Capital, Volume 1

with Mary Boger

Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Karl Marx
Book I: The Process of Production of Capital


Volume I of Capital begins the scientific presentation of the laws of motion that underlie the developmental process that has led to the realities of our contemporary human condition. In only 200-300 years capitalist relations of re/production have absorbed all pre-capitalist societies into its circulation of commodities making all that exists, whether real or imaginary, means for investing money to make more money. Private ownership and control over our earth’s natural resources by the owners of capital and separation of the world’s population from any direct access to our conditions of life have reduced our human productive activity to a thing that is bought and sold at the bidding of capital.

Uncovering the how, what and for whom our life processes are determined based on the logic of using money in order to make more money is a journey we need to take if we are to consciously situate ourselves within our given historical process as effective political/social/universal actors. Our concepts about what constitutes the economy, the state, politics, the individual, class, and our relation to nature are filtered through the lens of the dominant ideology and the realities of the everyday life where buying and selling is the norm and vehicle by which we must adapt in order to survive. This is simply how the world works. The notion that a market economy based on money making more money is a natural state of affairs and is good for society as a whole is generally accepted—including by members of the working class. This has been especially so in the U.S., in spite of the fact that they must each individually sell their capacity to work to a particular capitalist in order to acquire their means of subsistence or face homelessness, destitution or criminality.

Marx’s scientific presentation of the laws of motion of capitalist development begins by analyzing the fundamental or elemental form which wealth takes in our society, the commodity. Understanding this form leads us to the most basic law that grounds social reproduction in societies under the domination of capital, the law of value. Therefore, our first task will be to break through the appearance and reveal the social content of the commodity form. This begins the unraveling of the why and how of what we necessarily, under the domination and exploitation of capital, experience every day in our lives.

If you are joining this class after November 1, you can write to and request the PDFs for this Capital, Vol. 1 class. There will be two more Volume 1 classes following this with the goal being to finish all of Volume One by mid-June.

MARY BOGER, political economist (MA) sociologist (PhD), and ethnographic researcher. MA Thesis: Marx on the Fetishism of Commodities. Dissertation: A Ghetto State of Ghettos: Palestinians Under Israeli Citizenship. A member of the original founders of the first School for Marxist Education (1975) and its continuation as the New York Marxist School/Brecht Forum (1979-2014) and Mary is now engaged with the work of The MEP. She has been teaching Capital for many years to students of all ages and diverse occupations, backgrounds and countries of origin. Throughout. Mary has actively participated in movement struggles and solidarity work with a broad range of liberation struggles.


All tickets are sliding scale. As there have already been several sessions there is a fee reduction reflected on the site. No one denied participation for inability to pay. Email to for the link to these sessions.


Highlights of Marx’s Capital, Volume One

A 9 Session Class and Discussion with Juliet Ucelli
Wednesdays, 6:00 to 7:30 pm
October 4-December 6, 2017

Capital is the indispensable sourcebook on Marx’s method for analyzing the economy, politics and struggles. Many of us have less time to study it because, as Marx predicted, we have to work longer hours— and often more than one job—in order to survive. Fortunately, even a basic familiarity with the key concepts of Volume I offers many tools for understanding capitalism’s dynamics. With current conditions, we’ve been offering this highlights approach, breaking down key concepts and sections:

• use value, value and surplus value;
• why capitalism has needed conquest, enslavement and white supremacy;
• why capitalism drives technological innovation, overwork and unemployment and leads to ecological destruction;
• how working-class people (employed and unemployed) have historically won improvements in living and working conditions.

Participant reports and life experiences are welcome!

The course provides a basic grounding for participants to pursue further study on their own or collectively. We’ll refer to new resources such as on-line and visual aids and current articles that illustrate capitalism’s developmental tendencies, which Marx calls its laws of motion. Suggested fees are sliding scale. No one is turned away for inability to pay.

Juliet Ucelli has taught labor economics and class/race/gender for labor unions, and was a public high school social worker. She writes on Eurocentrism in Marxist theory, the politics of inner city public schooling and Marxist understandings of human development.