, however, followed another plan. Already in 1897, on the occasion of the new edition of A Contribution to the Critique, Kautsky wrote: Thus, the construction of Capital differed from that of the work whose first section was published by Marx in 1859. This is proved by a glance at the first lines of the Preface to the Critique and a comparison of the plan developed there with that actually followed in Capital.4 And although this can already be seen at a first glance, the fact of the change in the plan for Marxs Capital escapes Professor Wilbrandt, despite his many bows toward this extraordinary work, which, so to speak, he is officially duty bound to make, as author of his
2.[Marx 1987a.] 3.[Marx 1987a, p. 262.] 4.[Kautsky 1897, p. v. The translator of the first English edition, based on Kautskys 1897 German edition which does not include the Foreword, made the same point: cf. Stone 1904, p. 3.]


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own book on Marx. After going into the history of the genesis of the work and the original plan of 1859, the plan for a work of six parts, he then instructs the world that the only volume of Capital that Marx himself published has remained a torso in a double sense. Not only, firstly, because it is only the first of many volumes, but, secondly, it is only the first volume of a work that itself is part of a whole: the first of six parts of the whole work that the author envisaged would treat many problems, which he intentionally refrained from considering in the first part, in Capital, so as to reserve them for the later parts.5 According to this fantastic account, the four volumes of Capital that we have turn out to be merely the implementation of the first part of the plan of 1859, which was to be followed by another five parts! Consequently, Marxs currently available work is considered only a small fraction of a planned work that should perhaps provide just as comprehensive accounts of ground rent, wage labour, foreign trade, etc. as those on capital. So, altogether, perhaps a further twenty volumes and indeed dealing with cardinal areas, without knowledge of which what has already been said about capital, torn out of the context of the whole, would also necessarily be difficult to understand. We must counterpose a question to this account: is it correct that Marx consciously refrains from considering these problems in Capital; that he only intended to deal with the questions of ground rent, wages and foreign trade later? Apparently Wilbrandt has not noticed the analysis of all these questions in Capital. He takes the opportunity of Marxs theory of wages to highlight an alleged gap and maintains that an elaboration could well have been hoped for in the part on wage labour,6 as though Marx had not dealt completely enough with and clarified his theory of wages in Capital! Wilbrandts ignorance of the most elementary facts in his subject area should not have prevented him from being aware of the modification of the original plan for Capital. Not only because this modification can been seen at first glance and had already been observed by Kautsky, but because Marx himself as we are instructed in his correspondence with Kugelmann emphatically confirmed it. From the new draft plan, which he tells Kugelmann about and which we cite further below, it is clear to see that Capital, as it is presently available to us in four volumes, is essentially complete. In the available volumes, even though the exposition in the individual sections has gaps in places, a chapter may be missing here and there, and the logical sequence is often interrupted, on the whole not only is all of the material to be dealt with included, but at the
5.Wilbrandt 1920, p. 97. [Grossmans emphasis.] 6.Wilbrandt 1920, p. 101.

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same time, as Engels said, what Marx intended to say is said there, in one way or another.7 This can also be seen particularly in the important letter Marx wrote to Engels on 30 April 1868 in which Marx tells his friend about the content of the second and third volumes in detail, and essentially enumerates the order and treatment of the material as we find it again later in the two volumes of Capital that Engels took care of.8 The example of Wilbrandt demonstrates best how the most confused views prevail, even about matters like the problem of the external structure of the material in Capital, which belongs among the preliminary questions for all analysis of Marx. Is it any wonder, then, that the internal structure of the work, the underlying methodological problems and solutions, which present real difficulties, is absolutely unclear? II If we now turn our attention to the actual object of our analysis and ask why the original plan for Capital was changed, we must emphasise that, so far, this decisive, cardinal question for the comprehension of Marxs work not only remains to be clarified, but has not even been posed! Strangely enough, people were satisfied with the statement of the facts, as was e.g. Kautsky; the why was never investigated. Understandably, Kautskys indifference to such fundamental theoretical problems derives from his whole attitude towards Marxs principal work. According to Kautsky, Capital is essentially an historical work!9 It is self-evident that a change in the plan for Capital really could not possibly be a matter of chance or a technical question of presentation, e.g. of clear arrangement, but must obviously have been the result of careful consideration and compelling reasons. This supposition appears all the more irrefutable, as one is unlikely to be inclined to undertake a change in the construction of a work, whose first part has already been published, and that was as Marx said in the 1859 Preface the outcome of conscientious research carried out over many years.10 Marx had been intensely occupied with studies in political economy since his anti-Proudhon, written in 1847.11 What, then, moved Marx after sixteen years of untiring research, despite the successful publication of
7. 8. 9. 10. 11. Engels 1978, p. 86. [Grossmans emphasis.] Marx 1987f, p. 20. Kautsky 1921, p. viii. [Grossmans emphasis.] [Marx 1987a, p. 265.] [Marx 1976a.]


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the first part of his work in 1859, to revise his work anew, which would obviously have to result in a new delay in its completion? Now, if it is true that the slow progress of the work after the appearance of A Contribution to the Critique was a consequences of several unfavourable external causes, which Marx enumerates in the Preface to Capital and in the letter to Kugelmann of 28 December 1862 (years of chronic illness, being overwhelmed by other work), these circumstances could only explain the delay in the completion of the work, but not the change in the original plan. This consideration demonstrates to us that certain compelling internal grounds must have contributed to the change in plan. Indeed, Marx had already written to Kugelmann on 28 December 1862 that The second part has now at last been finished, i.e. save for the fair copy and the final polishing before it goes to press.12 The words the second part indicate that, at that time, on 28 December 1862, Marx was still working according to the original plan of 1859. Thus he still thought of it as the sequel to the first part, published under the title A Contribution to the Critique. The work was to encompass about 30 printers sheets and would appear soon. On 29 November 1864, however, almost two years later, Marx informs Kugelmann that he hopes that his book on capital will at last be ready for publication next year.13 In the intervening time since the letter of 28 December 1862, the already completed work was not polished and neatly copied out; it was, rather, reworked and extended. Its size doubled and it grew to 60 sheets. And a further year elapsed before Marx at the beginning of 1866 could begin the fair copy of the first volume of Capital. Consequently, if Marxs work was already complete at the end of 1862 and ready for final polishing, and was nevertheless reworked in the following two years, one must conclude that difficulties arose in the course of work, which led to the necessity of revision and the change in the plan for the work. The profound fact of the change in the plan, which had implications for the fate of the whole work, occurred between 28 December 1862 and 29 November 1864. But we can specify the decisive point in time of the change in the plan more exactly: as is apparent from the correspondence with Kugelmann, it was carried out in the second half, namely JulyAugust, of 1863.14 The nature of the difficulties, which led the implementation of the original plan of 1859 to fail, and the methodological considerations that compelled the
12. Marx 1985a, p. 435. [Grossmans emphasis.] 13. Marx 1987b, p. 45. 14. He also writes, in a letter to Engels of 15 August 1863, When, by the by, I consider my handiwork and realise how Ive had to demolish everything... [Grossmans emphasis], Marx 1985c, p. 488.

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change in the plan for the structure of the work, can be identified by comparing the original plan of 1859 with the plan that Marx actually followed in Capital and had already announced in the letter to Kugelmann on 13 October 1866. Precisely there, Marx told his friend that the whole work would break down into the following parts:
Book I: The process of production of capital. Book II: The process of circulation of capital. Book III: Structure of the process as a whole. Book IV: On the history of the theory.15

The difference between the two plans springs to the eye. While, in the plan of 1859, the work was to be comprised of six parts and was to be considered from the standpoint of the material capital, ground rent, wage labour, foreign trade, etc. the final plan of 1863 was organised from the standpoint of knowledge [Erkenntnis]. Out of knowledge-based methodological considerations, the individual functions of industrial capital carried out during its circuit the production process, the circulation process, the process as a whole are abstracted in thought and presented separately, regardless of the material. Only within the presentation of each of these functions is the whole material dealt with from the respective functional standpoints.16 As Engels discloses in the Preface to the second volume [of Capital ], the first draft of Capital, written from August 1861 to June 1863, was still the continuation of the volume...published in Berlin in 1859. Conforming to the original plan, The themes dealt with in Volume 2, however, as well as the many treated later in Volume 3, are not yet grouped together. They are dealt with in passing. The following are mixed up and treated together with material that is discussed in Volume 1, capital and profit, rate of profit, merchants capital and money capital, i.e. themes that were later developed in the manuscript for volume 3.17
15.Marx 1987c, p. 327. 16.E.g. in the production process: productive capital and the wage relation; commodity capital, the production of surplus-value both in industry and in agriculture, etc. In the circulation process: the turnover time of productive capital and of money capital; the turnover of the individual constituents of industrial capital, of its fixed and circulating parts, of its variable part and its surplus-value. In the process as a whole: the reproduction and circulation of total capital, both in industry and in agriculture, encompassing capital as well as the wage relation, division of surplusvalue into profit, interest, rent, trading profit, etc., equalisation of profit to the average profit, money capital, commodity capital, etc. 17.Engels 1978, p. 84. [Grossmans emphasis. In the original the reference is, mistakenly, to the Preface of the third volume of Capital rather than the second.]


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Thus in Engelss account we also find confirmation of what emerged from the comparison of the Preface of A Contribution to the Critique with the plan for Capital, as well as the analysis of the correspondence between Marx and Kugelmann: the first draft of Capital is organised according to the empirical material dealt with. Only a later draft, begun in the second half of 1863, sorted the variegated material, confusingly mixed together, according to the specific functions of the circuit of capital. That a methodological turn of decisive importance took place in this way is now perfectly clear. The problem that now arises is synonymous with the question: what provoked this shift? Everything suggests that it stands in the closest connection with the discovery of Marxs reproduction schema. The external connection is readily apparent: until June 1863 the work was developed according to the original plan of 1859. On 6 July 1863, Marx sent his friend the first draft of the reproduction schema, with which he wanted to replace Quesnays tableau conomique.18 Already in the letter of 15 August we hear further that Marx had to demolish everything. The plan change appears here as an already accomplished fact. In this way, i.e. through the chronological course of events, the relation between the change in plan and externally the conception of the reproduction schema appears very probable. It is the task of the following presentation to demonstrate that not only an external, but also a necessary internal connection exists between the change in the plan for Marxs work and the methodological construction of the reproduction schema. The methodological perspective actually followed in the structure of Capital the arrangement of the empirical material according to the functions which capital performs in its circuit consequently the change in the original plan of 1859 necessarily resulted from the way Marx formulated the question. As I have shown in other places, however, this question is, since the production of exchange value the increase of exchange value is the immediate aim of capitalist production, it is important to know how to measure it.19 The problem consists in the exact determination of the variations in the magnitude of surplus value in the course of accumulation, that is, in the establishment of how much surplus value a given capital can yield in its circuit. If we formulate the problem in this way and take it as the starting point for our analysis, we can readily appreciate that the analysis of the capitalist mode of production according to the empirical material about individual, partial areas capital, ground rent, credit, foreign trade, wage relations, etc. would necessarily fail in the face of insurmountable difficulties. Further, Marx
18.Marx 1985b. 19.Grossmann 1992, p. 61.

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nowhere commented on how he came to his ingenious conception of the reproduction schema. We are therefore compelled to reconstruct his train of thought from the conditions of the problem.20 Let us assume a given Capital I, e.g. of one million marks, which is invested in the textile industry. The question is: under the prevailing, exactly circumscribed conditions, how big is the surplus value realised by this capital? Initially, this problem appears to be uncomplicated. If the number of workers employed, the level of the rate of surplus value, the length of the working period and the turnover time are known, then the magnitude of yearly surplus value due is easily calculable. Upon closer examination, however, great difficulties soon appear. We know that during the circuit of capital, thanks to the specific conditions of the turnover mechanism, namely due to the inequality of the working and circulation periods, part of the capital successively advanced is set free.21 The entrepreneur does not leave this redundant capital lying idle but will temporarily lend it to the banks or invest it in easily realisable securities with a fixed rate of interest,22 and so secures the enjoyment of interest, that is, surplus value. If the capital set free in our example amounts to 80,000 marks and is lent out for six months at a rate of 8%, the interest gained will amount to 3,200 marks. From what source was this interest obtained? Obviously not from the Circuit of Capital I, invested in the textile industry. Rather, these 80,000 marks, set free from the Circuit of Capital I, were withdrawn. They were, through the mediation of the bank, e.g. lent out to an iron producer and included in the Circuit of Capital II, invested in the iron industry. Capitalist I, the textile manufacturer, increased his total surplus value by 3,200 marks through credit intermediation. But this additional surplus value does not
20. Rosa Luxemburgs claim that, with respect to the reproduction schema, Quesnay can be considered Marxs sole predecessor, is incorrect (Luxemburg 1951, p. 31). I have demonstrated elsewhere that Sismondis reproduction schema forms an historical and logical link between Quesnay and Marx. Commensurate with the superior development of the capitalist mode of production in Sismondis time compared to Quesnays in the middle of the eighteenth century, Sismondi introduces significant improvements into Quesnays table. The independent producers [classe strile] disappear, the class contradiction between entrepreneurs and wage labourers is stressed everywhere, the production of means of consumption is divided into that of necessities and luxuries, etc. (Grossman 1924, p. 14). 21. Marx 1978, p. 355. Marx demonstrates how the circuit of industrial capital is temporarily interrupted and accompanied by other forms of hoarding: because the amortisation fund of fixed capital is accumulated gradually until it is large enough to replace the fixed capital used up in the interim; because surplus-value is insufficient to function independently and therefore must be hoarded until it reaches the minimum magnitude required for it to function actively, Marx 1978, p. 163; or, finally, because parts of circulating capital earmarked for the purchase of raw materials or labour power are also temporarily hoarded (on hoarding, cf. Marx 1987a, p. 379). 22. Marx 1978, p. 164, and Marx 1981, p. 594 et seq. [The latter pages do not seem directly relevant, unlike p. 528.]


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originate in the Circuit of the advanced Capital I, but was obtained because the hoard of money, that came out of the Circuit of the industrial Capital I originally invested, performed particular capital functions outside the circuit of the industrial capital from which it arose.23 The additional surplus value of 3,200 marks was not produced by workers in the textile industry but by workers in the steel industry through the detour of credit intermediation. Had Marx adhered to the original plan for treatment according to the material, without separating out the individual functions of capital, he would have tangled himself up in irresolvable contradictions. In empirical reality, the circuits of various capitals intersect; so the exact answer to the question posed by Marx, about the magnitude of surplus value that a given capital can obtain, would be impossible without the application of the method of isolation. For a clear solution to the problem it was thus necessary to hold apart the two intersecting circuits of capital, i.e. to isolate Circuit I in thought, by first abstracting it from Circuit II and thus from credit. So we can understand why Marx was forced, by the inner requirements of the problem, to work with simplifying assumptions. What has just been said about credit applies equally to foreign trade. From a domestic Capital I, advanced in e.g. the textile industry, a surplus value of a magnitude y is due, if the commodities according to Marxs assumption are sold at prices equal to their values. Now, Marx has shown24 that in foreign trade commodities are not sold at their values; that here no equivalents are exchanged; that in fact the law of value in foreign exchange, in its international application, is thereby modified; that countries with a higher level of capitalist development exploit the less economically developed countries, so that the more advanced country sells its goods above their value...The privileged country receives more labour in exchange for less.25 It is now readily apparent that, for this reason, Marxs problematic, the question of the magnitude of surplus value that can be produced by a given capital, necessarily had to be obscured. For, through the sale of the commodities, e.g. textiles at prices above values abroad, an additional surplus value was obtained from the originally advanced Capital I, along with the normal surplus value. But this additional surplus value was not produced by workers in the domestic textile industry; rather this additional surplus value was created by workers abroad and was then transferred to capitalist I, by way of unequal exchange. In empirical reality, the process of production of Capital I intertwines with its process of circulation. Thus, to provide an exact answer to Marxs question how much surplus value can a definite Capital I
23.Marx 1978, p. 164. [Grossmans emphasis.] 24.Grossmann 1992, p. 170. 25.[Marx 1981, p. 345. Grossmans emphasis.]

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produce? possible, in order, so to speak, to maintain the sphere of production in a chemically pure state, Marx had to isolate the sphere of production from the disturbing influences of the sphere of circulation. The exclusion of the sphere of circulation and the consequent change in the magnitude of surplus value obtained by the originally advanced capital occurs as a result of the simplifying assumption that commodities in foreign trade are sold at their values. For, as a result of this assumption, sale at prices above values and thus the augmentation of surplus value that can be obtained domestically by means of the transfer of additional surplus value from abroad are excluded. Since values exchange for equal values, the change in the magnitude of value, and hence also the magnitude of surplus value, as a result of the disrupting influences of foreign trade, is impossible. Only now can the analysis of the surplus value that can be produced by a given capital take place in an exact way. Only in this context can we understand why Marx arrived at his assumption of normal reproduction, of the sale of commodities at their values.
If normal annual reproduction on a given scale is presupposed, then it is also supposed...that foreign trade replaces domestic articles only by those of other use or natural forms, without...affecting the value ratios...Bringing foreign trade into an analysis of the value of the product annually reproduced can therefore only confuse things, without supplying any new factor either to the problem or to its solution. We therefore completely abstract from it here.26

Marxs procedure is nothing more than the application of the procedure of isolation to the process of surplus-value creation, in order to obtain it in its pure form. The physicist, says Marx,
either observes natural processes where they occur in their most significant form, and are least affected by disturbing influences, or, wherever possible, he makes experiments under conditions which ensure that the process will occur in its pure state...In the analysis of economic forms neither microscopes nor chemical reagents are of assistance. The power of abstraction must replace both.27

That is, the real experiment of natural science must be replaced by the thought-experiment in economic research, in order to maintain in pure form the functions to be investigated, unclouded by disturbing influences. Elsewhere I have shown that, just as Marx was forced here to put aside the modifications of the magnitude of value through foreign trade, he also had to abstract from the movements of price within a capitalism conceived
26.Marx 1978, p. 546. [Grossmans emphasis.] 27.Marx 1976b, p. 90. [Grossmans emphasis.]


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of as isolated. For changes in price present themselves as deviations of prices from values, where price increases on one side of society correspond to price decreases on the other side and thus cancel one another out. The task Marx set himself, the exact measurement of the additional surplus value over the initial magnitude of capital advanced, necessarily led him to the exclusion of this type of change in price. For he was only interested in the real change in value, i.e. the growth of surplus value, the increase in exchange value. In contrast, fluctuations of price are deviations from the median line of value, the result of the fluctuating configuration of supply in relation to demand. The magnitude of value, however, is not modified by changes in the relation of supply and demand. Therefore, from the standpoint of his formulation of the problem, Marx had to abstract from these changes. Thus he necessarily arrives at the assumption of equilibrium as a starting point for his analysis, where supply and demand exactly balance; hence prices coincide with values. As earlier for foreign trade, so now the assumption holds domestically that commodities are sold at their values.28 And, as a result of the same considerations, Marx arrived at a further simplifying assumption. In order to be able to determine the influence of changes in the productivity of labour on the creation of surplus value, he was forced to carry out the investigation on the assumption that the value of money did not change. The purpose was to obtain an exact yardstick for the determination of the movements of the value of industrial capital during its circuit.29 For, if the value of money varied, it would be difficult to determine whether growth in the value (price) of commodities is only apparent, merely arising from a change in the value of money. We have, therefore, demonstrated how Marx, through the requirements of his problematic, necessarily came to take not the immediately given world of appearances as the object of his analysis, but to work with a series of simplifying assumptions: instead of organising his analysis according to the empirically given material, according to partial areas (capital, foreign trade, etc.), he abstracts from credit, from competition, from foreign trade and assumes that the value of money is constant. In short, it was demonstrated how he comes to describe the particular functions of capital instead of the particular material areas; e.g. firstly the process of production of surplus value and subsequently the function of circulation, i.e. the transfer of surplus value. Only by the complicated means of isolating and examining the functions of capital, one at a time, was Marx in a position to explain the actually obtained,
28.Grossmann 1992, p. 64. 29.Grossmann 1992, pp. 623.

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empirically given expansion of capital, i.e. to analyse exactly the sources from which it originates. But the series of simplifying assumptions was not exhausted by the considerations already mentioned. The other simplifying assumptions that resulted from his problematic meant that Marx could not start with the empirically given partial forms of income without labour: industrial profit, interest, ground rent, merchants profit, etc. He had, rather, to use their ideal aggregate in the common, fundamental form of surplus value, as the distinctive category of his analysis. For, to start with, the division of surplus value among particular groups of capitalists did not interest Marx. Instead, what interested him was the problem of surplus value itself, the magnitude of surplus value that could be obtained and its variations, i.e. its developmental tendencies, in the course of capital accumulation. If taxes are high, then the portion of surplus value remaining for the capitalists is smaller. If the interest rate is low, then the portion of surplus value remaining for the industrial and merchant capitalists, etc. is larger. The total magnitude of the surplus value originally produced is not altered by changes in the division of surplus value among the state, the banks, the industrialists, etc. From the standpoint of his problematic, Marx thus had to put aside the specific forms into which the surplus value is divided. For this reason, however, adherence to the original plan of 1859 was impossible. Where it is a matter of the total magnitude of surplus value, how could capital and ground rent now be treated as separate subject areas? After all, ground rent is merely a part of surplus value. In this way, under the compulsion of his problematic, Marx had to give up the treatment according to separate subject areas. Instead of the analysis of the empirically given subject areas interest, rent, merchants profit, etc. he had to place the function of surplus-value creation in the foreground; i.e. he had to make the process of production the chief object of analysis. For this is at the same time the process of surplus-value production. Thus surplus value is grasped at its source, before its division into its component forms, which immensely facilitates the analysis of the magnitude of surplus value in its totality; in fact, makes this possible. On the other hand, says Marx, we treat the capitalist producer as the owner of the entire surplus value...as the representative of all those who will share the booty with him...The break-up of surplus value into various fragments does not affect either its nature or the conditions under which it becomes an element in accumulation.30 Methodological implications of utmost importance for further investigation follow from this assumption. For, to begin with, the classes of landlords, big and
30.Marx 1976b, p. 710.


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small merchants, state officials who live from taxes, etc., i.e. all parasites, those who share in the surplus value, thus, those classes that are not involved in the production of surplus value, had to be set aside from the analysis. The whole analysis had to be reduced to the fundamental contradiction in the production of surplus value: capitalist classworking class. Finally, it is also clear from Marxs formulation of the problem why the independent producers, farmers and artisans, had to be set aside from the analysis. Marx wanted to investigate the capitalist process of surplusvalue production, i.e. capitalism in a chemically pure form, free of impure admixtures of non-capitalist formations. For it would otherwise not be possible to determine the exact extent to which the result of the analysis is attributable to the capitalist elements or to the non-capitalist elements blended with them. In order to obtain such a chemically pure capitalism, Marx had to limit his analysis to the classes that constitute the specific character of the capitalist mode of production, the capital relation, while demonstrating that independent producers are the remnants of earlier economic formations and therefore remain outside the capital relation. In this way, Marx arrives at the assumption of the universal and exclusive domination of capitalist production.31 This theoretical simplification is, according to Marx, never effected in reality. In theory, we assume that the laws of the capitalist mode of production develop in their pure form. In reality, this is only an approximation; but the approximation is all the more exact, the more the capitalist mode of production is developed and the less it is adulterated by survivals of earlier economic conditions with which it is amalgamated.32 We have therefore shown how Marx, as a consequence of his problematic, necessarily had to make a whole series of simplifying assumptions, with the result that the complicated mechanism was reduced to the simple formula c+v+s=C.33 This aggregate of the real parts of profit in the common, general category of surplus value as such corresponds with an analogous aggregate of the real parts of capital (industrial, interest-bearing, merchants capital, etc.) in
31. Marx 1978, p. 422. 32. Marx 1981, p. 275. [Grossmans emphasis.] The methodologically extremely important conception of the paths that lead to the imposition of capitalisms distinctive laws, that Marx developed here, is directly counterposed to the view held by Luxemburg. According to her, the existence of pure capitalism without non-capitalist purchasers is impossible. According to Marxs conception, non-capitalist producers simply constitute the remnants of earlier economic formations, which contaminate the effect of the pure laws of the capitalist mode of production. Pure capitalism is not only possible, according to Marx, but its laws become all the purer the more these obscuring remnants of earlier formations disappear. 33. [Where c is constant capital, v variable capital, s surplus value, and C the total value of commodities produced.]

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the common, general category of capital as such. Just as the path, once taken, had forced Marx to turn his gaze away from material to function, it also led him from the superficial, visible, partial appearances of profit and the various forms of capital to his powerful vision of the totality of aggregate surplus value and aggregate capital. A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy in six parts simply becomes Capital and the metamorphoses of its circuit! Marx attributed the utmost theoretical importance to the reduction of all empirically given forms of earnings without labour, like profit, interest, ground rent, etc., to the simple, fundamental form.34
The best points in my book are...2. the treatment of surplus value regardless of its particular forms as profit, interest, ground rent, etc. This will be made clear in the second volume especially. The treatment of the particular forms in classical political economy, where they are forever being jumbled up together with the general form, is an olla potrida.35

And in a further letter to Engels of 8 January 1868, Marx reproached Dhring for not detecting the books fundamental element in his review of Capital: That in contrast to all previous political economy, which from the outset treated the particular fragments of surplus value with their fixed forms of rent, profit and interest as already given, I begin by dealing with the general form of surplus value, in which all these elements are still undifferentiated, in solution as it were.36 In order to understand the whole meaning of the short formula just mentioned, one must remember that, in his analysis of the problem of equilibrium under capitalism, Ricardo neglected this essential element of the capitalist mode of production, the capital relation. He does not take the fundamental contradiction, capitalist classworking class, as the starting point of his analysis. Instead, he tries to understand and solve the problem by using the example of independent producers. Sismondi accuses him of abstracting from this class relation, the necessary characteristic of capitalist production. There is perhaps no other method of reasoning that is open to more errors than that of constructing a hypothetical world altogether different from the real one.37 Methodological simplifications must not go too far, i.e. they must not disregard the essential elements of the object of investigation as Ricardo does. To my mind the abstraction...is too strong...this is no simplification, this is
34.[Marx 1976b, p. 710.] 35.Marx 1987d, p. 407. [Olla potrida is a highly spiced Spanish dish with very diverse ingredients, literally rotten pot. Here it means a hodgepodge, with particularly negative connotations.] 36.Marx 1987e, p. 514. 37.Sismondi 1991, p. 603. [Grossmans emphasis.]


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misleading us by hiding from our view all the successive operations by which we can distinguish truth from error.38 And, indeed, wherever it is a matter of understanding the fundamental evil associated with capitalism, one needs to start with the class of wage labourers. We will look at society in its actual organisation, with workers without property...because it is precisely this social arrangement to which our objections apply.39 If the characteristic feature of capitalism is the capital relation, the specific relation between entrepreneurs and wage labourers, then every Robinsonade is methodologically excluded from the analysis from the outset. This applies both to the primordial Ricardian hunter with his bow and to Thnens tropical country in its still undeveloped, pre-capitalist state, where the fundamental class division between entrepreneur and wage labourer does not yet exist and to where, according to Thnens assumption, a people with all the skills, knowledge and craft of the civilised European nations was relocated. And although this country possesses no capital and thus no tools,40 according to Thnen, the laws governing capitalism, the laws of capital accumulation, interest and wages should be investigated and defined among the people living there, isolated in the tropics, without capital and without a working class! The significance of Marxs formula is much greater than the aspect [Moment] just mentioned. In fact, Marxs procedure was an important advance over the classicals because it alone made the exact formulation and proof of the law of the tendency for the rate of profit to fall possible. The movements of the empirically visible parts of income without labour temporarily and for specific parts of surplus value run counter to the general tendency of the movement (or, as it is put today, the secular trend line) of surplus value in the course of capital accumulation, as the simple, fundamental form of the process of accumulation is obscured both by the splitting-up of surplus value and by the mediating movement of circulation.41 All those who see only the partial movements of surplus value, e.g. the large profits of individual branches of production and not the relations of society as a whole, like e.g. Charasoff, therefore dispute the fact of the fall in the rate of profit: the law of the tendency for the rate of profit to fall is apparently a mistake.42 The law itself, however, is a self-evident consequence of the labour theory of value if accumulation takes place on the basis of a progressively higher organic
38. Sismondi 1991, p. 621. Cf. also Grossman 1924, p. 114. 39. Sismondi 1991, p. 621. 40. Thnen 1921, p. 486. 41. Marx 1976b, p. 710. 42. Cf. Grossmann 1992, p. 50. [Georg Charasoff was a forerunner of mathematical neoRicardian economic theory and the author of Charasoff 1910.]

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composition of capital. The fall in the rate of profit thus expresses the falling ratio between surplus value itself and the total capital advanced; it is therefore independent of any distribution of this surplus value we may care to make among the various categories.43 And, in fact, if one starts with the formula c+v+s [=C] and supposes a yearly increase of constant capital c of 10% and of variable capital v of 5%, it follows simply and clearly that, with accumulation and as a consequence of the rising organic composition of capital, once a certain level is reached, the tempo of accumulation becomes ever smaller, despite an initial acceleration, and accumulation eventually becomes impossible. The mass of surplus value is insufficient to sustain growth at the level required by the rapidly increasing constant capital.
1 2 3 200,000c + 100,000v + 100,000s 1,000,000c + 100,000v + 110,000s 4,600,000c + 100,000v + 120,000s

In the first case, constant capital c can be accumulated at 50%44 of its initial size, if surplus value is used solely for the purposes of accumulation. In the second case, with a significantly higher organic composition of capital and even though the rate of surplus value has grown, the expanded mass of surplus value of 110,000 s barely suffices to increase the initial capital by 10%. Finally, in the third case, a mass of surplus value of 120,000 barely increases the initial capital by 2%. It is easy to calculate that, as the organic composition of capital rises more, a point must come when it is impossible for accumulation to continue. That is Marxs law of breakdown the absolute general law of capitalist accumulation.45 Its discovery was possible thanks to the analysis of the actual movement of surplus value, by means of the aggregation of the empirical parts of surplus value into the category of surplus value, that is only on the basis of the formula c+v+s [=C].46
43.Marx 1981, p. 320. [Grossmans emphasis.] 44.[The original has 40%, which is presumably a typographical error.] 45.Marx 1976b, p. 798. 46.Marxs theory of breakdown and his famous negation of negation had been regarded as merely pitfalls of the Hegelian dialectical method [Bernstein 1993, pp. 2931] and the product of a residual Hegelian dialectic of contradictions, corresponding to Hegels three-part schema of development. This was because the fact that the law of breakdown is a necessary result of accumulation on the basis of the progressively higher organic composition of capital and therefore the real movement arises from the analysis of real phenomena [Erscheinungsstoff ] had been overlooked. With regard to this law, therefore, what Marx says about the distinction between the method of presentation and the method of inquiry holds especially true: Inquiry...has to appropriate the material in detail, to analyse its different forms of development and to track down their inner connection. Only after this work has been done can the real movement be appropriately presented. If this is done successfully, if the life of the subject-matter is now


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The classicals, who only pursued the empirically given parts of surplus value in their particular movements, suspected the law without, however, being able to formulate it. According to Marx, this law constitutes the mystery around whose solution the whole of political economy since Adam Smith revolves and that the difference between the various schools since Smith consists in the different attempts made to solve it. Hence, Marx correctly says
Simple as the law appears...not one of the previous writers on economics succeeded in discovering it. These economists perceived the phenomenon, but tortured themselves with their contradictory attempts to explain it...If we consider, on the other hand...how it [previous political economy] has never presented surplus value as something separate from profit, nor profit in general, in its pure form, as distinct from the various constituents of profit which have attained an autonomous position towards each other (such as industrial profit, commercial profit, interest, ground rent)...then it ceases to be a puzzle that political economy has never found this puzzles solution.47

In this account, which places the law of the tendency for the rate of profit to fall at the centre of all scientific efforts in the field of political economy since Smith, Marx links the possibility of discovering this law, which is of course identical with Marxs law of accumulation and breakdown, with the methodological simplification and condensation of the capitalist mode of production into the formula c+v+s [=C]. The fundamental idea of Marxs economic system and at the same time the central axis of the capitalist economy around which all scientific efforts since Smith turn is, according to Marxs own assessment, most intimately connected with the construction of the formula. But, from the standpoint of Marxs formulation of the question, is the problem of leading the analysis back to the fundamental capital relation, to the formula c+v+s [=C], specified with sufficient exactitude? Was the series of simplifications exhausted? Or could and should still others have been made and which? How far could the simplification go, which elements should not be abstracted away under any circumstances? As we have seen, Sismondi had already posed this question. With regard to the procedure of simplification, Hegel correctly said: It must be observed that in this very process of scientific understanding, it is of importance that the essential should be distinguished and brought into relief in contrast with the so-called non-essential. But in order to render this possible, we must know what is essential.48
reflected back in the ideas, then it may appear as if we have before us an a priori construction, Marx 1976b, p. 102 [Grossmans emphasis]. 47.Marx 1981, pp. 31920. [Grossmans emphasis.] 48.Hegel 1991, p. 65.

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In fact, for Marx there was no doubt about the essence of capitalism. He had to recognise it before he began to present his system, even before he wrote the first page of his work. The reduction of the capitalist mode of production to the fundamental capital relation still did not exhaust the number of its necessary premises, according to Marx. That is to say, the capital relation only forms one necessary fundamental premise and condition for capitalism. According to the formula c+v+s=C, we are only dealing with a single firm; hence any commodity exchange and hence commodity production itself is impossible. The second fundamental condition of the capitalist mode of production, commodity exchange, is not taken into account.49 For only the products of mutually independent acts of labour, performed in isolation, can confront each other as commodities.50 Where these conditions do not apply, commodity production, hence also capitalist commodity production, is out of the question. [T]o consider society as a single subject is wrong; a speculative approach.51 Where no commodity exchange exists, there can also be no question of commodity production, hence, of capitalist commodity production. As Marx also wanted to express commodity exchange as a necessary prerequisite for the capitalist mode of production in his formula, he necessarily had to give an account of not one capitalist, but at least two independent commodity producers or groups of producers, who mutually exchange their products and hence only then demonstrate their commodity character. If one does that, then instead of the formula c+v+s=C one obtains the following
I II c+v+s=C c+v+s=C

In this way, the parameters for the construction of Marxs schema were given, and we have shown, step by step, the chain of thought that necessarily led from Marxs problematic to this result. Now, however, if the schema is to reflect the capitalist mode of production, another element must be included in its parameters. For at the present level in the development of our thought it has merely been established that commodity exchange is a necessary, fundamental premise of all capitalist production; that therefore the schematic simplification must necessarily depict at least two groups of producers in enduring exchange relationships. But here another question arises: is this a matter of any two arbitrary branches of production, e.g. coal mines and steelworks? Or does the formulation of the problem here not also entail certain necessary fundamental
49. Cf. Grossmann 1929a, p. 607. 50. Marx 1976b, p. 132. [Grossmans emphasis.] 51. Marx 1986, p. 31. [Grossmans emphasis.]


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conditions for the formation of the exchange relationships between the two branches of production? With this question we arrive at the problem posed by Rosa Luxemburg as the central point in the discussion of whether a capitalism conceived of as isolated could possibly exist and her thesis that a gap exists in Marxs analysis of the reproduction and accumulation process. We saw earlier that Marx had to exclude all foreign trade relationships from his analysis of capitalist surplus-value production not only with non-capitalist, but also with foreign capitalist countries in order to measure the magnitude of surplus value that could be obtained by a given social capital. Now if it is true that Marx thus excluded one of the necessary conditions for reproduction on an expanded scale sale to non-capitalist purchasers from his analysis; that he demonstrated the conditions for the production of surplus value, but not the possibility of its realisation, of its sale; that, consequently, there exists a gap in his account because only the process of production was shown, but not the possibility of sales, then on-going reproduction as a continuous process appears impossible. Rosa Luxemburg tried to strengthen her theoretical critique of Marxs analysis by pointing out that the second volume is not a finished whole but a manuscript that stops short half way through.52 Certainly a convenient method of theoretical argument. Unable to find a way out of the dead-end in which one has landed, one declares there is a gap in the system. On the issue of accumulation, Marx had not, in particular, gone further than specifying certain schemas and their initial analysis.53 Luxemburg refers to the incomplete character of the second volume of Capital, but she forgets that, while the schematic representation of the reproduction process was only carried out in the second volume, the essential aspects of Marxs theory of reproduction and accumulation are developed in the first volume, which we have in a finished form. Furthermore, it is false to claim that the specification of the reproduction schema in the second volume stops short halfway through. In fact, it was already conceptualised in 1863, before the publication of the first volume of Capital, and it underlies the whole analysis of the first volume as well as the other volumes of Marxs principal work (and not merely the chapter on reproduction in the second volume). Luxemburg overlooks how, in the chapter on accumulation in the first volume, Marx had already anticipated the essential results of the theory of reproduction and accumulation, substantiated in detail in the second volume.

52.Luxemburg 1951, pp. 1656. 53.Luxemburg 1972, p. 48.

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In light of these facts, it is absolutely unacceptable to claim that Marx did not go beyond the specification of certain schemas and their initial analysis. On the contrary, we have attempted to demonstrate that the reproduction schema does not merely underlie the final part of the second volume, that it is not merely important for the question of the complete sale of commodities, but that the plan for the whole work is intimately connected with the methodological conception of the reproduction schema. The construction of all three volumes of Capital was carried out methodologically on the basis of the meticulously thought-out and actually implemented procedure of successive approximation [Annherungsverfahren], which, logically, is inseparably connected with the reproduction schema. Each provisional simplification correlates with a later, corresponding concretisation. In my book The Law of Accumulation and Breakdown (Chapter 3), I have shown that Marxs procedure of subsequent concretisation was actually carried out meticulously. So there can be no question of a gap resulting from his method of simplification. Despite all the simplifying assumptions, Marx never went so far in his procedure as to abstract from the capital relationship or from commodity exchange between the two spheres of production, I and II, because both elements constitute necessary conditions for capitalist production. If Marx excluded foreign markets from his analysis of the process of reproduction this did not occur, therefore, because there is an accidental gap in his account, but because the relations of foreign trade do not belong to the theoretically necessary conditions for the process of reproduction. If Marx had considered the realisation of surplus value in noncapitalist countries a necessary condition for accumulation, his reproduction schema would have looked quite different, namely
I II The capital relation (capitalist country): Non-capitalist country: c+v+s independent producers

In this schema, department I would not merely encompass the production of means of production, but would undifferentiatedly encompass the whole production of the capitalist country. For, once non-capitalist markets are included in the reproduction schema, what purpose would the well-known division of the branches of production according to the use-values of the commodities they produce serve? What purpose would the demand for definite relations of proportionality in the size of these two branches of the production apparatus serve in the capitalist country? Even if such relations of proportionality do not exist e.g. if the capitalist country only encompasses a single department and e.g. only produces means of production, and thus there is no possibility of selling its v+s parts on the domestic market of the capitalist


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country, reproduction and accumulation can nevertheless continue without interruption because the sale of the v+s parts can occur in foreign, noncapitalist countries. From these, on the other hand, means of consumption for workers and capitalists can be obtained through foreign trade. The division of the apparatus of production in the capitalist country into the two well-known departments I (production of means of production) and II (production of means of consumption) has no purpose in such a case. If Marx combines capitalist production not into one, but into two branches of production and not into any arbitrary branches, but in such a way that means of production must necessarily be produced in one, and means of consumption in the other then this occurs because, in his schema, Marx wanted to illustrate all the necessary conditions for the existence of a capitalism that is conceived of as isolated. If, in capitalism conceived of as isolated, only means of production are produced, then means of consumption must be obtained from abroad if reproduction is to be conceived of as a continuous process. Conversely, if only means of consumption are produced, then the importation of means of production is unavoidable. In this way, foreign trade relations would be a necessary condition for the reproduction process as a whole. Yet, for the reasons identified above, Marx excludes foreign trade relations from his schematic analysis! If the schema of capitalist production constructed by Marx excludes foreign trade relations and is not to be an unrealistic phantom, Marx had to ensure in other ways that the schema includes all the elements that are significant, i.e. vital for the capitalist mode of production. By explaining that the division of the apparatus of production in the capitalist country was a necessary condition for equilibrium and allowing for the production of means of production and means of consumption, Marx seeks to construct a mechanism of production independent of foreign trade relations that is nevertheless viable and self-contained. Only in a capitalism thought of in this way does it make any sense to inquire about the relations of proportionality necessary for equilibrium, i.e. for the complete sale of all commodities on the domestic market. Only in this case do these relations of proportionality constitute a necessary condition for a course of reproduction free from disruption. Including non-capitalist markets in the schema destroys the schemas fundamental theoretical idea, the proof of the necessity of definite relations of proportionality. Thus it invalidates the real content and great significance of Marxs discovery!

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III Now we want to compare the results of our general analysis of the theoretical conditions of Marxs procedure in the schema, as they arose from the general requirements of Marxs problematic, with Marxs concrete presentation of the conditions for reproduction. The process of accumulation and reproduction is dealt with first not in the second volume of Capital, but already in the twenty-fourth chapter of the first volume, where the transformation of surplus value into capital is presented.54 Here was the systematic place and opportunity to mention the role of non-capitalist markets, if in Marxs conception they had constituted a necessary condition for the transformation of surplus value into capital; if Marx considered pure capitalism impossible. This even more, because in the first volume Marx had already investigated not only the conditions for accumulation from the standpoint of the individual capital, but, in the twentyfifth chapter, also developed the general law of capitalist accumulation and the continual re-conversion of surplus value into capital.55 He had the social conditions for accumulation in mind and, in relation to them, formulated a series of social laws, such as e.g. the law of concentration and centralisation of capital, the capitalist mode of productions distinctive law of population and the emergence of the reserve army of labour as a product of accumulation and a condition for its sudden expansion, and finally the necessary breakdown of the capitalist mode of production. Here Marx further enumerates a series of aspects, which determine the extent of accumulation.56 Marx did not mention non-capitalist purchasers as a condition for accumulation! And this is supposed to be an accidental gap in his account? And further! Marx already avails himself of a series of simplifying assumptions in his presentation of accumulation in the first volume. What was the purpose of these methodological simplifications, of this abstraction from a series of empirically given aspects? Marxs explanations are so clear as to be scarcely controversial: in his analysis of the problem of accumulation, Marx wants to abstract from all aspects that are incidental to the problem of accumulation, even if they are otherwise important, in order to highlight all the more starkly the essential, fundamental conditions for the accumulation process. In the presentation of the accumulation of surplus value, i.e. its transformation into capital, Marx has to demonstrate the necessary conditions

54.Marx 1976b, pp. 72561. 55.Marx 1976b, p. 775. 56.Marx 1976b, p. 747. [Grossmans emphasis.]


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under which it [surplus value] becomes an element in accumulation.57 This, then, is the purpose of Marxs simplifications! Everything but the necessary conditions should be abstracted away. The analysis only deals with the simple, fundamental form of the process of accumulation...An exact analysis of the process, therefore, demands that we should, for a time, disregard all phenomena that conceal the workings of its inner mechanism.58 If Marx considered the realisation of surplus value in non-capitalist markets a necessary condition for accumulation, it would be impossible for him to refrain from including the function of non-capitalist markets in his analysis of the conditions for accumulation. Marx would have, rather, to demonstrate this here because, according to this conception, it would constitute a necessary part of the inner workings of the capitalist mechanism, its simple, fundamental form. Instead of Marxs current schema, we would have had a different one, namely
I II c+v+s independent producers

The basic fact that Marx did not do this, that he explicitly abstracted from foreign trade altogether, thus also from foreign trade with non-capitalist countries, and even counts it among disturbing subsidiary circumstances, which disguise the inner workings of the mechanism in its purity,59 proves the opposite of Luxemburgs claim. It proves that Marx believed that a capitalism conceived of as isolated, without external markets, was possible and he was convinced that the fundamental laws of accumulation were more sharply expressed without the disturbing influences of foreign trade. Finally, it proves that one cannot speak of a gap with regard to Marxs deliberate exclusion of foreign markets! The gap theory is nothing other than a comfortable little cloak, which disguises the fact that Luxemburg, under the pretext of ostensible further development and gap filling, actually, on this essential point of the structure of Marxs thought, abandoned and combated his theory of accumulation! That one cannot speak of a gap in Marxs work at this point can be precisely demonstrated by a further argument. In the chapter on accumulation, Marx considers it necessary not merely to present the conditions for accumulation positively, but to critically polemicise against the political economists erroneous conception of reproduction on an increasing scale.60 Never and nowhere, however, had they considered the necessity of non-capitalist
57.Marx 1976b, p. 710. [Grossmans interpolation. Necessary is in the original German text, Marx 1991, p. 506, but not the Penguin translation.] 58.Marx 1976b, p. 710. [Grossmans emphasis.] 59.Marx 1976b, pp. 269, 727. 60.Marx 1976b, p. 734

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countries as a condition of accumulation. Was it not the best opportunity, indeed a logical requirement, to demonstrate their theoretical mistakes and to point out the necessary function of non-capitalist countries precisely here? But one does not find a trace of this in Marx. The same Marx who refutes the erroneous conception of accumulation of bourgeois economics, namely that of Smith, and uncovers Smiths stupid blunder61 which claims that surplus value in accumulation is laid out exclusively in the payment of wages.62 The same Marx who in the chapter mentioned above polemicises against the iron law of wages and further against the theory of compensation in relation to workers displaced.63 Would this Marx have silently ignored that other theory of all previous economics, that accumulation without non-capitalist markets, that pure capitalism is possible? That would be highly unlikely for another reason. Engels mentions in the Preface to the second volume of Capital that It is sufficient to enumerate the manuscript material that Marx left to show the incomparable conscientiousness and severe self-criticism with which he strove to bring his great economic discoveries to the utmost degree of perfection.64 In fact, we know that all the more important problems are mentioned by Marx at different points in his work three, four and often more times, and Marx never missed the opportunity to point out the errors of his predecessors. To give just one example: the erroneous conception of increasing accumulation on the part of bourgeois economics, namely that of Smith, mentioned above, is already refuted in the first volume,65 and then combated again in the third part of the second volume.66 Finally, for the third and fourth times, Marx deals extensively with this problem in his critical analysis in Theories of Surplus Value.67 The same is true for a series of other problems. Would it not be odd, then, that Marx should repeatedly uncover all the errors of bourgeois economics, but fail to mention, even with one syllable, in any place in his works and manuscripts over a period of thirty years, the cardinal error that a capitalism conceived of as isolated, without a non-capitalist milieu, is possible? The previous indications suffice to license us to conclude that the convenient torso or gap theory that takes the path of least resistance is absolutely

61. Marx 1978, p. 449. 62. Marx 1976b, p. 737. 63. [Marx 1976b, on the possibility of higher wages, pp. 768772; against compensation theory, that all machinery that displaces workers simultaneously, and necessarily, sets free an amount of capital adequate to employ precisely those workers displaced, pp. 56575.] 64. Marx 1978, p. 84. 65. Marx 1976b, pp. 734, 736. [Grossman is paraphrasing Marxs words, already quoted above, rather than quoting them.] 66. Marx 1978, pp. 438 and 442. 67. Marx 1989a, p. 25 et seq.; Marx 1989b, p. 49, and especially p. 52.


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insupportable, and that it must be discarded once and for all.68 Rather, it is imperative for the analysis of Marx, in all theoretical respects to start with the opposite, basic premise: that the material left to us by Marx is essentially finished, apart from the details of exposition. Consequently, when dealing with difficulties that arise for the problematic of the individual partial areas and partial theories of Marxs system, the highest principle must be that the difficulties are to be overcome not by means of mechanical, superficial additions and completions but within the given material, in accordance with the logic of the system as a whole. This means nothing more than that one must hold to the idea that Marxist economics, as it has been bequeathed to us, is not a fragment or a torso, but constitutes a finished, i.e. complete, system. In constructing his schema to present only the necessary conditions, the essential, fundamental form of the process of reproduction and accumulation, Marx had to know what was essential about capitalist production in order to separate it from the non-essential, to use Hegels language. Marx already has these essential, fundamental conditions in mind when he approaches the composition of Capital, the presentation of the first chapter of his work. In the first chapters of the first volume, Marx is already concerned not with immediately given empirical appearances, not with profit, interest, ground rent, etc., but with their ideal aggregate, with surplus value. He is not concerned with the empirically given appearance of price, but starts with the fictitious premise that commodities are sold at their values, which includes further assumptions: that the apparatus of production is in a state of equilibrium; that
68.This also applies to Georg Lukcs, who advocates the fragment theory criticised here and who rejects the conception that Marxs formulae were arrived at on the basis of a hypothetical society (posited for reasons of method) which consisted only of capitalists and workers. On the contrary, L. emphasises that Marx posited this society for the sake of argument, i.e. to see the problem more clearly, before pressing forward to the larger question of the place of this problem within society as a whole. Up to this point, we can agree with L. His mistake lies in his view that Marx himself never completed this task. That is, Marx to use Marxs language made the journey from the conception of the concrete totality, from the conception of the whole analytically, by means of simplifying methodological assumptions, until he arrived at more and more tenuous abstractions, i.e. to an abstract capitalist society, which consists only of capitalists and workers, without foreign trade. But that he did not retrace the journey back to a concrete rich totality of many determinations and relations, to the living whole [Marx 1986, p. 37]. According to L., the result is that on this issue Capital is an incomplete fragment which stops short at the point where this problem should be opened up. In this sense what Rosa Luxemburg has done is precisely to take up the thread where Marx left off and to solve the problem in his spirit (Lukcs 1971, p. 31). Elsewhere Lukcs writes of Rosa Luxemburgs admirable extension of Marxs theory of capitalist reproduction (Lukcs 1970, p. 41). In my book, The Law of Accumulation and Breakdown, I have shown that Lukcss assertion is incorrect and indicated that in the methodological construction of the system each of the several fictitious, simplifying assumptions is subsequently modified. These considerations mean that the abstract analysis comes closer to the world of real appearances, Grossmann 1992, pp. 30 and 131.

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the commodity labour power is likewise sold at its value; that no reserve army exists; and, finally, that no competition takes place. In short, Marx already had all the simplifying assumptions of his reproduction schema in mind before he even wrote the first page of his work or could write it. It is certainly one of the greatest misunderstandings and distortions of Marxs thought to associate Marxs reproduction schema with only the last chapter of the second volume of Capital, with only the problem of the complete sale of the years product; and finally, to see only the simplifying assumptions, but not the subsequent corrections. As was shown here, Marxs reproduction schema is intimately connected with the methodological procedure that underlies all three volumes of Capital. For this reason, the change in the plan for Marxs lifes work and the construction of the reproduction schema arose from the same fundamental idea. Marxs method is, in its general principles, the true expression of his formulation of the problem. Only in relation to the latter can the real reasons for it also be understood. Translated from the German by Geoffrey McCormack Edited and annotated by Rick Kuhn References
Bernstein, Eduard 1993 [1899], The Preconditions of Socialism, edited and translated by Henry Tudor, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Charasoff, Georg 1910, Das System des Marxismus: Darstellung und Kritik, Berlin: H. Bondy. Engels, Friedrich 1978 [1884], Preface, in Marx 1978. Grossman, Henryk 1924, Simonde de Sismondi et ses thories conomiques: une nouvelle interprtation de sa pense, Warsaw: Bibliotheca Universitatis Liberae Polonae. Grossmann, Henryk 1929a, Das Akkumulations- und Zusammenbruchsgetz des kapitalistischen Systems (zugleich eine Krisentheorie), Leipzig: Hirschfeld. 1929b, Die nderung des ursprnglichen Aufbauplans des Marxschen Kapital und ihre Ursachen, Archiv fr die Geschichte des Sozialismus und der Arbeiterbewegung, 14: 30538. 1992 [1929], The Law of Accumulation and Breakdown of the Capitalist System: Being also a Theory of Crises, translated and abridged by Jairus Banaji, London: Pluto Press. Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich 1991 [1840], The Philosophy of History, Amherst: Prometheus Books. Kautsky, Karl 1897, Vorwort, in Marx 1897. 1921 [1887], Karl Marx konomische Lehren, Stuttgart: J.H.W. Dietz. Lukcs, Georg 1970 [1924], Lenin: a Study on the Unity of His Thought, translated by Nicholas Jacobs, London: New Left Books. 1971 [1923], History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics, translated by Rodney Livingstone, London: Merlin. Luxemburg, Rosa 1951 [1913], The Accumulation of Capital, translated by Agnes Schwarzschild, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.


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1972 [1921], The Accumulation of Capital An Anti-Critique, in Rosa Luxemburg and Nikolai Bukharin, Imperialism and the Accumulation of Capital, edited by Kenneth J. Tarbuck, London: Allen Lane. Marx, Karl 1897, Zur Kritik der Politischen Oekonomie, Stuttgart: J.H.W. Dietz. 1904, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, translated by N.I. Stone, Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company. 1976a [1847], The Poverty of Philosophy: Answer to the Philosophy of Poverty by M. Proudhon, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 6, New York: International Publishers. 1976b [1867], Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume 1, translated by Ben Fowkes, Harmondsworth: Penguin. 1978 [1885], Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume 2, translated by David Fernbach, Harmondsworth: Penguin. 1981 [1894], Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume 3, translated by David Fernbach, Harmondsworth: Penguin. 1985a, Letter from Karl Marx to Ludwig Kugelmann, 28 December 1862, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 41, New York: International Publishers. 1985b, Letter from Karl Marx to Frederick Engels, 6 July 1863, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 41, New York: International Publishers. 1985c, Letter from Karl Marx to Engels, 15 August 1863, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 41, New York: International Publishers. 1986 [1903, written 1857] Introduction, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 28, New York: International Publishers. 1987a [1859], A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Part One, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 29, New York: International Publishers. 1987b, Letter from Karl Marx to Ludwig Kugelmann, 29 November 1864, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 42, New York: International Publishers. 1987c, Letter from Karl Marx to Ludwig Kugelmann, 13 October 1866, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 42, New York: International Publishers. 1987d, Letter from Marx to Engels, 24 August 1867, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 42, New York: International Publishers. 1987e, Letter from Marx to Engels, 8 January 1868, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 42, New York: International Publishers. 1987f, Letter from Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels, 30 April 1868, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 43, New York: International Publishers. 1989a [1905], Economic Manuscript of 186163 [Notebooks VII to XII], in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 31, New York: International Publishers. 1989b [1905], Economic Manuscript of 186163 [Notebooks XII to XV], in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 32, New York: International Publishers. 1991 [1890], Das Kapital: Kritik der Politischen konomie. Erster Band, Fourth Edition, in Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe, Division II, Volume 10, Berlin: Akademie Verlag. Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels 192741, Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe, Frankfurt am Main and Berlin: Marx-Engels-Archiv, Verlagsgenossenschaft auslndischer Arbeiter in der UdSSR and Marx-Engels-Verlag. Sismondi, J.-C.-L. Simonde de 1991 [1819], New Principles of Political Economy: Of Wealth in Its Relation to Population, translated and annotated by Richard Hyse, London: Transaction Publishers. Stone, Nahum Isaac 1904, Preface, in Marx 1904. Thnen, Johann Heinrich von 1921 [1842], Der isolirte Staat in Beziehung auf Landwirthschaft und National-konomie, Jena: Fischer. Wilbrandt, Robert 1920 [1918], Karl Marx: Versuch einer Wrdigung, Leipzig: B.G. Teubner.

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Review Articles
Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 18831918, Jeffrey B. Perry, New York: Columbia University Press, 2009
Abstract Jeffrey B. Perrys biography of Hubert Harrison restores the legacy of a central figure in the history of Black radicalism. Though largely forgotten today, Harrison was acknowledged by his earlytwentieth-century peers as the father of Harlem radicalism. Author of pioneering analyses of white supremacys role in American capitalism, proponent of armed self-defence among AfricanAmericans, and anti-colonial intellectual, Harrison played a central role in the development of Black politics in the United States. This review traces Harrisons journey from socialist organiser to Black nationalist, considering its implications for the history of American radicalism. Keywords American socialism, black radicalism, Hubert Harrison

Introduction Lenin once famously described the fate of great revolutionaries as that of suffering the most furious hatred during their lifetime, while being converted into harmless icons by the very order they opposed after their deaths. Though notably portentous of his own destiny, Lenins pronouncement is also useful to keep in mind when examining historical afterlives of those who struggled against white supremacy in the United States. Here, figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. and W.E.B. Du Bois, both targets of severe government repression in their lifetimes, have been converted into figures of national pride, even as the radical edge of their criticisms of American society has often been lost. The Civil Rights Movement itself has been rewritten so that it stands not as an indictment of American racism, but rather as a confirmation of freedoms providential progress.1 Yet as suggestive as Lenins prediction is in this case, it can also be misleading insofar as it points to domestication as the primary method of repression in the registers of bourgeois memory. For countless revolutionaries, simple historical neglect has served just as well to exclude their radicalism from national memory. Such has been the fate of Hubert Harrison. Known as the father of Harlem radicalism in his lifetime, Harrison was a prominent activist first with the Socialist Party, and later with Marcus Garveys United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) during the 1910s and 1920s. Universally acclaimed by contemporaries as one of the most brilliant minds of his time, as well as one of the most effective proponents
1.Jacqueline Dowd Hall discusses the domestication of the civil-rights movement in popular memory in more detail in Hall 2005.
Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2013 DOI: 10.1163/1569206X-12341315


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of socialism, today Harrison is virtually forgotten, except in the works of a few chroniclers of the history of Black radicalism in the US.2 Fortunately, however, Harrison has been rescued from the historical oubliette by the truly monumental efforts of Jeffrey B. Perry,3 author of the biography, Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 18831918. Though only the first volume of an eventual two-volume set, Perrys biography has secured Harrisons place in the history of American, and indeed international, radicalism. Race and public politics Harrisons story begins in the Caribbean island of St Croix, where he was born in 1883. Perry places Harrisons life in the context of St Croixs colonial history and political economy, emphasising the combative legacy of the islands Black working class (St Croixs slaves emancipated themselves in 1848 through a massive uprising). At the same time, however, the legacy of colonial underdevelopment ensured that the islands workers, who were concentrated in agricultural labour, would remain impoverished. Combining this history with the painstaking genealogical research of island historian George F. Tyson, Perry has produced an admirably detailed picture of Harrisons early life. The son of a Barbadian agricultural worker, Harrison was the fourth of six children. Island census records indicate that by age seven, he was working as a domestic servant (as were his siblings). Despite this, Harrison was able to acquire as thorough an education as was possible in St Croix at that time, completing the ninth grade (pp. 249, 3444). When Harrison was fifteen, his mother died, prompting him to emigrate to New York City, where one of his sisters already lived. There Harrison continued his education, finishing high school by taking night classes. Shortly thereafter, Harrison began his lifelong involvement with public politics. A beneficiary of New Yorks rich milieu of oral and print political cultures, Harrison became involved in the lyceum scene, a programme of lectures and debates sponsored primarily by two churches in Manhattan with large Black congregations. He quickly distinguished himself as a talented public speaker, holding forth on subjects ranging from Black poetry to tariff policy. Harrison impressed his fellows enough that by 1906 he was working as editor of the lyceums monthly paper, St. Marks Mirror. Harrison also participated in New Yorks broader literary culture, writing frequent letters to the New York Times defending his race against the various attacks that appeared there (pp. 6375). Though Harrison found recognition and intellectual sustenance in the lyceums, making a living there proved somewhat more difficult. Throughout his life, Harrison would have difficulties with money, and he frequently deplored his own ineptness in financial matters. For a time, however, Harrison was able to assure himself a reasonable income after he secured a job working at the post office. For working-class African-American men during this time, the post office served as one of the few occupations that combined respectability, safety,
2.The two most significant treatments are Foner 1977 and James 1999. Harrisons neglect has been such that a compilation of socialist writings on race, gender, and ethnicity by one of the most important historians of the Socialist Party fails to even mention him. See Miller (ed.) 1996. 3.A biographical aside: Perry was a student of and literary executor of Theodore Allen, whose important works on the origins of white supremacy in the United States contain interesting parallels with Harrisons own researches into the question.

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and a reasonable pay cheque. Despite these advantages, postal work was conducted under a tyrannical managerial regime, with abusive supervisors and capricious work rules. Though he often came into conflict with his superiors, Harrison made the best of the situation, organising a discussion group with his coworkers that met in his Harlem apartment. This group sought to continue the work Harrison had performed with the lyceums, responding to negative representations of African-Americans in the press and holding educational meetings on Black history (pp. 836). Harrisons commitment to combating American racism ensured that his tenure at the post office could not last. In New York during this period, positions in the post office for AfricanAmericans were by and large patronage positions, dispensed in exchange for loyalty by the citys Colored Republican Club. The CRC itself was strongly tied to Booker T. Washington, the most prominent Black leader of the period and a proponent of gradualism and conciliation in the face of white supremacy. For Washington, African-Americans could best assure their progress by forsaking agitation for political rights and instead concentrating on developing themselves as a loyal and trusted workforce that would win the respect of whites. A key aspect of Washingtons strategy in this respect was the contention that conditions were improving for Blacks, and, if they would only avail themselves of the opportunities available, they would be sure to prosper. It was this contention that inspired Harrison to respond, especially after a prominent newspaper accused other critics of Washington of simply seeking attention for themselves. Harrison recited a litany of recent attacks on Black rights, from newly imposed disenfranchisement to legally enforced residential segregation.4 Having established the illusory nature of Washingtons progress, Harrison took aim at the central tenets of Washingtons philosophy, asking How have human wrongs been righted through the ages? First, by insisting that they were wrongs: and secondly by fighting against them with tongue and pen and sword. But if that is so, then [those criticising Washington] are adopting a policy which has in its favor the experience of all kinds and conditions of men and six thousand years of trial. Finally, Harrison argued that without contesting racism, African-Americans could not even expect to be hired by whites, since white workers would do everything in their power to exclude them (as evidenced by recent race riots).5 Unfortunately for Harrison, his letter reached the attention of Washingtons inner circle. Charles W. Anderson, the head of the CRC, wrote to Washington informing him of his retaliation against Harrison. Anderson intimated that [t]he Postmaster is my personal friend and Harrison is liable to be dismissed from the service. If not dismissed, he will get severe punishment. He closed by advising Washington to destroy the letter. A month later, Anderson wrote a sardonic follow up, gloating that I am sure you will regret to learn that Mr. Hubert H. Harrison has been dismissed from his position (pp. 1323). For Washington

4.White supremacys entrenchment and expansion in this period led one early Black historian to term it the nadir of African-American history. See Logan 1954. 5.Harrison 1910, p. 165.


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and his associates, the kind of working-class Black radicalism represented by Harrison had to be stamped out.6 Socialism and the Negro Question Devastating as they were to Harrisons ability to support himself, Andersons intrigues failed to silence the young radical. In fact, Harrisons dismissal from the post office led directly to his involvement with the Socialist Party. Less than a month after the loss of his job, Harrison became a paid speaker and organiser for the Socialist Party in New York, restoring at least some of his lost income and providing him an even broader platform for his politics. Though the party had few Black members at the time, Harrisons decision to join makes sense in light of his intellectual formation. Harrison considered himself a man of science, paying close attention to and often lecturing on developments in evolutionary theory. The Socialist Party also held scientific discourse in high esteem, with some leading thinkers even going so far as to argue that socialism was nothing more than the logical conclusion of modern science (which was identified primarily with the theory of evolution).7 Moreover, the party supported the kind of public intellectual culture that Harrison held dear, sponsoring an assortment of lectures and publications. Finally, Harrison found it easy to translate his struggle against white supremacy into support for socialism, as African-Americans were more essentially proletarian than any other American group (pp. 1467). While Harrison felt that African-Americans impoverishment made them a natural constituency for the Socialist Party, the record of the party itself did not indicate recognition of this fact. A highly heterogeneous assemblage of different factions, the Socialist Party had a membership whose stands on race ranged from militant anti-racism to the justification of lynching.8 As a result of this congeries of positions, the national party largely refrained from taking any decisive action with regards to race, leaving local organisations considerable leeway on the question. Consequently, treatment of African-Americans varied widely between Socialist locals, with Southern branches often requiring racial segregation, while in some Northern branches Black preachers played a prominent role in spreading party propaganda. Even Eugene Debs, the partys most popular national figure, allowed his own

6.For more on Washingtons policing of Black working-class dissent, see Kelly 2003. 7.The identification of socialism with modern science speaks to the strong current of positivism in American socialist theory. This positivism was one major force steering the Socialist Party towards an evolutionary socialism, as it excised from socialist politics any sense of negation or contradiction (such as class struggle), and envisioned socialist praxis as nothing more than the endorsement of societys natural path. Ironically, although the scientific discourse of the party was a source of attraction to Harrison, the epistemological positivism undergirding it encouraged the party to embrace reformist political positions that would lead to Harrisons break with it. For more on the partys theoretical leanings, see Lloyd 1997. 8.Victor Berger, a socialist congressman from Milwaukee, argued that one of socialisms advantages would be its establishment of conditions under which...sexual maniacs and all other offensive and lynchable human degenerates will cease to be begotten or produced. Foner 1977, p. 126.

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strong opposition to racism to be subsumed under a party line that did little to challenge the status quo.9 Harrison began challenging the Socialist Partys stance on race as soon as he joined the party. Though Local New Yorks leaders previously had discussed ways of attracting more African-Americans to the party without any results, Harrison succeeded in convincing the party that Blacks were more dissatisfied with the Republican Party than ever, and thus constituted a large potential voting base. In the 1911 municipal elections, Harrison worked as a party organiser in Black neighbourhoods, where he developed a method for party work aimed directly at African-Americans. Harrison argued that approaching African-Americans with pamphlets that specifically discussed the race question from a socialist perspective was more successful than simply using the general campaign literature. After discussing the racial issues, Harrison argued that his Black audience was far more receptive to the standard literature from Debs and other party leaders. His efforts bore fruit in the shape of an increased vote total for the party in the elections, an increase party leaders attributed in part to his work among African-Americans. This success convinced Local New York that organising approaches directed specifically at addressing the issues faced by African-Americans were a worthwhile endeavour. Shortly after the elections, the Executive Committee of the local voted to set up an office in the negro district and devote thirty-one dollars a week towards expenses, including the hiring of Harrison as a full-time organiser. Harrison became the leader of the Colored Socialist Club, the body set up by the party to organise Black members (pp. 1536). However, the CSC soon attracted criticism from other Black party members, who saw in it the seeds of segregation in Local New York. Given the segregation of Southern locals, this was not an unreasonable fear. Reverend George Frazier Miller, a veteran socialist and NAACP member, expressed worry that the CSC was an effort by prejudiced whites to shield themselves from the contamination represented by Black comrades. W.E.B. Du Bois, a party member himself at the time, worried that a special organisation for AfricanAmericans would hinder the ability of Black and white socialists to come to know each other as human beings, a knowledge necessary for a united working class. Harrison responded to these objections by pointing out that the CSC was not itself a branch, the basic neighbourhood organisational unit of the Socialist Party, but rather a party organisation dedicated to working among African-Americans. Although Harrison disclaimed any intention to establish separate branches, or separate Socialist organisations for colored people, he insisted that the work of spreading socialist propaganda among Blacks, because of the distrust white supremacy had engendered, was best planned and carried out by Black socialists themselves (pp. 16770). Harrison also waged his struggle for an anti-racist party in theory, writing a number of pioneering articles on the race question for the socialist press. In his five-part series on The Negro and Socialism for the New York Call (the locals daily paper), Harrison developed a historical perspective on racism and its implications for socialist practice. Slavery, he
9.For accounts of the Socialist Partys position on race, see Foner 1977 and Shawki 2006, pp. 11028. Debss own position on race has often been used as a synecdoche for all class-first politics that ignored race. However, as William P. Jones points out, such usage obscures Debss appreciation of the specificity of racial oppression and his understanding of white supremacys cultural importance for Southern white workers. See Jones 2008.


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argued, constituted the roots of the problem. Harrison emphasised the colourblind rapacity of early capitalism, reminding his readers that the Indians of Florida and California, white men, women and children from Ireland, and many of the English working class condemned to penal servitude had worked and suffered as bonded labourers in the early colonies. However, the perpetual servitude endured by Africans posed a different problem how to reconcile the public mind to the system of slavery. This was accomplished by building up the belief that the slaves were not really human: that they belonged to a different order of beings. Here, Harrison argues, lie the origins of racism, not in nature and not in the mistaken ideas of whites.10 Having established the historical origins of racism, Harrison goes on to outline the role it plays in contemporary capitalism in the second article. He argues that racism functions to divide the working class, pitting white workers against Black workers and lowering the wages of both. For Harrison, white supremacy serves as a weapon of the ruling class, a club which lowers wages and preserves working-class disorganisation. To preserve this state of affairs, the newspapers, owned by the capitalist class of the South, with their brother barons in the North, have entered upon a campaign of deprecation, vilification, calumny, and lies in an endeavor to use the ignorance and superstition of the workers against the workers. So far, they have had tremendous success. In further articles, Harrison drew the obvious conclusions from this theory. If the Socialist Party was to succeed in organising the working class to overthrow capitalism, it would have to wage war on racism.11 Though Socialists from the partys left had long argued for a full confrontation with American racism, none had provided so incisive an argument as Harrison. Anti-racist socialists had often argued against racism on moral grounds, and a few had suggested that racial enmity served the capitalists. But none had argued as coherently as Harrison that socialism was impossible in the United States unless the Socialist Party devoted itself to combating racism. In addition to breaking out of the confines of Socialist Party theories of racism, Harrisons work in these articles would also maintain advantages over subsequent attempts by the American left to think through the problem of race. The Communist Partys Black Belt thesis, for example, which held that African-Americans in the South constituted an oppressed nation whose fight for self-determination Communists should support, enmeshed a generation of Marxists in debates which unhelpfully superimposed categories from the struggles of Eastern-European nations on to the situation in the United States. Harrisons account, by locating the origins and present function of racial oppression in the dynamics of class struggle, avoided any such conceptual entanglement.12 Today, the dominant theorisation of racial oppression on the American left draws its inspiration from whiteness theory, the body of historical writing which, since the early 1990s, has refocused attention on the racial ideologies of the white working class. Breaking with earlier traditions of left-theorising about race, whiteness scholars argue that white supremacy is not a social system imposed on white workers from without, but rather produced from

10.Harrison 1911a, pp. 534. Harrisons argument, though suggestive of later Marxist treatments of the matter, is notably silent on the crucial question of why Africans alone were enslaved in perpetuity. Barbara Fields develops one answer to this question in Fields 1990. 11.Harrison 1911b, p. 56; Harrison 1911c; Harrison 1911d. 12.The development of the Black Belt thesis is detailed in Berland 2000.

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below.13 In contrast to this emphasis, Harrison was insistent upon the centrality of capitals praxis, particularly the dissemination of ideology through print media, in reproducing racial ideology. The difficulty subsequent left-theorisations of white supremacy would find in maintaining the conflict between capital and workers at the centre of their theorisations of race speaks forcefully to the scale of Harrisons achievement in 1911. Though Harrisons theoretical advances were accompanied by success in organising the CSC, larger events in the party worked against him. The revolutionary wing of the Socialist Party, with which Harrison increasingly identified, suffered a decisive defeat in 1912, when Industrial Workers of the World leader Bill Haywood was removed from the Socialist Partys executive council. The pretext for this removal was Haywoods advocacy of sabotage, which his foes argued constituted support for terrorist actions in the workplace. As Mike Davis has argued, the use of the term by IWW leaders actually covered a wide variety of actions, from the conscious restriction of output by a work unit to the destruction of capitalist property. The most common meaning was probably that defined by Elizabeth Gurley Flynn Sabotage is to the class struggle what guerrilla warfare is to the battle. The strike is the open battle of the class struggle, sabotage is the guerrilla warfare, the day-to-day warfare between two opposing classes.14 The right-wing leaders of the Socialist Party, such as Morris Hillquit and Victor Berger, however, contended that such language was evidence of dynamitethrowing anarchism, and moved to forbid it in the party. While the real concern of Hillquit and Berger was with the IWWs challenge to the conservative American Federation of Labor (AFL), their anti-sabotage campaign proved successful, and Haywood was removed from the Executive Committee.15 Harrison had supported Haywood throughout his struggle with the partys right wing. He encouraged the Wobbly leader in the latters debates with Hillquit, and gave speeches promoting industrial unionism, the position which most clearly divided the left and right wings of the party. Harrison was also attracted to the IWWs forceful stand in favour of racial equality, especially when contrasted with the naked racism of the AFL. Additionally, Harrison began to encounter signs of racism in the party directed against himself. In April of 1912, his branch, the most left-wing in the city, had scheduled Harrison as a speaker. In response, the locals leadership declared that Harrisons branch had no authority to schedule its own speakers without the permission of Local New York. The leadership also denied Harrisons request for his speakers fee to be made commensurate with that of other party orators in the city (pp. 17699). In 1913, the party refused Harrison permission to hold a debate on the question Is industrial action more important than political action? Finally, in early 1914, Harrison was forbidden from debating with a popular anti-socialist speaker, on
13.As the phrase from below suggests, whiteness scholars drew inspiration from the work of E.P. Thompson, claiming that their work was merely the extension of a Thompsonian emphasis on working-class agency into the field of racial ideology. It is not clear, however, that the assertion that workers create their own cultural forms justifies the neglect of ruling-class and state agency which has frequently characterised whiteness scholarship. See Roediger 2007, p. 9. For critiques of whiteness scholarship, see Meyerson 1998 and Arnesen 2001. 14.Even the endorsement of property destruction was rarely a call for actual machine breaking. During the Lawrence Strike of 1912, one of the bitterest strikes of the era, property destruction actually decreased after the IWW assumed leadership. Rather, IWW leaders used a rhetoric of sabotage as a means to demystify the sanctity of property. See Davis 1975. 15.Kipnis 2005, Chapters 1718.


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the spurious grounds that such debates were contrary to party policy. In response, Harrison wrote a short note to the locals leadership Please tell the Executive Committee to go chase itself, adding & By the way, if my color has anything to do with it this time I should thank you to let me know. In response, the local found Harrison guilty of contempt towards the Executive Committee, and suspended him for three months. By the time his sentence had ended, Harrison had already moved on from the Socialist Party (pp. 20918). Race First After leaving the party, Harrison rededicated himself to building the kind of public political culture he had always valued so highly. He continued his work as a lecturer, developing plans for lecture series to be held around Manhattan. As in the rest of his life, Harrison courted controversy openly in his lectures, which took up subjects such as birth control (a rare topic for Black speakers to address at the time) and atheism. The latter subject invited attention from the courts and mobs of whites, both of which attempted to put a stop to Harrisons activities. At the same time, Harrison became involved in alternative educational institutions, such as the anarchist Ferrer Modern School (pp. 2229, 2346). During this period, Harrison focused his writings and lectures more sharply than ever before on the problem of race. Though he continued to speak on an impressive array of subjects, from religious history to evolutionary theory, Harrison also began a more sustained investigation of race and its place in the modern world. Through the medium of drama criticism, he produced writings that examined the formation of a distinct African-American culture, and the way that white stereotypes distorted Black self-consciousness. He also began developing a more race-centred concept of political action, encouraging Black customers to only buy from Black merchants who honestly served the race. Throughout this, Harrison was also changing his conception of the public culture he sought to create. Whereas previously he had conceived of himself as an interlocutor in New Yorks broader political and intellectual scene, he now decided to give myself exclusively to work among my own people (pp. 24854). Harrisons turn towards race was influenced by a number of factors. Most obviously, his experience with racism in the Socialist Party had largely disillusioned him with Marxisms vision of a revolutionary working class. American labour had demonstrated that it was committed to placing race before class, preferring Black strikebreakers to Black unionists. For Harrison, the only sane course for African-Americans was to respond in kind, putting the race before all other concerns (pp. 27780). Harrisons own experiences were not the only factor in his embrace of race-first politics. International events also pushed him towards a nationalist position. World War I brought Harrisons attention to the role of the colonies, which he held to be central in the stakes of the conflict. Like many radical observers, Harrison saw the seeds of colonial freedom in the battle between the imperial powers. Speaking as a representative of one of the races constituting the colored majority of the world, Harrison saw augured in the carnage a free India and an independent Egypt...nationalities in Africa flying their own flags and dictating their own internal and foreign policies. Harrison argued that the conflict between the colonial nations represented a unique opportunity for the colored majority.16 Though opposed to
16.Harrison 1917a, p. 203. Though these quotes come from an article published in 1917, the article itself is, according to Perry, based on Harrisons indoor and outdoor talks from the

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the war, he hoped that at least afterward, washed clean by its baptism of blood, the white race will be less able to thrust the strong hand of its sovereign will down the throats of other races. For Harrison, the war created a space for self-assertion on the part of the colonised peoples of the world that encouraged his faith in nationalist politics. The Easter Rebellion in Ireland served as confirmation of Harrisons hopes, and he declared that the Negro people of America would never amount to anything much politically until they should see fit to imitate the Irish of Britain (pp. 25862, 266). Convinced that the time was right for militancy, Harrison began propagandising for a new Black politics. On Christmas Eve of 1916, Harrison gave a lecture entitled When the Negro Awakes: A Lecture of The Manhood Movement Among the Negro People of America. In it, Harrison expounded on the Social and Political Strivings of the Negro-Americans and the failure of some of our foremost leaders. As Perry notes, this lecture can be seen as the birth of the New Negro movement17 that came to prominence in Black America during the years following World War I. Inspired by the war and subsequent revolutions (especially the Russian Revolution), committed to a militant stand against the wave of lynchings that followed wartime migration, and scornful of Old Crowd Negroes such as the political heirs of Booker T. Washington, the activists of the New Negro movement sought to initiate a period of struggle by African-Americans that would secure the safety and dignity of their race (pp. 2723). Encouraged by the positive reception of his Negro Manhood speech, Harrison moved to found an organisation to carry his militant vision forward. In June of 1917 he called a meeting on behalf of the Liberty League of Negro-Americans, a new organisation to be headed by Harrison. The meeting, which held a discussion on how to Stop Lynching and Disenfranchisement in the Land Which We Love and Make the South Safe for Democracy, attracted over 2,000 people. In his speech, Harrison exhorted African-Americans to put down the law-breakers by organising all over the South to defend their own lives. The meeting also adopted a series of resolutions to be sent to the US Congress, demanding the enforcement of the Fourteenth Amendment, which guaranteed equal protection under the law, and federal anti-lynching legislation. In order to spread the Leagues message, the meeting took up a collection for the establishment of a newspaper, The Voice, which Harrison would edit (pp. 28388). From its inaugural issue, The Voice established itself as the primary organ of Harlem radicalism. In response to the recent race riots in East St Louis (which were marked even among the riots of those years by an incredible savagery), Harrison reaffirmed his commitment to Black self-defence in the pages of The Voice, declaring If white men are to kill unoffending Negroes, Negroes must kill white men in defense of their lives and property. This is the lesson of the East St. Louis massacre. Harrison also preached a message of Black pride in his editorial policy, refusing to accept advertisements from the hair straighteners and skin whiteners that supplied much of the advertising for many Black papers. Such unabashed militancy caused the paper to stand out, and its circulation quickly reached numbers comparable to the most established Black regional papers in the country (pp. 3004). As Perry argues, the founding of the Liberty League and The Voice established Harrison as unquestionably the leading figure in the New Negro movement (p. 295). This is perhaps
19141916 period, the time at which Harrison was embracing race-first politics. See Perry (ed.) 2001, p. 202. 17.For an overview of the New Negro movement, see Allen 1991.


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Perrys most important historiographical intervention in the book. While scholars have long acknowledged Harrisons role as, in Ernest Allen, Jr.s words, an early mentor18 to the New Negro movement, Perrys research makes it clear that Harrison was, in fact, the primary organiser of the movement. Though publications such as A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owens Messenger have enjoyed far more prominence in histories of the period, Perry argues that, among Harlemites, Harrison was seen as the movements leader. In retrospect, it appears that Randolphs designation of Harrison as the father of Harlem radicalism has blinded scholars, who have hitherto failed to see Harrisons role as more than progenitive. Thanks to Perry, we now know that Harrison was not merely the mentor to the New Negro movement, but (for a time at least) its leader. Though Perrys evidence for this argument is overwhelming, in his effort to re-establish Harrisons preeminence he is occasionally unfair to New Negro figures who have received more scholarly attention. This is particularly evident in his treatment of Randolph and Owen, whom he repeatedly describes as class-first radicals (pp. 268, 363), distinguishing between their politics and Harrisons race-conscious radicalism (p. 311). Such a distinction, however, does an injustice to Owen and Randolph. While the editors of the Messenger, who remained with the Socialist Party long after Harrison had abandoned it, certainly never espoused anything resembling Harrisons race-first nationalism, they were, by any reasonable standard, race radicals who called for Black self-defence against lynching, encouraged anti-colonial revolution, and demanded that then-President Wilson extend his supposed support for democracy to the American South.19 In his drawing of a sharp line between class radicalism and race radicalism, Perry oversimplifies the protean politics of the New Negro movement, which frequently combined the two in healthy measure. In any event, it is surely Harrisons own actions with the Liberty League, and not the debatable defects of his rivals, that provide the strongest evidence for his significance. In the fall of 1917, Harrison and the Liberty League focused their attentions on the municipal elections in New York. A peculiar political situation had fractured the mayoral race into a four-way contest, and Harrison, always keen to exploit such situations for Black gains, was convinced that the citys African-Americans could decide the elections outcome. While endorsing a number of Black candidates in various races, Harrison broke with the established Black political organisations in supporting Morris Hillquit of the Socialist Party for mayor. Harrison conceded that the Socialist Party offered Black voters nothing special (a mild reprimand, given his own experiences), but was far superior to the other parties in its offer to all downtrodden workers: Justice, liberty, and absolute equality not only in words, but in deeds. Though Harrison had been stung by his experience with racism in the Socialist Party, he was willing to support the party when he thought doing so would advance the cause of the race. Though Harrisons support failed to secure victory for Hillquit, the Socialist vote increased by four hundred percent, and fully one quarter of Black voters in Harlem chose Hillquit (pp. 34250, 359). Perhaps the best indication of Harrisons stature comes from his conflict with W.E.B. Du Bois over Black attitudes towards World War I. As discussed earlier, Harrison was opposed
18.Allen 1991, p. 54. 19.Indeed, Harrison himself, in a review of a Messenger pamphlet, described Randolph and Owen as Negro leaders who are radical on the subject of their race and who also have well founded positions on other issues (Perry 2009, p. 343).

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to the conflict, which he saw as little more than imperial jostling over control of the colonies. During the election campaign, he delivered a lecture entitled Why Should the Negro Go to War, and praised the Socialist newspaper the Call for standing up to wartime jackass patriotism (pp. 3434). Du Bois, on the other hand, though the most prominent activist and intellectual in Black America, advised African-Americans to forget our special grievances and close ranks shoulder to shoulder with our white fellow citizens and allied nations that are fighting for democracy (p. 385). Harrison responded to Du Bois in the pages of The Voice. He accused the NAACP leader of betraying the struggle for life, liberty, and manhood in order to receive a position as a captain in the War Department. Harrison suggested that this was public knowledge, and that as a result Du Bois had been largely discredited in the Black community. He compared Du Bois to a knight in the middle ages who had his armor stripped from him, his arms reversed and his spurs hacked off.20 Though Harrison implied that he was doing little more than summing up the existing public opinion on Du Bois, his editorial was actually decisive in galvanising opposition to Du Boiss stance, and ultimately resulted in the militarys offer of a position being withdrawn (pp. 38690). Though Harrisons criticisms of Du Bois here appear radical, there was actually a deeply conservative edge to them. In his editorial, he argued that there is no dissent, so far as we know with Du Boiss suggestion that Blacks should fight shoulder to shoulder with whites, or with the argument that the allied nations were, in fact, fighting for democracy. Instead, Harrison specifically took issue only with the contention that African-Americans should forget their special grievances. In fact, Harrison himself had expressed considerable dissent on both earlier points, and was hardly alone among African-Americans in doing so. Furthermore, Harrison wrote the piece at the request of one Major Loving, the only Black officer in Military Intelligence, who viewed Du Bois as a competitor. In his position, Loving was responsible for the surveillance and repression of Black radical groups.21 Harrisons cooperation with Loving, and his excision of anti-war sentiment from his attack on Du Bois, are a reminder that Harrison did not always act as quite the perfectly principled radical that Perry portrays. Here, as with the presentation of the Messenger radicals, it appears that the desire to restore Harrison to his rightful place in history has, on occasion, led Perry to exaggerate the consistency and singularity of his subjects politics. Harrisons success in confronting Du Bois stands as a testament to his influence in Harlem during the years of the New Negro. Perry ends this volume of his biography here, with Harrison at the height of his prominence, the acknowledged leader of Black radicalism in Harlem. In some ways, this is a fitting end to the work. Harrisons place at the head of the New Negro movement stands as a reminder that, during this period at least, the dividing lines around which histories of American radicalism have generally been told nationalism vs. Marxism, revolutionaries vs. reformists, etc. were far less solid than they often appear. Harrisons personal history illustrates this point forcefully, as does the respect figures from Marcus Garvey to A. Philip Randolph paid him. At the same time, it must be said that this constitutes something of a frustrating terminus, given the obvious remaining question: how was this dynamic figure able to slide into such
20.Harrison 1917b, pp. 1712. 21.For Lovings role in organising the state repression of Black radicals at this time, see Kornweibel 1998, pp. 3940, 7980, 82, 90.


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obscurity? Perry has left quite a task for his second volume in answering this question. However, if the first is any indication, he is more than capable of accomplishing it. Harrison has been restored to his place in history, and every scholar of socialism, Black nationalism, or radical history owes Perry a debt of gratitude for his labours. Paul M. Heideman Rutgers University-Newark heidepau@pegasus.rutgers.edu References
Allen Jr., Ernest 1991, The New Negro: Explorations in Identity and Social Consciousness, 1910 1922, in 1915, The Cultural Moment: The New Politics, the New Woman, the New Psychology, the New Art and the New Theatre in America, edited by Adele Heller and Lois Rudnick, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. Arnesen, Eric 2001, Whiteness and the Historians Imagination, International Labor and WorkingClass History, 60: 332. Berland, Oscar 2000, The Emergence of the Communist Perspective on the Negro Question in America: 19191931. Part Two, Science & Society, 64, 2: 194217. Davis, Mike 1975, The Stopwatch and the Wooden Shoe: Scientific Management and the Industrial Workers of the World, Radical America, 9, 1: 6995. Fields, Barbara Jeanne 1990, Slavery, Race, and Ideology in the United States of America, New Left Review, I, 181: 95118. Foner, Philip S. 1977, American Socialism and Black Americans: From the Age of Jackson to World War II, Westport, CT.: Greenwood Press. Hall, Jacqueline Dowd 2005, The Long Civil Rights Movement and the Political Uses of the Past, Journal of American History, 91, 4: 123363. Harrison, Hubert 1910, Insistence upon Its Real Grievances the Only Course for the Race, in Perry (ed.) 2001. 1911a, The Negro and Socialism I The Problem Stated, in Perry (ed.) 2001. 1911b, Race Prejudice II, in Perry (ed.) 2001. 1911c, The Duty of the Socialist Party, in Perry (ed.) 2001. 1911d, How to Do It And How Not, in Perry (ed.) 2001. 1917a, The White War and the Colored World, in Perry (ed.) 2001. 1917b, The Descent of Dr. Du Bois, in Perry (ed.) 2001. James, Winston 1999, Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia: Caribbean Radicalism in Early TwentiethCentury America, London: Verso. Jones, William P. 2008, Nothing Special to Offer the Negro: Revisiting the Debsian View of the Negro Question, International Labor and Working-Class History, 74, 1: 21224. Kelly, Brian 2003, Sentinels for New South Industry: Booker T. Washington, Industrial Accommodation and Black Workers in the Jim Crow South, Labor History, 44, 3: 33757. Kipnis, Ira 2005 [1952], The American Socialist Movement: 18971912, Chicago: Haymarket Books. Kornweibel, Theodore 1998, Seeing Red: Federal Campaigns against Black Militancy, 19191925, Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Lloyd, Brian 1997, Left Out: Pragmatism, Exceptionalism, and the Poverty of American Marxism, 18901922, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Logan, Rayford W. 1954, The Negro in American Life and Thought: The Nadir, 18771901, New York: The Dial Press.

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Meyerson, Gregory 1998, Marxism, Psychoanalysis, and Labor Competition, Cultural Logic, 1, 1, available at: <http://clogic.eserver.org/11/meyerson.html>. Miller, Sally M. (ed.) 1996, Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Early Twentieth-Century American Socialism, New York: Garland Publishing, Inc. Perry, Jeffrey B. 2009, Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 18831918, New York: Columbia University Press. Perry, Jeffrey B. (ed.) 2001, A Hubert Harrison Reader, Middleton, CT.: Wesleyan University Press. Roediger, David R. 2007 [1991], The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class, London: Verso. Shawki, Ahmed 2006, Black Liberation and Socialism, Chicago: Haymarket Books.


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Camarades! La naissance du parti communiste en France, Romain Ducoulombier, Paris: Perrin, 20101
Abstract Romain Ducoulombier, author of Camarades!, a study of the origins of the French Communist Party, belongs to a different ideological context to earlier authors on the subject, such as Kriegel, Wohl or Robrieux. But though Ducoulombier claims originality for his work, there is little genuinely new here. He fails to grasp the impact of the Russian Revolution on the French working class and has little understanding of the dynamics of the Communist International. He stresses the asceticism and messianism of the early Communist Party without giving a precise meaning to these terms. Worst of all, Ducoulombier concentrates on archival material while saying remarkably little about the French Communist Partys actual activities, notably work in the trade unions, anti-militarism and anti-colonialism. Keywords Communism, Communist International, French Communist Party, historiography

The historiography of communism has its own history. Thus histories of the French Communist Party (PCF) fall largely into two categories: those by supporters of the party, aiming to show it as the true heir of the revolutionary traditions of 1789 and 1917, and those by its anti-communist critics, who see the partys very existence as part of a conspiracy against (capitalist) freedom. Just occasionally a third voice makes itself heard, that of a left opposition juxtaposing the partys revolutionary origins to its later non-revolutionary practice. Pro-Communist histories of the PCFs origins come up against a particular problem in trying to establish the partys continuity with its revolutionary origins. For of the militants who prepared the way for the new party founded at Tours in December 1920 and guided its development in its first few years, only a handful survived beyond the mid-twenties; they were replaced by a new generation of leaders who loyally followed a Stalinist course until at least the 1970s. Thus the official party history dodges most of the interesting questions about the partys foundation and mentions such important figures as Rosmer and Souvarine only to describe their expulsion and label them as anti-communists.2 Maurice Thorezs ghostwritten autobiography Fils du peuple3 likewise has little to say of the party before 1923 other than a dismissive reference to confusion caused by syndicalism and pacifism.4 Of the vast literature on the subject three important contributions can be mentioned. Annie Kriegels monumental study5 explored the prehistory and origins of the PCF in great detail, reinstating some (if not all)6 of the men and women who founded the party to their
1.Page references given in brackets in the text. Thanks to George Paizis and Bel Druce for comments on the first draft. 2.Commission dhistoire auprs du Comit Central du PCF 1964, pp. 175, 753, 757. 3.This was written by Jean Frville; the opening chapter of the first edition contains the acrostic Frville a crit ce livre. Thorez 1937, pp. 367. 4.Thorez 1937, p. 39. 5.Kriegel 1964. 6.She could scarcely ignore the contributions of people like Rosmer, Monatte and Souvarine,
Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2013 DOI: 10.1163/1569206X-12341308

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rightful place in history. She placed the partys origins in the context of the class struggle, especially the major strikes of early 1920, but her account stopped with the partys foundation and she had nothing to say of its subsequent activity. Robert Wohls French Communism in the Making7 gave a detailed account of the partys early years; Wohl not only consulted the archives but met and listened to some of the surviving veterans, notably Alfred Rosmer, Boris Souvarine, Jules Humbert-Droz and Ernest Labrousse. Philippe Robrieuxs Histoire intrieure du Parti communiste assembled a mass of additional detail about the PCFs history from its birth to the 1970s. In particular he paid tribute to the personal qualities of such figures as Marthe Bigot, Pierre Monatte, Alfred Rosmer, Marguerite Thvenet and Boris Souvarine names ignored or marginalised by official PCF histories.8 These three works belong to a period when the confrontation between capitalism and communism was the central ideological debate in the world, and the authors all had a stake in that debate. In her youth Kriegel had been a PCF apparatchik particular well-versed in Stalinist methods.9 Her major work on the origins of the PCF came at the tipping-point of her evolution from left to right,10 a moment when she was capable of both empathy and critical distance. The studies of European Communism emanating from Stanford University in the 1960s were undoubtedly encouraged (and financed) for Cold War purposes, but it was honest work; if writers like Wohl were ultimately motivated by the wish to know the enemy, at least they recognised that such knowledge entailed a respect for the facts. Robrieux was a PCF activist in the 1960s, and his massive work was a serious attempt to come to terms with his own past. A recent contribution from the left is Franois Ferrettes La Vritable Histoire du Parti Communiste Franais.11 Admittedly the title is misleading; to offer the True History of the French Communist Party in a volume of less than 60,000 words would be a tour de force. But Ferrettes outline essay, which hopefully will inspire further research, makes some important points neglected by many other historians too keen to establish a continuity between the PCFs early years and its later Stalinist manifestation. He stresses the role of the Comit de la Troisime Internationale [Committee of the Third International], and the particularly important part in the foundation of the party played by Boris Souvarine. Since these were largely people who disappeared from the party by the mid-twenties they have also largely disappeared from histories of the party. Ferrette, an active member of the PCF, also presents a highly critical review of histories of the PCF.12 Ren Ducoulombier describes himself as being one of a generation of young historians who can think communism without having expected their temporal salvation from it (p. 18). Born in 1976, he was an adolescent when the Berlin Wall came down. The PCF, while still of
but significant figures like Robert Louzon and Maurice Dommanget went unmentioned, while the remarkable Marguerite Thvenet got a solitary footnote. 7.Wohl 1966. 8.Robrieux 1980; Robrieux 1984, pp. 98, 429, 491, 512. 9.See Edgar Morins account of her role in his expulsion from the PCF in Morin 1991, pp.16773. 10.For Kriegels trajectory, see Delwit and Dewaele 1984. 11.Ferrette 2011. 12.Ferrette vigorously attacks Ducoulombiers Camarades! as conservative and antiCommunist. Ducoulombier has written a substantial reply. See Ducoulombier 2011.


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some significance in the line-up of the French left, is now a shadow of its former self. Hence Ducoulombier comes to the subject without the ideological baggage of earlier historians. His attempt to evacuate class struggle from history is clearly indebted to the work of Franois Furet on the French Revolution, though his writing is nowhere near as perceptive and wellargued as Furets. He also refers sympathetically to the work of Stphane Courtois, author of a history of the PCF13 as well as of the notorious Black Book of Communism.14 Courtoiss collaborator Marc Lazar has contributed a laudatory Preface to the present volume. The promotional material for the book stresses its originality,15 and it has been well received in some quarters. For Nicolas Offenstadt in Le Monde des Livres, Ducoulombier has reexamined the case from beginning to end, in a broad chronological framework,16 and he has proved to the satisfaction of Jean Svillia in Le Figaro Magazine that totalitarian logic presided over the origin of the PCF.17 Julian Wright of Durham University believes that he demonstrates his subtle grasp of the most minute and intimate of political relationships.18 Even Grard Streiff of LHumanit considers him to be perspicacious,19 and the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste puts the book at the top of a list of recommended reading on the foundation of the PCF.20 Yet we are left with the question as to what readers can learn from the book that they could not have got from Kriegel, Wohl, Robrieux etc. While Ducoulombier stresses his use of newly available archives in France and Moscow (p. 26),21 he is telling quite a wellknown story. After all, in their early years neither the Communist International nor the PCF were hesitant in making clear their aims. They wanted to smash capitalism as quickly as possible, and they wanted to create disciplined proletarian organisations which they believed were the best way of achieving their goal. Now of course historians and their readers are free to judge whether these goals were laudable or deplorable, realistic or overoptimistic. But archival research is unlikely to challenge this basic narrative or to reveal anything startlingly new about the Bolsheviks or the French Communists. Even where Ducoulombier has made some interesting discoveries of new material, he seems slightly bewildered as to how to use them. Thus he has found reports sent to Zinoviev by the German Communist Clara Zetkin,22 which, together with other correspondence, show her to be critical of Comintern methods. But while he recognises that Zetkin was of independent mind (p. 231), he fails to appreciate the differences between Lenin and

13.Courtois and Lazar 1995. 14.Courtois, Werth, Pann, Paczkowski, Bartoek and Margolin 1999. 15.A publicity leaflet in my copy refers to an original approach based on unpublished archives. 16.Offenstadt 2010. 17.Svillia 2010. 18.Wright 2011. 19.Streiff 2010. 20.Coustal 2010. 21.These include police archives, now returned to France after being taken to Germany, then Russia, during and after the Second World War; various private archives relating to the Socialist Party before the split; and Moscow archives which reveal Russian strategy towards the French left. 22.These provide an interesting complement to her 1921 letter to Lenin. Zetkin 2006.

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Zinoviev23 and the way Zetkin fits into the picture as a (often highly) critical supporter of Bolshevism. Ducoulombier even tries to attribute Zetkins devotion to the newly-founded Soviet state to a search for consolation for the break-up of her marriage (p. 231). One novel thesis which Ducoulombier puts forward is that the Bolshevisation of 1924 was not a significant turn, but merely the continuation of trends which had existed in the party since its foundation (pp. 249, 275). While he recognises the massive turnover of personnel in the mid-1920s, he seems unsure as to what he finds more distasteful the idealists of 1920 or the bureaucrats of 1925. There are very many points in Ducoulombiers account that are open to question or challenge, but there are three central themes which illuminate the inadequacies and misunderstandings that characterise this work. Firstly, Ducoulombier has a very limited grasp of the impact of the Russian Revolution on the French left. The PCF was born in response to two world-historical events the carnage of the First World War and the Russian Revolution of 1917. Ducoulombier repeatedly assures us that the generation of 1920 were ignorant of the reality of Bolshevism (pp. 25, 152), yet there is little indication of any understanding on his own part. For example, there is no sign that Ducoulombier knows what soviets were, and why this new form of working-class democracy might seem attractive to a left sickened by parliamentary corruption and betrayal. Ducoulombier mocks a French visitor to Russia who praised the new society despite acknowledging the poor diet available to working people (p. 202). But French workers (who had had their own privations during the War) were intelligent enough to grasp that hardship and the hope of a new order could exist side by side. That, for example, was the message of Victor Serges articles and pamphlets about the Civil War, published in France in 19201.24 In 1922 Marguerite Thvenet took a trainload of supplies into the areas worst afflicted by famine. As she pointed out, she saw things not seen by those who merely attended congresses. Her reports combined an honest recognition of suffering and a sense of revolutionary hope. These reports were published in the PCF daily, LHumanit, and must have reached many party members.25 As Ducoulombier admits, a great many leading figures in the PCF visited Russia. Of course recipients of the regimes hospitality were in an ambiguous position, though visits were far less tightly controlled than they were to be in later years.26 But those visitors, and those they reported back to, were neither naive nor ignorant; they understood both the difficulties faced by the new society and its enormous potential. In particular many from the anarchist and syndicalist traditions, who were inherently suspicious of the Bolshevik project, were convinced by what they saw. Victor Serge (not French, but active in French anarchist circles before 1914) was so impressed by Russian reality in the bitterest days of the Civil War that he joined the Bolshevik Party shortly after arriving in Russia. Alfred Rosmer accepted an official position with the Comintern in order to try to win over revolutionary syndicalists to support for the Bolshevik regime. Lepetit,
23.Thus at the Second Congress of the Comintern Zinoviev made a sectarian and patronising attack on the syndicalist delegates; Lenin and Trotsky went out of their way to dissociate themselves. Riddell (ed.) 1991, pp. 1446, 16871; Rosmer 1971, pp. 6871. 24.Serge 1997. 25.Rosmer 1922a and 1922b. 26.For a more balanced account of French visitors to Russia, see Mazuy 2002.


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an anarchist deeply distrustful of the Bolshevik tradition, wrote at the end of his visit to Russia that he was greatly impressed by the regimes potential and that it was giving birth to something beautiful and healthy.27 Ducoulombier is fascinated with money. He lists at some length (pp. 171, 302) the financial support given by the Comintern to the PCF. Yet parties are not built on money alone; the German Communist Party got enough money from Moscow to run twenty newspapers; but as Heinrich Brandler pointed out, Moscow could not supply editors, and the party had to rely on workers who could not write or drop-out students who could write but had very little in common with the workers movement.28 The PCF, on the other hand, had, albeit briefly, a large number of talented journalists for its press. It was not Moscow gold that attracted them, but the hopes of socialist revolution. It is true that some of the Comintern agents tried to use financial donations as a shortcut.29 It is also true that Lenin, for one, understood that a real movement could be built only if it raised money from its own supporters.30 In fact, Ducoulombier has a very limited understanding of the dynamics of the Comintern. Lenin appears as the evil genius, incarnating what is presented as the unanimous and monolithic will of the Bolsheviks. In fact, as Pierre Brou has shown,31 the early Comintern had both strengths and weaknesses; some of the minor bureaucrats, often encouraged by Zinoviev, took a manipulative and authoritarian approach. Lenin and Trotsky, who had far less time than they might have liked to devote to the Comintern, were aware of the dangers.32 Ducoulombier disregards such contradictions and tensions.33 Thus he makes much of the famous Twenty-One Conditions for affiliation to the Comintern (a very well-worn theme among anti-communist historians). He examines exactly which text of the conditions was agreed by the Tours congress at which the PCF was founded (pp.20913). Yet he has virtually nothing to say about the content of the conditions, which were concerned not only with organisational matters, but above all with the activity of the new Communist parties in relation to trade-union struggle, anti-colonialism and antimilitarism, activity among peasants, production of publications etc. Likewise Ducoulombiers argument that the roots of Bolshevisation lay in the earliest years of the PCF comes up against the fact that Lenins final speech to the Comintern at
27.Maitron and Pennetier 1973, p. 275. 28.Deutscher 1977, pp. 501. 29.There is nothing particularly new about this discovery forty years ago Walter Kendall studied the role of Russian money in the foundation of the British Communist Party (cf. Kendall 1969, pp. 23456). 30.See for example Lenins 1921 letter to the British Communist Thomas Bell: Either the miners of this district are capable to pay halfpenny daily (for the beginning weekly, if you like) for their own daily (or weekly) newspaper (be it very small, it is not important) or there is no beginning of a really communist mass movement in this part of your country. If the Communist Party of this district cannot collect a few pounds in order to publish small leaflets daily as a beginning of the really proletarian communist newspaper if it is so, if every miner will not pay a penny for it, then there is not serious, not genuine affiliation to the Third International. (Lenin 1965, p. 511.) 31.Brou 1997. 32.Cliff 1979, pp. 601. 33.Indeed he shows little or no interest in the historical individual Lenin; for him Lenin is merely a synecdoche for the supposedly monolithic bloc of Bolshevism.

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the Fourth Congress was a direct polemic against the methods of Bolshevisation, which he doubtless perceived looming on the horizon: The resolution is too Russian, it reflects Russian experience. That is why it is quite unintelligible to foreigners, and they cannot be content with hanging it in a corner like an icon and praying to it.34 As for the emerging conflict between Stalin and Trotsky, Ducoulombier cannot ignore it, since it had such an impact on the PCF, but he manages to evacuate it of all content, never mentioning the questions at stake and seeing it as a simple power struggle (p. 345).35 Above all like his friends in the Black Book of Communism Ducoulombier has virtually nothing to say about the foreign invasion of Russia after the Revolution. The hardships and brutalities of the new Soviet state are thus seen as the intrinsic product of the revolution rather than the result of a vicious civil war in which the capitalist states of the West expended rather more resources than the Russians were able to donate to the new Communist parties. Secondly, Ducoulombier repeatedly refers to what he calls the asceticism of the generation who founded the PCF. Yet it is far from clear exactly what he means by the term. It is quite true that there has been a current of moralism running through the history of the French left from Robespierre to todays Lutte ouvrire. A careful analysis of this current, of its strengths and weaknesses, could make a valuable contribution to an appreciation of the generation radicalised before or during the First World War. But such an analysis would mean some recognition of complexity, and it is clear from this book that complexity is not something that turns Ducoulombier on. Hence he refers to the idea, current in revolutionary syndicalist circles, of the refus de parvenir (the refusal to make a career) (p. 273). A striking example is Maurice Dommanget36 (a founding member of the PCF not named by Ducoulombier) who was recognised as one of the finest historians of his generation, but who refused university posts in order to remain a primary school teacher and an active trade unionist.37 To a career academic, such asceticism must seem incomprehensible if not positively sinister. Thus Ducoulombier belabours the generation of 1914 for messianism. Now accusing revolutionary socialists of messianism is scarcely new.38 It provides a neat means of evading any concrete questions about why precisely revolutionaries believed that the existing order could not be reformed and that it required revolutionary reconstitution. Ducoulombier argues at some length, quite rightly, that the generation radicalised by the First World War played a key role in founding the PCF (p. 21). But his account is peculiarly bloodless; there is no sense that the horrific experience of the trenches led those who lived through it to begin,
34.Riddell (ed.) 2012, p. 305. 35.This reduction of political disputes to power struggles is, of course, understandable in one of Ducoulombiers generation. As I write, the British press is full of revelations about the vicious power struggle between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, although there were no discernible differences of principle between them. But politics was not always like that, and a historian should surely be aware of the fact. 36.See Rouch 1984. 37.Another remarkable writer inspired by the refus de parvenir was Marcel Martinet, who became the first literary editor of the Communist LHumanit. See Paizis 2007. There is no evidence that Ducoulombier has consulted his copious writings. 38.See for example Talmon 1960, which deploys the concept obsessively.


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quite reasonably and legitimately, to question the political, economic and moral bases of the whole social order. Ducoulombier notes the enormous impact made by Barbusses novel Le Feu, read eagerly by soldiers amid the mud and shells.39 Yet he is disparaging about the post-war Clart movement (p. 182) in which Barbusse played a key role, dismissing it as a blatant failure and stressing its bohemianism. The word asceticism is often accompanied by the adjective inquisitorial (pp. 196, 224). Ducoulombier has discovered that the PCF asked new members to complete a brief questionnaire in which they stated their job, previous political involvement and tradeunion membership (pp. 31516). This seems an eminently reasonable way of ensuring that members could be mobilised effectively into activity. But to Ducoulombier it is the thin end of the wedge, the precursor of more sinister and dangerous modes of investigation and surveillance. The complex and contradictory potentials of the early PCF are reduced to a single track, along which communism was already heading inexorably towards the Moscow Trials. It is of course quite right and normal for a historian to exploit the advantages of hindsight. But for Ducoulombier hindsight dominates to such an extent that the specificity of the PCFs practice in particular periods evaporates. Likewise Ducoulombier picks up a number of references to self-criticism (pp. 3213). He has discovered a minute of a discussion of a public meeting, in which members noted such details as the desirability of having a well-lighted room, and the need to put a rag in the collection tins to prevent noise. To anyone who has ever organised a meeting these may seem highly sensible practical suggestions. But to Ducoulombier they are already redolent of Stalinism. It is indeed true that Stalinism, in both Russia and the West, would use selfcriticism to beat recalcitrant members into line and extirpate heresies.40 But selfcriticism can mean very different things, and any writer without a capacity for selfcriticism ends up repeating his own dogmatism. But the most serious criticism of Ducoulombier is his lack of discussion of, and apparent lack of interest in, what the PCF actually did. Thus he has ploughed through the archives (pp. 2905) to find details about the partys disciplinary procedures, and he has found a case of a party branch which disciplined a member for giving his daughter a religious funeral (pp. 2934). Certainly this seems like a piece of obvious stupidity, though Ducoulombier fails to tell us whether this was centrally directed or a local aberration, whether it derived from misunderstood Marxism or sprang from the longstanding anticlerical traditions of the French left. But to devote several pages to this while almost completely ignoring the industrial struggle reveals a total lack of proportion. The PCF was founded to overthrow capitalism, and its members believed that the way to achieve this was by intensifying and raising the level of the class struggle, especially among industrial workers. Now a critical historian is quite entitled to argue that this strategy was misguided or positively pernicious. But to ignore it is to misrepresent the very essence of what the party was. Ducoulombier notes the very important disagreement between Communists and those who remained true to the pre-war syndicalist tradition of the political independence of the trade unions. This was certainly an important debate, and the history of the early years of the
39.Barbusse had volunteered for the army at the age of forty-one, and produced a remarkable account of his experiences in Le Feu. 40.Cf. Malenkov 1949.

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Red International of Labour Unions41 centred around attempts to resolve it. But the debate was not about abstract formulations, nor was it a pure power struggle. It was about tradeunion organisation and especially about fighting and winning strikes. Yet Ducoulombier says little about the big strikes of the early twenties. In August 1922 40,000 workers struck in Le Havre, and three were killed by the police.42 The PCF response was in fact very bad but clearly criticism on such grounds does not interest Ducoulombier. Likewise with Ducoulombiers rather cursory treatment of the united front. At the beginning of 1922, observing that the level of struggle was ebbing throughout Western capitalism, the Communist International urged constituent parties some of which had been formed, like the PCF, from sharp splits from the existing Social-Democratic parties to approach those selfsame Social Democrats for united action of a defensive nature against the attack on workers conditions. For Ducoulombier this was merely another hoop for the PCF to jump through, presented quite out of context (p. 247). Immersed in archives but ignorant of how a living movement actually works, he seems incapable of distinguishing between a tactical shift required by changing circumstances and an abandonment of principle. In fact, as Rosmer and Wohl show,43 the new policy caused much friction and difficulty within the PCF. Some members failed to understand the new line, some deliberately sabotaged it. Ducoulombier quotes the well-known phrase about plucking the chickens (using the united front to recruit Socialist Party members), but seems unaware of Rosmers account of how the phrase came into existence, spoken at a conference by a loyal but not very bright member of the partys left, causing great embarrassment to his comrades. Again, Ducoulombier says a little about the control of LHumanit, the daily paper of the Socialist Party which became the PCF newspaper (p. 239). But he does not seem to have spent much time actually looking at the contents of the paper. The role of a daily paper was to mobilise the partys members and periphery in day-to-day activity, and to provide Marxist education that would make the papers readers into more effective class fighters.44 If Ducoulombier had examined even a small random selection of issues of LHumanit he would have found a variety of activities reported. Thus, in the week 713 November 1921, LHumanit contained various strike reports; news of a local election campaign; an account of protests in Aubervilliers against the storing of munitions which posed a serious risk to the local population; a meeting and a demonstration by tenants, and the proposals of the PCF deputies on rent reform; protests at the jailing and victimisation of party members; collection of money and supplies for famine victims in Russia; and long lists of meetings for trade unionists, tenants and ex-servicemen. The paper also carried articles by such significant historians as Albert Mathiez and Ernest Labrousse, trying to understand the Russian Revolution through comparisons with
41.Tosstorff 2004. 42.Wohl 1966, p. 288. 43.Wohl 1966, pp. 25665; Rosmer 1971, pp. 14951. 44.It is generally unwise to refer to What Is to Be Done? as though it were a recipe book of Leninism. But it is worth noting that Lenin attributed great importance to the role of a revolutionary newspaper as a collective organiser, reflecting and guiding the partys activities. Researchers into the history of communism would do well to take their noses out of the archives and examine the published press.


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the French.45 The weekly cultural page edited by Martinet achieved a remarkable level of political culture while written in accessible language.46 Ducoulombier notes various women activists but does not draw out how the PCF gave responsibility to women militants, notably Marguerite Thvenet (described by Clara Zetkin as one of the most lucid, loyal, energetic and politically intelligent men in the French movement)47 and Marthe Bigot, secretary of the PCF womens commission, who launched the paper LOuvrire. In later years the PCF was remarkably timid on the question of womens rights, going along with the Popular Front government which did not raise the question of female suffrage (so that it fell to first Vichy, then de Gaulle, to take credit for womens right to vote). But in the 1922 municipal elections in Paris Marthe Bigot fought a campaign, despite the fact that the authorities refused to recognise her as a candidate, in order to draw attention to the demand for female suffrage.48 Likewise Ducoulombier refers to the PCFs anti-militarist traditions, but fails to note the way that, in accordance with the fourth of the 21 conditions (systematic and energetic propaganda in the army), the party organised regular work in the army, for example circulating a regular subversive newspaper La Caserne, which even had an Arabic edition aimed at North African troops. Ducoulombiers account of the Tours conference omits any reference to the famous intervention by Nguyen Ai-Quoc (the future Ho Chi Minh).49 Yet this intervention by a young rank-and-file delegate from a colonial territory, who had no compunction in telling parliamentarians to shut up when they heckled him, shows that the struggle for an anticolonial orientation in the PCF was about more than a paper condition imposed by Moscow. Nguyen Ai-Quoc later built around himself a small but significant cadre of activists from the various French colonial territories who produced the remarkable paper Le Paria50 and helped to sow the seeds of future liberation struggles in Indochina and elsewhere in the French colonial empire. The culmination of this work came early in 1923, when the French army invaded the Ruhr because Germany had failed to pay reparations. The PCF response was magnificent, combining legal propaganda and clandestine organisation. Teams of young Communists were sent to Germany. Illegal propaganda was distributed to French soldiers including pictures addressed to illiterate soldiers from Africa.51 A PCF activist from Algeria was imprisoned after a rigged trial for distributing anti-militarist literature in Arabic. All this intervention had a real impact. Just five years after the end of the world war, it would have been very easy for nationalist passions to rise again, but the PCFs actions made it much harder for the German far right to whip up anti-French feeling. Ducoulombier mentions the Ruhr in just one paragraph (p. 297), seeing it as something which distracted attention from internal disputes, but with no awareness of the partys activities.

45.For example, Labrousse 1921. 46.Paizis 2007, pp. 21833. 47.Zetkin 2006, p. 219. 48.Dormoy 1922. 49.Thu Trang Gaspard 1992, pp. 1212. 50.Birchall 2011. 51.Wohl 1966, pp. 31823; Vouovitch 1924.

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In short, students of the French Communist Party will learn little from this book that they could not find elsewhere. But, for future historians studying the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of academic scholarship in the early twenty-first century, it will be an invaluable document. Ian Birchall Independent writer, London ihbirchall@btinternet.com References
Birchall, Ian 2011, Le Paria. Le Parti communiste franais, les travailleurs immigrs, et lantiimprialisme (192024), available at: <http://www.contretemps.eu/interventions/paria-particommuniste-franais-travailleurs-immigrs-lanti-imprialisme-1920-24>. Brou, Pierre 1997, Histoire de lInternationale Communiste, Paris: Fayard. Cliff, Tony 1979, Lenin, Volume 4, London: Pluto Press. Commission dHistoire auprs du Comit Central du PCF 1964, Histoire du Parti communiste franais, Paris: Editions sociales. Courtois, Stphane and Marc Lazar 1995, Histoire du parti communiste franais, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. Courtois, Stphane, Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Pann, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartoek and Jean-Louis Margolin 1999, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, translated by Jonathan Murphy and Mark Kramer, Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press. Coustal, Franois 2010, Tours 1920, Naissance du PCF, available at: <http://www.npa2009.org/ content/tours-1920-naissance-du-pcf>. Delwit, Pascal and Jean-Michel Dewaele 1984, The Stalinists of Anti-Communism, in Socialist Register 1984, edited by RalphMiliband and John Saville, London: Merlin. Deutscher, Isaac 1977, Record of a Discussion with Heinrich Brandler, New Left Review, I, 105: 4755. Dormoy, Pierre 1922, Arbitraire, LHumanit, 27 March: 1. Ducoulombier, Romain 2011, LHistoire du communisme, la seule, la vraie. Rponse Franois Ferrette, available at: <http://tempspresents.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/romain-ducoulombierfrancois-ferrette/>. Ferrette, Franois 2011, La Vritable Histoire du Parti Communiste Franais, Paris: Editions Demopolis. Kendall, Walter 1969, The Revolutionary Movement in Britain, 19001921, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. Kriegel, Annie 1964, Aux Origines du communisme franais 19141920, Paris: Mouton and Co. Labrousse, Ernest 1921, La Rvolution russe Sa signification, LHumanit, 6 November: 45. Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich 1965, Collected Works, Volume 32, Moscow: Progress Publishers. 1966, Collected Works, Volume 33, Moscow: Progress Publishers. Maitron, Jean and Claude Pennetier 1973, Dictionnaire biographique du mouvement ouvrier franais, Volume 10, Paris: Editions ouvrires. Malenkov, Georgy Maximilianovich 1949, Comrade Stalin Leader of Progressive Mankind, available at: <http://www.marxists.org/archive/malenkov/1949/12/21.htm>. Mazuy, Rachel 2002, Croire plutt que voir? Voyages en Russie sovitique (19191939), Paris: Odile Jacob. Morin, Edgar 1991, Autocritique, Paris: Editions du Seuil.


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Offenstadt, Nicolas 2010, Le Parti communiste franais, enfant des tranches et de la rnovation socialiste, Le Monde des Livres, 5 November. Paizis, George 2007, Marcel Martinet: Poet of the Revolution, London: Francis Boutle. Riddell, John (ed.) 1991, Workers of the World and Oppressed Peoples, Unite!, New York: Pathfinder. (ed.) 2012, Toward the United Front, Leiden: Brill. Robrieux, Philippe 1980, Histoire intrieure du Parti communiste, Volume 1, Paris: Arthme Fayard. 1984, Histoire intrieure du Parti communiste, Volume 4, Paris: Arthme Fayard. Rosmer, Alfred 1971, Lenins Moscow, London: Pluto. Rosmer, Marguerite 1922a, A travers la Russie affame [Part 1], LHumanit, 11 June: 1. 1922b, A travers la Russie affame [Part 2], LHumanit, 13 June: 2. Rouch, Jean-Louis 1984, Proltaire en veston: une approche de Maurice Dommanget, instituteur, syndicaliste, historien social et libre penseur, 18881976, Treignac: Les Mondires. Serge, Victor 1997, Revolution in Danger: Writings from Russia, 19191921, translated by Ian Birchall, London: Redwords. Svillia, Jean 2010, Naissance dun parti, Le Figaro Magazine, 11 December. Streiff, Grard 2010, Une histoire franaise, LHumanit Supplment, 24 November. Talmon, Jacob L. 1960, Political Messianism: The Romantic Phase, London: Secker and Warburg. Thorez, Maurice 1937, Fils du Peuple, Paris: Editions Sociales Internationales. Thu Trang Gaspard 1992, Ho Chi Minh Paris (19171923), Paris: LHarmattan. Tosstorff, Reiner 2004, Profintern: Die Rote Gewerkschaftsinternationale 19201937, Paderborn: Ferdinand Schningh. Vouovitch, Voja 1924, LI.C.J. en lutte contre loccupation de la Ruhr et la guerre, Moscow: Communist International Press Bureau. Wohl, Robert 1966, French Communism in the Making, 191424, Stanford: Stanford University Press. Wright, Julian 2011, The Story behind the Sneer, available at: <http://www.booksandideas.net/ spip.php?page=print&id_article=1344>. Zetkin, Clara 2006, Letter to Lenin, Revolutionary History, 9, 2: 21722.

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Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power: Community Organizing in Radical Times, Amy Sonnie and James Tracy, New York: Melville House, 2011; The Hidden 1970s: Histories of Radicalism, edited by Dan Berger, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2010; Stayin Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class, Jefferson Cowie, London: The New Press, 2010
Abstract Amy Sonnie and James Tracys Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power, Dan Bergers anthology The Hidden 1970s and Jefferson Cowies Stayin Alive, in different ways, articulate an understanding of the political ferment that gripped the United States in the late 1960s and 1970s and its complex legacy for those struggling to change the world today. While Cowie provides a broad-brush if ultimately flawed overview of labours declining influence during the 1970s, Sonnie and Tracy focus their attention on five radical organisations that challenged deep divisions of race to condemn inequality and oppression, and Berger similarly encompasses contributions evaluating the impact of a variety of left organisations including the Puerto Rican nationalist movement, indigenous and Black nationalist quests to establish self-determination, and the extraordinary Sojourner Truth Organization. This review critically evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments made by Sonnie and Tracy, Berger and Cowie and suggests how they may be helpful for future struggle. Keywords class, race, 1970s, political economy, theory

Introduction While there has been an abundance of scholarly literature analysing the legacy of the 1960s, a decade that has famously come to be associated in Western culture with radical dissent against militarism, institutionalised racism and student rebellion,1 far less attention has been devoted to reflections on the 1970s. Yet the 1970s were an enormously important time for the left and for the litany of massive changes in political economy that transpired over the course of the decade. During the long 1970s, the years between the rebellions of 1968 and defeat of the air traffic controllers in 1982 during the PATCO strike, one saw the gradual evisceration of the Keynesian dream: a marked reduction in living standards for the working class, persistently high unemployment and high inflation, and the widespread disappearance of full-time factory jobs in the United States as globalisation began to lead to deindustrialisation in the North and Fordist production began to decline.2 One also saw demonstrations against the war in Vietnam, the Sixth Pan-African Congress held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 1974, militant actions by Puerto Rican nationalists fighting against American imperialism, and much more. These dramatic changes in turn had a profound and complex effect on working-class consciousness. Some have suggested that the layer of militant workers key to radical social movements had been extinguished by the massive capitalist restructuring of the 1970s.3 Fantasia has remarked on how by the 1980s merely

1. Gitlin 1987; Baldwin 1963; Ture and Hamilton 1992; Palmer 2009. 2. Gaffkin and Warf 1993. 3. Post and Wainer 2006.
Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2013 DOI: 10.1163/1569206X-12341304


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forming a trade union was regarded as a dangerously subversive affair.4 Black radicalism by this time had largely dissipated and the remaining energies tragically focused on Jesse Jacksons bid to become the Democratic nominee for President, marking a major retreat away from working-class struggles towards an amorphous populism that squandered much political capital. Understanding the legacy of the 1970s and the extent to which workingclass struggle dissipated over the course of the decade is therefore critical in order to build effective movements for social justice today. Each of the books under review here attempts to grapple with this problematic, with varying degrees of success and coherence. Stayin Alive Jefferson Cowies multiple prize winning book is a lengthy commentary on the legacy of the 1970s in the United States. Using a broad-brush approach, yet combining political analysis with lucid cultural commentary on the implications of the music and films of the 1970s, Cowies central thesis appears to be that popular forces on the ground failed to adequately persuade the white working class that the left could coherently represent its interests. The fragility of the New Deal coalition consequently foundered on the rocks of stagflation, racial backlash and deindustrialisation.5 A social-democratic historian at Cornell University who has written previously about the legacy of the New Deal and argued that this period in American history ought to be regarded as exceptional,6 Cowie writes with passion and successfully communicates the deep frustration of white working-class men as austerity bit into their living standards which peaked in 1972.7 He thoroughly documents the machinations of the AFL-CIO and its reactionary leader, George Meany, during the 1972 presidential election to undermine the candidacy of George McGovern, noting Meanys dismissive and homophobic comments upon seeing the New York Democratic Party delegation: Theyve got six open fags and only three AFL-CIO people on that delegation! Representative?8 He also provides a detailed account of the passage of the largely cosmetic Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act and the Carter Administrations vigilant efforts to ensure that the law did not encroach too significantly upon markets, eliminating any hope of another New Deal.9 While at times surprisingly selective in his history Cowie has managed to write a history of the 1970s that pays relatively minimal attention to either the Watergate scandal or the Vietnam War his is an engaging account. This notwithstanding the fact that Cowies analysis of the causes of inflation is essentially limited to two possible hypotheses: oil shocks caused by OPEC and excessive wage demands by workers in a world of full employment, suggesting a limited understanding of materialist interpretations of political economy.10 One of the chief themes of Cowies history is how Nixon diligently sought to constitute a cross-class alliance including white working-class voters to his pro-business agenda, while
4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Fantasia 1988, p. 67. Cowie 2010, p. 18. Cowie and Salvatore 2008. Cowie 2010, p. 12. Cowie 2010, p. 105. Cowie 2010, pp. 27188. Cowie 2010, p. 222.

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strategically endorsing certain reforms, such as occupational health and safety, embodied in a conservative cast.11 By so doing, Cowie shows how Nixon adeptly navigated a political world in which the labour movement still had considerable albeit declining influence. Yet Nixons room for manoeuvre had clear structural limitations and Cowie downplays its authoritarian side which Nixon was not reluctant to deploy when it was deemed necessary. For instance, when postal workers undertook a wildcat strike in 1970, Nixon called out the National Guard to deliver the mail,12 yet Cowie strangely interprets Nixons response as conciliatory rather than a disturbing signal of the fraying of the Keynesian consensus. Perhaps its greatest strength is the manner in which Cowie comments intelligently and insightfully about the music, films and popular culture of the 1970s. This is supplemented by the fact that Cowie includes the lyrics of many of the songs he analyses in his text. The complexities of the Country music singer Merle Haggard and his band, the Strangers, are meticulously probed. Wooed by Richard Nixon and pardoned for his criminal past by Governor Ronald Reagan, Haggards hit songs celebrating traditional values such as Okie from Muskogee were embraced by the political Right to rebut the counterculture even though Okie from Muskogee actually had its origins in a trip by the band to Muskogee, Oklahoma. Cowie reports13 how a band member jokingly remarked, I bet they dont smoke no marijuana in Muskogee. In fact, Haggard would go on to record a song, Irma Jackson, about interracial love,14 suggesting his politics were far more ambiguous than they were represented by Republican politicians. Similarly, Cowie is at his best in his vivid reflections on the films and popular culture of the 1970s. From his descriptions of the hippies riding across America in the drama, Easy Rider, to his commentary on the 1970 film, Joe, about a blue collar machinist who befriends an upper-class advertising executive who has murdered his daughters hippie boyfriend, to his observations on the popular television programme, All in the Family, Cowie is effective in making the cultural world of the 1970s come alive.15 Yet Cowies narrative is ultimately a frustrating one, indicating its clear limitations for those who view the world with an historical materialist gaze. Although he never quite makes his political vision of the world explicit to the reader, one gets occasional telling glimpses when he describes at one point16 the social-democratic Michael Harrington as Americas most prominent left wing intellectual, a label more commonly ascribed to Noam Chomsky. Harrington of course is well known for reconciling his belief in social justice with support for the Democratic Party and ambivalence on the Vietnam War.17 Put simply, in this tome of close to five hundred pages, liberal George McGovern is essentially the most leftwing political position seriously contemplated. It is a tale that certainly mentions workingclass struggles such as the appalling corruption in the United Mineworkers of America that resulted in the murder of reformist union leader Jock Yablonski in 1969 by his fellow class brothers.18 The union officials had been accused of misappropriating millions of dollars of
11. Cowie 2010, p. 139. 12. Cowie 2010, p. 140. 13. Cowie 2010, p. 172. 14. Cowie 2010, p. 180. 15. Cowie 2010, pp. 18999. 16. Cowie 2010, p. 214. 17. Finger 2001. 18. Cowie 2010, pp. 334.


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union funds.19 Yet frustratingly, Cowie consistently tends to reframe the issue as one of safe, practical politics: the burning question of how the Democrats can win back the Wallace vote, white working-class people supporting the openly racist candidate George Wallace. This underscores a severe omission in Cowies text: a failure to truly grapple with the spectre of racism and white skin privilege that has persisted in American politics for centuries. As scholars such as Mike Davis and Theodore Allen have so cogently demonstrated, an assessment of the 1970s in American politics simply cannot neglect this.20 To be fair, Cowie is clearly a thinker whose writings demonstrate that he is not unaware of the deep impact that race has played and continues to play in American history. Yet somehow Cowie mostly seems to elide the existence of a historically constituted Black working class the occasional reference to the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement aside and repeatedly seems to equate working-class identity with white people. Even the legendary Ocean HillBrownsville teachers strike in 1968 when socialists found themselves on opposite sides of the picket lines as African-American community activists clashed with unionised teachers barely merits a short paragraph.21 This leads to a distorted analysis which has the political effect of identifying the central problem in American politics as finding creative ways to accommodate angry white working-class men rather than recognising the urgent need to build a multiracial working-class movement. One gets a sense of both Cowies strengths and limitations as a historian through his discussion of the 1978 film Blue Collar. Based on the 1972 Lordstown, Ohio strike by a group of militant and interracial workers at a General Motors plant and featuring Richard Pryor as Zeke, Blue Collar bleakly depicts what might have been a moment of solidarity and hope in a cynical and despairing manner. Noting the influence of the legendary 1970 documentary Finally Got the News, produced by the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, on the films dialogue, Cowie expresses frustration with its politics. Yet ultimately Cowie concludes his analysis on a pessimistic note, suggesting that the film works as an allegory for the confusions of identity and the questions of agency that ended in racial division at the end of the 1970s rather than the multiracial solidarity that might transform the capitalist system.22 This is indicative of his analysis of the Lordstown strike itself, which, quoting Staughton Lynd, he characterises as a restlessness, but one which quickly turns into a pragmatic reformism.23 In so doing, one senses that Cowie has simply given up on the possibility of a transformative working-class solidarity. More troubling in Cowies work is his tendency to counterpose class with race, implying that the attention given after 1970 to identities such as race has displaced much-needed attention to class. This, however, is predicated on an unstated but absurd assumption: systemic racism somehow ceased to be a fundamental problem in the United States after 1980. Yet as critical race theorists have so eloquently demonstrated, racism remains a persistent problem in post-Civil Rights America. African-Americans continue to experience segregated education, housing discrimination and disproportionate poverty rates.24 While
19. Feldman 1971. 20. Davis 1986; Allen 1997. 21. Cowie 2010, pp. 601. 22. Cowie 2010, p. 337. 23. Cowie 2010, pp. 689. 24.Bell 1987.

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Cowie refers to white anger over school bussing plans that would have required the children of white working-class parents to be bussed,25 he appears oblivious to how bussing court orders are a second-best solution in view of the fact that housing patterns have remained racially segregated long after Dr Martin Luther King Jr.s delivery of his I Have a Dream speech. The Hidden 1970s Thankfully, Dan Bergers well-crafted if ultimately narrow anthology of radicalism in the 1970s provides more fruitful reading for those who seek to resurrect a tradition of socialism from below. Having earlier written a book about the Weather Underground,26 Berger clearly comes to politics from an anarchist perspective that can seem ultra-left in its strategic direction on occasion. Unlike Cowie, however, this book is not devoted to the grand politics of elected officials, nor uniquely amongst the books under review is it exclusively restricted to political movements based in the United States. Rather, each chapter is devoted to a different social movement and focuses on rank-and-file activism that has been lost to history. The volume overall is intended to challenge the widespread perception of the 1970s as a decade that was inconsequential and self-indulgent and it achieves this aim, notwithstanding reservations about the quality of its political vision. Divided into three loosely organised parts, Insurgency, Solidarity and Community, and consisting of fourteen chapters written by a variety of activist and academic authors, Berger deserves credit for producing a volume which is highly inclusive with respect to most current social movements, including race, gender, sexual orientation and Aboriginal politics, as well as consistently noting the influence of Third World activists on American struggles in the 1970s. From Chicano organising against police violence to an account of non-violent antiwar activism and more, it has embraced the concept of intersectionality and the need for envisioning a class politics that systematically fights racism, patriarchy and homophobia. The singular exception appears to be disability-rights politics which, in fact, had a rank-andfile direct action strategy at times, most notably during the 1977 occupation of a number of Health, Education and Welfare offices to protest at the Carter Administrations failure to enact regulations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.27 Only selected chapters are described here. The first chapter, Improvising on Reality: The Roots of Prison Abolition by Liz Samuels, a medical student, is devoted to tracing the links between the notable 1971 Attica Prison rebellion to the movement for prison abolition, an issue that is all the more pressing today with the massive expansion of the prison-industrial complex. Where Cowie paints a dismal portrayal of the prospects of multiracial unity in the 1970s, Samuels depicts how multiracial solidarity was forged in the highly oppressive context of prison life through the organisation of strikes, sit-ins and prison takeovers.28 In an example of a theme repeated throughout this volume, Samuels notes how Quaker anti-prison activists sought to instantiate reforms in the
25.Cowie 2010, pp. 2446. 26.Berger 2006. 27.Shapiro 1993. 28. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 25.


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present while continuing to advocate for prison abolition in the long term.29 The theorisation of prisoners as a distinct socio-economic class is interesting but underdeveloped.30 One weakness that seems to be an endemic problem with this volume, however, is the tendency to explain away the rather slender long-term legacy of the 1970s activists, described herein as a consequence of the rise of repression in the Reagan era. While no doubt there was a rise of law-and-order politics as the prison population in the United States exploded in recent years, one has to wonder about the effectiveness and strategic choices of social movements that succumb so easily to state repression. A second chapter from the Insurgency section is editor Dan Bergers own contribution, co-authored with feminist activist and scholar Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: The Struggle is for Land!: Race, Territory and National Liberation. They discuss the legacy of two social movements, the indigenous American Indian Movement (AIM) and the Republic of New Afrika (RNA), which sought the unusual strategy of land-based national liberation to challenge American imperialism from within its own borders. The AIM was struggling against a long history of oppression against Native Americans including forced sterilisation, environmental destruction, forced removal of children, and extreme levels of poverty and unemployment.31 In the Trail of Broken Treaties March of 1972, the offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs were occupied for a week and activists demanded a land base for Aboriginal people of 110 million acres.32 Perhaps best known for the 1973 conflict at Wounded Knee with the FBI, AIM was instrumental in creating the International Indian Treaty Council which obtained consultative status at the United Nations and spawned the use of international law to promote the rights of indigenous peoples, culminating in the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.33 The RNA was founded in 1968 in Detroit by a coalition of Black nationalists influenced by Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey and others that wanted to establish a separate state in the Deep South for African-Americans, eerily similar to the flawed Black Belt nation thesis supported decades earlier by the Third Period Communist Party.34 It attracted a variety of luminaries including Betty Shabaaz, Malcolm Xs widow, H. Rap Brown and Amiri Baraka, despite police repression of their organising meetings.35 On the positive side, the movements demand for reparations fed into the slavery reparations movement that has continued in recent years. It also built vital links with African-American prisoners. However, apart from the early and creative use of international law by indigenous peoples, there is no real critical assessment of strategies that rapidly descended into violence and harboured debilitating illusions about authoritarian foreign states such as Tanzania. As the authors acknowledge, neither group commanded majority opinion even within their own constituency, let alone the broader population.36 There is also the irony that the radical nationalists had conflicting land claims: an indigenous activist remarked upon the contradiction in a joke riffing off the
29. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 30. 30. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 25. 31. Berger (ed.) 2010, pp. 601. 32. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 62. 33. Berger (ed.) 2010, pp. 623. 34. Shachtman 2003. 35. Berger (ed.) 2010, pp. 645. 36.Berger (ed.) 2010, pp. 659.

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Civil War-era promise to newly emancipated slaves of forty acres and a mule you can have the mule; but the forty acres are ours.37 In some ways the inverse problem of Cowies approach, this underscores the limitations of a strategy that ignores winning over the broad working class to an anti-capitalist vision. Turning to the volumes Solidarity section, Meg Starr, a community activist and earlychildhood educator in New York, has written a fascinating account of Puerto Rican solidarity movements, Hit Them Harder: Leadership, Solidarity and the Puerto Rican Independence Movement, that have largely been forgotten and may be unknown to younger activists. Puerto Rican nationalism is somewhat unique in that it comprises two dimensions: the oppression of the large number of Puerto Ricans who have long settled in the mainland United States but have historically lived in poverty and suffered marginalisation; and the long (and continuing) struggle for sovereignty in Puerto Rico itself. Her account is focused on struggles in the United States. Like many of the chapters in this volume, it rather uncritically discusses the questionable guerrilla strategies employed by some Puerto Rican nationalist groups such as the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacin National (FALN),38 despite the heavy toll they caused in both inviting state repression and in terms of casualties. In my view, this ignores the moral critique of such violence, its inherently elitist nature in failing to focus on sharpening class consciousness amongst the working class, and the reality that it typically results in heavier state repression. A large tradition of writings by socialists, including Trotsky, has eloquently demonstrated how a focus on violence as a tactic undermines the self-activity of the working class and the development of working-class consciousness which lie at the core of working-class emancipation. These tactics typically involve vital but comparatively mundane activities like organising demonstrations, strikes and political campaigns that prove more effective than violence in increasing working-class consciousness.39 Nevertheless, Starr engagingly reports on this drama which included the occupation of a Bronx hospital in 1970, the anti-sterilisation movement that drew attention to the abuse of Puerto Rican women, and the advocacy of ethnic studies courses and open admissions at the City University of New York.40 While undoubtedly there were genuine achievements for Puerto Ricans in the continental United States, such as the spread of bilingualism and the acknowledgement of Puerto Rican culture, one has to pose the question of whether the guerrilla strategy was worth its tremendous costs, a question largely left unanswered in Starrs text. Another remarkable chapter and perhaps the highlight of the volume is Michael Staudenmaiers contribution on the much-neglected Sojourner Truth Organization (STO): Unorthodox Leninism: Workplace Organizing and Anti-Imperialist Solidarity in the Sojourner Truth Organization. Staudenmaier, an anarchist activist and independent scholar, has also authored a compelling book on the topic.41 Obscure to this day, STO is probably best known for producing a special issue of its journal, Urgent Tasks, devoted to the writings of the legendary Trinidadian socialist and scholar C.L.R. James in 1981, although
37.Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 70. 38.Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 136. 39.Molyneux 2004. 40.Berger (ed.) 2010, pp. 13846. 41. Staudenmaier 2012.


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a web site of STO archival material may serve to educate younger people about their legacy. In this chapter, Staudenmaier analyses two aspects of STOs activism: its unique approach to workplace organising and its commitment to a theory of white skin privilege. Their rejection of the vanguard party model42 while still trying to build some kind of socialist organisation to remake the world autonomy and solidarity distinguishes them from many of the social movements described in this volume that largely seem to have written off the working class as a potential subject of anti-capitalist social transformation. Influenced by the factory occupations of the Italian workers movements in 1969, STO campaigned for workers rights outside of the framework of conventional collective bargaining and compromise of legally authorised strikes strictly regulated by the state.43 In addition to providing support to independent workers organisation, some STO members, both men and women, took factory jobs so that they could directly advocate for their politics in the workplace. They included some factories in the Chicago area operated by well-known companies including International Harvester, Stewart-Warner and Motorola.44 Amusingly, some STO members had to lie about their credentials, disguising their high levels of education, in order to be hired. In one case, when an STO members lies were discovered and he faced dismissal, the National Labor Relations Board ultimately reinstated him after an appeal assisted by attorneys affiliated with STO on the grounds that he had minimised his credentials rather than exaggerated them.45 While taking on factory jobs was hardly a unique tactic among leftist groups in the 1970s, STO distinguished itself because it did not do so in order to challenge the union leadership and, in fact, also attempted to do organising work in non-union factories. Its goals rather were more purely syndicalist: to empower the workers to improve working conditions regardless of the leadership. Remarkably, they also prioritised the demands of oppressed workers such as women of colour. Finally, they saw the empowerment of workers and the transformation of their consciousness as an end in itself. They were not primarily interested in recruiting members to STO, which always remained a tiny organisation throughout its existence.46 This contrasts sharply with the attempts by Trotskyist organisations such as James Cannons Socialist Workers Party (SWP) to turn to industry in the 1970s where membership recruitment was always a key objective.47 While their strategy certainly had its difficulties as deindustrialisation made workplace organising progressively more challenging, it also provides some critical lessons for activists today, not necessarily something that can be said for all the contributions in the volume. Staudenmaier identifies three. First, STO included non-union plants in their organising and sought to transform the consciousness and politics of the workers, rather than fight for the union leadership.48 In the twenty-first-century world of declining unions, STOs approach is likely to warrant closer examination. Second, STO highlighted workplace issues
42. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 169. 43. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 158. 44. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 159. 45. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 160. 46. Berger (ed.) 2010, pp. 1612. 47. For a discussion of the SWP (albeit one which would likely not accord with this characterisation of the SWP), see Le Blanc 2012. 48. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 161.

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affecting the most marginalised workers, particularly women and people of colour, rather than prioritise bread-and-butter pay raises.49 To the extent that the twenty-first-century workplace is that much more diverse and unions continue to struggle to address diverse identities, STOs tactic has significant merit. Finally, as noted above, STO did not primarily focus on recruiting workers to become active cadre in its own organisation. Its emphasis was on transforming consciousness.50 All three of these lessons deserve careful debate in the contemporary workers movement. With respect to its commitment to fighting white skin privilege, this largely took the form of anti-imperialist solidarity with liberation movements, although Staudenmaier is somewhat vague on the precise contours of the relationship between STOs white skin privilege theory and its anti-imperialist organising. Its record here seems mixed. On the one hand, it demonstrated a refreshing willingness to analyse the complexities of race and class seriously and apply it to concrete situations such as the Iranian student movement in exile in the United States and to Southern African liberation movements. It focused much attention on rethinking the national question in Puerto Rico; STOs analysis of white skin privilege possibly enabled the organisation to be more flexible and creative in its understanding of Puerto Rican nationalism.51 However, it also entailed relatively uncritical solidarity with the Puerto Rican adventurist guerrilla organisations described in Starrs chapter.52 Further elucidation on the insights of Noel Ignatievs theories of white skin privilege, which he later elaborated in a compelling history of Irish-Americans,53 might have strengthened an already insightful chapter. Benjamin Shepards unforgettable chapter on gay liberation, Play as World-making: From the Cockettes to the Germs, Gay Liberation to DIY Community Building, opens the books long section on Community. An activist and Professor at the City University of New York, Shepard documents the role of play in the early gay liberation movement, specifically through the work of the radical drag performance group the Cockettes. Influenced by the Beats, Situationists and Marcuse and led by an upper-class man who had taken the name Hibiscus, and a one-time partner of the radical poet Allen Ginsberg, the Cockettes embraced the ludic politics of play54 and adopted a style of performance that sought to transcend the boundary between performer and audience member through a theatre of transgression,55 anticipating in many ways much poststructuralist queer theory that would follow. Shepard observes that [d]osed with LSD and dressed in genderfuck men with beards in womens clothing this group of men, along with women and even a few children, stumbled onstage for their impromptu clothing-optional midnight performance to the tune of Can-Can.56 Shepard credits the theatrical reclaiming of space of the Cockettes for providing the impetus

49. Ibid. 50. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 162. 51. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 165. 52. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 168. 53. Ignatiev 1995. 54. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 181. 55. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 184. 56. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 181.


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for later gay liberation and straight activist groups focused on theatrical direct action, such as Billionaires for Bush.57 Shepard goes on to outline the influence of the early punk band the Germs for creating an outlook of playful spaces that encouraged democratic engagement through embodied, community-building approaches.58 Consisting of a line-up that included Pat Smear, Darby Crash, Lorna Doom and, briefly, Belinda Carlisle (who later had a banal solo career and married a Republican) with hits such as Sex Boy that promoted a polymorphous sexuality,59 this outburst of hedonism may not in fact be what theorists of democracy such as Habermas had in mind.60 While the passion with which Shepard writes about the liberationist ethos61 of punk is admirable, the tale ends grimly with Crash dying young of a drug overdose.62 The commitment to gay liberation is exemplary and the text is enjoyable, but it is hard not to see this as a tragic, cautionary tale of lives gone awry and ruined by drugs. Finally, Andrew Cornell, a Ph.D. candidate at New York University where he is writing on anarchist movements, has produced an insightful chapter on the radical pacifist Quakerinfluenced but little-known Movement for a New Society (MNS) entitled The Movement for a New Society: Consensus, Prefiguration and Direct Action. Founded in 1971 and committed to the goal of individuals attempting to live now in the way that they would wish in the society they seek to create, the MNS established alternative communities in Philadelphia and Eugene, Oregon, and was notable for its consensus decision-making models, incorporation of feminism and its commitment to prefigurative politics.63 Influenced by both Gandhian and anarchist ideas, the MNS combined political activism and non-violent resistance to oppose militarism, such as American support for Pakistani atrocities in what is today Bangladesh, with collective housing and workplaces. Rather than waiting until after the revolution to radically change ones personal life, the MNS began the process of personal transformation and political advocacy simultaneously. Along with alternative living spaces were radical campaigns to prevent the loading of munitions on to ships, relying on radicalising longshoremen to the honour picket lines they set up.64 Particularly impressive was the MNSs early appreciation of environmental politics. Where too many socialists even today are dismissive of the need for a synthesis of Green and class politics, the MNS championed environmental sustainability long before it was popular. They played a significant role in anti-nuclear organising such as the protests at the Seabrook nuclear power plant in New Hampshire.65 They also were strong supporters of participatory democracy.66 More questionable was the embrace of almost New Age psychological theories such as re-evaluation counselling that was based on the idea of removing emotional

57. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 182. 58. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 186. 59. Ibid. 60. Habermas 1996. 61. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 187. 62. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 189. 63. Berger (ed.) 2010, pp. 2323. 64. Berger (ed.) 2010, pp. 2345. 65. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 240. 66. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 236.

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blockages from childhood traumas to allow each person to fully develop.67 Each collective had its own practices; some shared their entire incomes.68 Not surprisingly, as Cornell candidly reports, tensions developed between those who wanted to use the MNS as a base to transform the world and those who saw the alternative communities as a retreat in which the focus was on personal lifestyle.69 This eventually led to burn-out and the demise of an organisation that could not sustain itself. In an era where authoritarian Leninist vanguard parties have been largely discredited, there is certainly much to learn from the MNS, whose legacy of consensus decision-making is apparent in many contemporary social movements. While Bergers anthology is uneven and implicitly endorses some highly questionable strategies for political change, his volume provides readers with an overview of radical activism, albeit of groups representing relatively few people, during a decade too often regarded as irrelevant. Hillbilly Nationalists Fortunately, the best is saved for last. Where Cowies staid account often bores the reader and Bergers anarchist-infused anthology occasionally shocks with its penchant for counterproductive tactics, Sonnie and Tracys history of five grassroots anti-racist organisations in the 1960s and 1970s offers a refreshing alternative. In many ways, their lively account fills in the gaps in Cowies text with a convincing anti-racist and anti-capitalist alternative that offers many practical lessons for activists trying to change the world today. Sonnie has previously edited an anthology of writing of queer youth.70 Tracy has, apart from his chapter in Bergers anthology which is largely covered in this book, edited two handbooks on civil disobedience and the military draft.71 They resolutely affirm the notion that working-class whites in the United States can and must reject racism to find common cause with people of colour while primarily organising their own communities. They profile five almost completely forgotten rank-and-file organisations: JOIN Community Union, the Young Patriots Organization, Rising Up Angry, White Lightning, and the October 4th Organization. Their writing is thoroughly captivating, providing the reader with a gripping glimpse into a lost world of possibilities of solidarity and struggle from below. Perhaps the most stunning contribution is the books ability to weave personal narratives into concrete political situations. This is done particularly well through the epic story of Peggy Terry, a white working-class woman who grew up in Kentucky. In her youth, she was uncomfortable around African-Americans in social situations due to the strictly segregated Jim Crow environment in which she had been raised. When she was three, her grandfather took her to a Ku Klux Klan rally.72 Her political evolution in the 1960s would transform her life to the point where she became a militant anti-racist community activist in Chicagos working-class Uptown neighbourhood, known as Hillbilly Harlem and
67. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 239. 68. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 238. 69. Berger (ed.) 2010, p. 242. 70. Sonnie (ed.) 2000. 71. Tracy (ed.) 2002 and 2006. 72.Sonnie and Tracy 2011, p. 13.


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settled by rural Southern whites who had moved to the North, and eventually ran for Vice President as Eldridge Cleavers running mate in 1968.73 She became a prominent activist in Jobs or Income Now (JOIN) Community Union that demanded full employment or guaranteed wages.74 Originally a project of the legendary Students for a Democratic Society, JOIN worked to educate its members about issues such as rigid and invasive welfare requirements and assisted when an unemployment cheque was not forthcoming from the authorities. Housing rights were also an important part of JOINs work. By taking a grassroots approach, JOIN provided a sense of dignity and empowerment to peoples lives. Sonnie and Tracy describe the impact of a rent strike: ...those who participated in the Uptown rent strikes consider them some of JOINs biggest successes because they so effectively built a sense of power for poor residents. Dozens of people came to see JOIN as their organization building by building, block by block.75 White members were also gradually exposed to the racism faced by African-Americans in Daleys authoritarian Chicago. Soon they were mobilising marches against housing discrimination and organising rent strikes, a topic that receives scant attention in Cowies five hundred pages. They also themselves as dwellers of a white ghetto experienced police harassment and brutality.76 Remarkably, JOIN combined international solidarity, with coverage of the Irish freedom and the Third World liberation movements in its press, with local campaigns, serving to give its members a global perspective.77 The JOIN activists were also pioneers in acknowledging feminist critiques of the organisations internal functioning, something badly needed by activist organisations to this day. One of the most impressive of JOINs actions, replicated by the other activist groups studied here, was its willingness to reach out to and actively organise street youth. While much of the left focused entirely on college-educated youth, JOIN deliberately took an interest in redirecting the frustrations of street gangs away from other gangs and towards the state. This underscores a deepening tension in JOIN: the middle-class radicals in SDS who tended to make decisions and the working-class youth of JOIN. After Terrys 1968 run for Vice President, the organisation split from SDS, which descended into factional chaos, and soon winded down, but left a legacy of activist organising skills that helped build numerous organisations in 1970s Chicago. The Young Patriots Organization, the second of the organisations described by Sonnie and Tracy and the focus of their second chapter, soon filled the void left by JOIN to mobilise working-class whites in Chicago. Influenced by the Black Panthers, the Young Patriots released a ten-point programme with demands such as full employment, quality housing, prisoners rights and an end to racism. In so doing, they crafted a counter-hegemonic sense of Southern white pride, regarding white working-class people as an oppressed group, and used the Confederate flag as a symbol.78 An early manifesto was entitled, The South Will Rise Again, only this time in solidarity with our oppressed brothers and

73.Sonnie and Tracy 2011, p. 14. 74.Sonnie and Tracy 2011, p. 29. 75.Sonnie and Tracy 2011, p. 42. 76.Sonnie and Tracy 2011, p. 49. 77.Sonnie and Tracy 2011, p. 44. 78. Sonnie and Tracy 2011, pp. 735.

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sisters.79 This likely reflected the influence of nationalism at the time, rather than a fullyfledged theory of whiteness. Yet their attempt to take working-class culture seriously and mobilise anti-capitalist demands for that audience deserves respect and further scholarly inquiry. Tragically, they largely were unable to survive arrests, often for crimes that they did not commit, and a climate of severe state repression, despite attempts to spread their influence in other cities. This dilemma again raises difficult questions about how activists can effectively organise under such conditions.80 In the end, they largely were known as a Black Panthers solidarity group. The third chapter is devoted to Rising Up Angry, a rank-and-file group which was also launched in Chicago in 1969. It focused specifically on reaching youth gangs such as the greasers who rode motorcycles and wore black leather jackets. To that end, Angry combined the dissemination of valuable information on Third World struggles from Cuba to Puerto Rico with listings of rock concerts and articles about cars.81 Clearly Angry achieved something all too rare on the Western left: the ability to reach out to working-class people and articulate their feelings of alienation. While their impact was small, they were able to prevent street gangs from going to battle with each other and prevent racial conflict.82 Sonnie and Tracy bluntly describe the political options open to left activists at this conjuncture. One path was the perilous route of armed insurrection, described above in Bergers anthology and, in my view, leading to complete disaster. Another was building a national party rooted in the shop floor, a path that many Trotskyist and Maoist groups dogmatically followed more or less unsuccessfully. The third was community building.83 While these are not mutually exclusive categories, Angry was relatively unusual in focusing on the third road and this path has not received the scholarly attention it deserves. Eventually, Angry created legal programmes to address housing, crime and veterans issues. From the vantage-point of 2013, the creation of a legal clinic run by radicals, who would then organise pickets when they discovered housing violations such as lead poisoning, is truly extraordinary and warrants closer attention. They also established a community health clinic.84 Its early commitment and sensitivity to feminism is also noteworthy. With the end of the Vietnam War, Angry was no longer able to sustain itself but has left a rich legacy. The final chapter of the book is devoted to two organisations in the eastern United States, the October 4th Organization (040) in Philadelphia and White Lightning in the Bronx. 040 challenged the virulent racism endemic in Mayor Rizzos Philadelphia while also organising against the deindustrialisation that hit Philadelphia workers hard. Like the other community groups discussed in the book, 040 did not prioritise workplace over neighbourhood issues. They simply addressed both while also studying and discussing Marx, Engels, Mao, Che and emerging feminist theory and literature.85 The grassroots approach of providing services to dispossessed working-class whites allowed them to win hearts and minds while

79. Sonnie and Tracy 2011, p. 74. 80. Sonnie and Tracy 2011, p. 92. 81. Sonnie and Tracy 2011, p. 103. 82. Sonnie and Tracy 2011, p. 116. 83. Sonnie and Tracy 2011, p. 107. 84. Sonnie and Tracy 2011, p. 120. 85. Sonnie and Tracy 2011, p. 140.


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simultaneously challenging the institutionalised racism.86 They were also successful in recruiting hundreds for a blood drive in working-class neighbourhoods of Philadelphia, in solidarity with the victims of Nixons bombing of a hospital in Vietnam.87 This enabled 040 to raise questions about the poor quality of health care that the community received and link the two struggles. As in the case of the Chicago groups, 040 won support by intervening in disputes between working-class members and city authorities over electricity cut-offs and sewer malfunctions.88 Finally, White Lightnings focus in the Bronx was somewhat different. While all these organisations had loose links and sought to build a sense of resistance in white workingclass communities, White Lightning emphasised the issues of those addicted to drugs. Just as Peggy Terrys story made JOINs story come alive, the authors vividly tell the tale of an Italian-American heroin addict, Gil Fagiani, who organised recovering addicts, protested at brutal hospital conditions for patients and eventually succeeded in having a new hospital built in 1976.89 White Lightning also endorsed its own theory of the political economy of drug trafficking, alleging government and organised-crime collusion in the distribution of narcotics in poor neighbourhoods. They also opposed mandatory minimum sentences for drug offences promoted by then-Governor Rockefeller.90 Although not an uncommon view today after the failed Drug War, these were highly controversial positions in the 1970s. The praxis toward organising ones own community and allowing people of colour to organise their own communities was more challenging in the Bronx, where housing patterns were more integrated.91 Nevertheless, they organised rent strikes and established legal clinics, emulating the other groups in serving community needs relating to housing and divorce law.92 In one of the few discussions of the institutional left, the authors acknowledge that segments of White Lightning eventually joined Maoist party-building organisations such as the October League, raising questions about how working-class organisations can effectively grow without ending up in a vanguardist formation.93 If there is any weakness in the Sonnie-Tracy text, it is their tendency to simply let the historical actors speak for themselves. Ending with a too-short conclusion, they do not grapple with the hard theoretical questions as much as I would have liked. Why did these organisations not leave a more lasting legacy but simply vanish from the scene? How can you reach the broader working class? Nevertheless, the book is an exercise in historical recovery of lost working-class traditions and the authors deserve significant credit for producing a text that will be read and re-read by activists seeking to change the world in the years to come.

86. Sonnie and Tracy 2011, p. 143. 87. Sonnie and Tracy 2011, p. 145. 88. Sonnie and Tracy 2011, p. 147. 89. Sonnie and Tracy 2011, pp. 1505. 90. Sonnie and Tracy 2011, pp. 1567. 91. Sonnie and Tracy 2011, p. 160. 92. Sonnie and Tracy 2011, p. 162. 93. Sonnie and Tracy 2011, p. 165.


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The 1970s was a decade of tremendous opportunity for advocates of social justice and, ultimately, one of bitter disappointment for the left. Where Cowies account largely fails to grapple with the central dynamics between class and race, Bergers anthology and Sonnie and Tracys account provide different answers to difficult questions about workingclass organisation and how to struggle. Despite their differences in nuance and emphasis, both texts acknowledge how a materialist understanding of American society cannot be complete without giving due consideration to the lived experiences of women and people of colour on the ground. Any left worthy of its name must live up to the promise of the social movements so eloquently described in these books. They are well worth reading. Ravi Malhotra University of Ottawa ravi.malhotra@uottawa.ca References
Allen, Theodore W. 1997, The Invention of the White Race: The Origin of Racial Oppression in AngloAmerica, First Edition, London: Verso. Baldwin, James 1963, The Fire Next Time, New York: The Dial Press. Bell, Derrick 1987, And We Are Not Saved: The Elusive Quest for Racial Justice, New York: Basic Books. Berger, Dan 2006, Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity, Oakland: AK Press. Berger, Dan (ed.) 2010, The Hidden 1970s: Histories of Radicalism, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. Cowie, Jefferson R. 2010, Stayin Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class, London: The New Press. Cowie, Jefferson R. and Nick Salvatore 2008, The Long Exception: Rethinking the Place of the New Deal in American History, International Labor and Working-Class History, 74, 1: 332. Davis, Mike 1986, Prisoners of the American Dream: Politics and Economy in the History of the U.S. Working Class, London: Verso. Fantasia, Rick 1988, Cultures of Solidarity: Consciousness, Action and Contemporary American Workers, Berkeley: University of California Press. Feldman, Clarice R. 1971, Miners for Democracy: They Are Alive in District 5, New Politics, I, 7, 4: 1320. Finger, Barry 2001, Michael Harringtons Pilgrimage: From Third Camp to The Democratic Party, New Politics, 31: 16872. Gaffkin, Frank and Barney Warf 1993, Urban Policy and the Post-Keynesian State in the United Kingdom and the United States, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 17, 1: 6784. Gitlin, Todd 1987, The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage, First Edition, New York: Random House. Habermas, Jurgen 1996 [1992], Between Facts and Norms: Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy, translated by William Rehg, Cambridge, MA.: MIT Press. Ignatieff, Noel 1995, How the Irish Became White, London: Routledge.


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Le Blanc, Paul 2012, Revolutionary Redemption: Lessons for Activists, Links, available at: <http:// links.org.au/node/2817>. Molyneux, John 2004, Marxism on Terrorism, Socialist Review, April, available at: <http://www .socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=8844>. Palmer, Bryan D. 2009, Canadas 1960s: The Ironies of Identity in a Rebellious Era, Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Post, Charlie and Kit Wainer 2006, Socialist Organization Today, Second Edition, Detroit: Solidarity. Shachtman, Max 2003, Race and Revolution, edited by Christopher Phelps, London: Verso. Shapiro, Joseph P. 1993, No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement, New York: Random House. Sonnie, Amy and James Tracy 2011, Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power: Community Organizing in Radical Times, New York: Melville House. Sonnie, Amy (ed.) 2000, Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology, Los Angeles: Alyson Publications. Staudenmaier, Michael 2012, Truth and Revolution: A History of the Sojourner Truth Organization, 19691986, Oakland: AK Press. Tracy, James (ed.) 2002, The Civil Disobedience Handbook: A Brief History and Practical Advice for the Politically Disenchanted, San Francisco: Manic D Press. (ed.) 2006, The Military Draft Handbook: A Brief History and Practical Advice for the Curious and Concerned, San Francisco: Manic D Press. Ture, Kwame and Charles V. Hamilton 1992, Black Power: The Politics of Liberation, New York: Random House.

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The Matter of Capital, Christopher Nealon, Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 2011; The Zukofsky Era: Modernity, Margins, and the Avant-Garde, Ruth Jennison, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012
Abstract In The Matter of Capital, Christopher Nealon offers a distinctive revisionary account of American poetry written in the wake of the ideological retreats of Ezra Pound and W.H. Auden around the time of the Second World War. Nealon argues that American verse of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries was profoundly influenced by an unfolding context of capitalist development and crisis, in ways that have not been fully accounted for in orthodox accounts of recent literary history. Ruth Jennisons The Zukofsky Era: Modernity, Margins, and the AvantGarde seeks similarly to highlight the centrality of leftist critiques of capitalism in modern American poetry. Her focus is the Objectivist group of poets, in particular Louis Zukofsky, a Jewish-American Marxist often regarded as the major successor to Pound in the interwar years. Jennison applies the theory of combined and uneven development to the 1930s work of Zukofsky and his circle. Keywords Objectivist poetry, Ezra Pound, American literature, Louis Zukofsky, John Ashbery, the Language poets

Perhaps it is unsurprising that Ezra Pound is undergoing something of a critical revival in the 2010s. Pound, after all, was the nonpareil political poet of late capitalism, a man so obsessed with the overthrow of Western finance he wrote an epic poem in 116 sections on the subject (the Cantos), the anti-capitalist sections of which many readers have regarded as doctrinaire to a point of unpoetic unreadability. For many decades, Pound has been roundly anathematised and rightly so because his radicalism devolved finally into Mussolinian Fascism (and, even worse, into the anti-Semitism he declaimed loudly in propaganda broadcasts at the height of the Second World War). But recently more positive offshoots of the Poundian legacy have been returned to light. If the Cantos restated the Dantean view that the way to paradise can only be discovered in the halls of hell, maybe we should approach Pound himself in the same way? At the very least, we might consider that the wider anticapitalist modernist tradition he inspired is a lost cause in need of reconsideration at a time when postmodern critical orthodoxies are being widely challenged. While modernists like Joyce and Woolf have become intellectual icons in the neoliberal period of scholarship, Pound and his followers have remained somewhat marginalised. It is symptomatic of a long-running malaise that far too many intelligent left-wing scholars working in other disciplines are aficionados of political and aesthetic reactionaries such as Philip Larkin, Robert Frost and John Betjeman, while they are unlikely to have even heard of Pound-influenced socialist poets like Louis Zukofsky, Lorine Niedecker, and Basil Bunting. As a result, the recent publication of two critical studies dedicated to what might be termed the left-Poundian tradition in American modernist poetry Ruth Jennisons The Zukofsky Era: Modernity, Margins, and the Avant-Garde, and Christopher Nealons The Matter of Capital is extremely heartening. Taken together, these books seem to speak of a new kind of leftist scholarship, one that combines attentive formalism with ideological nous, and
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which seeks to revive and restore to attention sub-traditions of poetry that were regularly occluded in the high decades of neoliberalism. I Nealons study is the more impressive of the two, a timely synopsis of anglophone poetry from Pound to the present that will surely be regarded as a milestone of 2010s criticism in the years to come. His title is intended as way of tying together form and content. The matters of capitalism its anxieties, its crises, its exclusions provide a subject for poetry, and poetic texts are also themselves instances of matter, material objects inveigled into capitalistic culture from their inception. As Nealon concedes, however, this is a light pun rather than a laboured conceit,1 and his focus is wisely much broader. In confident, cogent prose, Nealon takes issue with the new philosophical criticism of the late twentieth century, seeking to move beyond its poststructuralist valorisation of indeterminacy. Latterday critics of American poetry such as Marjorie Perloff and Charles Altieri, we are told, tended merely to name, then draw back from, the conditions that arguably made it urgent to restore to the study of poetry a sense of high intellectual stakes. By those conditions, I mean both the crises and triumphs of global capitalism from about 1973 on....[T]he trials of poor, working-class, and middle-class people: the end of the post-World War II boom, the return of the business cycle, and the increasingly hysterical speculative bubbles of the 1980s, the 1990s, and the first decade of the twenty-first century...2 For readers who have long found Perloffs indeterminacy paradigm baffling if not utterly useless, the clinical ease with which Nealon dismisses her withdrawal is likely to arrive loaded with catharsis.3 His almost laughably simple yet vital point is that capitalism has been proceeding in notably determinate, definable ways while academia has been buried in a kind of fashionable melancholia. At the same time as scholars of poetry have been elaborating ingenious new riffs on the uncertainty principle, Nealon suggests, they have failed on the most basic level to examine the socio-historical backdrop to recent literary history. Having made this timely, somewhat liberating assertion in his Introduction, Nealon is able to range over a series of disparate examples as he sketches a handy historicist framework for approaching the trajectory of American poetry since the interwar years.
1.Nealon 2011, p. 1. 2.Nealon 2011, p. 4. 3.In brief, Perloffs thesis (Perloff 1981) is that, in addition to the Romantic-Symbolist strand of High Modernism (which in her definition includes such disparate figures as T.S.Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Robert Frost and John Berryman), there is a neglected other tradition that takes Rimbauds apostate version of Symbolism as its starting point and passes through Pound, William Carlos Williams, Gertrude Stein, John Cage, John Ashbery, and others. Perloff chooses indeterminacy (a term popular with avant-garde composers such as Charles Ives, Henry Cowell and Cage in the early-to-mid twentieth century) to characterise this traditions apparently deliberate jettisoning of referentiality.

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Beginning with Pound and (adopted American) W.H. Auden two poets who have already had their fair share of political appraisals he suggests that the legacy of the interwar years was one of scepticism and post-ideological confusion. Pounds Italo-Fascist debacle and Audens retreat from messianic socialism into Anglican quietism, Nealon argues, helped to establish an orthodox view amongst postwar writers that mixing economics and poetry was...a recipe for aesthetic disaster.4 For many this might seem like a bizarre claim: surely the poetry of the later postwar period was notably, even exceptionally political? But we should be mindful that Nealon says that economics rather than politics was seen as incompatible with poetry after the failures of Pound and Auden.5 One of the many valuable qualities of his study is its ability to rethink received accounts of recent cultural history; in fact, he is probably right to make us think hard about when the evaporation of critical analyses of capitalism in anglophone verse dates from. The popular idea that the 1950s and 1960s represented a golden age of poetic dissent does not feature prominently in this subtly revisionary account. When in recent history, then, have poets written about the machinations of capitalist economics rather than merely being concerned with the paraphernalia of radical chic? Nealons answer to this question is to look to the margins. The poets he considers in the remaining three chapters of The Matter of Capital John Ashbery, Jack Spicer, Lyn Hejinian, Michael Palmer, Claudia Rankine are all, Ashbery excepted, relative unknowns outside of academia and alternative poetry circles. In the case of Spicer, Hejinian and Palmer, this obscurity was part of the point. All figures who became associated, directly or indirectly, with the North American Language poetry school, they tended to shun mainstream literary culture and trade publishing, and embrace instead an avant-garde coterie ethic founded in collaboration, stylistic experiment, and an extreme self-consciousness about the materiality of poetic language. Writing in contradistinction to critics who have emphasised this last aspect of the Language poets work above all else (in line with poststructuralist orthodoxy), Nealon focuses instead on the tension in their work between a desire for protective enclosure from the worst effects of capitalism, and the inevitable incursions of capitalistic crises into the fabric of their poetic forms. Hence, Spicer could write, in 1964: Smoke signals Like in the Eskimo villages on the coast where the earthquake hit Bang, snap, crack. They will never know what hit them On the coast of Alaska. They expect everybody to be insane. This is a poem about the death of John F. Kennedy.6 Here, a vaguely drawn vignette about natural disaster (the Alaskan earthquake of 1964) seems to elide with a wider context of socio-political turmoil. The smoke signals that hover ominously above the longer prose fragments in this passage metaphorise the confusion
4.Nealon 2011, p. 40. 5.For a lively and educative gloss on Nealons own view of the intersection between poetry and economics set against the backdrop of the recent anti-capitalist protests, see his epistolary exchange with the poet-critic Joshua Clover (Clover and Nealon 2011). 6.Spicer 2008, p. 377.


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of the historical moment. Just as the Eskimos [sic] will never know what hit them, as readers we cannot quite discern the meaning of these floating markers of imminent crisis. The aggregate effect is a sort of compound distillation what Pound might have called an ideogram of the parlous atmosphere of early-1960s America, albeit one that withdraws into playful irony in a final line that amounts to an exclusive shrug. Regrettably, people outside of Spicers literary coterie are unlikely to get the joke. The lobotomised public, he hints with cloying irony, will probably read this oracular smoke signal as a clunky commentary on the Kennedy assassination. But the jagged texture, or matter if you like, of the passage as a whole speaks of ruptures and explosions that are not finally contained by Spicers self-satisfied retreat into the enclosure of his avant-garde environment. History juts through regardless. In perhaps the most impressive section of The Matter of Capital, the chapter on John Ashbery, Nealons ability to read against the grain and uncover submerged contexts is used to remarkable effect. Ashbery, arguably the most highly regarded poet currently writing in English, is typically viewed as a postmodernist with little or no interest in contemporary politics (he occupies a central place in Marjorie Perloffs indeterminacy argument as outlined in The Poetics of Indeterminacy, for example).7 However, many readers have long been dissatisfied with this critical truism. Ashberys work is awash with the detritus of the late-capitalist worldscape, and its undertow of unease and apocalypse cannot, surely, be explained away as mere melancholic posturing or avant-garde game playing. In fact, as Nealon demonstrates in a bravura analysis of Ashberys masterpiece, the 1979 collection Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror, his poetry emerged partly out of a feeling of powerlessness in the face of capitalisms conspicuous late-twentieth-century triumphs.8 Ashbery, a so-called New York School poet, was well placed as a Manhattan resident in the 1970s to witness the aggressive takeover by investment bankers and corporate leaders of the citys public infrastructure (a dress rehearsal for the global neoliberal Blitzenkrieg that ensued). As a response, Nealon argues, Ashbery cultivated the status of a self-deprecating, half-ironic minor poet, which was indeed a kind of withdrawal that made sense against a backdrop of a postmodern relativism and ideological retreat. However, for Nealon, Ashbery was attempting to make a bid for the harmless and noncumulative labor of writing without having to stage a full-scale argument on writings behalf.9 As Ashbery remarks in the title poem of Self Portrait, in the saturated spaces of late capitalism, ...more keeps getting included Without adding to the sum, and just as one Gets accustomed to a noise that Kept one awake but now no longer does, So the room contains this flow like an hourglass Without varying in climate or quality...10

7.Perloff 1981, pp. 24887. 8.Nealon 2011, pp. 756. 9.Nealon 2011, pp. 856. 10.Ashbery 2008, p. 478.

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In seeking to stave off a market-oriented culture in which more keeps getting included | without adding to the sum, Ashbery advocates the cause of language itself, even if this enables him, as Nealon puts it, to walk away from disasters experienced more brutally elsewhere.11 If analyses such as these can be a little over-ingenious at times, and if there are moments in The Matter of Capital when its author appears to be straining too hard to illuminate elided economic sub-narratives, one cannot help but applaud, in the final instance, its timely and agenda-shifting central argument. Avant-garde poetry has for too long been at the mercy of fashionably disillusioned aesthetes who wallow in ineffability from tenured academic havens. But by looking objectively at ways in which the best poets in recent memory tried to escape from history, and at the times when they could not shrug it off, we might be able to revive the view of poetry held by early-twentieth-century poets like Pound and Auden. In their interpretation, mixing aesthetics and ideology was not a recipe for disaster, but the only logical thing to do when one was daily forced to look the crises of an imploding system directly in the face. II Jennisons study of American poetry in the 1930s offers further salient examples of economically sensitive writing from a neglected tradition of Pound-influenced leftist poetry. Her ostensible focus is Louis Zukofsky, a Jewish-American poet from Manhattans Lower East Side, who began corresponding with Pound in the late 1920s and subsequently became the most notable of the so-called Objectivist poets, a second-generation modernist tendency that followed in the footsteps of Pounds great isms of the 1910s. In February 1931, Zukofsky edited a special edition of the influential Chicago-based journal Poetry, which brought together work by many of the poets who had been inspired by the literary upheavals of the high modernist period, and which contained Zukofskys essay Sincerity and Objectification a manifesto of sorts for the new school. Published at the apex of the Depression, the Objectivist issue of Poetry set the tone for the ensuing period. As with the British verse of W.H. Audens milieu, the American poetry of the early 1930s would put a new emphasis on political engagement. However, the Objectivists differed from their British counterparts in their stress on the need for avant-garde forms to accompany the commitment to a progressive politics. Zukofsky took this dedication to outr experimentation further than many of his colleagues. Here, by way of example, is the beginning of the seventh section of his long poem A, which was published in the February 1931 edition of Poetry. It takes as its subject the sawhorse workbenches used in roadworks on the New York City streets: Horses: who will do it? out of manes? Words Will do it, out of manes, out of airs, but They have no manes, so there are no airs, birds Of words, from me to them no singing gut. For they have no eyes, for their legs are wood,
11.Nealon 2011, p. 106.


Review Articles / Historical Materialism 21.3 (2013) 205212 For their stomachs are logs with print on them, Blood-red, red lamps hang from necks or where could Be necks, two legs stand A, four together M...12

This is an adaptation of the sonnet form, onto which Zukofsky grafts a dense acoustic patterning (note the repetition, sibilance, and emphatic rhyme scheme). There are also ingenious semantic rhymes, most notably between airs and manes (Latin for spirit), both of which chime with the ethereal words that fly by way of the breath out of the singing gut. As should be apparent, Zukofsky was one of the most accomplished formal technicians in modern verse. However, writing in this mould is likely to strike many people as being somewhat arcane (and indeed, even within the Objectivist circle, there were heated debates about the desirability or otherwise of Zukofskys obscure style). As such, The Zukofsky Era, which argues forcefully for a grounded, historically situated Objectivism, is a welcome intervention. Jennison draws on David Harveys interpretation of the Marxist theory of combined and uneven development to suggest that the work of Zukofsky and his milieu was an attempt to render in verse the jagged juxtapositions and contradictions of Depression-era capitalist society (the reader will note that there are manifest similarities here with Nealons argument, which also alludes to Harvey, though more cursorily). For Jennison, Objectivism was a distinct revolutionary current within modernist poetics, whose practitioners diverse oppositionalities informed their avantgarde experiments.13 The essence of this tendency, Jennison suggests, was a combined focus on activism and contemplative critique.14 A committed Marxist, Zukofsky contributed to the United States governments Work Projects Administration (WPA), while another major figure in the group, George Oppen, became heavily involved with Communist Party activity, so much so that he was later forced to flee the country with his wife Mary in the McCarthyite postwar years. For all the occasional obscurantism of Objectivist formal procedures, then, they were emphatically not a gang of art-for-arts-sake aesthetes. Jennison stresses that this balanced commitment to craft and praxis developed because, as second generation modernists, the Objectivists sought to extenuate Pounds project of literary reform at the same time as they believed that an extension of Lenin and Trotskys revolution of 1917 was imminent and even inevitable.15 Moreover, their familiarity with Marxs critical corpus gave rise to a poetry that was in its own terms a significant contribution to the evolution of Marxist theory in the interwar years. In her dense, rigorous analyses of the work of Zukofsky and that of a third member of the Objectivist circle, Lorine Niedecker, Jennison highlights their distinctive contributions to commodity theory. Zukofskys heated epistolary debates with Pound show him attempting to stress the centrality of labour in determining value in the face of Pounds claims often couched in anti-Semitic language that labour was a mere abstraction (as a foreigner, Pound claimed, Zukofsky could not understand the true resonance of such English terms).16 Meanwhile, Jennison argues that Niedeckers engagement with surrealism in the 1930s took place in the context of her
12.Zukofsky 1993, p. 39. 13.Jennison 2012, p. 5. 14.Jennison 2012, p. 5. 15.Jennison 2012, p. 45. 16.Jennison 2012, p. 104.

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attempts to discover a residuum of subjectivity17 in the mind of the human individual that might obviate capitalisms commodification of the interior voice. Occasionally, the compacted influence of hardboiled critical theory and the abstruse syntax of Objectivist verse is carried over into Jennisons prose. The Zukofsky Era makes a number of hugely valuable points, and a little more verbal restraint might have allowed them to sing with more cogency. This reviewer had to read the following sentence several times over before its meaning became apparent: The unexpected adjacencies characteristic of Objectivist form construct textual negatives of corresponding proximities between the developments, de-developments, and overdevelopments produced simultaneously in theirs, the third, century of capital.18 However, such density is atypical. In particular, Jennisons second chapter, on George Oppen and Cinematic Capitalism, is immensely engaging and vividly argued, perhaps because the poems it discusses were themselves so extraordinarily minimal and pellucid. The chapter contains a brilliant reading of a poem from Oppens debut work Discrete Series (published with a preface by Ezra Pound in 1934): Bolt In the frame Of the building A ship Grounds Her immense keel Chips A stone Under fifteen feet Of harbor Water The fiber of this tree Is live wood Running into the Branches and leaves In the air.19 Jennison compares Oppens poetic strategy here to the technique of early avant-garde cinematographers, who parried the reification of image and object by revealing the interconnectedness of objects and actions, and of persons and history.20 Oppens poem valorises and dramatises the labour that produced this sublime industrial object, but not in the formally conservative manner of Soviet realism. He adapts Pounds Imagist methodology of juxtaposition, lends it social urgency, and in doing so paves the way for the organic lyricism of late-modernist American successors such as Charles Olson and Robert Creeley (two writers who unfortunately fall outside the purview of both of these studies).

17.Jennison 2012, p. 140. 18.Jennison 2012, p. 10. 19.Oppen 2008, p. 23. 20.Jennison 2012, p. 89.


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Jennisons title glances at Hugh Kenners seminal study of 1971, The Pound Era, which eulogised Pound and his artistic fraternity (Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis), and which was for many years the classic account of high modernist literature. In recent years, the idea that poetry should be approached in this way as something that is organised around the narrative of a vanguard school has taken a severe battering.21 Postmodernist discourse was enamoured of multiplicity and scornful of critics who sought to paint broadbrush pictures of literary history. But an unfortunate effect of the embargo on apparently reductive, school-centric accounts of modern poetry is that the purposive narratives of literary communities have been marginalised almost into extinction, so that the modern reader has to work very hard to determine what contemporary poets are collectively saying about contemporary predicaments. As such, the near simultaneous arrival of The Matter of Capital and The Zukofsky Era is timely. In their shared commitment to foregrounding radical milieus who responded to the crises of capitalism by positing imaginative alternatives to a visibly faltering system, they have helped to put a neglected tradition of leftist modernist poetry back into the spotlight, and at a critical moment. Alex Niven St Johns College, Oxford alex_niven@hotmail.com References
Ashbery, John 2008, Collected Poems, 19561987, edited by Mark Ford, New York: Library of America. Clover, Joshua and Christopher Nealon 2011, Letters on Value and Poetry, available at <http:// www.thecapilanoreview.ca/the-george-stanley-issue/>. Jennison, Ruth 2012, The Zukofsky Era: Modernity, Margins, and the Avant-Garde, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Nealon, Christopher 2011, The Matter of Capital, Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press. Oppen, George 2008, New Collected Poems, edited by Michael Davidson, New York: New Directions. Perloff, Marjorie 1981, The Poetics of Indeterminacy: Rimbaud to Cage, Princeton: Princeton University Press. Spicer, Jack 2008, My Vocabulary Did This To Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer, edited by Peter Gizzi and Kevin Killian, Berkeley: University of California Press. Zukofsky, Louis 1993, A, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

21.See, for example, the following submission guideline on the website for the London poetry publisher Penned in the Margins: Factions, groups, and schools are for the history books (cf.<http://www.pennedinthemargins.co.uk/index.php/submitting-your-work/> ,accessed 20 November 2012).

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Driven from New Orleans: How Nonprofits Betray Public Housing and Promote Privatization, John Arena, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 20121
Abstract In Driven from New Orleans, John Arena focuses on the contradictory role of nonprofits in facilitating the consensual removal of poor, black residents from inner-city spaces as the result of the privatisation and demolition of public housing. His account is constructive for delving into the on-the-ground struggles around public housing and the complexities of urban politics, and, more importantly, for situating the housing question at the heart of working-class struggles. His emphasis on how the gradual construction of consent was imperative in paving the way for the sudden application of coercive force in the aftermath of Katrina is also a welcome correction to arguments that tend to see the post-Katrina policies as the cause clbre of the striking and rapid reconfiguration of New Orleans. Arena, however, falls short of providing a historicised analysis of urban politics and the politics of nonprofits. Keywords public housing, nonprofits, gentrification, race, class, radical politics, black urban regime, New Orleans

Introduction When in early 2011 the US Census Bureau released its 2010 data, the detailed breakdown of the figures for New Orleans underlined enormous demographic changes. One of the most eye-catching aspects of the 30% fall in the overall population of the city since 2000 was the dramatic alteration in the citys racial composition. New Orleans witnessed a sharp drop in its African-American population from 67.6% in 2000 to 60% in 2010. In reaction to the census results, Mayor Mitch Landrieu the son of the citys last white mayor, Maurice Landrieu (19708) stated that, Our progress has always been much bigger than a population number. Over five years after Hurricane Katrina, our story is one of redemption and resurrection.2 Naomi Kleins famous shock doctrine theory3 appears to explain the course of the redemption and resurrection of post-Katrina New Orleans. In the logic of disaster capitalism, progress has never been concerned about the plight of the wretched of the earth. In fact, state authorities at all levels welcomed the shocking force of the natural disaster Katrina in a series of orchestrated waves of managed violence to resurrect the city. By 1 September 2005, only three days after the storm, the privately contracted mercenary forces of Blackwater USA, under federal contract and hired by rich residents, already had boots on the ground, restoring law and order in the devastated city and protecting the mansions of the wealthy. Three weeks after the storm, Governor Kathleen Blanco closed the main source of healthcare for the regions most marginalised population, Charity Hospital. The governors next move was a state takeover of almost the entire school system in
1.I would like to thank Stefan Kipfer, Liette Gilbert, Ahmed Allahwala, Thorben Wieditz, Tyler Shipley and the anonymous reviewers at Historical Materialism for their comments and suggestions. 2.See Pilkington 2011. 3.Klein 2007.
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the city. State authorities fired over 7,000 mainly black teachers and support staff and abrogated their collective bargaining agreement. A month after the storm, then-mayor Ray Nagin fired over half of the citys 6,000 mainly black municipal workers (pp. 1478). A week after the storm, then Republican Congressman Richard H. Baker told lobbyists, [w]e finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldnt do it, but God did.4 Two years later and after months of intense struggle over the fate of New Orleanss public housing, on 20December 2007 God reappeared in the city council to unanimously vote for the razing of 4,500 public housing units in order to replace them with private, mixed-income developments. This act brought harsh condemnations even from liberal international organisations such as the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 2008 (p. 210). The coercive force of shock-and-awe tactics, however, explains only the logic of one head of the hydra of globalised, neo-colonial and neo-imperialist capitalism of our era. It does not explicate how popular consent was manufactured to legitimise and normalise such forms of violence. This is the point that John Arena zeros in on in Driven from New Orleans. His analysis emphasises how the removal of poor, black residents from inner-city spaces as the result of the privatisation and demolitions of public housing has taken place not just through authoritarian and coercive post-Katrina strategies, but also by more consensual apparatuses and practices in the form of the nonprofit complex (p. 183). Situating the privatisation of public housing in the context of the broader neoliberal state re-structuring since the 1980s, Arena aims to theorise urban politics by bringing together black urban regime theory (Adolph Reed) and the neo-classical Marxist theories of urbanisation and neoliberalism (David Harvey, Neil Smith) with a Gramsci-inspired analysis of nonprofits as part of the extended state (pp. xixxxxviii). The goal is to extend the study of black gentrification in two particular ways. On the one hand, instead of focusing on the black middle class (the tenet of the bulk of the literature on (black) gentrification), he shifts the emphasis towards the principal targets of black gentrification, that is black public housing residents and in particular, how consent was won for displacement and the role nonprofits played (p. xxii). In his influential critique of the eviction of critical perspectives from gentrification research, Tom Slater observed a growing chorus of researchers who cheer on gentrification as a saviour of cities: as a solution to urban poverty and blight.5 Arenas work follows Slaters call to bring to the forefront of research the effects of gentrification on working-class people (ibid.). On the other hand, Arena attempts to mov[e] beyond the iconic black neighbourhoods of Chicago and New York, by examining the post-civil rights []Negro[] removal within the context of what political scientist Adolph Reed calls a black urban regime form of the government (ibid.). Herein, Arena follows a recent discussion
4.See Babington 2005. 5.Slater 2006. In his critique of both recent scholarly and popular literature on gentrification, Slater identified three reasons for the dwindling of critical perspectives on gentrification, namely: 1) the resilience of theoretical and ideological squabbles over the causes of gentrification, at the expense of examining its effects; 2) the demise of displacement as a defining feature of the process; and 3) the pervasive influence of neoliberal urban policies of social mix in central city neighbourhoods. For a discussion of Slaters critique by the late Neil Smith, Loc Wacquant, Tom Slater and others, see the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Volume 32, Issue1 (2008).

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within the intellectual left (Adolph Reed, Antonia Darder, Rodolfo D. Torres) that advocates a retreat from analytical engagement with race and racism in favour of a focus on the real divide of class.6 Arenas account of the fate of public housing and the contradictory role of nonprofits in New Orleans is constructive for delving into the on-the-ground struggles around public housing and the complexities of urban politics, and, more importantly, for situating the housing question at the heart of working-class struggles. His emphasis on how the gradual construction of consent was imperative in paving the way for the sudden application of coercive force in the aftermath of Katrina is also a welcome correction to arguments that tend to see the post-Katrina policies as the cause clbre of the striking and rapid reconfiguration of New Orleans. Arena, however, falls short of providing a historicised analysis of urban politics and the politics of nonprofits. The fate of public housing in La Nouvelle-Orlans Driven from New Orleans tells a detailed story of the struggles around and the eventual demolition of two centrally located public housing developments in pre- and post-Katrina New Orleans, namely: the St Thomas and Iberville developments. Both projects were part of the legacy of New Deal America, or, more specifically, of the Roosevelt administrations Housing Act of 1937. Built in the Jim Crow era, both developments were initially white-only public housing. It was only following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) began the desegregation of public housing developments. Soon after, the very spaces that were initially part of the most systematic Negro removal processes in twentieth-century urban America were quickly occupied by working-poor African-Americans. By the early 1970s, the St Thomas and Iberville developments, like the rest of public housing in New Orleans and other American cities, were predominantly made up of low-income African-Americans. Located in between the Irish Channel neighbourhood and the Lower Garden District, the St Thomas development was one of the first public housing developments in the United States. By the summer of 2001, the historic St Thomas public housing development had itself been relegated to the dustbin of history. On its ruins, today stands the new shiny mixed-income, private-rental River Garden neighbourhood, developed by Historic Restoration Incorporated.7 Located in between the historic Trem neighbourhood and the French Quarter, the Iberville public housing development was opened in 1941. While it endured the shock of Hurricane Katrina, Iberville public housing did not survive the God-inflected razing force that New Orleanss council unleashed in late December 2007. In the white-settler-colonial United States, where the ideological belief in home ownership as The American Dream has deep-seated historical colonial roots in public consciousness, public housing has always been a highly contested and contradictory concept and reality. The history of New Deal public housing from the Housing Act of 1937 to the Lanham Act of 1940 and the Housing Acts of 1954 and 1956 had been extremely influenced by real
6.Reed 2005a, 2005b and 2009; Darder and Torres 2004. For a critique of these arguments, see Roediger 2006. 7.HRI Properties 2013.


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estate capital, the military industry, the national security state, as well as by anti-socialist, racist and patriarchal ideologies.8 The literature on public housing is a reflection of such a complex history, ranging from a) the total ideological condemnation of public housing developments as bastions of decadence and violence;9 to b) the critique of public housing as a federal strategy for controlling, marginalising and segregating the poor and particularly African-Americans;10 to c) the focus on resident activism, particularly by black women, from within the very contradictions of public housing;11 and lastly, d) the examination of the complexities of the more recent black-led gentrification.12 Driven from New Orleans is a continuation and extension of the last two categories of the above-mentioned body of literature (p. xxi). As a former labour and community organiser prior to his professorship at the City University of New York, John Arena had been involved in various anti-police, community-organising and public-housing defence campaigns from the mid-1980s to the late 2000s (p. 150). The book, which is based on his Ph.D. dissertation at Tulane University, is thus an insiders reflection upon and examination of the local movements around public housing in the city (p. ix). It is organised in seven chapters. The first five chapters of the book are focused on the St Thomas public housing development. Arena takes his readers through a chronological journey (19652002) of the on-the-ground struggles of the St Thomas tenant leaders, advisers, rank-and-file residents and allied activists. Readers are provided with a repertoire of the by-and-large successful series of protests, rent-strikes, sit-ins and occupations against the threats of slashed funding and of the intertwining expansion of gentrification and tourism during the 1970s and particularly the 1980s (Chapters 1 and 2). This is followed by a microanalysis of the dramatic political reversal of the St Thomas tenant leadership and their gradual negotiation and co-operation with the HANO authorities (Chapter 3), as well as their later endorsement of the Clinton administrations then newly-introduced HOPE VI federal grant (designed to privatise and downsize public housing) by the mid-1990s (Chapter 4), and, finally, their forging of a partnership with the citys most powerful real estate developer in order to privatise the St Thomas development from the late 1990s to early 2000s (Chapter 5). In Chapter 6, Arena shifts his focus onto community-based struggles against the privatisation of the Iberville public housing development from 2004 to the eve of Hurricane Katrina. Readers are provided with a chronicle of the then newly-forged interracial alliance of public housing residents and community activists aimed at countering the demolition of the Iberville development: a struggle that was able to defeat privatisation plans at Iberville, albeit temporarily. Chapter 7 is structured around the lessons learned from three decades of activism around public housing in New Orleans. Here, the critique is mostly focused on the penetration and the influence of nonprofits in grassroots mobilisations during late 2007 and early 2008 as local and national authorities confidently moved to demolish four of the citys public housing developments, including the Iberville project. These last

8.See Hackworth 2003; Friedman 1968; Marcuse 1995; Harloe 1995; Light 2003. 9.Clark 1965; Wilson 1990; Moore 1969; Bowly 1978. 10.Hirsch 1983; Bauman 1987; Fairbanks 1988; Connerly 2005; Massey 1990; Massey and Denton 1993. 11.Vale 2002; Williams 2004; Feldman and Stall 2004; Bennett, Smith and Wright (eds.) 2006. 12.Pattillo 2007.

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two chapters are based on Arenas four-year (20048) direct involvement in New Orleanss public housing movements. Intertwined with this at times exhaustingly micro-level narrative, Arena also presents an account of the political formation of the black urban regime13 in New Orleans from the 1980s until the late 2000s. During the post-Civil Rights era, in the majority black cities, a governing coalition composed of a mainly black-led local government and their allies, primarily a black cadre of professionals, contractors and ministers, gradually became, alongside the white elites, the major political player in urban politics (p. xxii). In New Orleans, the formation of such a governing coalition (what Adolf Reed called the black urban regime), while begun during the time of Mayor Maurice Landrieu (19708), was solidified during the mayoralties of the first and second Creole black mayors of the city: Ernest Dutch Morial (197886) and Sidney Barthelemy (198694).14 How might the post-civil rights urban black leadership in majority African American cities and their allied white developers successfully handle politically explosive endeavours such as public housing demolitions? (p. xxv). This question, for Arena (and Reed), represents the major conundrum of post-segregation politics in the United States. In his studies of local politics in post-segregation Atlanta, Adolph Reed15 mobilised urban regime theory16 in order to examine how in majority black cities, governed by a blackled political system, still deep-rooted patterns of racialised inequality were justified and reproduced. Reed highlighted how the class interests of black politicians were one of the main reasons for the possibility of forging a coalition with a white-dominated corporate sector. Meanwhile, black mayors emphasis on racial legitimacy and on the protection of racial image and status played a key role in shifting attention away from issues of racialised inequality in policy debates. Arenas analysis of the St Thomas and Iberville public-housing cases extends Reeds studies by showing that nonprofits helped cultivate critical black working-class support, or at least acquiescence, to the procorporate neoliberal development agenda. It was not so much the black elected and appointed officials but rather the nonprofits who were the crucial mediators who helped convert the concerns of the black public housing residents...Marrying free market ideas of privatization with those of selfdetermination and empowerment, the nonprofit leaders helped to sell support for privatization that was key to the regimes redevelopment agenda (p. 83). The penetration of non-profit ideology into St Thomas took place through the gradual political transformation among tenant leaders and allied activists as the result of the
13.Reed 1988 and 1999. 14.Whelan, Young and Lauria 1991. 15.Reed 1988 and 1999. 16.American in origin, urban regime theory (Stone 1989 and 1993; Elkin 1987) emerged in the wake of the broader debates over theories of the state in the 1980s as a model for analysing urban politics and the role of the local state in urban development. Regime theory adopts the neo-pluralist dictum that there exists a fundamental division of labour in liberal democracies between state and market. In this context, the state must co-opt non-governmental actors. For more discussion, see Collinge and Hall 1997; Sites 1997.


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transformation of grassroots activists into nonprofit officials (p. xviii). The non-profit leaders helped to move activists from confrontational politics (protest) to insider politics (negotiation). A transformation that, according to Arena, was fundamental in selling popular support for privatisation, which was key to the regimes redevelopment agenda (p. 218). The main contribution of Driven from New Orleans lies in its microanalysis of the ideological role of nonprofits in facilitating the hegemony of the neoliberal state at the neighbourhood level by reifying the racialised and class relations at the heart of the privatisation and demolition of public housing stock. As early as the mid-1980s, Wolch and Geiger called attention to the role of corporate philanthropy in local politics and policymaking, and particularly to the need to focus on urban and regional geographical questions in analysing the role of nonprofits.17 Critical scrutiny of such increasingly reinforced relations at the urban scale, as Arena emphasises as well, is much needed and yet remains one of the least developed areas of study in urban research. Arenas insider and bottom-up analytical lens upon the complexities and messiness of urban politics and struggles is a welcome qualification to the macro-analyses of the structuralist Marxist,18 neo-Weberian,19 and neoclassical Marxist20 approaches that have dominated critical research on public housing. Nevertheless, Driven from New Orleans suffers from two major shortcomings. First, there is a lack of proper theoretical contextualisation and analytical engagement with the broader critical literature on the local state and nonprofits. This has affected both the accessibility of the text for those outside of the (American) urban field, and, to some extent, the integrity of Arenas work. One example is Arenas reluctance to properly situate his analysis of the nonprofits in relation to the existing literature. More than two decades ago, in her influential study of non-profit sectors in the US and Great Britain, Jennifer Wolch mobilised Gordon Clark and Michael Dears concept of the local state21 to theorise nonprofits as the shadow state. She thus conceptualised nonprofits as a para-state apparatus, as a complex and contradictory phenomenon, which has increasingly transformed nonprofits into instruments of social control.22 Interestingly, Arena too mobilises Clark and Dears work and their conceptualisation of the local state as a consensus seeking sub-apparatus of the state for examining the central role of nonprofits in producing popular consensus for the privatisation of public housing (p. 115). Curiously, however, Arena neither engages with nor acknowledges Wolchs original contribution to theorising the relationship between the state and nonprofits (pp. 11416).23 Another example is the authors adoption of black urban regime theory; a choice that is only indirectly justified with reference to the importance of the local (municipal) level in the actual creation of neoliberal spaces (p. xxi). To readers unfamiliar with regime theory, however, it is not clear what are the contributions and shortcomings of black urban regime
17.Wolch and Geiger 1985. 18.Castells 1977 and 1978. 19. Harloe 1995. 20.Hackworth 2003; Brenner 2004. 21.Clark and Dear 1984. 22.Wolch 1990, p. xvi. 23.Clark and Dears State Apparatus: Structures and Language of Legitimacy (1984) is not even cited in Arenas references. His use of Clark and Dears theorisation of the local state is via the works of Whelan, Young and Lauria 1991 (see endnotes 825, pp. 2589).

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theory. And even if a focus on the local scale is the reason for choosing black urban regime theory, readers are still left with no explanation as to why such an approach should be more useful in theorising urban politics than, for example, the neo-Gramscian regulation approaches, which also emphasise the contingent but active force of the local state and local politics in regulating the shift from Fordist to post-Fordist regimes of accumulation.24 Analysis of local politics is indeed crucial, not least given that as the result of state re-structuring and re-scaling the proliferation of inter-agency networks and partnerships of all kinds at the local level has turned into a primary vehicle for urban policy development and implementation since the late 1980s.25 It was during the 1980s and 1990s that regime theory was developed out of the liberal-pluralist tradition of American political science and against structuralist Marxist analysis of local government and state policy.26 Emphasising a division of labour between the state, markets and local power structures, the focus in regime analysis is on the internal dynamics of coalition building through which local states mediate the relationship between the electoral control of the political process and the private control of the economy.27 Black urban regime theory as developed by Adolf Reed followed urban regime theory in identifying a dominant governing coalition composed of a black-led public sector and a white-dominated corporate sector. As mentioned earlier, Reeds emphasis on the class interests of black politicians shifted attention from the fact of African-American demographic and political ascendency in central cities to race as a persistent constraint on minority politicians in power. Reeds welcome emphasis on class relations, however, comes at the cost of prioritising class over race and, in the process, limiting the conceptualisation of class itself to a Weberian (professional and managerial) notion of status. I will touch upon this latter point in more detail shortly. The second weakness of Driven from New Orleans is that, despite appeals to Marxist analysis, Arenas narrative of urban politics and the politics of nonprofits falls short of providing a historicised excavation of either. In the remainder of this review, I will focus on this latter problem by touching upon two main, interrelated, analytical aspects of Arenas analysis; namely, the relationship between the state and nonprofits and between identity politics and class struggle. The state and the third sector Arena mobilises Gramscis theory of hegemony to analyse nonprofits as part of the extended state (p. xxvi). The bulk of his analysis deals with the 1980s and early 1990s (Chapters 2, 3 and
24.For a discussion on similarities and differences between regime theory and regulation theory, see Collinge and Hall 1997. 25.Brenner 2004; Brenner and Theodor 2002. 26.Collinge and Hall 1997; Sites 1997. 27.On regime theory, see Stone 1989; Elkin 1987. Despite its predominance in the study of local politics (particularly in the American context), regime theory has been criticised for being localist, for its lack of theorising the relation between politics and economics, and for its Weberian conception of class. The major strength of the regime perspective is its conceptualisation of urban development as an active, volitional process and not just as simply the residual effect of urbanisation or economic accumulation. See Sites 1997; Collinge and Hall 1997; Ward 1997; Davies 2002.


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4), and, in particular, with the 1986 mayoral race between Sidney Barthelemy and William Jefferson (p. 30).28 Barthelemy won the mayoral election by gaining the overwhelming majority of the white vote (85%) and a significant minority of the black vote (30%). Despite the fact that the election was taking place within the context of the citys first wave of gentrification and the targeting of public housing projects as bastions of concentrated poverty, the support and endorsement of the citys black public-housing leadership, including the St Thomas leadership, played a crucial role in giving Barthelemy some level of racial legitimacy (and votes) (p. 41). Arena focuses on the role of nonprofits and academic institutions operating at different scales and in cooperation with various statebound institutions in order to examine how this contradictory alliance was forged and what impact this partnership had on the political power of St. Thomas and other public housing communities (p. 30). Broadly speaking, he excavates three groups of nonprofits and their crucial political role (p. xxvii) as regime intermediary (p. 44), namely: neighbourhoodbased nonprofits, private foundations, and non-profit think tanks.29 Neighbourhood-based nonprofits included activist-consulting nonprofits such as The Peoples Institute for Survival and Beyond (PI), founded in 1980, and professional/serviceprovider nonprofits, such as the St Thomas Economic Development Corporation (STEDC), founded in 1987, as well as the St Thomas/Irish Channel Consortium (STICC), founded in 1990. The primary activity of PI was to conduct workshops on anti-racism for organisations focusing on social change and social services, which, in turn, helped strengthen the authority of the Institutes positions on local issues (pp. 445). Ironically, PIs negotiated endorsement of Barthelemy in 1986 helped in gaining the support of public-housing leaders for his election (p. 41). STEDCs mission was to promote and implement self-help efforts, such as creating microenterprises, obtaining private-funding sources, and eventually running the development (p. 59), while STICC soon turned into the central organisational vehicle through which tenant leaders and community activists moved from protest to insider negotiation with developers, government officials, and foundations to work out a redevelopment plan for St. Thomas (p. xxix). The growth of these neighbourhood-based nonprofits was in relation to both the retrenchment of the national state and the increasing activity of private foundations at the local level. STEDC, for example, was a local offspring of former tenant-management corporations popularised by the Ford Foundation in the early 1970s as a way of nullifying the key demands of black radical politics for self-determination and community control over the developments (pp. 578). Foundations, meanwhile, provided the key financial support for STICC (p. 85). By the early 1990s, the collaboration of PI, STEDC and STICC with each other and with HANO, as well as with New Orleanss most powerful real estate developer was profoundly influential in normalising the redevelopment and privatisation of St Thomas public housing (pp. 6081). This long-in-formation, multi-agency cooperation
28.Arena does mention briefly some aspects of the Morial mayoralty (i.e., his appeal to populism) in Chapter 1 and throughout the text. For the most part, however, there is not much analytical discussion on the continuities and divergences between the governments of the first and second black mayors, particularly in relation to their racial politics. For more discussion on this, see Whelan, Young and Lauria 1991 and Lauria (ed.) 1997. 29.This schematic categorisation is mine for the main purpose of summarising a very detailed discussion.

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was not always a smooth ride. Most often, non-profit think tanks and academic institutions enter into the scene as expert and scientific, thus ostensibly non-political, voices to settle differences between various parties. Tulane University and the Urban Land Institute (ULI)30 were active expert consultants in the process of formulating the privatisation plans for St Thomas. It was through ULIs 1993 report,31 for example, that the destruction of St Thomas public housing was rationalised as the only alternative to the problems of an historical development in severe need of repair. By the mid-1990s, the tenant leaders accepted the redevelopment plan. In the summer of 2001, bulldozers from Durr Construction, while benevolently employing 74 residents of St Thomas to bulldoze their own community, razed the whole development except for reserving five two- and three-storey walk-up apartments as objects of fascination for the historic-preservationists and tourists (p. 118). Unlike during the 1960s, when the federal government took the leading role in funding a whole series of antipoverty community organizations, Arena argues, foundations play a more pivotal role in pacification efforts under neoliberalism (p. 85). The foundations contributed to a new political orientation among St. Thomas tenant leaders and advisers, as the focus became one of finding private sources of support and cooperation became the watchword (p. 64). The result was a shift from class struggle to self-help (p. 57), while the 60s radical claim of self-determination came to mean control of private funding sources (p. 64). There is a good dose of truth in Arenas observation, of course. His analysis, however, assumes a rupture in the transformation of the welfare state into the neoliberal state. Given Arenas appropriation of Gramscis theory of hegemony, it is worth recalling that, rather than conceptualising the neoliberal state simply as an extended state (as Arena does), the imperative aspect of Gramscis theory of hegemony is his concept of the integral state.32 In its integral form, the state is a network of social relations for the production of consent, for the integration of the subaltern classes into the expansive project of historical development of the leading social group.33 While Arena correctly argues that the very processes of neoliberalisation of the state (i.e., the role of nonprofits) have been imperative in sustaining the hegemony of the neoliberal state and its strategies of accumulation (i.e., the commodification of public housing). What is left unaddressed in his argument, however, is an analytical incorporation of the ensemble of concrete historical relations and forces that have constructed nonprofits as part of the integral state since the beginning of the twentieth century. Instead, an excessive focus on the neighbourhood level and a lack of engagement with the critical literature on the historical relationship between the state and the third sector,34 coupled with a by-and-large romanticised representation of the welfare state, give
30.Founded in 1936, the Urban Land Institute has long been a lobbyist for the real estate industry in the United States. Since the 1980s, the nonprofit think tank has established a network of regional councils to expand and support the Institutes work at the local level not coincidently, of course. 31.ULI Advisory Services 1993. 32.Thomas 2009, pp. 13744. 33.Thomas 2009, pp. 141, 143. 34.See, for example, Allen 1969; Arnove (ed.) 1980; Wolch and Geiger 1985; Wolch 1990; Gidron, Kramer and Salamn (eds.) 1992; Roelofs 1995 and 2003; Shields and Evans 1999; INCITE! (ed.) 2007. Arena uses some aspects of Roelofss work, namely his argument that nonprofits


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the impression that foundations and nonprofits have been acting in deeply different ways under neoliberalism (itself understood narrowly as a hollowing-out of the state). In the context of the United States, from their inception in the early 1900s, foundations focused on research and dissemination of information designed ostensibly to ameliorate social issues in a manner, however, that did not challenge capitalism.35 Historically grounded studies illustrate that, as the welfare state expanded, so did the non-profit organisations.36 In the early 1960s, foundations were growing at the rate of 1,200 per year, while financial magazines often promoted them as tax-shelter tools.37 In his 1969 book, Black Awakening in Capitalist America, Robert L. Allen warned of the co-optation of the Black civil rights and Black Power movements by foundations. Most striking, and perhaps most disturbing, are the many parallels between Arenas study and Allens documentation of the Ford Foundations strategies in co-opting the NAACP, the Urban League, and the CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) by providing direct grants and financial support to think tanks such as the Metropolitan Applied Research Centre (MARC) in New York. In many ways, the urban crisis of the mid-twentieth century that temporarily undermined the political legitimacy of the colonial, imperialist capitalist system also shed light on the political utility of the third sector in cementing the cracked hegemony of the system. Wolch and Geigers survey of the geographical variation of nonprofits investment in the US shows that, beginning in the 1965 and as a response to the growing urban crisis of the time, a relocation of corporate philanthropy gradually paved its way into civic causes and urban affairs.38 In her study of the growing alliance between urban planning and national security in the United States during the Cold War, Jennifer Light documents how defenceoriented, federally-supported, non-profit think tanks such as RAND, MITRE and the Urban Institute by reframing the urban crisis as a national security crisis aligned defence interests and urban policies and thus offered the military industry new opportunities for work in the black ghettos.39 Without doubt, four decades of aggressive re-scaling and re-structuring of the Fordist state have reinforced the political significance of nonprofits for managing the transformation of the internal articulation and condensation of social relations and constitutive dimensions of the post-Fordist integral state. This process, however, is not a simple result of the privatisation of institutions and services of the welfare state. The very intimate ties between the political economy of the postwar third sector and the political project of the welfare state (to manage and diffuse the crisis of colonial, imperialist capitalism and any possibility of revolution) were imperative in producing the increasing control of the neoliberal state

function as a protective layer for capitalism, however, only in the context of the 1980s onwards. He also mentions the work of INCITE! twice and mobilises their concept of a nonprofit industrial complex, but without providing any definition of the concept or any analytical and theoretical engagement with or acknowledgement of the contributions in the edited collection. 35.Smith 2007, p. 4. 36.Gidron, Kramer and Salamn (eds.) 1992; Gidron 1992; Shields and Evans 1998, pp. 55115. 37.Smith 2007, p. 5. 38.Wolch and Geiger 1985. 39.Light 2003.

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over nonprofits and its consequential deepening of the philanthropic particularism and paternalism of nonprofits40 not just at the urban level, but also worldwide.41 The problematic of (radical) politics: Identity politics or class struggle? The questions of race and class figure prominently in Driven from New Orleans. Arena underscores the fact that the destruction of public housing projects is at the center of the racialized, revanchist agenda in the United States (p. xxii). Following Reed,42 throughout his analysis Arena places a great emphasis on the class origins and class interests of the black officials that head the black local state and underlines that a class analysis of racial oppression is crucial for identifying its primary beneficiaries and building an effective political challenge (p. 258). The emphasis on class analysis is imperative, particularly considering other approaches to racial oppression in the context of public housing where class appears almost not at all.43 In tandem with such an emphasis, a main component of Arenas study of nonprofits is his harsh critique of their promotion of an identity-politics form of organising (pp. 14563). This is partly due to the dominance of liberal foundations that encourage applicants to develop single-issue campaigns with reasonable goals that do not represent a radical challenge to the status quo (p. 149). The promotion of identitypolitics informed organising focused on difference, for Arena, presents a major obstacle, or trench, to constructing a broad left that recognizes common class interests a force that would have the social power to effectively combat racial, gender, sexual and other forms of oppression through a mass challenge to the ruling classs neoliberal capitalist agenda (p. xxix). The welcome emphasis on class analysis and the critique of liberal identity politics, however, comes at the cost of prioritising class over race and a rejection of difference (pp.1623).44 In his class analysis of the St Thomas public housing residents, Arena mobilises Albert Szymanskis theorisation of social class as a socially coherent set of families based on a common class position which share a generally common life-style, social status, traditions, customs and consciousness, and which feel socially comfortable with...one another (p.11).45 Such an essentialised form of class identity, separated from the convergence of many determinations (as Marx pointed out in the Grundrisse), rooted in historical, cultural, sexual, racial and political relations, easily homogenises some
40.Gidron, Kramer and Salamn (eds.) 1992; Shields and Evans 1998. 41.Arnove (ed.) 1980; Roefels 1995 and 2003. 42.Reed 1988 and 1999. 43.See Massey 1990; Massey and Denton 1993. 44.As mentioned earlier, Arena follows a recent discussion within the intellectual left that advocates a retreat from analytical engagement with race and racism in favour of a focus on the real divide of class. See Footnote 7. 45.Szymanski 1983, p. 79. This is not the space for a critique of Szymanskis conception of class, suffice to say that for Szymanski class is primarily an economic phenomenon. He prioritises this reductionist concept of class over gender and race to the point that, for him, womens issues are simply class issues, and that since WWII, blacks have, relatively speaking, benefited much more from the welfare state than whites and, consequently, are well-integrated into the American proletariat.


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1,300 African American families (p. 118) who lived in the St Thomas development during the 1980s. Likewise, Arenas emphasis on the class origins and interests of black officials does not incorporate any historicised analysis of the inter-racial politics within the black community in New Orleans (particularly among the non-Creole and Creole blacks) and of the intermediary role of black political organisations such as COUP and SOUL.46 Instead of situating the 1986 mayoral election in relation to this historical context, Arena ironically prefers an identitarianist representation of the mayoral candidates: two black candidates [Sidney] Barthelemy, a Catholic, Creole, light-complected New Orleans native and William Jefferson, a Protestant, Anglo-African American, dark-skinned northern Louisiana native (p. 30). The lack of concrete analysis of (inter-)racial politics also extends into his critique of nonprofits. Here, Arena situates nonprofits promotion of self-help ideology in relation to the racialized self-help ideology that increasingly took hold in the 1980s in the context of Reaganite retrenchment (pp. 578). Nonetheless, he does not extend his analysis to examining the political role of black nationalism in popularising a rhetoric of self-help for African-Americans47 and whether or not it was influential in the St Thomas case, for example. The upshot of this lack of analytically incorporating and historicising (inter-)racial politics and racialised relations of domination is a lack of recognition of the fact that the notion of identity, as Himani Bannerji argues, similar to many other notions such as democracy, freedom and empowerment, can become an ideological tool.48 That is, they can be deployed in particular modes that would render them into singular notions based on generalities that can occlude lived spaces, times and practices of living subjects and agents.49 A combination of inattention to the historical materiality of white supremacy and to the socio-historical relations and practical-political imperatives resting within the existing neo-colonial liberal mode of the ideological deployment of difference has led Arena and Reed50 to reject difference in the name of a more effective class struggle. Instead of emancipating radical politics from fragmentation, however, such ahistorical rejection of difference has caged up radical politics within the ideological dead-end of identity or class as two mutually exclusive forms of politics. In the First Thesis on Feuerbach in The German Ideology, Marx had already formulated this problematic as the false separation between being and the world that being inhabits. Anti-colonial critics such as Frantz Fanon and Aim Csaire have highlighted how the search of the colonised for cultural-political identity should be seen in a dialectical relation with an identity politics already in place throughout colonisation, slavery and after, that has de-humanised and de-historicised the colonised.51 Arenas ease in privileging class over race and his conceptualisation of (black) radical politics merely as a politics of confrontation and disruption (p. 218), have, partly, to do with the blindness of his analysis to both the historical reality of North America as the product of white-settler colonialism and the strong

46.See Whelan, Young and Lauria 1991; Lauria (ed.) 1997. 47.Marable 2009, pp. 23038. 48.Bannerji 1995 and 2011. 49.Bannerji 2011, p. 37. 50.Reed 2004, 2005a, 2005b and 2009. 51.Bannerji 1995.

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roots of black radical politics in anti-colonial, anti-capitalist struggles.52 From W.E.B. DuBoiss Black Reconstruction (1935) and C.L.R. Jamess Black Jacobins (1938), to Dan Georgakas and Marvin Surkins Detroit: I Do Mind Dying (1975), Angela Daviss Women, Race and Class (1981) and Robin D.G. Kelleys Race Rebels (1994), what time and again has been reconfirmed in these narratives is the impossibility of thinking of an identity for black working women and men without integrating gender, race and class, and without relating that integral unity to history that is, the history of colonisation and slavery. Despite these shortcomings, Driven from New Orleans should be credited for bringing to the forefront the salient, if contradictory, role of nonprofits in facilitating capital accumulation and racialised displacement through the commodification of public housing. The hallmark of the work of the INCITE! collective53 on the non-profit industrial complex has been an eye-opening emphasis on how capitalist interests and the state use nonprofits to monitor, control and co-opt political dissent and struggles of racialised and marginalised people, from Native and African-Americans to the Palestinians. Despite this influential contribution, the geographical and urban specificities of the role of nonprofits in facilitating gentrification and co-opting working-class struggles are still one of the least developed areas of study in urban Marxist research. Arenas attempt to think through urban politics and radical politics together and to situate the housing question at the centre of working-class struggles is also a welcome contribution. The commodification of housing was at the heart of the banking collapse of 20068 that triggered the current prolonged crisis of the global economic system. This crisis has not only resulted in perhaps the greatest transfer of wealth out of the pockets of the black workingclasses in the history of the United States, but also has precipitated a new moment in the evolution of neo-colonial, neo-imperialist globalised capitalism. The housing question has also been integral to the rise of the far-right, neofascist political forces, such as the British National Party and the English Defence League, in the past decade.54 In the current historical conjuncture, it is important to recognise that public housing redevelopment is more than state-led gentrification and neoliberal state re-scaling. It is also part of the broader process to reorganize spatial forms of political domination along racialised and neo-colonial lines,55 essential to the survival of an economically integrated yet socio-spatially fragmented, hierarchised, and differentiated neo-imperial capitalist world order. Herein, the challenge resides in historicising, spatialising and differentiating neo-colonial, gender and class relations that converge in the production of the spatial forms of political domination and capital accumulation. Parastou Saberi York University parastou75@gmail.com

52.On black radical politics, see Robinson 2004. 53.INCITE! (ed.) 2007. 54.Trilling 2012. 55.Kipfer and Goonewardena forthcoming.


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Allen, Robert L. 1969, Black Awaking in Capitalist America, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc. Arnove, Robert F. (ed.) 1980, Philanthropy and Cultural Imperialism: The Foundations at Home and Abroad, Boston: G.K. Hall. Babington, Charles 2005, Some GOP Legislators Hit Jarring Notes in Addressing Katrina, Washington Post, 10 September, available at: <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/ content/article/2005/09/09/AR2005090901930.html>. Bannerji, Himani 1995, Thinking Through: Essays on Feminism, Marxism, and Anti-Racism, Toronto: Womens Press. 2011, Demography and Democracy: Essays on Nationalism, Gender and Ideology, Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press Inc. Bauman, John F. 1987, Public Housing, Race, and Renewal: Urban Planning in Philadelphia, 1920 1974, Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Bennett, Larry 1993, Harold Washington and the Black Urban Regime, Urban Affairs, 28, 3: 42340. Bennett, Larry, Janet L. Smith and Patricia A. Wright (eds.) 2006, Where Are Poor People to Live: Transforming Pubic Housing Communities, Armonk: M.E. Sharpe. Bowly Jr., Devereux 1978, The Poorhouse: Subsidized Housing in Chicago, 18951976, Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. Bratt, Rachel G. 1986, Public Housing: The Controversy and Contribution, in Bratt, Hartman and Meyerson 1986. Bratt, Rachel G., Chester Hartman and Ann Meyerson 1986, Critical Perspectives on Housing, Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Brenner, Neil 2004, New State Spaces: Urban Governance and the Rescaling of Statehood, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Brenner, Neil and Nik Theodore 2002, Spaces of Neoliberalism: Urban Restructuring in North America and Western Europe, Oxford: Blackwell. Castells, Manuel 1977, The Urban Question: A Marxist Approach, translated by Alan Sheridan, London: Edward Arnold. 1978, City, Class and Power, translated by Elizabeth Lebas, Basingstoke: Macmillan. Clark, Gordon L. and Michael Dear 1984, State Apparatus: Structures and Language of Legitimacy, London: Allen and Unwin. Clark, Kenneth B. 1965, Dark Ghetto: Dilemmas of Social Power, New York: Harper & Row. Collinge, Chris and Stephen Hall 1997, Hegemony and Regime in Urban Governance: Towards a Theory of the Locally Networked State, in Transforming Cities: Contested Governance and New Spatial Division, edited by Nick Jewson and Susan MacGregor, London: Routledge. Connerly, Charles E. 2005, The Most Segregated City in America: City Planning and Civil Rights in Birmingham, 19201980, Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press. Darder, Antonia and Rodolfo D. Torres 2004, After Race: Racism after Multiculturalism, New York: New York University Press. Davies, Jonathan S. 2002, Urban Regime Theory: A Normative-Empirical Critique, Journal of Urban Affairs, 24, 1: 117. Davis, Angela Y. 1983, Women, Race and Class, New York: Vintage Books. Elkin, Stephen L. 1987, City and Regime in the American Republic, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Fairbanks, Robert B. 1988, Making Better Citizens: Housing Reform and the Community Development Strategy in Cincinnati, 18901960, Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Feldman, Roberta M. and Susan Stall 2004, The Dignity of Resistance: Women Residents Activism in Chicago Public Housing, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Friedman, Lawrence M. 1968, Government and Slum Housing: A Century of Frustration, Chicago: Rand McNally. Gidron, Benjamin 1992, Government and the Third Sector in Comparative Perspective: Allies or Adversaries?, in Gidron, Kramer and Salamn (eds.) 1992. Gidron, Benjamin, Ralph M. Kramer and Lester Salamn (eds.) 1992, Government and the Third Sector: Emerging Relationships in Welfare States, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Hackworth, Jason 2003, Public Housing and the Rescaling of Regulations in the USA, Environment and Planning A, 35, 3: 53149. Harloe, Michael 1995, The Peoples Home: Social Rental Housing in Europe and America, Oxford: Blackwell. Hirsch, Arnold R. 1983, Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago, 19401960, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. HRI Properties 2013, River Garden Apartments on Felicity, available at: <http://www.rivergarden neworleans.com>. INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence (ed.) 2007, The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex, Cambridge, MA.: South End Press. Kelley, Robin D.G. 1994, Race Rebels: Culture, Politics and the Black Working Class, New York: The Free Press. Kipfer, Stefan and Kanishka Goonewardena forthcoming, Henri Lefebvre and Colonization: From Reinterpretation to Research, in Urban Research and Architecture: Beyond Henri Lefebvre, edited by Akos Moravansky, Christian Schmid and Lukasz Stanek. Klein, Naomi 2007, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, New York: Picador. Lauria, Mickey (ed.) 1997, Reconstructing Urban Regime Theory: Regulating Urban Politics in a Global Economy, Thousand Oaks, CA.: Sage. Light, Jennifer S. 2003, From Warfare to Welfare: Defence Intellectuals and Urban Problems in Cold War America, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Marable, Mannin 2009, Beyond Black and White: Transforming African-American Politics, London: Verso. Marcuse, Peter 1995, Interpreting Public Housing History, Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, 12, 3: 24058. Massey, Douglas S. 1990, American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass, American Journal of Sociology, 96, 2: 32957. Massey, Douglas and Nancy Denton 1993, American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass, Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press. Moore, William 1969, The Vertical Ghetto: Everyday Life in an Urban Project, New York: Random House. Pattillo, Mary 2007, Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Pilkington, Ed 2011, New Orleans Population Falls 30% in 10 Years, The Guardian, 4 February, available at: <http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/04/new-orleans-population-census>. Robinson, Cedric J. 2004, Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. Reed, Adolph L. 1988, The Black Urban Regime: Structural Origins and Constraints, in Power, Community and the City, edited by Michael Peter Smith, Piscataway: Transaction Publishers. 1999, Stirrings in the Jug: Black Politics in the Post-Segregated Era, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 2004, Reinventing the Working Class: A Study in Elite Image Manipulation, New Labor Forum, 13, 3: 1826. 2005a, Class-ifying the Hurricane, The Nation, 3 October, available at: <http://www.the nation.com/article/class-ifying-hurricane>.


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2005b, The Real Divide, The Progressive, November, available at: <http://progressive.org/ mag_reed1105>. 2009, The Limits of Anti-Racism, Left Business Observer, September, available at: <http:// www.leftbusinessobserver.com/Antiracism.html>. Roediger, David 2006, The Retreat from Race and Class, Monthly Review, 58, 3: 4051, available at: <http://monthlyreview.org/2006/07/01/the-retreat-from-race-and-class>. Roelofs, Joan 1995, The Third Sector as a Protective Layer for Capitalism, Monthly Review, 47, 4: 16. 2003, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism, Albany: State University of New York Press. Shields, John and B. Mitchell Evans 1998, Shrinking the State: Globalization and Public Administration Reform, Halifax, NS.: Fernwood Publishing. Sites, William 1997, The Limits of Urban Regime Theory: New York City under Koch, Dinkins, and Giuliani, Urban Affairs Review, 32, 4: 53657. Slater, Tom 2006, The Eviction of Critical Perspectives from Gentrification Research, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 30, 4: 73757. Smith, Andrea 2007, Introduction: The Revolution Will Not Be Funded, in INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence (ed.) 2007. Stone, Clarence N. 1989, Regime Politics: Governing Atlanta, 19461988, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. 1993, Urban Regimes and the Capacity to Govern: A Political Economy Approach, Journal of Urban Affairs, 15, 1: 128. Szymanski, Albert 1983, Class Structure: A Critical Perspective, New York: Praeger. Thomas, Peter D. 2009, The Gramscian Moment: Philosophy, Hegemony and Marxism, Chicago: Haymarket Books. Trilling, Daniel 2012, Bloody Nasty People: The Rise of Britains Far Right, London: Verso. ULI Advisory Services 1993, Lower Garden District, New Orleans, Louisiana, Washington: Urban Land Institute. Vale, Lawrence J. 2002, Reclaiming Public Housing: A Half Century of Struggle in Three Public Housing Neighborhoods, Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press. Ward, Kevin G. 1997, Coalitions in Urban Regeneration: A Regime Approach, Environment and Planning A, 29, 8: 1493506. Whelan, Robert K., Alma H. Young and Mickey Lauria 1991, Urban Regimes and Racial Politics: New Orleans during the Barthelemy Years, College of Urban and Public Affairs (CUPA) Working Papers, 19912000, Paper 25, available at: <http://scholarworks.uno.edu/cupa_wp/25/>. Williams, Rhonda Y. 2004, The Politics of Public Housing: Black Womens Struggles Against Urban Inequality, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Wilson, William J. 1990, The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy, Chicago: University of Chicago. Wolch, Jennifer 1990, The Shadow State: Government and Voluntary Sector in Transition, New York: The Foundation Centre. Wolch, Jennifer and R.K. Geiger 1985, Corporate Philanthropy: Implications for Urban Research and Public Policy, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 3, 3: 34970.

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Crisis in the Global Economy: Financial Markets, Social Struggles, and New Political Scenarios, edited by Andrea Fumagalli and Sandro Mezzadra, Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2010; Finanza bruciata, Christian Marazzi, Bellinzona: Casagrande, 2009; Il comunismo del capitale. Finanziarizzazione, biopolitiche del lavoro e crisi globale, Christian Marazzi, Verona: Ombre corte/UniNomade, 2010; Dalleuforia al panico. Pensare la crisi finanziaria e altri saggi, Andr Orlan, Verona: Ombre corte/UniNomade, 2010
Abstract The article considers the research developed by the UniNomade project concerning the global financial crisis within the theoretical framework of Italian workerism and post-workerist theory. On the whole, the UniNomade project offers a rich variety of stimuli to debate. However, in the work of UniNomade, there are some problematic elements, particularly when the authors invoke a series of excesses in cognitive capitalism. This review-article argues that the old post-workerist thesis of an obsolescence of the law of value introduces into UniNomades work an ambiguous determinism. Keywords cognitive capitalism, global crisis, Italian post-workerism, commons, Antonio Negri, UniNomade

The excesses of cognitive capitalism The first signs of the shift from Italian workerism [operaismo] to post-workerism can probably already be seen in the early 1970s. The notion of post-workerism was to be developed much later,1 but a series of theoretical transformations produced, between 1971 and 1974, a fracture in the political-intellectual path of workerism.2 On the one hand, Trontis hypothesis about the autonomy of the political3 gradually moves away from the framework of the Copernican Revolution.4 On the other hand, the old paradigm is subjected to many criticisms, even by those who continue to find in the pages of the Quaderni Rossi and Operai e capitale the moment of foundation of a theoretical tradition. It is, in fact, during this period that not only the structure of 1960s workerism but also the idea of the political and economic centrality of the worker-mass of the big Fordist factory is either altogether abandoned or radically rethought. These new elements introduced, in the history of workerism, not a complete rupture with the past but a revision of several important ideas. This critical revision is carried out, for example, by Negri, but also by the review Primo maggio and by the feminist workerism developed by Maria Rosa Dalla Costa and other researchers. The term

1. See Mezzadra 2011a. 2.According to Romano Alquati (Alquati 1999) and Mario Tronti (Tronti 2010), the history of workerism ends in 1967, with the closing down of the magazine Classe Operaia. On the contrary, I think that we can find strong elements of continuity between the theoretical framework developed in the first half of the 1960s and the hypothesis and research developed between 1968 and 1971, both within the review Contropiano (which included the contributions of Alberto Asor Rosa, Massimo Cacciari, and Tronti) and from the researcher-activist group of Antonio Negri, including Sergio Bologna, Luciano Ferrari Bravo and Mauro Gobbini (cf. Wright 2002). 3.Tronti 1977. 4.See Palano 2009.
Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2013 DOI: 10.1163/1569206X-12341299


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crisis enters the workerist lexicon,5 and, above all, several theoretical themes, which are destined to constantly return to the debate in the following decades, start appearing: the crisis of the planner-state, the obsolescence of the law of value, and the withering of civil society. All of these themes, which reappear for example in the pages of Empire,6 can in fact be already found, though in almost hermetic form, in a booklet by Negri from 19717 or, in more thought-out form, in the essays contained in Crisi e organizzazione operaia.8 The latter volume concentrated on the crisis, conceived not so much as determined by factors exogenous to the conflict between capital and labour, but rather as a manifestation of that conflict itself: as an attempt on the part of capital to flee the conflict within the factory and to strike at the worker, rigidly bound by class composition. Sergio Bologna, in particular, while re-reading articles by Marx published in the New York Daily Tribune between 1856 and 1857, suggested that money represented an essential tool for capitalist restructuring.9 In the following years, this idea was laid out in depth in the pages of the militant history journal Primo maggio by Bologna himself and by other young researchers, including Lapo Berti, Franco Gori, Mario Zanzani and Christian Marazzi. Their aim was to update workerisms theoretical toolbox at the dawning of the crisis of the 1970s.10 Reading these debates today is, of course, not only interesting but also instructive, because it demonstrates the lucidity with which over thirty years ago the dynamic then in place was deciphered. However, it is also interesting because the premises for the analysis developed by post-workerist thought today can be found in those pages. Despite many criticisms, Negris hypothesis remains a key reference-point for postworkerism and marks the various stages of this theoretical path. In particular, I think that in the history of post-workerism three distinct stages can be identified: (i) the first (197187) is marked by the debate on the crisis of the planner-state and the formation of the operaio sociale, but in the 1980s the debate negatively reflects the change in the political climate; (ii) the second (198899) is characterised by reflection upon the new class composition and, in particular, by the hypothesis of mass intellectualism (developed in the magazine Luogo comune by Paolo Virno and Lucio Castellano),11 and by research on immaterial labour, as presented in the French journal Futur antrieur, by the same Negri, Maurizio Lazzarato and Carlo Vercellone;12 (iii) the third stage begins in 2000 with the global success of Empire, from which new researchers began to de-provincialise the (post-)workerist tradition, opening the doors to other theoretical traditions.13 The UniNomade project was born, in 2005, in this third phase of post-workerism, with the ambition of building a network of Italian and foreign researchers that can reflect critically
5.Negri had already used this term in a crucial article, Marx sul ciclo e la crisi (Negri 1968). This article is probably the theoretical point of arrival in the workerist path of the 1960s and the point of junction to further developments. 6.Hardt and Negri 2000. 7.Negri 1974. 8.Bologna, Carpignano and Negri 1974. 9.Bologna 1974. 10.Berti (ed.) 1978; Marazzi 1977, 1978a, 1978b. On the Primo maggio experience, see Lucarelli 2010; Wright 2002, pp. 22954. 11. See Agamben et al. 1990; Virno 1994; Virno and Hardt (eds.) 1996. 12.Lazzarato 1997; Negri 1988. 13.See Neilson 2005; Chiesa and Toscano (eds.) 2009; Birkner and Foltin (eds.) 2006.

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upon the present and move in a similar direction. Although UniNomade involves different perspectives, Negris assumptions have great weight in directing the discussion, and, from a certain point of view, UniNomade can be considered as a development of the perspective of the French magazine Multitudes and the Italian magazine Posse. Alongside a collective debate, the project has produced a book series published by Ombre corte, a number of volumes of which have so far been published, including Crisis in the Global Economy, edited by Andrea Fumagalli and Sandro Mezzadra, an anthology of essays by Andr Orlan, Dalleuforia al panico, and a collection of essays by Christian Marazzi, Il comunismo del capitale.14 The theoretical framework within which UniNomade works is, as explained by Sandro Mezzadra in the Introduction to Crisis in the Global Economy, a legacy of Italian workerism and post-workerist research. However, the framework also endeavours to move beyond the borders of a specific theoretical tradition and to open itself up to a debate with research programmes rooted in other theoretical traditions. As Mezzadra put it in the Introduction to Crisis in the Global Economy: We come... from the great tradition of revolutionary Italian workerism, and our work is collocated within what is now, in international debate, referred to with the certainly insufficient but also somewhat effective term post-workerism. We nevertheless feel the need to question our own theoretic tools and to be open to discussion with other currents and with other theoretic practices that have contributed to the critical comprehension of the present in the last few years: from postcolonial studies to the most recent developments in feminism, from the reflections in new media studies to the frontiers of political philosophy, only to name a few.... But our theoretic and political work is not fed by empty formulas. We are interested in struggles and people that live and suffer, that build joy and cooperation in their endeavors. We would like to dialogue with these people, without asking for identification or membership cards. Only those who have nothing to say about the present quarrel about a presumed glorious heredity of the past: this is not our case.15 Underlying all of these essays are some elements that represent, in many ways, the hypotheses shared by the whole debate. The first is the conviction that the crisis of 2008 presents new features: even though financialisation can be understood as the descending phase of a systemic cycle of accumulation,16 the researchers of UniNomade believe that finance has, in fact, acquired a pervasive role within the reorganisation of capitalism. The second element, closely linked to the first, is the conviction that a transition to a kind of post-industrial capitalism is underway, a type of capitalism provisionally defined as cognitive capitalism or biocapitalism. Moving around these basic hypotheses, the various essays feature more than a few differences which, although not leading to actual incongruences, do however seem to follow (at least in some cases) different theoretical paths. In order also to avoid
14.Previously, UniNomade supported the publication of Tar (ed.) 2005. Morini 2010, which focuses specifically on the process of the feminisation of labour, has also been published in the UniNomade series. 15.Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010, pp. 89. 16.Arrighi 1994, 2007.


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undue overlapping, in this review I will attempt to consider the various essays separately, focusing above all on the contributions in which I believe the merits of UniNomades work, as well as the risks to which its course of investigation could lead, emerge most clearly. It is, without a doubt, rather easy to find a robust theoretical thread between the presentday reading of the crisis and that developed in the 1970s. It is certainly no coincidence that in Il comunismo del capitale (a volume comprising a series of essays written in the last ten years) Marazzi re-presents, in an appendix, an article which originally appeared at the end of the 1970s in Zerowork, an American journal that is theoretically very close to Italian workerism.17 After intense research,18 and across a span of thirty years, Marazzi in the essay contained in Crisis in the Global Economy (then elaborated on in Finanza bruciata), just as in Il comunismo del capitale develops those very ideas, even though he strongly underlines how the current crisis has completely new features. The first element pointed out by Marazzi in Finanza bruciata is, principally, the global nature of the crisis, which differentiates it from preceding crises, which were circumscribed by regional confines. But, above all, it is the fact that financial economy today is pervasive, that is, it spreads across the entire economic cycle, co-existing with it, so to speak, from start to finish.19 The source of financialisation is the crisis of capitalist accumulation that began in the 1970s; in other words, it was caused by profit being directed away from reinvestment into directly productive processes, accompanied by a scaling-back of salaries. In the presence of a prolonged stagnation in the rate of profit, the growth of profit not reinvested in productive activity has represented an important channel of financialisation, which is structuralised accordingly, becoming to all intents and purposes the modus operandi of contemporary capitalism.20 The point Marazzi draws attention to is that financialisation is not a unproductive/parasitic deviation of growing quotas of surplus value and collective saving, but rather the form of capital accumulation symmetrical with new processes of value production.21 The present-day financial crisis must therefore be understood more as a block of capital accumulation than as an implosive result of a process of lacking capital accumulation.22 As Marazzi writes: Apart from the role of finance in the sphere of consumption, what happened in these last 30 years is a veritable metamorphosis of the production process of this very surplus-value. There has been a transformation of valorisation processes that witnesses the extraction of value no longer circumscribed in the places dedicated to the production of goods and services, but, so to speak, extending beyond factory gates, in the sense that it enters directly into the sphere of the circulation of capital, that is, into the sphere of the exchange of goods and services. It is a question of extending the process of extracting value from the sphere of

17. Marazzi 1977. 18. Marazzi 1994, 1998. 19. Marazzi 2009, p. 44. 20.Marazzi 2009, pp. 489. 21. Marazzi 2009, p. 70. 22.Ibid.

Review Articles / Historical Materialism 21.3 (2013) 229245 reproduction and distribution a phenomenon, let it be noted, for a long time well known to women.23


At the root there is, in fact, a complete modification of the process of the production of surplus value: to summarise, it is about the externalisation of the process of production, through which the sphere of circulation is colonised, to the point of transforming the consumer into a veritable producer of economic value.24 However, the most significant point is that these innovations make it possible, in the 1970s, to raise the amount of surplus value, which is extracted in three different ways: (a) the compression of the direct and indirect wage (retirement, social-security cushions, earnings from individual and collective savings); (b) the reduction of socially necessary labour with flexible network company systems (precarisation, intermittent employment); and (c) the creation of an ever vaster pool of free labour (the free labour in the sphere of consumption, circulation and reproduction, with a more intensified cognitive labour).25 From this point of view, Marazzis analysis converges with that of many analysts,26 according to whom there has, in effect, been an increase in the rate of profit in the last two decades. For Marazzi, the fact that the enormous mass of surplus value is not reinvested in productive activity does not, however, indicate a failure of accumulation, because in his eyes this is an element that marks a new accumulation process.27 The increase in profit, which lies at the basis of financialisation, was basically guaranteed by a new type of accumulation, which does not consist of investments in constant or variable capital, but in production and subsumption of value produced outside directly productive processes.28 The result is, therefore, a wholly new form of accumulation, external to traditional production processes: a new accumulation process, that took place after the crisis of Fordism in the sphere of circulation and reproduction of capital.29 Speculative bubbles are to be understood within this dynamic. Although the essays concentrate on different aspects, Crisis in the Global Economy also developed from similar starting-points to Marazzis. In Fumagallis contribution, The Global Economic Crisis and Socioeconomic Governance, the analysis concentrates on the contradictions within what is defined as cognitive capitalism, understood as a regime of accumulation that is built on three pillars: (a) the role of the financial markets as motor of accumulation from the financing side of investment and as hinge upon which wealth distribution mechanisms depend; (b) the generation (learning) and the diffusion (network) of knowledge as the main source of capitalistic valorization on a global scale that redefines the relation between the living and the dead work; (c) the decomposition of the work force on an international scale following the valorization of individual subjective differences in a context of cognitive division of labor (the process of precarization and for controlling

23.Ibid. 24.Marazzi 2009, p. 72. 25.Marazzi 2009, p. 75. 26.For example, see Dumnil and Levy 2004; Glyn 2006; Harvey 2005. 27.Marazzi 2009, p. 76. 28.Marazzi 2009, p. 77. 29.Marazzi 2009, p. 86.


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cognitive excess).30 According to Fumagalli, as well as Marazzi, cognitive capitalism is therefore understood as a new path of accumulation,31 arising as a result of the end of the previous industrial-Fordist paradigm, which, however, is aimed at recreating the conditions for monetary valorization from a prevalent short-term point of view with effects of unsustainability in the medium and long-term.32 Fumagalli, on the other hand, draws attention precisely to the temporal aspect, because he maintains that various contradictory elements hide in the dialectic between the long and short-term. A first axis of contradictions concerns the peculiarity of the temporal horizon of financial capitalism: in the first place, the dynamic of financial markets is of a short- or very-short-term period, but such a temporal environment is, however, incompatible with the temporal environment of the subjects that participate in it;33 in the second place, financial markets are given a substitutive role with regard to a welfare that is being dismantled or transformed into workfare; (c) furthermore, the irresolvable contradiction between short- and long-term heavily and negatively affects also the possibility of performing support and institutional governance interventions.34 Next to these elements, Fumagalli introduces two other levels of contradiction, which relate more directly to the transformation of the relationship between capital and labour. The second level, in fact, concerns the contradiction between the process of accumulation of value determined by the exploitation and expropriation of general intellect and its immediate valorization on the financial markets.35 The third level concerns, instead, labour performance, in the sense that it refers to the contradiction between the necessity of the spread of social cooperation and teamwork as a condition to better exploit the dynamic economies of learning and networks and the need for an immediate control (in [the] short term) of labour and knowledge production (such as intellectual property rights).36 This last point is very important to Fumagallis reasoning: it is precisely here that the main contradiction at the basis of the surplus-value production of cognitive capitalism hides.37 Some of the elements of Fumagallis arguments are discussed more in depth in the other essays of the volume. In her contribution, New Economy, Financialization and Social Production in the Web 2.0, for example, Tiziana Terranova shows how the frontier of innovation of the capitalist valorization process in the New Economy is the marginalization of waged labor and the valorizations of free [user] labor, which is to say an unpaid and undirected labor, but [one] which is nonetheless controlled.38 In his contribution (Cognitive Capitalism and the Financialization of Economic Systems), Bernard Paulr considers instead the link between financialisation and cognitive capitalism. Picking up on some of the insights from the work conducted on currency by Primo maggio, Stefano Lucarelli develops,
30.Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010, p. 62. For an overview of the debate on cognitive capitalism, see, among others, Chicchi and Roggero 2009; Fumagalli 2007; Fumagalli and Lucarelli 2007a; Moulier-Boutang (ed.) 2002; Vercellone (ed.) 2006. 31. Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010, p. 62. 32.Ibid. 33.Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010, p. 63. 34.Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010, p. 64. 35.Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010, p. 65. 36.Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010, p. 66. 37.Ibid. 38.Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010, p. 156.

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in particular, the hypothesis according to which financialisation constitutes an important aspect of the new regime of accumulation. From this perspective, Lucarelli maintains that contemporary capitalism is characterized by an accumulation regime that tends to lead every specific moment of individual existence back into the process of valorization. The means through which this happens do not only include economic politics of neoliberal inspiration, but also include the command devices that are only understandable if they are put in the hybrid zone where the political economy meets social psychology.39 From this point of view, financialisation itself can be considered a formidable instrument of social control, which Lucarelli defines following the Foucauldian notion as bio-power. In particular, Lucarelli underlines how financialisation is part of a regime of accumulation which, however, is compatible only with non-authentic modes of regulation, or ones that do not assume the exercise of conflict as a necessary premise for a social pact.40 In other words, given that the regime of accumulation, which was born out of the crisis of Fordism, turns out to be incapable of building lasting regulatory mechanisms, it becomes decisive for Lucarelli to reconstruct the operational mode of contemporary capitalism, concentrating directly on the problem of command and power. In this way, financialisation represents an adequate form of control, in the measure in which it abandons and overcomes the modes of the exercise of sovereign power (and, therefore, the control which the state exercises over the population). The analyses of Fumagalli, Lucarelli, Marazzi and Paulr reflect a certain proximity to the French Regulation School even though, at least in some regards, they distance themselves from it.41 But, in various ways, they also approach the ideas, in large part heterodox, of Andr Orlan, a collection of papers by whom dedicated to the financial crisis UniNomade has published. Orlans considerations are based on notions such as uncertainty and convention, but, above all, on the idea that financial markets are basically self-referencing: in other words, the functioning of the markets is based on a series of shared conventions, which guarantee a certain level of homogeneity of behaviour and which therefore offer tools for evaluation in a context that would otherwise be marked by total uncertainty. In this way, financialisation is not so much an expression of irrationality, rather a consequence that is completely coherent with the conventions that hold up the financial system, even though instability remains one of its necessary characteristics. In this sense, Orlans hypotheses afford an important tool for the heirs of post-workerism, and the idea that the financial system is guided by conventions is taken up again, for example, both by Fumagalli42 and by Marazzi.43 Notwithstanding this, some differences remain, and they are made explicit by Fumagalli and Lucarelli in the Preface to Dalleuforia al panico. Basically, the shortcoming is that Orlans analysis makes no reference whatsoever to the effects of financial command on the world of production and in particular on class composition.44 Financialisation and

39.Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010, p. 119. 40.Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010, pp. 1201. 41. For an assessment of the Italian reception of the Regulation School, see Fumagalli and Lucarelli 2007b. 42.Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010, pp. 318. 43.Marazzi 2002. 44.Orlan 2010, p. 19.


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its conventions must therefore be ascribed to the transformation that occurred in capitalism and, therefore, the genesis of cognitive capitalism.45 The different analyses developed in Crisis in the Global Economy find a sort of point of arrival in Nothing Will Ever Be the Same, ten theses that summarise the reading of the crisis put forward by UniNomade, but which also try to identify signs of resistance and possible political ways out. The fourth thesis, for example, understands the mortgage insolvency crisis as the manifestation of a process that originated in one of the contradictions of contemporary cognitive capitalism; that is, the irreconcilability of an unequal revenue distribution with the necessity of widening the financial base to continue to develop the process of accumulation.46 What is particularly relevant is that this irreconcilability is, in its turn, traced back to the emergence of an irreducibility (an excess) of life of a large part of social components (be they singular fragments or definable as class segments) to capitalist subsumption.47 The UniNomade authors are aware that these excesses are, in the present political condition, only potential contradictions, and, moreover, the point on which they insist is that today a New Deal is impracticable principally because there is neither the political basis for it nor the institutional basis to launch it and make it operative. In general terms, however, they maintain that it is fundamental to recognise the capitalist penetration of life. And, above all, the political proposal of a basic income is considered decisive, as a means of subsistence which, on the one hand, acknowledges the social relevance of labour, and, on the other hand, offers an element on which to set up a new institutional framework. On the whole, the essays of the UniNomade project offer the debate a rich variety of stimuli, both because they grasp trends that have characterised Western (and non-Western) economies and because they are able to show the bio-power of financialisation. In the work of UniNomade, there are, however, some argumentational elements which show not so much the weak points of the analysis (which clearly declares itself provisional) but the aspects which need to be studied more in depth, possibly setting aside (or rethinking) some strong themes that have been inherited from the post-workerist tradition. In a review of Crisis in the Global Economy, Benjamin Noys has highlighted a series of critical points, the most evident of which relates to the proposal of a basic income because the authors seem to put this idea forward without asking themselves who would effectively sustain it politically, and how it should be made.48 Actually, these points are not completely neglected by UniNomade, but they are certainly treated cursorily and spoken of in general terms, particularly when they invoke a series of excesses which should, in some way, make the lacerating contradictions of cognitive capitalism emerge. For the most part, this is an inconvenience that results from the analytical focus of the volume, which does not really concern excesses but rather the dynamics of financialisation. Yet, perhaps, this is also an inconvenience that is born of a theoretical framework that can be seen within UniNomades work, and which is, in part, also pointed out in Noyss critique. Together with the idea that cognitive capitalism and financialisation configure the last pieces of a new regime of accumulation (and that they are not the expression of the prolonged crisis of
45.Orlan 2010, p. 20. 46.Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010, p. 243. 47.Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010, p. 244. 48.See Noys 2010.

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the old Fordist regime), there is, in fact, a theme that runs through many of the writings of UniNomade. It is the idea that the law of value goes through a crisis in consequence of the transformations in the process of production, and it may be from here that the risk of a block in the research is born. The thesis of the obsolescence of the law of value certainly is not a new element in postworkerist thought, because the first formulation of this idea goes back to the first years of the 1970s, when Negri began to outline it after re-reading some pages of the Grundrisse.49 As I have tried to demonstrate,50 Negri probably develops this pattern to respond to crucial questions of workerism of the 1960s: in particular, the political problem of the role of nonproductive workers (and of workers outside the factory), and the theoretical problem of the relationship between factory and society. With the thesis of the obsolescence of the law of value, Negri offers a solution to both issues, but introduces a series of major problems into his own reflections. During the 1970s, in Negris reflections, the framework that is centred on the obsolescence of the law of value is combined with another framework that is centred on the theory of self-valorisation.51 However, the thesis of the obsolescence of the law of value becomes more important over time, and has become central since the 1980s. The thesis of the end of the law of value returned, in fact, on several occasions to some of the thinking of the last two decades. This is a thesis which has, for example, been reasserted by Paolo Virno in his analyses on mass intellectualism52 or in the theses of Maurizio Lazzarato on immaterial labour,53 and which Negri himself has revisited in several writings.54 Basically, with the general extension of production from factory to society, according to Negri there emerges a series of contradictions. In this framework, as a consequence of the extreme spread of productive socialisation, society itself is subsumed by capital, organic composition reaching increasingly higher levels and the domination of capital spreading across the globe. However, in this way, capital also develops the structure that leads to the breakdown of the law of value: time, at this level, can no longer be a measure of productivity because production, at this point, encompasses all of life-time and pervades society in its totality. Labour can no longer be measured, because it is, from the beginning, social and, therefore, is identified with the totality of the life of a society. In other words, it is impossible to measure labour hence to order it and refer it back to a theory of value when the labour force is no longer either outside or inside the command (and the capacity of structuring command) of capital.55 In this process, abstract labour always understood as simple and homogeneous labour, which is contained in goods becomes a theoretical figure that is completely useless in the face of the new panorama of real subsumption. As Negri writes: If communication constitutes the fabric of production and the substance of the form of value, if capital has become therefore so permeable that it can filter every
49.See Negri 1974, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1991. 50.See Palano 2001, 2008. 51. Negri 1977, 1991. 52.Virno 1990, pp. 249; Virno 2002, pp. 1067. 53.Lazzarato 1997. 54.Negri 1993; Negri 1994; Negri 1997; Hardt and Negri 1994; Hardt and Negri 2000; Hardt and Negri 2009. 55.Negri 1997.


Review Articles / Historical Materialism 21.3 (2013) 229245 relation through the material thicknesses of production, if the labouring processes extend equally as far as the social extends, what then are the consequences that we can draw with respect to the law of value? The first and fundamental consequence is that there is no possibility of anchoring a theory of measure on something extraneous to the universality of exchange. The second consequence is that there is no longer any sense in a theory of measure with respect to the immeasurable quality of social accumulation. In the third place, even the space for the development of the labouring relations, the productive routes within society, the interactions among labouring subjects, all this is also by definition immeasurable.56

According to Negri, the quantitative law of value becomes an exhibit of industrial archaeology and converges towards a new qualitative version that Negri defines as the law of surplus value. The law of value remains as the law of surplus value, and therefore, as a juridical norm and political rule, as a command and/or control of society in the capitalist subsumption.57 This idea seems to return, in a more or less faithful manner, to the second conclusive thesis of Crisis in the Global Economy, when it invokes the crisis of the traditional measurement of labor-value and with it the crisis of the profit-form.58 It is not, in any case, a passing remark, because the idea, in fact, comes up several times within this volume: for example, in the essay by Federico Chicchi, On the Threshold of Capital, at the Thresholds of the Common, which lingers over the by-now parasitic relationship of capital in the organisation of labour, in Negris concluding remarks, but, above all, in the essay by Carlo Vercellone, The Crisis of the Law of Value and the Becoming-Rent of Profit.59 In particular, Vercellone clarifies that the crisis of the law of labour time-value is not limited to a measurement crisis, but corresponds to two elements that particularly show, in the advanced capitalist countries, the exhaustion of the progressive force of capital and its increasingly parasitical character.60 The first element, which arises from the cognitive (and social) dimension of labour, relates to the exhaustion of the law of value as the criterion of capitalistic rationalization of production capable, as in industrial capitalism, of making the abstract labor, measured in a unit of time of simple, non-qualified labor, the tool allowing for the control over the labor and simultaneously favoring the growth of social productivity.61 Faced with labour that tends to be increasingly cognitive, profit, like rent, relies increasingly on the mechanisms of appropriation, which exist outside of the organisation of production. The second element, on the other hand, concerns the exhaustion of the law of value understood as the social relation that makes commodification logic the key and progressive criteria for the development of the production of use value and the satisfaction of needs.62 Notwithstanding this, the obsolescence of the economic rationality of the law of value does not mean that the law itself is no longer
56.Negri 1993, p. 65. 57.Negri 1994, p. 28. 58.Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010, p. 210. 59.Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010, pp. 85118. 60.Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010, p. 90. 61. Ibid. 62.Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010, p. 91.

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operational. More simply, it does not mean that labor is no longer the substance and the source of creation of value and surplus value. It simply means that the law of value-surplus value and the exploitation survives as an emptied shell in respect of what Marx, wrongly or rightly[,] considered as the progressive functions of capital, i.e. its active, demiurgic role in the organization of labor and in the development of productive forces as means of struggle against scarcity and of the passage from the reign of necessity to that of liberty.63 Naturally, adopting the thesis of the exhaustion of the law of value is totally legitimate, because it also appears to be confirmed by what is, at this point, a very clear element, which is the social, cooperative nature of labour which almost all of the essays mention. This notwithstanding, it is also legitimate to ask oneself how effectively useful this framework is. Why, in fact, is it necessary to insist on the exhaustion of the law of value, as determined by the end of the measurability of labour on an individual basis, if one then ends up recognising that, in fact, labour remains the substance and the source of the creation of value? Is this really a useful element, analytically speaking? The feeling is that, in fact, the insistence on the existence of a crisis of the law of value is the equivalent of a sort of posthumous rehabilitation of the rationality of capital: a rehabilitation that is functional to the critique of contemporary capitalism which, having at this point lost its own old rationale, ends up revealing itself to be only a parasite in the face of the productive cooperation of capital, which is, at the end of the day, autonomous. It is, in this sense, that the thesis on the crisis of the law of value ends up rehabilitating the old myth of the progressive function of capital: the old mythology of the sorcerers apprentice, according to which capital invokes revolutionary productive forces which, at a certain point, are transformed into its undertaker. To go beyond this ambiguous posthumous rehabilitation, there is another problematic element that emerges from the thesis of the end of the law of value. It is the way in which abstract labour is conceived. When they use this expression, the authors of UniNomade do not always appear to be using the term in a consistent way. Vercellone, as we have seen, talks about abstract labor, measured in a unit of time of simple, non-qualified labor,64 as of the tool allowing for the control over the labor and simultaneously favoring the growth of social productivity65 during the phase of industrial capitalism. In this sense, he effectively uses a notion adopted by many Marxist authors. From this perspective, the abstraction coincides, principally, with a quality of the performance of the single worker during the labour process. Abstract labour, in other words, becomes abstract by virtue of its lack of qualification (being unskilled). It is, therefore, the process of abstraction of labor that can coherently be interpreted as the way to simplify (in an increasingly marked manner) the tasks required of the individual worker within the factory. This first definition of abstract labour is not, however, the only one that is found in the writings of Marx, and is therefore not the only one on which a theory of value can be built.66 Michel de Vroey singled out two main versions of the theory of value: the technological paradigm and the social paradigm. According to the technological paradigm, the value of a good is defined by the difficulty of its production and is defined according to the amount of abstract labour incorporated in the product. Capitalist economy is understood, in this
63.Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010, p. 92. 64.Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010, p. 90. 65.Ibid. 66.See, for example, De Angelis 1995; Kicillof and Starosta 2007; Bonefeld 2010.


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case, only as a production system, but its confines are not clearly delineated. The social paradigm, on the other hand, is based on a completely different assumption, because its main premise consists in supporting the need for a connection between the physical-technical and the social divisions of economic activities. From this point of view, the commodity is, at the same time, a physical product, be it a good or a service, and a social relationship.67 The crucial point, from this perspective, is then the connection between production and distribution assured by money. Without money, the theory of value cannot exist because, otherwise, the link between production and distribution would not exist. Here, therefore, the notion of value refers to the social properties of commodities: rather than being linked to a mere embodiment of labor a technical process value refers to the validation of private labor through the exchange of commodities against money.68 The contribution of the social paradigm is, without a doubt, important, but it ends up neglecting another aspect of the abstraction of labour: an aspect that also emerges in some pages of Marxs work and which workerism and post-workerist thought itself highlighted during the 1960s and 1970s. In the perspective of Trontis strategic inversion,69 abstract labour is not the consequence only of the process of the exchange of commodities (or of the labour process), but constitutes a sort of social assumption, a preliminary condition to the production of commodities: an assumption that consists of separating producer from the means of production, that is, in the creation of labour as a commodity. In this sense, developing Trontis Copernican Revolution, it is possible to speak of a third paradigm, the strategic paradigm,70 according to which abstract labour must be understood as a social form and as a relation in the struggle between the capitalist and the worker. In particular, according De Angelis, Marxs definition of abstract labor embeds a conception of the capitalist relation as a class relation of work, where work is imposed, alienated, and boundless in character.71 In his reflection, Negri develops the assumptions of Trontis strategic inversion, and, in fact, he defines the value as an antagonist figure, in relation to necessary labour. This means that, as Hardt and Negri write, the unity of value is primarily identified in its relation to necessary labor, which is not a fixed quantity but a dynamic element of the system.72 When he has to theoretically justify his own hypothesis of the breakdown of the law of value, he seems to draw on both visions of the law of value, but not on the framework of the strategic paradigm. In fact, when Negri claims that the law of value is in crisis, he is not referring only to the technological paradigm but also implicitly to the social paradigm. In a first sense, he refers to the abstraction of labour as a quality of the performance of the single worker.73 In this sense, the law of value goes through a crisis because labour is not measurable according to the time spent working by the individual. However, in a second sense, the law of value is challenged also because the extension of productive cooperation de facto makes
67.de Vroey 1982, p. 40. 68.Ibid. 69.Tronti 1971, pp. 2208. 70.De Angelis 1995. 71. De Angelis 1996, pp. 67. For this perspective, see Cleaver 1979. 72.Hardt and Negri 1994, p. 15. 73.As Hardt and Negri wrote, for example, the history of capitalism and its historical merit were characterized by the process of successive abstractions of labor, and Taylorism determined the process of the abstraction of labor-power (Hardt and Negri 1994, p. 102).

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obsolete exchanges of commodities against money (and, therefore, also the second form of abstraction). For example, Negri writes in the 1970s: this means carrying the discussion to a higher level of abstraction, showing the essential passage of the worker (and capitalist) in their supersession of the barrier of the law of value at the very moment that it is being realised.... The socialisation of productive labour and the complete domination of the law of value over society, in other words, historically determine a set of state activities that negate the spontaneous levels of the law of value.74 What seems most singular about the thesis of the fading of the law of value is not that Negri and Vercellone adopted the framework of the social paradigm, a framework different from that which is at the basis of Italian workerism. The most interesting point is that they invoke the framework of the social paradigm only to declare it dead, that is, to recognise the senescence of a social synthesis founded on money, as determined by the socialisation of productive cooperation. As much as it may appear to be an excessively sophisticated remark, the adoption of the social paradigm by the crisis of the law of value theorists has, however, decisive consequences for the way in which conflicts in cognitive capitalism are conceived. It has, above all, devastating implications for the way in which the common is understood, to which the authors of UniNomade constantly make reference. When the idea at the basis of the social paradigm is adopted, the excesses of cognitive capitalism seem to spring from a structural contradiction: in other words, it seems that the law of value goes through a crisis because it is overtaken by the development of productive cooperation, from an extreme extension of productive cooperation which is, by now, virtually independent of the organisational function of capital. And, in this case, the common therefore appears to spring from only a mechanical process, from the development of productive forces that make capital at this point parasitic. The common therefore turns out to be the product of working cooperation itself. And the metaphor of new enclosures can be applied to products of the same productive cooperation that have, by now, been extended to all of society. We are dealing, therefore, with a pattern in which social conflict does not seem to have any role and in which capital and its productive cooperation become the only protagonists of importance. The transformation of labour is generated by the extension of the factory to society, which, by now, is diffused to the point that it invades the areas of creative and intellectual labour; the obsolescence of the law of value and the end of the measurement of labour-value based on time are processes determined exclusively by structural factors, that is, by capitals structural impossibility, which has, by now, become parasitic and incapable of managing the forces it has invoked.75 If, on the contrary, one adopts the point of view that characterises Italian workerism, the common appears to be the barrier to the extraction of labour (and the abstraction of labour) consolidated in the material structure of class composition. In this sense, therefore, the common is not really to be related to the common land as much as to that material construction, that moral economy which allowed village communities to collectively use that land and to oppose attempts at private appropriation. The common is not so much a thing that can be appropriated as it is, first of all, a political (and therefore collective) barrier to the raising of the extraction of labour: a barrier that is consolidated in the subjective and political structure of the working class; a barrier that defines the level of the socially
74.Negri 1975, p. 257. 75.For a critical view, see Formenti 2008, 2011.


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necessary labour, in a given historical and geographical context, and which can be called, according to the proposal by Italian workerism, class composition. In this sense, then, the abstraction of labour coincides neither with the deskilling of the labour process nor with the action guaranteed by the exchange of commodities, but rather corresponds to the constant creation of abstract labour, that is, the creation of human life effectively available to sell itself on the market as a workforce. Therefore, the most authentic face of capitalist productive methods really appears to be that of so-called primitive accumulation because in a capitalist society one must constantly reproduce abstract labour and must break down any type of common, any barrier that limits or opposes the extraction of labour.76 Despite the risks that can be identified in some passages, the vision centred on the constant presence of primitive accumulation is not at all far from that proposed by the authors of UniNomade.77 Despite the fact that some researchers do adopt at least in part the framework of the obsolescence of the law of value, their theoretical point of arrival consists precisely in recognising how contemporary capitalism must break any limitations, individualising labour performances, segmenting the employment market, imposing internal hierarchies, and using gender, social, cultural, linguistic and political divisions as tools to fragment that common that corresponds to the collective barrier to the extraction of labour. A point of convergence can probably be found around this element in the argument developed in Crisis in the Global Economy by Karl-Heinz Roth, about the difficulties of thinking the re-composition of the multiverse of the global working class.78 But, above all, it is by starting from this junction, from the reconstruction of the multiverse of the global working class, that the analysis of UniNomade can transform its perspective, and not only from a theoretical point of view. In a crucial passage of the history of workerism, Panzieri and Tronti wrote that there was, in the perspective of Das Kapital, a sort of spell of the method, which determined a block to research.79 The spell of the method consisted in understanding the process of valorisation as an encompassing whole. In this way, research was necessarily blocked because the collective worker disappeared in this apparently perfect picture. To look into the Fordist factory, on the other hand, was indispensable precisely in order to re-discover the physiognomy, the movements, the strengths of that collective worker, who was apparently passive, apathetic, and disjointed. Today, naturally, in the magma-like reality of cognitive
76.In this perspective, as written by De Angelis: objects of primitive accumulation also become any given balance of power among classes that constitutes a rigidity for furthering the capitalist process of accumulation, or that runs in the opposite direction. For Marx, the working class struggles and continuously engages in strategies of primitive accumulation to recreate the basis of accumulation (De Angelis 2001, pp. 1415). For the notion of excess, see De Angelis 2007b. 77.After all, it seems to me that some of Mezzadras considerations (Mezzadra 2011b) proceed explicitly in this direction: there the so-called original accumulation is considered a key to reading or re-reading the whole framework of Das Kapital and to starting a sort of neue Darstellung. For some interpretations on original accumulation, proposed by traditions close to Italian workerism, see De Angelis 2007a, Federici 2004, and Roggero 2011. Yet, in reality, even in Vercellones work, this element is not absent: see, for instance, Herrera and Vercellone 2002. 78.Fumagalli and Mezzadra (eds.) 2010, p. 218. 79.Panzieri and Tronti 1975, p. 6.

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capitalism, this operation is much more complex. But perhaps it is precisely this job that awaits UniNomade and the new post-workerism of the twenty-first century. Damiano Palano Catholic University of Milan damiano.palano@unicatt.it References
Agamben, Giorgio et al. 1990, Sentimenti dellaldiqua. Opportunismo paura cinismo nellet del disincanto, Rome/Naples: Theoria. Alquati, Romano 1999, Per una storia di Classe Operaia, Bailamme, 24: 173205. Arrighi, Giovanni 1994, The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power, and the Origins of Our Times, First Edition, London: Verso. 2007, Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the Twenty-First Century, London: Verso. Berti, Lapo (ed.) 1978, Moneta, crisi e stato capitalistico, Milan: Feltrinelli. Birkner, Martin and Martin Foltin (eds.) 2006, (Post-)Operaismus. Von der Arbeiterautonomie zur Multitude, Stuttgart: Schmetterling. Bologna, Sergio 1974, Moneta e crisi: Marx corrispondente della New York Daily Tribune, in Bologna, Carpignano and Negri 1974. Bologna, Sergio, Paolo Carpignano and Antonio Negri 1974, Crisi e organizzazione operaia, Milan: Feltrinelli. Bonefeld, Werner 2010, Abstract Labour: Against Its Nature and on Its Time, Capital & Class, 34, 2: 25776. Chicchi, Federico and Gigi Roggero 2009, Introduzione. Le ambivalenze del lavoro nellorizzonte del capitalismo cognitivo, Sociologia del Lavoro, 115: 727. Chiesa, Lorenzo and Alberto Toscano (eds.) 2009, The Italian Difference: Between Nihilism and Biopolitics, Melbourne: Re.press. Cleaver, Harry 1979, Reading Capital Politically, Austin: University of Texas Press. De Angelis, Massimo 1995, Beyond the Technological and the Social Paradigms: A Political Reading of Abstract Labour as the Substance of Value, Capital & Class, 19, 3: 10734. 1996, Social Relations, Commodity-Fetishism and Marxs Critique of Political Economy, Review of Radical Political Economics, 28, 4: 129. 2001, Marx and Primitive Accumulation: The Continuous Character of Capitals Enclosures, The Commoner, 2: 122, available at: <www.thecommoner.org>. 2007a, The Beginning of History: Value Struggles and Global Capital, London: Pluto Press. 2007b, Measure, Excess and Translation: Some Notes on Cognitive Capitalism, The Commoner, 12: 718, available at: <www.thecommoner.org>. De Vroey, Michel 1982, On the Obsolescence of the Marxian Theory of Value: A Critical Review, Capital & Class, 6, 2: 3459. Dumnil, Grard and Dominique Lvy 2004, Capital Resurgent: Roots of the Neoliberal Revolution, translated by Derek Jeffers, Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press. Federici, Silvia 2004, Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation, New York: Autonomedia. Formenti, Carlo 2008, Cybersoviet. Utopie postdemocratiche e nuovi media, Milan: Raffaello Cortina Editore. 2011, Felici e sfruttati. Capitalismo digitale ed eclissi del lavoro, Milan: Egea. Fumagalli, Andrea 2007, Bioeconomia e capitalismo cognitivo. Verso un nuovo paradigma di accumulazione, Rome: Carocci.


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Fumagalli, Andrea and Stefano Lucarelli 2007a, A Model of Cognitive Capitalism: A Preliminary Analysis, European Journal of Economic and Social Systems, 20, 1: 11733. 2007b, La finestra di fronte: la Scuola della Regolazione vista dallItalia, in Fordismo e Postfordismo. Il pensiero regolazionista, edited by A. Foti, Milan: Universit Bocconi Editore. Fumagalli, Andrea and Sandro Mezzadra (eds.) 2009, Crisi delleconomia globale. Mercati finanziari, lotte sociali e nuovi scenari politici, Verona: Ombre corte/UniNomade. (eds.) 2010 [2009], Crisis in the Global Economy: Financial Markets, Social Struggles, and New Political Scenarios, translated by Jason Francis McGimsey, Los Angeles: Semiotext(e). Glyn, Andrew 2006, Capitalism Unleashed: Finance, Globalization, and Welfare, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri 1994, Il lavoro di Dioniso. Per la critica dello Stato postmoderno, Rome: Manifestolibri. 2000, Empire, Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press. 2009, Commonwealth, Cambridge, MA.: Belknap Press. Harvey, David 2005, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Herrera, Remy and Carlo Vercellone 2002, Trasformazioni della divisione del lavoro e General Intellect. Una critica marxista delle teorie della crescita endogena, in Posse 2002. Kicillof, Axel and Guido Starosta 2007, Value Form and Class Struggle: A Critique of the Autonomist Theory of Value, Capital & Class, 31, 2: 1340. Lazzarato, Maurizio 1997, Lavoro immateriale. Forme di vita e produzione di soggettivit, Verona: Ombre corte. Lucarelli, Stefano 2010, Sentieri interrotti: il lavoro del gruppo sulla moneta di Primo Maggio, in La rivista Primo Maggio (19731989), edited by Cesare Bermani, Rome: DeriveApprodi. Marazzi, Christian 1977, Money in the World Crisis: The New Basis of Capitalist Power, Zerowork, 2: 91112. 1978a, La crisi del doppio mulinello, in La trib delle talpe, edited by Sergio Bologna, Milan: Feltrinelli. 1978b, Sulla relativa autonomia dello Stato mondiale, aut aut, 164: 3248. 1994, Il posto dei calzini. La svolta linguistica delleconomia e i suoi effetti sulla politica, Bellinzona: Casagrande. 1998, E il denaro va. Esodo e rivoluzione dei mercati finanziari, Turin: Bollati Boringhieri. 2002, Capitale & linguaggio. Dalla New Economy alleconomia di guerra, Rome: DeriveApprodi. 2009, Finanza bruciata, Bellinzona: Casagrande. 2010, Il comunismo del capitale. Finanziarizzazione, biopolitiche del lavoro e crisi globale, Verona: Ombre corte/UniNomade. Mezzadra, Sandro 2011a, Nellera del Post, 21 May, available at: <http://uninomade.org/neltempo-del-post>, accessed 1 July 2013. 2011b, The Topicality of Prehistory: A New Reading of Marxs Analysis of So-called Primitive Accumulation, Rethinking Marxism, 23, 3: 30221. Morini, Cristina 2010, Per amore o per forza. Femminilizzazione del lavoro e biopolitiche del corpo, Verona: Ombre corte/UniNomade. Moulier-Boutang, Yann (ed.) 2002, Let del capitalismo cognitivo. Innovazione, propriet e cooperazione delle moltitudini, Verona: Ombre corte. Negri, Antonio 1968, Marx sul ciclo e la crisi, Contropiano, 1, 2: 24795. 1974 [1971], Crisi dello Stato piano: Comunismo e organizzazione rivoluzionaria, Milan: Feltrinelli. 1975, Stato, spesa pubblica e fatiscenza del compromesso storico, in Negri 1977. 1977, La forma stato: per la critica delleconomia politica della Costituzione, Milan: Feltrinelli. 1980, Il comunismo e la guerra, Milan: Feltrinelli.

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1982, Macchina tempo. Rompicapi liberazione costituzione, Rome: Feltrinelli. 1987, Fabbriche del soggetto, Livorno: XXI Secolo. 1988, Fine secolo. Un Manifesto per loperaio sociale, Milan: SugarCo. 1991 [1979], Marx beyond Marx: Lessons on the Grundrisse, edited by Jim Fleming, New York: Autonomedia. 1993, Interpretation of the Class Situation Today: Methodological Aspects, in Open Marxism: Theory and Practice, Volume 2, edited by Werner Bonefeld, Richard Gunn and Kosmas Psychopedis, London: Pluto Press. 1994, Oltre la legge del valore, DeriveApprodi, 5/6: 268. 1997, Valore e affetto, Derive Approdi, 11/12: 227. Neilson, Brett 2005, Provincializing the Italian Effect, Cultural Studies Review, 11, 2: 1124. Noys, Benjamin 2010, Review of Crisis in the Global Economy: Financial Markets, Social Struggles, and New Political Scenarios, Radical Philosophy, 163: 556. Orlan, Andr 2010, Dalleuforia al panico. Pensare la crisi finanziaria e altri saggi, Verona: Ombre corte/UniNomade. Palano, Damiano 2001, Il bandolo della matassa. Forza lavoro, composizione di classe, capitale sociale: note sul metodo dellinchiesta, available at: <www.intermarx.org>. 2008, Dioniso postmoderno. Classe e Stato nella teoria radicale di Antonio Negri, Milan: Multimedia Publishing. 2009, I bagliori del crepuscolo. Critica e politica al termine del Novecento, Rome: Aracne. 2010, Fino alla fine del mondo. Saggi sul politico nella rivoluzione spaziale contemporanea, Naples: Liguori. Panzieri, Raniero and Mario Tronti 1975 [1962], Tesi Panzieri-Tronti, aut aut, 149/150: 610. Posse 2002, Guerra civile nellImpero, Rome: Manifestolibri. Primo maggio 1978, Otto tesi per la storia militante, Primo maggio, 11: 613. Roggero, Gigi 2011, La misteriosa curva della retta di Lenin. Per una critica dello sviluppo del capitalismo oltre i beni comuni, Firenze: La Casa Usher. Tar, Marcello (ed.) 2005, Guerra e democrazia, Rome: Manifestolibri. Tronti, Mario 1971, Operai e capitale, Second Edition, Turin: Einaudi. 1977, Sullautonomia del politico, Milan: Feltrinelli. 2010, Noi operaisti, Rome: DeriveApprodi. Vercellone, Carlo 2006 (ed.), Capitalismo cognitivo. Conoscenza e finanza nellepoca postfordista, Rome: Manifestolibri. Virno, Paolo 1990, Ambivalenza del disincanto, in Agamben et al. 1990. 1994, Mondanit. Lidea di mondo tra esperienza sensibile e sfera pubblica, Rome: Manifestolibri. 2002, Grammatica della moltitudine. Per una analisi delle forme di vita contemporanee, Rome: DeriveApprodi. Virno, Paolo and Michael Hardt (eds.) 1996, Radical Thought in Italy: A Potential Politics, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Wright, Steve 2002, Storming Heaven: Class Composition and Struggle in Italian Autonomist Marxism, London: Pluto Press.

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Historical-Critical Dictionary of Marxism

Gender Mainstreaming
C: xinghie guandian naru zhuliu . The untranslatable term gender mainstreaming, derived from the peculiar English of international institutions, was announced at the World Conference on Women in 1995. It was subsequently endorsed by the UN as a maxim of equal rights policy on an international level and then taken up by the EU. Gender mainstreaming shifted the focus of the womens movement: instead of demanding special measures, as was the case between the 1970s and 1990s, it became a case of involving women in general agenda setting, incorporating them into the ruling mainstream structures (Anderson 1993, 10). The responsibility of men in questions of gender politics was noted, without, however, placing the dominant economic, political and cultural premises in question. Previously, it had been an orientation towards an authoritative codification of political rights aiming at overcoming discrimination against women that formed the common horizon of executive committees of international ruling institutions and NGOs (UN/CSDAH 1984). Debates over equal gender rights have been transformed a number of times in the context of different womens movements. Faced with the neglect of womens oppression in the developmental political strategies of the 1970s and 1980s, there emerged demands for empowerment (the development of the capacity for political action in power relations; cf. Sen/ Grown 1988) and for autonomy (control and decision regarding ones own life and body; cf. Neuhold 1995, 378). Concepts of development became popular that seemed to relate
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in a more concrete way to womens life situations, and were also able both to distinguish between strategic and practical needs and to consider cultural differences (cf. Molyneux 1985; Moser 1989; Neuhold 1995). The gender debate in the 1980s and 1990s shifted the analysis from considering social questions as womens problems to the investigation of gender orders. On this basis, new concepts of womens advancement and equality were developed (von Braunmhl 2001, 185). In the face of the ineffectiveness of equal rights measures and the resistance of institutions (cf. Bliss et al. 1994; Jahan 1995; Bread for the World Institute 1996), gender mainstreaming initially inspired hope. However, even the evaluation reports of the international institutions criticised the purely administrative-technocratic approach of gender mainstreaming (cf. EU Commission 1999b). Susanne Schunter-Kleemann argued that the gender mainstreaming options were grandiosely overestimated; they ignore precisely those deeply anchored social and cultural regulation paradigms that lead to the unequal distribution of competence in decision, direction and control (2001, 24). As a method of anchoring a general principle, the central elements of gender mainstreaming overlap with human resource management concepts in their goal of equality of chances, in the training of gender sensitive thinking, and in the political form of dialogue. High-tech production and service processes and marketing strategies have allowed notions of difference and polymorphy to become central concepts in management vocabulary since the 1980s (cf. Nohr 2001, 18). Managing diversity was used as an instrument of human resource management in order to consolidate a notion, derived from identity politics,
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(cf. Thrmer-Rohr 2001; Weinbach 2001; Young 2001). The integration of gender-egalitarian rhetoric in the guidelines of international regulatory institutions under the aegis of neoliberal politics shifts the perspectives of forces in civil society. As a governmental programme, gender mainstreaming becomes a top-down principle that is difficult to control, which makes the realisation of egalitarian politics dependent upon the concrete interests of economic and political managers. A review of the women and equality politics of the UN and the EU shows that developmental womens policies were successful when they led to the further development of economic efficiency (cf. Neuhold 1995; Schunter-Kleemann 1999; von Braunmhl 2001). The integration of NGOs as knowledge purveyors, competence and consensus-sponsors in international decision-making processes occurs on the basis of their flexibility, professionalism and cost efficiency. Thus the democratisation of international politics tends towards a particular corporatism between managers and civil society groups, parallel to the deconstruction of state forms for the resolution of social questions. The rhetoric of gender mainstreaming as a global consensus concept contradicts the meaninglessness and irrelevance of the concept in equal-rights policies of leading economic nations outside the EU, particularly the USA, but also in most states of the third world. Critiques have emphasised the lack of a fundamental point of view grounded in womens politics in the discursive and political shifts of gender mainstreaming. What is lacking is the linking of a critique of patriarchy with a total social analysis (von Braunmhl 2001, 198). The formerly leftist concept of equality of chances is taken over, adapted to suit neoliberalism and put in competition with the concept of equal rights (Nohr 2001, 19). What is necessary is a retranslation of gender mainstreaming back into the terms of feminist-theoretic discourses, and the demands of the international womens movement and the actors of womens political basic work, as they developed in the developmental

of the equality of ethnic, cultural, sexual and gender difference and needs oriented general principles in firms and enterprises. This reformulation of corporate identity as that of a multicultural organisation responded to the growing percentage of non-white and non-male participants in the work force (cf. Emmerich/Krell 1999, 370 et sq.). In terms of business operations, such equality of chances promised to deliver competitive advantages to firms in the competition for productive efficiency (cf. Schunter-Kleemann 2001, 20 et sq.). Commercial understandings of increases in creativity and efficiency delimit gender mainstreaming also in the context of the austerity budget politics of international and state regulation institutions (cf. EU Commission 1999a and 1999b). In this sense, gender mainstreaming found its way into the future projections of the power centres of capitalist modernisation: economic empowerment (EU Commission 1995), reduction of gender disparities (World Bank (ed.) 1995), and macro-economics based upon perspectives of gender differentiation (GTZ 1996). Gender mainstreaming seems to assert the implementation of gender quotas. In the process, however, the social basis and historical context of policies against womens oppression are left unnamed; the theoretical elaboration of changing modes of existence of gender in its multiple dimensions is ignored. The logic of mainstreaming resorts to an epistemologically superannuated fixation on gender difference: its premise is that there is the gender dimension, the female perspective, the gender specific approach, the womens interest as definable unity (Thrmer-Rohr 2001, 35). The verbal invocation of a common female social life-reality contradicts, furthermore, the actual dominant interests and privileges of entrepreneur-speculators as a new form of manager in the economy and politics, regardless of their gender (cf. Dge 1998). In this sense, gender mainstreaming serves the integration of the genders in the economic process. Excluded from and ignored in the articulation of the mainstream are those women and men who live in precarious conditions, such as migrants, transsexuals, lesbians and gays, among others

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olitical participation debate (cf. Hollandp Cunz/Ruppert (eds.) 1999). What is also questionable is whether binding equal rights laws can be renounced, so long as discrimination against women is based in market structures, economic valorisation calculations and male power and segregation interests (cf. SchunterKleemann 2001, 24). Bibliography: M. Anderson 1993, Focussing on Women: UNIFEMs Experience in Mainstreaming, New York; F. Bliss et al. 1994, Anstze der Frauenfrderung im internationalen Vergleich, Cologne; C. von Braunmhl 2001, Gender Mainstreaming Worldwide. Rekonstruktion einer Reise um die Welt, in sterreichische Zeitschrift fr Politikwissenschaft, 30: 2, 183201; Bread for the World Institute 1996, Gender Justice and the World Bank, Silver Spring; P. Dge 1998, Mnnerforschung und Geschlechterdemokratie, Berlin; A. Emmerich and G. Krell 1999, Managing Diversity-Trainings, in G. Krell (ed.), Chancengleichheit durch Personalpolitik, Wiesbaden; EU Commission 1995, Council Resolution on Integration of Gender Issues in Development Cooperation, Brussels; EU Commission 1999a, Einbindung der Chancengleichheit in smtliche politischen Konzepte und Manahmen der Gemeinschaft, Luxemburg; EU Commission 1999b, Mittelfristiges Aktionsprogramm der Gemeinschaft fr die Chancengleichheit von Frauen und Mnnern (19962000); Forum Wissenschaft (FW) 18: 2, 2001, Alles Gute kommt von oben? Gender Mainstreaming in der Diskussion; GTZ [Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Technische Zusammenarbeit] 1996, Makrokonomie aus geschlechterdifferenzierter Sicht. Hinweise zur Gender-Orientierung, Eschborn; B. Holland-Cunz and U. Ruppert (eds.) 1999, Frauenpolitische Chancen globaler Politik. Verhandlungsverfahren im internationalen Kontext, Opladen; R. Jahan 1995, The Elusive Agenda: Mainstreaming Women in Development, London; M. Molyneux 1985, Mobilization without Emancipation? Womens Interests, the State, and Revolution in Nicaragua, Feminist Studies, 11: 2, 22754; C. Moser 1989, Gender Planning in the Third World: Meeting Practical and Strategic Gender

Needs, World Development, 17: 11, 17991825; B. Neuhold 1995, Von Equal Rights zu Gender Justice. Der mhsame Weg der Vereinten Nationen zum Empowerment von Frauen, sterreichische Zeitschrift fr Politikwissenschaft, 24: 4, 37797; B. Nohr 2001, Total E-Quality, Diversity und Gedhns. Vom stillen Abgesang auf die Quote und dem glanzvollen Aufstieg der Humanressource Frau, Forum Wissenschaft (FW), 18: 2, 1519; S. SchunterKleemann 1999, Europische Geschlechterpolitik tauglich fr das dritte Jahrtausend?, in B. Stolz-Willig and M. Veil (eds.), Es rettet uns kein hhres Wesen. Feministische Perspektiven der Arbeitsgesellschaft, Hamburg; S. Schunter-Kleemann 2001, Doppelbdiges Konzept. Ursprung, Wirkungen und arbeitsmarktpolitische Folgen von Gender Mainstreaming , Forum Wissenschaft (FW), 18: 2, 204; R. Sen and C. Grown 1988, Development, Crises and Alternative Visions: Third World Womens Perspectives, London; C. ThrmerRohr 2001, Gleiche unter Gleichen? Kritische Fragen zu Geschlechterdemokratie und Gender Mainstreaming, Forum Wissenschaft (FW), 18: 2, 3437; UN/CSDAH 1984, Women, Vienna; H. Weinbach 2001, ber die Kunst, Begriffe zu fluten. Die Karriere des Konzepts Gender Mainstreaming , Forum Wissenschaft (FW), 18: 2, 610; World Bank (ed.) 1995, Advancing Gender Equality: From Concept to Action, Washington, DC.; B. Young 2001, Geschlechterdemokratie fr Wertschpfungsstrke. Grenzziehung zwischen Migrantinnenpolitik und Gender Mainstreaming , Forum Wissenschaft (FW), 18: 2, 3841.

Victor Rego Diaz

Translated by Peter D. Thomas Emancipation, equal rights policy, feminisation of poverty, feminism, flexibilisation, gender, gender contract, gender democracy, gender relations, masculinity, migration, neoliberalism, NGOs, quota, womens emancipation, womens labour politics, womens movement, womens question


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Emanzipation, Feminisierung der Armut, Feminismus, Flexibilisierung, Frauenarbeitspolitik, Frauenbewegung,Frauenemanzipation,Frauen frage, Geschlecht, Geschlechterdemokratie, Geschlechterverhltnisse, Geschlechtervertrag, Gleichstellungspolitik, Mnnlichkeit, Migration, Neoliberalismus, Nichtregierungs organisationen, Quote

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Notes on Contributors
John Ashworth is Professor of American History at the University of Nottingham, having previously taught at East Anglia and Hull. He is the author of, among other works, a twovolume study entitled Slavery, Capitalism, and Politics in the Antebellum Republic (Cambridge University Press, 1995 and 2007), which seeks to advance a Marxist interpretation of the coming of the American Civil War. Most recently he has written The Republic in Crisis, 1848 1861 (Cambridge University Press, 2012). John.Ashworth@nottingham.ac.uk Ian Birchall is author of Tony Cliff: A Marxist for His Time (Bookmarks, 2011) and editor of the 2012 issue of Revolutionary History, European Revolutionaries and Algerian Independence 19541962. He is currently writing a book on internationalism and the French left. ihbirchall@btinternet.com Paul Burkett teaches economics at Indiana State University, Terre Haute. He is the author of Marx and Nature: A Red and Green Perspective (St Martins, 1999) and Marxism and Ecological Economics (Brill, 2006; Haymarket Books edition forthcoming 2014) Paul.Burkett@indstate.edu Todd Gordon is Assistant Professor of Contemporary Studies at Laurier University, Brantford. He is the author of Imperialist Canada (Arbeiter Ring Publishing, 2010) and Cops, Crime, and Capitalism: The Law and Order Agenda in Canada (Fernwood Publishing, 2006). tsgordon@wlu.ca Henryk Grossman wrote The Law of Accumulation and Breakdown of the Capitalist System and numerous other studies in Marxist economic theory, economic history, politics and the history of science. He was a founding leader of the Jewish Social Democratic Party of Galicia and later a member of the Communist Workers Party of Poland. A member of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt am Main from 1925, he was its preeminent economist. After the Nazis took power in Germany, he lived in Paris, London and New York, before taking up a chair at the University of Leipzig in 1949. He died in 1950. The Historical Materialism Book Series will publish a multi-volume collection of his works, most not previously available in English, including the first full translation of The Law of Accumulation. Other writings by him are available at <www.marxists.org/archive/grossman> and <www.marxists.org/ deutsch/archiv/grossmann>.

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Paul M. Heideman is a Ph.D. candidate at Rutgers-Newark. His dissertation is on the New Negro movement and the Russian Revolution, and his work has previously appeared in Science & Society, African American Review and The Journal of African American History. pmheideman@gmail.com Henry Heller teaches history at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. His most recent books are The Birth of Capitalism: A 21st Century Perspective (Pluto Press, 2011), The Bourgeois Revolution in France: 17891815 (Berghahn Books, 2006) and The Cold War and the New Imperialism: A Global History, 19452006 (Monthly Review Press, 2006). heller@cc.umanitoba.ca Rick Kuhn is a member of Socialist Alternative in Canberra. He wrote Henryk Grossman and the Recovery of Marxism, which won the Deutscher Memorial Prize in 2007; co-authored Labors Conflict: Big Business, Workers and the Politics of Class with Tom Bramble; and edited Class and Struggle in Australia. He taught at the Australian National University between 1987 and 2013. Rick.Kuhn@anu.edu.au Ravi Malhotra is Associate Professor of the Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, University of Ottawa and a disability rights activist. He holds an LL.M. from Harvard Law School and a doctorate from the University of Toronto. ravi.malhotra@uottawa.ca Alex Niven is writing a D.Phil on the poet Basil Bunting at St Johns College, Oxford. His first book, Folk Opposition, was published by Zero Books in 2011. alex_niven@hotmail.com Damiano Palano is Associate Professor of Political Science at the Catholic University of Milan. His research has focused on political theory, concept analysis, democratic theory, transformations of the state, and the history of political science. He is currently engaged in research on the transformation of democracy after the American Age. His books include Fino alla fine del mondo. Saggi sul politico nella rivoluzione spaziale contemporanea (Liguori, 2010), La democrazia e il nemico. Saggi per una teoria realistica (Mimesis, 2013) and Partito (Mulino, 2013). damiano.palano@unicatt.it Parastou Saberi is a Ph.D. candidate at the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. Her dissertation examines the relations between the state, space and pacification with a particular focus on the current politics of spatially targeted urban intervention and policing in Toronto. parastou75@gmail.com

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Mike Wayne is a Professor of Screen Media at Brunel University. His forthcoming book, Red Kant: Aesthetics, Marxism and the Third Critique, will be published by Continuum Press in 2014. michael.wayne@brunel.ac.uk Jeffery R. Webber is Lecturer in the School of Politics and International Relations, Queen Mary, University of London. He is the author of Red October: Left-Indigenous Struggles in Modern Bolivia (Brill, 2011) and From Rebellion to Reform in Bolivia: Class Struggle, Indigenous Liberation, and the Politics of Evo Morales (Haymarket Books, 2011). He is also co-editor with Barry Carr of The New Latin American Left: Cracks in the Empire (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012). j.r.webber@qmul.ac.uk

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Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2014 DOI: 10.1163/1569206X-12341318


Back Issues / Historical Materialism 21.4 (2013) 321322

and Eastern Western Marxism of Georg Lukacs Omar Hesham AlShehabi on Divide and Rule in Bahrain and the Elusive Pursuit for a United Front: The Experience of the Constitutive Committee and the 1972 Uprising Interventions Adam David Morton on The Limits of Sociological Marxism? Alex Callinicos on Perry Anderson on Europe Review Articles Alberto Toscano on Franck Fischbachs Manifeste pour une philosophie sociale Cinzia Arruzza on Mario Vegettis Un paradigma in cielo. Platone politico da Aristotele al Novecento Danny Hayward on John Barrells Imagining the Kings Death: Figurative Treason, Fantasies of Regicide, 17931796 Gerry Canavan on Darko Suvins Defined by a Hollow: Essays on Utopia, Science Fiction and Political Epistemology Historical-Critical Dictionary of Marxism Enrique Dussel on Exteriority HISTORICAL MATERIALISM 21:2 Isaac and Tamara Deutscher Memorial Prize Lecture Jairus Banaji on Seasons of Self-Delusion: Opium, Capitalism and the Financial Markets Articles Massimiliano Tomba on Marx as the Historical Materialist: Re-reading The Eighteenth Brumaire Paul Le Blanc on Spider and Fly: The Leninist Philosophy of Georg Lukcs Stefan Kipfer and Kanishka Goonewardena on Urban Marxism and the Post-colonial Question: Henri Lefebvre and Colonisation of Georg Lukcs Lucia Pradella on Imperialism and Capitalist Development in Marxs Capital Intervention Tony Norfield on Derivatives, Money, Finance and Imperialism: A Response to Bryan and Rafferty Review Articles Leandro Vergara-Camus on Wendy Wolfords This Land is Ours Now: Social Mobilization and the Meanings of Land in Brazil Alex Gourevitch on Rosanne Currarinos The Labor Question in America: Economic Democracy in the Gilded Age Charles Post on Daniel Gaidos The Formative Period of American Capitalism: A Materialist Interpretation HistoricalCritical Dictionary of Marxism Oliver Nachtwey on Temporary Employment HISTORICAL MATERIALISM 21:3 Articles Paul Burkett on Lukcs on Science: A New Act in the Tragedy Todd Gordon and Jeffery R. Webber on Post-Coup Honduras: Latin Americas Corridor of Reaction Mike Wayne on Transcoding Kant: Kracauers Weimar Marxism and After Interventions John Ashworth on The American Civil War: A Reply to Critics Henry Heller on Stephen Miller on Capitalism in the Old Regime: A Response Archive Rick Kuhns Introduction to The Change in the Original Plan for Marxs Capital and Its Causes Henryk Grossman on The Change in the Original Plan for Marxs Capital and Its Causes Review Articles Paul M. Heideman on Jeffrey B. Perrys Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 18831918 Ian Birchall on Romain Ducoulombiers Camarades! La naissance du parti communiste en France Ravi Malhotra on Amy Sonnie and James Tracys Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power: Community Organizing in Radical Times; The Hidden 1970s: Histories of Radicalism, edited by Dan Berger; and Jefferson Cowies Stayin Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class Alex Niven on Christopher Nealons The Matter of Capital, and Ruth Jennisons The Zukofsky Era: Modernity, Margins, and the Avant-Garde Parastou Saberi on John Arenas Driven from New Orleans: How Nonprofits Betray Public Housing and Promote Privatization Damiano Palano on Crisis in the Global Economy: Financial Markets, Social Struggles, and New Political Scenarios, edited by Andrea Fumagalli and Sandro Mezzadra; Christian Marazzis Finanza bruciata; Christian Marazzis Il comunismo del capitale. Finanziarizzazione, biopolitiche del lavoro e crisi globale; and Andr Orlans Dalleuforia al panico. Pensare la crisi finanziaria e altri saggi Historical-Critical Dictionary of Marxism Victor Rego Diaz on Gender Mainstreaming