Marx and Engels: Political and Historical Works, Part 1

On January 8 and 9 of this year, 150 million workers went on a general strike in India, the biggest work stoppage in history. This strike marked another first when agricultural workers and small farmers calling for a solidarity shutdown of rural India joined the striking workers from many sectors including manufacturing, mining, energy, transportation, banking, public services, construction, and many more. These 150 million striking Indian workers corresponds roughly to the total working population of the United States. Here in the U.S. during 2018 a record number of workers went on strike or stopped working because of labor disputes—485,000 workers from major sectors were involved over that year. This was the largest number of workers on strike or work stoppages since 1986, when flight attendants, garbage collectors, and steelworkers walked off the job. Although the international rumblings of a wakening proletariat are of greater or smaller magnitude they indicate the possibility of the workers of all lands to unite on a scale like never before, and in numbers Marx and Engels could only dream of when they wrote these closing words to The Communist Manifesto in 1848. “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to gain. Working Men of All Countries, Unite!”

During their lives working together, Marx and Engels kept abreast of all working class movements and developments within all societies that they could get news from. Their work in doing so predates their partnership as anti-capitalist revolutionaries, but flourished especially upon meeting and thereafter. As Engels stated at the grave of Marx in 1883:

“…Marx was before all else a revolutionist. His real mission in life was to contribute, in one way or another, to the overthrow of capitalist society and of the state institutions which it had brought into being, to contribute to the liberation of the modern proletariat, which he was the first to make conscious of its own position and its needs, conscious of the conditions of its emancipation. Fighting was his element. And he fought with a passion, a tenacity and a success such as few could rival. His work on the first Rheinische Zeitung (1842), the Paris Vorwarts (1844), the Deutsche Brusseler Zeitung (1847), the Neue Rheinische Zeitung (1848-49), the New York Tribune (1852-61), and, in addition to these, a host of militant pamphlets, work in organizations in Paris, Brussels and London, and finally, crowning all, the formation of the great International Working Men’s Association — this was indeed an achievement of which its founder might well have been proud even if he had done nothing else.

“And, consequently, Marx was the best hated and most calumniated man of his time. Governments, both absolutist and republican, deported him from their territories. Bourgeois, whether conservative or ultra-democratic, vied with one another in heaping slanders upon him. All this he brushed aside as though it were a cobweb, ignoring it, answering only when extreme necessity compelled him. And he died beloved, revered and mourned by millions of revolutionary fellow workers….”

This term we begin the careful reading of the investigative journalism, political works, and organizational correspondence within the revolutionary movements by both Marx and Engels. We will begin with early works. As we begin, we shall read Frederich Engels’ The Condition of the Working Class in England which as Eric Hobsbawm stated “is the first book in Britain or any other country which dealt with the working class as a whole and not merely with particular sections and industries. Secondly, and more important, it was not merely a survey of working class conditions, but a general analysis of the evolution of industrial capitalism, of the social impact of industrialization and its political and social consequences — including the rise of the labor movement. In fact, it was the first large-scale attempt to apply the Marxist method to the concrete study of society, and probably the first work by either Marx or Engels which the founders of Marxism regarded as sufficiently valuable to merit permanent preservation.

As a guide to our readings over several terms of study, we shall read from the Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution series written over many years by Hal Draper. As Draper states in his introduction to the work:

“…the answer to pseudodemocracy is real democracy; the abuses of “scientism” can be countered only by a genuinely scientific attitude; and the obfuscations of various contemporary ‘Marxisms’ can be understood only with the help of Marx’s Marxism…”

Between this May and through our spring and summer terms of this study the plan is the read The Condition of the English Working Class, The German Ideology, and selections of works by the young Marx and Engels leading up to the revolutions of 1848. We will begin the fall term continuing with the works of Draper and a careful reading of The Communist Manifesto, followed by Class Struggles in France and The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, along with selections from Marx and Engels journalism and reports of various activities throughout the world at the time of this revolutionary wave, including their beginning assessments of anarchism, utopian socialists and more.

All fees are sliding scale. No one is denied participation for inability to pay.

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Paradoxes of Exchange Society

News from Ideological Antiquity:
Marx–Eisenstein–Capital
Part 3. Paradoxes of Exchange Society
a film by Alexander Kluge

The Verso Loft
20 Jay Street • Suite 1010
Brooklyn DUMBO / transit: A to High Street, F to York

3:00-6:45 pm (200 min)
with intermission
Discussion to follow

The third part, “Paradoxes of Exchange Society,” inquires into the social contract that is both presupposed and reproduced in all human exchange. As the title of Kluge’s film indicates, the exposition of Nachrichten aus der ideologischen Antike (News from Ideological Antiquity) seeks to constitute an antiquity appropriate to today’s challenges. Its strong argument for a return to Marx is best captured by Fredric Jameson: “Marx is neither actual nor outmoded: he is classical.”

“… important devices should be added: Russian Formalist defamiliarization 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

No one turned away for inability to pay

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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.

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Life, the Universe and Everything

Life, the Universe and Everything: A Dialectical Guide to the Galaxy
7 more sessions
Tuesday, February 7 through March 21, 7:30 to 9:30 pm
Facilitated by Alex Steinberg

In this series we will be placing the dialectics of Marx and Engels within a broader philosophical tradition.

We will look at Engels discussion of the fundamental forces of nature: matter, time, space and motion in the context of the philosophical conflict between a relational view of the world and a mechanical one. We will also look at the conflict between Newton and Leibniz and the subsequent vindication of the relational view with Mach and Einstein.

Also examined will be the contemporary “crisis in physics” — the conclusion to which mechanical reductionism has led both in philosophy and in recent attempts to develop a cosmology that incorporates both relativity theory and quantum theory. Contributions of Hegel, Engels, C.S.Peirce, Einstein, and contemporary physicist such as Lee Smolin will form the basis for this discussion.

The sessions will conclude by tying the idea of the cosmos as a living system of dynamic evolving complexity to the Notion in Hegel’s Logic and from there to an interpretation of Marx’s Capital that places it firmly within the same Hegelian dialectic that is being developed in contemporary cosmology.

Alex Steinberg has previously taught a number of courses on Hegel at the New Space. He taught Engels and the Dialectics of Nature at the Brecht Forum. At the Marxist Education Project he has taught Spectres of the Dialectic, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Fascism and the Left Nietzscheans and Dialectics 101 previously, along with organizing a discussion of recent events in Greece and special events on The Radicalism of James Joyce. He has presented papers at the Left Forum and Historical Materialism Conferences.He has also lectured in Athens Greece on the subjects ranging from dialectics and the American political landscape. Alex has also served on the local and national boards of radio station WBAI.

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The Young Hegelians (1831-1842)

Seminar of the NYC Marxist Hegel-Studies Collective
Marxist Education Project

Conducted by Russell Dale

Hegel’s philosophy has had a great influence on much of what has happened in the world since his time (1770-1831) and is crucial to understanding much of modern social thought and philosophy as well as to understanding Marxism and the socialist tradition in its varied aspects.

Hegel himself died in 1831. In Berlin, where Hegel had taught for nearly a decade-and-a-half up to his death, a small group of philosophers – the so-called “Young Hegelians” – struggled with questions of interpreting Hegel in terms of the actual conditions of life in Germany and Europe at that time. The questions that this group of philosophers dealt with ranged from questions of re-interpreting religion, to the nature of the individual, society, and the state. Both Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were involved in the work of the Young Hegelians, and ultimately it was the rejection of much of the thinking of Hegel and the Young Hegelians that allowed Marx and Engels to formulate what became the general outlook we today think of as Marxism.

In this seminar, we will study various works of the Young Hegelians including David Strauss, Ludwig Feuerbach, Bruno Bauer, Max Stirner, and others, and including as well some early writings of Marx and Engels themselves.

The philosophy of Hegel as well as numerous of the Young Hegelians also included reactionary, racist/white-supremacist thought, which we will give special critical attention to. The rejection of Hegel and the Young Hegelians by Marx and Engels is also in important ways a rejection of the racism and white-supremacy and all that that has historically entailed in the development of contemporary capitalist society. This theme will be of fundamental importance in this class as will be the critique of the system of patriarchy – the oppressive subordination of women to men – the struggle to end such oppressions being fundamental to Marxism.

The course will run for 14 weeks on Friday evenings from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM starting September 16, 2016 and continuing until December 16, 2016. We will be reading the book The Young Hegelians: An Anthology, edited by Lawrence S. Stepelevich. (Arrangements will be made for students who cannot buy a copy of this book which costs about $12 online in a Kindle edition, or from about $25 and up for a used copy on abe.com or elsewhere.)

Russell Dale is an activist and a philosopher. He teaches philosophy at Lehman College, CUNY. He taught classes on Hegel and various other topics for the last six years. Russell is also on the Manuscript Collective and Editorial Board of the Marxist journal Science & Society, as well as on the Local Station Board of radio station WBAI, 99.5 FM (wbai.org).

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Day 3, Session 3: Prometheus in Ruins? Uses and Abuses of the Hero Who Stole Fire

A presentation and discussion with Anthony Galluzzo
Mechanical Prometheanism was for long the signature myth of Western modernization. Both capitalists and socialists embraced the Greek myth of Prometheus’s theft of fire from the gods as shorthand for Progress — technological determinism and human domination of the natural world — while neglecting the ethico-political dimensions of the myth. Prometheanism achieved its apotheosis during the twentieth century, when futurism and productivism shaped capitalism and state socialism alike. Today the taste for such techno-scientific drive to mastery has waned, at least among many Marxists and ecosocialists coming to grips with the environmental costs of industrial modernization. But as planetary civilization and the planet itself confront ecological collapse, techno-utopianism is making a come-back, from the cyber-libertarian solutionists of Silicon Valley to the ostensibly left accelerationists who seek to revive Prometheus — without ever asking which Prometheus they want to revive. This talk will trace the history of Promethean ideology, beginning with the Godwin/Malthus debates of the 1790s, through its current revival within certain precincts of the left, particularly as it intersects with the ecological crisis and Anthropocene theory today. We will contrast this to alternative Prometheanisms, from the Shelleys through Marx to present-day ecosocialist currents.

Anthony Galluzzo is a lecturer at NYU. He studies radical transatlantic literary culture of the 1790s and its afterlives in socialism, utopian fiction, and the gothic novel. He has contributed several articles to Jacobin and other journals. His home base is in Brooklyn, where he grew up.

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Marxist Summer Intensive: July 15-17

21st Century Class Struggles and the Generalized Proletariat:
Further Lessons towards Working Class Consciousness within our Social Movements

Thursday, July 14 through Sunday, July 17

Featuring: Mitch Abidor, Kazembe Balagun, Mark Bergfeld, Rebecca Boger, Dennis Broe, Charmaine Chua, Claude Copeland, Marika Diaz, Russell Dale, Walter Daum, Pete Dolack, Kate Doyle-Griffiths, Mark Dudzic, Anthony Galluzzo, Janet Gerson. Harmony Goldberg, Marcus Graetsch, Ursula Huws, Dan Karan, Lisa Maya Knauer, Kristin Lawler, Laurel Mei-Singh, Ras Moshe, Fred Murphy, Manny Ness, Stuart Newman, Marie-Claire Picher, David Schwartzman and Yuko Tonohira.

Writings to read if you have the time:

Susan Watkins from New Left Review, survey 2014

https://newleftreview.org/II/90/susan-watkins-the-political-state-of-the-union

Susan Watkins, 2016
https://newleftreview.org/II/98/susan-watkins-oppositions
Marc Dudzic and Adolf Reed Jr from Socialist Register on Crisis of Left and Labor in the US

http://www.commondreams.org/sites/default/files/dudzic_and_reed_the_crisis_of_labour_and_the_left_in_the_united_states_sr_2015.pdf

A Selection from the blog of Ursula Huws (if you have time read more of her postings, listed off to the side on her blog)

https://ursulahuws.wordpress.com/2016/06/25/the-unmaking-of-the-english-working-class/

https://ursulahuws.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/uber-and-under/

https://ursulahuws.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/a-workhouse-without-walls/

Mitch Abidor
On Paris, May ’68

http://insurgentnotes.com/2016/06/may-68-revisited/

Ian Birchall’s response to Mitch:

http://insurgentnotes.com/2016/06/response-to-may-68-revisited/

Kazembe Balagun
In The Guardian, 2011

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/mar/17/race-protest
on the Fanon Phenomenon in The Indypendent: https://indypendent.org/2014/12/16/fanon-phenomenon-documentary-unearths-africas-anti-colonial-struggles

Mark Bergfeld

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/05/the-next-portuguese-revolution/

About Mark in 2011 as activist:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/8440413/Student-protests-The-Marxist-revolutionary-aiming-to-lead-the-NUS.html

Dennis Broe
On the World Film Beat with recent Cannes reports:

http://politicalfilmcritics.blogspot.fr/p/world-film-beat.html?

The most most recent article of Dennis in Situations on Mediterranean Noir:

http://ojs.gc.cuny.edu/index.php/situations/article/view/1706/1614?

Russell Dale from Situtations:

http://ojs.gc.cuny.edu/index.php/situations/article/view/1631/1581

Charmaine Chua:

https://thedisorderofthings.com/2014/09/09/logistics-capitalist-circulation-chokepoints/

https://thedisorderofthings.com/author/charmchua/

https://thedisorderofthings.com/2015/02/07/the-chinese-logistical-sublime-and-its-wasted-remains/

https://thedisorderofthings.com/2015/01/27/landlessness-and-the-life-of-seamen/

Harmony Goldberg
On McDonald’s

http://www.salon.com/2014/04/06/how_mcdonalds_gets_away_with_rampant_wage_theft_partner/

Ras Moshe
An interview from Jazz Right Now:

https://jazzrightnow.com/2014/03/10/interview-ras-moshe/

Walter Daum
Exchange in NY Review of Books:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2014/04/03/imperialism-and-world-war-i-exchange/

Stuart Newman
all –

https://legacy.nymc.edu/sanewman/social.htm

especially

https://legacy.nymc.edu/sanewman/PDFs/CNS_GM_foods_09.pdf

https://legacy.nymc.edu/sanewman/PDFs/CNS%20Synbio_12.pdf

David Schwartzman

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/12/cop-21-paris-climate-change-global-warming-fossil-fuels/

http://tratarde.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Schwartzman-Saul-CNS-2015.pdf

http://www.redandgreen.org/Documents/Solar_Communism.htm

As capitalist relations penetrate every nook and cranny of our planet and the most intimate realms of our lives, a growing proportion of the world’s population is incorporated into the global proletariat—paid and unpaid workers and our families, the unemployed and underemployed, and the growing numbers who will never work. The laboring part of today’s global proletariat is greater than the world’s entire population 40 years ago. Now there are workers from all parts of the globe working for the same set of bosses.

Capitalists continually seek new avenues to expand their capital and commodify all that exists. The digital revolution has sped all this up, quickening accumulation which lays the basis for more frequent crises. Capital continues in ever new forms the process of enclosures that began with the forcible removal of the peasantry from the land in medieval Europe. Throughout the global south, displaced peasants are forced to migrate to cities or internationally, working in factories or informal economies. Many others are conscripted into comprador armies to protect the extractive industries ravaging their regions. There is also outright robbery: the Panama Papers reveal the extent to which capital has fleeced the global proletariat. After more than three decades of assault on organized labor, privatization, austerity and structural adjustment have gutted hard-won social programs. Automation, digitization and strategic relocation of work, combined with just-in-time assembly, make millions “redundant”. At the same time Walmartization, Uberization, Amazonification exemplify our marginalization and precarity.

As we plan this intensive, workers and students are in motion throughout France, from Nuit Debout gatherings to general strikes against austerity. Greek workers, hit harder still by austerity, are reaching out to support the tide of refugees. The contract just won by the Verizon workers in the U.S. after a nation-wide strike represents a major victory. The Sanders campaign has helped normalize the concept of socialism, but the Left and social movements have not figured out how to articulate a viable socialist alternative and build a corresponding movement.

Over the four days of this Intensive, we will study the causes behind these developments, learn about some obstacles to organizing and the challenges facing workers at work and in their communities, and consider various left analyses about social realities and the prospects for organizing. We will assess the lessons of workers’ movements globally and historically, with emphasis on prospects in the US and the global south. Through collaborative study and discussion, we aim to provide a challenging learning environment so each participant can develop his/her own theoretical and analytic tools to advance our organizing and movement building work in order to broaden opposition to capital locally, nationally and internationally.

FRIDAY, JULY 15 / 10:00 am • Imperialism Today: Super-Exploitation & Marxist Theory • WALTER DAUM • 1:00- 4:00 pm • Class Consciousness, Class Struggle & Self-Organizing Using Image Theater • presented by The Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB) • facilitated by JANET GERSON • MARIE-CLAIRE PICHER • 5:30 pm • Public Banking: A Marxist Response to Finance Capital • DAN KARAN • 7:30 pm • Southern Insurgency: Mass Movements Throughout the Global South • LISA MAYA KNAUER

SATURDAY, JULY 16 / 10:00 am • Slackers, Sabotage, & Syndicalism: American Labor History & The Refusal of Work • KRISTIN LAWLER • 1:00 pm • Beyond Bernie: The Crisis of Labor & The Left in the United States • MARK DUDZIC • 3:30 pm • Prometheus in Ruins?: Uses & Abuses of the Hero Who Stole Fire • ANTHONY GALLUZZO • 5:30 pm • Logistics, Capitalist Circulation, Chokepoints • CHARMAINE CHUA • 7:30 pm • Devils & Dust: Resisting War in New York, the Pacific, & the Middle East • CLAUDE COPELAND • LAUREL MEI-SINGH • YUKO TONOHIRA

SUNDAY, JULY 17 / 11:00 am • It’s Not Over: Lessons for Socialists from the October Revolution, Prague Spring and the Sandinistas • PETE DOLACK • 1:00 pm • Labor in the Global Digital Economy • URSULA HUWS • 3:30 pm • Sexuality, Gender & Neoliberal Capitalism • KATE DOYLE-GRIFFITHS • LISA MAYA KNAUER • 5:30 pm • Approaching Science from the Left: Uses & Abuses of Knowledge in the Planetary Crisis • REBECCA BOGER • STUART NEWMAN • DAVE SCHWARTZMAN • moderated by FRED MURPHY

As capitalist relations penetrate every nook and cranny of our planet and the most intimate realms of our lives, a growing proportion of the world’s population is incorporated into the global proletariat—paid and unpaid workers and our families, the unemployed and underemployed, and the growing numbers who will never work. The laboring part of today’s global proletariat is greater than the world’s entire population 40 years ago. Now there are workers from all parts of the globe working for the same set of bosses.

Capitalists continually seek new avenues to expand their capital and commodify all that exists. The digital revolution has sped all this up, quickening accumulation which lays the basis for more frequent crises. Capital continues in ever new forms the process of enclosures that began with the forcible removal of the peasantry from the land in medieval Europe. Throughout the global south, displaced peasants are forced to migrate to cities or internationally, working in factories or informal economies. Many others are conscripted into comprador armies to protect the extractive industries ravaging their regions. There is also outright robbery: the Panama Papers reveal the extent to which capital has fleeced the global proletariat. After more than three decades of assault on organized labor, privatization, austerity and structural adjustment have gutted hard-won social programs. Automation, digitization and strategic relocation of work, combined with just-in-time assembly, make millions “redundant”. At the same time Walmartization, Uberization, Amazonification exemplify our marginalization and precarity.

As we plan this intensive, workers and students are in motion throughout France, from Nuit Debout gatherings to general strikes against austerity. Greek workers, hit harder still by austerity, are reaching out to support the tide of refugees. The contract just won by the Verizon workers in the U.S. after a nation-wide strike represents a major victory. The Sanders campaign has helped normalize the concept of socialism, but the Left and social movements have not figured out how to articulate a viable socialist alternative and build a corresponding movement.

Over the four days of this Intensive, we will study the causes behind these developments, learn about some obstacles to organizing and the challenges facing workers at work and in their communities, and consider various left analyses about social realities and the prospects for organizing. We will assess the lessons of workers’ movements globally and historically, with emphasis on prospects in the US and the global south. Through collaborative study and discussion, we aim to provide a challenging learning environment so each participant can develop his/her own theoretical and analytic tools to advance our organizing and movement building work in order to broaden opposition to capital locally, nationally and internationally.

THURSDAY, JULY 14 / 10:00 am • Marx and Engels & Classical German Philosophy • RUSSELL DALE • 1:00 pm • Anti-Austerity in France: Live Report from Paris on Bastille Day • DENNIS BROE • 3:30 pm • May ’68 in France: Revisited • MITCH ABIDOR • 5:30 pm • What Jazz Would Karl Marx Listen to in 2016 • RAS MOSHE • 7:30 pm • Solidarity Without Borders • KAZEMBE BALAGUN • MARK BERGFELD • HARMONY GOLDBERG • MARCUS GRAETSCH • moderated by MARIKA DIAS

FRIDAY, JULY 15 / 10:00 am • Imperialism Today: Super-Exploitation & Marxist Theory • WALTER DAUM • 1:00- 4:00 pm • Class Consciousness, Class Struggle & Self-Organizing Using Image Theater • presented by The Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB) • facilitated by JANET GERSON • MARIE-CLAIRE PICHER • 5:30 pm • Public Banking: A Marxist Response to Finance Capital • DAN KARAN • 7:30 pm • Southern Insurgency: Mass Movements Throughout the Global South • MANNY NESS • LISA MAYA KNAUER

SATURDAY, JULY 16 / 10:00 am • Slackers, Sabotage, & Syndicalism: American Labor History & The Refusal of Work • KRISTIN LAWLER • 1:00 pm • Beyond Bernie: The Crisis of Labor & The Left in the United States • MARK DUDZIC • 3:30 pm • Prometheus in Ruins?: Uses & Abuses of the Hero Who Stole Fire • ANTHONY GALLUZZO • 5:30 pm • Logistics, Capitalist Circulation, Chokepoints • CHARMAINE CHUA • 7:30 pm • Devils & Dust: Resisting War in New York, the Pacific, & the Middle East • CLAUDE COPELAND • LAUREL MEI-SINGH • YUKO TONOHIRA

SUNDAY, JULY 17 / 11:00 am • It’s Not Over: Lessons for Socialists from the October Revolution, Prague Spring and the Sandinistas • PETE DOLACK • 1:00 pm • Labor in the Global Digital Economy • URSULA HUWS • 3:30 pm • Sexuality, Gender & Neoliberal Capitalism • KATE DOYLE-GRIFFITHS • LISA MAYA KNAUER • 5:30 pm • Approaching Science from the Left: Uses & Abuses of Knowledge in the Planetary Crisis • REBECCA BOGER • STUART NEWMAN • DAVE SCHWARTZMAN • moderated by FRED MURPHY

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Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit

14 week course
Seminar of the NYC Marxist Hegel-Studies Collective
Spring and Summer, 2016
Conducted by Russell Dale

Hegel’s philosophy has had a great influence on much of what has happened in the world since his time (1770 – 1831) and is crucial to understanding much of modern social thought and philosophy as well as to understanding Marxism and the socialist tradition in its varied aspects.

Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit is generally considered the first exposition of and an introduction to Hegel’s later work, what is often referred to as Hegel’s “system.” Thus, knowledge of the Phenomenology is indispensable for anyone interested in today’s world.

At the same time, the Phenomenology is an extremely difficult work to read, so it really helps to do so with a group of fellow-readers.

In this course, we will read the entire Phenomenology of Spirit. Discussion will focus on Hegel’s view of history, the history of philosophy, subjectivity, the self, and society, and Hegel’s influence on later thinking and history. An important part of our discussion will be the socially reactionary conclusions that Hegel ultimately drew, while at the same time HHegel’s work became inspirational for so many radical and progressive thinkers as well, including Marx and Engels. We will give special attention to and treatment of the fact that Hegel had white-supremacist, racist views, and played an important role in the development of the pseudo-science of biological race theory. We will look at what these views mean for the tradition of thought that stems from Hegel, which includes some of the greatest thinkers of African descent in the twentieth century, such as W. E. B. DuBois, C. L. R. James, Frantz Fanon and others.

The course will run for 14 weeks on Friday evenings from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM starting on Friday, May 27, 2016 and continuing until Friday, August 26, 2016. We will be reading the edition of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit translated by A. V. Miller, and published by Oxford University Press. (Arrangements will be made for students who cannot buy a copy of this book, which costs about $11 – $15 online.)

Russell Dale is an activist and a philosopher. He teaches philosophy at Lehman College, CUNY. He taught classes on Hegel and various other topics for the last six years. Russell is also on the Manuscript Collective and Editorial Board of the Marxist journal Science & Society, as well as on the Local Station Board of radio station WBAI, 99.5 FM (wbai.org).

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Nietzsche, Heidegger, Fascism & Left Nietzscheans: A Marxist Assessment

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Nietzsche, Heidegger, Fascism & Left Nietzscheans: A Marxist Assessment

$125.00

Thursdays from 7:30 to 9:30PM
February 5 through April 16, 2015
@ The Brooklyn Commons

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Description

During these sessions we will explore the seminal theories of the most important philosophical challenge to the Hegelian and Marxist tradition: those of Nietzsche and Heidegger. We will explore Heidegger?s involvement with Nazism and how that impacts on his philosophy.

We will follow up with an exploration of Heidegger?s influence on some of the key left thinkers of the last century ? Alexandre Kojeve, Jacques Lacan, Michel Foucault and Slavoj Zizek. Harrison Fluss, a phD candidate at SUNY Stony Brook and a past presenter at the Left Forum and Historical Materialism will be contributing his specialized knowledge in this area.

ALEX STEINBERG has taught Engels and the Dialectics of Nature and most recently, Spectres ofthe Dialectic from the Big Bang to the Multiversein the fall of 2014. He has previously given classes on Hegel and Marxist philosophy and been a presenter at the Left Forum. He has also served on the local and national boards of radio station WBAI.

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Capital: Volume I, Chapters 15-33

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Capital: Volume I, Chapters 15-33

$125.00

Sundays from 5:30 to 7:30PM
February 1 through March 29, 2015
Email for location

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Description

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, the 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. On top of that, many (though not all) sections of Volume I are surprisingly accessible and beautifully written.

This group began in September, supplementing our own intensive reading of the text with new on-line aids and current articles that illustrate capitalism’s developmental tendencies, or what Marx calls its laws of motion. We plan to finish Volume I this term.

Along with our own intensive reading of the text, we’ll use new online and visual aids and current articles that illustrate capitalism’s developmental tendencies or what Marx calls its laws of motion.

Participants will be encouraged to be as active as they desire through reports and presentations.

New folks are welcome to join if this is a logical place for you to jump in or jump back in. For more information and location of the class, please e-mail jucelli@igc.org.

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

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