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What is the Left? What is Marxism? London 2013 Reading Group

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London: Mondays 7PM


Goldsmiths College, Richard Hoggart Bldg, Rm356,
London Borough of Lewisham, London SE14, UK

London Platypus Facebook invitation: http://www.facebook.com/events/148283905314897/


Summer and Fall/Autumn 2013 – Winter 2014

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 1. What is the Left? I. Capital in history | Sep. 30, 2013

• 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
Cutrone, "The Marxist hypothesis" (2010)


Week 2. What is the Left? II. Bourgeois society | Oct. 7, 2013

• 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. 14, 2013

• Max Horkheimer, selections from Dämmerung (1926–31)
Adorno, “Imaginative Excesses” (1944–47)


Week 4. What is the Left? IV. Utopia and critique | Oct. 21, 2013

• 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. 28, 2013

Marx, selections from Economic and philosophic manuscripts (1844), pp. 70–101
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. 2–4, 2013

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. 11, 2013

+ 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. 18, 2013

Marx, selections from the Grundrisse (1857–61), pp. 222–226, 236–244, 247–250, 282–294
Marx, Capital Vol. I, Ch. 1 Sec. 4 "The fetishism of commodities" (1867), pp. 319–329


Week 9. Nov. 27, 2013 Thanksgiving break


Week 10. What is Marxism? V. Reification | Dec. 2, 2013

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


Week 11. What is Marxism? VI. Class consciousness | Dec. 9, 2013

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


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)

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