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You are here: Platypus /Platypus primary Marxist reading group Spring 2021

Platypus primary Marxist reading group Spring 2021


II. Introduction to revolutionary Marxism

brodsky_leninsmolnypalace

Every Sunday

5:00pm to 7:00pm

Online via Zoom; recurring link (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89913198002)

Find us on social media! Facebook (group), Facebook (page), and Twitter

Find us on Mason360!

Contact us with platypus.metrodc@gmail.com


Recommended winter break preliminary readings:

+ James Joll, The Second International 1889–1914 (1966)

+ 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)

+ J.P. Nettl, Rosa Luxemburg (1966) [Vol. 1] [Vol. 2]

+ Georg Lukacs, Lenin: A Study on the Unity of his Thought (1924)

+ Richard Appignanesi and Oscar Zarate , Introducing Lenin and the Russian Revolution / Lenin for Beginners (1977)
+ Tariq Ali and Phil Evans, Introducing Trotsky and Marxism / Trotsky for Beginners (1980) [ask for PDF]


Film screenings: spring 2021

• Fall of Eagles (1974) episodes: "The Last Tsar," "Absolute Beginners," "Dearest Nicky," "The Appointment," "The Secret War," and "End Game"

• 37 Days (2014) ([Episode 1] [Episode 2][Episode 3]

• Rosa Luxemburg (1986)

• Reds (1981)

• Lenin: The Train (1988)

• Doctor Zhivago (1965)

• Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States (2012) Episodes A (1900-20) and B (1920-40)


Winter–Spring 2021

II. Introduction to revolutionary Marxism


• required / + recommended reading


Week 12. Revolutionary Leadership | Jan. 17, 2021

• Rosa Luxemburg, “The Crisis of German Social Democracy” (1915)
• J. P. Nettl“The German Social Democratic Party 1890–1914 as a Political Model” (1965)
• Cliff Slaughter, “What is Revolutionary Leadership?” (1960)


Week 13. Reform or Revolution? | Jan. 24, 2021

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


Week 14. Lenin and the Vanguard Party | Jan. 31, 2021

• Spartacist LeagueLenin and the Vanguard Party (1978)

+ Richard Appignanesi and Oscar Zarate , Introducing Lenin and the Russian Revolution / Lenin for Beginners (1977)

+ Georg Lukacs, Lenin: A Study on the Unity of his Thought (1924)


Week 15. What is to be done? | Feb. 7, 2021

• V. I. LeninWhat is to be Done? (1902)

+ Richard Appignanesi and Oscar Zarate , Introducing Lenin and the Russian Revolution / Lenin for Beginners (1977)


Week 16. Mass Strike and Social Democracy | Feb. 14, 2021

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


Week 17. Permanent Revolution | Feb. 21, 2021

• Leon TrotskyResults and Prospects (1906)

+ Trotsky, 1905 (1907)

+ Tariq Ali and Phil Evans, Introducing Trotsky and Marxism / Trotsky for Beginners (1980)


Week 18. State and Revolution | Feb. 28, 2021

• LeninThe State and Revolution (1917)


Week 19. Imperialism | Mar. 7, 2021

• LeninImperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1915-17)

+ Lenin, Socialism and War, Ch. 1 The principles of socialism and the War of 1914–15 (1915)


Week 20. Failure of the Revolution | Mar. 14, 2021

• Luxemburg“What does the Spartacus League Want?” (1918)
• Luxemburg“On the Spartacus Programme” (1918)

+ Luxemburg, "German Bolshevism" (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 21. Retreat after Revolution | Mar. 21, 2021

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


Week 22. Dialectic of Reification | Mar. 28, 2021

• Lukács“The Standpoint of the Proletariat” (Part III of “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat,” 1923). Also available on Marxists.org

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)


Apr. 2nd-4th, 2021 [Platypus international convention] --- all are invited


Week 24. Lessons of October | Apr. 11, 2021

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


Week 25. Trotskyism and the 4th International| Apr. 18, 2021

+ 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)

+ Platypus Historians Group, "The Dead Left: Trotskyism" (2008)


Week 26. The Authoritarian State | Apr. 25, 2021

• Friedrich Pollock"State Capitalism: Its Possibilities and Limitations" (1941)

• Max Horkheimer, "The Authoritarian State" (1942)

Capitalist contradiction chart of terms 


Week 27. On the Concept of History | May 2, 2021

• two epigraphs, Louis Menand (on Marx and Engels, 2003) and Peter Preuss (on Nietzsche, 1980)

• Benjamin"Theses on the Philosophy of History" (1940) [PDF]
• BenjaminParalipomena to "On the Concept of History" (1940)

+ 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, 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)

+ Charles Baudelaire, from Fusées [Rockets] (1867)
+ Bertolt Brecht, "To posterity" (1939)

Benjamin on history chart of terms

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


Week 28. Reflections on Marxism | May 9, 2021

• Theodor Adorno“Reflections on Class Theory” (1942)
• Adorno“Imaginative Excesses” (1944–47)

+ Adorno, four selections from Minima Moralia (1944–47)  Dedication"Bequest""Warning: Not to be Misused" and "Finale"

+ Horkheimer and Adorno, "Discussion about Theory and Praxis" (a.k.a "Towards a New Manifesto?") (1956)

Capital in history timeline and chart of terms

Benjamin on history chart of terms

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


Week 29. Theory and Practice | May 16, 2021

• Adorno“Marginalia to Theory and Praxis” (1969)
• Adorno“Resignation” (1969)

+ Adorno, “Late Capitalism or Industrial Society?” (a.k.a. “Is Marx Obsolete?”) (1968)

+ Adorno and Herbert Marcuse, correspondence on the German New Left (1969)

+ Adorno, Interview with Der Spiegel magazine (1969)

+ Esther Leslie, Introduction to the 1969 Adorno-Marcuse correspondence (1999)

+ Adorno, “On Subject and Object” (1969)

Adorno's critique of actionism chart of terms

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

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