Our twelfth episode studies the last part of the book, chapters 26-33, which Marx begins by critiquing bourgeois political economy’s concept of “primitive accumulation.” Throughout the book so far, Marx has assumed that the conditions of capitalism already exist: a class of those with nothing to sell but their labor power and a class that owns the means of production (while noting they are not “natural” conditions). Now we discover how these conditions–and the legal and ideological structure of capitalism–came to be: the individual and state-sanctioned thefts of land, the repression (including incarceration, whipping, branding, and execution) of the dispossessed, slavery, and colonialism. Along the way, Marx presents a brief but important summary/overview of the rise of capitalism and the potential rise of socialism, as well as some quick hints about what exactly revolution might entail. Noting that Marx never relegated this form of accumulation to a bygone era, we go over some examples of how it shows up today and how it continues to be important to capitalism.
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