Capital, A Critique of Political Economy, Karl Marx
Volume I: The Process of Production of Capital
Third 12 Week 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.
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