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69

The Abolitionist—II

14
terms
5
notes

Balakrishnan, G. (2015). The Abolitionist—II. New Left Review, 91, pp. 69-102

(noun) the Marxist theory of history and society that holds that ideas and social institutions develop only as the superstructure of a material economic base

69

Marx’s first version of historical materialism was a history of the division of labour, but the latter term had a meaning in this period that it would subsequently lose: ‘Division of labour and private property are . . . identical expressions.’

—p.69 by Gopal Balakrishnan
notable
5 years, 8 months ago

Marx’s first version of historical materialism was a history of the division of labour, but the latter term had a meaning in this period that it would subsequently lose: ‘Division of labour and private property are . . . identical expressions.’

—p.69 by Gopal Balakrishnan
notable
5 years, 8 months ago

(adjective) of, relating to, or characteristic of Hegel, his philosophy, or his dialectic method / (noun) a follower of Hegel; an adherent of Hegelianism

70

Within the larger field of bourgeois ideology, a German tendency could be distinguished from the Anglo-French one. The Hegelian school professed the primacy of the ideals of a people

—p.70 by Gopal Balakrishnan
notable
5 years, 8 months ago

Within the larger field of bourgeois ideology, a German tendency could be distinguished from the Anglo-French one. The Hegelian school professed the primacy of the ideals of a people

—p.70 by Gopal Balakrishnan
notable
5 years, 8 months ago

(adverb) by physical coercion / (adverb) by force of circumstances

70

the atomistic individuality it posited at the foundation of the world formed the alienated vantage point of its own merely contemplative, i.e. powerless relation to this world, perforce conceived as an order of inviolable laws

—p.70 by Gopal Balakrishnan
notable
5 years, 8 months ago

the atomistic individuality it posited at the foundation of the world formed the alienated vantage point of its own merely contemplative, i.e. powerless relation to this world, perforce conceived as an order of inviolable laws

—p.70 by Gopal Balakrishnan
notable
5 years, 8 months ago

(verb) to divert the expression of (an instinctual desire or impulse) from its unacceptable form to one that is considered more socially or culturally acceptable

74

Later solutions would entail a more radical break with the premises of these earlier histories of civil society, and not just with their mystified Hegelian sublimations

—p.74 by Gopal Balakrishnan
notable
5 years, 8 months ago

Later solutions would entail a more radical break with the premises of these earlier histories of civil society, and not just with their mystified Hegelian sublimations

—p.74 by Gopal Balakrishnan
notable
5 years, 8 months ago

(noun) the Marxist theory of history and society that holds that ideas and social institutions develop only as the superstructure of a material economic base

75

Marx, it must be noted, was not seeking to provide an all-purpose account of human history that would address such complicating objections and qualifications. The meaning of his draft of historical materialism can only be understood in the polemical context of the inversion of historical idealism

—p.75 by Gopal Balakrishnan
notable
5 years, 8 months ago

Marx, it must be noted, was not seeking to provide an all-purpose account of human history that would address such complicating objections and qualifications. The meaning of his draft of historical materialism can only be understood in the polemical context of the inversion of historical idealism

—p.75 by Gopal Balakrishnan
notable
5 years, 8 months ago

(verb) uproot / (verb) to remove or separate from a native environment or culture / (verb) to remove the racial or ethnic characteristics or influences from

75

eventually, the thorough deracination of the entire Mediterranean world

not really sure which usage of the word is relevant here tbh

—p.75 by Gopal Balakrishnan
confirm
5 years, 8 months ago

eventually, the thorough deracination of the entire Mediterranean world

not really sure which usage of the word is relevant here tbh

—p.75 by Gopal Balakrishnan
confirm
5 years, 8 months ago
78

In the age of representative government, every class strove to identify its form of revenue with the general interests of society. [...]

just a good quote

—p.78 by Gopal Balakrishnan 5 years, 8 months ago

In the age of representative government, every class strove to identify its form of revenue with the general interests of society. [...]

just a good quote

—p.78 by Gopal Balakrishnan 5 years, 8 months ago

the opposite or counterpart of a fact or truth; the side of a coin or medal bearing the head or principal design

82

The relative backwardness of conditions on the continent led liberal and conservative parties to adopt positions on economic policy that were the obverse of the ones held by their counterparts in England

mid-1800s (when Das Kapital was being written)

—p.82 by Gopal Balakrishnan
notable
5 years, 8 months ago

The relative backwardness of conditions on the continent led liberal and conservative parties to adopt positions on economic policy that were the obverse of the ones held by their counterparts in England

mid-1800s (when Das Kapital was being written)

—p.82 by Gopal Balakrishnan
notable
5 years, 8 months ago
83

Except in a few stray passages from this period, Marx never conceptualized tax as the material basis of the connection between state and civil society, the form of revenue characteristic of this relationship. The upshot of what he did have to say was that taxes on capitalists would be of no benefit to workers:

The level of wages expressed, not in terms of money, but in terms of the means of subsistence necessary to the working man, that is the level of real, not nominal wages, depends on the relationship between demand and supply. An alteration in the mode of taxation may cause a momentary disturbance, but will not change anything in the long run.

Marx’s Ricardian conception of real wages as permanently fixed at near the bare subsistence level ruled out anything but defensive struggles to keep wages from sinking below the subsistence minimum. Even if the powers that be were so inclined, the state could do nothing against this iron law except provide some measure of poor relief. [...]

—p.83 by Gopal Balakrishnan 5 years, 8 months ago

Except in a few stray passages from this period, Marx never conceptualized tax as the material basis of the connection between state and civil society, the form of revenue characteristic of this relationship. The upshot of what he did have to say was that taxes on capitalists would be of no benefit to workers:

The level of wages expressed, not in terms of money, but in terms of the means of subsistence necessary to the working man, that is the level of real, not nominal wages, depends on the relationship between demand and supply. An alteration in the mode of taxation may cause a momentary disturbance, but will not change anything in the long run.

Marx’s Ricardian conception of real wages as permanently fixed at near the bare subsistence level ruled out anything but defensive struggles to keep wages from sinking below the subsistence minimum. Even if the powers that be were so inclined, the state could do nothing against this iron law except provide some measure of poor relief. [...]

—p.83 by Gopal Balakrishnan 5 years, 8 months ago

the economic theories of David Ricardo, an English political economist born in 1772 who made a fortune as a stockbroker and loan broker; influenced by Adam Smith and influenced Karl Marx; wrote about rent, the labour theory of value, and the theory of comparative advantage

83

Marx’s Ricardian conception of real wages as permanently fixed at near the bare subsistence level ruled out anything but defensive struggles to keep wages from sinking below the subsistence minimum.

—p.83 by Gopal Balakrishnan
uncertain
5 years, 8 months ago

Marx’s Ricardian conception of real wages as permanently fixed at near the bare subsistence level ruled out anything but defensive struggles to keep wages from sinking below the subsistence minimum.

—p.83 by Gopal Balakrishnan
uncertain
5 years, 8 months ago

(adjective) full of danger or uncertainty; precarious

83

the vast German market was flooded with the output of English factories, conveniently drawing scarce capital into the outlet of public debt, thereby relieving the parlous finances of a government resisting parliamentary control of the budget

—p.83 by Gopal Balakrishnan
notable
5 years, 8 months ago

the vast German market was flooded with the output of English factories, conveniently drawing scarce capital into the outlet of public debt, thereby relieving the parlous finances of a government resisting parliamentary control of the budget

—p.83 by Gopal Balakrishnan
notable
5 years, 8 months ago
85

Until April 1849, Marx subscribed to a two-stage theory of revolution: a bourgeois-democratic stage—political emancipation—out of which the conditions for a workers’ revolution—human emancipation—would emerge. But even before the coup d’état of Louis Bonaparte, the progression of this so-called ‘permanent revolution’ had been thwarted and reversed. In the aftermath of defeat he struggled to identify the reasons why this scenario had failed to materialize. [...]

some reasons: the "idiocy and isolation of the French peasantry"

—p.85 by Gopal Balakrishnan 5 years, 8 months ago

Until April 1849, Marx subscribed to a two-stage theory of revolution: a bourgeois-democratic stage—political emancipation—out of which the conditions for a workers’ revolution—human emancipation—would emerge. But even before the coup d’état of Louis Bonaparte, the progression of this so-called ‘permanent revolution’ had been thwarted and reversed. In the aftermath of defeat he struggled to identify the reasons why this scenario had failed to materialize. [...]

some reasons: the "idiocy and isolation of the French peasantry"

—p.85 by Gopal Balakrishnan 5 years, 8 months ago

(noun) defensive wall

87

Russia, for its part, was the bulwark of a European order resting on the rent and tax exploitation of the peasantry.

—p.87 by Gopal Balakrishnan
notable
5 years, 8 months ago

Russia, for its part, was the bulwark of a European order resting on the rent and tax exploitation of the peasantry.

—p.87 by Gopal Balakrishnan
notable
5 years, 8 months ago

(noun) preponderant influence or authority over others; domination / (noun) the social, cultural, ideological, or economic influence exerted by a dominant group

88

England was the dominant, Russia the subordinate hegemon of the world system of bourgeois society.

—p.88 by Gopal Balakrishnan
notable
5 years, 8 months ago

England was the dominant, Russia the subordinate hegemon of the world system of bourgeois society.

—p.88 by Gopal Balakrishnan
notable
5 years, 8 months ago

The Society of the Friends of the Constitution, after 1792 renamed Society of the Jacobins, Friends of Freedom and Equality, commonly known as the Jacobin Club (Club des Jacobins) or simply the Jacobins; the most famous and influential political club in the development of the French Revolution

89

This is where the significance of The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon lies. Its dramatic political and theoretical departure was its relegation of the French Revolution and the whole legacy of Jacobinism to the past.

—p.89 by Gopal Balakrishnan
notable
5 years, 8 months ago

This is where the significance of The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon lies. Its dramatic political and theoretical departure was its relegation of the French Revolution and the whole legacy of Jacobinism to the past.

—p.89 by Gopal Balakrishnan
notable
5 years, 8 months ago

a radical socialist and revolutionary government that ruled Paris from 18 March to 28 May 1871. Following the defeat of Emperor Napoleon III in September 1870, the French Second Empire collapsed, and the French Third Republic rose up in its place (initially intended as a provisional government but it ended up lasting until 1940) to continue the war with Prussia, which resulted in a 4-month-long siege of Paris (ending Jan 28), which laid the groundwork for the Commune

90

The old state was to be smashed, but the new one put in its place would wither away with the fulfilment of its transitional tasks. This break with Jacobin statism was reactivated in his later portrait of the Paris Commune, and would become a tenet of a later revolutionary Marxism.

—p.90 by Gopal Balakrishnan
uncertain
5 years, 8 months ago

The old state was to be smashed, but the new one put in its place would wither away with the fulfilment of its transitional tasks. This break with Jacobin statism was reactivated in his later portrait of the Paris Commune, and would become a tenet of a later revolutionary Marxism.

—p.90 by Gopal Balakrishnan
uncertain
5 years, 8 months ago

(noun) a usually rhetorical break in the flow of sound in the middle of a line of verse / (noun) a break in the flow of sound in a verse caused by the ending of a word within a foot / (noun) break interruption / (noun) a pause marking a rhythmic point of division in a melody

90

the caesura between bourgeois society and capitalism should not be conceived as some absolute discontinuity but rather as a problem to be resolved by historical studies

—p.90 by Gopal Balakrishnan
confirm
5 years, 8 months ago

the caesura between bourgeois society and capitalism should not be conceived as some absolute discontinuity but rather as a problem to be resolved by historical studies

—p.90 by Gopal Balakrishnan
confirm
5 years, 8 months ago
92

Previously Marx had been sceptical of if not hostile to America, seeing it in the mirror of Tocqueville’s literary travelogue as the land of completed democracy, but also of a hypocritical middle-class religiosity. His views on the pre-Civil War US were contradictory: he dismissed it as a backward society with undeveloped class contradictions—like the old Swiss republic, hardly a radical beacon—but also seemed to regard it as the most advanced frontier of bourgeois society. America had another significance for the early Marx: its slave system was the infernal shadow of this bourgeois world of alienated liberty. Only later would Marx come to see a contradiction between free wage-labour and slavery. Now, he assumed that American slavery was an integral part of the world system of bourgeois society that was based on wage slavery: ‘Modern nations have been able only to disguise slavery in their own countries, but they have imposed it without disguise upon the New World.’ The two forms of slavery had risen together and would fall in the same way. The Marx of this period was a ruthless abolitionist: he conceived of his own times as the age of the abolition of state, private property, family, religion and nationality. Marx and Engels took this universalism to its ultimate conclusion in a rejoinder to Stirner’s racialization of the Hegelian historical schema into Negroid, Mongoloid and Caucasoid eras: ‘Even naturally evolved differences within the species, such as racial differences . . . can and must be abolished in the course of historical development.’

Marx after 1852; cited from The German Ideology

—p.92 by Gopal Balakrishnan 5 years, 8 months ago

Previously Marx had been sceptical of if not hostile to America, seeing it in the mirror of Tocqueville’s literary travelogue as the land of completed democracy, but also of a hypocritical middle-class religiosity. His views on the pre-Civil War US were contradictory: he dismissed it as a backward society with undeveloped class contradictions—like the old Swiss republic, hardly a radical beacon—but also seemed to regard it as the most advanced frontier of bourgeois society. America had another significance for the early Marx: its slave system was the infernal shadow of this bourgeois world of alienated liberty. Only later would Marx come to see a contradiction between free wage-labour and slavery. Now, he assumed that American slavery was an integral part of the world system of bourgeois society that was based on wage slavery: ‘Modern nations have been able only to disguise slavery in their own countries, but they have imposed it without disguise upon the New World.’ The two forms of slavery had risen together and would fall in the same way. The Marx of this period was a ruthless abolitionist: he conceived of his own times as the age of the abolition of state, private property, family, religion and nationality. Marx and Engels took this universalism to its ultimate conclusion in a rejoinder to Stirner’s racialization of the Hegelian historical schema into Negroid, Mongoloid and Caucasoid eras: ‘Even naturally evolved differences within the species, such as racial differences . . . can and must be abolished in the course of historical development.’

Marx after 1852; cited from The German Ideology

—p.92 by Gopal Balakrishnan 5 years, 8 months ago
99

[...] the reproduction of capitalist social relations depends upon waves of cost-cutting, labour-saving investment but also on levels of employment that generate the income and surplus income that sustain this process—a difficult balance that over the long term might lead to permanent unemployment on an ever larger scale. It might be said then that the current historical situation is both a continuation and a structural convolution of this process, resulting from the failure of new phases of accumulation to materialize. The slowdown of the wheel of capitalist accumulation—staved off by publicly subsidized financialization, burgeoning debt levels and the new extremes of inequality—has led to a structural transformation in which its ‘laws of motion’ are faltering. The underlying value-determinations of the price system are being warped out of their earlier shapes with little prospect of a return to ‘normal times’ by the very efforts of the leading powers to keep the system afloat.

on Marx seeing capitalism as digging its own grave through excessive immiseration

—p.99 by Gopal Balakrishnan 5 years, 8 months ago

[...] the reproduction of capitalist social relations depends upon waves of cost-cutting, labour-saving investment but also on levels of employment that generate the income and surplus income that sustain this process—a difficult balance that over the long term might lead to permanent unemployment on an ever larger scale. It might be said then that the current historical situation is both a continuation and a structural convolution of this process, resulting from the failure of new phases of accumulation to materialize. The slowdown of the wheel of capitalist accumulation—staved off by publicly subsidized financialization, burgeoning debt levels and the new extremes of inequality—has led to a structural transformation in which its ‘laws of motion’ are faltering. The underlying value-determinations of the price system are being warped out of their earlier shapes with little prospect of a return to ‘normal times’ by the very efforts of the leading powers to keep the system afloat.

on Marx seeing capitalism as digging its own grave through excessive immiseration

—p.99 by Gopal Balakrishnan 5 years, 8 months ago