Political Writings of Marx and Engels

Lessons for Today’s Politics
A reading group convened by Lisa Maya Knauer
Saturdays from 3:30-5:30 p.m.
October 7-December 9 (no meeting November 25)
9 Session class

“It was the first time that the bourgeoisie showed to what insane cruelties of revenge it will be goaded the moment the proletariat dares to take its stand against them as a separate class, with its own interests and demands.”

This sentence was written by Karl Marx in 1871, just weeks after the French bourgeoisie crushed the Paris Commune, but it is just as applicable to today’s political situation in the U.S. and elsewhere. This reading group will delve into a selection of Marx and Engels’ political writings to gain both a better understanding of the history of working-class and socialist struggles of their times, and explore lessons for our political organizing now. This tasks takes on a special urgency in light of the events in Charlottesville and the increased visibility of racist, anti-Semitic and white supremacist ideologies.

The reading group offers a very accessible entry-point into the works of Marx and Engels, so no previous study of Marxism is necessary. But it is also a good complement to the study of Capital and other more complex theoretical works.

We will start with Marx and Engels’ writings about the Paris Commune and its aftermath, and collectively decide which other works to explore in our 10-week session.

Lisa Maya Knauer has been involved with Marxist education in New York for her entire adult life, and has taught a variety of classes at the MEP and its predecessors. Her current activist work focuses on immigrant workers’ rights and indigenous struggles for land and water. In her day job, she is a tenured radical at a public university.

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