Capital, Volume 1, Part 3

Capital, A Critique of Political Economy, Karl Marx
Volume I: The Process of Production of Capital
Third Session Covering Chapter 16 thru Chapter 25

with Mary Boger

Volume I of Capital begins the scientific presentation of the laws of motion that underlie the developmental processes that has led to the realities of our contemporary human condition. In only 200-300 years capitalist relations of re/production have absorbed all pre-capitalist societies into its circulation of commodities making all that exists, whether real or imaginary, means for investing money to make more money. Private ownership and control over our earth’s natural resources by the owners of capital and separation of the world’s population from any direct access to our conditions of life and what we produce have reduced our human productive activity to a thing that is bought and sold at the bidding of capital.

Uncovering the how, what and for whom our life processes are determined based on the logic of using money in order to make more money is a journey we need to take if we are to consciously situate ourselves within our given historical process as effective political/social/universal actors. Marx’s scientific presentation of the laws of motion of capitalist development begins by analyzing the fundamental or elemental form which wealth takes in our society, the commodity. Understanding this form leads us to the most basic law that grounds social reproduction in societies under the domination of capital, the law of value. Therefore, in Session I, our first task was to break through the appearance and reveal the social content of the commodity form, the beginning of the unraveling of the why and how of what we necessarily, under the domination and exploitation of capital, experience every day in our lives.

The first four Parts of Volume I revealed the historical process of development that led to industrial capital, the productive base/infrastructure required for the generalization of the capitalist production of commodities as the dominate social form throughout all our societies and nations today. Session 3, Chapters 15 through 25, will trace this development and reveals new dynamics and contradictions inherent to the logic of capitalist accumulation, culminating in Chapter 25, The General Law of Capitalist Accumulation. These developmental processes continue to be played out to this day and are witnessed in the immensity of wealth for a few at one pole of humanity, poverty at another, ruthless misuse and degradation of nature, and reduction of the human subject, the producing masses of real individuals, to an alienated object for capitalist exploitation. Volume I is essential to understanding the analysis as it is carried out in Volumes II & III.

NEW STUDENTS: (Please Note) Part I through Four of Volume I lay out the most fundamental concepts and laws of capitalist development and its internal contradictions that are necessary to fully understand all that follows as Marx explicates the dynamics particular to the historical process and dynamics of the production of social life that we are engaged in reproducing in our everyday life, where the logic of re-production is based on money making more money. The First and Second 12 Week Sessions covering Part I through Part IV have been recorded. They are available to be viewed through the MEP’s Vimeo. Upon registering, these sessions will be made available, and I recommend listening to as much as possible, especially where Chapter 1 begins in in the fourth class of Session 1.

Mary Boger, political economist (MA) sociologist (PhD), and ethnographic researcher. MA Thesis: Marx on the Fetishism of Commodities. Dissertation: A Ghetto State of Ghettos: Palestinians Under Israeli Citizenship. A member of the original founders of the first School for Marxist Education (1975) and its continuation as the New York Marxist School/Brecht Forum (1979-2014) and Mary is now engaged with the work of the MEP. She has been teaching Capital for many years to students of all ages and diverse occupations, backgrounds and countries of origin. Throughout these four and half decades. Mary has actively participated in movement struggles and solidarity work with a broad range of liberation struggles.

All classes and events are sliding scale. No one is denied admission for inability to pay. If you would like to participate but cannot afford the stated fees or any fee at all, please write to for information on how to participate.

Weekend Special Pass: Austin, Gordon, Marx

For a special price of $10 you can attend all three weekend activities of January 25, 26 and 27.

a. Friday, January 25, 7 to 9:30 pm at The Peoples Forum: Dread Poetry and Freedom: Linton Kwesi Johnson and the Unfinished Revolution
author David Austin
with an introduction by Lewis Gordon

In Dread Poetry and Freedom — the first book dedicated to the work of this ‘political poet par excellence’ – David Austin explores the themes of poetry, political consciousness and social transformation through the prism of Johnson’s work. Drawing from the Bible, reggae and Rastafari, and surrealism, socialism and feminism, and in dialogue with Aime Cesaire and Frantz Fanon, C.L.R. James and Walter Rodney, and W.E.B. Du Bois and the poetry of d’bi young anitafrika, Johnson’s work becomes a crucial point of reflection on the meaning of freedom in this masterful and rich study.

b. Saturday, January 26, 12 noon to 3 pm at Unnameable Books, 600 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn, Capital, Volume 1 with the Capital Studies Group

Karl Marx’s Capital remains the fundamental text for understanding how capitalism works. By unraveling the commoditized forms of our interactions with nature and each other, it provides tools to understand capitalism’s astounding innovativeness and productivity, intertwined with growing inequality and misery, alienation, stunting of human potential, and ecological destruction all over the globe.

c. Sunday, January 27, 1 to 3:30 pm at The Peoples Forum: Moving Against the System:The 1968 Congress of Black Writers and the Making of Global Consciousness
With author and editor David Austin


This is a special one ticket price of $10 which is admission to two events and one class. Both Friday and Sunday at The Peoples Forum, Saturday class at Unnameable Books.

Capital, Volume I

Class & Discussion with Capital Studies Group

Karl Marx’s Capital remains the fundamental text for understanding how capitalism works. By unraveling the commoditized forms of our interactions with nature and each other, it provides tools to understand capitalism’s astounding innovativeness and productivity, intertwined with growing inequality and misery, alienation, stunting of human potential, and ecological destruction all over the globe. In this way, Capital offers the reader a methodology for doing our own analysis of current developments.

The Capital Studies Group has been meeting on Saturdays for nearly two years. We are a diverse group of students, activists and teachers who are now dedicating themselves to a chronological reading of all three volumes of Marx’s Capital.

Black Marxism

Black Marxism: The Making of The Black Radical Tradition
Nicholas Power

Eight more sessions beginning October 18 through December 6, 7:30-9:30 pm

As always, capitalism has crises. Again, a new generation turns toward Marxism. How do we apply this wide ranging and controversial revolutionary tradition to our current times? Writer and professor, Cedric Robinson╒s magnum opus, Black Marxism will be our lodestar for this class. We will discuss Robinson’s critique of Marx’s Eurocentric frame of reference and explore how and if Marxism has value for today’s multi-cultural left which at times turns much to anarchism, whether conscious or not of the Marxist tradition. We will also cover the Marxist legacy of C.L.R. James, Langston Hughes and Richard Wright on their own and as Robinson studied their relationships to Marxism.

Nicholas Power is a poet, journalist and Associate Professor of Literature at SUNY Old Westbury. His second book The Ground Below Zero: 911 to Burning Man, New Orleans to Darfur, Haiti to Occupy Wall Street was published by Upset Press in 2013. His writings have appeared in The Indypendent, The Village Voice, Truth-Out and Alternet.

Admissions are sliding scale. We do not turn anyone away if all they can pay is less or are without the ability to pay. $10 per session.

Day 4, Session 2—Labor in the Global Digital Economy: Ursula Huws

A presentation and discussion with Ursula Huws

This presentation will tie together disparate economic, cultural, and political phenomena of our last few decades to form a provocative narrative about the shape of the global capitalist economy at present. Ursula will examine the way that advanced information and communications technology has opened up new fields of capital accumulation: in culture and the arts, in the privatization of public services, and in the commodification of human sociality by way of mobile devices and social networking. These trends are in turn accompanied by the dramatic restructuring of work arrangements, opening the way for new contradictions and new forms of labor solidarity and struggle around the planet.

Ursula Huws is Professor of Labour and Globalisation at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK, and founder of Analytica Social and Economic Research. She is the author of Labor in the Global Digital Economy and The Making of a Cybertariat: Virtual Work in a Real World.

Copies of Labor in the Global Digital Economy will be available for purchase during the Intensive.

The supplied image is from a protest staged within China by Chinese workers against conditions imposed in factories manufacturing iPads.