A 3 Session Mini-class
In the first paragraph of the Introduction to his book, The Global Slump, David McNally wrote as follows: “We find it difficult to view our current moment as profoundly historical. Yet, the present is invariably saturated with elements of the future, with possibilities that have not yet come to fruition, and may not do so—as the road to the future is always contested. That is why, if we wish to make history, we ‘must be able to comprehend the present as a becoming.’ [Georg Lukács, History and Class Consciousness]. One would think that it should be easier to see things this way during moments of profound crisis in our social and economic system, like that which broke out in 2008. As the tectonic plates of the global economy shifted, financial shocks rocked the world’s banks, leveling many of them. Panic gripped money markets, stocks plunged, factories shut down. Tens of millions of people were thrown out of work; millions lost their homes. An extraordinary uncertainty shook the world’s ruling class. The mood of the moment was captured in the confession by senior writers with the Financial Times that, “The world of the past three decades is gone. Within a year or so, however, candid statements like this disappeared from the mainstream press. The ruling class regrouped and regained its arrogance….
A decade has passed but the crisis is not over. Indeed we might even say that we are only beginning to see the effects of this greatest crisis of capitalism: the rise of anti neo-liberal populism of the right and left in Trump and Sanders, Brexit, extreme austerity, all the labor and social movements such as the teachers movement in the US and the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) in France and the deepening crisis in the Middle East. The ruling class has regrouped and regained its arrogance, continuing their political and economic assault imposing ever deeper social wage cuts while ideologically taking aim at hard won democratic and civil rights. It remains important for us to understand the underlying causes within this late stage of capitalist development that led to the 2008 crisis so that we of the working classes develop our capacity to effectively take on the political, ideological and economic challenges we are facing now and in the struggles ahead for a better life for all.
All of this to say that to become more effective it is reasonable to turn to a social theory that see crises as an inherent aspect of the capitalist mode of production, that is Marxist theory. McNally’s Global Slump is an impressive attempt to provide such a Marxist understanding for the crisis and a good example to see the explanatory power of Marx’s social theory as laid out in the three volumes of Capital.
The CAPITAL STUDIES GROUP has been meeting on Saturdays for more than two years. We are a group of workers, students, activists and teachers who have dedicated themselves to a chronological reading of all three volumes of Marx’s Capital. We begin a close reading Volume 2 on May 11. Newcomers are encouraged to join when your schedule permits.
Listed fees are sliding scale. No one is turned away for inability to pay.