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London

Ongoing Activities

Summer and Fall/Autumn 2017 – Winter 2018

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

Tuesdays, 6:30pm Room 257, Richard Hoggarth Building, Goldsmiths, University of London, SE14 6NW


 required / + recommended reading


Marx and Engels readings pp. from Robert C. Tucker, ed., Marx-Engels Reader (Norton 2nd ed., 1978)


Week A. Radical bourgeois philosophy I. Rousseau: Crossroads of society | Aug. 8, 2017

Whoever dares undertake to establish a people’s institutions must feel himself capable of changing, as it were, human nature, of transforming each individual, who by himself is a complete and solitary whole, into a part of a larger whole, from which, in a sense, the individual receives his life and his being, of substituting a limited and mental existence for the physical and independent existence. He has to take from man his own powers, and give him in exchange alien powers which he cannot employ without the help of other men.

-- Jean-Jacques Rousseau, On the Social Contract (1762)

• Max Horkheimer, "The little man and the philosophy of freedom" (1926–31)

• epigraphs on modern history and freedom by James Miller (on Jean-Jacques Rousseau), Louis Menand (on Edmund Wilson), Karl Marx, on "becoming" (from the Grundrisse, 1857–58), and Peter Preuss (on Nietzsche)

+ Rainer Maria Rilke, "Archaic Torso of Apollo" (1908)

+ Robert Pippin, "On Critical Theory" (2004)

• Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality (1754) PDFs of preferred translation (5 parts): [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

 Rousseau, selection from On the Social Contract (1762)


Week B. Radical bourgeois philosophy II. Hegel: Freedom in history | Aug. 15, 2017

• G.W.F. Hegel, Introduction to the Philosophy of History (1831) [HTML] [PDF pp. 14-128] [Audiobook]


Week C. Radical bourgeois philosophy III. Nietzsche (1): Life in history | Aug. 22, 2017

• Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Use and Abuse of History for Life (1874) [translator's introduction by Peter Preuss]

+ Nietzsche on history chart of terms


Week D. Radical bourgeois philosophy IV. Nietzsche (2): Asceticism of moderns | Aug. 29, 2017

+ Human, All Too Human: Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil (1999)

 Nietzsche, selection from On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense (1873)

 Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals: A Polemic (1887)


Week E. 1960s New Left I. Neo-Marxism | Sep. 5, 2017 U.S. Labor Day weekend

• Martin Nicolaus, “The unknown Marx” (1968)

+ Commodity form chart of terms

• Moishe Postone, “Necessity, labor, and time” (1978)

+ Postone, “History and helplessness: Mass mobilization and contemporary forms of anticapitalism” (2006)

+ Postone, “Theorizing the contemporary world: Brenner, Arrighi, Harvey” (2006)


Week F. 1960s New Left II. Gender and sexuality | Sep. 12, 2017

• Juliet Mitchell, “Women: The longest revolution” (1966)

• Clara Zetkin and Vladimir Lenin, “An interview on the woman question” (1920)

• Theodor W. Adorno, “Sexual taboos and the law today” (1963)

• John D’Emilio, “Capitalism and gay identity” (1983)


Week G. 1960s New Left III. Anti-black racism in the U.S. | Sep. 19, 2017

• Richard Fraser, “Two lectures on the black question in America and revolutionary integrationism” (1953)

• James Robertson and Shirley Stoute, “For black Trotskyism” (1963)

+ Spartacist League, “Black and red: Class struggle road to Negro freedom” (1966)

+ Bayard Rustin, “The failure of black separatism” (1970)

• Adolph Reed, “Black particularity reconsidered” (1979)

+ Reed, “Paths to Critical Theory” (1984)


Week 1. What is the Left? I. Capital in history | Sep. 26, 2017

• Max Horkheimer, "The little man and the philosophy of freedom" (1926–31)

• epigraphs on modern history and freedom by Louis Menand (on Marx and Engels) and Karl Marx, on "becoming" (from the Grundrisse, 1857–58)

• Chris Cutrone, "Capital in history" (2008)

+ Capital in history timeline and chart of terms

+ video of Communist University 2011 London presentation

 Cutrone, "The Marxist hypothesis" (2010)


Week 2. What is the Left? II. Bourgeois society | Oct. 3, 2017

• Immanuel Kant, "Idea for a universal history from a cosmopolitan point of view" and "What is Enlightenment?" (1784)

• Benjamin Constant, "The liberty of the ancients compared with that of the moderns" (1819)

+ Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the origin of inequality (1754)

+ Rousseau, selection from On the social contract (1762)


Week 3. What is the Left? III. Failure of Marxism | Oct. 10, 2017

• Max Horkheimer, selections from Dämmerung (1926–31)

 Adorno, “Imaginative Excesses” (1944–47)


Week 4. What is the Left? IV. Utopia and critique | Oct. 17, 2017

• Leszek Kolakowski, “The concept of the Left” (1968)

 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 5. What is Marxism? I. Socialism | Oct. 24, 2017

 Marx, selections from Economic and philosophic manuscripts (1844), pp. 70–101

+ Commodity form chart of terms

 Marx and Friedrich Engels, selections from the Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), pp. 469-500

 Marx, Address to the Central Committee of the Communist League (1850), pp. 501–511


Week 6. What is Marxism? II. Revolution in 1848 | Oct. 31, 2017

 Marx, The coming upheaval (from The Poverty of Philosophy, 1847) and Class struggle and mode of production (letter to Weydemeyer, 1852), pp. 218-220

 Engels, The tactics of social democracy (Engels's 1895 introduction to Marx, The Class Struggles in France), pp. 556–573

 Marx, selections from The Class Struggles in France 1848–50 (1850), pp. 586–593

 Marx, selections from The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852), pp. 594–617


Week 7. What is Marxism? III. Bonapartism | Nov. 7, 2017

+ Karl Korsch, "The Marxism of the First International" (1924)

 Marx, Inaugural address to the First International (1864), pp. 512–519

 Marx, selections from The Civil War in France (1871, including Engels's 1891 Introduction), pp. 618–652

+ Korsch, Introduction to Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme (1922)

 Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme, pp. 525–541

 Marx, Programme of the Parti Ouvrier (1880)


Week 8. What is Marxism? IV. Critique of political economy | Nov. 14, 2017

+ Commodity form chart of terms

 Marx, selections from the Grundrisse (1857–61), pp. 222–226, 236–244, 247–250, 276–293 ME Reader pp. 276-281

 Marx, Capital Vol. I, Ch. 1 Sec. 4 "The fetishism of commodities" (1867), pp. 319–329


Week 9. Nov. 25, 2017 U.S. Thanksgiving break


Week 10. What is Marxism? V. Reification | Nov. 28, 2017

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

+ Commodity form chart of terms


Winter break readings

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

+ Sebastian Haffner, Failure of a Revolution: Germany 1918–19 (1968)

+ 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

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

+ James Joll, The Second International 1889–1914 (1966)


Week 11. What is Marxism? VI. Class consciousness | Dec. 5, 2017 / Jan. 13, 2018

 Lukács, Original Preface (1922), “What is Orthodox Marxism?” (1919), “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. What is Marxism? VII. Ends of philosophy | Dec. 12, 2017 / Jan. 20, 2018

 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

+ Marx, "Theses on Feuerbach" (1845), pp. 143–145


Winter–Spring 2018

II. Introduction to revolutionary Marxism

This summer, in the centenary year of the Russian revolution, our reading group focuses on Lenin and the Russian revolution in 1917.
Please join us starting June 20th at the Richard Hogarth Building, Goldsmiths (room tbc) at 6.30pm on Tuesday evenings. The course is 7 weeks long. All are welcome!

Summer 2017 Readings: Russian Revolution 1917
• required / + recommended reading

Lenin readings available in Robert C. Tucker, ed., The Lenin Anthology (Norton, 1977), except (*) on marxists.org

Recommended background readings

+ Richard Appignanesi and Oscar Zarate / A&Z, Introducing Lenin and the Russian Revolution / Lenin for Beginners (1977)
+ John Reed, Ten Days that Shook the World (1919)

Week 1 | June 20

• Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution (1905), pp. 120-147
• Lenin, On the Two Lines in the Revolution (1915) *

Week 2 | June 27

• Lenin, Lecture on the 1905 Revolution (1917), pp. 278-292
• Lenin, Letters from Afar (1917) *
• Lenin, April Theses (1917), pp. 295-300

Week 3 | July 4

• Lenin, The Dual Power (1917), pp. 301-304
• Lenin, The Enemies of the People (1917), pp. 305-306
• Lenin, The Beginning of Bonapartism (1917), pp. 307-310

Week 4 | July 11

• Lenin, The State and Revolution (1917), pp. 311-398

Week 5 | July 18

• Lenin, Can the Bolsheviks Retain State Power? (1917), pp. 399-406
• Lenin, Marxism and Insurrection (1917), pp. 407-412
• Lenin, Advice of an Onlooker (1917), pp. 413-414

Week 6 | July 25

• Lenin, To the Citizens of Russia! (1917), p. 417
• Lenin, Theses on the Constituent Assembly (1917), pp. 418-422
• Lenin, The Chief Task of Our Day (1918), pp. 433-437
• Lenin, The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government (1918), pp. 438-460

Week 7 | August 1

• Lenin, The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky (1918), pp. 461-476

Mondays 6.30-9.30 PM Goldsmiths College, University of London Room 257, Richard Hoggart Building, Lewisham Way, New Cross

Latest Event Video: Marxism and Anarchism: Radical Ideologies Today, Stony Brook, 3.5.14