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You are here: Platypus /Summer 2012: Trotsky and Trotskyism

Summer 2012: Trotsky and Trotskyism

The Russian Revolution, which Lenin held up as the torch-light of emancipation for the world proletariat, is being run into national socialist channels. . . . “The Russian proletariat,” said Lenin, “cannot single-handed bring the socialist revolution to a victorious conclusion. But it can give the Russian revolution a mighty impetus such as would create most favorable conditions for a socialist revolution, and would, in a sense, start it. It can help to create more favorable circumstances for its most important, most trustworthy and most reliable collaborator, the European and American proletariat, to join the decisive battles” (“Farewell letter to the Swiss workers,” 1917).

– “Lenin lives in the work of the Opposition” (1931)

Boston, Chicago, London, New York, Philadelphia

Video will be broadcast live and available as recordings at: http://www.livestream.com/platypusaffiliatedsociety


Saturdays 1–4PM CST

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

Chicago Platypus Facebook invitation: http://www.facebook.com/events/140497572752262/


Saturdays 2–5PM EST

The New School
6 E. 16th St. (between Union Square West and 5th Ave.) room 1001

• recommended / + supplemental reading


Recommended preliminary readings:

+ Tariq Ali and Phil Evans, Introducing Trotsky and Marxism / Trotsky for Beginners (1980)
+ Nicolas Krassó, “Trotsky’s Marxism” (1967)
• Platypus Historians Group“The dead Left: Trotskyism” (2008)
• Richard Rubin“The decline of the Left in the 20th century: 1933″ (2009)
• Ian Morrison“Trotsky’s Marxism” (2011)
• Mike Macnair, Bryan Palmer, Richard Rubin, and Jason Wright“The legacy of Trotskyism” (2011)
• Grover Furr“Learning from the Communist Movement of the 20th century: A response to Richard Rubin”(2012)
+ Spartacist League, Lenin and the Vanguard Party (1978)
+ Richard Appignanesi and Oscar Zarate / A&Z, Introducing Lenin and the Russian Revolution / Lenin for Beginners (1978)
+ Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet: Trotsky biography (three volumes: 1954, 1959, 1963)


Week 1. Jun. 16, 2012

1879–1905

lecture: video recording | audio recording

• Tariq Ali and Phil EvansIntroducing Trotsky and Marxism / Trotsky for Beginners (1980)
• Leon TrotskyResults and Prospects (1906)


Week 2. Jun. 23, 2012

1905–17

lecture: video recording [glitches after ~32:00] | audio recording [without glitches]

+ Trotsky, 1905 (1907)


Week 3. Jun. 30, 2012

1917–23

lecture: video recording | audio recording

• TrotskyTerrorism and Communism (1920)
• TrotskyThe Lessons of October (1924) [PDF]
+ Trotsky, Literature and Revolution (1924)
+ Bret Schneider, “Trotsky’s theory of art” (2011)


Week 4. Jul. 7, 2012

1923–33

lecture: video recording | audio recording

+ Trotsky, Where is Britain Going? (1925)
+ Trotsky, Problems of the Chinese Revolution 1927–31 (1932)
+ Trotsky, writings on the rise of Hitler and the destruction of the German Left (1930–40), especially “To build communist parties and an international anew” (1933)


Week 5. Jul. 14, 2012

1933–40

lecture: video recording | audio recording

• Trotsky“Stalinism and Bolshevism” (1937)
• TrotskyThe Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International (1938)
+ Trotsky, “Trade unions in the epoch of imperialist decay” (1940)
+ Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed (1936)
+ Trotsky, In Defense of Marxism (1939/40), especially “Letter to James Cannon” (September 12, 1939)
+ Trotsky, “Art and politics on our epoch” (1938)
+ Mary McCarthy, “My Confession” (1954)


Week 6. Jul. 21, 2012

1940–53

lecture: video recording | audio recording

+ James Cannon, “The coming American revolution” (1946)
+ C.L.R. James, Raya Dunayevskaya, et al., “Program of the minority tendency of the Workers Party/U.S.” (1946)
+ C.L.R. James, “Dialectical materialism and the fate of humanity” (1947)
+ Herbert Marcuse, “33 Theses” (1947)
+ Earl Browder and Max Shachtman with C. Wright Mills, “Is Russia a socialist community?” (1950)
+ Ernest Mandel, “The theory of ‘state capitalism’” (1951)
+ Michel Pablo, “On the duration and the nature of the period of transition from capitalism to socialism” (1951)
+ Pablo, “Where are we going?” (1953)


Week 7. Jul. 28, 2012

1953–63

lecture: video recording [ends ~4:00 prematurely] | audio recording [complete]

+ Cornelius Castoriadis, “The workers and organization” (1959)
• Cliff Slaughter“What is revolutionary leadership?” (1960)
• Revolutionary Tendency of the Socialist Workers Party/U.S.“In defense of a revolutionary perspective”(1962)
+ Tony Cliff, “The coming Russian revolution” (final chapter of Russia: A Marxist Analysis, 1964)
+ Hal Draper, “The two souls of socialism” (1966)
+ Isaac Deutscher, “Marxism in our time” (1965)
+ Murray Bookchin, “Listen, Marxist!” (1969)
• Spartacist League“Genesis of Pabloism” (1972)


2012–13

Primary Marxist reading group

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

• required / + recommended reading

Week A. Aug. 4, 2012

• epigraphs on modern history and freedom by James Miller (on Jean-Jacques Rousseau), Louis Menand (on Edmund Wilson), Karl Marxon “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 RousseauDiscourse on the Origin of Inequality (1754) PDFs of preferred translation (5 parts):[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
• Rousseauselection from On the Social Contract (1762)


Week B. Aug. 11, 2012

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


Week C. Aug. 18, 2012

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


Week D. Aug. 25, 2012

• Nietzscheselection from On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense (1873)
• NietzscheOn the Genealogy of Morals (1887)


Week E. Sep. 1, 2012 Labor Day weekend

• Martin Nicolaus“The unknown Marx” (1968)
• 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. Sep. 8, 2012

• 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. Sep. 15, 2012

• 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. Sep. 22, 2012

• Wilhelm Reich“Ideology as material power” (1933/46)
• Siegfried Kracauer“The mass ornament” (1927)
+ Kracauer, “Photography” (1927)


Week 1. Sep. 29, 2012

• Chris Cutrone“Capital in history” (2008)
• Cutrone“The Marxist hypothesis” (2010)

 

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