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Political marxism

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Chapter Summary

Over the last three decades, Robert Brenner and Ellen Meiksins Wood have attempted to develop and defend a revolutionary interpretation of historical materialism which avoids the pitfalls associated with both orthodox historical materialism and post-Marxist idealism. The term 'political Marxism' was coined by the French Marxist Guy Bois. Political Marxism delineates itself from traditional interpretations of Marxism in two fundamental ways. First it rejects the classical-Marxist model of historical change as outlined in Marx's preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Secondly, Brenner and Wood maintain that explanatory primacy in history should be accorded to changes in the relations of production. The problem of the transition from feudalism to capitalism was not simply of an academic interest to Brenner. He operates within a heterodox variant of the Trotskyist tradition, and is an editor of the radical journal, Against the Current.

Keywords: capitalism; Ellen Meiksins Wood; feudalism; political Marxism; Robert Brenner



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