Capital, Volume 3, 2nd Sessions

Second 12 session series

Let’s make the Anthropocene stage of the earth’s evolution, the turning point of world history. After all, paraphrasing Marx, since we are the species that can know ourselves as a product of natural history, we are responsible to all of nature. We have the power within us to make the Anthropocene not the capitalist endgame but the naturalization of our species and the humanization of nature. Capital, a Critique of Political Economy, can help effectively situate ourselves to face the challenges before all of humanity and nature, and begin the process of reclaiming and putting into effect our human capacities for the betterment and advancement of each and all.

The study of Volume III is essential to understanding the complex dynamics at work in the present realities we are facing and how these realities are the necessary results of the inner logic of capital. In this moribund stage of late capitalist/imperialist development we see the rise of rentier and finance capital—the introduction of financial instruments being used to make money make more money, jumping over and above the actual real wealth produced by trading on future wealth (derivatives and other forms of fictitious capital); overriding supply and demand as a price mechanism in such necessities as foodstuffs so that their prices continuously rise resulting in more poverty and starvation on a world scale and here in the US; turning new technologies into means of collecting rents—the internet, mobile devices; expropriation of taxes paid by the working class to developers who are often tax exempt while our city and state governments give them tracts of our physical space; commodification of debt; privatization of public spaces, properties and institutions; foreclosures; and the list goes on.

Capital, Volume III, The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole, completes Marx’s task of moving from the imaginary concrete—the researcher and scientist analyzing the appearances we see in everyday life such as in the Grundrisse, to the abstract concrete. The results of the analytic study of the phenomenon that has revealed the social/natural content of that phenomenon (Volumes I and II), to the real concrete—how this content is expressed in everyday life through the mechanisms by which the actors determine their actions and appropriate wealth (Volume III).

With the conceptual integration of production and circulation (Volumes I and II) from the standpoint of the process of capitalist production as a whole, Marx returns to the starting point of the research categories, the imaginary concrete, concepts seen as empirical givens as facts in themselves— profits, interests, rents, rate of profit, prices. These sensuously perceived givens (the way the world directly appears to us) are the starting point of the research analysis, not the science. But now, after the analysis, these interrelated aspects of what appear on the surface of society are no longer imaginary but real, understood as interrelated dynamics and mechanisms in everyday life by which the actors reproduce the social relations and physical conditions of capitalist society. Volume III integrates and completes the analysis of the process of capitalist production as a whole, enabling us to understand and make sense of how each of the appearances and processes we see occurring on the surface of society are related to the whole. When we do so all the laws of motion previously revealed in the first two volumes take on new dimensions. Internal dynamics and contradictions burst out and situate humanity withina historical process that calls us to figure out how to go beyond capital and develop the conditions that insure that the development of each is the precondition for the development of all.

We will be starting or close to starting Part 3 of the volume on The Law of the Tendential Fall in the Rate of Profit. Until the Coronavirus and safe distancing and with staying at home being the healthy and responsible choice, these sessions will be conducted via Zoom. If you register to participate, you will be contacted with all information needed and a zoom link will be provided each week until we can meet in person, if such conditions exist between now and mid-July.

The CAPITAL STUDIES GROUP has been meeting on Saturdays for more than nearly three years. We are a group of workers, students, activists and teachers who have dedicated themselves to a chronological reading of all three volumes of Marx’s Capital. Newcomers are encouraged to join when your schedule permits.

All classes and events of The MEP are sliding scale. No one is turned away for inability to pay. Zoom classes rates are slightly less than in person meetings. However, there are costs involved in keeping our site running, having zoom sessions and paying for our office.

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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.

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Capital, Energy and Power

A 10-week Study Group with Fred Murphy and Steve Knight

Throughout the history of capitalism, energy sources and especially fossil fuels—coal, oil and natural gas—have been critical to the system’s economic viability. The crises associated with climate change are rooted in capital’s insatiable need to burn fuels in order to accumulate wealth and maximize profits. Competition and greed for readily extractable energy resources have fueled wars and evoked popular resistance, especially in the Middle East. This study group will explore the history and political economy of oil, energy and capitalism. We will read George Caffentzis’s recently published No Blood for Oil! and related work by Michael Klare, Andreas Malm, Timothy Mitchell, and others.

FRED MURPHY has co-led several MEP study groups on Marxism, science, nature, and ecosocialism. He studied and taught historical sociology at the New School for Social Research.

STEVE KNIGHT has been a co-leader of MEP eco-socialist study groups since 2015. He is also a climate activist with the DSA and faith-centered groups, and reviews books on eco-socialism for Marx & Philosophy

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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.

Please follow and like us:

Marx, Capital, and the Madness of Economic Reason, Part 2

Capital Studies Group

We are extending our study of David Harvey’s recent Marx, Capital, and the Madness of Economic Reason. Those who convened starting on January 6 have decided to continue reading the book at a slower pace to allow for a full discussion of all that is contained in the chapters. We will finish reading this book and then begin reading Marx’s Volume 1 of Capital beginning Saturday, March 3.

We will begin chapter three on January 20.
$10 per session for January 20 and 27, no one turned away for paying less or the inability to pay. Registrations for Part 2 allow for attendance on January 20 and 27.

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Marx, Capital and the Madness of Economic Reason

A reading group of David Harvey’s Marx, Capital and the Madness of Economic Reason

The MEP’s Capital Studies Group will readand discuss David Harvey’s recently published Marx, Capital, and the Madness of Economic Reason over four weeks in January. Session one will cover the Prologue and the first two chapters. Arrangements can be made for purchasing the Oxford University Press book by contacting the MEP at info@marxedproject.org
sliding scale: $30 / $45 / $60
no one turned away for inability to pay

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No Blood for Oil!

An author presentation with discussion, co-sponsored with Autonomedia

No Blood For Oil!
Essays on Energy, Class Struggle and War 1998–2016
George Caffentzis

The oil industry is at the center of the major struggles of our time, but is Marxist theory able to explain its behavior? The oil industry presents a paradox to Marxist theory. How is it that oil companies employ relatively few workers and invest in a relatively large amount of machinery, but still are the largest and most profitable companies on the planet? It should be otherwise, if profits come from exploiting worker’s labor. In his book, No Blood for Oil, George Caffentzis shows how Marxism resolves this paradox and accounts for the peculiar role that the oil industry plays in contemporary capitalism as generator of ecological devastation, war and exploitation. Come to discuss the struggle over the exchange of blood for oil.

George Caffentzis is emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Southern Maine. He has taught courses on oil and class struggle in many venues in Africa, South America and Europe. He is a co-founder of the Midnight Notes Collective and is the author of In Letters of Blood and Fire: Work, Machines, and the Crisis of Capitalism (2013) and Exciting the Industry of Mankind: George Berkeley’s Philosophy of Money (2000).

“The papers in this collection are weapons we use to deconstruct the politics of war and oil, to uncover the multilayered class meaning of contemporary energy policy, and are the treasure that gives us a different sense of alternatives. Caffentzis’ critical understanding dissolves the fatalism of peak-oil arguments and posits our struggles to reclaim the commons as the real limit of capitalist use of energy.” — Massimo de Angelis, author of The Beginning of History

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Marx’s Grundrisse

February 11 to March 25
7 more sessions
The Grundrisse, Session A

The object before us, to begin with, material production.

Readings and discussions led by Sam Salour and others

Perhaps the most curious and least understood aspect of Marx’s work is his method of analysis. Marx viewed all his economic laws as tendencies and it is hard to deny that those tendencies are becoming more and more the realities of today’s capitalism. However, to understand our society we need to do more than reading and accepting his concepts, we must critically analyze them and look for the way of thinking that produced them. It is with this goal in my mind that we should embark on a journey through the long and complex sentences of The German Ideology and the Grundrisse. These works are perhaps the best representation of the process of thinking that found its culmination in Capital and we will be engaging with it during our study. Without a doubt, this will be a long and arduous process but we should always keep in mind that “there is no royal road to science and only those who do not dread the fatiguing climb of its steep paths have a chance of gaining its luminous summits.

For the first session, please read Grundrisse (Penguin edition): Chapter 1 with a focus on the first 2 sections (p. 83-100)

The fees at the website are suggested fees and are optional. We are sliding scale and allow all to attend as they are able to afford.

Session B of the Grundrisse will run from April 1 until June 17.

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