RSS FeedRSS FeedLivestreamLivestreamVimeoVimeoTwitterTwitterFacebook GroupFacebook Group
You are here: Platypus /Oxford Spring 2018 Reading Group: Introduction to Revolutionary Marxism

Oxford Spring 2018 Reading Group: Introduction to Revolutionary Marxism

Oxford: Thursdays 5.00 – 7.00 pm

Harris Manchester College, Carpenter Room (map of the college)
1 Mansfield Rd, Oxford OX1 3TD


required / + recommended reading


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)
+ Tariq Ali and Phil Evans, “Introducing Trotsky and Marxism / Trotsky for Beginners” (1980)
+ James Joll, “The Second International 1889–1914” (1966)
+ 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


Hilary Term 2018

I. Introduction to Platypus

Week 1. Capital in History | 18th January 2018

• Max Horkheimer, “The little man and the philosophy of freedom” (1926–31)
• Chris Cutrone, “The Marxist hypothesis” (2010)
• Chris Cutrone, “Class consciousness (from a Marxist persective) today” (2012)
• Chris Cutrone, “Capital in history” (2008)
• epigraphs on modern history and freedom by Louis Menand (on Marx and Engels) and Karl Marx, on “becoming” (from the Grundrisse, 1857–58)
+ Capital in history timeline and chart of terms
+ Being and becoming (freedom in transformation) chart of terms
+ video of Communist University 2011 London presentation


Week 2. Utopia and Critique | 25th January 2018

• 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


II. Introduction to Revolutionary Marxism

Week 3. Revolutionary leadership | 1st February 2018

• 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 4. Reform or revolution? | 8th February 2018

Luxemburg, “Reform or Revolution?” (1900/08)
+ Eugene Debs, “Competition versus Cooperation” (1900)


Week 5. Lenin and the vanguard party | 15th February 2018

Spartacist League, “Lenin and the Vanguard Party” (1978)


Week 6. What is to be done? | 22th February 2018

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


Week 7. Mass strike and social democracy | 1st March 2018

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


Week 8. Permanent revolution | 8th March 2018

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


Trinity Term 2018

Week 9. State and revolution | 26th April 2018

Lenin, “The State and Revolution” (1917)


Week 10. Imperialism | 3rd May 2018

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


Week 11. Failure of the revolution | 10th May 2018

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)
+ Eugene Debs, “The Day of the People” (1919)
+ Sebastian Haffner, “Failure of a Revolution: Germany 1918–19” (1968)


Week 12. Retreat after revolution | 17th May 2018

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


Week 13. Dialectic of reification | 24th May 2018

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
+ Being and becoming (freedom in transformation) / immanent dialectical critique chart of terms


Week 14. Lessons of October | 31th May 2018

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


Week 15. Trotskyism | 7th June 2018

+ Trotsky, “To build communist parties and an international anew” (1933)
Trotsky, “The 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 16. The authoritarian state | 14th June 2018

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


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: