Ellen Meiksins Wood argues that, with the collapse of Com- munism, the theoretical project of Marxism and its critique of capitalism is more timely and important. Historian and political thinker Ellen Meiksins Wood argues that theories of “ postmodern” fragmentation, “difference,” and con-tingency. Ellen Meiksins Wood. · Rating details · 94 ratings · 9 reviews. This study argues that understanding Marxism and its critique of capitalism is more important.
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The two chapters on capitalist vs ancient democracy are excellent. Sign up for our Solidarity Newsletter. Another of her books, ‘The Origin of Capitalism’ she covers some of the argument in the first half of this one, toogoes in more detail into the question of the ‘bourgeois democratic revolution’.
She capitalis directly with a point I made in my previous article, about the Enlightenment and the democratic impulses of the ‘bourgeois revolution’, arguing, as I have indicated, that much of the Enlightenment was not ‘capitalist’ at all. In capitalism, she argues, the economy is itself a form of political coercion because the market rules us.
I picked up this book because the title resembled the one I had picked for my Meilsins dissertation but with not much hope of it being interesting, and was pleasantly surprised. This is not quite the same as non-capitalist forms of surplus appropriation; and Wood does recognise the need for state coercion, which she sees as the result of capitalism’s contradictions.
Surplus extraction occurs through the market, rather than the state democrcy it does in all other class societies. For she argues that Marx revealed what had been concealed by economists, that the essence of capitalist production is political in that it rests on the relations of power between those who own the means of production and those who do not. There is only real history caputalism can be analysed to unpick how capitalism arrived in the specific historical conjuncture.
She now resides in England. Aug 09, Tam rated it really liked it. Instead, I intend to focus on one of her most important books, ‘Democracy Against Capitalism’. EMW’s critique of the redefined democracy of the modern era seems to me to ignore this, to reduce the modern meaning of ‘democracy’ to its most ‘right-wing’ and anti-democratic versions.
But the communist movement emerged from the historical processes thus unleashed. Common terms and phrases Althusserian ancient ancient Greece appropriators and producers argument Athenian democracy Athens autonomy bourgeois Brenner capitalist capitalist economy capitalist societies citizen citizenship civic civil society class consciousness class formation class struggle classical coercion coercive constituted critical culture democratic demos direct producers distinctive dominant duction E.
Democracy Against Capitalism
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Capitalism, on the other dfmocracy, is based on the apparent formal equality of bourgeois and proletarian: There were slaves; but the dominant form of production was peasant and artisan, and these citizens were, collectively, the state. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
While women continue to be oppressed compared to men, the development of capitalism has tended to weaken patriarchal relations. The more general argument, though, that a thoroughgoing democracy which drmocracy more than just parliamentary government, and involves genuine social control, is utterly incompatible with capitalism, and so at its deepest level capitalism is an undemocratic system capitaoism all that is important, and cogently put.
Brenner argued that this theory equated ‘capitalism’ with ‘the market’ after the manner of Adam Smith, not Marx.
Democracy Against Capitalism: Renewing Historical Materialism
Pablo Stafforini rated it liked it Feb 27, At the heart of all this is an argument that capitalism has narrowly defined democracy in the words of Eduardo Galeano, democracy is more than an electoral ritual and that a politics that takes democracy beyond those ellsn imposed by capitalism is essential to human liberation.
But in the theory of bureaucratic collectivism it takes on a new, or sharper, significance.
It is also unique in the separation it creates between ‘economic’ and ‘political’ spheres. The left needs to assert this proper meaning of democracy – direct popular power – against capitalism.
Drmocracy rule, with its principles of limited government and separation of powers, excluded from citizenship everyone who did not own property. It was, of course, a tradition shot through with contradictions. She was raised in the United States and Europe.
Current intellectual fashions of the left which zgainst ‘post-modern’ fragmentation, ‘difference’, contingency and the agwinst of identity’ can barely accommodate the idea of capitalism, let alone subject the capitalist system to critique.
Her historical account is persuasive up to a point – and as I have said, I don’t know enough about European history in the period she is dealing with the fifteenth century or so to the eighteenth to comment in detail. Kenan Malik, in his interesting book ‘The Meaning of Race’, traces how the Enlightenment project of human equality faced the contradiction of class inequality.
Democracy Against Capitalism: Renewing Historical Materialism – Ellen Meiksins Wood – Google Books
Aykut Kansu rated it it was amazing Jun 16, As a result radical thought has shifted onto the terrain of ‘identity’ politics, losing sight of a wider analysis of the impact of class. But there is something counter-intuitive about much of it.
The democracy of the French and other revolutions was not because they were ‘bourgeois revolutions’; rather, it was the result of the fact that they were not. Despite this, it is a superb outline of how historical materialism can be used to analyse history.
Jul 23, Malcolm rated it it was amazing Shelves: Collapsing capitalism into ‘the market’ robs us of a serious analysis of capitalism, and elldn it, in effect, as natural in Adam Smith’s words, natural human ‘truck, barter and exchange’.