Marx and Engels Theory of Politics and Revolution: Reading and Group Discussion
Moderators: Jim Creegan, David Worley
The revolutionary politics and writings of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels arguably are the foundation of all notions of socialism more than a century after they lived. Do you consider yourself a socialist or are you interested in socialism? This is an opportunity to learn how Marx and Engels evolved as thinkers and revolutionists. Discover how they developed their understanding of capitalism as a social system based on the exploitation of the many by a few and how the modern world might go beyond it toward a social system both more rational and more humane.
Main text: Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution, a multi-volume study by Hal Draper, in print from Monthly Review Press.
Volume I, State and Bureaucracy; first published 1977
Volume II, The Politics of Social Classes, first published 1978
We also expect to read some original texts by Marx and Engels as these are introduced by Draper.
There are many books written about the politics of Marx and Engels, but one is outstanding for it’s thoroughness, fairness, and readability. That is Hal Draper’s five-volume study. Reviewing volume 1 in 1977, Robert Heilbroner called it “…an extraordinarily stimulating work, written in a fresh, open, often amusing style…”
This is a peer learning group; there is no teacher. Draper’s book is well suited for such a group as it is very accessible to people with different levels of prior knowledge. All volumes are readily available in print and as e-books. Participants should obtain volume 1 and read the introduction and first chapter before January 27.
Jim Creegan was chairman of the Penn State chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in the 1960s, lectured in philosophy in the 70s, and was an activist in two leftist organizations in the 90s. His writings may be found at weeklyworker.co.uk He lives in New York City, now unaffiliated but unresigned.
David Worley was active in the civil rights and peace movements in the 1960s, and also a labor activist in the 1970s. He attended classes and events at the original School for Marxist education and later became a member of the board of directors of the Brecht Forum, serving two terms as co-chairperson. He is currently an active member of the Marxist Education Project and an active supporter of the Medicare for All campaign.
The fees are sliding scale. No one is turned away for inability to pay.