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You are here: Platypus /LSE Spring Reading Group: Introduction to Revolutionary Marxism (2020)

LSE Spring Reading Group: Introduction to Revolutionary Marxism (2020)

Wednesdays
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
20 Kingsway
Room KSW1.01
(map)


• 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


Week 1. What is Marxism? VI. Class consciousness | Jan. 22, 2020

Catching up with last term.

• Lukács“Class Consciousness” (1920), Original Preface (1922), “What is Orthodox Marxism?” (1919), History and Class Consciousness (1923)
Capitalist contradiction chart of terms 
Reification chart of terms
Being and becoming (freedom in transformation) / immanent dialectical critique chart of terms
+ Marx, Preface to the First German Edition and Afterword to the Second German Edition (1873) of Capital (1867), pp. 294–298, 299–302


II. Introduction to revolutionary Marxism


Week 2. Revolutionary leadership | Feb. 5, 2020

• 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 3. Reform or revolution? | Feb. 12, 2020

• LuxemburgReform or Revolution? (1900/08)
+ Eugene Debs, "Competition versus Cooperation" (1900)


Week 4. Lenin and the vanguard party | Feb. 19, 2020

• Spartacist LeagueLenin and the Vanguard Party (1978)
+ Richard Appignanesi and Oscar Zarate / A&Z, Introducing Lenin and the Russian Revolution / Lenin for Beginners (1977)


Week 5. LSE Reading Week | Feb. 24 - 28, 2020


Week 6. What is to be done? | Mar. 4, 2020

• 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 7. Mass strike and social democracy | Mar. 11, 2020

• LuxemburgThe Mass Strike, the Political Party and the Trade Unions (1906)
+ Luxemburg, "Blanquism and Social Democracy" (1906)


Week 8. Permanent revolution | Mar. 18, 2020

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


Week 9. State and revolution | Mar. 25, 2020

• LeninThe State and Revolution (1917)


Week 10. Imperialism | Apr. 1 2020

• 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 11. Platypus international convention | Apr. 3 - 5, 2020


Week 12. Failure of the revolution | Apr. 8, 2020

• 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 13. Retreat after revolution | Apr. 15, 2020

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


Week 14. Dialectic of reification | Apr. 22, 2020

• Lukács“The Standpoint of the Proletariat” (Part III of “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat,” 1923). Available in three sections from marxists.orgsection 1 section 2 section 3
Being and becoming (freedom in transformation) / immanent dialectical critique chart of terms
Commodity form chart of terms
Capitalist contradiction chart of terms + Organic composition of capital chart of terms
Reification chart of terms
+ Lukács, “The phenomenon of reification” (Part I of “Reification and the consciousness of the proletariat,” History and Class Consciousness, 1923)


Week 15. Lessons of October | Apr. 29, 2020

• TrotskyThe Lessons of October (1924) [PDF]
• Trotsky"Stalinism and Bolshevism" (1937)


Week 16. Trotskyism | May 6, 2020

+ Trotsky, "To build communist parties and an international anew" (1933)
+ Trotsky, "If America should go communist" (1934)
• 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 17. The authoritarian state | May 13, 2020

• Friedrich Pollock"State Capitalism: Its Possibilities and Limitations" (1941) (note 32 on USSR)
• Max Horkheimer, "The Authoritarian State" (1942)
Capitalist contradiction chart of terms 


Week 18. On the concept of history | May 20, 2020

• 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, "Fire alarm" (from One-Way Street, 1928)
[JPG] [PDF]
+ Benjamin, "Experience and poverty" (1933)
+ Benjamin, Theologico-political fragment (1921/39?)
Benjamin on history chart of terms
• Benjamin"On the Concept of History" (AKA "Theses on the Philosophy of History") (1940) [PDF]
• BenjaminParalipomena to "On the Concept of History" (1940)
+ Benjamin, Arcades Project Convolute N, "On the theory of knowledge, theory of progress" (see especially p. 471 [N8,1] on Horkheimer on unredeemablility of past suffering)
Being and becoming (freedom in transformation) / immanent dialectical critique chart of terms


Week 19. Reflections on Marxism | May 27, 2020

Capital in history timeline and chart of terms
Benjamin on history chart of terms
• Theodor Adorno“Reflections on Class Theory” (1942)
• Adorno“Imaginative Excesses” (1944–47)
Being and becoming (freedom in transformation) / immanent dialectical critique chart of terms
+ 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 20. Theory and practice | Jun 3, 2020

+ Adorno, “On Subject and Object” (1969)
Commodity form chart of terms
Reification chart of terms
Capitalist contradiction chart of terms
Adorno's critique of actionism chart of terms
• Adorno“Marginalia to Theory and Praxis” (1969)
• Adorno“Resignation” (1969)
Being and becoming (freedom in transformation) / immanent dialectical critique chart of terms
+ Adorno, “Late Capitalism or Industrial Society?” (AKA “Is Marx Obsolete?”) (1968)
Organic composition of capital chart of terms
+ Esther Leslie, Introduction to the 1969 Adorno-Marcuse correspondence (1999)
+ Adorno and Herbert Marcuse, correspondence on the German New Left (1969)
+ Adorno, Interview with Der Spiegel magazine (1969)

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