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Abstract

This article presents a historical-materialist approach to key issues of revolution and counter-revolution and uses it to analyse what happened in Russia between 1917 and the late 1920s. What took place in 1917 was indeed a socialist revolution. However, by the end of 1918 working-class rule had been replaced with the rule of a working-class leadership layer that was improvising a fragile surplus-extracting state of proletarian origin. The eventual transformation of that layer into a new ruling class represented the triumph of a modernising counter-revolution. The decisive determinants of these developments were material pressures acting, first, on a working class plunged into catastrophic social crisis and war and then, after the Civil War, on the party-state leadership layer that sought to maintain its state against both European capitalist societies and the classes from which it had to extract surpluses. However, aspects of Bolshevik ideology also played a role.

In: Historical Materialism
In: Historical Materialism

Abstract

This editorial perspective attempts to explain the recent rise of Jair Bolsonaro to the presidency in Brazil and to characterise, at least in a preliminary fashion, the nature of the new regime one year into Bolsonaro’s rule. The core argument is that Bolsonaro represents a weak and internally-fragmented far-right regime, with unenthusiastic and declining popular support. Dominant sections of international and domestic capital operating in Brazil lent Bolsonaro electoral backing as a last way out of economic and political crisis, but so far, the new government has failed in sufficiently guaranteeing their most important interests and the markets are withdrawing approval. Themes covered include the political paralysis of the new regime, the social bases of Bolsonarismo, the nature of the current state–capital relation, and the role of evangelical Pentecostalism in far-right Brazilian politics today. A biographical portrait of Bolsonaro is provided, alongside a mapping of the dominant factions of the new administration. Finally, an assessment of the economic outlook in Brazil is developed, together with speculation as to the likely political consequences in the short- to medium-term future.

In: Historical Materialism

Abstract

The paper investigates the distinctly Chinese intertwining of expertise and state & financial capital to enrich the current understanding of neoliberalism as a hegemonic governing rationale. Since the summer of 2015, China has been experiencing one of its most severe financial crises since the adoption of a ‘socialist market economy’ in 1978. However, globally circulating narratives have failed to look beyond a Western-centric corollary, rehashing a critique of the Chinese one-party system and its lack of a ‘genuine’ free market. By exploring the specific genealogy of Chinese capitalism, and the distinctive Chinese financial-market structure, the article will show how the scientific authority of experts formulated amongst neoliberal thinkers never permeated the Chinese idea of knowledge. In the Chinese variety of financial capitalism, expertise is seen to lie not so much in the wisdom of individual experts as in their socio-political support, which legitimises their economic interventions.

In: Historical Materialism

Abstract

Karl Marx and the Chartist leader, writer and poet Ernest Jones developed a close intellectual and political partnership from the late 1840s through the late 1850s. Their friendship invites attention because it places Marx in the company of one of Chartism’s leading anti-colonial advocates, precisely at a time when he was simultaneously moving in that direction. This article explores the ways in which Marx and Jones converged in their estimation of the 1857 Indian uprising. It is argued that the shift in Marx’s thought, whereby the dialectics of colonialism and anti-colonialism are integrated within his materialist conception of history, was not independent of Jones’s influence.

In: Historical Materialism

Abstract

This archive manuscript is an English translation of a 25-page excerpt from Marx’s Manuscript of 1867–68, which was published for the first time in German in 2012 in the MEGA, Volume II/4.3. This excerpt is Marx’s first and only attempt to incorporate unequal turnover times across industries into his theory of the equalisation of the profit rate and prices of production. The excerpt considers three cases: unequal turnover times across industries, unequal compositions of capital across industries, and both of these inequalities together. It also emphasises two concepts of the rate of profit: rate of profit on capital advanced and rate of profit on the cost price (capital consumed).

In: Historical Materialism

Abstract

This is an introduction to an English translation of a 25-page excerpt from Marx’s Manuscript of 1867–68, which was published for the first time in German in 2012 in the MEGA, Volume II/4.3. This excerpt (see pp. 162–92) is Marx’s first and only attempt to incorporate unequal turnover times across industries into his theory of the equalisation of the profit rate and prices of production. The introduction attempts to clarify the overall logic of this excerpt as well as to point out Marx’s many small errors in this messy first draft. The introduction concludes with the implications of this excerpt for the general interpretation of Marx’s theory of prices of production (i.e. the transformation problem).

In: Historical Materialism

Abstract

This Introduction describes the approach and rules applied when translating a 25-page excerpt from Marx’s Manuscript of 1867–68, as published in the MEGA, Volume II/4.3. The draft status and terseness of the text required that the translation (see pp. 162–92) proceed along with a working-out of its mathematical content. The translation’s main guideline was to translate the draft such as it stood, while correcting figures and formulas wherever possible. Remaining major deficiencies and inconsistencies are discussed in depth, showing also what an outstanding level of acuity Marx had already achieved in a manuscript at first-draft stage.

In: Historical Materialism

Abstract

Althusser’s reception within Argentinian psychoanalytic culture assumed a variety of different forms. For the purposes of delimiting mediations between Marxism, structuralism and psychoanalysis in Argentina during the 1960s and ’70s, this work seeks to reconstruct historical readings of Althusser according to his reception within three distinct interpretative communities. The first group, centring on the figure of Oscar Masotta, concerns Althusser’s role in the development of Argentina’s incipient Lacanian groups. For the second group, primarily dissident-psychoanalytic and Freudo-Marxist, the reception of Althusser will be considered in tandem with ensuing debates between Freudo-Marxism and Althussero-Lacanism. The third group asks us to consider the role of Althusserianism in discussions around the professionalisation of psychology, where the careers of Carlos Sastre and Roberto Harari showed the strongest connections to Althusser’s work.

In: Historical Materialism

Abstract

This paper deals with modern history and the contemporary subject. Marx’s theory of modern society must be corrected and completed. The dominant class includes two social forces: the capitalists on the market and the ‘competent’ in the organisation, facing the fundamental or popular class. A ‘régime of hegemony’ is a mode of arrangement between these three forces. Under neoliberalism, when a World-State is emerging, the capitalists occupy an overwhelming position.

The ‘neoliberal subject’ can be described as subjected to a universal commodification. But a realistic understanding supposes to confront this subject with the contradictory plurality of this régime of hegemony. The subject is ‘interpellated’ (see Althusser) from all sides of this social triangle, across all the scales of social life. Only in this local and universal context can the potential of the ordinary human being appear.

In: Historical Materialism