Capital, Volume 1, inter-session

Capital, Volume 1

3 week inter-session: Class & Discussion
with Capital Studies Group

Karl Marx’s Capital remains the fundamental text for understanding how capitalism works. Prior to our 12 weeks session covering Volume 1 beginning February 2, this three-week session will focus on the General Laws of Capitalist Accumulation as we return from the winter holiday. 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, Marx’s Capital offers the reader a methodology for doing our own analysis of current and past developments. This group will meet January 5, 12 and 26. The 19th is the Women’s March and there will not be class.

The CAPITAL STUDIES GROUP has been meeting on Saturdays for two years. We are a diverse group of students, workers, activists and teachers who are have dedicated themselves to a chronological reading of all three volumes of Marx’s Capital. Newcomers are encouraged to join when your schedule permits.

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

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Pictures of a Gone City

Tech and the Dark Side of Prosperity in the San Francisco Bay Area
Richard A. Walker

presented with PM Press

The San Francisco Bay Area is currently the jewel in the crown of capitalism—the tech capital of the world and a gusher of wealth from the Silicon Gold Rush. It has been generating jobs, spawning new innovation, and spreading ideas that are changing lives everywhere. It boasts of being the Left Coast, the Greenest City, and the best place for workers in the USA. So what could be wrong? It may seem that the Bay Area has the best of it in Trump’s America, but there is a dark side of success: overheated bubbles and spectacular crashes; exploding inequality and millions of underpaid workers; a boiling housing crisis, mass displacement, and severe environmental damage; a delusional tech elite and complicity with the worst in American politics.

This sweeping account of the Bay Area in the age of the tech boom covers many bases. It begins with the phenomenal concentration of IT in Greater Silicon Valley, the fabulous economic growth of the bay region and the unbelievable wealth piling up for the 1% and high incomes of Upper Classes—in contrast to the fate of the working class and people of color earning poverty wages and struggling to keep their heads above water. The middle chapters survey the urban scene, including the greatest housing bubble in the United States, a metropolis exploding in every direction, and a geography turned inside out. Lastly, it hits the environmental impact of the boom, the fantastical ideology of TechWorld, and the political implications of the tech-led transformation of the bay region.

“With Pictures of a Gone City, California’s greatest geographer tells us how the Bay Area has become the global center of hi-tech capitalism. Drawing on a lifetime of research, Richard Walker dismantles the mythology of the New Economy, placing its creativity in a long history of power, work, and struggles for justice.”
—Jason W. Moore, author of Capitalism in the Web of Life

Richard A. Walker is professor emeritus of geography at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught from 1975 to 2012. Walker has written on a diverse range of topics in economic, urban, and environmental geography, with scores of published articles to his credit. He is coauthor of The Capitalist Imperative (1989) and The New Social Economy (1992) and has written extensively on California, including The Conquest of Bread (2004), The Country in the City (2007) and The Atlas of California (2013). He is currently director of the Living New Deal Project, whose purpose is to inventory all New Deal public works sites in the United States and recover the lost memory of government investment for the good of all.

Publisher: PM Press/ Spectre
ISBN: 978-1-62963-510-1

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No Blood for Oil!

An author presentation with discussion, co-sponsored with Autonomedia

No Blood For Oil!
Essays on Energy, Class Struggle and War 1998–2016
George Caffentzis

The oil industry is at the center of the major struggles of our time, but is Marxist theory able to explain its behavior? The oil industry presents a paradox to Marxist theory. How is it that oil companies employ relatively few workers and invest in a relatively large amount of machinery, but still are the largest and most profitable companies on the planet? It should be otherwise, if profits come from exploiting worker’s labor. In his book, No Blood for Oil, George Caffentzis shows how Marxism resolves this paradox and accounts for the peculiar role that the oil industry plays in contemporary capitalism as generator of ecological devastation, war and exploitation. Come to discuss the struggle over the exchange of blood for oil.

George Caffentzis is emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Southern Maine. He has taught courses on oil and class struggle in many venues in Africa, South America and Europe. He is a co-founder of the Midnight Notes Collective and is the author of In Letters of Blood and Fire: Work, Machines, and the Crisis of Capitalism (2013) and Exciting the Industry of Mankind: George Berkeley’s Philosophy of Money (2000).

“The papers in this collection are weapons we use to deconstruct the politics of war and oil, to uncover the multilayered class meaning of contemporary energy policy, and are the treasure that gives us a different sense of alternatives. Caffentzis’ critical understanding dissolves the fatalism of peak-oil arguments and posits our struggles to reclaim the commons as the real limit of capitalist use of energy.” — Massimo de Angelis, author of The Beginning of History

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An Intro to Marxism—in Newark, New Jersey

Convened by Branden Rippey and Rust Gilbert
Five more Wednesdays
July 12th to August 9th
6:00 to 8:00 pm
Downtown Newark on Orchard Street (email info@marxedproject.org for more info)

Using Marx’s own writings and some accessible writing by interpreters, this course will introduce participants to basic Marxist concepts and analyses. With short readings, focused presentations, and discussions, we will look at the rise of industrial capitalism and nationalism, the general characteristics of capitalist political economy and class, and the state, imperialism and war, workers organizations and collective power, and, finally, political action and questions of reform or revolution.
Sliding scale: $15 / $20 / $25
$5 per single session
no one turned away for inability to pay

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Emergence of a New Left: Civil Rights from Reform to Revolution

We begin with Malcolm
Noble Bratton

Two more sessions prior to One-Dimensional Man: February 28 and March 7

Noble Bratton will conduct a 3-week history of the Civil Rights movement with CORE, SNCC and analyzing the growing militancy in African-American life that led to the revolutionary politics of The Black Panther Party as the 60s developed.
Noble Bratton is a graduate of Cornell University and is on the editorial board of Working USA/Labor and Society. He taught a class on the US Presidency at The Brecht Forum. He has participated with the Leo Downes Harlem Y Study Group. He is also a former member of District Council 65 of the UAW, UNITE Local 169.
Readings for the next two weeks will include chapters from Manning Marable’s Race, Reform and Rebellion.

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Solidarity Without Borders

Gramscian Perspectives on Migration and Civil Society Alliances
with
Martin Bak Jørgensen and Mark Bergfeld

This presentation will consider the micropolitics of migrants as political actors by observing alliances between migrants and trade unions, worker organizations and different constituencies from a Gramscian context.

Solidarity Without Borders presents an argument for Gramsci’s theory of the formation of a transnational counter-hegemonic bloc, methods of modern resistance and new forms of solidarity between these groups in formation. With case studies of the Gezi Park Protests in Turkey, social movements in Ireland and the Lampedusa in Hamburg among others, the argument is explored via national contexts and structured around political dimensions.

These four essential themes of our times are discussed: the diversity of new migrant political actors; solidarity and new alliances across borders; avoiding misplaced alliances; and spaces of resistance. Migrants are often deprived of agency and placed outside the mobilizations taking place across Europe. Solidarity Without Borders will demonstrate how new solidarity relations are shaped and how these may construct a new common ground for struggle and for developing political alternatives.

Martin Bak Jørgensen is Associate Professor at CoMID at the Department for Culture and Global Studies, Aalborg University, Denmark. He works within the fields of sociology, political sociology and political science. With Óscar García Agustín he has co-edited the book Politics of Dissent (Peter Lang, 2015) and Solidarity Without Borders: Gramscian Perspectives on Migration and Civil Society Alliances (Pluto Press, 2016). Together with Óscar García Agustín he started the initiative Democratic Transformations to bring researchers and activists closer together.

Mark Bergfeld is a writer and organizer. He has written for media outlets such as Al-Jazeera English, the Nation, New Statesman among others. He has been active in social movements in Europe and served on the Executive Council of the National Union of students in the UK. He currently is writing his PhD on the relationship between trade unions and immigrant workers at Queen Mary University of London.

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Resistance and Solidarity Across the US-Mexican Border

Gerardo Renique will cover the history and political implications of the making of the US-Mexican international for contemporary struggles for labor, immigrant and civil rights across the US-Mexican border. Significant consideration will be given to the tensions and contradictions generated by the uneven interdependence of capitalist development in the borderlands; the long history of solidarity, struggle and resistance against racial and capitalist oppression waged by Native Americans, Mexican Americans and the multinational working class in the region; and, the potential of these developments for the political challenges posed by transnational capitalism and globalization in Mexico and the United States.
Gerardo Renique teaches history at the City College of the City University of New York is a frequent contributor to Socialism and Democracy and NACLA: Report on the Americas. His research looks at the political traditions of popular movements in Latin America; race, national identity and state formation in Mexico. He co-directed with Tami Gold the video-documentary Frozen Happiness. Elections, Repression and Hope in Oaxaca, Mexico; and co-authored with G. Katsiaficas “A New Stage of Insurgencies: Latin American Popular Movements, the Gwangju Uprising, and the Occupy Movement” in Socialism and Democracy.

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