Historical Subjects Lost and Found

Green, Cecilia A.

Publisher:  Against the Current
Date Written:  01/09/2018
Year Published:  2018  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23404

Looking at the legacy of Marx in the West Indies.



I have followed, with increasing intellectual disengagement, the path of the critique from the idea that capitalism as a dominant mode of production was peculiarly and primordially, autonomously, European to the current globalist or cosmopolitanist version which says, rather counterintuitively, that capitalism has no geography, no place, no small "h" history, no state, no nation, no center, no culture, no ethnicity (and therefore those things are not significant).

Indeed, the history of capitalism narrative put forward often recounts a simple transition from competing national capitalisms to global capitalism, completely eliding empires and colonies (those which were not "historical nations"). And since nations in this view have little significance under global capitalism, latecomers have even less claim on our intellectual attention.

This waving of a magic wand which flattens all into a single totality with permutations emanating from Capital at the center (but which claims no centers or peripheries) has been challenged by a number of (particularly Global South) writers, who have either simply insisted on place-based accounts (e.g. Arturo Escobar) or have put forward an alternative "geopolitical economy" Marxist understanding of capital (e.g. Radhika Desai). One does not have to embrace all aspects of their work to understand exactly where they are coming from…
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