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In: On Coerced Labor
Essays toward a Global Labor History
The studies offered in this volume contribute to a Global Labor History freed from Eurocentrism and methodological nationalism. Using literature from diverse regions, epochs and disciplines, the book provides arguments and conceptual tools for a different interpretation of history – a labor history which integrates the history of slavery and indentured labor, and which pays serious attention to diverging yet interconnected developments in different parts of the world. The following questions are central:
▪ What is the nature of the world working class, on which Global Labor History focuses? How can we define and demarcate that class, and which factors determine its composition?
▪ Which forms of collective action did this working class develop in the course of time, and what is the logic in that development?
▪ What can we learn from adjacent disciplines? Which insights from anthropologists, sociologists and other social scientists are useful in the development of Global Labor History?
In: Humanitarian Intervention and Changing Labor Relations
In: Historical Materialism

How did Rosa Luxemburg, in her The Accumulation of Capital and other writings, analyse the development of the working class and other subordinate classes under capitalism, and how did she view the relationship between these classes and those living in ‘natural economic societies’? Following primary sources closely, the present essay reconstructs and evaluates Luxemburg’s class analysis of global society. It is shown that Luxemburg pioneered a truly global concept of solidarity from below, including the most oppressed – women and colonised peoples.

In: Historical Materialism

Abstract:

Karl Marx and other nineteenth-century theorists believed that capitalism’s rise would cause the continuous expansion of the working class, and thus produce “its own grave-diggers”. Looking back on the developments over the past six or seven centuries reveals clearly that the “purest” proletarian revolutions – with absolute dominance by the working class – occurred early on in capitalism. In advanced capitalism, however, they did not take place, although from 1917 workers figured more prominently in national revolutions than they had previously. And nowhere did a revolution culminate in a stable society that revolved around the interests of workers. Three possible explanatory factors are suggested: (i) due to the increased role of the state in the daily life of the people a revolution would completely disrupt daily life and thus drive up the “costs” of attempts to overthrow capitalist society; (ii) through institutional “deflection” the state is not regarded as having the main part in causing social, economic, political or cultural injustice; and (iii) the working class has increasingly become integrated in civil society through political incorporation and individualized mass consumption.

Open Access
In: Worlds of Labour Turned Upside Down
The Long-term Consequences of the Abolition of the Slave Trade
Volume Editor: Marcel van der Linden
In 1807 the British “Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade” received the Royal Assent. The Act represented the first significant attempt by a Great Power to exert global influence over the development of human rights, and, relatedly, labor conditions worldwide. The essays presented in this book by an international panel of historians and social scientists aim to shed light specifically on the changes which the legal abolition of the slave trade brought about – directly and indirectly – in the labor relations of different regions and continents. The sixteen essays discuss the connected developments in the Americas (Brazil, the Caribbean and the United States), Africa (Cameroon, the Cape Colony, the Belgian Congo) and the Netherlands Indies (Java).
A Survey of Critical Theories and Debates Since 1917
The ‘Russian Question’ was an absolutely central problem for Marxism in the twentieth century. Numerous attempts were made to understand the nature of Soviet society. The present book tries to portray the development of these theoretical contributions since 1917 in a coherent, comprehensive appraisal. It aims to present the development of the Western Marxist critique of the Soviet Union across a rather long period in history (from 1917 to the present) and in a large region (Western Europe and North America). Within this demarcation of limits in time and space, an effort has been made to ensure completeness, by paying attention to all Marxist analyses which in some way significantly deviated from or added to the older theories.
In: Streiten für eine Welt jenseits des Kapitalismus
Series Editor: Marcel van der Linden
For a long time, historiography was the sum of national efforts. Historians automatically thought and wrote within the framework of nation states – even when discussing “foreign policy” and “inter-national” topics. “Globalization” is beginning to change their approach. Now that borders have become more fluid in contemporary society, and interest in transnational processes is increasing, the principles of the methodological nationalism of the past are undergoing a critical review. A different view of global cohesion parallels this trend. Until recently, the North Atlantic perspective dominated the mental world order: the “modern” period was believed to have started in Europe and North America and to have spread gradually throughout the rest of the world; the temporality of the core area was considered to have defined developmental periods elsewhere as well. This Eurocentrism is now under fire, and many attempts to circumvent it are in progress. The peer-reviewed book series Studies in Global Social History figures within these new trends. Each volume in this series addresses (the connections between) macro-regions and aims to visualize contrasts and similarities, to demonstrate how our present global society has materialized from uneven and combined developments and from interaction between acts “from above” and “from below”: from rulers, entrepreneurs, politicians, and administrators on the one hand and from slaves, peasants, indentured labourers, wage-earners, and housewives on the other hand.

Authors are cordially invited to submit proposals and/or full manuscripts to either the series editor Marcel van der Linden or the publisher at BRILL, Wendel Scholma.

The series includes the subseries Studies in Global Migration History and Studies in the Social History of the Global South.

Brill Open offers you the choice to make your research freely accessible online in exchange for a Publication Charge. This can be by choice or to comply with funding mandates or university requirements. Brill offers various options of Open Access; for more information please go to the Brill Open webpage.

The series published an average of 3,5 volumes per year over the last 5 years.