Download PDF: Democracy Against Capitalism by Ellen Meiksins Wood - A Marxist Critique of Capitalism and Democracy
Ellen Meiksins Wood: Democracy Against Capitalism
If you are interested in learning more about the history and theory of capitalism and democracy, you might want to read Democracy Against Capitalism, a book by the late Ellen Meiksins Wood. In this article, we will give you a brief introduction to who Ellen Meiksins Wood was, what her book is about, how you can download it as a PDF file, and why you should read it.
ellen meiksins wood democracia contra capitalismo pdf download
Who was Ellen Meiksins Wood?
Ellen Meiksins Wood (1942-2016) was a prominent Marxist historian and political theorist. She was born in New York City to Jewish-Latvian parents who fled the Nazi occupation of Europe. She studied at the University of California, Berkeley, where she met her husband and collaborator, Neal Wood. She taught at York University in Toronto for most of her academic career.
Her life and career
Wood was a prolific writer and a public intellectual. She authored or co-authored over a dozen books and hundreds of articles on topics such as ancient Greek democracy, the English Civil War, the French Revolution, the origins of capitalism, the state, class, ideology, democracy, socialism, and imperialism. She also edited the New Left Review for many years and co-founded the journal Historical Materialism.
Her main contributions to political theory
Wood was widely regarded as one of the most original and influential Marxist thinkers of her generation. She challenged both orthodox Marxism and mainstream social science with her distinctive approach to historical materialism. She argued that capitalism was not a natural or inevitable outcome of human history, but a specific social system that emerged from a unique historical process in Western Europe. She also argued that democracy was not a universal or abstract value, but a concrete form of popular power that depended on the class structure and the mode of production of each society. She criticized both liberal and postmodern theories that obscured or denied the role of class and exploitation in shaping human history and politics.
What is the main argument of Democracy Against Capitalism?
Democracy Against Capitalism is one of Wood's most influential books. It was first published in 1995 and has been translated into several languages. It is a collection of essays that explore the relationship between capitalism and democracy from a historical materialist perspective.
The specificity of capitalism and historical materialism
Wood begins by defining capitalism as a system based on the separation of the economic and the political spheres, where production is organized by market exchange and profit rather than by social needs or political decisions. She argues that this separation is unique to capitalism and does not exist in other modes of production, such as feudalism or slavery. She also argues that historical materialism is not a deterministic or teleological theory that predicts the inevitable rise and fall of social systems, but a method of analysis that reveals the specific historical conditions and social relations that shape human history and agency.
The separation of the economic and the political in capitalism
Wood then examines how the separation of the economic and the political in capitalism affects the nature and function of the state, the law, the ideology, and the culture. She shows how the state becomes an autonomous entity that serves the interests of capital rather than the people, how the law becomes a formal and abstract system that conceals the substantive inequalities and injustices of capitalism, how the ideology becomes a dominant and naturalized discourse that legitimizes and reproduces the capitalist order, and how the culture becomes a commodified and fragmented sphere that alienates and manipulates the masses.
The class nature of capitalism and democracy
Wood then explores how the separation of the economic and the political in capitalism affects the class structure and the forms of democracy. She contrasts the ancient Greek democracy, where the citizens directly controlled both the economic and the political affairs of their community, with the modern liberal democracy, where the citizens are reduced to passive consumers and voters who have no real power over either the economic or the political decisions that affect their lives. She argues that democracy is not compatible with capitalism, because capitalism creates a class division between those who own and control the means of production (the bourgeoisie) and those who sell their labor power for a wage (the proletariat). She argues that democracy can only be realized in a socialist society, where the means of production are collectively owned and controlled by the producers themselves.
The critique of civil society and identity politics
Wood then criticizes some of the contemporary theories and movements that claim to challenge or transcend capitalism and democracy. She argues that civil society is not a sphere of freedom and autonomy from the state, but a sphere of domination and dependency on capital. She argues that identity politics is not a form of emancipation and solidarity from class oppression, but a form of fragmentation and diversion from class struggle. She argues that both civil society and identity politics serve to reinforce rather than undermine capitalism and its ideological hegemony.
The prospects for human emancipation
Wood concludes by reaffirming her commitment to historical materialism and democratic socialism as the only viable alternatives to capitalism and its crises. She argues that human emancipation requires a radical transformation of both the economic and the political spheres, where production is organized by social needs rather than by market exchange, where democracy is extended from the formal to the substantive realm, where class divisions are abolished rather than reproduced, where human beings are recognized as ends rather than means, where social relations are based on cooperation rather than competition, where culture is enriched rather than impoverished, where nature is respected rather than exploited, and where history is made rather than suffered.
How to download the PDF version of Democracy Against Capitalism?
If you want to read Democracy Against Capitalism in full, you have several options to download it as a PDF file. Here are some of them:
The official publisher's website
The easiest way to get a PDF copy of Democracy Against Capitalism is to buy it from its official publisher, Cambridge University Press. You can visit their website at https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/democracy-against-capitalism/0C87B28832394E438781BFDFBE8EDE42 and pay $30.99 (USD) for a digital access. You will be able to download it instantly after your purchase.
The academic platforms
Another way to get a PDF copy of Democracy Against Capitalism is to access it through an academic platform, such as JSTOR or EBSCO. You will need to have an institutional or personal subscription to these platforms, or use a library that has access to them. You can search for Democracy Against Capitalism on these platforms and download it as a PDF file.
The free online sources
A third way to get a PDF copy of Democracy Against Capitalism is to look for it on free online sources, such as Academia.edu or Scribd. You will need to create an account on these websites and upload some of your own work in exchange for downloading other people's work. You can search for Democracy Against Capitalism on these websites and download it as a PDF file.
Why should you read Democracy Against Capitalism?
You might wonder why you should read Democracy Against Capitalism, especially if you are not a Marxist or a socialist. Here are some reasons why you should:
The relevance of Wood's analysis for today's world
Wood's analysis of capitalism and democracy is still relevant and insightful for understanding today's world. She shows how capitalism has created a global system of exploitation, inequality, and crisis that threatens the survival of humanity and the planet. She shows how democracy has been hollowed out and corrupted by the power of capital and its ideological allies. She shows how the alternatives to capitalism and democracy that have emerged in recent decades, such as neoliberalism, postmodernism, or populism, have failed to address the root causes of the problems and have only worsened them.
The challenges and opportunities for democratic socialism
Wood's analysis of capitalism and democracy also offers some challenges and opportunities for those who aspire to create a better world based on democratic socialism. She challenges us to rethink our assumptions and strategies about how to achieve social change and human emancipation. She challenges us to avoid the pitfalls of reformism, sectarianism, or utopianism that have plagued the socialist movement in the past. She challenges us to learn from the successes and failures of previous historical experiences and experiments. She also offers us some opportunities to build on the strengths and potentials of historical materialism and democratic socialism. She offers us a vision of a society where people have control over their own lives and destinies, where production is oriented towards human needs rather than profit, where democracy is extended to all spheres of life, where diversity is respected rather than oppressed, where solidarity is fostered rather than undermined, and where history is made rather than endured.
The inspiration and guidance from Wood's legacy
Finally, Wood's analysis of capitalism and democracy also provides us with some inspiration and guidance from her own legacy as a scholar and an activist. She inspires us with her intellectual rigor and creativity, her political commitment and courage, her ethical integrity and humility, her personal warmth and generosity. She guides us with her clear and accessible writing style, her critical and constructive approach to theory and practice, her historical and comparative perspective on social phenomena, her dialectical and materialist understanding of reality.
In conclusion, Democracy Against Capitalism is a book that deserves to be read by anyone who wants to learn more about the history and theory of capitalism and democracy, and who wants to contribute to the struggle for a better world based on democratic socialism. It is a book that challenges us to think critically and creatively about the past, present, and future of human society. It is a book that offers us a vision of hope and possibility in times of despair and crisis.
What is the main thesis of Democracy Against Capitalism?
The main thesis of Democracy Against Capitalism is that capitalism is a system based on the separation of the economic and the political spheres, which creates a class division between those who own and control the means of production (the bourgeoisie) and those who sell their labor power for a wage (the proletariat), and that democracy is a form of popular power that depends on the class structure and the mode of production of each society.
Who wrote Democracy Against Capitalism?
Democracy Against Capitalism was written by Ellen Meiksins Wood (1942-2016), a prominent Marxist historian and political theorist who taught at York University in Toronto for most of her academic career.
When was Democracy Against Capitalism published?
Democracy Against Capitalism was first published in 1995 by Cambridge University Press. It has been translated into several languages since then.
How can I download Democracy Against Capitalism as a PDF file?
You can download Democracy Against Capitalism as a PDF file by buying it from its official publisher's website at https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/democracy-against-capitalism/0C87B28832394E438781BFDFBE8EDE42, or by accessing it through an academic platform such as JSTOR or EBSCO, or by looking for it on free online sources such as Academia.edu or Scribd.
Why should I read Democracy Against Capitalism?
You should read Democracy Against Capitalism because it is a book that provides a relevant and insightful analysis of capitalism and democracy from a historical materialist perspective, and because it is a book that offers a vision of hope and possibility for democratic socialism as an alternative to capitalism and its crises.