Marxism Reading Group: The Origin of Capitalism


February 03, 2021 at 7:00pm - 9pm

Marx famously characterized the bourgeoisie as a “revolutionary” class, arguing that European feudalism was “pitilessly torn asunder” by a rising capitalist order. The precise nature of the transition from feudalism to capitalism, however, is subject to controversy and confusion. In this session, we will read the acclaimed historian Ellen Meiksins Wood, whose magnum opus The Origin of Capitalism details the twists and turns that led to the destruction of feudalism–and the new system that arose from its smoldering ashes.


  • Meiksins Wood, The Origin of Capitalism (73-121)


Suggested Additional Readings:

  • Dobb, Studies in the Development of Capitalism
  • Hilton, The Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism
  • Allen, “Economic structure and agricultural productivity in Europe, 1300-1800”
  • Wickham, “Productive Forces & the Economic Logic of the Feudal Mode of Production”


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About the Series

The Philly Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) Marxism Reading Group meets via Zoom on alternating Wednesdays to discuss issues in socialist theory and strategy. 
Each meeting, we’ll look at a specific topic, including theories of the State, gender, imperialism,hegemony, and the origin of capitalism itself. Along the way, we’ll read some of the most influential Marxist theorists, including Angela Davis, Louis Althusser, Ellen Meiksins Wood, CLR James, and Rosa Luxemburg.



Jarek Ervin ·

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