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wage-slavery and republican liberty

March 10, 2013

Jacobin‘s “Wage-Slavery and Republican Liberty” is an interesting article connecting the political emancipation realized via the American Revolution, and the ‘neo-Roman’ republicanism associated with the Enlightenment ideals of the Founding Fathers underlying it, to the logically consistent extension of those emancipatory ideals and actions into the economic sphere, suggesting that true independence won’t be won until we’re liberated from the structural and personal forms of dependence that characterize wage-labour under capitalism.

At the very least, I think this look at how segments of the American working class extended these emancipatory ideals and actions into the economic sphere offers present-day socialists, etc. in the US an interesting rhetorical basis from which to argue that both the philosophical and political foundation of US republicanism, championed by conservatives and liberals, are actually more potentially revolutionary than they’re willing to admit, limiting the concept of freedom to one small area of civil society. That “To demand that ‘there is to be a people in industry, as in government’ [is] simply to argue that the cooperative commonwealth [is] nothing more than the culmination and completion of the American Revolution’s republican aspirations.”

The revolution isn’t won yet!


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