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Platypus introduction to the history of Marxism readings

A series of 10 sessions introducing Platypus's approach to the history of Marxism.

• required / + recommended [ / ++ supplemental ] readings

Essential background reading:

• Leszek Kolakowski, “The Concept of the Left”


Recommended preliminary/background readings:

+ Edmund Wilson, To the Finland Station: A Study in the Writing and Acting of History (1940), Part II. Ch. (1–4,) 5–10, 12–16; Part III. Ch. 1–6
+ James Joll, The Second International 1889-1914 (1966)
+ Sebastian Haffner, Failure of a Revolution: Germany 1918-19 (1968)


Week 1

• Chris Cutrone, "The Marxist hypothesis: a response to Alain Badiou's 'communist hypothesis'"
• Cutrone, “Capital in history: The need for a Marxian philosophy of history of the Left”
+ Cutrone, "The Left is dead! -- Long live the Left!" Vicissitudes of historical consciousness and the possibilities for emancipatory social politics today
+ Kant, “Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View” (1784)
+ Benjamin Constant, “The Liberty of the Ancients Compared with that of the Moderns” (1819)
[ ++ Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality (1754) ]
[ ++ Rousseau, selection from The Social Contract (1762) ]


Week 2

• Marx and Friedrich Engels, selections from the Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), pp. 469-500
• Marx, To make the world philosophical (from Marx's dissertation, 1839–41), pp. 9–11
• Marx, For the ruthless criticism of everything existing (letter to Arnold Ruge, September 1843), pp. 12–15


Week 3

• Screening: Margarethe von Trotta, dir., Rosa Luxemburg (1986 film)
• Rosa Luxemburg, “The Crisis of German Social Democracy” Part 1 (1915), and "Order Reigns in Berlin" (1919)
• J. P. Nettl, “The German Social Democratic Party 1890-1914 as a Political Model” (1965)
[ ++ James Joll, The Second International 1889-1914 (1966) ]


Week 4

• Cliff Slaughter, “What is Revolutionary Leadership?” (1960)


Week 5

• Richard Appignanesi and Oscar Zarate / A&Z, Introducing Lenin and the Russian Revolution / Lenin for Beginners (1977)


Week 6

• Spartacist League, Lenin and the Vanguard Party (1978)


Week 7

• Luxemburg, “The Russian Tragedy” (1918), “Order Reigns in Berlin” (1919)
[ ++ Sebastian Haffner, Failure of a Revolution: Germany 1918-19 (1968) ]


Week 8

• Tariq Ali and Phil Evans, Introducing Trotsky and Marxism / Trotsky for Beginners (1980)


Week 9

• Max Horkheimer, selections from Dämmerung
+ Theodor W. Adorno, “Imaginative Excesses” (1944–47)


Week 10

• Theodor W. Adorno, “Reflections on Class Theory” (1942)
+ Adorno and Horkheimer, “Towards a New Manifesto?” (1956)
• Adorno, “Resignation” (1969)


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