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Introduction To Revolutionary Marxism - Spring 2014

Recommencing the beginning of the Spring Term

Monday 20 Jan, 7pm

Richard Hoggart Building, Rm 356

• 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:

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


Winter 2014

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

What is Marxism? VII. Ends of philosophy | Jan. 20, 2014

• 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

II. Introduction to revolutionary Marxism

Week 13. Revolutionary leadership | Jan. 27, 2014

• 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. Reform or revolution? | Feb. 3, 2014

• LuxemburgReform or Revolution? (1900/08)


Week 15. Lenin and the vanguard party | Feb. 10, 2014

• Spartacist LeagueLenin and the Vanguard Party (1978)


Week 16. What is to be done? | Feb. 24, 2014

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


Week 17. Mass strike and social democracy | Mar. 3, 2014

• Luxemburg, The Mass Strike, the Political Party and the Trade Unions (1906)
+ Luxemburg, “Blanquism and Social Democracy” (1906)


Week 18. Permanent revolution | Mar. 10, 2014

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


Week 19. State and revolution | Mar. 17, 2014

• LeninThe State and Revolution (1917)


Week 20. Imperialism | Mar. 24, 2014

• LeninImperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916)
+ Lenin, Socialism and War Ch. 1 The principles of socialism and the War of 1914–15 (1915)


Week 22. Mar. 31, 2014 (EASTER BREAK)


Week 23. Apr. 5–7, 2014 Platypus International Convention (Chicago)


Week 24. Failure of the revolution | Apr. 14, 2014

• 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 25. Retreat after revolution | Apr. 21, 2014

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


Week 26. Dialectic of reification | May. 5, 2014

• 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 27. Lessons of October | May. 12, 2014

• TrotskyThe Lessons of October (1924) [PDF]
+ Trotsky, “Stalinism and Bolshevism” (1937)


Week 28. Trotskyism | May. 19, 2014

+ Trotsky, “To build communist parties and an international anew” (1933)
• TrotskyThe Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International (1938)
+ Trotsky, “Trade unions in the epoch of imperialist decay” (1940)
+ Trotsky, Letter to James Cannon (September 12, 1939)


Week 29. The authoritarian state | May. 16, 2014

• Friedrich Pollock“State Capitalism: Its Possibilities and Limitations” (1941) (note 32 on USSR)
• Max Horkheimer, “The Authoritarian State” (1942)


Week 30. On the concept of history | Jun. 2, 2014

• 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]
• BenjaminParalipomena to “On the Concept of History” (1940)


Week 31. Reflections on Marxism | Jun. 9, 2014

• 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 32. Theory and practice | Jun. 16, 2014

+ 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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