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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.
The Long-term Consequences of the Abolition of the Slave Trade
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).
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?

Abstract

This paper presents a critical reconstruction of the main Marxist debates about the idea of 'leaps forward' in historical development. There have been two important approaches: the so-called 'law of uneven and combined development', as developed by Leon Trotsky, George Novack and Ernest Mandel, and Jan Romein's 'handicap of a head start'. Although Romein's approach is Stalinist in origin, elements of it are compatible with Trotsky's interpretation. But, even an expanded version of the 'law' of uneven and combined development lacks predictive value, although one can say with certainty in hindsight whether a combined development has taken place. It is argued that the 'law' is, in fact, an underspecified social mechanism and that its explanatory power can be increased by identifying a number of recurrent patterns.

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
In: Historical Materialism
In: Humanitarian Intervention and Changing Labor Relations
In: Streiten für eine Welt jenseits des Kapitalismus
In: On Coerced Labor
This collection brings together some of the best recent research on labour history.