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You are here: Platypus/Platypus primary Marxist reading group Winter–Spring 2012

Platypus primary Marxist reading group Winter–Spring 2012

II. Introduction to revolutionary Marxism


Chicago, Frankfurt, London, New York, and Thessaloniki

Saturdays 1–4PM

School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)
112 S. Michigan Ave. room 920

New School University New York (New School)
Lang Café, Eugene Lang Building
65 W. 11th St. ground floor (enter at 66 W. 12th St.)

University of Chicago (UChicago)
Bartlett Hall 1st floor lounge
5640 S. University Ave.

Sundays 1–4PM

New York University (NYU)
Puck Building
295 Lafayette St. 4th floor Memorial Room

• required / + recommended reading
Marx and Engels readings pp. from Robert C. Tucker, ed., Marx-Engels Reader (Norton 2nd ed., 1978)


Recommended winter break preliminary readings:

• Spartacist League, Lenin and the Vanguard Party (1978)
+ Sebastian Haffner, Failure of a Revolution: Germany 1918–19 (1968)
+ Richard Appignanesi and Oscar Zarate / A&Z, Introducing Lenin and the Russian Revolution / Lenin for Beginners (1977)
+ Tariq Ali and Phil Evans, Introducing Trotsky and Marxism / Trotsky for Beginners (1980)
+ 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)


Film screenings: January 2012

• Reds (1981)
• Rosa Luxemburg (1986)


Winter 2012

I. What is the "Left?" -- What is "Marxism?"

Week 9. Jan. 7, 2012 (UChicago)

• Karl Marx, selections from the Grundrisse (1857–61), pp. 222–226, 236–244, 247–250, 282–293
• Marx, Capital Vol. I, Ch. 1 Sec. 4 "The fetishism of commodities" (1867), pp. 319–329


Week 10. Jan. 14, 2012 (UChicago)

• Georg Lukács, “The phenomenon of reification” (Part I of “Reification and the consciousness of the proletariat,” History and Class Consciousness, 1923)


Week 11. Jan. 21, 2012 (UChicago)

• Lukács, Original Preface (1922), “What is Orthodox Marxism?” (1919), and “Class Consciousness” (1920), History and Class Consciousness (1923)
+ Marx, Preface to the First German Edition and Afterword to the Second German Edition (1873) of Capital (1867), pp. 294–298, 299–302


Week 12. Jan. 28–29, 2012 / Jan. 10 (Thessaloniki) / Jan. 13 (Frankfurt)

• Karl Korsch, “Marxism and philosophy” (1923)
+ 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


Winter–Spring 2012

II. Introduction to revolutionary Marxism

Week 13. Feb. 4–5, 2012 / Jan. 27 and Feb. 3 (Frankfurt)

• Rosa Luxemburg, “The Crisis of German Social Democracy” Part 1 (1915)
• J. P. Nettl, “The German Social Democratic Party 1890–1914 as a Political Model” (1965)
• Cliff Slaughter, “What is Revolutionary Leadership?” (1960)


Week 14. Feb. 11–12, 2012 / April 20 (Frankfurt)

• Luxemburg, Reform or Revolution? (1900/08)


Week 15. Feb. 18–19, 2012 / April 27 (Frankfurt)

• V. I. Lenin, What is to be Done? (1902)
+ Richard Appignanesi and Oscar Zarate / A&Z, Introducing Lenin and the Russian Revolution / Lenin for Beginners (1977)


Week 16. Feb. 25–26, 2012 / May 4 (Frankfurt)

• Leon Trotsky, Results and Prospects (1906)
+ Tariq Ali and Phil Evans, Introducing Trotsky and Marxism / Trotsky for Beginners (1980)


Week 17. Mar. 3–4, 2012 / May 11 (Frankfurt)

• Lenin, The State and Revolution (1917)
+ Lenin, Socialism and War Ch. 1 The principles of socialism and the War of 1914–15 (1915)


Week 18. Mar. 10–11, 2012 (UChicago break) / May 18 (Frankfurt)

• Luxemburg, “What does the Spartacus League Want?” (1918)
• Luxemburg, “On the Spartacus Programme” (1918)
+ Luxemburg, "German Bolshevism" (AKA "The Socialisation of Society") (1918)
+ Luxemburg, “The Russian Tragedy” (1918)
+ Luxemburg, “Order Reigns in Berlin” (1919)
+ Sebastian Haffner, Failure of a Revolution: Germany 1918–19 (1968)


Week 19. Mar. 17–18, 2012 (Left Forum NYC)


Week 20. Mar. 24–25, 2012 (Spring break)


Week 21. Mar. 31 – Apr. 1, 2012 (Platypus international convention Chicago)


Week 22. Apr. 7–8, 2012 / May 25 (Frankfurt)

• Lenin, “Left-Wing” Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920)
+ Lenin, "Notes of a Publicist" (1922)


Week 23. Apr. 14–15, 2012 / June 1 (Frankfurt)

• Lukács, “The Standpoint of the Proletariat” (Part III of “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat,” 1923). Available in three sections from marxists.org: section 1 section 2 section 3


Week 24. Apr. 21–22, 2012 / June 8 (Frankfurt)

• Trotsky, The Lessons of October (1924) [PDF]
+ Trotsky, "Stalinism and Bolshevism" (1937)


Week 25. April 28–29, 2012 / June 15 (Frankfurt)

• epigraphs by Louis Menand (on Edmund Wilson) and Peter Preuss (on Nietzsche) on the modern concept of history
+ Charles Baudelaire, from Fusées [Rockets] (1867)
+ Bertolt Brecht, "To posterity" (1939)
+ Walter Benjamin, "To the planetarium" (from One-Way Street, 1928)
+ Benjamin, "Experience and poverty" (1933)
+ Benjamin, Theologico-political fragment (1921/39?)
• Benjamin, "On the Concept of History" (AKA "Theses on the Philosophy of History") (1940) [PDF]
• Benjamin, Paralipomena to "On the Concept of History" (1940)
• Max Horkheimer, "The Authoritarian State" (1942)


Week 26. May 5–6, 2012 / June 22 (Frankfurt)

• Theodor Adorno, “Reflections on Class Theory” (1942)
• Adorno, “Imaginative Excesses” (1944–47)
+ Adorno, Dedication, "Bequest", "Warning: Not to be Misused" and "Finale", Minima Moralia (1944–47)
+ Horkheimer and Adorno, "Discussion about Theory and Praxis" (AKA "Towards a New Manifesto?") [Deutsch] (1956)


Week 27. May 12–13, 2012 / June 29 (Frankfurt)

+ Adorno, “On Subject and Object” (1969)
• Adorno, “Marginalia to Theory and Praxis” (1969)
• Adorno, “Resignation” (1969)
+ Adorno, “Late Capitalism or Industrial Society?” (AKA “Is Marx Obsolete?”) (1968)
+ Esther Leslie, Introduction to the 1969 Adorno-Marcuse correspondence (1999)
+ Adorno and Herbert Marcuse, correspondence on the German New Left (1969)


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