Commodity Fetishism vs Capital Fetishism

Marx’s Reflections and Marxist Interpretations

Special Session with John Milios

In Marx’s analysis of the Capitalist Mode of Production and more precisely in his theory of value, the key to decipher the capitalist political and ideological practices and structures is to be found. In this context, many Marxists believed that the analysis of “commodity fetishism” in Section 1 of Volume 1 of Capital renders the basis for understanding ideological domination and political coercion under the capitalist rule. This presentation will argue that “commodity fetishism” is only a preliminary notion, which allows Marx to arrive, in subsequent sections of Capital, at the concept of the “fetishism of capital”.

In this way we will attempt to investigate if and to what extent the notion of fetishism has itself attained a fetishist function within Marxism, creating inversions, transpositions and misinterpretations, and what is actually its significance in the framework of the Marxist approach to ideology. Marxists who have based their analyses on fetishism have elaborated idealistic anthropologies (Lukacs), while materialists (Lenin) have ignored it. We will look at the two reasons for this.

John Milios is Professor of Political Economy and the History of Economic Thought at the National Technical University of Athens. An author of a wide selection of books including A Political Economy of Contemporary Capitalism and its Crisis: Demystifying Finance, The Origins of Capitalism as a Social System, and Rethinking Imperialism: A Study of Capitalist Rule, among others. John also directs the quarterly journal of economic theory Theseis. John was the leading economic adviser with SYRIZA until March 2015.

No one turned away for inability to pay. write to info@marxedproject.org for more information if you need to pay less or cannot pay at all

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.

Capital, Volume One

with Capital Studies Group

Class & Discussion (12 week session)

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, Marx’s Capital offers the reader a methodology for doing our own analysis of current developments.

The CAPITAL STUDIES GROUP has been meeting on Saturdays for two years. We are a diverse group of students, 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.

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.

Highlights of Marx’s Capital, Volume 1

In Manhattan, For Women Only

A 10 Session Class and Discussion with Juliet Ucelli
Wednesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm
February 21 through April 25
2067 Broadway, Manhattan

Capital is the indispensable sourcebook on Marx’s method for analyzing the economy, politics and struggles. Many of us have less time to study it because, as Marx predicted, we have to work longer hours— and often more than one job—in order to survive. Fortunately, even a basic familiarity with the key concepts of Volume I offers many tools for understanding capitalism’s dynamics. With current conditions, we’ve been offering this highlights approach, breaking down key concepts and sections:

• use value, value and surplus value;
• why capitalism has needed conquest, enslavement and white supremacy;
• why capitalism drives technological innovation, overwork and unemployment and leads to ecological destruction;
• how working-class people (employed and unemployed) have historically won improvements in living and working conditions.

In a continuing quest to increase access for those who have been historically excluded, turned off or silenced by the way this theory is often taught and discussed, we are offering the highlights class this February through April for women only. Everyone who identifies as a woman is welcome.

Participant reports and life experiences are welcome!

The course provides a basic grounding for participants to pursue further study on their own or collectively. We’ll refer to new resources such as on-line and visual aids and current articles that illustrate capitalism’s developmental tendencies, which Marx calls its laws of motion.

Juliet Ucelli has taught labor economics and class/race/gender for labor unions, and was a public high school social worker. She writes on Eurocentrism in Marxist theory, the politics of inner city public schooling and Marxist understandings of human development.

Highlights of Marx’s Capital, Volume One

A 9 Session Class and Discussion with Juliet Ucelli
Wednesdays, 6:00 to 7:30 pm
October 4-December 6, 2017

Capital is the indispensable sourcebook on Marx’s method for analyzing the economy, politics and struggles. Many of us have less time to study it because, as Marx predicted, we have to work longer hours— and often more than one job—in order to survive. Fortunately, even a basic familiarity with the key concepts of Volume I offers many tools for understanding capitalism’s dynamics. With current conditions, we’ve been offering this highlights approach, breaking down key concepts and sections:

• use value, value and surplus value;
• why capitalism has needed conquest, enslavement and white supremacy;
• why capitalism drives technological innovation, overwork and unemployment and leads to ecological destruction;
• how working-class people (employed and unemployed) have historically won improvements in living and working conditions.

Participant reports and life experiences are welcome!

The course provides a basic grounding for participants to pursue further study on their own or collectively. We’ll refer to new resources such as on-line and visual aids and current articles that illustrate capitalism’s developmental tendencies, which Marx calls its laws of motion. Suggested fees are sliding scale. No one is turned away for inability to pay.

Juliet Ucelli has taught labor economics and class/race/gender for labor unions, and was a public high school social worker. She writes on Eurocentrism in Marxist theory, the politics of inner city public schooling and Marxist understandings of human development.

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.

Highlights of Marx’s Capital, Volume I

A 9 Session Class and Discussion with Juliet Ucelli
Thursdays, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

Over the past 40 years, many of us have needed to work longer and longer hours—and often more than one job—in order to survive. This longer working day has also become more intense and saps more of our energy. These trends, which Marx predicted and analyzed in Capital, also make it harder for workers and activists to read Capital all the way through. Therefore, we are trying a new approach and highlighting the main sections and concepts of Volume I in a 10-week course.

Key topics that we will cover include: use-value, value and commodity fetishism; the labor process, the working day and surplus value; competition, innovation, productivity growth and the concentration of capital; the sources of ecological destruction; capital’s need for unemployed people and a reserve army of labor; and the bloody origins of capitalism and white supremacy in expropriation and enslavement.

The course will provide a basic grounding for participants to pursue further study on their own or collectively. We’ll refer to new resources such as on-line and visual aids and current articles that illustrate capitalism’s developmental tendencies, which Marx calls its laws of motion.

Juliet Ucelli has taught Capital at the New York Marxist School and labor economics for labor unions, as well as adult basic education and GED preparation. Currently a high school social worker, she has written on Eurocentrism in Marxist theory, the politics of inner city public schooling and other topics. Her “Introduction to Capital, Volume I” can be accessed at http://thecommonsbrooklyn.org/intensive-readings-2014.