NOTE: The readers may or may not choose to read the extensive quotations from a number of authors, but mostly Adam Smith, Karl Marx and Lenin - and materials related to their circumstances and their writings. I have found that their writings are for the most part unread, even by so-called experts on them (particularly in America and Africa). Also, secondary political sources are biased, to manipulate the ignorant into anti-communist postures. Part of my purpose is to as much as possible, allow the authors to speak for themselves on critical issues, so that the readers can pursue their works I always also provide links. The first part of this essay deals with bourgeois democratic revolutions and the materialist conception of history.

Lil Joe


Social Revolutions and Winning the Battle of Democracy

By Lil Joe

I - Bourgeois Democratic Revolutions

Social revolutions are historical processes of socio-economic transformation. Such transformations are not the result of ideas of great thinkers or revolutionary theorists, but arise from quantitative changes in socio-economic technologies resulting in qualitative contradictions in an existing mode of production, new forces and new passions emerge from these changes, challenging the world-order within whose wombs these fertilized eggs of the new changes grew, and developed lives with passions and wills of their own.

Yet, social revolutions are not the product of will and idea, but will and idea the result of the development of the rising new class, it's self-consciousness is the result of development of the new social organism in its mother organism's womb struggling for self-affirmation. The fetus and the mother are initially identical, the same. The mother's womb is its natural union, its home, its nurture and defense.

Self-affirmation of the specificity of the new organism, social or biological, begins in the womb, as is the case of an unborn organism it develops biologically, including its cranial capacity; its self-affirmation comes to differentiate itself, in its natural environment and from that natural environment. It's emerging cranial capacity, however is at the same time negation and affirmation both of its self-cumulative past, and against the conditions under which this past self cumulated to this point. From being an unconscious organism in self into a consciousness of self, its self-consciousness develops being for self as it confronts and overthrows the limits within which it had till this point been nurtured.

The fully developed organism in the womb evolves self-consciousness in the praxis of conflicts with its circumstances: what was once protective of it and nurturing has now become restrictive of it and smothering to it, it must emerge, and emerge it does, notwithstanding the violence which is the midwife of every human emerging into the world as an independent life with a will and mind of its own.

Similarly it is with the formation of new classes, within the womb of the existing order, the evolution occurs with the progressive changes in the productive forces with resulting new divisions of labor, branches of industry, class, methods of exchange, relations of production. When it has develops it's class-consciousness which forms in conflict with the very circumstances that had formed and nurtured it. Class-consciousness develops through and from the praxis of developing class formation through conflict with the powers that be. The rising class becomes revolutionary when it understands that to actualize its self-consciousness of being an independent entity, it must free itself by freeing the productive forces from the fetters of the existing economic appropriation forms and political boundaries, negation.

In the pre-civil societies, human and prior thereto, the evolution of societies were immediate, prior to class formations, politics and states. Technological developments were in the interests of all, and new divisions of labor weren't a threat, so rather than conflicts and revolution hominids evolved socially, transcending from one mode of production to the next, more complex and technologically more efficient forms engendered improvements resulting in peaceful social evolution rather than coming into conflict with ruling classes, necessitating violent revolutions by the rising classes.

Humanity didn't invent technology and socioeconomic activities, but inherited them from millions of years of evolving hominids, their advances in technological evolution with corresponding evolution of economic systems.

The productive forces of a society, from the earliest pebble flakes and percussion flake techniques of hominids handed down to men.(1)

The theoretical basis of the paleo-anthropological archeological method of analysis is the Marxian materialist conception of history, also called "environmental, techno-economic determinism".

In brief, this theoretical assumption of this "environmental, techno-economic determinism" is that changes in the mode or methods of production results in changes in the divisions of labor, forms of exchange, and social relations. Thus, in studying the different economic epochs characteristic mode of production, Marx wrote:

"Relics of bygone instruments of labour possess the same importance for the investigation of extinct economic forms of society, as do fossil bones for the determination of extinct species of animals. It is not the articles made, but how they are made, and by what instruments, that enables us to distinguish different economic epochs. Instruments of labour not only supply a standard of the degree of development to which human labour has attained, but they are also indicators of the social conditions under which that labour is carried on."
(Marx: Capital Volume I Part III: The Production of Absolute Surplus-Value Chapter 7)

The ancestral hominids handed down to humanity not just its first fully developed tool industries, but fully developed coordinated food getting systems as well, based in the first instance of sexual division of labor. The hunter-gatherers, female mothers and nurturers were also the primary feeders of the hominid bands and the first human clans, as collectors of roots, fruit, herbs, vegetables provided most of the food. They used stone tools made by stone tools, percussion and pressure flaking techniques, and by these made digging sticks, and baskets. They were the mothers and the matriarchs. The male hunters contributed meat and protection, but were not dominate.

This was no Garden of Eden, however. The world has always been a dangerous place for hominidae, especially the smaller and relatively weaker hominids and their human offspring. So, alertness and protection was no small matter.

For hominids, as is the case of other hominidae the world is a very dangerous place. The function of armed men, as camp guards was very important posts. Because the men were biologically more capable of hunting, size and strength, they made their own hunting instruments - killing instruments (spears, bows and arrows, &c). These were used to defend the campgrounds as well.

It is illogical to expect that women, who were just as smart as male hunters and just as brave as male sentries, to be running around hunting while the babies are nursing on their breast, or tied to their back. To lay the baby on the ground while the mother goes to fight off a group of tigers would only result in clever tigers drawing them out to have easy picking at baby food. It is also illogical for the biologically more adept males to tend the children while the smaller females wrestle with tigers. It is logical and practical that at the level of development of technology at that time, men and boys would be the logical choice as hunters-protectors, and women and girls as mothers and keepers of the hearth. The sexual division of labor was functional, not prestigious.

(But, also see paper "Empathy, Polyandry and the Myth of the Coy Female", by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy"

Prestige and privileges of power, together with male domination and the displacement of the clan by the family, came later, owing to altered technology and economic arrangements.

Recently, it has been discovered by repeated observation of Baboon troop behavior, notwithstanding the sexist myth of the "dominate male", it was the elder females actually led the troop. Why not? The male baboons from infancy were cared for, and ordered about, disciplined and so on by the elder females, mom and aunts, her sisters, and nieces!

"Baboons sleep, travel, feed and socialize together in groups of about 50 individuals, consisting of seven to eight males and approximately twice as many females plus their young. These family units of females, juveniles and infants form the stable core of a troop, with a ranking system that elevates certain females as leaders. A troop's home range is well-defined but does not appear to have territorial borders. It often overlaps with the range of other baboons, but the troops seem to avoid meeting one another.

"When they begin to mature, males leave their natal troops and move in and out of other troops. Frequent fights break out to determine dominance over access to females or meat. The ranking of these males constantly changes during this period.

"Males are accepted into new troops slowly, usually by developing "friendships" with different females around the edge of a troop. They often help to defend a female and her offspring.

"Males may confront other predators like leopards or cheetahs by forming a line and strutting in a threatening manner while baring their large canines and screaming. Baboons are fierce fighters, but a demonstration such as this can put the predator on the run.

There is similar social behavior of our cousin Baboon troops, and clans of others species of the hominidae family [1]


[1]"Until recently, most classifications included only humans in this family; other apes were put in the family Pongidae (from which the gibbons were sometimes separated as the Hylobatidae). The evidence linking humans to gorillas and chimps has grown dramatically in the past two decades, especially with increased use of molecular techniques. It now appears that chimps, gorillas, and humans form a clade of closely related species; orangutans are slightly less close phylogenetically, and gibbons are a more distant branch. Here we follow a classification reflecting those relationships. Chimps, gorillas, humans, and orangutans make up the family Hominidae; gibbons are separated as the closely related Hylobatidae."

It is reasonable to draw inference from observation that members of early hominid species lived in relative peace in bans and early human clans also lived in relative peace. Hobbes' idea of the wild-man in the state of nature as a vicious, selfish, brute at war each against all is nothing but a myth, derived from his circumstances of competitive capitalism emerging in England in his 'interpretation' of man as sinful flesh (from the neo-Platonism of Plotinus, Paul, and Augustine).

So, that these kinds of loathsome creatures exists today, it is a product, not of Nature, or Genesis "fall of man", but of the brutality of competitive capitalist commodity production and appropriation. But, neither is Locke and Rousseau's state of Nature of man as naturally good correct. Locke was right, however, in observing that human nature is in its potential to become, by socialization and education, what his or her culture makes of him or her

The early human community was clans; their economic consciousness was communistic. The sexual division of labor of hunter-gatherers was functional, the labors of each was according to ability in appropriating from nature the groups means of subsistence; so obtained, these means of subsistence was shared to each according to his and her needs.

These relations of acquisition and distribution continued for a million years of hominid life, and were handed down together with the tool making traditions from bands of Homos erectus, habilis and ergaster to clans of Sapiens Neanderthalensis and Sapiens Sapiens.

"The earliest Homo erectus were contemporaries of the late Homo habilis in East Africa for several hundred thousand years. This suggests that the immediate ancestor of Homo erectus was an early Homo habilis or possibly another yet to be discovered species of early humans. Homo erectus was a very successful human species, lasting at least 1.5 million years, though their numbers apparently remained relatively low. Some of them eventually evolved into out species, Homo sapiens . That evolutionary transition was well under way by 400,000 years ago but was not complete until 200,000-100,000 years ago and possibly even later in some regions."

The first hundred thousand years or so of human community were of communistic hunter-gathers, operating by a co-operative sexual division of labor. This began to change with horticulture, on the basis of the hoe and slash/burn techniques that gave rise to agriculture and sedentary rank societies, and herding that gave rise to shepherding and animal husbandry, and these to agriculture using draft animals and the bronze plow (bronze age), then iron (iron age). With these were increases in labor productivity, and sedentary community, when enabled surpluses, trade, property, and class formations.

"Capital has not invented surplus-labour. Wherever a part of society possesses the monopoly of the means of production, the labourer, free or not free, must add to the working-time necessary for his own maintenance an extra working-time in order to produce the means of subsistence for the owners of the means of production, whether this proprietor be the Athenian calos cagaqos [well-to-do man], Etruscan theocrat, civis Romanus, Norman baron, American slave-owner, Wallachian Boyard, modern landlord or capitalist. It is, however, clear that in any given economic formation of society, where not the exchange-value but the use-value of the product predominates, surplus-labour will be limited by a given set of wants which may be greater or less, and that here no boundless thirst for surplus-labour arises from the nature of the production itself. Hence in antiquity over-work becomes horrible only when the object is to obtain exchange-value in its specific independent money-form; in the production of gold and silver. Compulsory working to death is here the recognised form of over-work."
(Karl Marx: Capital Vol. I chapter 10)

Horticulture, primitive agriculture using the hoe slash and burn techniques and planting gave rise to agriculture proper, with draft animals and bronze plow, then iron. Thence the so-called "agricultural revolution", and the emergence of class exploitation relations of production characterized by the mode of production and its method of appropriation of labor and its products.

"Social relations are closely bound up with productive forces. In acquiring new productive forces men change their mode of production; and in changing their mode of production, in changing the way of earning their living, they change all their social relations. The hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill society with the industrial capitalist."
(Marx: Poverty of Philosophy Chapter 2, The Method)

It wasn't until surpluses arose with horticulture and animal husbandry, and thence into agriculture that trade arose, and with it private property, exchange, credit and debt, that tore the communal property of the tribes and immediate clans from the peoples common usage into private tracts, then farms. Handicraft, which initially evolved from the work on the farms, emerged as a separate branch of industry in the villages.

The emergence of the merchants and wealthy farmers engendered the first distinctions of rich and poor, serfs and lords, slaves, merchants, and political states to protect property and keep the serfs, slaves and servant classes in check.

The first of these class societies evolved from pre-agricultural villages in the great river valleys: between the Tigris and the Euphrates River Valleys in Mesopotamia; the Nile River Valley in Egypt; the Indus Valley of India and the Shang River Valley in China. All are described as "Bronze Age Cultures". What these cultures have in common is that the economies arose in river valleys, where inundation were natural, making for agriculture, trade, class property, states.

Men overthrow women as heads of the clans, now broken-up into "families" with the husband-father the owners of the farms or the cattle, and with this the displacement of the nurturing matriarchal- matrilineal systems by the more martial patriarchal system and inheritance. Eventually, the gentile societies were displaced by the territorial state, that in its train gave rise to male dominated bureaucracy, hierarchy, and privilege. This is what is called "civilization".

Egoism and "selfishness" wasn't originally a "human nature" thing, but a result engendered by surplus produce, division of labor, trade and private property; and with it in its train came wealth of the few connected and poverty of the many, debtors were foreclosed on and forced to sell children into slavery, if not themselves into indentured servitude, or slavery. Territorial kings displaced tribal chiefs, and tribal militias displaced by standing armies. It was a revolution concerning things, social organization and self-consciousness.

"The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution."
(Karl Marx: A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Preface)

The materialist Marxian theory of social revolutions, therefore does not limited discourse to the change of government ministers, or the displacement of one tyrant by another, or of one parliamentary party majority by another. Behind these political acts, and in fact determining them are changes in social relations of production. It is in consequences of these material changes in the productive forces -- land, agriculture, cattle, technology and labor in production.

Social classes carrying through revolutions in civilized societies rise to dominate the new political state. The most powerful, economically dominate class is - of becomes by revolution - the most powerful, politically dominate class.

The material interests of the rising classes coincide with -- or rather are determined by -- the progress in the levels of development of the productive forces and corresponding divisions of labor, property and modes of appropriation. The triumph of the revolutionary class is the triumphant new modes of appropriation and relations of production, the new economy becoming supreme. It is a matter of changes in the productive forces having changed the divisions of labor, and with it the methods of appropriation and social relations of production, becoming dominant.

State's institutions, lagging behind changes in the productive forces and the economy, or rather holding those new forces back, is because the classes of the old system still holds political power, constitute the State. The political institutions of the ruling classes that had corresponded to its productive technology, and forms of wealth, still maintain their political powers although the economy has changed. The old classes that dominated the old order must therefore be forcefully overthrown, and the old political formations destroyed, by political revolutions by means of which the rising class becomes the State.

In other words, within the bosom of the old socio-economic order, the levels of development of the productive forces manifest in divisions of labor, exchange, relations of production manifest in class formations, civil society, politics, property laws. It is within and against the framework of the existing society that technological progress new forces of production emerge quantitatively, gradually changing the modes of exchange and challenging the old arrangements.

"The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure. In studying such transformations it is always necessary to distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophic in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out."
(Karl Marx: A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Preface)

Spontaneous, inventions and innovations are quantitative changes in the productive forces (land, technology, labor, division of labor) over time, these quantitative changes appear as qualitative leaps, results in the progressive developments in the productive forces. With advances in technology are discoveries in nature, result in quantitative changes in perceptions of nature, cumulating in qualitative leaps in the progression of the sciences as well. Resulting from these quantitative and qualitative changes in the modes of production are correspondingly quantitative and qualitative alterations in social relations of production, and correspondingly quantitative and qualitative alterations in methods of exchange between classes: changed forms of appropriation of labor and its products resulting in changed property forms, qualitatively distinct, and new socio-economic divisions of labor based relations of production's qualitatively distinct property formation's representative class formations. The capitalist mode of appropriation, the result of the capitalist mode of production, for example, results in capitalist private property.

"It took three whole centuries in Germany to establish the first big division of labor, the separation of the towns from the country. In proportion, as this one relation of town and country was modified, the whole of society was modified."
(Karl Marx: The Poverty of Philosophy)

The economic interests are politically represented in the State:

"But in the meantime the state had quietly been developing. The new groups formed by the division of labor, first between town and country, then between the different branches of town labor, had created new organs to look after their interests; official posts of all kinds had been set up. And above everything else the young state needed a power of its own. In the first place, it created a public force which was now no longer simply identical with the whole body of the armed people; secondly, for the first time it divided the people for public purposes, not by groups of kinship, but by common place of residence"
(Frederick Engels' The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State)

State's institutions corresponding to economic interests of the dominant classes become outmoded, archaic compared to the new realities:

"At a certain stage of development, it brings forth the material agencies for its own dissolution. From that moment new forces and new passions spring up in the bosom of society; but the old social organization fetters them and keeps them down. It must be annihilated; it is annihilated."
(Marx: Capital Vol. I chapter 32)

The political feudal institutions resting on feudal relations of production in Europe, for instance, arose from the martial order of the conquering Germanic tribes and the Vikings, in the territories once dominated by the Roman Empire. (See NOTEBOOK conspectus from Adam Smith and Karl Marx) Feudal relations of production in Europe didn't emerge from Roman slavery, as for instance Lenin intimates in The State, but were a synthesis resulting from the spread and disintegration of the Roman Empire in the West on one hand, and the Germanic tribe's conquests, the distribution of lands that became the military basis of fiefdoms on the other.

The changes that occurred in the previous mode of production are changes pushed by quantitative changes in technology resulting in qualitative changes in the economy resulting from the new divisions of labor engendered new modes of appropriation and correspondingly new relations of production.

Characteristic forms of appropriation corresponding to categorical divisions of labor changes whereby what appears to be relatively irrelevant changes in technology accumulate, each change producing a new division of labor producing a new form of wealth colliding with the older, dominate forms.

"Thus, the economic forms in which man produces, consumes and exchanges are transitory and historical. With the acquisition of new productive faculties man changes his mode of production and with the mode of production he changes all the economic relations, which were, but the necessary relations of that particular mode of production."
(Letters of Marx and Engels 1846: Letter from Marx to Pavel Vasilyevich Annenkov in Paris)

In other words quantitative changes in existing technology, improvements that makes production more efficient - more produced per unit of time by the same or fewer workers - and inventions on the basis of existing technology resulting in new technologies engendering new divisions of labor, increases surplus labor time and in this is increased surplus products embodying more surplus value in the commodity form, in Europe from the 16th century increased circulation of commodities both in kingdoms and between them.

The growth in the shipbuilding industry, a new division of labor in itself, as a result of newer technology, and consequently the basis for expanded world trade provided an incentives for more commodity production and the rise of merchant-manufacturing capitalists operating on the global markets.

"In the 14th and 15th centuries, when there were as yet no colonies, when America did not yet exist for Europe, when Asia existed only through the intermediary of Constantinople, when the Mediterranean was the center of commercial activity, the division of labor had a very different form, a very different aspect from that of the 17th century, when the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Dutch, the English, and the French had colonies established in all parts of the world. The extent of the market, its physiognomy, give to the division of labor at different periods a physiognomy, a character, which it would be difficult to deduce from the single word divide, from the idea, from the category."
(Karl Marx: The Poverty of Philosophy)

Trade with Asia, bringing into Europe the advances of Arabic Islamic civilizations, was as important to Europe as it was to Africa. It laid the foundations for the Renaissance.

"And-Er-Rahman III (891-961) The greatest of the Moslem Arab Caliphs, who raised Spain from a state of profound demoralization to one of unprecedented prosperity, culture and brilliance while Christian Europe lay in the darkest phase of the Dark Age. It was from the splendor of his empire that civilization was rekindled in France, then in Europe generally."

The Afro-Asian-Mediterranean civilization, having passed from the ancient empires of Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome's Eastern and appropriated by Islam, never ceased, notwithstanding the collapse of the Western Empire collapse into barbarism. The Aegean city states of Italy continued these relations. The Renaissance, not surprisingly, began in the commercial republics of Italy, and then to Holland. Commerce has interests in science as well as technological progress, and bringing into production proletarian urban labor forces.

Trade with India, the Spice Islands of the East Indies, and with China were also important, for world trade and "progress".

"Paper, printing, gun powder and the compass were four great inventions by the Chinese, which were more powerful than any religious belief, any astrology or any conqueror's success in shaping the modern world and drawing a line between the modern era and the mid-century, European philosopher Francis Bacon said. * During this millennium, China launched its grandest geological exploration. However, commander Zheng He and his fleet showed no interest in establishing a colonies overseas, though they sailed as far as Africa."

It was not by accident, that it was seeking to establish a new trade route, between Spain and India and China that the Spanish monarch financed the Italian shipman Christopher Colombo's voyage that ended in his discovery of the Americas.

"The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalized the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief momentum of primitive accumulation. On their heels treads the commercial war of the European nations, with the globe for a theatre."
(Karl Marx: Capital Volume One)

European shipbuilding and commerce on one hand, and colonization and plunder on the other, poured gold and silver as well as knowledge and science and industry from the world over into the emerging commercial nations of Europe that transformed the economies from landed kingdoms in which feudal property formation was dominant into commodity producing capitalists from Middle Class, capital formation and money -- investment in commodity production by wageworkers becoming in fact more productive and consequently a form of wealth becoming more economically powerful than the landed aristocracies.

But, the landed aristocracies retained political monopoly, the state, which however gradually became displaced by the great monarchies.

These monarch's created great bureaucratic military State formations that suppressed the warring feudal barons of old. The rising bourgeoisie financially supported the monarchs, and established colonies from which flowed treasuries from American civilizations (Aztec, Inca) into the crowns of the monarchs.

"The different momentum of primitive accumulation distribute themselves now, more or less in chronological order, particularly over Spain, Portugal, Holland, France, and England. In England at the end of the 17th century, they arrive at a systematical combination, embracing the colonies, the national debt, the modern mode of taxation, and the protectionist system. These methods depend in part on brute force, e.g., the colonial system. But, they all employ the power of the State, the concentrated and organized force of society, to hasten, hothouse fashion, the process of transformation of the feudal mode of production into the capitalist mode, and to shorten the transition. Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. It is itself an economic power."
(Karl Marx: Capital Volume One)

But, these mercantilist frameworks provided globalization within competitive mercantile political structures, within which the rising bourgeoisie in the great cities of the kingdoms of Europe underwent qualitative changes engendering political powers subsequently conscious of what it is (ontology) and what it should be (axiology, politics) in consequence of/with new colonial export monopoly markets.

Insofar, and consequently insomuch, as feudal wealth is useless luxury, palaces, jewelry, hedonistic pleasures, the bourgeois in contrast engendered the frugal wealth of capital - this being appropriate, save and invest.

Capitalists therefore are not isolated, independent individuals pursuing hedonistic "self-interests", nor even Epicurean enlightened self-interests. He is not a Caligula, but a Scrooge, the demand of capital competitive self-expansion transforms in the labor process human individuals into mechanical personifications of capital. This itself self-refutes subjective voluntarism, the notion that it was rewards for selfishness that engendered capital's course.

The very laws of capitalist commodity production by wageworkers demands reinvestments because of the self-expansion of capital, in which processes of production and reproduction, investment and reinvestment of valorized capital, at the same time battling the tendencies of average rates of profits to decline in proportion to which new invented technology displaces many workers by few, there is no Epicurean selfishness actualized, no pleasures achieved.

The bourgeois protestant ethic, is coincident needs/appropriations of labor power, purchased and put to use in commodity production and selling, and thereby valorizing is not the same as feudal wealth, the latter being useless luxury whereas bourgeois wealth is used in investment capital expansion. Derived from investment in production, and by its nature of self-expansion by appropriating labor power, with the evolutions in technology displacing variable capital (wage labor) by constant capital (technology, machinery) capital challenged the feudal lords property formations, land inheritance.

Adam Smith wrote:

"The general advantages which Europe, considered as one great country, has derived from the discovery and colonisation of America, consist, first, in the increase of its enjoyments; and, secondly, in the augmentation of its industry."

(Adam Smith's An Inquiry into the Nature And Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Book Four Of Systems of Political Economy. Chapter 8 - Of Colonies)

Karl Marx & Frederick Engles, regarding same from standpoint of global economic environment engendering capital expansion through techno-economic progressions engendering bourgeois economic power manifesting in evolution of revolutionary challenges,
"The discovery of America, the rounding of the Cape, opened up fresh ground for the rising bourgeoisie. The East-Indian and Chinese markets, the colonization of America, trade with the colonies, the increase in the means of exchange and in commodities generally, gave to commerce, to navigation, to industry, an impulse never before known, and thereby, to the revolutionary element in the tottering feudal society, a rapid development."
(Marx & Engels: The Communist Manifesto)

Originally, the feudal barons had respectively held political power each in their own estates, Castles. The barons fought each other, lords and dukes, counts and earls, boyars against boyars in centuries of wars of nobles against nobles, kingdoms against kingdoms. But, ultimately, expending global commerce engendered the rising commercial classes that had material interests, economic interests that set them against the barbarism of feudal dukedoms to favor, and use their wealth - the power of money derived from self-expanding capital to support a paramount chief (noble) whose interests opposed the disconnected warring feudal barons.

Rising of absolute monarchs were politically selected through processes of negation, defeating rivals to become the paramount chief-king, but who maintained this position because it was required at the time, and supported by the big bourgeoisie whose concentrated capital formations coincided in the unified kingdom.

Adam Smith wrote of the conditions of early towns and burghers; the way the traders were exploited and harassed by the feudal, territorial warlords (nobility):

"The towns were chiefly inhabited by tradesmen and mechanics, which seem in those days to have been of servile, or very nearly of servile condition. The privileges which we find granted by ancient charters to the inhabitants of some of the principal towns in Europe sufficiently shew what they were before those grants. The people to whom it is granted as a privilege that they might give away their own daughters in marriage without the consent of their lord, that upon their death their own children, and not their lord, should succeed to their goods, and that they might dispose of their own effects by will, must, before those grants, have been either altogether or very nearly in the same state of villanage with the occupiers of land in the country.

III.3.1 "They seem, indeed, to have been a very poor, mean set of people, who used to travel about with their goods from place to place, and from fair to fair, like the hawkers and peddlers of the present times. In all the different countries of Europe then, in the same manner as in several of the Tartar governments of Asia at present, taxes used to be levied upon the persons and goods of travelers when they passed through certain manors, when they went over certain bridges, when they carried about their goods from place to place in a fair, when they erected in it a booth or stall to sell them in. These different taxes were known in England by the names of passage, pontage, lastage, and stallage. Sometimes the king, sometimes a great lord, who had, it seems, upon some occasions, authority to do this, would grant to particular traders, to such particularly as lived in their own demesnes, a general exemption from such taxes. Such traders, though in other respects of servile, or very nearly of servile condition, were upon this account called Free traders. They in return usually paid to their protector a sort of annual poll tax. In those days protection was seldom granted without a valuable consideration, and this tax might, perhaps, be considered as compensation for what their patrons might lose by their exemption from other taxes. At first, both those poll taxes and those exemptions seem to have been altogether personal, and to have affected only particular individuals during either their lives or the pleasure of their protectors. In the very imperfect accounts which have been published from Doomsday-Book of several of the towns of England, mention is frequently made sometimes of the tax which particular burghers paid, each of them, either to the king or to some other great lord for this sort of protection; and sometimes of the general amount only of all those taxes. At first, both those poll taxes and those exemptions seem to have been altogether personal, and to have affected only particular individuals during either their lives or the pleasure of their protectors."

(Adam Smith: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations)

These traders, merchants and manufacturers whose economic power rose with the triumphs of trade and industry benefited from the unified bureaucratic professional military states, this is obvious. Their wealth increased, and the absolute monarchs drew upon that wealth used to finance the great monarchies triumph over the feudal warlords - counties of counts, dukedoms of dukes, earldoms of earls and so on.

The barons were forced them to disband their local armies, and rewarded by bringing them into the State's professional army as officers of rank. This destroyed the tolls, and other taxes that hindered the smooth working of unified capital, fixed and circulating capital operating within unified kingdoms.

"The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with the scattered state of the population, of the means of production, and of property. It has agglomerated population, centralized the means of production, and has concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence of this was political centralization. Independent, or but loosely connected provinces, with separate interests, laws, governments, and systems of taxation, became lumped together into one nation, with one government, one code of laws, one national class-interest, one frontier, and one customs-tariff."
(Karl Marx &Frederick Engels: The Communist Manifesto)

By the 17th century Spain, Portugal, Holland, France and England were kingdoms governed by bureaucratic-military states personified in Absolute monarchies. These monarchal states suppressed the barons and boyars and by this suppression organized the unitary states that displaced the decentralized and erratic fiefdoms.

Adam Smith, the premier ideologist of the merchant-capitalist class, presently falsely praised as an opponent of States, in fact praised the Garrison State, the chief function of which was to protect bourgeois wealth and property, which he falsely called "national wealth". Not only did that "great liberal", Adam Smith, understood that the principle function of the State -- i.e. the standing army -- is to defend the wealth of the ruling classes, including colonial expansion and their subsequent property and wealth in the colonies, and also advocated "big government" -- i.e. large standing armies for domestic use against strikes, rebellions and revolutions.

"As it is only by means of a well-regulated standing army that a civilized country can be defended, so it is only by means of it that a barbarous country can be suddenly and tolerably civilized. A standing army establishes, with an irresistible force, the law of the sovereign through the remotest provinces of the empire, and maintains some degree of regular government in countries which could not otherwise admit of any. Whoever examines, with attention, the improvements which Peter the Great introduced into the Russian empire, will find that they almost all resolve themselves into the establishment of a well-regulated standing army. It is the instrument which executes and maintains all his other regulations. That degree of order and internal peace which that empire has ever since enjoyed is altogether owing to the influence of that army."
(Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations)

Adam Smith wrote this before the French Revolution, and even the American War of Independence. His model was the European standing armies, including the British, where (like Edmond Burke) approved of the state in possession of the capitalist class and the military officers provided by the landed aristocracies. This was the situation in Britain in the mid-18th century, when Adam Smith wrote "The Wealth of Nations".

Smith believed in democracy, to the extent that representative government was bourgeois class representation, but in its essentials -- i.e. its military capacity -- the standing army was no more to be trusted to non-aristocratic bourgeois or proletarian elements than to natives in the colonies, but to be dominated by the landed aristocracy.

"Men of republican principles have been jealous of a standing army as dangerous to liberty. It certainly is so wherever the interest of the general and that of the principal officers are not necessarily connected with the support of the constitution of the state. The standing army of Caesar destroyed the Roman republic. The standing army of Cromwell turned the long parliament out of doors. But where the sovereign is himself the general, and the principal nobility and gentry of the country the chief officers of the army, where the military force is placed under the command of those who have the greatest interest in the support of the civil authority, because they have themselves the greatest share of that authority, a standing army can never be dangerous to liberty. On the contrary, it may in some cases be favorable to liberty."
(Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations)

It was the same with the bourgeois dominated State in America following the American War of Independence, and the French Revolution, together with all the bourgeois revolutions in Western Europe into the 20th century.

Under bourgeois conditions of production in the early 20th century, therefore, Rosa Luxemburg, rightly observed, thus:

"The State became capitalist with the political victory of the bourgeoisie. Capitalist development modifies essentially the nature of the State, widening its sphere of action, constantly imposing on it new functions (especially those affecting economic life), making more and more necessary its intervention and control in society. In this sense, capitalist development prepares little by little the future fusion of the State to society." "... The present State is, first of all, an organisation of the ruling class. It assumes functions favouring social developments specifically because, and in the measure that, these interests and social developments coincide, in a general fashion, with the interests of the dominant class. Labour legislation is enacted as much in the immediate interest of the capitalist class as in the interest of society in general. But this harmony endures only up to a certain point of capitalist development."
(Rosa Luxemburg Reform or Revolution Chapter 4: Capitalism and the State).

It is obvious that anti-communist praise teams of Adam Smith, as an advocate of less government is best government, separate and apart from the actual class power of the bourgeois in the military quintessence of the state, textbook "scholars", such as Ozodi Thomas Osuji are either pretending to have read Marx and Smith, and haven't, or are deliberately lying when they (he) assert that Smith advocated classless individualism, saying Smith believed,
"...even if men were consciously good (they are not, Thomas Hobbes told us) and were motivated to work for social interests, that empirical evidence shows that they tend not to work very hard when they do so. People tend to work hardest when they are working for their self-interest, Mr. Smith said. In the former USSR, the leaders tried to get the people to work hard on behalf of public interests; the people did not."

Obviously, Osuji hasn't actually read Smith's "The Wealth of Nations", any more than he read Marx's Capital. In any event, Hobbes notion that life is "nasty, brutish and short", and man in the natural state is competitive and destructive, selfish and mean, was a reflection in thought of the conditions of competitive capitalism in England, not the reverse. The ideology that "man" is by nature a "greedy, selfish, brute" flies in the face of refutation by anthropological facts, and only serves as a justification for the capitalist man, the same as race theory was engendered to justify racial slavery and colonization.

Locke showed that there is no such thing as an eternal "human nature" or "sinful flesh", that everyone was born into a community tabula rasa. It is the nature of the community into which one is socialized (acculturated) that determines one's "human nature" -- the San People, the Pigmy, the Trobriand Islanders, and others shows Hobbes "human nature" as he thought it was to be a myth.

Besides, this metaphysical axiological crap about whether or not man is by nature "good" or "evil" (bad) wasn't the language used by Hobbes. Nowhere has he discussed "human nature" in such axiological terms. That's nothing but a demagogic misrepresentation of Hobbes by Osuji.

Furthermore, had Osuji actually studied political economy, had read actually the writings of Marx &Engels', for example, "The Communist Manifesto", rather than attributing "Marxism" the supposed "outcome" of the Soviet state-monopoly capitalist regime -- his mythical notion of a "Soviet Communism", he would know that the Soviet economy never got beyond the capitalistic modes of production and appropriation.

It has been suggested that Max Weber spent his intellectual professional life fighting the ghost of Karl Marx, as indeed most serious bourgeois sociologists and economists do. Not so with such as Osuji, who spend their academic careers working for the bourgeoisie as professional anti-communists, fighting a straw man and falsely associating the Soviet state capitalistic Stalinist model with "communism". In other words, its communist claims notwithstanding, Stalinism was the product of bureaucratic state-monopoly capitalism in a competitive, global capitalist market economy. The market system brings forth the worst in humanity and its ideologists call it "human nature".

Had Osuji actually studied Marx's materialist conception of history, as contemporary anthropologists have done (following Julian Stewart, Marvin Harris and Leslie White) he would have learned that the materialist conception of history, or "environmental, techno-economic determinism", and also Adam Smith for that matter, recognized the capitalist basis determining the realities of the "individual" under competitive conditions of capitalist production and appropriation. These determines the nature of the human beings, pursuing their economic "self-interest", engendered by the brutality engendered by bourgeois conditions of production and appropriation.

"The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his "natural superiors", and has left no other nexus between people than naked self-interest, than callous "cash payment". It has drowned out the most heavenly ecstacies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom -- Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

"The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage laborers.

"The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation into a mere money relation."
(Marx &Engels: The Communist Manifesto)

How much more "realistic" does it get??

The materialist conception of history never posited that "communism" would be based on people being idealistic humanitarians being nice to each other, sharing scarce resources. This was the love-communism of the early Christian community, based on sharing articles of consumption, which as Adaoma has shown was destroyed by the Roman state, and its displacement by Roman Catholicism, a ruling class appropriation and transformation of the Jesus Christianity into State Christianity - ironically, the same state that killed Jesus and blamed it on "the Jews".

What the materialist conception of history advocates is a communism based on common ownership of gigantic productive forces and advanced technology, producing in abundance with personal appropriation of means of consumption, freely.

The transfer of these productive forces from the private property of the capitalist class to the public property of the working classes and toiling masses doesn't mean that individuals and families will be deprived "private ownership" of houses and cars, or food, but with the abolition of private ownership of productive forces the capitalist mode of appropriation, the buying and selling of commodities will have ended with the elemination of the buying and selling of labor power in commodity form - the abolition of the wages system!

As an ostensibly disciple of Adam Smith, whose "The Wealth of Nations" pre-dates Marx's "archaic" "Capital" by nearly a century [Smith wrote prior to the English bourgeois Industrial Revolution, and Marx in the midst of it!], and also, ostensibly as an expert on "Marxism", Osuji has in reality shown that he understands neither Smith nor Marx, when he talks about workers in long lines in the Soviet Union, lined up to PURCHASE means of consumption. Osuji mealy mouthing perversions of the fall of man, that man is sinful and evil by nature because of the "sin of disobedience", concocted by the Roman Church, explaines nothing about Smith, Marx or the Soviet economy. He has only regurgitated the usual textbook attacks on Marx and "Marxism".

Osuji hasn't and doesn't present in any of his writings any understanding at all of the materialist conception of history, from which Adam Smith as well as Karl Marx operated. Neither the one, nor the other of them-- neither Smith nor Marx -- invented this epistemological materialist conception of history. Any ignoramus can regurgitate the "official" Marx biographers, according to whom Marx "got" his "dialectical reasoning" from Hegel; his "materialism" from the French materialists; and his "political economy" the "Classical English political economists", as though these were separate disciplines Marx merged into one. This is not true, explains nothing, but is also a straw man and myth, to put it politely.

Had Osuji understood the theory of self-interest economic motives pushing political history, he would have known that this materialist conception of history originated, at least in developed form with African scholar historian Ibn Khaldun, who had observed:

"In the early stages of the state, taxes are light in their incidence, but fetch in a large revenue...As time passes and kings succeed each other, they lose their tribal habits in favor of more civilized ones. Their needs and exigencies grow...owing to the luxury in which they have been brought up. Hence they impose fresh taxes on their subjects...[and] sharply raise the rate of old taxes to increase their yield...But the effects on business of this rise in taxation make themselves felt. For business men are soon discouraged by the comparison of their profits with the burden of their taxes...Consequently production falls off, and with it the yield of taxation."

British, and especially French materialist sociology and economic theorists further developed this materialist theory of social individuals operating from self-interests. The foundation of materialism is humanism, the Epicurean element being the validity of enlightened self-interests.

"The difference between French and English materialism reflects the difference between the two nations. The French imparted to English materialism wit, flesh and blood, and eloquence. They gave it the temperament and grace that it lacked. They civilized it.

"In Helvitius, who also based himself on Locke, materialism assumed a really French character. Helvitius conceived it immediately in its application to social life (Helvitius, De 1'homme). The sensory qualities and self-love, enjoyment and correctly understood personal interest are the basis of all morality. The natural equality of human intelligences, the unity of progress of reason and progress of industry, the natural goodness of man, and the omnipotence of education, are the main features in his system.

"In La Mettries works we find a synthesis of Cartesian and English materialism. He makes use of Descartes' physics in detail. His L'homme machine is a treatise after the model of Descartes' animal-machine. The physical part of Holbach's Systeme de la nature is also a result of the combination of French and English materialism, while the moral part is based essentially on the morality of Helvitius. Robinet (De la nature), the French materialist who had the most connection with metaphysics and was therefore praised by Hegel, refers explicitly to Leibniz.

"We need not dwell on Volney, Dupuis, Diderot and others, any more than on the physiocrats, after we have proved the dual origin of French materialism from Descartes' physics and English materialism, and the opposition of French materialism to seventeenth-century metaphysics, to the metaphysics of Descartes, Spinoza, Malebranche, and Leibniz. This opposition only became evident to the Germans after they themselves had come into opposition to speculative metaphysics.

"Just as Cartesian materialism passes into natural science proper, the other trend of French materialism leads directly to socialism and communism.

"There is no need for any great penetration to see from the teaching of materialism on the original goodness and equal intellectual endowment of men, the omnipotence of experience, habit and education, and the influence of environment on man, the great significance of industry, the justification of enjoyment, etc., how necessarily materialism is connected with communism and socialism. If man draws all his knowledge, sensation, etc., from the world of the senses and the experience gained in it, then what has to be done is to arrange the empirical world in such a way that man experiences and becomes accustomed to what is truly human in it and that he becomes aware of himself as man. If correctly understood interest is the principle of all morality, man's private interest must be made to coincide with the interest of humanity. If man is unfree in the materialistic sense, i.e., is free not through the negative power to avoid this or that, but through the positive power to assert his true individuality, crime must not be punished in the individual, but the anti-social sources of crime must be destroyed, and each man must be given social scope for the vital manifestation of his being. If man is shaped by environment, his environment must be made human. If man is social by nature, he will develop his true nature only in society, and the power of his nature must be measured not by the power of the separate individual but by the power of society. These and similar propositions are to be found almost literally even in the oldest French materialists."
(Marx &Engels: The Holy Family)

British and French materialism and economic theory were not separate one from the other.

In Hobbes' materialist political theory, articulated in "The Leviathan", is the presentation of "individual self-interest" as a "natural" antagonism, assuming that the satisfaction of the needs/desires of one's own is in conflict with those of others, thus the brutal materialism of self interest as "war of all against all".

What the French materialist sociology did, appropriating Locke's social individual -- that is that the individual becomes a person in and through society -- was argue the identity of interest of individual and group, a group of social individuals: the sublation of economic "self-interest" of the individual contributing to the "Invisible Hand" identified by Adam Smith is derived from Rousseau's concept of the enlightened individual pursuing his self-interest, or particular will sublated in the sociopolitical General Will. This is the dialectics also present in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, Science of Logic and Philosophy of Right!

What Osuji missed was/is Adam Smith's discourses on the emergence of the cosmopolitan economic conditions that engender, sustain and advance what contemporary African philosopher, Fubara David-West, called universal human epistemology.

French contributions to the bourgeois Enlightenment were expressive of conditions present in a France, of a rising bourgeoisie in ideological combat with/against archaic feudal political institutions. Adam Smith had observed this.

"Laws frequently continue in force long after the circumstances which first gave occasion to them, and which could alone render them reasonable, are no more. In the present state of Europe, the proprietor of a single acre of land is as perfectly secure of his possession as the proprietor of a hundred thousand. The right of primogeniture, however, still continues to be respected, and as of all institutions it is the fittest to support the pride of family distinctions, it is still likely to endure for many centuries."
(Adam Smith: An Inquiry into the Nature And Causes of the Wealth of Nations [1776] Book Three. Of the Different Progress of Opulence in Different Nations. Chapter 2)

The example here is the persistence of feudal laws, enforced by feudal political institutions, which continued to exist after the vitality of feudal production appropriation and relations had become archaic, and a fetter on the progress of industry represented by the rising capitalist class. Because Britain, owing to specificity of relatively unique technological economic advances, was the first kingdom to be overthrown by bourgeois democratic revolutions - 1640 and confirmed in a second mini-revolution, which overthrew the momentary 'restoration', in 1688

Similarly, the French, Russian and German bourgeois revolutions overthrew feudal monarchic states, but destroyed them more thoroughly than did England.

Engendered from the socio-economic conflicts in society, resulting from the conflicts of the advancing productive forces and capital mode of appropriating labor power, the masses in their struggles against the old regime were represented by the enlightened political representatives of the bourgeoisie, there were intense literary, philosophical and political polemics immediately preceding these revolutions, of a universal character. There are no rigid national categories of thought.

In other words, materialist philosophers, sociologists, and economists in France developed Epicurean economic theory prior to Adam Smith's adoption of it.

John Rae wrote in Life of Adam Smith:

"Smith left Geneva in December for Paris, where he arrived, according to Dugald Stewart, about Christmas 1765.
"Smith went more into society in the few months he resided in Paris than at any other period of his life. He was a regular guest in almost all the famous literary salons of that time---Baron d'Holbach's, Helvetius', Madame de Geoffrin's, Comtesse de Boufflers', Mademoiselle l'Espinasse's, and probably Madame Necker's. Our information about his doings is of course meagre, but there is one week in July 1766 in which we happen to have his name mentioned frequently in the course of the correspondence between Hume and his Paris friends regarding the quarrel with Rousseau, and during that week Smith was on the 21st at Mademoiselle l'Espinasse's, on the 25th at Comtesse de Boufflers', and on the 27th at Baron d'Holbach's, where he had some conversation with Turgot. He was a constant visitor at Madame Riccoboni the novelist's. He attended the meetings of the new economist sect in the appartments of Dr. Quesnay, and though the economic dinners of the elder Mirabeau, the "Friend of Men," were not begun for a year after, he no doubt visited the Marquis, as we know he visited other members of the fraternity. He went to Compiegne when the Court removed to Compiegne, made frequent excursions to interesting places within reach, and is always seen with troops of friends about him. Many of these were Englishmen, for after their long exclusion from Paris during the Seven Years war, Englishmen had begun to pour into the city, and the Hotel du Parc Royal, where Smith lived, was generally full of English guests. Among others who were there, as I have just mentioned, was Horace Walpole, who remained on till Easter, and with whom Smith seems to have become well acquainted, for in writing Hume in July he asks to be specially remembered to Mr. Walpole.

"....The Baron d'Holbach's weekly or bi-weekly dinners, at one of which it has been mentioned Smith had a conversation with Turgot, were, as L. Blanc has said, the regular states-general of philosophy. The usual guests were the philosophes and encyclopedists and men of letters---Diderot, Marmontel, Raynal, Galiani. The conversation ran largely towards metaphysics and theology, and, as Morellet, who was often there, states, the boldest theories were propounded, and things spoken which might well call down fire from heaven. It was there that Hume observed he had neither seen an atheist, nor did he believe one existed, and was informed by his host in reply, "You have been a little unfortunate; you are here at table with seventeen for the first time.

"Morellet mentions that it was at the table of Helvetius, the philosopher, he himself first met Smith. Helvetius was a retired farmer-general of the taxes, who had grown rich without practising extortion, and instead of remaining a bachelor, as Smith says other farmers-general in France did, because no gentlewoman would marry them, and they were too proud to marry anybody else, he had married a pretty and clever wife, an early friend of Turgot's, who helped to make his Tuesday dinners among the most agreeable entertainments in Paris. He had recently returned from a long sojourn in England, so enchanted with both country and people that d'Holbach, who could find nothing to praise in either, declared he could really have seen nothing in England all the time except the persecution for heresy which he had shortly before suffered in France, and would have escaped in our freer air; and he was always very hospitable to English celebrities, so that it may be inferred that Smith enjoyed many opportunities of conversation with this versatile and philosophical financier during his stay in Paris.

"Morellet, whose acquaintance Smith made at Helvetius' house, became one of his fastest friends in France, and on leaving Paris Smith gave him for a keepsake his own pocket-book, a very pretty English-made pocket-book, says the Abbet, which "has served me these twenty years." Morellet, besides being an advanced economist, whose views ran in sympathy with Smith's own, was the most delightful of companions, uniting with strong sense and a deep love of the right an unfailing play of irony and fun, and ever ready, as Fanny Burney found him still at eighty-five, to sing his own songs for the entertainment of his friends. The Abbe was a metaphysician as well as an economist, but, according to his account of his conversations with Smith, they seem to have discussed mainly economic subjects the theory of commerce," he says, "banking, public credit, and various points in the great work which Smith was then meditating," i.e. the Wealth of Nations.

All elements that were converged, and unified together by Adam Smith, articulated in "The Wealth of Nations" were already present in the literary culture. The French and Scottish Enlightenment were present in the French as well as British culture, including the concept of enlightened "self-interests" of individuals, intelligently pursued merging in the Universal Interest.

All this was before the French Revolution, however.


"The great men, who in France prepared men's minds for the coming revolution, were themselves extreme revolutionists. They recognised no external authority of any kind whatever. Religion, natural science, society, political institutions --- everything was subjected to the most unsparing criticism; everything must justify its existence before the judgment-seat of reason or give up existence. Reason became the sole measure of everything. It was the time when, as Hegel says, the world stood upon its head; first in the sense that the human head, and the principles arrived at by its thought, claimed to be the basis of all human action and association; but by and by, also, in the wider sense that the reality which was in contradiction to these principles had, in fact, to be turned upside down. Every form of society and government then existing, every old traditional notion was flung into the lumber room as irrational; the world had hitherto allowed itself to be led solely by prejudices; everything in the past deserved only pity and contempt. Now, for the first time, appeared the light of day, henceforth superstition, injustice, privilege, oppression, were to be superseded by eternal truth, eternal Right, equality based on nature and the inalienable rights of man.

"We know today that this kingdom of reason was nothing more than the idealised kingdom of the bourgeoisie; that this eternal Right found its realisation in bourgeois justice; that this equality reduced itself to bourgeois equality before the law; that bourgeois property was proclaimed as one of the essential rights of man; and that the government of reason, the Contrat Social of Rousseau, [21] came into being, and only could come into being, as a democratic bourgeois republic. The great thinkers of the eighteenth century could, no more than their predecessors, go beyond the limits imposed upon them by their epoch.
(Anti-Durhring by Frederick Engels 1877. Introduction)

Had Professor Dr. Osuji actually bothered to read Marx's "Capital", as he claimed to have done, he would also have recognized the continuity as well as discontinuity in the works of Adam Smith and Karl Marx/Frederick Engels. Had he actually studied the materialist conception of history, Osuji would also have known that the nature of a revolution is not determined by what the revolutionists think it is they are accomplishing, but by the modes of production and its corresponding methods of appropriation of labor and its products that is the objective nature of the revolution.

The social base of the Russian Revolution, the same as the French Revolution, and the English Revolution before it, was the peasantry, the rural petty bourgeoisie. The armies of the social revolutions, of Cromwell's Independents, of Napoleon's citizen army and of Trotsky's Red Army, the same as Machno's Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine, were of peasants fighting the armies of nobilities and kings. This was also true of the Chinese "People's Liberation Army" of the 1930s and 40s.

On this objective economic class basis, the Russian Revolution was a bourgeois democratic revolution, and the Bolshevik coup was able to push it no further than political state-monopoly capitalist commodity production by wage labor. The level of development of the productive forces, and peasant countryside in the Soviet Union determined the political policies of the Soviet state bureaucratic military operatives.

The existence of a self-named "Communist Party" at the helm of state power, by merely calling itself a "communist" and a "worker's party", doesn't on that account constitute a proletarian government, or a socialist economy.

Lenin himself referred to the Soviet State and economy as "state-monopoly capitalism" and "a bourgeois state without a bourgeoisie".

"It is not our immediate task to introduce socialism, but only to bring social production and the distribution of products at once under the control of the Soviets of Workers Deputies."
(Lenin: The April Thesis)

Moreover, AFTER Bolsheviks had taken power, Lenin ridiculed those of the Communist Party USSR (B) who advocated moving on to "socialism" in a vast peasant based economy, with a small industrial capacity and small proletariat in a sea of petty-bourgeois peasant agriculture, capitalism. What he advocated was not "socialism", but bringing capitalism under state control, based on nationalized industries and financial institutions giving the Party and its proletarian base "the trump cards" in this struggle.

"Yesterday, the main task of the moment was, as determinedly as possible, to nationalise, confiscate, beat down and crush the bourgeoisie, and put down sabotage. Today, only a blind man could fail to see that we have nationalised, confiscated, beaten down and put down more than we have had time to count. The difference between socialisation and simple confiscation is that confiscation can be carried out by determination alone, without the ability to calculate and distribute properly, whereas socialisation cannot be brought about without this ability.

"The historical service we have rendered is that yesterday we were determined (and we shall be tomorrow) in confiscating, in beating down the bourgeoisie, in putting down sabotage. To write about this today in theses on the present situation is to fix one's eyes on the past and to fail to understand the transition to the future.

". . . To put down sabotage completely. . . .What a task they have found! Our saboteurs are quite sufficiently put down. What we lack is something quite different. We lack the proper calculation of which saboteurs to set to work and where to place them. We lack the organisation of our own forces that is needed for, say, one Bolshevik leader or controller to be able to supervise a hundred saboteurs who are now coming into our service. When that is how matters stand, to flaunt such phrases as a most determined policy of socialisation, routing, and completely putting down is just missing the mark. It is typical of the petty-bourgeois revolutionary not to notice that routing, putting down, etc., is not enough for socialism. It is sufficient for a small proprietor enraged against a big proprietor. But no proletarian revolutionary would ever fall into such error.

"If the words we have quoted provoke a smile, the following discovery made by the Left Communists will provoke nothing short of Homeric laughter. According to them, under the Bolshevik deviation to the right the Soviet Republic is threatened with evolution towards state capitalism. They have really frightened us this time! And with what gusto these Left Communists repeat this threatening revelation in their theses and articles. . . .

"It has not occurred to them that state capitalism would be a step forward as compared with the present state of affairs in our Soviet Republic. If in approximately six months time state capitalism became established in our Republic, this would be a great success and a sure guarantee that within a year socialism will have gained a permanently firm hold and will have become invincible in our country.

"Firstly, the Left Communists do not understand what kind of transition it is from capitalism to socialism that gives us the right and the grounds to call our country the Socialist Republic of Soviets.

"Secondly, they reveal their petty-bourgeois mentality precisely by not recognising the petty-bourgeois element as the principal enemy of socialism in our country.

"Thirdly, in making a bugbear of state capitalism, they betray their failure to understand that the Soviet state differs from the bourgeois state economically.

"Let us examine these three points.

"No one, I think, in studying the question of the economic system of Russia, has denied its transitional character. Nor, I think, has any Communist denied that the term Socialist Soviet Republic implies the determination of Soviet power to achieve the transition to socialism, and not that the new economic system is recognised as a socialist order.

"But what does the word transition mean? Does it not mean, as applied to an economy, that the present system contains elements, particles, fragments of both capitalism and socialism? Everyone will admit that it does. But not all who admit this take the trouble to consider what elements actually constitute the various socio-economic structures that exist in Russia at the present time. And this is the crux of the question.

"Let us enumerate these elements:

1) patriarchal, i.e., to a considerable extent natural, peasant farming;

2) small commodity production (this Includes the majority of those peasants who sell their grain);

3) private capitalism;

4) state capitalism;

5) socialism.

"Russia is so vast and so varied that all these different types of socio-economic structures are intermingled. This is what constitutes the specific features of the situation.

"The question arises: what elements predominate? Clearly in a small-peasant country, the petty-bourgeois element predominates and it must predominate, for the great majority of those working the land are small commodity producers. The shell of our state capitalism (grain monopoly, state controlled entrepreneurs and traders, bourgeois co-operators) is pierced now in one place, now in another by profiteers, the chief object of profiteering being grain.

"But in many ways, the small proprietary and private capitalist element undermines this legal position, drags in profiteering, hinders the execution of Soviet decrees. State capitalism would be a gigantic step forward even if we paid more than we are paying at present (I took a numerical example deliberately to bring this out more sharply), because it is worth while paying for tuition, because it is useful for the workers, because victory over disorder, economic ruin and laxity is the most important thing; because the continuation of the anarchy of small ownership is the greatest, the most serious danger, and it will certainly be our ruin (unless we overcome it), whereas not only will the payment of a heavier tribute to state capitalism not ruin us, it will lead us to socialism by the surest road. When the working class has learned how to defend the state system against the anarchy of small ownership, when it has learned to organise large-scale production on a national scale, along state capitalist lines, it will hold, if I may use the _expression, all the trump cards, and the consolidation of socialism will be assured.

"In the first place, economically, state capitalism is immeasurably superior to our present economic system.

(Lenin's Left-Wing Childishness and the Petty-Bourgeois Mentality)

If the "Left Communists" failure to recognize the capitalist commodity production as basis of Soviet economy under Lenin's leadership provoked Homeric laughter, then Osuji's assertion that the Stalinist model of bureaucratic bourgeois state-monopoly capitalism as "communism", based on "ideals" no less, is "communism", the Homeric gods must be falling from their thrones wheening horse laughter!

The Leninists expected proletarian revolutions to take place in the industrially advanced proletarian dominated Western European countries, where proletarians were the majority in industry, and agriculture as well. It didn't happen. Thus, the Soviet economy retreated from its "war communism" system, and allowed the peasants more freedom from State capitalist control in the 1921 New Economic Policy.

All that happened with the collapse of the Soviet State monopoly capitalist regime is that the managers, whose functions had been the veiled personifications of capital in the exploitation of Soviet proletarians, became capitalist proprietors outright. But, enough with Ozodi Thomas Osuji.

A couple more notes, regarding bourgeois 'educators' on Adam Smith.

Smith has been presented, especially in the United States, as damn near a libertarian anarchist, and democrat who opposed the existence of the state i.e. of "government", and State intervention, and its encroachments in the economy of a kingdom/nation.

Thus, so the myth goes, Adam Smith believed opposed "interfering" so-called "big government", advocating instead "small government", and laizzie faire capitalism; that he was an "anti-imperialist" and an opponent of colonialism and therefore of "mercantilism", and less rather than more taxes as directly related to his conceptual advocacy of "less government rather than more government. These myths were/are promoted by the likes of Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, and other political hustlers who will denounce the "welfare state" are themselves in back alleys undercover of darkness are feeding from the trough.

The State isn't the government or court system, although these institutions are its external form, show masquerading as essential. Rather, the quintessence of the state is that it is a bureaucratic-military apparatus of armed domination of all classes and ethnic people of a kingdom/nation, country.

Thus, in its early formulations, bourgeois economic theory was presented, not as two separate studies/analysis of "politics" and "economics", but with the French, and from them adopted by Adam Smith, was "political economy": one science, evolving theoretical explanation of social phenomena in a totality of an economic socio-political cultural whole - what Julian Steward subsequently called "cultural ecology" - Marvin Harris "cultural materialism", and Leslie White observed as production energy systems.

"The basic element of cultural materialism comes from Steward's cultural ecology: socio-cultural adaptation, a human population interacting with its environment.

"However, in some points Harris disagrees with Steward.

"A. Environment:

"Steward saw environment as passive background and as an influence on culture. Harris sees people and environment in interaction form one system. Because of this, Harris considers environmental changes while Steward did not.

"B. Culture:

"Steward conceived of cultures as sets of traits, while Harris sees culture more as a system, the different aspects of religion, politics, kinship as having interrelations. Therefore, while Steward tended to isolate different cultural practices into traits, Harris sees the practices as more interrelated, forming a system.

"C. Society:

"Steward thought of social organization, demography, and levels of integration as sub-sets of culture traits. Harris sees interrelations of different aspects of social organization that are systematic relations between the different kinds of groups, networks, status, and roles (


"Cultural materialists are concerned with the causality in socio-cultural systems and hold that, to find it out, we have to study material constraints that human existence is subjected to. They come from the need to produce food or shelter and to reproduce population. These can be renamed as infrastructure. In that cultural materialists prioritize material constraints to explain the socio-cultural systems, they agree with Marxists historical or dialectical materialism. However, cultural materialism does not take the notion that anthropology must become part of a political movement aimed at destroying capitalism. Cultural materialism allows diverse political motivation. Cultural materialism does not think all cultural changes result from dialectical contradictions but think that cultural evolution results from the gradual accumulation of useful traits through a process of trial and error.


"Harris was also influenced by Skinner's reductionism. Skinner, as a behavioral psychologist, wanted to explain everything, even art, religion, and language by simple mechanisms. He reduced the acknowledgedly complicated human personality as just stimulus-response. Harris worked in behaviorist psychology. He was also interested in people's behavior and wants to explain every human behavior by his theory.

"III. Theoretical Approach

"Cultural materialism considers that all socio-cultural systems consist of three levels: infrastructure, structure and superstructure.


"A. Mode of Production: the technology and the practices employed for expanding or limiting basic subsistence production, especially the production of food and other forms of energy.

"B. Mode of reproduction: the technology and the practices employed for expanding, limiting and maintaining population size.


"A. Domestic Economy: It consists of a small number of people who interact on an intimate basis. They perform many functions, such as regulating reproduction, basic production, socialization, education, and enforcing domestic discipline.

"B. Political economy: These groups may be large or small, but their members tend to interact without any emotional commitment to one another. They perform many functions, such as regulating production, reproduction, socialization, education and enforcing social discipline.

Social democratic equality, of all members of Society, presupposes technological and industrial progress, large-scaled technologically advanced industries having had brought pre-capitalist economic formations into capitalist commodity production (free enterprise, state) whereby creating a proletarian overwhelming majority representing humanity in power. As we have learned from the bitter experiences of the Soviet Union, without these preconditions, socialism and communism was/is not possible.

In other words -- [Nietzsche's] voluntarism in Trotsky's "theory of permanent revolution" is subjective idealism, not materialism. On the contrary, this is pure religious faith -- viz.: "the substance of things hoped for, and evidence of things not seen.

By having a "determined" Leninist Party, in power, is capable of governing a worker's state, but is incapable of substituting for the mass-based dictatorship of the proletariat. -- For there to spring into power an authentic revolutionary mass-based dictatorship of the proletariat, the class-conscious proletariat must be an active, critical thinking "immense majority, acting in the self-interests of the immense majority".

As we saw from reading Adam Smith, as scientific representative of the capitalist class, the competitive self-interested capitalist sublates themselves as individuals, from particulars into universal represented by the Laviathan state. So also must individual, competitive and therefore isolated/alienated workers sublate self-interests into class interests. Sublated self-consciousness into class-consciousness. Thus, self-consciousness of workers as social being, being and thinking class being for self, an independent political power with a mind and will of its own!

The "will" of a party cadre, cannot substitute for lack of industry and of proletarian democracy.

For all the clap trap about Adam Smith's defense and advocacy of individualism engendered in and by a war of all against all, the econimic man, the same as the political individual of Hobbes, is consciously, and deliberately subsumed, into and as a class whose self and property are protected by the state. What Smith advocated was a joint capitalist-gentry dictatorship pf private property with the army under the command of the landed gentry.

The notion of "laissez faire" / or "leave the economy alone", was based on the premise that the productive forces would be in the possession of landed aristocrats and merchant capitalists, who would be unhampered as they go about exploiting their peasants and workers respectively, but that that State with its standing army needs to and ought to intervene against peasants rebellions, strikes and working class rebellions and revolutions.

Smith continued:

"The security which it gives to the sovereign renders unnecessary that troublesome jealousy, which, in some modern republics, seems to watch over the minutest actions, and to be at all times ready to disturb the peace of every citizen. Where the security of the magistrate, though supported by the principal people of the country, is endangered by every popular discontent; where a small tumult is capable of bringing about in a few hours a great revolution, the whole authority of government must be employed to suppress and punish every murmur and complaint against it. To a sovereign, on the contrary, who feels himself supported, not only by the natural aristocracy of the country, but by a well-regulated standing army, the rudest, the most groundless, and the most licentious remonstrances can give little disturbance."
(Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations)

Max Weber, analyzing the forms of the modern bureaucratic state, brought into existence by the forms of absolute monarchies, wrote:

"...the more fully realized the more bureaucracy "depersonalizes" itself, i.e., the more completely it succeeds in achieving the exclusion of love, hatred, and every purely personal, especially irrational and incalculable, feeling from the execution of official tasks. In the place of the old-type ruler who is moved by sympathy, favor, grace, and gratitude, modern culture requires for its sustaining external apparatus the emotionally detached, and hence rigorously 'professional' expert."

The bourgeois democratic revolutions were the political means by which the market powers, already politically dominate in the persons of absolute monarchs, merely displaced those monarchs by modern representative governments, so-called democracies.

I say "so-called", because the 'mob', i.e. the masses of the working classes, and toiling masses didn't have power of self-government, and still don't. Only worker's seizures of the productive forces, only where these productive forces in the forms of advanced, gigantic modern industries and advanced technology has concentrated production in the great cities, where proletarians are national majorities can democracies come into an authentic existence.

Rosa Luxemburg wrote well:

"But socialist democracy is not something which begins only in the promised land after the foundations of socialist economy are created; it does not come as some sort of Christmas present for the worthy people who, in the interim, have loyally supported a handful of socialist dictators. Socialist democracy begins simultaneously with the beginnings of the destruction of class rule and of the construction of socialism. It begins at the very moment of the seizure of power by the socialist party. It is the same thing as the dictatorship of the proletariat.

"It should and must at once undertake socialist measures in the most energetic, unyielding and unhesitant fashion, in other words, exercise a dictatorship, but a dictatorship of the class, not of a party or of a clique -- dictatorship of the class, that means in the broadest possible form on the basis of the most active, unlimited participation of the mass of the people, of unlimited democracy.
(Rosa Luxemburg: The Russian Revolution. Democracy and Dictatorship)

The English Revolutions of the 17th century, and the French Revolution in the 18th centuries was the laboratory of the materialist conception of history.

"No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of the old society."
(Marx: Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Preface)

By the mid-17th century in England technological developments resulting in economic evolution in context of global markets, capital had become a social power dominant of the economic relations of the British Isles, and England in particular acquired power by means of which to act manifest in political independence, the ability to throw off the feudal forms altogether.


"Protected by the corporative and regulatory system, capital had accumulated, maritime trade had expanded, colonies had been founded—and man would have lost the very fruits of all this had he wished to preserve the forms under whose protection those fruits had ripened. And, indeed, two thunderclaps occurred, the revolutions of 1640 and of 1688. In England, all the earlier economic forms, the social relations corresponding to them, and the political system, which was the official _expression of the old civil society, were destroyed.
(Letters of Marx and Engels 1846 Letter from Marx to Pavel Vasilyevich Annenkov in Paris)

The rise to dominance of capital commodity production by wage labor by global market forces, encouraging technological innovations and inventions gave rise to new branches of industry as new divisions of labor as property formations was at the same time encroaching feudal property forms: many feudal lords had ceased to organize production and consumption along lines of classical feudal modes of appropriation, rent of lands to serfs, and became in fact capitalists hiring wageworkers.

"Negation is just as much affirmation as negation" (Hegel) The transformation of feudal land into capital, landlords collecting rent into agribusinesses paying workers has just as much to do with forces of nature as forces of production.

Capital agribusiness, the transformation of landlords into capitalists and of serfs into proletarians (rural proletariat) working for wages the same as urban proletarians employed by industrial capital, began in response to the Bubonic Plague, the so-called "Black Death", in England in the 14th century.

The natural transition, from feudal appropriation (rent, taxes, tribute, tithes) to capital appropriation (purchase of labor power, and consequent ownership of the products of self-alienated labor power) was the transformation of significant numbers of landed feudal lords collecting rent/tribute from peasants/ and serfs into capitalists hiring proletarians.

In England, the processes of capitalization of the productive forces began with the land of the great estates, determined not just by technological evolution and trade but also by natural social disasters of labor shortages caused by waves of the Bubonic plague.

The Bubonic plague wrought economic dislocations, as a consequence of population losses, over a third in England, taking in its wake serfs, lords, merchants, priests and the rest, resulting in labor shortages.

These finished off what was left of serfdom, where peasants worked the lands of others (corvee labor) in exchange for plots for themselves, and the payment of rent in kind, which had by the time been displaced by cash payments. The landlords were drawn into capitalizing the lands they owned, that is instead of receiving rent from tenets they paid wages to an ever-growing rural proletariat on one hand, and turned large tracts of land to sheep grazing for the emerging woolen industry, and for cattle grazing.

Marx outline's the progression in "Capital":

"In England the first form of the farmer is the bailiff, himself a serf. His position is similar to that of the old Roman villicus, only in a more limited sphere of action. During the second half of the 14th century he is replaced by a farmer, whom the landlord provided with seed, cattle and implements. His condition is not very different from that of the peasant. Only he exploits more wage-labor. Soon he becomes a metayer, a half-farmer. He advances one part of the agricultural stock, the landlord the other. The two divide the total product in proportions determined by contract. This form quickly disappears in England, to give the place to the farmer proper, who makes his own capital breed by employing wage-laborers, and pays a part of the surplus-product, in money or in kind, to the landlord as rent. So long, during the 15th century, as the independent peasant and the farm-laborer working for himself as well as for wages, enriched themselves by their own labor, the circumstances of the farmer, and his field of production, were equally mediocre. The agricultural revolution, which commenced in the last third of the 15th century, and continued during almost the whole of the 16th (excepting, however, its last decade), enriched him just as speedily as it impoverished the mass of the agricultural people.

"The usurpation of the common lands allowed him to augment greatly his stock of cattle, almost without cost, whilst they yielded him a richer supply of manure for the tillage of the soil. To this was added in the 16th century a very important element. At that time the contracts for farms ran for a long time, often for 99 years. The progressive fall in the value of the precious metals, and therefore of money, brought the farmers golden fruit. Apart from all the other circumstances discussed above, it lowered wages. A portion of the latter was now added to the profits of the farm. The continuous rise in the price of corn, wool, meat, in a word of all agricultural produce, swelled the money capital of the farm without any action on his part, whilst the rent he paid (being calculated on the old value of money) diminished in reality. [2] Thus they grew rich at the expense both of their laborers and their landlords. No wonder, therefore, that England, at the end of the 16th century, had a class of capitalist farmers, rich, considering the circumstances of the time.
(Karl Marx Capital Volume One Part VIII: Primitive Accumulation Chapter 29.)

These developments occurred in context of Britain's entry into the world market, of course - including the slave trade:

"English incursion into the trade, however, was limited because of a thirteen year disagreement with Spain over English rights to trade in Africa and the New World. During this period and up until 1603, English seadogs continued to ply the Atlantic with over 2800 slaves per year. A series of treaties signed between England and Spain over the next half century granted English slave traders participatory rights. Until the 1620s, however, most of this exchange involved either Spanish or Portuguese colonies. England's settlement of St. Christopher, Barbados, Nevis, Montserrat, Antigua, and Jamaica in the first half of the seventeenth century opened up a new realm of commercial possibilities.
(Jennifer M. Payne: "Influences of British Imperialist Economic Fortunes on Slavery, Sugar, and Abolition 1994)

From Marx's Capital is shown how the rising bourgeoisie came into conflict with the feudal economic institutional fetters:

"Doubtless many small guild-masters, and yet more independent small artisans, or even wage-labourers, transformed themselves into small capitalists, and (by gradually extending exploitation of wage-labour and corresponding accumulation) into full-blown capitalists. In the infancy of capitalist production, things often happened as in the infancy of medieval towns, where the question, which of the escaped serfs should be master and which servant, was in great part decided by the earlier or later date of their flight. The snail's pace of this method corresponded in no wise with the commercial requirements of the new world-market that the great discoveries of the end of the 15th century created. But the middle ages had handed down two distinct forms of capital, which mature in the most different economic social formations, and which before the era of the capitalist mode of production, are considered as capital quand meme --- usurer's capital and merchant's capital.

"At present, all the wealth of society goes first into the possession of the capitalist ... he pays the landowner his rent, the labourer his wages, the tax and tithe gatherer their claims, and keeps a large, indeed the largest, and a continually augmenting share, of the annual produce of labour for himself. The capitalist may now be said to be the first owner of all the wealth of the community, though no law has conferred on him the right to this property... this change has been effected by the taking of interest on capital ... and it is not a little curious that all the law-givers of Europe endeavoured to prevent this by statutes, viz., statutes against usury.... The power of the capitalist over all the wealth of the country is a complete change in the right of property, and by what law, or series of laws, was it effected?" The author should have remembered that revolutions are not made by laws.

"The money capital formed by means of usury and commerce was prevented from turning into industrial capital, in the country by the feudal constitution, in the towns by the guild organisation. These fetters vanished with the dissolution of feudal society, with the expropriation and partial eviction of the country population. The new manufactures were established at Weapons, or at inland points beyond the control of the old municipalities and their guilds. Hence in England an embittered struggle of the corporate towns against these new industrial nurseries."
(Marx: Capital ibid.)

From "The Communist Manifesto":

"The feudal system of industry, in which industrial production was monopolised by closed guilds, now no longer sufficed for the growing wants of the new markets. The manufacturing system took its place. The guild-masters were pushed on one side by the manufacturing middle class; division of labour between the different corporate guilds vanished in the face of division of labour in each single workshop."
(Marx &Engels: "The Communist Manifesto")

The English bourgeois revolution of 1640 was therefore the political culmination of iconological processes by which the rise of capital empowered the capitalists with money and connections, and the world trade facilitated this by providing capitalist commodity production by wageworkers international markets.

Trotsky shows how the bourgeois revolutionists of 1640 regarded their respective factional interests in religious ideologies:

"The adherents of the Episcopal or Anglican, semi-Catholic Church were the party of the court, the nobility and of course the higher clergy. The Presbyterians were the party of the bourgeoisie, the party of wealth and enlightenment. The Independents, and the Puritans especially, were the party of the petty bourgeoisie, the plebeians. Wrapped up in ecclesiastical controversies, in the form of a struggle over the religious structure of the church, there took place a social self-determination of classes and their re-grouping along new, bourgeois lines. Politically the.Presbyterian party stood for a limited monarchy; the Independents, who then were called root and branch men or in the language of our day, radicals, stood for a republic. The half-way position of the Presbyterians fully, corresponded to the contradictory interests of the bourgeoisie -- between the nobility and the plebeians. The Independents' party which dared to carry its ideas and slogans through to their conclusion naturally displaced the Presbyterians among the awakening petty-bourgeois masses in the towns and the countryside that formed the main force of the revolution. Events unfolded empirically. In their struggle for power and property interests both the former and the latter side hid themselves behind a cloak of legitimacy."
(Leon Trotsky's Writings On Britain CHAPTER VI Two traditions: the seventeenth-century revolution and Chartism)

Understood, however, as Trotsky shows as actual class conflicts, it is clear the fundamental statement of the materialistic conception of history, class wars culmination in social revolutions, articulated by Marx:

"Just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the conflict existing between the social forces of production and the relations of production. No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of the old society." (Karl Marx: A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Preface) Capital dominated the economy of the kingdom and was thus the source of revenue of the State. The economic basis of the feudal state was taxes in kind, and later cash. But, the absolute monarchs drew its wealth from oversees colonial plunder, and taxes in cash - and, more and more so by state securities and borrowing monarchs. Adam Smith wrote about the political economy of public debt of those times: "The new taxes were imposed for the sole purpose of paying the interest of the money borrowed upon them. If they produce more, it is generally something which was neither intended nor expected, and is therefore seldom very considerable. Sinking funds have generally arisen not so much from any surplus of the taxes which was over and above what was necessary for paying the interest or annuity originally charged upon them, as from a subsequent reduction of that interest. That of Holland in 1655, and that of the ecclesiastical state in 1685, were both formed in this manner. Hence the usual insufficiency of such funds."
(Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations Book Five: Of the Revenue of the Sovereign or Commonwealth.)


"The system of public credit, i.e., of national debts, whose origin we discover in Genoa and Venice as early as the middle ages, took possession of Europe generally during the manufacturing period. The colonial system with its maritime trade and commercial wars served as a forcing-house for it. Thus it first took root in Holland. National debts, i.e., the alienation of the state-whether despotic, constitutional or republican-marked with its stamp the capitalistic era. The only part of the so-called national wealth that actually enters into the collective possessions of modern peoples is their national debt. [7] Hence, as a necessary consequence, the modern doctrine that a nation becomes the richer the more deeply it is in debt. Public credit becomes the credo of capital. And with the rise of national debt-making, want of faith in the national debt takes the place of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which may not be forgiven.

"The public debt becomes one of the most powerful levers of primitive accumulation. As with the stroke of an enchanter's wand, it endows barren money with the power of breeding and thus turns it into capital, without the necessity of its exposing itself to the troubles and risks inseparable from its employment in industry or even in usury. The state-creditors actually give nothing away, for the sum lent is transformed into public bonds, easily negotiable, which go on functioning in their hands just as so much hard cash would.
(Karl Marx Capital Volume One Part VIII: Primitive Accumulation Chapter 31)

England toward revolution, the issue of taxation:

James I (1603-1625) "James became king at an especially difficult time to become King of England. The government was deeply in debt, the English Church was divided while a radical Protestant minority was growing, and the Parliament was not happy with the power that had been accruing to the monarch over the past several decades.

"James's problem was that he could not pay his bills without the approval of Parliament, for English law forbade the king from raising revenues independently of the consent of Parliament. James, however, had debts to pay and an extravagant lifestyle to keep up. So he argued that he had some privileges to raise money through customs duties; these duties, called impositions , lit the fire beneath Parliament's feet and the subsequent history of James's reign is a long, protracted battle with Parliament over the powers of the king.

"James was followed by his son Charles I, who ruled England from 1625 until his execution in 1649. Like James, Charles was chronically short of money. While James lived extravagantly, the extravagance of Charles put his father to shame. In addition, Charles was prosecuting a war against France and bungling it, but he still needed money. Since Parliament would not increase his funds through taxation and tariffs, Charles went about creatively raising money of his own. In 1628, Parliament met and drafted the Petition of Right in which it declared several important rights of individuals and Parliament that severely curtailed the power of the monarch:

* No funds could be borrowed or raised through taxes and tariffs without the explicit approval of Parliament;

* No free person (Britain had slavery at the time) could be imprisoned without a reason;

* No troops could be garrisoned in a private home without permission.

"(This petition of right would later become the basis of both the English Constitution and the American Revolution). Parliament voted funds for Charles to prosecute his war with France under one condition: he had to sign the Petition of Right and so agree to its terms. This he did, but he probably never intended to keep his word. In fact, Charles immediately broke his promise and, to avoid confrontation with Parliament, he dissolved it and refused to call it again until 1640."
(The European Enlightenment. The Case of England)

The English House of Commons, ostensibly representing the common folk as such, needed the political power of the majority of the kingdom's population, serfs and peasants in the countryside, proletarians and petty bourgeois artisans and shopkeepers of the commercial cities to support it in its class warfare against the monarchy and the nobility that backed it. The monarchy was, after all a feudal institution and the king nothing but the paramount chief, which had family as well as landed property relations with the rest of the landed aristocracies, and the Church high clergy.

There were in existence governmental chambers differentiated by estates, class representation: the House of Lords together with the Monarchy represented the feudal barons, the House of Commons represented, as the word imply, the "commoners" (that is the non-nobility - peasants, artisans, merchants, proletarians).


"The man who knows how to read and is capable of discovering under the shadows of history real living bodies, classes and factions, will be convinced from this very experience of the English revolution how subsidiary, subordinate and qualified a role is played by law in the mechanics of social struggle and especially in a revolutionary era, that is to say, when the basic interests of the basic classes in society come to the fore. In the England of the 1640s we see a parliament based upon the most whimsical franchise, which at the same time regarded itself as the representative organ of the people.

"The lower house represented the nation in that it represented the bourgeoisie and thereby national wealth. In the reign of Charles I it was found, and not without amazement, that the House of Commons was three times richer than the House of Lords. The king now dissolved this parliament and now recalled it according to the pressure of financial need. Parliament created an army for its defense. The army gradually concentrated in its ranks all the most active, courageous and resolute elements. As a direct consequence of this, parliament capitulated to this army. We say: as a direct consequence of this. By this we mean that parliament capitulated not simply to armed force (it had not capitulated to the king's army) but to Cromwell's puritan, which expressed the requirements of the revolution more boldly, more resolutely and more consistently than did parliament."
(Leon Trotsky's Writings On Britain CHAPTER VI Two traditions: the seventeenth-century revolution and Chartism)

The English Revolution was 'democratic' in that, therefore, the Lower House overthrew the Upper House, the Lords because changed economic circumstances not only made it possible, but the political situation demanded it.

"Man never renounces what he has gained, but this does not mean that he never renounces the form of society in which he has acquired certain productive forces. On the contrary. If he is not to he deprived of the results obtained or to forfeit the fruits of civilisation, man is compelled to change all his traditional social forms as soon as the mode of commerce ceases to correspond to the productive forces acquired. Here I use the word commerce in its widest sense as we would say Verkehr in German. For instance, privilege, the institution of guilds and corporations, the regulatory system of the Middle Ages, were the only social relations that corresponded to the acquired productive forces and to the pre-existing social conditions front which those institutions had emerged. Protected by the corporative and regulatory system, capital had accumulated, maritime trade had expanded, colonies had been founded and man would have lost the very fruits of all this had he wished to preserve the forms under whose protection those fruits had ripened. And, indeed, two thunderclaps occurred,the revolutions of 1640 and of 1688. In England, all the earlier economic forms, the social relations corresponding to them, and the political system which was the official _expression of the old civil society, were destroyed.
(Letter from Marx to Pavel Vasilyevich Annenkov in Paris)

In France, it was the 3rd Estate of the Estate's General that represented the bourgeois, and it's representatives ostensibly those of the nation in opposition to the feudal structures and institutions, in opposition to the monarchy, the landed aristocrats and the clergy (1st and 2nd estates).

Abbe Sieyes: What is the Third Estate?

"It suffices here to have made it clear that the pretended utility of a privileged order for the public service is nothing more than a chimera; that with it all that which is burdensome in this service is performed by the Third Estate; that without it the superior places would be infinitely better filled; that they naturally ought to be the lot and the recompense of ability and recognized services, and that if privileged persons have come to usurp all the lucrative and honorable posts, it is a hateful injustice to the rank and file of citizens and at the same a treason to the public.

"Who then shall dare to say that the Third Estate has not within itself all that is necessary for the formation of a complete nation? It is the strong and robust man who has one arm still shackled. If the privileged order should be abolished, the nation would be nothing less, but something more. Therefore, what is the Third Estate? Everything; but an everything shackled and oppressed. What would it be without the privileged order? Everything, but an everything free and flourishing. Nothing can succeed without it, everything would be infinitely better without the others.

"It is not sufficient to show that privileged persons, far from being useful to the nation, cannot but enfeeble and injure it; it is necessary to prove further that the noble order does not enter at all into the social organization; that it may indeed be a burden upon the nation, but that it cannot of itself constitute a nation.

"In the first place, it is not possible in the number of all the elementary parts of a nation to find a place for the caste of nobles. I know that there are individuals in great number whom infirmities, incapacity, incurable laziness, or the weight of bad habits render strangers tot eh labors of society. The exception and the abuse are everywhere found beside the rule. But it will be admitted that he less there are of these abuses, the better it will be for the State. The worst possible arrangement of all would be where not alone isolated individuals, but a whole class of citizens should take pride in remaining motionless in the midst of the general movement, and should consume the best part of the product without bearing any part in its production. Such a class is surely estranged to the nation by its indolence.

"The noble order is not less estranged from the generality of us by its civil and political prerogatives.

"What is a nation? A body of associates, living under a common law, and represented by the same legislature, etc.

"Is it not evident that the noble order has privileges and expenditures which it dares to call its rights, but which are apart from the rights of the great body of citizens? It departs there from the common law. So its civil rights make of it an isolated people in the midst of the great nation. This is truly imperium in imperia.

"In regard to its political rights, these also it exercises apart. It has its special representatives, which are not charged with securing the interests of the people. The body of its deputies sit apart; and when it is assembled in the same hall with the deputies of simple citizens, it is none the less true that its representation is essentially distinct and separate: it is a stranger to the nation, in the first place, by its origin, since its commission is not derived from the people; then by its object, which consists of defending not the general, but the particular interest.

"The Third Estate embraces then all that which belongs to the nation; and all that which is not the Third Estate, cannot be regarded as being of the nation.

"What is the Third Estate?

"It is the whole."

These Revolutions, in England and France, respectively, brought the bourgeoisie into position, as ruling class, to win direct control of the state.

"Each step in the development of the bourgeoisie was accompanied by a corresponding political advance of that class. An oppressed class under the sway of the feudal nobility, an armed and self-governing association in the medieval commune; here independent urban republic (as in Italy and Germany); there taxable third estate of the monarchy (as in France); afterwards, in the period of manufacturing proper, serving either the semi-feudal or the absolute monarchy as a counterpoise against the nobility, and, in fact, cornerstone of the great monarchies in general, the bourgeoisie has at last, since the establishment of Modern Industry and of the world market, conquered for itself, in the modern representative State, exclusive political sway. The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie. "


(1) "Oldowan tools are the oldest known, appearing first in the Gona and Omo Basins in Ethiopia about 2.4 million years ago. They likely came at the end of a long period of opportunistic tool usage: even chimpanzees use rocks, branches, leaves and twigs as tools.

"The key innovation is the technique of chipping stones to create a chopping or cutting edge. Most Oldowan tools were made by a single blow of one rock against another to create a sharp-edged flake. Flakes were struck from crystalline stones such as basalt, quartz or chert, indicating that early humans were aware of rock types and their useful characteristics.

"Typically many flakes were struck from a single "core" stone, using a softer spherical hammer stone to strike the blow. These hammer stones may have been deliberately rounded to increase toolmaking control.

"Flakes were used primarily as cutters, probably to dismember game carcasses and to strip tough plants. Crushed fossil bones indicate that stones were also used to break open marrow cavities. And Oldowan deposits include pieces of bone or horn with scratch marks that show they were used as diggers to unearth tubers or insects.

"Currently, all these tools are associated with Homo habilis (rudolfensis) only; if the robust australopithecines used tools, they were apparently not shaped stones"

"The Acheulean tool industry first appeared around 1.5 million years ago in East-Central Africa, associated with Homo ergaster and western Homo erectus.

"The key innovations are (1) the shaping of an entire stone to a stereotyped tool form, and (2) chipping the stone from both sides to produce a symmetrical (bifacial) cutting edge. Manufacture shifted from flakes struck from a stone core to shaping a more massive tool by careful repetitive flaking. The most common tool materials were quartzite, glassy lava, chert and flint.

"Making an Acheulean tool required both strength and skill. Large shards were first struck from big rocks or boulders. These heavy blades were shaped into bifaces, then refined at the edges (using bone or antler tools) into distinctive variations in shape -- referred to by paleoanthropologists as axes, picks, and flat-edged cleavers.

"About 1.0 million years ago, symmetrical, teardrop- or lanceolate-shaped blades (so-called hand axes) begin appearing in Acheulean deposits. Some of these "hand" axes are extremely large and may possibly have had a ceremonial or monetary use. Or they may have been used for very heavy work such as butchering large animals or milling branches or trees into fire fuel.

"By 500,000 years ago the Acheulean methods had penetrated into Europe, primarily associated with Homo heidelbergensis, where they continued until about 200,000 years ago. The industry spread as far as the Near East and India, but apparently never reached Asia, where Homo erectus continued to use Oldowan tools right up to the time this hominid species went extinct.

"Acheulean tools show a regularity of design and manufacture that is maintained for over a million years. This is clear evidence for very specific design criteria that were handed down by explicit training within long-enduring and continuous human societies.

"The Mousterian industry appeared around 200,000 years ago and persisted until about 40,000 years ago, in much the same areas of Europe, the Near East and Africa where Acheulean tools appear. In Europe these tools are most closely associated with Homo neanderthalensis, but elsewhere were made by both Neandertals and early Homo sapiens.

"Mousterian techniques involved a careful preliminary shaping of the stone core from which the actual blade is struck off: either by first shaping a rock into a rounded surface before striking off the raised area as a wedge-shaped flake (see photo at left), or by shaping the core as a long prism of stone before striking off triangular flakes from its length (like slices from a baguette).

"Because Mousterian tools were conceived as refinements on a few distinct core shapes, the whole process of making tools had standardized into explicit stages (basic core stone, rough blank, refined final tool), with variations in tools created by variations in the procedures at each stage. A consistent manufacturing goal was to increase as much as possible the cutting area on each blade. Though this made the toolmaking process more labor intensive, it also meant the edges of the tools could be reshaped or sharpened as used so that tools lasted longer. The whole toolmaking industry had adapted to get the maximum utility from the invested labor.

"Tool forms in the Mousterian industry display a wide range of specialized shapes. Cutting tools include notched flakes, denticulate (serrated) flakes, and flake blades similar to Upper Paleolithic tools. Points appear that seem designed for use in spears or lances, some including a tang or stub at the base allowing the point to be tied into the notched end of a stick. Scrapers appear for the dressing of animal hides, which were probably used for shoes, clothing, bedding, shelter, and carrying sacks.

"Because tools were combined with other components (handles, spear shafts) and used in wider applications (dressing hides, shaping wood tools, hunting large game), Mousterian technology was the keystone for many interrelated manufacturing activities in other materials. As these activities evolved and standardized, the efficient and flexible Mousterian toolmaking procedures made possible ongoing refinements and variations in tool design. Stone tools had evolved to keep up with other material aspects of human culture.

"The Upper Paleolithic industry, dominant from 40,000 to 12,000 years ago, appears to have originated independently in both Asia and (as early as 90,000 years ago) in Africa.

"This toolmaking culture shows a remarkable proliferation of tool forms, tool materials, and much greater complexity of toolmaking techniques. It also quickly diversified into distinctive regional styles, some of which appeared as sequentially overlapping but esthetically recognizable toolmaking cultures.

"Given the adaptation of tool forms to other material activities that appears in the Mousterean industry, these regional styles are probably not just stylistic variations but reflect the adaptation of tools to specific materials and the hunting and manufacturing requirements of different ecologies and social economies. It is, for example, in the Upper Paleolithic industry that sewing needles and fish hooks first appear.

"The extensive Aurignacian period (40,000 to 28,000 years ago) is associated with both Homo sapiens (Cro Magnon) and Homo neanderthalensis throughout Europe and parts of Africa.

"The more limited Chatelperronian (40,000 to 34,000 years ago) is a variant of the Aurignacian principally associated with the declining tribes of European Homo neanderthalensis.

"After Neanderthals went extinct, the Gravettian period (28,000 to 22,000 years ago) added backed blades and bevel-based bone points to the tool repertory. Ivory beads turn up as burial ornaments, and ritual "Venus figurines" appear.

"The brief Solutrean period (22,000 to 19,000 years ago) introduced very elegant tool designs made possible by heating and suddenly cooling flint stones to shatter them in carefully controlled ways.

"Finally, the Magdalenian period (18,000 to 12,000 years ago) saw the increased use of very small flaked stones for arrows and spears, multibarbed harpoon points, and spear throwers made of wood, bone or antler. During this period a new tool appears -- symbolic representation, as in these cave paintings from Chauvet (left) -- and with it human culture as a realm of shared representation and visualization, rather than solely of shared technical process. On this basis written language soon evolved in the use of pictures to represent numbers, calendars, nonnumerical concepts, and finally spoken sounds.

"Upper Paleolithic tool assemblages include end scrapers, burins (chisel-like stones for working bone and ivory), bone points, ivory beads, tooth necklaces, and abstract animal or human figurines. All these imply a parallel refinement in clothing, shelters, utensils, ornament, medicine, nutrition and ritual practices. By this time, then, stone and bone tool usage pervaded a great variety of other manufacturing activities and almost certainly produced both division of labor and social hierarchies based on toolmaking skills and personal or household possession of costly or precious artifacts.

"The increasing tempo of tool innovation and the greater effectiveness of upper paleolithic hunting implements put relentless pressure on declining species of large game, driving many to extinction or into habitats remote from human activity. This decline in hunting resources in turn hastened the transition of human societies from hunter-gatherer to agricultural economies. Tools had evolved to influence, if not determine, human history."

NOTEBOOK - (conspectus) - Adam Smith and Karl Marx
Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations Book III, Chapter II
Of the Discouragement of Agriculture in the Ancient State of Europe after the Fall of the Roman Empire

"When the German and Scythian nations overran the western provinces of the Roman empire, the confusions which followed so great a revolution lasted for several centuries. The rapine and violence which the barbarians exercised against the ancient inhabitants interrupted the commerce between the towns and the country. The towns were deserted, and the country was left uncultivated, and the western provinces of Europe, which had enjoyed a considerable degree of opulence under the Roman empire, sunk into the lowest state of poverty and barbarism. During the continuance of those confusions, the chiefs and principal leaders of those nations acquired or usurped to themselves the greater part of the lands of those countries. A great part of them was uncultivated; but no part of them, whether cultivated or uncultivated, was left without a proprietor. All of them were engrossed, and the greater part by a few great proprietors.

"If little improvement was to be expected from such great proprietors, still less was to be hoped for from those who occupied the land under them. In the ancient state of Europe, the occupiers of land were all tenants at will. They were all or almost all slaves; but their slavery was of a milder kind than that known among the ancient Greeks and Romans, or even in our West Indian colonies. They were supposed to belong more directly to the land than to their master. They could, therefore, be sold with it, but not separately. They could marry, provided it was with the consent of their master; and he could not afterwards dissolve the marriage by selling the man and wife to different persons. If he maimed or murdered any of them, he was liable to some penalty, though generally but to a small one. They were not, however, capable of acquiring property. Whatever they acquired was acquired to their master, and he could take it from them at pleasure. Whatever cultivation and improvement could be carried on by means of such slaves was properly carried on by their master. It was at his expence. The seed, the cattle, and the instruments of husbandry were all his. It was for his benefit. Such slaves could acquire nothing but their daily maintenance. It was properly the proprietor himself, therefore, that, in this case, occupied his own lands, and cultivated them by his own bondmen. This species of slavery still subsists in Russia, Poland, Hungary, Bohemia, Moravia, and other parts of Germany. It is only in the western and south-western provinces of Europe that it has gradually been abolished altogether.*12


"But if great improvements are seldom to be expected from great proprietors, they are least of all to be expected when they employ slaves for their workmen. The experience of all ages and nations, I believe, demonstrates that the work done by slaves, though it appears to cost only their maintenance, is in the end the dearest of any. A person who can acquire no property, can have no other interest but to eat as much, and to labour as little as possible. Whatever work he does beyond what is sufficient to purchase his own maintenance can be squeezed out of him by violence only, and not by any interest of his own. In ancient Italy, how much the cultivation of corn degenerated, how unprofitable it became to the master when it fell under the management of slaves, is remarked by both Pliny and Columella.

Land occupied by such tenants is properly cultivated at the expence of the proprietor as much as that occupied by slaves. There is, however, one very essential difference between them. Such tenants, being freemen, are capable of acquiring property, and having a certain proportion of the produce of the land, they have a plain interest that the whole produce should be as great as possible, in order that their own proportion may be so. A slave, on the contrary, who can acquire nothing but his maintenance, consults his own ease by making the land produce as little as possible over and above that maintenance. It is probable that it was partly upon account of this advantage, and partly upon account of the encroachments which the sovereign, always jealous of the great lords, gradually encouraged their villains to make upon their authority, and which seem at last to have been such as rendered this species of servitude altogether inconvenient, that tenure in villanage gradually wore out through the greater part of Europe. The time and manner, however, in which so important a revolution was brought about is one of the most obscure points in modern history. The Church of Rome claims great merit in it; and it is certain that so early as the twelfth century, Alexander III published a bull for the general emancipation of slaves. It seems, however, to have been rather a pious exhortation than a law to which exact obedience was required from the faithful. Slavery continued to take place almost universally for several centuries afterwards, till it was gradually abolished by the joint operation of the two interests above mentioned, that of the proprietor on the one hand, and that of the sovereign on the other. A villain enfranchised, and at the same time allowed to continue in possession of the land, having no stock of his own, could cultivate it only by means of what the landlord advanced to him, and must, therefore, have been what the French call a Metayer.


It could never, however, be the interest even of this last species of cultivators to lay out, in the further improvement of the land, any part of the little stock which they might save from their own share of the produce, because the lord, who laid out nothing, was to get one-half of whatever it produced. The tithe, which is but a tenth of the produce, is found to be a very great hindrance to improvement. A tax, therefore, which amounted to one-half must have been an effectual bar to it. It might be the interest of a metayer to make the land produce as much as could be brought out of it by means of the stock furnished by the proprietor; but it could never be his interest to mix any part of his own with it. In France, where five parts out of six of the whole kingdom are said to be still occupied by this species of cultivators,*19 the proprietors complain that their metayers take every opportunity of employing the master's cattle rather in carriage than in cultivation; because in the one case they get the whole profits to themselves, in the other they share them with their landlord. This species of tenants still subsists in some parts of Scotland. They are called steel-bow*20 tenants. Those ancient English tenants, who are said by Chief Baron Gilbert and Doctor Blackstone to have been rather bailiffs of the landlord than farmers properly so called, were probably of the same kind.

Smith: Wealth of Nations: Book III, Chapter III

Of the Rise and Progress of Cities and Towns, after the Fall of the Roman Empire

"The inhabitants of cities and towns were, after the fall of the Roman empire, not more favoured than those of the country. They consisted, indeed, of a very different order of people from the first inhabitants of the ancient republics of Greece and Italy. These last were composed chiefly of the proprietors of lands, among whom the public territory was originally divided, and who found it convenient to build their houses in the neighbourhood of one another, and to surround them with a wall, for the sake of common defence. After the fall of the Roman empire, on the contrary, the proprietors of land seem generally to have lived in fortified castles on their own estates, and in the midst of their own tenants and dependants. The towns were chiefly inhabited by tradesmen and mechanics, who seem in those days to have been of servile, or very nearly of servile condition. The privileges which we find granted by ancient charters to the inhabitants of some of the principal towns in Europe sufficiently shew what they were before those grants. The people to whom it is granted as a privilege that they might give away their own daughters in marriage without the consent of their lord, that upon their death their own children, and not their lord, should succeed to their goods, and that they might dispose of their own effects by will, must, before those grants, have been either altogether or very nearly in the same state of villanage with the occupiers of land in the country.


They seem, indeed, to have been a very poor, mean set of people, who used to travel about with their goods from place to place, and from fair to fair, like the hawkers and pedlars of the present times. In all the different countries of Europe then, in the same manner as in several of the Tartar governments of Asia at present, taxes used to be levied upon the persons and goods of travellers when they passed through certain manors, when they went over certain bridges, when they carried about their goods from place to place in a fair, when they erected in it a booth or stall to sell them in. These different taxes were known in England by the names of passage, pontage, lastage, and stallage. Sometimes the king, sometimes a great lord, who had, it seems, upon some occasions, authority to do this, would grant to particular traders, to such particularly as lived in their own demesnes, a general exemption from such taxes. Such traders, though in other respects of servile, or very nearly of servile condition, were upon this account called Free-traders. They in return usually paid to their protector a sort of annual poll-tax. In those days protection was seldom granted without a valuable consideration, and this tax might, perhaps, be considered as compensation for what their patrons might lose by their exemption from other taxes. At first, both those poll-taxes and those exemptions seem to have been altogether personal, and to have affected only particular individuals during either their lives or the pleasure of their protectors. In the very imperfect accounts which have been published from Domesday-Book of several of the towns of England, mention is frequently made sometimes of the tax which particular burghers paid, each of them, either to the king or to some other great lord for this sort of protection; and sometimes of the general amount only of all those taxes.*38


But how servile soever may have been originally the condition of the inhabitants of the towns, it appears evidently that they arrived at liberty and independency much earlier than the occupiers of land in the country. That part of the king's revenue which arose from such poll-taxes in any particular town used commonly to be let in farm during a term of years for a rent certain, sometimes to the sheriff of the county, and sometimes to other persons. The burghers themselves frequently got credit enough to be admitted to farm the revenues of this sort which arose out of their own town, they becoming jointly and severally answerable for the whole rent. To let a farm in this manner was quite agreeable to the usual economy of, I believe, the sovereigns of all the different countries of Europe, who used frequently to let whole manors to all the tenants of those manors, they becoming jointly and severally answerable for the whole rent;*41 but in return being allowed to collect it in their own way, and to pay it into the king's exchequer by the hands of their own bailiff, and being thus altogether freed from the insolence of the king's officers; a circumstance in those days regarded as of the greatest importance.


At first, the farm of the town was probably let to the burghers, in the same manner as it had been to other farmers, for a term of years only. In process of time, however, it seems to have become the general practice to grant it to them in fee, that is for ever, reserving a rent certain never afterwards to be augmented. The payment having thus become perpetual, the exemptions, in return for which it was made, naturally became perpetual too. Those exemptions, therefore, ceased to be personal, and could not afterwards be considered as belonging to individuals as individuals, but as burghers of a particular burgh, which, upon this account, was called a Free burgh, for the same reason that they had been called Free-burghers or Free-traders.
(Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations)

From Marx and Engels: The [Critique of] German Ideology:

"With the conquering barbarian people war itself is still, as indicated above, a regular form of intercourse, which is the more eagerly exploited as the increase in population together with the traditional and, for it, the only possible, crude mode of production gives rise to the need for new means of production. In Italy, on the other hand, the concentration of landed property (caused not only by buying-up and indebtedness but also by inheritance, since loose living being rife and marriage rare, the old families gradually died out and their possessions fell into the hands of a few) and its conversion into grazing land (caused not only by the usual economic forces still operative today but by the importation of plundered and tribute-corn and the resultant lack of demand for Italian corn) brought about the almost total disappearance of the free population. The very slaves died out again and again, and had constantly to be replaced by new ones. Slavery remained the basis of the whole productive system. The plebeians, midway between freemen and slaves, never succeeded in becoming more than a proletarian rabble. Rome indeed never became more than a city; its connection with the provinces was almost exclusively political and could, therefore, easily be broken again by political events.

"Nothing is more common than the notion that in history up till now it has only been a question of taking. The barbarians take the Roman Empire, and this fact of taking is made to explain the transition from the old world to the feudal system. In this taking by barbarians, however, the question is, whether the nation which is conquered has evolved industrial productive forces, as is the case with modern peoples, or whether their productive forces are based for the most part merely on their association and on the community. Taking is further determined by the object taken. A banker's fortune, consisting of paper, cannot be taken at all, without the taker's submitting to the conditions of production and intercourse of the country taken. Similarly the total industrial capital of a modern industrial country. And finally, everywhere there is very soon an end to taking, and when there is nothing more to take, you have to set about producing. From this necessity of producing, which very soon asserts itself, it follows that the form of community adopted by the settling conquerors must correspond to the stage of development of the productive forces they find in existence; or, if this is not the case from the start, it must change according to the productive forces. By this, too, is explained the fact, which people profess to have noticed everywhere in the period following the migration of the peoples, namely, that the servant was master, and that the conquerors very soon took over language, culture and manners from the conquered. The feudal system was by no means brought complete from Germany, but had its origin, as far as the conquerors were concerned, in the martial organisation of the army during the actual conquest, and this only evolved after the conquest into the feudal system proper through the action of the productive forces found in the conquered countries. To what an extent this form was determined by the productive forces is shown by the abortive attempts to realise other forms derived from reminiscences of ancient Rome (Charlemagne, etc.).

(From Marx's Capital Vol. I)

"In England, serfdom had practically disappeared in the last part of the 14th century. The immense majority of the population [1] consisted then, and to a still larger extent, in the 15th century, of free peasant proprietors, whatever was the feudal title under which their right of property was hidden. In the larger seignorial domains, the old bailiff, himself a serf, was displaced by the free farmer. The wage-labourers of agriculture consisted partly of peasants, who utilised their leisure time by working on the large estates, partly of an independent special class of wage-labourers, relatively and absolutely few in numbers. The latter also were practically at the same time peasant farmers, since, besides their wages, they had allotted to them arable land to the extent of 4 or more acres, together with their cottages. Besides they, with the rest of the peasants, enjoyed the usufruct of the common land, which gave pasture to their cattle, furnished them with timber, fire-wood, turf, &c. In all countries of Europe, feudal production is characterised by division of the soil amongst the greatest possible number of sub-feudatories. The might of the feudal lord, like that of the sovereign, depended not on the length of his rent-roll, but on the number of his subjects, and the latter depended on the number of peasant proprietors. Although, therefore, the English land, after the Norman Conquest, was distributed in gigantic baronies, one of which often included some 900 of the old Anglo-Saxon lordships, it was bestrewn with small peasant properties, only here and there interspersed with great seignorial domains. Such conditions, together with the prosperity of the towns so characteristic of the 15th century, allowed of that wealth of the people which Chancellor Fortescue so eloquently paints in his Laudes legum Angliae"; but it excluded the possibility of capitalistic wealth.

"The prelude of the revolution that laid the foundation of the capitalist mode of production, was played in the last third of the 15th, and the first decade of the 16th century. A mass of free proletarians was hurled on the labour-market by the breaking-up of the bands of feudal retainers, who, as Sir James Steuart well says, everywhere uselessly filled house and castle.” Although the royal power, itself a product of bourgeois development, in its strife after absolute sovereignty forcibly hastened on the dissolution of these bands of retainers, it was by no means the sole cause of it. In insolent conflict with king and parliament, the great feudal lords created an incomparably larger proletariat by the forcible driving of the peasantry from the land, to which the latter had the same feudal right as the lord himself, and by the usurpation of the common lands. The rapid rise of the Flemish wool manufactures, and the corresponding rise in the price of wool in England, gave the direct impulse to these evictions. The old nobility had been devoured by the great feudal wars. The new nobility was the child of its time, for which money was the power of all powers. Transformation of arable land into sheep-walks was, therefore, its cry. Harrison, in his Description of England, prefixed to Holinshed Chronicles, describes how the expropriation of small peasants is ruining the country. "What care our great encroachers? The dwellings of the peasants and the cottages of the labourers were razed to the ground or doomed to decay, says Harrison, --- "the old records of euerie manour be sought... it will soon appear that in some manour seventeene, eighteene, or twentie houses are shrunk... that England was neuer less furnished with people than at the present... Of cities and townes either utterly decaied or more than a quarter or half diminished, though some one be a little increased here or there; of townes pulled downe for sheepe-walks, and no more but the lordships now standing in them... I could saie somewhat. The complaints of these old chroniclers are always exaggerated, but they reflect faithfully the impression made on contemporaries by the revolution in the conditions of production. A comparison of the writings of Chancellor Fortescue and Thomas More reveals the gulf between the 15th and 16th century. As Thornton rightly has it, the English working-class was precipitated without any transition from its golden into its iron age.

"Legislation was terrified at this revolution. It did not yet stand on that height of civilization where the wealth of the nation (i.e., the formation of capital, and the reckless exploitation and impoverishing of the mass of the people) figure as the ultima Thule of all state-craft. In his history of Henry VII., Bacon says: "Inclosures at that time (1489) began to be more frequent, whereby arable land (which could not be manured without people and families) was turned into pasture, which was easily rid by a few herdsmen; and tenancies for years, lives, and at will (whereupon much of the yeomanry lived) were turned into demesnes. This bred a decay of people, and (by consequence) a decay of towns, churches, tithes, and the like... In remedying of this inconvenience the king wisdom was admirable, and the parliament at that time... they took a course to take away depopulating enclosures, and depopulating pasturage. An Act of Henry VII., 1489, cap. 19, forbad the destruction of all houses of husbandry to which at least 20 acres of land belonged. By an Act, 25 Henry VIII., the same law was renewed. it recites, among other things, that many farms and large flocks of cattle, especially of sheep, are concentrated in the hands of a few men, whereby the rent of land has much risen and tillage has fallen off, churches and houses have been pulled down, and marvellous numbers of people have been deprived of the means wherewith to maintain themselves and their families. The Act, therefore, ordains the rebuilding of the decayed farm-steads, and fixes a proportion between corn land and pasture land, &c. An Act of 1533 recites that some owners possess 24,000 sheep, and limits the number to be owned to 2,000. [4] The cry of the people and the legislation directed, for 150 years after Henry VII., against the expropriation of the small farmers and peasants, were alike fruitless. The secret of their inefficiency Bacon, without knowing it, reveals to us. The device of King Henry VII., says Bacon, in his Essays, Civil and Moral, Essay 29, was profound and admirable, in making farms and houses of husbandry of a standard; that is, maintained with such a proportion of land unto them as may breed a subject to live in convenient plenty, and no servile condition, and to keep the plough in the hands of the owners and not mere hirelings.

"What the capitalist system demanded was, on the other hand, a degraded and almost servile condition of the mass of the people, the transformation of them into mercenaries, and of their means of labour into capital. During this transformation period, legislation also strove to retain the 4 acres of land by the cottage of the agricultural wage-labourer, and forbad him to take lodgers into his cottage. In the reign of James I., 1627, Roger Crocker of Front Mill, was condemned for having built a cottage on the manor of Front Mill without 4 acres of land attached to the same in perpetuity. As late as Charles I. reign, 1638, a royal commission was appointed to enforce the carrying out of the old laws, especially that referring to the 4 acres of land. Even in Cromwell time, the building of a house within 4 miles of London was forbidden unless it was endowed with 4 acres of land. As late as the first half of the 18th century complaint is made if the cottage of the agricultural labourer has not an adjunct of one or two acres of laud. Nowadays he is lucky if it is furnished with a little garden, or if he may rent, far away from his cottage, a few roods. Landlords and farmers, says Dr. Hunter, work here hand in hand. A few acres to the cottage would make the labourers too independent.

"The process of forcible expropriation of the people received in the 16th century a new and frightful impulse from the Reformation, and from the consequent colossal spoliation of the church property. The Catholic Church was, at the time of the Reformation, feudal proprietor of a great part of the English land. The suppression of the monasteries, &c., hurled their inmates into the proletariat. The estates of the church were to a large extent given away to rapacious royal favourites, or sold at a nominal price to speculating farmers and citizens, who drove out, en masse, the hereditary sub-tenants and threw their holdings into one. The legally guaranteed property of the poorer folk in a part of the church tithes was tacitly confiscated. Pauper ubique jacet, cried Queen Elizabeth, after a journey through England. In the 43rd year of her reign the nation was obliged to recognise pauperism officially by the introduction of a poor-rate. The authors of this law seem to have been ashamed to state the grounds of it, for [contrary to traditional usage] it has no preamble whatever. By the 16th of Charles I., ch. 4, it was declared perpetual, and in fact only in 1834 did it take a new and harsher form. These immediate results of the Reformation were not its most lasting ones. The property of the church formed the religious bulwark of the traditional conditions of landed property. With its fall these were no longer tenable.

"Even in the last decade of the 17th century, the yeomanry, the class of independent peasants, were more numerous than the class of farmers. They had formed the backbone of Cromwell strength, and, even according to the confession of Macaulay, stood in favourable contrast to the drunken squires and to their servants, the country clergy, who had to marry their masters cast-off mistresses. About 1750, the yeomanry had disappeared, and so had, in the last decade of the 18th century, the last trace of the common land of the agricultural labourer. We leave on one side here the purely economic causes of the agricultural revolution. We deal only with the forcible means employed."
(Karl Marx: Capital Volume One Part VIII chapter 27)

Lil Joe

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