Democracy Against Capitalism: Renewing Historical Materialism
Ellen Meiksins Wood argues that with the collapse of Communism the theoretical project of Marxism and its critique of capitalism is more timely and important than ever. Current intellectual fashions of the left which emphasise 'post-modern' fragmentation, 'difference', contingency and the 'politics of identity' can barely accommodate the idea of capitalism, let alone subject the capitalist system to critique. In this book she sets out to renew the critical programme of historical materialism by redefining its basic concepts and its theory of history in original and imaginative ways, using them to identify the specificity of capitalism as a system of social relations and political power. She goes on to explore the concept of democracy in both the ancient and modern world, examining the concept's relation to capitalism, and raising questions about how democracy might go beyond the limits imposed on it by capitalism.
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Althusserian ancient ancient Greece appropriators and producers argument Athenian democracy Athens autonomy bourgeois Brenner capitalist capitalist economy capitalist societies citizen citizenship civic civil society class consciousness class formation class struggle classical coercion coercive constituted critical culture democratic demos direct producers distinctive dominant duction E.P. Thompson economic effect example existence explain exploitation extra-economic feudalism forces of production formal democracy freedom Greek historical materialism historical process historical specificity human Ibid identities ideological imperatives industrial juridical liberal democracy logic Marx Marx's means of production mechanism medieval mode of production modern objective oppression particular peasant pluralism polis political economy principle private property production relations productive forces property relations relations of production relationship Roman sense simply slavery slaves social form social relations socialist specificity of capitalism sphere status structural superstructure surplus extraction surplus labour technological determinism teleology theoretical Thompson tion tradition transformation unique Weber Western