Les Temps Modernes: The Early Decades

2 sessions with Mitch Abidor

Les Temps Modernes, founded by Sartre and Beauvoir in 1945, ceased publication in December 2018. It had been one of the most prestigious intellectual, political, and cultural journals in the world, in its heyday between 1945-1975 setting the terms of intellectual debate all over the world.

This class will examine the first decades of its existence, when such important works as Sartre’s What is Literature appeared in it, as well as the first installments of Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. It will focus on its political positions, as Sartre first attempted to set up a third-way party, became a fellow-traveler of the PCF (publishing The Communists and Peace), then rejected working with the Communists (publishing The Ghost of Stalin). It will trace the journal and its editors’ commitment to anti-colonialism, particularity its courageous work in support of the Algerian FLN. Its role during May 68 and its aftermath will be examined, as Les Temps Modernes espoused the cause of the Maoists and the far left all over the world. Finally, it will look at its position on the conflict in the Middle East, about which Les Temps Modernes published a 1000 page issue.

Mitch Abidor has published over a dozen volumes of translation, including a collection of Victor Serge’s anarchist writings, Anarchists Never Surrender. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Paris Review, and Cineaste. Mitch has been translated into German and Turkish. He is currently writing a history of the Bisbee Deportation of 1917.

 

This is a two week course. Fees below are suggested and are sliding scale. No one is turned away for inability to pay.

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Capital’s 21st Century Endgame

Capital’s 21st Century Endgame: Building a Planet-Wide Opposition
A Reading and Discussion Group with
The Capital Studies Organizing Task Force

THIS CLASS IS POSTPONED UNTIL LATER IN THE 2018/2019 SEASON

The conditions capital is making for all life on earth is playing out like a science fiction endgame. An international movement with profound social force that absolutely brings an end to this game is imperative. This critical reading/study is a beginning. Other related sessions will happen over the next few years. We will begin by studying two relatively recent works that trace the history of capitalist/imperialist development leading to where we are currently positioned as the world approaches having a population of eight billion: an updated Planet of Slums by Mike Davis and Samir Amin’s The World We Wish to See. In the fall we will take up Ernest Screpanti’s Global Imperialism and the Great Crisis: The Uncertain Future of Capitalism and more.

Right now, a handful of individuals control as much wealth as half of the world’s population – an accumulation of capital made possible by the labor of the global working classes, past and present, and accompanied by rollbacks of democratic rights, increasing precarity of labor through
automation and multiple other factors, and never-ending imperial wars. Our aim is to better understand the dynamics that have led to the global spread of capitalism, while also analyzing the successes and failures of global opposition to capitalism and imperialism, so we can become conscious political actors and help shape strong enough social movements worldwide that can overcome capitalist exploitation, permanent wars, and the destruction of our planet.

The World We Wish to See
Samir Amin
The World We Wish to See presents a sweeping view of 20th century political history and a stirring appeal to take political culture seriously. Amin assesses the potential and limitations of the many movements to confront global capitalism in the 21st century. Amin explains that effective opposition must be based on a “convergence in diversity” of oppressed and exploited people—whether workers, peasants, students, or any other opponent of capitalism and imperialism. What is needed is a new “international” that has an open and flexible organizational structure to coordinate opposition movements around the world.

Planet of Slums
Mike Davis
Davis presents an account of the rapid rise of the world’s slums. According to the United Nations, more than one billion people now live in the slums of the cities of the Global South. In Planet of Slums, Davis explores the future of a radically unequal and explosively unstable urban world. From the sprawling barricadas of Lima to the garbage hills of Manila, urbanization has been disconnected from industrialization, and even from economic growth. Davis portrays a vast humanity warehoused in shantytowns and exiled from the formal world economy. He argues that the rise of this informal urban proletariat is a wholly unforeseen development, and asks whether the great slums, as a terrified Victorian middle class once imagined, are volcanoes waiting to erupt.

The Capital Studies Organizing Task Force are workers and allies who gather frequently to study the three volumes of Marx’s Capital, in order to be concrete in our analysis of capital and to better inform the class struggles against capitalists and their collaborators.

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Capital’s 21st Century Endgame

Capital’s 21st Century Endgame: Building a Planet-Wide Opposition
A Reading and Discussion Group with
The Capital Studies Organizing Task Force

The conditions capital is making for all life on earth is playing out like a science fiction endgame. An international movement with profound social force that absolutely brings an end to this game is imperative. This critical reading/study is a beginning. Other related sessions will happen over the next few years. We will begin by studying two relatively recent works that trace the history of capitalist/imperialist development leading to where we are currently positioned as the world approaches having a population of eight billion: an updated Planet of Slums by Mike Davis and Samir Amin’s The World We Wish to See. In the fall we will take up Ernest Screpanti’s Global Imperialism and the Great Crisis: The Uncertain Future of Capitalism and more.

Right now, a handful of individuals control as much wealth as half of the world’s population – an accumulation of capital made possible by the labor of the global working classes, past and present, and accompanied by rollbacks of democratic rights, increasing precarity of labor through
automation and multiple other factors, and never-ending imperial wars. Our aim is to better understand the dynamics that have led to the global spread of capitalism, while also analyzing the successes and failures of global opposition to capitalism and imperialism, so we can become conscious political actors and help shape strong enough social movements worldwide that can overcome capitalist exploitation, permanent wars, and the destruction of our planet.

The World We Wish to See
Samir Amin
The World We Wish to See presents a sweeping view of 20th century political history and a stirring appeal to take political culture seriously. Amin assesses the potential and limitations of the many movements to confront global capitalism in the 21st century. Amin explains that effective opposition must be based on a “convergence in diversity” of oppressed and exploited people—whether workers, peasants, students, or any other opponent of capitalism and imperialism. What is needed is a new “international” that has an open and flexible organizational structure to coordinate opposition movements around the world.

Planet of Slums
Mike Davis
Davis presents an account of the rapid rise of the world’s slums. According to the United Nations, more than one billion people now live in the slums of the cities of the Global South. In Planet of Slums, Davis explores the future of a radically unequal and explosively unstable urban world. From the sprawling barricadas of Lima to the garbage hills of Manila, urbanization has been disconnected from industrialization, and even from economic growth. Davis portrays a vast humanity warehoused in shantytowns and exiled from the formal world economy. He argues that the rise of this informal urban proletariat is a wholly unforeseen development, and asks whether the great slums, as a terrified Victorian middle class once imagined, are volcanoes waiting to erupt.

The Capital Studies Organizing Task Force are workers and allies who gather frequently to study the three volumes of Marx’s Capital, in order to be concrete in our analysis of capital and to better inform the class struggles against capitalists and their collaborators.

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Victor Serge: The Novels of Resistance

A 10-session class with Richard Greeman
Tuesdays, 5:30 to 7:30 pm
October 11 – December 13

This Fall we plan to read three novels by the Franco-Russian writer and revolutionary Victor Serge. The period covered (1933-1941) begins with Serge’s arrest by the GPU and deportation to the Urals (the setting of the novel Midnight in the Century), continues through the Moscow Trials and the Civil War in Spain (the background to Serge’s fictional Case of Comrade Tulayev), and ends with the Fall of France (experienced by Serge and fictionalized in The Long Dusk). The group is open to all, and no prerequisite familiarity with Serge is expected.

Richard Greeman is best known for his studies and translations of novelist and revolutionary Victor Serge (1890-1947). Greeman also writes regularly about politics, international class struggles and revolutionary theory. Co-founder of the Praxis Research and Education Center in Moscow, and director of the International Victor Serge Foundation, Greeman splits his time between Montpellier, France and New York City.

10 session class: $95 / $110 / $125
no one turned away for inability to pay

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Day 1, Session 5—Solidarity Without Borders

A panel with Kazembe Balagun, Mark Bergfeld, Harmony Goldberg and Marcus Grätsch — moderated by Marika Dias

War, ecological crisis, automation, blurring of the rural and urban, the global North and the global South, along with development of precarity for all of global generalized proletariat lays material basis for internationalist solidarity.

Kazembe Balagun has been featured in Time Out New York, The Guardian, German Public Radio and The New York Times and contributed “We Be Reading Marx Where We From” to Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA. As a cultural activist he has sought to create intersections between Marxism, queer theory, feminism and Black liberation movements. He works as project manager at Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, New York Office.

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.

A founding member of SOUL: School of Unity & Liberation in Oakland, Harmony Goldberg has run left political education programs for grassroots organizations in the Bay Area and New York City for more than a decade. Recently completed her PhD in Cultural Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center, and she continues to support grassroots organizations and the broader left as a popular educator, writer and facilitator.

Marcus Grätsch is a political scientist and activist. He currently works as Program Coordinator for Left Forum in New York. He is member of the large post-autonomous group “Interventionist Left” in Germany (introduction to this group: https://vimeo.com/167657035) ” in Berlin, he took part in the euromayday movement which fought against precarity and for the freedom of movement between 2004 and 2008 for more see here http://wiki.p2pfoundation.net/Precarity_Movement . In 2009 he co-founded the “Meuterei” bar and social space operated as worker cooperative/collective in Berlin-Kreuzberg. In 2012 he took part in initiating the transnational “Blockupy” coalition which is a major actor of the European resistance against austerity. For more of this coalition see here: https://blockupy.org/en/

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Resistance and Solidarity Across the US-Mexican Border: 1946-2016

A presentation by Gerardo Renique
This presentation will cover the history and political implications of the making of the waves of US-Mexican international policy for contemporary struggles for labor, immigrant and civil rights across at the US-Mexican border region. We will look at the cross-border urban areas that depend on the same water, air and other natural resources, such as the broad expanse of San Diego to Tijuana metropolitan region. 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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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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