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Grundrisse: Notebooks 4 and 5
Sat, May 21 @ 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
An event every week that begins at 11:00 AM on Saturday, repeating until Sat, July 16, 2022
Pictured here is the Panic of 1857 in New York City, during the year that Karl Marx was putting Grundrisse together.
“Forces of production and social relations – two different sides of the development of the social individual – appear to capital as mere means, and are merely means for it to produce on its limited foundation. In fact, however, they are the material conditions to blow this foundation sky-high…” —Karl Marx, The Grundrisse
Perhaps the most curious and least understood aspect of Marx’s work is his method of analysis. Marx viewed all his economic laws as tendencies and it is hard to deny that those tendencies are becoming more and more the realities of today’s capitalism. However, to understand our society we need to do more than reading and accepting his concepts, we must critically analyze them and look for the way of thinking that produced them. It is with this goal in my mind that we should embark on a journey through the long and complex sentences of the Grundrisse. This work is perhaps the best representation of the process of thinking that found its culmination in Capital and we will be engaging with it during our study. Without a doubt, this will be a long and arduous process but we should always keep in mind that “there is no royal road to science and only those who do not dread the fatiguing climb of its steep paths have a chance of gaining its luminous summits.
Karl Marx developed his foundational thought and research for Capital in his notes of 1857-58 written during the first global economic crisis. Undiscovered for nearly 50 years and with only a few copies reaching the West from a limited 1939-40 publication in the USSR, these notes were first published in English as the Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy in 1973.
In Grundrisse Marx arguably bridges his early writings on philosophy and Hegel, and the writing and revisions of Capital that dominated much of the rest of his life. We are continuing careful, page by page reading of the text with a view to understanding the concepts that evolve within it. These next sessions will focus on Notebooks Four and Five. We will complete our reading of the entire Grundrisse during the fall of 2022.
The CAPITAL STUDIES GROUP has been meeting on and off for five years. We are a diverse group of students, activists and teachers who are have dedicated themselves to a chronological reading of Grundrisse and then all three volumes of Marx’s Capital. Newcomers are encouraged to join when your schedule permits. There is a complete archive of all prior sessions available for review including the Foreword and Introduction.