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This collection brings together some of the best recent research on labour history.
For almost 150 years, scholars have been debating how to interpret Marx’s seminal work Capital while they had access to just some of Marx’s economic manuscripts. This changed in 2013 with the publication of all the known economic writings of Marx and Engels in the Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe (MEGA). One can now reconstruct the lines of intellectual development, and one can also explore in detail how Friedrich Engels went about compiling volumes II and III of Capital from the vast legacy of manuscripts that Marx left behind after his death in 1883. It should be possible, now, to develop a more comprehensive and accurate picture of Marx as an economic theoretician. This volume of essays aims to initiate this process.

Contributors are: Christopher J. Arthur, Matthias Bohlender, Timm Graßmann, Jorge Grespan, Gerald Hubmann, Heinz D. Kurz, Marcel van der Linden, Kenji Mori, Fred Moseley, Lucia Pradella, Geert Reuten, Regina Roth, and Carl-Erich Vollgraf.
Work and Compulsion after Chattel Slavery
On Coerced Labor focuses on those forms of labor relations that have been overshadowed by the “extreme” categories (wage labor and chattel slavery) in the historiography. It covers types of work lying between what the law defines as “free labor” and “slavery.” The frame of reference is the observation that although chattel slavery has largely been abolished in the course of the past two centuries, other forms of coerced labor have persisted in most parts of the world. While most nations have increasingly condemned the continued existence of slavery and the slave trade, they have tolerated labor relationships that involve violent control, economic exploitation through the appropriation of labor power, restriction of workers’ freedom of movement, and fraudulent debt obligations.

Contributors are: Lisa Carstensen, Christian G. De Vito, Justin F. Jackson, Christine Molfenter, David Palmer, Nicola Pizzolato, Luis F.B. Plascencia, Magaly Rodríguez García, Kelvin Santiago-Valles, Nicole J. Siller, Marcel van der Linden, Sven Van Melkebeke.
The Historical Materialism Book Series is a major publishing initiative of the radical left. The capitalist crisis of the twenty-first century has been met by a resurgence of interest in critical Marxist theory. At the same time, the publishing institutions committed to Marxism have contracted markedly since the high point of the 1970s. The Historical Materialism Book Series is dedicated to addressing this situation by making available important works of Marxist theory. The aim of the series is to publish important theoretical contributions as the basis for vigorous intellectual debate and exchange on the left. We are convinced that a project of this kind can make an important contribution to the revitalisation of critical politics and intellectual culture.

The peer-reviewed series publishes original monographs, translated texts and reprints of ‘classics’ across the bounds of academic disciplinary agendas, and across the divisions of the left. The series is particularly concerned to encourage the internationalisation of Marxist debate, and aims to translate significant studies from beyond the English speaking world. We have previously published important studies of Marxist thinkers, key collections of sources from the socialist movement, works of philosophy, history and literary criticism, as well as political and economic studies. Future publication plans include texts in the fields of cultural and aesthetic theory, sociology and geography.

The Historical Materialism Book Series will expand significantly over the coming years with substantial and important books in all areas of Marxist theory. We are undertaking a project of publishing previously untranslated texts by Marx, long unavailable debates from the 2nd and 3rd Internationals, and English editions of important studies from the post war period. Equally significantly, we also aim to publish the work of the emerging generation of Marxist scholars and theorists. The Historical Materialism Book Series intends to be at the forefront of radical publishing for the coming period with a commitment to rigorous intellectual work produced within the many Marxist traditions.

Send all editorial enquiries and proposals to historicalmaterialism@soas.ac.uk

For more information visit also the journal Historical Materialism.

Click here for an overview of forthcoming and available titles in the series (Excel).