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You are here: The Platypus Affiliated Society/Berlin Reading Group/Lesekreis Fall-Winter 2016

Berlin Reading Group/Lesekreis Fall-Winter 2016

What is the "Left" what is "Marxism"?

Was ist die "Linke"? - Was ist "Marxismus"?


Join us as we embark on our 11-week reading group series on the philosophical, historical, and political significance of Marxism. 

The discussion will be in English but texts are available in German below.

Runs every Monday evening between 7 November and 19 December 2016 (we resume in January after Holiday break).

Zossener Str. 56, 10961 Berlin (Eigang A. 4 stuck. Buzzer: Zizoo)


Call 017680637663 if you have problems finding us.

Join facebook group for regular updates.

Email if you have any questions.

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

required / + recommended reading

Week 1. What is the Left? I. Capital in history | 07.11.2016

• James Miller On Jean-Jacques Rousseau [ENG] Louis Menand (über Edmund Wilson) Meaning in History [ENG]
Cutrone“Capital in history” (2008) [ENG] [DEU]
Cutrone, “The Marxist hypothesis” (2010) [ENG]

Week 2. What is the Left? III. Failure of Marxism | 14.11.2016

• Max Horkheimer, Selections from Dämmerung (1926–31) [ENG] [DEU]
Adorno, “Imaginative Excesses” (1944–47)  [ENG] [DEU] (“Ausschweifung” GS4:297-300, Anhang in Minima Moralia, letzter Abschnitt)

Week 3. What is the Left? IV. Utopia and critique | 21.11.2016

• Leszek Kolakowski, “The concept of the Left” (1968) [ENG] [DEU]
Marx, To make the world philosophical (1839–41)  [ENG] [DEU] (MEW 40, S. 325 - 331)
Marx, For the ruthless criticism of everything existing (Letter to Arnold Ruge, September 1843) [ENG] [DEU]

Week 4. What is Marxism? I. Socialism | 28.11.2016

Karl Marx, Selections from Economic and philosophic manuscripts  (1844) [ENG] [DEU] (Auszüge aus Ökonomisch-philosophische Manuskripte  Die entfremdete Arbeit;Privateigentum und KommunismusBedürfnis, Produktion und Arbeitsteilung (bis |XXI||, MEW 40:556 [exclusiv ||XXXIV|| Die Grundrente])

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, selections from the Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848) [ENG] [DEU]

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

+ Commodity form chart of terms

Week 5. What is Marxism? II. Revolution in 1848 | 5.12.2016

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

• Friedrich Engels, The tactics of social democracy [ENG] [DEU] (1895)
Karl Marx, selections from The Class Struggles in France 1848–50 [ENG] [DEU] (1850) (nur Teil I, der verlinkt ist)
Marx, selections from The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte  [ENG] [DEU]  (1852) [Teil I und VII]

Week 6. What is Marxism? III. Bonapartism |12.12.2016

Karl Marx, Inaugural address to the First International  [ENG] [DEU] (1864)
• Karl Marx, selections from The Civil War in France  [ENG] [DEU] [Teil III und IV] (1871, including Engels's 1891 Introduction [ENG] [DEU] )
• Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme [ENG] [DEU], pp. 525–541 (1875)

Marx, Programme of the Parti Ouvrier (1880)

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

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

Week 7. What is Marxism? IV. Critique of political economy | 19.12.2016

• Karl Marx selections from the Grundrisse (1857–61), pp. 222–226, 236–244, 247–250, 276–293  [ENG] [DEU] (1857–61) [MEW Bd. 13, S.615-641] • Karl MarxCapital Vol. I, Ch. 1 Sec. 4 "The fetishism of commodities"  [ENG] [DEU] (1867) [MEW Bd. 23, S.85-98]

+ Commodity form chart of terms

Winter break: recommended 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 9. What is Marxism? V. Reification | 23.01.2017

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

+ Commodity form chart of terms

Week 10. What is Marxism? VI. Class consciousness |


• Georg Lukács, Original Preface (1922), [ENG] [DEU]
• Georg Lukács, “What is Orthodox Marxism?” (1919) [ENG] [DEU]

• Georg Lukács, “Class Consciousness” (1920) [ENG] [DEU] 

+ Marx, Preface to the First German Edition and Afterword to the Second German Edition (1873) of Capital (1867), pp. 294–298, 299–302

Week 11. What is Marxism? VII. Ends of philosophy |


• Karl Korsch “Marxism and philosophy” (1923) [ENG] [DEU] [in der verlinkten Ausgabe S.84-160]

+ 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