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You are here: Platypus /Platypus Berlin English Marxist Reading Group Spring 2021 – Introduction to Revolutionary Marxism

Platypus Berlin English Marxist Reading Group Spring 2021 – Introduction to Revolutionary Marxism

Online

Join Platypus Berlin for our weekly Marxist reading group! This term we will be reading about the revolutionary Marxist politics of the early 20th Century including the Russian and German revolutions and their aftermath. We will be engaging with works from Rosa Luxemburg, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Walter Benjamin, Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno.

6:30pm - 9:30pm every Wed

Platypus Berlin - English Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83972251925
Meeting ID: 839 7225 1925
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Required reading
+ Recommended reading


Week 17. Revolutionary leadership | March. 31, 2021

• 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 18. Reform or revolution? | April. 7, 2021

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


Week 19. Lenin and the vanguard party | April 14, 2021

• 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 20. What is to be done? | April. 21, 2021

• 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 21. Mass strike and social democracy | April 28, 2021

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


Week 22. Permanent revolution | May. 5, 2021

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


Week 23. State and revolution | May 12, 2021

• LeninThe State and Revolution (1917)


Week 24. Imperialism | May 19, 2021

“The bourgeoisie makes it its business to promote trusts, drive women and children into the factories, subject them to corruption and suffering, condemn them to extreme poverty. We do not ‘demand’ such development, we do not ‘support’ it. We fight it. But how do we fight? We explain that trusts and the employment of women in industry are progressive. We do not want a return to the handicraft system, pre-monopoly capitalism, domestic drudgery for women. Forward through the trusts, etc., and beyond them to socialism!”
— Lenin, The Military Programme of the Proletarian Revolution (1916/17)

• 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 25. Failure of the revolution | May 26, 2021

• 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 26. Retreat after revolution | June 2, 2021

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


Week 27. Dialectic of reification | June 9, 2021

• 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 28. Lessons of October | June 16, 2021

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


Week 29. Trotskyism | June 23, 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 (AKA The Transitional Program and the Struggle for Socialism, 1938)
+ Trotsky, "Trade unions in the epoch of imperialist decay" (1940)
+ Trotsky, Letter to James Cannon (September 12, 1939)


Week 30. The authoritarian state | June 30, 2021

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


Week 31. On the concept of history | July 7, 2021

• 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 32. Reflections on Marxism | July 14, 2021

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 33. Theory and practice | July 21, 2021

+ 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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