We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lapp√©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Slavery and the History of Capitalism

Click here to access article from communists in situ

An academic style of writing can be very off-putting to ordinary educated people because of its use of obscure words and references in frequently lengthy articles, but this article I believe is well worth a read because it provides an excellent critical survey of writings on the title-subject both historical and contemporary which one can make use of.  By reading some of this literature, we can increase our understanding of racism and slavery and the important role they played in the rise of capitalism.

The article also directs our attention to what is happening in the world of academia regarding this subject. For example, my attention was drawn to the fact that there has been a renaissance of writing about capitalism and the history of capitalism since the economic crash of 2008. We as activists can benefit from this re-awakening.
An energetic startup within the U.S. historical profession, the history of capitalism has grown rapidly over the past few years and won media attention most academics only dream of. Its popularity was sparked in part by the 2008 financial crisis, which renewed doubt about capitalism’s promises, and it emerges in the long wake of the demise of identity politics and the cultural turn within U.S. scholarship. It looks beyond supposedly narrow, sectarian concerns with particular groups left out of mainstream history—women and workers, peasants and slaves, blacks and gays. Some scholars have indeed argued for the capacious, democratic, and inclusive capabilities of this new field; others have been at pains to demonstrate that it is not a recapitulation of social history centered on the white male worker or business history fetishizing the white male capitalist. Even so, its institutional and ideological biases often shine through in its favored subjects and its anointed practitioners.

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