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The Political Writings of Marx and Engels: Social Classes, Revolution, and Human Freedom

Sun, November 20, 2022 @ 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

$60 – $90

At Karl Marx’s burial, his lifelong friend Frederick Engels said that he was “above all, a revolutionist.” Yet, after 150 years, his critique of political economy is arguably better understood and respected than his political theory of working-class revolution. This is ironic since Marx intended his critique of capitalist economies to be the intellectual buttress for his theory of revolution. Marx never wrote a work on political theory comparable to Capital. Perhaps because of this, his ideas about the state, governments, political struggles, and social revolutions have been propounded and interpreted in many ways by many different parties. This group will read and discuss original texts by Marx and Engels about their theory of class struggles as the motive force of human social evolution and the modern working class as the political antagonist of the capitalist system – the class that has the power, by abolishing itself, to usher in a society beyond class exploitation. The primary text is the recently published anthology Karl Marx: The Political Writings with introduction by David Fernbach (Verso – 3 volumes in one, in paperback and e-book). We will also read extensively from Hal Draper’s Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution, vol. 2, The Politics of Social Classes (MR Press; paper-back and e-book). Note that the Marx writings are available in many other places.

Moderated by David Worley, a member of the executive committee of the Marxist Education Project and a longtime associate of the Brecht Forum, where he served a term as co-chair of the Board of Directors. David is a nonsectarian socialist, active since the 1960s in support of a wide range of peace and social justice causes.