MARX’S CAPITAL AFTER 150 YEARS: REVOLUTIONARY REFLECTIONS
Abstract: On its 150th anniversary, as contemporary capitalism shows some signs, albeit fitful, of mutating beyond neoliberalism toward a new form of authoritarianism rooted in economic nationalism and protectionism, Marx’s Capital helps to illuminate the system’s underlying structure and the way out, especially if we allow that he has something to tell us not only on capital and class, but also on race and gender. Among the most salient concepts in Capital I are the dehumanization of the worker via commodity fetishism, a problem rooted in the production processes of capitalism, and the concomitant quest for free and associated labor by the working people. Equally salient today is the absolute general law of capital accumulation, which shows that mass unemployment is a permanent feature of highly developed capitalism, as machines replace human labor in a process that also leads to stagnation and the tendency toward a decline in the rate of profit. Finally, Marx’s mature theory of revolution shows not only labor rising up against capital, but also how in particular capitalist societies, this process can be either retarded or hastened by ethnic and national divisions within the working classes.