Introduction to Marxism for Women Only

with Juliet Ucelli

co-sponsored with Left Focus

We’ll explore some key concepts about human beings, society and history, and our relationship to the rest of nature. Readings will be short and accessible excerpts from writings by Marx and Engels or later Marxists. I believe that this theory can help us analyze the social and economic realities and structures we live in–who holds power and how–and fight more effectively for liberation.

Some of the central questions that we’ll address are:
• How did the oppression of women, and the division of societies into people who work and others who exploit them, originate and develop historically?
• What are the driving dynamics of capitalism that make it make it so productive, innovative, brutal and ecologically destructive?
• What intellectual tools can help us understand industry’s complex impacts on our bodies, our psyches and the nature around us—impacts that capitalists, and people who think like them, don’t want to see or cannot see?
• What did Marx understand—and not understand—about white supremacy and Eurocentrism, and how has that analysis been deepened and modified by later Marxists?

In a continuing attempt 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 an intro class this October through December for women only. Everyone who identifies as a woman is welcome.

Juliet Ucelli has taught labor economics and class/race/gender for unions and activists, and writes on Eurocentrism in Marxist theory, and Marxist understandings of human development. She also teaches Marx’s Capital, Volume One with The Marxist Education Project.

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Marx and Engels: 1841-1844

Group is moving location to the CUNY Grad Center on 5th Avenue and 34th Street—the former B. Altman Store
Contact sheila.hamanaka@gmail.com or russelleliotdale@gmail.com for more information

Seminar of the NYC Marxist Hegel-Studies Collective at The Marxist Education Project
14 weeks
Fridays, February 17 through May 19, 6:00 to 8:00 pm
Conducted by Russell Dale

This course will focus on two early works by Marx and one by Marx and Engels. The works by Marx are his doctoral dissertation of 1841 on ancient Greek atomistic theory and his Critique of Hegel’s “Philosophy of Right” from 1843. The work by Marx and Engels is The Holy Family, or Critique of Critical Critique of 1844.

These works by Marx and by Marx and Engels are too little studied nowadays, but play a fundamental role in the development of Marx’s thought, especially when see from the perspective of his break from Hegel and the Young Hegelians. We will be particularly interested in the influence of Hegel and the Young Hegelians in this course and will work at tracing what is retained and what is being left behind from the Hegelian tradition.

We will also be particularly concerned with issues of gender, race, and white supremacy in these works as Marx’s philosophy is emerging from a tradition that was deeply steeped in patriarchy and the growing racism and white supremacy of the 18th and early 19th centuries.

We will be reading (1) Marx’s doctoral dissertation (1841) (in volume 1 of Marx and Engels, Collected Works, International Publishers), (2) Marx’s Critique of Hegel’s “Philosophy of Right” (1843) (translated by Joseph O’Malley, Cambridge University Press), and (3) Marx and Engels’ The Holy Family (1844) (translated by Richard Dixon and Clemens Dutt, Progress Publishers). (Arrangements will be made for students who cannot buy copies of these books.)

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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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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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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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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