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


β€’ required / + recommended reading


Recommended winter break preliminary readings:

+ Leszek Kolakowski, β€œThe concept of the Left” (1968)
+ Richard Appignanesi and Oscar Zarate / A&Z, β€œIntroducing Lenin and the Russian Revolution / Lenin for Beginners” (1977)
+ Sebastian Haffner, β€œFailure of a Revolution: Germany 1918–19” (1968)
+ Tariq Ali and Phil Evans, β€œIntroducing Trotsky and Marxism / Trotsky for Beginners” (1980)
+ James Joll, β€œThe Second International 1889–1914” (1966)
+ Edmund Wilson, β€œTo 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

β€’ Max Horkheimer, β€œThe little man and the philosophy of freedom” (1926–31)
β€’ Chris Cutrone, β€œThe Marxist hypothesis” (2010)
β€’ Chris Cutrone, β€œClass consciousness (from a Marxist persective) today” (2012)
β€’ Chris Cutrone, β€œCapital in history” (2008)
β€’ epigraphs on modern history and freedom by Louis Menand (on Marx and Engels) and Karl Marx, on β€œbecoming” (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

β€’ Leszek Kolakowski, β€œThe concept of the Left” (1968)
β€’ Marx, β€œTo make the world philosophical” (from Marx's dissertation, 1839–41), pp. 9–11
β€’ Marx, β€œFor 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

β€’ Rosa Luxemburg, β€œThe Crisis of German Social Democracy” Part 1 (1915)
β€’ J. P. Nettl, β€œThe German Social Democratic Party 1890–1914 as a Political Model” (1965)
β€’ Cliff Slaughter, β€œWhat is Revolutionary Leadership?” (1960)


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

β€’ Luxemburg, β€œReform or Revolution?” (1900/08)
+ Eugene Debs, β€œCompetition versus Cooperation” (1900)


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

β€’ Spartacist League, β€œLenin and the Vanguard Party” (1978)


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

β€’ V. I. Lenin, β€œWhat is to be Done?” (1902)
+ Richard Appignanesi and Oscar Zarate / A&Z, β€œIntroducing Lenin and the Russian Revolution / Lenin for Beginners” (1977)


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

β€’ Luxemburg, β€œThe Mass Strike, the Political Party and the Trade Unions” (1906)
+ Luxemburg, β€œBlanquism and Social Democracy” (1906)


Week 8. Permanent revolution | 8th March 2018

β€’ Leon Trotsky, β€œResults and Prospects” (1906)
+ Tariq Ali and Phil Evans, β€œIntroducing Trotsky and Marxism / Trotsky for Beginners” (1980)


Trinity Term 2018

Week 9. State and revolution | 26th April 2018

β€’ Lenin, β€œThe State and Revolution” (1917)


Week 10. Imperialism | 3rd May 2018

β€’ Lenin, β€œImperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism” (1916)
+ Lenin, β€œSocialism and War”, Ch. 1 The principles of socialism and the War of 1914–15 (1915)


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

β€’ Luxemburg, β€œWhat does the Spartacus League Want?” (1918)
β€’ Luxemburg, β€œOn the Spartacus Programme” (1918)
+ Luxemburg, β€œGerman Bolshevism” (AKA β€œThe Socialisation of Society”) (1918)
+ Luxemburg, β€œThe Russian Tragedy” (1918)
+ Luxemburg, β€œOrder Reigns in Berlin” (1919)
+ Eugene Debs, β€œThe Day of the People” (1919)
+ Sebastian Haffner, β€œFailure of a Revolution: Germany 1918–19” (1968)


Week 12. Retreat after revolution | 17th May 2018

β€’ Lenin, β€œβ€œLeft-Wing” Communism: An Infantile Disorder” (1920)
+ Lenin, β€œNotes of a Publicist” (1922)


Week 13. Dialectic of reification | 24th May 2018

β€’ LukΓ‘cs, β€œThe Standpoint of the Proletariat” (Part III of β€œReification 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

β€’ Trotsky, β€œThe Lessons of October” (1924) [PDF]
+ Trotsky, β€œStalinism and Bolshevism” (1937)


Week 15. Trotskyism | 7th June 2018

+ Trotsky, β€œTo build communist parties and an international anew” (1933)
β€’ Trotsky, β€œThe Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International” (1938)
+ Trotsky, β€œTrade unions in the epoch of imperialist decay” (1940)
+ Trotsky, β€œLetter to James Cannon” (September 12, 1939)


Week 16. The authoritarian state | 14th June 2018

β€’ Theodor Adorno, β€œReflections on Class Theory” (1942)
β€’ Max Horkheimer, β€œThe Authoritarian State” (1942)
+ Friedrich Pollock, β€œState Capitalism: Its Possibilities and Limitations” (1941) (note 32 on USSR)


Leave your comment

Message(required)
Your Name(required)
E-Mail(required)
Website