📚 node [[20200611201622 cleaver_commentary_on_chapter_26_of_capital]]
📕 text contributed by @ryan

Cleaver - Capital Vol. 1 Study Guide: Chapter 26

tags : [[capitalism]] [[Capital]]


[[related notes]]

Chapter 26

  • Marx certainly wasn’t the first to point out that the myths that capitalism tells are just myths

    • [[Charles Dickens]] mocks the myths of capitalism in his book Hard Times
    • [[Charlotte Bronte]] mocks the myth of the self-made man in her novel The Professor
  • There are modern retellings and critiques of these myths as well

  • There are those who would consider this chapter to be an example of [[historical materialism]]

    • [[Engels]] went on to attempt to elaborate a general theory of human history
    • “histomat” and “dimat” were the official ideology of the [[Soviet Union]]
  • [[Nicolai Mikhailovski]] used this section well before the revolution to argue that Russia first had to move through a capitalist transition period before moving to communism.

  • Marx rejected Mikhailovski’s interpretation:

    It is absolutely necessary for him to metamorphose my historical sketch of the genesis of capitalism in Western Europe into a historico-philosophical theory of general development, imposed by fate for all peoples, whatever the historical circumstances in which they are placed.

    • source: “Marx to Otechestvenniye Zapiski, November 1877, MECW, vol. 24, p. 200.”
  • Marx also points out that expropriation of the peasants of ancient Rome led to slavery instead of wage labor

  • Cleaver draws the following conclusions from this chapter (quoted):

    1. This section shows the conditions and processes through which capitalism emerged and which it must maintain to reproduce the social order
    2. It is a mistake to see this analysis as a linear stages theory that says all peoples have to pass through these processes.
  • A corollary that can be drawn from all this, and a thread from chapter 25, is that for the vast majority of those brought into capitalism, both then and now, the poor shall be forced to remain poor. Capitalism requires this for its continued existence.

  • Cleaver uses this opportunity to talk about the [[Zapatista Army of National Liberation]]

    • There is a desire for pre-capitalist societies to protect themselves from being swept up into capitalism, for being swept up into capitalism means being forced to give up a pre-capitalist way of life, which likely doesn’t involve all the horrors that come with capitalist life!
    • During the 90s the Zapatista army was formed after [[Mexico]] signed the [[NAFTA]] agreement.
  • Alternatives to capitalism are born out of struggle against it.

  • Capitalism has no creativity of its own; it simply absorbs other ways of life and incorporates them into it.

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