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Summer and Fall/Autumn 2016 – Winter 2017

Every Monday, 7:00-9:00 pm

Bongo Java, 2007 Belmont Blvd.

 

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


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, 2016

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)

• 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, 2016

• 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, 2016

• 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, 2016

+ 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. 6, 2016 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, 2016

• 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, 2016

• 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 H. Frankfurt School precursors | Sep. 26, 2016

• Wilhelm Reich, “Ideology as material power” (1933/46)

• Siegfried Kracauer, “The mass ornament” (1927)

+ Kracauer, “Photography” (1927)


 

Week 1. What is the Left? I. Capital in history | Oct. 3, 2016

• 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. 10, 2016

• 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. 17, 2016

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

Adorno, “Imaginative Excesses” (1944–47)


 

Week 4. What is the Left? IV. Utopia and critique | Oct. 24, 2016

• 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. 31, 2016

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 | Nov. 7, 2016

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. 14, 2016

+ 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. 21, 2016

+ 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. 28, 2016 U.S. Thanksgiving break


 

Week 10. What is Marxism? V. Reification | Dec. 5, 2016 / Jan. 9, 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. 12, 2016 / Jan. 16, 2017

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. 19, 2016 / Jan. 23, 2017

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 2017

II. Introduction to revolutionary Marxism

Dienstags 20:00 - 22:00 UhrRaum S1|03-12 (Altes Hauptgebäude, Hochschulstr.1)

Kontakt: Nicolas.Schliessler(ät)web.de

 

Mit Ausnahme der ersten und vierten Sitzung und des englischen Transkripts der "Reform, Revolution, Resistance"-Podiusmdiskussion in der dritten Sitzung, sind alle Texte im Platypus-Reader zu finden. Es gibt genügend Druckexemplare des Readers für alle TeilnehmerInnen, dieser ist jedoch auch online als PDF- Version hier zu finden:

 

1.Sitzung: Dienstag, 02. Dezember

 

2.Sitzung: Dienstag, 09. Dezember

  • Mission, Was ist ein Schnabeltier?, Eine kurze Geschichte der Linken, Mission der Platypus Review
  • Cutrone, Chris: Das Kapital in der Geschichte

 

3.Sitzung: Dienstag, 16. Dezember

Weihnachtspause

 

4.Sitzung: Dienstag, 13. Januar

 

5.Sitzung: Dienstag, 20. Januar

Platypus Frankfurt lädt zum Ferienlesekreis über "Kunst und Politik".

Ort: Studierendenhaus Bockenheim, K3
Zeit: Immer Freitags 15-18 Uhr
Erster Termin: 29.08.2014

 

 

Vorausgesetzte Lektüre:

• Chris Cutrone et al., “The relevance of Critical Theory to art today” (2011)
/2011/01/01/the-relevance-of-critical-theory-to-art-today/#cutrone
ArtAndPolitics
Woche 1. Die Bedeutung von Kunst | 29. August 2014

• Susan Buck-Morss, Antworten zum Visual culture questionnaire (1996)
/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/buckmorss_visualcultquest.pdf

• Immanuel Kant, Vorwort und Einleitung zur Kritik der Urteilskraft (1790)
http://www.zeno.org/Philosophie/M/Kant%2c+Immanuel/Kritik+der+Urteilskraft

Woche 2. Moderne Ästhetik der Kunst | 5. September 2014

• G.W.F. Hegel, Vorlesungen über die Ästhetik, Erster Abschnitt:
"Einleitung" bis (inklusive) "3. Zweck der Kunst"
http://user.uni-frankfurt.de/~tstahl/Hegel%20-%20Werke%20-%20Band%2013%20-%20Vorlesungen%20über%20die%20Ästhethik%20I%20-%20OCRed.pdf

Woche 3. Kunst und Politik in unserer Epoche | 12. September 2014

• Leon Trotzki, "Kunst und Revolution" (1938)
https://www.marxists.org/deutsch/archiv/trotzki/1939/07/kunst.htm

• Clement Greenberg, "Avant-garde and kitsch" (1939)
http://www.kunstgeschichte.tu-berlin.de/fileadmin/user_upload/ArTUs/Materialien%20SoSe%202013/Bushart/SE%20Kunst-%20und%20Arch.kritik/greenberg_avantgarde%20u%20kitsch.pdf

Woche 4. Revolutionäre Kunst? | 19. September

• Walter Benjamin, "Erfahrung und Armut" (1934)
http://www.textlog.de/benjamin-erfahrung-armut.html

• Benjamin, "Der Autor als Produzent" (1934)
http://www.texturen-online.net/methodik/benjamin/autor-als-produzent/

• Jürgen Habermas, "Die Moderne - ein unvollendest Projekt" (1981)
https://etf.univie.ac.at/fileadmin/user_upload/fak_etf/Fakultaet/Veranstaltungen/philosophisches_cafe/Text_fuer_23_05_2013.pdf

Woche 5. Kunst und Warenform | 26. September

• Stewart Martin, “Critique of relational aesthetics” (2007)
(bald verfügbar)

• Stewart Martin, “The absolute artwork meets the absolute commodity” (2007)
/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/martinstewart_absoluteartworkcommodity_rp2007.pdf

• Theodor Adorno, Ästhetische Theorie (1970):
Selbstverständlichkeit von Kunst verloren (S. 9 - 11)
Gesellschaft (S. 334 - 389)
(bald verfügbar)

A panel event held at the Inaugural European Conference of the Platypus Affiliated Society on July 18th, 2014 at Goldsmiths College, London.

At this panel event, Platypus members Lucy Parker (London); Jan Schroeder (Frankfurt); and Nikos Manousakis (Thessaloniki) reflected upon the below questions. This was followed by an open audience Q&A.

What have been some of the more significant engagements in your chapter with the Left? Why was this important for the development of your chapter and, what has this engagement taught us about the nature international Left?

What are some challenges in building your local chapter, what is the landscape of the Left that makes it hard to navigate, etc?

Why Platypus? Why does platypus need to exist in your location aside from you being there?What are the recurring points of discussions within your chapter? Do you feel like your chapter differs from the international discussions if so how?

This is an international conference, in what way do you see yourself as part of an international organization and how do you see Platypus as an international project? What do you see as the growing trends in the Left in the next year or two? How might Platypus be positioned to address these? Should it?

Where do you want Platypus to go? What other kind of engagements do you hope to foster in the future with the help of other international chapters?

Every year at the Platypus International Convention, speakers from various perspectives are asked to bring their experience of the Left’s recent history to bear on today’s political possibilities and challenges as part of the “Differing Perspectives on the Left” workshop series.

A workshop with the Democratic Socialists of America (Joseph Schwartz (Temple University) and Bill Barclay) held on April 5, 2014, at the Sixth Platypus International Convention.

Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts bemerkten Marx und Engels in einer berühmten Formulierung: "Ein Gespenst geht um in Europa - das Gespenst des Kommunismus." 160 Jahre später scheint der Marxismus selbst zu einem Gespenst geworden zu sein.

Es scheint, als hätte die Linke im 21. Jahrhundert den Marxismus als möglichen Weg zur Freiheit aufgegeben. Doch griff Marx vor allem in seiner eigenen Zeit ein, um seine Zeitgefährten zu ermuntern, die Gesellschaft zu verändern. Trägt die Linke diese Verantwortung heute wohl nicht mehr? Hat die Linke gar die Problematiken, die Marx aufwarf, beantwortet und ist fortgeschritten?

Ist der Marxismus überhaupt noch relevant?

A panel event held at New York University on April 18th, 2013.

Transcripted in Platypus Review #57 (Click on banner to see):
theprweb1 (16)

Recently, a series of exchanges between the Communist Party of Great Britain (PCC), the International Bolshevik Tendency, and the Platypus Affiliated Society has unfolded, mapping a field of positions and historical perspectives whose contours trace some of the most provocative contemporary perspectives on Marxism, socialism, and democracy.

With this public forum speakers will take stock of the points of convergence and divergence that have emerged in order to push the conversation further on key issues such as Left unity, neo-Kautskyism, factionalism, Trotskyism, sectarianism, Leninism and Bolshevism, democratic organization and political program. The event will feature:

James Turley (CPGB)
Bhaskar Sunkara (Jacobin)
Benjamin Blumberg (Platypus)

Please see the link below for a helpful compilation of debates between the Communist Party of Great Britain (PCC), the International Bolshevik Tendency, and the Platypus Affiliated Society.

The full compilation may be found here.

A panel held on April 6, 2013, at the 2013 Platypus International Convention at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Transcribed in Platypus Review #59 (Click below to see):

theprweb1-91

Ten years on from the US invasion of Iraq, are we any closer to understanding what Imperialism is and why we are against it? The problem of Imperialism seems to be getting more difficult to clarify, in relation to our present moment. Since the euphoria around the Arab Spring has passed, the Left has had mixed responses to the interventionist foreign policy of the US, UK and France in the Middle East and North Africa.

It is difficult to disentangle and to clarify what relation the Left’s responses to current issues in Libya, Mali and Syria bear to the history of anti-Imperialism. Never-the-less, if we are to ever overcome Imperialism, we must also confront the history of the Left’s attempts to overcome it.

Just over thirty years ago, the Falklands war presented problems for the Left, in terms of being, on the one hand, against imperialism of British intervention, on the other hand, against a brutal military dictatorship in Argentina. Anti-fascism and anti-imperialism have not always been in ideological conflict on the Left. But, it could be argued, that they have increasingly become so. If this is the case, it might suggest a changing character of anti-Imperialism during the history of the 20th Century. Looking further back, to WW1, what did Marxists understand by the term Imperialism? Does being anti-Imperialist, today even mean to be anti-Capitalist? Does being anti-Capitalist, mean to be anti-Imperialist?

In asking ‘What is Imperialism and for what reasons are you against it?’ this panel is also attempting to address ‘What does it mean to be Marxist, and what does it mean to be on the Left, today?’ It is also to ask, what has become of the Left, and conversely, what could it become?

Speakers:

Larry Everest (Revolutionary Communist Party)
Joseph Green (Communist Voice)
James Turley (Communist Party of Great Britain)

"Why I joined Platypus" was the Sunday Plenary panel at the Platypus Affiliated Society's 4th Annual International Convention, held at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, March 30 to April 1, 2012. In this panel four members reflect on why they joined Platypus, and what this decision has meant for them. This panel took place on April 1st, 2012, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Speakers:
Chris Cutrone
Thodoris Velissaris
Benjamin Landau-Beispiel
Douglas La Rocca

Panel held on March 31st, 2012 at the Fourth Annual Platypus International Convention, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The two decades of the 1990s-2000s form a cycle containing certain common as well as differing concerns. The second decade of the 21st century has begun under the mixed legacy of recent history, presenting important problems needing to be worked through, moving forward.

For Platypus's 2012 international convention, two plenary panels will ask speakers from various perspectives to bring their experience of the Left"s recent history to bear on today's political possibilities and challenges.

The '90s Left Today

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and collapse of the Soviet Union soon after, a new political era opened, in which Marxism was discredited and anarchism became predominant on the radical Left. The most pressing challenges of post-Cold War neo-liberal globalization came amid an era of prosperity at the supposed "end of history." Postmodernist disenchantment with "grand narratives" of emancipation meant a turn against "ideology." Social "justice" rather than freedom became the watchword for a better world. "Resistance" and "horizontal" or "rhizomatic" politics provided a model for "changing the world without taking power" (as John Holloway, inspired by the Zapatistas, put it). Information technology -- the rise of the internet -- matched the new cosmopolitanism. The global order of "empire" confronted by the "multitude" demanded access to the "commonwealth" (Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri). The "death of communism" challenged the Left's imagination of an emancipated future. "Black bloc" protest and "communisation" theory replaced traditional socialism, as the 20th century came to an uncertain close.

The '00s Left Today

As a result of the 9/11 attacks, the War on Terror rekindled anti-imperialist protest, even while it seemed to deliver a grave blow to the newly emergent World Social Forum, "alterglobalisation" movement. Neo-conservatism in the U.S. presented the specter of growing divisions in the global order, to which the world's most vulnerable might fall victim. Religious fundamentalism appeared to surge. Disenchantment with capitalist development accompanied the social imagination of ecological crisis and economic downturn: the desire for a "green economy" and apparent need for decreased consumption. At the same time, new intensification of global migration of workers presented challenges for political integration. The U.S. and allied wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and beyond, were met by an anti-war movement and a new generation of radicalization. But the wars were eclipsed by financial crisis and Obamaâs election, bringing anti-austerity protests (setting the stage later for #Occupy), as the first decade of the 21st century ended with the economic crisis lingering and even deepening, scotching hopes for a reversal of neoliberalism and return to "Keynesian" social investment policies. Neoliberalism and neoconservatism both stood discredited, but without presenting a clear alternative for the future.

Panelists:
Daniel Dulce (Crimthinc)
Thodoris Velissaris (Platypus)
Nick Kreitman (Platypus, Formerly new SDS)
Mike Ely (Kasama)
Joshua Moufawad-Paul (Supporter, Parti communiste revolutionnaire - Revolutionary Communist Party (Canada)