Introduction to Marxism

An eight week course with Sudeb Mitra
February 6 through March 27

The purpose of this course is to give an introduction to some of the main ideas of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, focusing on the materialist understanding of history, and the theory of surplus value.

We will make a careful study of the following texts:
“The part played by labor in the transition from ape to man”—Frederick Engels
“Posture Maketh The Man”— Stephen Jay Gould
Socialism: Utopian and Scientific—Frederick Engels
Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy—Karl Marx
​​​​​​​Communist Manifesto—Marx and Engels
​​​​​​​“Karl Marx on Capital”—Frederick Engels
​​​​​​​Value, Price and Profit—Karl Marx

The course will consist of readings and discussions. If time permits, we will also include some documents of the First International, especially the “Inaugural Address Of The International Working Men’s Association”—drafted by Marx.

Sudeb Mitra is a professor of mathematics at the Queens College of the City University of New York, and at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is especially interested in Marx/Engels and the Sciences.

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Biology as Means of Production and Ideology

A presentation by Stuart A. Newman, New York Medical College

Biological science is simultaneously the hegemonic narrative for understanding the living world in industrial societies and the basis for potential technological transformations of the biosphere and our own species. The 20th century notion of the gene as the primary determinant of living systems has supported rampant privatization of food production and medical and natural resources. With the increasing precision of gene alteration by the CRISPR DNA editing technique, genetic determinism is now generating proposals for ecological engineering and eugenicist manipulation of future humans. This talk will report on the current biotechnological landscape and describe challenges to its enabling genetic determinist ideology from dialectical and multi-causal explanatory modes within the emerging field of evolutionary developmental biology.

Stuart A. Newman is a professor of cell biology and anatomy at New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York. He has contributed to several scientific fields, including biophysical chemistry, developmental biology, and evolutionary theory. He has been a critic of genetic determinism in biology and an opponent of eugenic applications of biotechnology since his student days in the 1960s. Newman was a founding member of the Council for Responsible Genetics and is a columnist for Capitalism Nature Socialism.

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