Marx After Marx: History and Time in the Expansion of Capitalism
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In Marx After Marx, Harry Harootunian questions the claims of Western Marxism and its presumption of the final completion of capitalism. If this shift in Marxism reflected the recognition that the expected revolutions were not forthcoming in the years before World War II, its Cold War afterlife helped to both unify the West in its struggle with the Soviet Union and bolster the belief that capitalism remained dominant in the contest over progress.
This book deprovincializes Marx and the West's cultural turn by returning to the theorist's earlier explanations of capital's origins and development, which followed a trajectory beyond Euro-America to Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Marx's expansive view shows how local circumstances, time, and culture intervened to reshape capital's system of production in these regions. His outline of a diversified global capitalism was much more robust than was his sketch of the English experience in Capital and helps explain the disparate routes that evolved during the twentieth century. Engaging with the texts of Lenin, Luxemburg, Gramsci, and other pivotal theorists, Harootunian strips contemporary Marxism of its cultural preoccupation by reasserting the deep relevance of history.
pass into the landscape. In this regard, any patriarchal system will do. The perpetuation of the old and habitual in the new present signifies the general condition of subsumption found everywhere capitalism has established its program of production, and, as I earlier suggested, this bringing together and combining of incommensurables not only makes the present into a fractured heterogeneity but also differentiates the modern social from all those theorizations that still seek to distance the
relations. In certain regions of West Africa and Asia, before fully industrialized urban zones, workers maintained physical, social, and psychological ties to the land, especially with families, clans, and villages in the countryside. While the domestic mode of production was undermined in the initial stages of establishing colonial enterprises and farms, the land was eventually exempted from uniform appropriation and large numbers of people remained in situ, as Uno described peasant households
respective pasts in the present were not entirely invented or had lost their association with still accessible historical times. They continued to strike deeply rooted resonances in the historical humus of everyday life. This would lead to Benjamin’s later plea to awaken from the dream in order to restore a “primal history.” If contemporaneity was the moment that embodied present and past in an uneven mix of temporal asymmetries and possible discordances, it also marked the moment of the modern.
workers.” While Marx looked on this reservoir of workers as a result of the population increase enabled by capitalist production and as a “necessary product of accumulation of the development of wealth on a capitalist basis,” the existence of a surplus population becomes a condition of the capitalist mode of production. But by the same measure, it “forms a disposable industrial reserve army” and “creates a mass of human material always ready for exploitation in the interests of capital’s own
undertake responsibility for large-scale capitalist management. Uno was only interested in showing how the process of dissolution occurred in a late-developing country that avoided the trauma of primitive accumulation England had experienced three centuries earlier. Japan’s importation of capitalism required neither the capitalization of agriculture after the historic separation of the direct producers nor the preparation of a relative surplus population to satisfy the requirements of large-scale