Speaker: Nathan Fisher, LA DSA organizer
Commentator: Mansoor M., Iranian cultural worker

Sunday, October 15
6:15-8:00 PM
Art Share
801 East Fourth Place (Arts District)
Los Ángeles
(Free parking in lot across the street on Hewitt St. by the Aztec calendar)

Reading: Chs. 7-8 of Capital I

Supplementary: Cleaver, Rupturing the Dialectic (pp. 29-71), Greenhouse and Kasperkevic, “Fight for $15 turns into largest protest by low-wage workers in U.S. history,” Guardian, April 15, 2015 https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/15/fight-for-15-minimum-wage-protests-new-york-los-angeles-atlanta-boston

Topics: creative and conscious human labor; labor theory of value; labor power, surplus value, and variable capital

 

Part of a seven-part series on CAPITAL

 

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HERE IS THE ENTIRE SERIES

MARX’S CAPITAL AS THEORETICAL GROUND FOR UPROOTING THE SYSTEM: A SEVEN-PART SERIES

We are conducting this seven-part series of classes, free and open to the public, in order to commemorate the150th anniversary of Marx’s Capital, Vol. I. People are encouraged to attend all seven sessions, but are free to drop in on individual ones as well.

Each class will address a different topic taken from the book. We will discuss core concepts like the underlying causes of economic crises; value, surplus value, and the exploitation of the worker; commodity fetishism and dehumanization; the extended working day; capital’s control over labor through the instrumentality of the machine; accumulation of capital and permanent unemployment; colonialism, slavery, and dispossession; and revolution against capital. At the same time, we will also view other concepts at the center of the Marxist-Humanist interpretation of Capital, such as the working class drive for self-emancipation, the dialectics of race and class, gender and work, and Marx’s underlying concept of a humanist alternative to capitalism, in contrast to the centralized, statist forms found in twentieth century communism and social democracy.

Sessions will feature a speaker and a commentator. They will introduce the themes of that session, followed by free and open discussion of Marx’s Capital and the present crisis.

Two Sundays per month
6:15-8:00 PM
Art Share
801 East Fourth Place (Arts District)
Los Ángeles
(Free parking in lot across the street on Hewitt St. by the Aztec calendar)

1. September 17

CAN CAPITALISM SURVIVE THE GREAT RECESSION? RE-EXAMINING MARX’S CAPITAL FOR TODAY

Speaker: Stephan Hammel, UCI Professor and writer on Marxian economics and value theory

Commentator: Ali Kiani, Iranian Marxist thinker and translator

Main readings: Capital III, Chs. 13-15

Supplementary readings:  Dunayevskaya, Marxism and Freedom, pp. 137-49; Michael Roberts, “A World Rate of Profit” (Sept. 2012) https://thenextrecession.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/a-world-rate-of-profit.pdf

Topic: Causes of crises in relation to Marx’s law of the tendential fall in the rate of profit; Marx’s method

2. October 1

THE VALUE FORM AND COMMODITY FETISHISM

Speaker: Kevin B. Anderson, UCSB Professor and author of Marx at the Margins
Commentator: Nick Takeyama, student activist

Reading: Ch. 1 of Capital I, esp. sections 1, 2, and 4, Ch. 2

Supplementary: Lukács, section 1 of “Reification” chapter of History and Class Consciousness (pp. 83-92); Hudis, Marx’s Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism (pp. 147-61)

Topics: value theory, commodity fetishism and dehumanization, the alternative to capitalism

3. October 15

CREATION OF SURPLUS VALUE VS. THE CREATIVITY OF HUMAN LABOR: WHY WAGE LABOR IS ALWAYS EXPLOITED
Speaker: Nathan Fisher, LA DSA organizer

Commentator: Mansoor M., Iranian cultural worker

Reading: Chs. 7-8 of Capital I

Supplementary: Cleaver, Rupturing the Dialectic (pp. 29-71), Greenhouse and Kasperkevic, “Fight for $15 turns into largest protest by low-wage workers in U.S. history,” Guardian, April 15, 2015 https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/15/fight-for-15-minimum-wage-protests-new-york-los-angeles-atlanta-boston

Topics: creative and conscious human labor; labor theory of value; labor power, surplus value, and variable capital

4. November 5

THE LONGER WORKING DAY/ABSOLUTE SURPLUS VALUE, AND THE DIALECTICS OF RACE AND CLASS

Speaker: Chris Gardner, writer on war, imperialism, and the Middle East

Commentator: TBA

Reading: Ch. 9, 10:5-7 of Capital I

Supplementary: Dunayevskaya, Marxism and Freedom, Ch. 5; Dustin Guastella, “Why We Should Demand a Shorter Workweek” (DSA 9-6-14)

http://www.dsausa.org/shorter_work_weeks

Topics: Accumulation of absolute surplus value by increasing the working day; workers struggle for shorter working day; slavery, racism and class divisions in the U.S., from the Civil War to today

5. November 26

MACHINE PRODUCTION/RELATIVE SURPLUS VALUE: ALIENATED LABOR AND GENDER AND THE FAMILY

Speaker: Mariah Brennan Clegg, ecological Marxist

Commentator: Marcelo Mendez, Marxist student activist

Reading: Ch. 15:1-5 + pp. 618-21 of Capital I, including paragraph on gender and the family

Supplementary: Dunayevskaya, Marxism and Freedom, Ch. 16; Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man (pp. 24-38)

Topics: Extraction of relative surplus value from labor via machinery and automation, workers struggles against the domination of machinery and automation, capitalism’s use of and impact on gender divisions and roles

6. December 3

ACCUMULATION OF CAPITAL: PERMANENT UNEMPLOYMENT AND COLONIAL SUPER-EXPLOITATION

Speaker: Lilia Monzó, Chapman University Professor; writer on Marxism and women of color

Commentator: Hamid Assian, environmental and anti-racist activist

Reading: Ch. 25:1-4, 5f of Capital I

Supplementary: Dunayevskaya, Marxism and Freedom pp. 120-25; Anderson, Marx at the Margins (pp. 149-51, 190-92)

Topics: Permanent unemployment as a feature of advanced capitalism; Ireland — colonial dispossession, famine, mass emigration, and global revolution

7. December 17

PRIMITIVE ACCUMULATION OF CAPITAL: DISPOSSESSION, SLAVERY, AND REVOLUTION

Speaker: Ali Kiani, Iranian Marxist thinker and translator

Commentator: René Moya, socialist and immigrant rights activist

Reading: Chs. 26-32 of Capital I

Supplementary: Luxemburg, from “Struggle Against Natural Economy” (pp. 368-77) in Accumulation of Capital; Edward L. Tapia, “Remembering Dependency Theory: A Marxist-Humanist Review,” New Politics (Summer 2017) http://newpol.org/content/remembering-dependency-theory

Topics: Dispossession of the British peasantry, the Atlantic slave system, and the origins of capitalism; centralization of capital and workers’ revolution (negation of the negation)

Note on Sources: Marx completed the drafts of what became Vol. III in 1864-65, before Vol. I, which is why we are reading Capital III first, in addition to the importance of his crisis theory for today. We recommend the later translations of Capital III (David Fernbach) and Capital I (Ben Fowkes,) both from Penguin Books, but note that the older translation is out of copyright and easily available free for both Vol. III https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ and Vol. I  https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1 Print copies of Capital I and III will be on sale at the meetings at a low price.

 

 

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OTHER INFORMATION

Sponsored by the West Coast Chapter, International Marxist-Humanist Organization

More information: <[email protected]>

https://www.internationalmarxisthumanist.org/

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