What discussion about marxism and/or medievalism do you want to be featured here?
"Let us assume for the sake of argument that recent research had disproved once and for all every one of Marx’s individual theses. Even if this were to be proved, every serious ‘orthodox’ Marxist would still be able to accept all such modern findings without reservation and hence dismiss all of Marx’s theses in toto – without having to renounce his orthodoxy for a single moment. Orthodox Marxism, therefore, does not imply the uncritical acceptance of the results of Marx’s investigations. It is not the ‘belief’ in this or that thesis, nor the exegesis of a ‘sacred’ book. On the contrary, orthodoxy refers exclusively to method. It is the scientific conviction that dialectical materialism is the road to truth and that its methods can be developed, expanded and deepened only along the lines laid down by its founders."
— LUKACS, Georgy. What is Orthodox Marxism? In: History and Class Consciousness.
"While the chaotic battles among the dominant feudal nobility were filling the Middle Ages with sound and fury, the quiet labours of the oppressed classes all over Western Europe were undermining the feudal system and creating a state of affairs in which there was less and less room for the feudal lords. True, in the countryside, the feudality might still assert itself, torturing the serfs, flourishing on their sweat, riding down their crops, ravishing their wives and daughters. But cities were rising everywhere: in Italy, in Southern France, and on the Rhine, the old Roman municipalities were emerging from their ashes; elsewhere, and particularly in central Germany, they were new creations. In all cases, they were ringed by protective walls and moats, fortresses far stronger than the castles of the nobility because they could be taken only by large armies. Behind these walls and moats, medieval craft production, guild-bound and petty though it was, developed; capital accumulation began; the need for trade with other cities and with the rest of the world arose; and, gradually, with the need there also arose the means of protecting this trade."
— ENGELS, Friedrich. In: The Decline of Feudalism and the Rise of the Bourgeoisie (1884 manuscript)
"In the Middle Ages the citizens in each town were compelled to unite against the landed nobility to save their skins. The extension of trade, the establishment of communications, led the separate towns to get to know other towns, which had asserted the same interests in the struggle with the same antagonist. Out of the many local corporations of burghers there arose only gradually the burgher class. The conditions of life of the individual burghers became, on account of their contradiction to the existing relationships and of the mode of labour determined by these, conditions which were common to them all and independent of each individual. The burghers had created the conditions insofar as they had torn themselves free from feudal ties, and were created by them insofar as they were determined by their antagonism to the feudal system which they found in existence. When the individual towns began to enter into associations, these common conditions developed into class conditions. The same conditions, the same contradiction, the same interests necessarily called forth on the whole similar customs everywhere. The bourgeoisie itself with its conditions, develops only gradually, splits according to the division of labour into various fractions and finally absorbs all propertied classes it finds in existence  (while it develops the majority of the earlier propertyless and a part of the hitherto propertied classes into a new class, the proletariat) in the measure to which all property found in existence is transformed into industrial or commercial capital. The separate individuals form a class only insofar as they have to carry on a common battle against another class; otherwise they are on hostile terms with each other as competitors. On the other hand, the class in its turn achieves an independent existence over against the individuals, so that the latter find their conditions of existence predestined, and hence have their position in life and their personal development assigned to them by their class, become subsumed under it. This is the same phenomenon as the subjection of the separate individuals to the division of labour and can only be removed by the abolition of private property and of labour itself."
MARX, Karl. German Ideology.
:[Marginal note by Marx:] To begin with it absorbs the branches of labour directly belonging to the State and then all ±[more or less] ideological estates.
"When Europe emerged from the Middle Ages, the rising middle-class of the towns constituted its revolutionary element. It had conquered a recognized position within mediaeval feudal organization, but this position, also, had become too narrow for its expansive power. The development of the middle-class, the bourgeoisie, became incompatible with the maintenance of the feudal system; the feudal system, therefore, had to fall."
— ENGELS, Frederick. History (the role of Religion) in the English middle-class - 1892 English Edition Introduction to Socialism: Utopian and Scientific.
"Feudalism in Western Europe, then, emerged in the 10th century, expanded during the 11th century, and reached its zenith in the late 12th and 13th centuries. […] By the 13th century, European feudalism had produced a unified and developed civilization that registered a tremendous advance on the rudimentary, patchwork communities of the Dark Ages. The indices of this advance were multiple. The first and most fundamental of them was the great jump forward in the agrarian surplus yielded by feudalism. For the new rural relations of production had permitted a striking increase in agricultural productivity. The technical innovations which are the material instruments of this advance were, essentially, the use of the iron-plough for tilling, the stiff-harness for equine traction, the water-mill for mechanical power, marling for soil improvement and the three-field system for crop rotation. The immense significance of these invention for mediaeval agriculture, in which the prior ideological transformations wrought by the Church were of great importance, is indisputable. But they should not be isolated as fetishized and determinant variables in the economic history of the epoch. In fact, it is clear that the simple existence of these improvements was no guarantee of their widespread utilization. Indeed, there is a gap of some two or three centuries between their initial sporadic appearance in the Dark Ages and their constitution into a distinct and prevalent system in the Middle Ages. For it was precisely only the formation and consolidation of new social relations ofproduction which could set them to work on a general scale. It is only after the crystallization of a developed feudalism in the countryside that they could become widely appropriated. It is in the internal dynamic of the mode of production itself, not the advent of a new technology which was one of its material expressions, that the basic motor of agrarian progress must be sought."
ANDERSON, Perry. The Feudal Dynamic. In: Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism.
It’s interesting to identify how Anderson, differently from others marxists from the 20th century, doesn’t consider technological advancements as determinants in the constitution of a mode of production. If they are, obviously, part of the transition, the real transformation into the feudal mode of production can be found in the changes inside the social relations - new forms of serfdom and urban developement are both good exemples at the period between the 11th century and the crisis of the 14th century.
"The whole existence of the medieval classes was political; their existence was the existence of the state. Their legislative activity, their grant of taxes for the realm was merely a particular issue of their universal political significance and efficacy. Their class was their state. The relationship to the realm was merely one of transaction between these various states and the nationality, because the political state in distinction from civil society was nothing but the representation of nationality. Nationality was the point d’honneur, the kat exhin political sense of these various Corporations etc., and taxes etc., pertained only to them. That was the relationship of the legislative classes to the realm. The classes were related in a similar way within the particular principalities. There, the principality, the sovereignty was a particular class which enjoyed certain privileges but was equally inconvenienced by the privileges of the other classes. (With the Greeks, civil society was a slave to political society.) The universal legislative efficacy of the classes of civil society was in no way the acquisition of political significance and efficacy by the unofficial, or private class, but was rather a simple issue of its actual and universal political significance and efficacy. The appearance of the private class as legislative power was simply a complement of its sovereign and governing (executive) power; or rather it was its appropriation of wholly public affairs as a private affair, its acquisition, qua private class, of sovereignty. In the Middle Ages, the classes of civil society were as such simultaneously legislative because they were not private classes, or because private classes were political classes. The medieval classes did not, as political Estates, acquire a new character. They did not become political classes because they participated in legislation; rather they participated in legislation because they were political classes."
— MARX, Karl. Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right.
"Les citadins et d’abord les marchands avaient donc obtenu partour les libertés nécessaires à leurs activités. Dès la fin du XII° siècle les coutumes oppressives ou humiliantes se trouvaient ici ou là réduites à l’état de vestiges; un droit urbain se superposait aux juridictions concurrentes (aux bans qui se partageient la ville) et, même lorque la justice demeurait tout entière au siegneur, la jurisprudence des tribunaux investis par les principaux habitants tendait à unifier la condition des personne et des biens."
— ROSSIAUD, Jacques - Le Citadin. In: L’homme médiéval.
"To avoid under proxility, it must suffice, without further parade of argument, to postulate the definition of Feudalism which in the sequel it is proposed to adopt. The emphasis of this definition will lie not in the juridical relation between vassal and sovereign, nor in the relation between production and the destination of the product, but in the relation between the direct producer (whether he be artisan in some workshop or peasant cultivator on the land) and his immediate superior or overlord and in the social-economic content of the obligation which connects them. Conformably with the notion of Capitalism discussed in the previous chapter, this definition will characterize Feudalism primarily as a “mode of production”; and this will form the essence of our definition. As such it will be virtually identical with what we generally mean by serfdom: an obligation laid on the producer by force and independently of his own volition to fulfil certain economic demands of an overlord, whether these demands take the form of services to be perfomed or of dues to be paid in money or in kind."
DOBB, Maurice - Studies in the Development of Capitalism (1946)
Quote to compare with this one, from Perry Anderson: http://marxistmedievalist.tumblr.com/post/20815756689/the-feudal-mode-of-production-that-emerged-in
"And yet, the scope and the importance of this culture [of folk humor] were immense in the Renaissance and the Middle Ages. A boundless world of humorous forms and manifestations opposed the official and serious tone of medieval ecclesiastical and feudal culture. In spite of their variety, folk festivities of the carnival type, the comic rites and cults, the clowns and fools, giants, dwarfs, and jugglers, the vast and manifolt literature of parody - all these forms have one style in common: they belong to one culture of folk carnival humor.
The manifestation of this folk culture can be divided into three distinct forms.
1- Ritual spectacles: carnival pageants, comic shows of the marketplace.
2- Comic verbal compositions: parodies both oral and written, in Latin and in vernacular.
3- Various genres of billingsgate: curses, oaths, popular blazons.
These three forms of folk humor, reflecting in spite of their variety a single humorous aspect of the world, are closely linked and interwoven in many ways."
— BAKHTIN, Mikhail. Rabelais and his world.
"Economists who have asseverated the insignificance of medieval commerce by looking at it through the wrong end of the telescope, that is, in the light of the twentieth centry, have pleaded in support of their argument the absense of a class of capitalist merchants in Europe previous to the Renaissance. They may be disposed to make an exception in favour of a few Italian firms, but it is the exception that proves the rule. It has even been asserted that the typical merchant of the Middle Ages was a small tradesman, solely preoccupied in getting a living and with no idea of profit, or desire to enrich himself. It is of course undeniable that numbers of retail dealers of this kind were to be found among the petite bourgeoisie of the towns, but it would be fantastic to reduce the exporters and bankers, whose operations we have been describing, to their level. Only those who are completely blinded to reality by a preconceived theory can deny the importance and influence of commercial capitalism from the beggining of economic renaissance.
Scant as they are, medieval sources place the exitence of capitalism in the twelfth centry beyond a doubt. From the long-distance trade unquestionably produced considerable fortunes. (…) These are, after all, the essential characteristics of capitalism, of which a certain school of historians makes so great a mystery, but which, nevertheless, is to be met with at all periods, fundamentally the same though in differing degrees of develpment, because it corresponds with man’s acquisitive instinct."
PIRENNE, Henri - The capitalistic character of international trade. In: Economic and Social History of Medieval Europe.
This position has its strongest critiques in Maurice Dobb and Rodney Hilton, that defend that the medieval bourgeoisie are not capitalist, a different mode of production from the feudal one. They are inside of it.
Of course, marxists scholars will object the position of Pirenne, based on one of the most important thesis of historical materialism that mode of productions are not natural, they are social and economically determined and have historical specificities.
The question remains: was the medieval bourgeoisie a different mode of production from feudalism (not necessarily the capitalist mode of production) or was it entirely involved inside the feudal system?
"A historian is entitled in his practice to make a provisional assumption of an epistemological character: that the evidence which he handles has a ‘real’ (determinant) existence independent of its existence within the forms of thought, that this evidence is witness to a real historical process, and that this process (or some approximate understanding of it) is the object of historical knowledge. Without making such assumptions he cannot proceed: he must sit in a waiting-room outside the philosophy department all his life. To assume thus does not entail the assumption of a whole series of intellectually illiterate notions, such as that facts involuntarily disclose their own meanings, that answers are supplied independently of questions, etc. We are not talking about pre-history, even if, in some quarters, pre-history survives and even sits robbed in chairs. Any serious historian knows that ‘facts’ are liars, that they carry their own ideological loads, that open-faced, innocent questions may be a mask for exterior attributions, that even the most highly-sophisticated supposedly-neutral and empirical research techniques - techniques which would deliver to us ‘history’ packaged and untouched by the human mind, through the automatic ingestion of the computer - may conceal the most vulgar ideological intrusions. So: this is known: we have been sucking our own eggs for as long as philosophers have been sucking theirs."
— E. P. Thompson - The Poverty of Theory (via thepovertyoftheory)
"In order to explore the “in-between” spaces of medieval Iberian literature, we must first reorient ourselves. This book requires us to reconsider what/who has become the Other in a post-Said, post-9/11 world—the Arab—as the center, the point of reference according to which the authors of these narratives define themselves and others. In the Iberian go-between tales that I examine in Representing Others, the Arab-Andalusi is the center, the ideal but often conflicted home that these displaced Iberian authors recreate in their fiction.
My analysis in Representing Others is informed by Homi Bhabha’s concepts of hybridity and difference and Edward Said’s theories on exile and narrative and explores how the former complement Jaques Lacan, Felix Guattari, and Gilles Deleuze’s theories on desire and Mary Russo’s reading of the female grotesque. Such a selection of contemporary postcolonial and psychoanalytic theorists is particularly suited to analysis of medieval Iberian culture, which for so long has been left out not only out of discussions of Empire that privilege the modern, but also out of much of North American and European Medieval Studies, whose cultural and discursive models (constructed by eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and twentieth-century medievalists for the study of English and French medieval history and cultural production) are ill-suited to medieval Iberia. Spain is different, and medieval Iberia, too, is different in important ways from much of medieval Western Europe. Far from arguing that medieval Iberia is a postcolonial space avant la lettre, the complex social, cultural, and linguistic exchange and conflict that characterizes various groups on the Peninsula between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries can be productively analyzed using contemporary theories on exile, culture, and desire, with the caveat that such theories must be decentered, that is, extricated from the specificity of the modern (post)colonial situation."
— HAMILTON, Michelle - Representing Others in Medieval Iberian Literature.
"The great controversy surrounding usury constitutes what might be called the “labor pains of capitalism.” Anyone who hears the term usury and thinks of the pawnbroker as that residuum, that ghost of the usurer as he is portrayed in nineteenth-century English novels, and in Hollywood films made after the Great Depression of 1929, can understand neither his role as a protagonist of Western society - who hovers like a monstrous shadow over the progress of the monetary economy - nor the social and ideological stakes that coalesced around this pre-capitalist Dracula. The usurer was a doubly frightening vampire for Christian society, because this money-hungry creature was often likened to the Jew, that deicide, that infanticide, that profaner of the sacred host. His was a world where money (nummus in Latin, denier in French) was “God” and where, as the saying goes, “Money conquers, money reigns, money is sovereign” (Nummus vincit, nummus regnat, nummus imperat). It was a world where avaratia, or cupidity, a bourgeois sin that was more or less the mother of usury, had usurped the throne of the chief of the Seven Deadly Sins, superbia, or pride, a feudal sin. For that world, the usurer, a specialist in lending money at interest, became a necessary but detested man, powerful but also vulnerable."
— Jacques Le Goff - Your Money or Your Life: economy and religion in the Middle Ages.
"Three structural specificities of Western feudalism followed, all of fundamental importance for its dynamic. Firstly, the survival of communal village lands and peasant allods from pre-feudal modes of production, although not generated by the latter, was not incompatible with it either. For the feudal division of sovereignties into particularist zones with overlapping boundaries, and no universal centre of competence, always permitted the existence of ‘allogenous’ corporate entities in its interstice.
Secondly, however, and even more importantly, the feudal parcelization of sovereignties produced the phenomenon of the mediaeval town in Western Europe. Here again, the genesis of urban commodity production is not to be located within feudalism as such: it of course predates it. But the feudal mode of production nevertheless was the first to permit it an autonomous development within a natural-agrarian economy.
Thirdly, there was an inherent ambiguity or oscillation at the vertex of the whole hierarchy of feudal dependencies. The ‘summit’ of the chain was in certain important respects its weakest link. In principle, the highest superordinate level of the feudal hierarchy in any given territory of Western Europe was necessarily different not in kind, but only in degree, from the subordinate levels of lordship beneath it. The monarch, in other words, was a feudal suzerain of his vassals, to whom he was bound by reciprocal ties of fealty, not a supreme sovereign set above his subjects. His economic resources would lie virtually exclusively in his personal domains as a lord, while his calls on his vassals would be essentially military in nature. He would have no direct political access to the population as a whole, for jurisdiction over it would be mediatized through innumerable layers of subinfeudation."
— ANDERSON, Perry - Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism. (source: http://ebookcollective.tumblr.com/post/28465614874/assorted-marxist-books-in-pdf)