Unearthing The Grundrisse (continuation)

After the defeat of the 1848-50 revolutions in Europe, Marx acknowledged that he failed to provide an adequate analysis of the economic foundation of society and turned from a focus on organizing to an intense, life-long study of political economy. Catalyzed by the first global economic crisis in 1857 and after 10 years of concentrated study, he started the first of seven notebooks to self-clarify his work up to that point. Not published or available outside the USSR until 1953, Martin Nicolaus provided the first—and only —English translation of all seven notebooks in 1973 as the Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy. As Nicolaus asserts, Marx considered this effort to be ‘the first scientific elaboration of the theoretical foundations of communism’. Moreover, represented by both brief and often lengthy segments of planned works, it contains what Nicolaus argues is the only outline of the entire political economic project Marx hoped—but was mostly unable—to complete. As Nicolaus suggests, the Grundrisse provides fresh insights into the ‘inner logic’ of Capital and perhaps the most important source for understanding Marx’s method; particularly as it develops and ‘turns Hegel’s philosophy on its feet’. Moreover, it perhaps most clearly unites what some have, instead, argued is a separation between Marx’s early ‘humanism’ and his later economic work. Indeed, in the Foreword to the Grundrisse, Nicolaus argues that it “challenges and puts to the test every serious interpretation of Marx yet received”.

The second half of the MEP class focuses on the heart of the Grundrisse, the second and final ‘Chapter on Capital’ that dissects the exploitation of labor and the contradiction between labor and capital.

GIL GARDNER has interests in radical prisoner education and political economic analysis. He has taught in, developed and administered college programs and in prisons for 40 years, including initiating Marxist education in Colorado’s state prisons. Gil’s writing and research includes works on the history of prison industry in the U.S. and he is presently completing an introduction to the works of Marx.

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Capital: A Review of Volumes 1 and 2

THIS IS A 4 SESSION COURSE MEETING DECEMBER 7, 14, JANUARY 4, 11

In review of Volumes One and Two of Capital and in preparation for our study of Volume 3 we will have a 4 week intersession reading from Ben Fine and Alfredo Saad-Filho’s Karl Marx’s Capital. In review of Volumes One and Two of Capital and in preparation for our study of Volume 3 we will have a 4 week intersession reading from Ben Fine and Alfredo Saad-Filho’s Karl Marx’s Capital. These sessions are suggested as a good review for those who would like to join in for the coming sessions of our close reading of Volume 3 which will begin on January 18. Of course, anyone interested in a review of Capital and/or would simply like to read and discuss the Fine and Saad-Filho book are encouraged to attend as well.

Marx’s Capital is an admirably clear explanation of complex ideas, which has the rare virtue of saying something important to economists while being accessible to non-specialist readers. It also does a very good job of showing the urgent relevance of Marx’s Capital today.” —Ellen Meiksins Wood, author of The Empire of Capital (2003) and The Origin of Capitalism (2002)

Fees are sliding scale • No one turned away for inability to pay

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Zones of Liberation

Global Capital and the Fight to End It

Panel Discussion with Salonee Bhaman, George Caffentzis, Silvia Federici, Gabriel Rockhill and others. with workshops on developing and defending areas of opposition to and transition from capital.

At this late and moribund stage of capitalist development nothing is sacred to profit making as the capitalists deforest the Amazon and exploit the deepest marine life of the Marianas Trench. Meanwhile, the working classes the world over are engaged of necessity in an array of movements in opposition to these life-destroying practices. Nonetheless, workers deliver through their labors—which they must sell in order to survive, losing control over the use of their labor power in this act of selling—the means by which capital is digitally speeding us towards a metabolic endgame. Each decade going forward will lead to the demise of ever more species from the microbial to fully sentient beings like ourselves, all the result of the insatiable proliferation of the capitalists pursuit for ever greater profit and continuous expanding accumulation of their money capital even if to do so requires the end of life on this planet as we know it.

In response to this, The Marxist Education Project is closing this summer and revving up to meet the challenges of 2020 with an inaugural event on Global Capital and the Fight to End It. We will begin on August 24 with an afternoon panel with Salonee Bhaman, George Caffentzis, Silvia Federici, Gabriel Rockhill and others, followed by evening workshop discussions.

The focus of the workshop discussions is to identify what needs to be done to support, build, develop and defend the developing arenas of working class and dispossessed peoples resistance, towards nurturing a unified counter-capitalist force that can be sustained locally, nationally, and in solidarity with the struggles of our brothers and sisters throughout the world.

The various workshops will be meeting grounds to identify areas where working classes the world over are organizing resistance and the new left re/formations as collectives, parties, and political spaces are forming. To do this, in the workshops we will explore the array of struggles around such concerns as education, housing, healthcare, jobs, libraries, preservation of natural resources and species, climate, poverty and hunger, return of epidemics like measles, the needs of the aging and physically or emotionally disabled, and the continued divisions and discriminations within our class be it sexism, race, ethic/national/religious origins, gender identity, that only serve to enable increasing exploitation of the class as a whole.

We will also identify the existing and developing meeting spaces for collectives, parties, and political discussion and organizing like the many that are growing in New York City such as Verso Space, Flux Factory, The People’s Forum, MayDay Space, Woodbine, Starr Bar, Bluestockings, The Base, Interference Archive, The Marxist Education Project, Rosa Luxemburg Institute, Brooklyn Institute, Jacobin and Nation reading groups, The Institute for the Radical Imagination, Red Bloom, Democracy at Work, DSA, the self-identified cadre political parties and other locales and organizations.

To counter this stage of a rapacious dying capitalism that requires ever-deeper exploitation of workers and nature, we propose to explore where our class has been staking out, claiming and defending zones of liberation. We look to movements such as our own Occupy movement to the current Yellow Vest movement in France, the long-standing Zapatista opposition in Mexico that has secured liberated zones, the ZAD in France, and our own zones that we are staking out in our daily lives here, and other instances that panelists and attendess/participants will bring attention to.

Salonee Bhaman is a PhD candidate in History at Yale University. Her research focuses on punitive welfare, housing, and austerity politics with particular attention towards questions of race, gender, migration, and care. Her dissertation in progress explores the first years of the AIDS epidemic with regards to the American welfare state—thinking through issues of  care work, immigration policy, and intimate space. She has also done significant work on the struggles of women who are brought to the US for marriage, very often to extra-exploitative and isolated situations with little or no community to turn to for support.

George Caffentzis is a political philosopher and autonomist Marxist. He was a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern Maine and a founding member of the Midnight Notes Collective. He is the author of Clipped Coins, Abused Words, and Civil Government: John Locke’s Philosophy of Money, In Letters of Blood and Fire: Work, Machines, and the Crisis of Capitalism and the coeditor of A Thousand Flowers: Social Struggles Against Structural Adjustment in African Universities. George’s most recent book is No Blood For Oil! Essays on Energy, Class Struggle and War 1998–2016, published by Autonomedia.

Silvia Federici is a long-time feminist, writer, and teacher living in Brooklyn, NY. Her most recent book is Re-enchanting the World. Feminism and the Politics of the Commons (PM Press 2019). Other works include Caliban and the Witch Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation (Autonomedia 2004),  Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle (Common Notions/PM Press, 2012), The New York Wages For Housework Committee : History, Theory, Documents. 1972-1977. (Autonomedia, 2017), and Witch-hunting Witches and Women, (PM Press, 2018). Born in Italy, Federici has lectured and taught widely in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the U.S. She has participated in numerous international movements and social struggles, including feminist, education, anti-death penalty, as well as anti-nuclear and anti-globalization movements.

Gabriel Rockhill is a philosopher, cultural critic and political theorist. He is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University and Founding Director of the Critical Theory Workshop. His recent books include La guerre intellectuelle de la CIA (forthcoming), Counter-History of the Present: Untimely Interrogations into Globalization, Technology, Democracy (2017), Interventions in Contemporary Thought: History, Politics, Aesthetics (2016) and Radical History & the Politics of Art  (2014). In addition to his scholarly work, he has been actively engaged in extra-academic activities in the art and activist worlds, as well as a regular contributor to public intellectual debate. For more information: https://gabrielrockhill.com. For some time Gabriel has been active with the Yellow Vests movement. You can listen to his take on the Yellow Vest movement on KPFA in an interview and read his coverage on the Counterpunch website.

All fees are sliding scale. No one is denied admission for inability to pay.

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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.

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Marx, Capital, and the Madness of Economic Reason, Part 2

Capital Studies Group

We are extending our study of David Harvey’s recent Marx, Capital, and the Madness of Economic Reason. Those who convened starting on January 6 have decided to continue reading the book at a slower pace to allow for a full discussion of all that is contained in the chapters. We will finish reading this book and then begin reading Marx’s Volume 1 of Capital beginning Saturday, March 3.

We will begin chapter three on January 20.
$10 per session for January 20 and 27, no one turned away for paying less or the inability to pay. Registrations for Part 2 allow for attendance on January 20 and 27.

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Marx, Capital and the Madness of Economic Reason

A reading group of David Harvey’s Marx, Capital and the Madness of Economic Reason

The MEP’s Capital Studies Group will readand discuss David Harvey’s recently published Marx, Capital, and the Madness of Economic Reason over four weeks in January. Session one will cover the Prologue and the first two chapters. Arrangements can be made for purchasing the Oxford University Press book by contacting the MEP at info@marxedproject.org
sliding scale: $30 / $45 / $60
no one turned away for inability to pay

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Reading Capital Politically Continues

5 More Sessions: July 19, 26, & August 2, 16, 23 (no class August 9)

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of contending classes.” —Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

For 150 years, Karl Marx’s Das Kapital has fascinated, frustrated and or confounded readers. It is most often read as a work of political economy whose aim is to understand how the capitalist economy works or even philosophically for its method (the influence of Hegel and his method continues to be debated). However Marx himself intended Capital to serve as a “weapon” in the hands of the working class. This makes Capital first and foremost a political work. But what does it mean to read Capital politically? To answer this question, this class will examine Reading Capital Politically by Harry Cleaver (the most well known American exponent of what has come to be labelled “class struggle” or “Autonomist” Marxism after the Italian “Autonomia” movement of the 1970s). For the autonomists, Marx’s maxim that class struggle is the “motor force” of history is to be taken literally and not viewed as simply some literary metaphor. But what does this mean in the real world? How does this work? And, how should we read Capital politically?

Reading for this class will include:

Reading Capital Politically by Harry Cleaver (https://libcom.org/files/cleaver-reading_capital_politically.pdf)
Capital Volume 1, Chapter 1 (https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch01.htm)
CyberMarx by Nick Dyer-Witheford Chapter 4 (on Autonomist Marxism) https://libcom.org/library/cyber-marx-nick-dyer-witheford

Dan Karan has been studying Marxism for 40 years and was a student of John Gerassi, Jean-Paul Sartre’s official biographer.

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Reading Capital Politically

A Six Session class: July 12, 19, 26, & August 2, 16, 23 (no class August 9)

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of contending classes.” —Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

For 150 years, Karl Marx’s Das Kapital has fascinated, frustrated and or confounded readers. It is most often read as a work of political economy whose aim is to understand how the capitalist economy works or even philosophically for its method (the influence of Hegel and his method continues to be debated). However Marx himself intended Capital to serve as a “weapon” in the hands of the working class. This makes Capital first and foremost a political work. But what does it mean to read capital politically? To answer this question, this class will examine Reading Capital Politically by Harry Cleaver (the most well known American exponent of what has come to be labelled “class struggle” or “Autonomist” Marxism after the Italian “Autonomia” movement of the 1970s). For the autonomists, Marx’s maxim that class struggle is the “motor force” of history is to be taken literally and not viewed as simply some literary metaphor. But what does this mean in the real world? How does this work? And, how should we read capital politically?

Reading for this class will include:

Reading Capital Politically by Harry Cleaver (https://libcom.org/files/cleaver-reading_capital_politically.pdf)
Capital Volume 1, Chapter 1 (https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch01.htm)
CyberMarx by Nick Dyer-Witheford Chapter 4 (on Autonomist Marxism) https://libcom.org/library/cyber-marx-nick-dyer-witheford

Dan Karan has been studying Marxism for 40 years and was a student of John Gerassi, Jean-Paul Sartre’s official biographer.

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Kluge’s News From Ideological Antiquity. Part 2: All Things Are Bewitched People

When Eisenstein had the idea to film Capital, he thought that the literary methods found in Joyce’s Ulysses would be helpful for his project. According to Fredric Jameson, what Eisenstein had in mind here is “something like a Marxist version of Freudian free association—the chain of hidden links that leads us from the surface of everyday life and experience to the very sources of production itself. Eisenstein’s idea was use the structure of Ulysses, a ‘day in the life’ narrative interrupted by stream-of-consciousness, together with his theories of montage to depict a narrative film version of Capital. ” (See New Left Review, No 58 for Jameson’s review)
“… important devices should be added: Russian Formalist defamiliarisation and Brechtian distancing. Never very far from didactic methods, Kluge insists: “We must let Till Eulenspiegel [a trickster figure in German folklore] pass across Marx and Eisenstein both, in order to create confusion allowing knowledge and emotions to be combined together in new ways.” — Julia Vassilieva, Screening The Past
Kluge’s film is divided into three parts: Part III. Paradoxes of Exchange Society will be scheduled at a future July date.

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Money and Totality

MONEY AND TOTALITY:
A Macro-Monetary Interpretation of Marx’s Logic In Capital and the End of the “Transformation Problem”

a book discussion with author Fred Moseley
at Unnameable Books
600 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Correcting a longstanding misinterpretation, Moseley argues that there is no ‘transformation problem’ in Marx’s economic theory. This ambitious book presents a comprehensive new ‘macro-monetary’ interpretation of Marx’s logical method in Capital which emphasizes two points: (1) Marx’s theory is primarily a macroeconomic theory of the total surplus-value produced in the economy as a whole; and (2) Marx’s theory is a monetary theory and the circuit of money capital, M-C-M, is its logical framework.

“The complete form of the process is therefore M-C-M’, where M =M + ∆M, i.e. the original sum advanced plus an increment. This increment or excess over the original value I call ‘surplus-value’.”
—Karl Marx, Capital, Volume 1

“The capitalists, like hostile brothers, divide among themselves the loot of other people’s labor, so that on an average one receives the same amount of unpaid labor as another.”
—Karl Marx, Theories of Surplus-Value, Volume 2

Fred Moseley is Professor of Economics at Mount Holyoke College. He is the author of The Falling Rate of Profit in the Postwar United States Economy and editor of Marx’s Logical Method: A Reappraisal, New Investigations of Marx’s Method, Heterodox Economic Theories: True or False?, and Marx’s Theory of Money: Modern Reappraisals.

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