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David McNally: Marx and Colonialism

Sat, May 18 @ 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Historical painting of declaration of the abolition of slavery in the French Colonies in 1848.

A recording of this May 18, 2024, event is available on the MEP’s YouTube channel.

We marked the tenth anniversary of the Marxist Education Project with this keynote talk by David McNally on Marx and colonialism. The concluding chapter of Capital volume 1 tackles “the modern theory of colonization,” yet Marx only half-delivers on the promise implied. Rather than present a full-fledged account of capitalist colonialism, he pivots back to Europe and the processes of primitive accumulation. McNally fills in crucial gaps in Marx’s text, suggesting directions in which he might have gone in analyzing colonial relations and the globalization of capitalism outside of Europe – centering bondage, slavery, colonialism, and racism as foundational elements of global capitalism.

David McNally is a good friend of the Marxist Education Project. Our most successful reading groups in the past 10 years featured his book Blood and Money: War, Slavery, Finance and Empire, and we have also studied his Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance. David is the Cullen Distinguished Professor of History and Business at the University of Houston (UH) and Director of the Center for the Study of Capitalism. Earlier he taught political economy at York University Toronto for over thirty years. David is the editor-in-chief of Spectre, a biannual and online journal of Marxist theory, strategy, and analysis.