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Oil, War and Value Creation: A Marxist Perspective
Wed, March 16, 2016 @ 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM$25.00 – $45.00
Three-session mini-class with George Caffentzis
Wednesdays, March 16, 23 and 30
The petroleum industry operates at the intersection of some of the most important political phenomena concerning capitalism of our time, from climate change, to ISIS’s self-declared Caliphate, to volatile oil prices. Thus, understanding its behavior is necessary for any anti-capitalist project. This is the purpose of the course.
In the first session we will deal with the fundamental political question of the course: does a Marxist theory of class struggle in capitalism (originating in the 19th century) offer useful conceptual tools for understanding the oil industry in the 21st century? My answer is “Yes,” but bring your “No”s or “Maybe”s for discussion.
In the second session we will attend to recent crises and wars in the major oil extracting areas, focusing on the two Gulf Wars, aiming to explain from a Marxist perspective why they occurred and why they have not ended.
The third session will deal with the class struggle in and around the oil industry, present and future, especially in the struggle between capitalist planning for an energy transition that will preserve value accumulation and in the creation of an anti-capitalist petroleum commons.
Readings include selections from the following books:
George Caffentzis ebook, No Blood For Oil!: Essays on Energy, Class Struggle and War, 1998-2012
Karl Marx, Capital Vols. I and III
V.I. Lenin, Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism
Cyrus Bina, A Prelude to the Foundation of Political Economy: Oil, War and Global Policy
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
Greg Mottitt, Fuel on the Fire: Oil and Politics in Occupied Iraq
Jason Moore, Capitalism in the Web of Life
To all those who pre-register I will email a pdf of these selected readings or make another arrangement by contacting me @ firstname.lastname@example.org
George Caffentzis is a political philosopher and founder of the Midnight Notes Collective. He is also a founding member of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa. His recent work is In Letters of Blood and Fire: Work, Machines and the Crisis of Capitalism, published by PM Press.