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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Capital, Volume One

with Capital Studies Group

Class & Discussion (12 week session)

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, Marx’s Capital offers the reader a methodology for doing our own analysis of current developments.

The CAPITAL STUDIES GROUP has been meeting on Saturdays for two years. We are a diverse group of students, 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.

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Comrade Eli Messinger

The Marxist Education Project lost long-term comrade Eli Messinger today, June 22, 2018.

The published obituary is below. In the middle of obituary are these key sentences: “A tireless activist for a wide range of anti-war, human rights, and revolutionary social change efforts. Eli was a committed fighter with a great sense of humor.”

Eli joined The Marxist Education Collective in 1977 and worked more than tirelessly well into the 1980s. He never gave up interest nor lacked in support of the project to provide non-dogmatic non-sectarian Marxist education to as broad a public as possible. He was instrumental in establishing a Science Task Force at The New York Marxist School and did much to expand our focus on developments in science in classes, forums and other key parts of our curriculum.

All of us at The Marxist Education Project express our sympathy to Eli’s family, many friends and the wide world of comrades he selflessly shared his life with.

MESSINGER, Eli Charles MD

Died June 22, 2018, aged 81.Beloved husband of Barbara Barnes. Wonderful father to Daniel [Batya], Miriam [Felicia], Adam [Kira], Benjie [Jamie]. Grandfather of 8, great-grandfather of 2. Survived by sister, Susan Avner, and former wife, Ruth Messinger. Beloved son of Ben and Edna Messinger. Child and adolescent psychiatrist, political activist, Marxist intellectual. Worked for 30 years in child and adolescent psychiatry at Metropolitan Hospital. A tireless activist for a wide range of anti-war, human rights, and revolutionary social change efforts. Eli was a committed fighter with a great sense of humor. Graduated Lafayette College 1955, Harvard Medical School 1959.

Funeral service Tuesday, 12 noon, Plaza Funeral Home, 630 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024. The family will be at 41 W 96th St. (Apt. 3A) Tuesday from 4-7 pm.

Contributions may be made to Perlman Music Program https://perlmanmusicprogram.org/support/support-us, 19 W 69th St., Rm 1101, NY, NY 10023 or the Marxist Education Project https://marxedproject.org/product/donation/

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The Universe: Past, Present, Future

Alex Steinberg

10 WEEK SERIES: NO CLASS ON FEBRUARY 19
This class is for all who desire to explore together the mysteries and fascinations of our universe. No prior knowledge of astrophysics or mathematics is required. We will have two books from which we will read selected essays: Welcome to the Universe by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss and J. Richard Gott and Now: The Physics of Time by Richard A. Muller

Note: There is also a problem book supplement to Welcome to the Universe. We will be using the initial Welcome to the Universe book and not the supplement in this class series. Of course some students may wish to get the problem book on their own.

Together we will get to the bottom of a number of concepts that are widely discussed but poorly understood.

We will ask and look for answers to such questions as:

1. Is our universe finite or infinite?
2. Is it heading for a final state of entropy known as heat death
3. What exactly is meant by entropy?
4. What do we mean when we say two events happen at the same time?
5. Can you go backwards in time?
6. What was before the Big Bang?
7. How does understanding our galaxy, other galaxies, this broad universe, inform our living on our planet Earth?

The facilitator of this class, Alex Steinberg, has previously taught widely including on the philosophy of Hegel and Marx, the dialectics of nature, the implications of dialectics for contemporary science, and contemporary philosophical trends on the left and right inspired by Nietzsche. He recently conducted a walking tour centered on what Leon Trotsky did in his few months living in New York City prior to the Russian Revolution.

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Five Explicit and Implicit Notions of Revolution in Capital, Volume I

Five Explicit and Implicit Notions of Revolution in Capital, Volume I, as Seen from a Multilinear, Peripheral Angle

It is often said that Capital, Volume I is concerned with the enfoldment of the capital form, with many dialectical twists and turns, but not with revolution. However, such a picture severs Marx the revolutionary from Marx the social theorist. In fact, Capital I can be connected to five different notions of revolution: (1) a working class uprising that rises as a form of revolutionary negation of the centralized productive apparatus of modern industrial capitalism, but posed at a high level of abstraction; (2) four other notions of revolution that connect a class uprising to race, ethnicity, colonialism, and the need to abolish the state.

Kevin B. Anderson teaches at University of California, Santa Barbara. He has worked in social and political theory, especially Marx, Hegel, Lenin, Luxemburg, Marxist humanism, the Frankfurt School, Foucault, and the Orientalism debate. Among his books are Lenin, Hegel, and Western Marxism (1995), Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism (with Janet Afary, 2005), and Marx at the Margins: On Nationalism, Ethnicity and Non-Western Societies (2010/2016). He has also contributed to For Humanism: Explorations in Theory and Politics (ed. D. Alderson and R. Spencer, 2017) and the Transition from Capitalism (ed. S. Rahnema, 2017), and is the coeditor of the Rosa Luxemburg Reader (with Peter Hudis, 2004), Karl Marx (with Bertell Ollman, 2012), and the Dunayevskaya-Marcuse-Fromm Correspondence (2012, with Russell Rockwell). He is a member of the International Marxist-Humanist Organization.

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Creating an Ecological Society

A reading group
Five more Tuesdays

We will read and discuss the just-published book by Fred Magdoff and Chris Williams, Creating an Ecological Society: Toward a Revolutionary Transformation. Sickened by the contamination of water, air, and the Earth itself, more and more people are coming to realize that it is capitalism that is, quite literally, killing us – and indeed, degrading the Earth’s very ability to support all forms of life. The authors identify the root causes of the global environmental crisis in capitalism’s imperative to make profits at all costs and expand without end. They lay out a program for building a society that is genuinely democratic, equitable, and ecologically sustainable.

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 participated in and co-led MEP study groups on ecosocialism since 2015. His review of Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History and the Crisis of Capitalism appeared last year in the journal Marx & Philosophy.

No one turned away for inability to pay. Stated fees are sliding scale.

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Day 4, Session 4—Approaching Science from the Left

Approaching Science from the Left: Uses and Abuses of Knowledge in the Planetary Crisis
Rebecca Boger, Stuart Newman, Dave Schwartzman, moderated by Fred Murphy

As awareness has grown – among both working people and the global capitalist class – about the scope and complexity of the multiple crises facing the planet and its biosphere, a wide gamut of solutions and palliatives have been put forward across the physical and biological sciences. These range from dystopian geoengineering projects to genetic modification schemes to renewable and sustainable forms of energy use and agriculture. With this closing panel we aim to open a conversation among scholars and activists about how scientific knowledge and practice can help point the way forward, as well as about how science is abused in efforts to preserve and extend capitalist power over labor and resources.

Rebecca Boger has a background in geospatial technologies, marine science, and science education. Before coming to Brooklyn College, she worked for an international science and education program, GLOBE, where she worked with teams of scientists and educators to develop classroom materials, conduct workshops, and facilitate international collaborations. She continues to work with GLOBE to develop online training materials and a citizen science network. At Brooklyn College, CUNY, she teaches geospatial technologies and works with anthropologists and archaeologists in Barbuda on socio-ecological resilience research, community based mapping, and environmental modeling. In the NYC area, she works with NYC Parks and Gateway National Recreation on historical mapping and trends analysis of marshes and shoreline. She continues her education work with a greater emphasis on sustainability, resilience, and climate change topics where she is helping to build an urban sustainability program and online materials.

Stuart Newman is a professor of cell biology and anatomy at New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York. He has contributed to several scientific fields, including biophysical chemistry, developmental biology, and evolutionary theory. He has been a critic of genetic determinism in biology and an opponent of eugenic applications of biotechnology since his student days in the 1960s. Newman was a founding member of the Council for Responsible Genetics and is a columnist for Capitalism Nature Socialism.

David Schwartzman is Professor Emeritus, Howard University (biogeochemist, environmental scientist, PhD, Brown University). An active member of the DC Statehood Green Party/Green Party of the United States. Website with his older son Peter Schwartzman is www.solarUtopia.org. Publications include: Life, Temperature and the Earth (2002), several recent papers in Capitalism Nature Socialism (CNS). Member of the following Advisory Boards: Science & Society, Capitalism Nature Socialism, Institute for Policy Research & Development.

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Marxism, Science and the Anthropocene

A Study Group convened by Fred Murphy and Steve Knight
Tuesdays, April 12 through June 7, no class May 17

This group will read and discuss classic and contemporary works in the Marxist tradition that address the nexus of capitalism, science, nature, and climate change. The central text will be McKenzie Wark’s Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene, along with selections from Engels’s Dialectics of Nature and work by Donna Haraway, Carolyn Merchant, George Caffentzis, Jason Moore and others. As Wark has noted, “the Western Marxist tradition typically disqualified the sciences as fetishes of the particular, unable to grasp the totality. But climate science in particular takes as its object totality in a quite different sense: the totality of metabolic processes that take place on a planetary scale, and in particular the contribution of collective human labor to those processes. Given what we now know about climate change, the nexus of labor, techne and nature seems like an important one.”

Steve Knight is involved in eco-advocacy as a member of 350NYC, a GreenFaith Fellow working with faith communities, and a certified energy efficiency auditor for multifamily buildings. He has been interested in Marxian analysis and ecosocialism since 2004, when he studied Capital with David Harvey.

Fred Murphy studied and taught historical sociology at The New School and has co-led several MEP courses. His adolescent dream of a career as a research chemist was diverted by the sixties radicalization, but he has never lost interest in the sciences.

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The Science and Politics of our Ecological Crisis

This eight-week course will examine our ecological crisis, the reasons for it and how we might find solutions to it. A Marxist approach will be taken to explain the origins of modern science as a cultural production of our socio-economic system, in order to examine the roots of our ecological crisis. Particular attention will be paid to the science, politics and economics of climate change and energy production. e course should interest anyone who would like to know more, or better understand, historical materialism as a methodology for understanding the world and our place in nature, situated in the context of climate change and 21st century capitalism.

CHRIS WILLIAMS is a long-time environmental activist and author of Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis (Haymarket, 2010). He chairs the Science Department at Packer Collegiate Institute and is an adjunct professor at Pace University in the Department of Chemistry and Physical Science. His has written in numerous US and international publications, and spoken across the country, while also appearing on radio and television new programs to discuss the science and politics of the ecological crisis, climate change and how we might effect change. He reported from Fukushima in 2012. He was awarded the Lannan 2013-4 Cultural Freedom Fellowship to continue this work and has spent the past year visiting Vietnam, Morocco, Bolivia and Kenya investigating development pathways in the context of climate change.

Suggested donation: $75 to $95
No one turned away for inability to pay

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Spectres of the Dialectic from the Big Bang to the Multiverse: Explorations with Hegel, Marx & Engels on the Philosophy of Nature

Explorations with Hegel, Marx & Engels on the Philosophy of Nature

Through writings, videos, and other media we will engage in issues in modern physics and biology that get to the core of the current crisis in science and take us beyond the limitations of the mechanical picture of the world we have inherited.

This class will be a deep engagement in fundamental philosophical and scientific questions concerning space, time, matter, motion, entropy, evolution and origins. We will be engaged in readings and presentations in philosophy as well as biological and physical science. Debates in contemporary physics and biology will be highlighted for their implications for a dialectical philosophy of nature. No prior background is required.

Alex Steinberg taught Engels and the Dialectics of Nature at the Brecht Forum in the Spring 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.

Suggested tuition: $95 / $125 • No one turned away for inability to pay

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