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Summer and Fall/Autumn 2021 – Winter 2022

I. What is the Left? – What is Marxism?


required / + recommended reading


Marx and Engels readings pp. from Robert C. Tucker, ed., Marx-Engels Reader (Norton 2nd ed., 1978)


Week A. Introduction: Capital in history | Jul. 31, 2021

• Max Horkheimer, "The little man and the philosophy of freedom" (1926–31)

• epigraphs on modern history and freedom by Louis Menand (on Marx and Engels), Karl Marx, on "becoming" (from the Grundrisse, 1857–58), and Peter Preuss (on history)

+ Being and becoming (freedom in transformation) chart of terms

• Chris Cutrone, "Capital in history" (2008)

+ Capital in history timeline and chart of terms

+ video of Communist University 2011 London presentation

+ Capitalist contradiction chart of terms

Cutrone, "The Marxist hypothesis" (2010)

Cutrone, “Class consciousness (from a Marxist perspective) today” (2012)

+ G.M. Tamas, "Telling the truth about class" [HTML] (2007)

+ Robert Pippin, "On Critical Theory" (2004)

+ Rainer Maria Rilke, "Archaic Torso of Apollo" (1908)


Week B. 1960s New Left I. Neo-Marxism | Aug. 7, 2021

• Martin Nicolaus, “The unknown Marx” (1968)

+ Commodity form chart of terms

+ Capitalist contradiction chart of terms 

+ Organic composition of capital chart of terms

+ Marx on surplus-value chart of terms

• Theodor W. Adorno, “Late Capitalism or Industrial Society?” (AKA “Is Marx Obsolete?”) (1968)

• Moishe Postone, “Necessity, labor, and time” (1978)

+ Postone, “Interview: Marx after Marxism” (2008)

+ Postone, “History and helplessness: Mass mobilization and contemporary forms of anticapitalism” (2006)

+ Postone, “Theorizing the contemporary world: Brenner, Arrighi, Harvey” (2006)


Week C. 1960s New Left II: Gender and sexuality | Aug. 14, 2021

The situation of women is different from that of any other social group. This is because they are not one of a number of isolable units, but half a totality: the human species. Women are essential and irreplaceable; they cannot therefore be exploited in the same way as other social groups can. They are fundamental to the human condition, yet in their economic, social and political roles, they are marginal. It is precisely this combination — fundamental and marginal at one and the same time — that has been fatal to them.

— Juliet Mitchell, "Women: The longest revolution" (1966)

+ Capitalist contradiction chart of terms 

• Juliet Mitchell, “Women: The longest revolution” (1966)

• Clara Zetkin and Vladimir Lenin, “An interview on the woman question” (1920)

• Theodor W. Adorno, “Sexual taboos and the law today” (1963)

• John D’Emilio, “Capitalism and gay identity” (1983)


Week D. 1960s New Left III. Anti-black racism in the U.S. | Aug. 21, 2021

As a social party we receive the Negro and all other races upon absolutely equal terms. We are the party of the working class, the whole working class, and we will not suffer ourselves to be divided by any specious appeal to race prejudice; and if we should be coaxed or driven from the straight road we will be lost in the wilderness and ought to perish there, for we shall no longer be a Socialist party.

— Eugene Debs, "The Negro in the class struggle" (1903)

+ Eugene Debs, "The Negro in the class struggle" (1903) 

+ Debs, "The Negro and his nemesis" (1904)

+ Capitalist contradiction chart of terms 

• Richard Fraser, “Two lectures on the black question in America and revolutionary integrationism” (1953)

+ Fraser, "For the materialist conception of the Negro struggle" (1955)

• James Robertson and Shirley Stoute, “For black Trotskyism” (1963)

+ Spartacist League, “Black and red: Class struggle road to Negro freedom” (1966)

+ Bayard Rustin, “The failure of black separatism” (1970)

• Adolph Reed, “Black particularity reconsidered” (1979)

+ Reed, “Paths to Critical Theory” (1984)


Week E. Frankfurt School precursors | Aug. 28, 2021

+ Capitalist contradiction chart of terms 

• Wilhelm Reich, “Ideology as material power” (1933/46)

• Siegfried Kracauer, “The mass ornament” (1927)

+ Kracauer, “Photography” (1927)

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


Week F. Radical bourgeois philosophy I. Rousseau: Crossroads of society | Sep. 4, 2021

To be radical is to go to the root of the matter. For man, however, the root is man himself.
— Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right (1843)

Whoever dares undertake to establish a people’s institutions must feel himself capable of changing, as it were, human nature, of transforming each individual, who by himself is a complete and solitary whole, into a part of a larger whole, from which, in a sense, the individual receives his life and his being, of substituting a limited and mental existence for the physical and independent existence. He has to take from man his own powers, and give him in exchange alien powers which he cannot employ without the help of other men.

— Jean-Jacques Rousseau, On the Social Contract (1762)

• Max Horkheimer, "The little man and the philosophy of freedom" (1926–31)

• epigraphs on modern history and freedom by James Miller (on Jean-Jacques Rousseau), Louis Menand (on Marx and Engels), Karl Marx, on "becoming" (from the Grundrisse, 1857–58), and Peter Preuss (on history)

+ Rainer Maria Rilke, "Archaic Torso of Apollo" (1908)

+ Robert Pippin, "On Critical Theory" (2004)

+ Being and becoming (freedom in transformation) chart of terms

• Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality (1754) PDFs of preferred translation (5 parts): [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

+ Capital in history timeline and chart of terms

Rousseau, selection from On the Social Contract (1762)


Week G. Radical bourgeois philosophy II. Adam Smith: On the wealth of nations (part 1) | Sep. 11, 2021

Adam Smith, selections from The Wealth of Nations

Volume I [PDF]
Introduction and Plan of the Work
Book I: Of the Causes of Improvement…
I.1. Of the Division of Labor
I.2. Of the Principle which gives Occasion to the Division of Labour
I.3. That the Division of Labour is Limited by the Extent of the Market
I.4. Of the Origin and Use of Money
I.5 Of the Real and Nominal Price of Commodities
I.6. Of the Component Parts of the Price of Commodities
I.7. Of the Natural and Market Price of Commodities
I.8. Of the Wages of Labour
I.9. Of the Profits of Stock
Book III: Of the different Progress of Opulence in different Nations
III.1.
Of the Natural Progress of Opulence
III.2. Of the Discouragement of Agriculture in the Ancient State of Europe after the Fall of the Roman Empire
III.3. Of the Rise and Progress of Cities and Towns, after the Fall of the Roman Empire
III.4. How the Commerce of the Towns Contributed to the Improvement of the Country


Week H. Radical bourgeois philosophy III. Adam Smith: On the wealth of nations (part 2) | Sep. 18, 2021

Smith, selections from The Wealth of Nations

Volume II [PDF]
IV.7, Of Colonies
V.1. Of the Expences of the Sovereign or Commonwealth Article 2d and 3d and Part IV


Week I. Radical bourgeois philosophy IV. What is the Third Estate? | Sep. 25, 2021

• Abbé Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, What is the Third Estate? (1789) [full text]

+ Bernard Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees (1732)


Week J. Radical bourgeois philosophy V. Kant and Constant: Bourgeois society | Oct. 2, 2021

• Immanuel Kant, "Idea for a universal history from a cosmopolitan point of view" and "What is Enlightenment?" (1784)

+ Being and becoming (freedom in transformation) chart of terms

+ Kant's 3 Critiques [PNG] and philosophy [PNG] charts of terms

• Benjamin Constant, "The liberty of the ancients compared with that of the moderns" (1819)

+ Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the origin of inequality (1754)

+ Rousseau, selection from On the social contract (1762)


Week K. Radical bourgeois philosophy VI. Hegel: Freedom in history | Oct. 9, 2021

• G.W.F. Hegel, Introduction to the Philosophy of History (1831) [HTML] [PDF pp. 14-128] [Audiobook]

+ Being and becoming (freedom in transformation) chart of terms


Week 1. What is the Left? I. Capital in history | Oct. 16, 2021

• Max Horkheimer, "The little man and the philosophy of freedom" (1926–31)

• epigraphs on modern history and freedom by Louis Menand (on Marx and Engels), Karl Marx, on "becoming" (from the Grundrisse, 1857–58), and Peter Preuss (on history)

+ Being and becoming (freedom in transformation) chart of terms

• Chris Cutrone, "Capital in history" (2008)

+ Capital in history timeline and chart of terms

+ video of Communist University 2011 London presentation

+ Capitalist contradiction chart of terms 

Cutrone, "The Marxist hypothesis" (2010)

Cutrone, “Class consciousness (from a Marxist perspective) today” (2012)

+ G.M. Tamas, "Telling the truth about class" [HTML] (2007)

+ Robert Pippin, "On Critical Theory" (2004)

+ Rainer Maria Rilke, "Archaic Torso of Apollo" (1908)


Week 2. What is the Left? II. Utopia and critique | Oct. 23, 2021

• Max Horkheimer, selections from Dämmerung (1926–31)

Adorno, “Imaginative Excesses” (1944–47)

• Leszek Kolakowski, “The concept of the Left” (1958)

• Herbert Marcuse, "Note on dialectic" (1960)

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

+ Capitalist contradiction chart of terms 

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


Week 3. What is Marxism? I. Socialism | Oct. 30, 2021

Marx, selections from Economic and philosophic manuscripts (1844), pp. 70–101

+ Commodity form chart of terms

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

+ Capitalist contradiction chart of terms 

Marx and Friedrich Engels, selections from the Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), pp. 469–500

Marx, The coming upheaval (from The Poverty of Philosophy, 1847), pp. 218–19


Week 4. What is Marxism? II. Revolution in 1848 | Nov. 6, 2021

Marx, Address to the Central Committee of the Communist League (1850), pp. 501–511 and Class struggle and mode of production (letter to Weydemeyer, 1852), pp. 218–220

Engels, The tactics of social democracy (Engels's 1895 introduction to Marx, The Class Struggles in France), pp. 556–573

Marx, selections from The Class Struggles in France 1848–50 (1850), pp. 586–593

Marx, selections from The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852), pp. 594–617


Week 5. What is Marxism? III. Bonapartism | Nov. 13, 2021

+ Karl Korsch, "The Marxism of the First International" (1924)

Marx, Inaugural address to the First International (1864), pp. 512–519

Marx, selections from The Civil War in France (1871, including Engels's 1891 Introduction), pp. 618–652

+ Korsch, Introduction to Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme (1922)

Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme, pp. 525–541

Marx, Programme of the Parti Ouvrier (1880)


Week 6. What is Marxism? IV. Critique of political economy | Nov. 20, 2021

The fetish character of the commodity is not a fact of consciousness; rather it is dialectical, in the eminent sense that it produces consciousness. . . . [P]erfection of the commodity character in a Hegelian self-consciousness inaugurates the explosion of its phantasmagoria.
— Theodor W. Adorno, letter to Walter Benjamin, August 2, 1935

+ Commodity form chart of terms

+ Capitalist contradiction chart of terms 

+ Organic composition of capital chart of terms 

+ Marx on surplus-value chart of terms

Marx, selections from the Grundrisse (1857–61), pp. 222–226, 236–244, 247–250, 276–293 ME Reader pp. 276–281

Marx, Capital Vol. I, Ch. 1 Sec. 4 "The fetishism of commodities" (1867), pp. 319–329

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


Winter break readings

+ 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)
+ Carl Schorske, The SPD 1905-17: The Development of the Great Schism (1955)
+ J.P. Nettl, Rosa Luxemburg (1966) [Vol. 1] [Vol. 2]
+ 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 8. Nov. 27, 2021 U.S. Thanksgiving break


Week 7. What is Marxism? V. Reification | Dec. 4, 2021 / Jan. 1, 2022

• Georg Lukács, “The phenomenon of reification” (Part I of “Reification and the consciousness of the proletariat,” History and Class Consciousness, 1923)
+ Commodity form chart of terms
+ Reification chart of terms
+ Capitalist contradiction chart of terms
+ Organic composition of capital chart of terms
+ Being and becoming (freedom in transformation) / immanent dialectical critique chart of terms


Week 9. What is Marxism? VI. Class consciousness | Dec. 11, 2021 / Jan. 8, 2022

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
+ Herbert Marcuse, "Note on dialectic" (1960)
+ Marx, Preface to the First German Edition and Afterword to the Second German Edition (1873) of Capital (1867), pp. 294–298, 299–302


Week 10. What is Marxism? VII. Ends of philosophy | Dec. 18, 2021 / Jan. 15, 2022

Korsch, “Marxism and philosophy” (1923)

+ Capitalist contradiction chart of terms 

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

+ Herbert Marcuse, "Note on dialectic" (1960)
+ 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

+ Marx, "Theses on Feuerbach" (1845), pp. 143–145


Winter–Spring 2022

II. Introduction to revolutionary Marxism

Jeff Wall, “After Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, the Prologue” (1999–2000)

Tuesdays, June 15 – August 3, 2021

8:00PM CEST / 7:00PM BST / 2:00PM EST / 1:00PM CST / 11:00AM PDT

Facebook event: https://fb.me/e/TvSfPAgl

Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/96837479077?pwd=clJWREt5UkdxNTJWRkZzUXNDSXdwQT09

All readings are either available via links on this syllabus or in the Black Question google folder

• required readings / + supplemental readings


Week 1 | June 15, 2021: From the Colonial Era to the Age of Revolutions

New York Times, “Introduction to the 1619 Project” 

• John Locke, “Of Property,” Ch. 5 of the Second Treatise of Government, pp. 285–302. [Kindle chapter]

• Barbara J. Fields, “Slavery, Race and Ideology in the United States of America” New Left Review 181 (May/June 1990), 95–118.

• Abbé Raynal, Philosophical and Political History of the Settlements and Trade of the Europeans in the East and West Indies (1770) (extract 3pp.)

• Thomas Jefferson's "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence 

“Natural and Inalienable Right to Freedom”: Slaves’ Petition for Freedom to the Massachusetts Legislature, 17 January 1777 (2 pp.)

• Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (1782) (extract 3pp. pdf)

Decree of the French National Convention of 4 February 1794, Abolishing Slavery in all the Colonies (1p.)

Thomas Jefferson to Henri Gregoire, February 25, 1809 (1p.)

Thomas Jefferson to John Lynch, January 21, 1811 (2pp.)

Thomas Jefferson to John Holmes, April 22, 1820 (1pp.)

Thomas Jefferson to Frances Wright, August 7, 1825 (1p.)

+ J. Vaughn, “The Legacy of the American Revolution 1: (English) Colonial America” (06/12/20) and “The Legacy of the American Revolution 2: The American Revolution” (06/19/20) in the Legacy of the American Revolution, Platypus lecture series.

+ C. Cutrone, “The Jeffersonian Revolution” (06/26/2020) for the Platypus Legacy of the American Revolution lecture series.

+ D.L. Jacobs and L. Bronder-Giroux, “An interview with Gerald Horne” in The Platypus Review 129, September 2020

+ K. Brooks, ”Would slavery have ended sooner if the British had defeated the Colonists’ bid for independence?” The Platypus Review 109, September 2018.


Films: 

Jefferson in Paris (1995) 

Sally Hemings: An American Scandal (2000)


Week 2 | June 22, 2021: The Slaveholders’ Rebellion: The American Civil War

Frederick Douglas’s What is the Fourth of July for the Negro? Speech Text 1852

[Video] Frederick Douglas’s What is the Fourth of July for the Negro? 1852

Lincoln’s Cooper Union Address Text 1860
Video: Lincoln’s Cooper Union Address Video 1860

Wendell Phillips’s Criticism of Lincoln and the Union War Effort Summer 1862

Lincoln’s Address to Congress text 1862

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address Text 1863

[Audio] Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address Video 1863

Karl Marx, First International Address on Reelection of Abraham Lincoln (Written by Karl Marx) 1864

+ Lincoln’s Letter on Thomas Jefferson 1859

+ Pamela Nogales, “Jacksonian Democracy” (7/3/20) in the Platypus Legacy of the American Revolution lecture series, video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZz0th8Pgzw&t=2724s

+ Spencer Leonard, “The Civil War and Failed Reconstruction” (7/10/20) in the Platypus Legacy of the American Revolution lecture series

+ Spencer Leonard, “For liberty and union: An interview with James McPherson” in The Platypus Review 53, February 2013.


Films:

Glory (1989)

Lincoln (2012)


Week 3 | June 29, 2021: Early Twentieth Century Debates: Separatists, Communists, and Socialists

• W.E.B. Dubois, “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others,” in The Soul of Black Folk (pp. 33–44)

• Eugene V. Debs, The Negro in the Class Struggle (1903) (4pp)

• Eugene V. Debs, The Negro and His Nemesis (1904) (8 pp.)

• Hubert Harrison, “Socialism and the Negro” (1912) (5pp. pdf)

• Claude McKay, “Socialism and the Negro” (1920) (4pp. pdf)

• John Reed, “The Negro Question in America” Speech at the 2nd World Congress of the Communist International, Moscow, July 26, 1920 (6pp. pdf)

• Cyril Briggs, “The African Blood Brotherhood” (June 1920) (3 pp.)

• Cyril Briggs, “The Negro Convention” (Oct. 1, 1921) (2 pp.)

+ Tim Barker, “Book Review: Jeffrey B. Perry, Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1882–1918 (2008)” in The Platypus Review 19 January 2010.

+ Benjamin Blumberg, “An Unmet Challenge: Race and the Left in America” in The Platypus Review 19, January 2010.

+ Greg Gabrellas, “Book Review: Michael Rudolph West: The Education of Booker T. Washington: American Democracy and the Idea of Race Relations (2006)” in The Platypus Review 15, September 2009.

+ Sunit Singh, "Imperialism and the Left" in Platypus Review 128 (July 2020)

+ “Report on the Black Question” (1922) in J. Riddell (ed.), Toward the United Front (2012), pp. 800-811.

+ “Theses on the Black Question” (1922) [Final Text] in J. Riddell (ed.), ibid, pp. 947–951.

+ Trotsky, “A Letter to Comrade McKay,” (13 March 1923) in Trotsky, First Five Years of the Communist International, (1977) v. 2, pp. 476-479.


Film:

Rosewood (1997)


Week 4 | July 6, 2021: The Old Left and the Black Question

• Harry Haywood, “The Negro Problem and the Tasks of the Communist Party of the United States” (1928) (7 pp. pdf)

• Max Shachtman, Communism and the Negro (Race and Revolution) (1933) (100 pp.)

+ Harvey Klehr & William Tompson (1989) “Self-determination in the Black Belt: Origins of a Communist Policy,” Labor History, 30:3, 354-366.


Week 5 | July 13, 2021: Frantz Fanon

• Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (1952) (Introduction & Chs. 5–8 in pdf)

• Frantz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth (1961) Ch 6: Conclusion

• Sunit Singh, “Book Review: Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks” The Platypus Review 21, March 2010.

+ [Audio] Spencer Leonard, Platypus Teach-in: "A Black Man Speaks of Marx": The Sartre-Fanon Dialogues of the 1940s and 1950s (November 2010)


Film:

• Isaac Julien, Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask (1995)
Note: Free on Kanopy (sign in with Uni ID), also available on Amazon streaming (U.S.)


Week 6 | July 20, 2021: The New Left and the Black Question, pt. 1

• Richard Fraser, “For the Materialist Conception of the Negro Struggle” (1955) (28 pp.)

• James Robertson and Shirley Stoute, “For black Trotskyism” (1963) (9 pp.)

• Bayard Rustin, "From protest to politics" (1965) (7pp.)

• Spartacist League, “Black and red: Class struggle road to Negro freedom” (1966) (15 pp.)

• Harold Cruse, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual (1967), (selections part 1, 3–10 and 11–63)

+ Richard Fraser, “Two lectures on the black question in America and revolutionary integrationism” (1953)

+ [Video] Martin Luther King, "The Other America" (1967) (48 mins)

+ Coleman Hughes and Jim Creegan, “Bayard Rustin: Black Liberation and Socialism” The Platypus Review 131, November 2020


Films:

Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin (2003)
All the Way (2016)


Week 7 | July 27, 2021: The New Left and the Black Question, pt. 2: The Black Power Turn

• Stokley Carmichael, Black Power Speech (1966) [Audio]
Edited transcription of speech
Note: Audio silence from 29:02–30:05, but picks up where it left off.

• Harold Cruse, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual (1967) (part 2, 451–475 and 544–565)

• Bayard Rustin, “The failure of black separatism” (1970) (9 pp.)

• Bayard Rustin, "The blacks and the unions" (1971) (6 pp.)

• Spartacist League, "Soul power or workers' power: The rise and fall of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers" (1974) (18 pp.)

• Adolph Reed, “Black particularity reconsidered” (1979) (23 pp.)

+ Malcolm X., “And I Don’t Mean Bananas” (1964) (16 pp.)

+ Black Panther Party, “Ten-Point Program” (1966)

+ Chris Cutrone, "When was the crisis of capitalism? Moishe Postone and the legacy of the 1960s New Left" in the Platypus Review 70 (October 2014)

+ Audrey Crescenti, “The Black Panther Party and community organizing: An interview with Bobby Seale” in The Platypus Review 113, February 2019 

+ Sophia Freeman, “The Black Panther Party, Malcolm X, and the question of revolutionary politics today: An interview with Kathleen Cleaver” in The Platypus Review 113, February 2019 


Films:

Finally Got the News (1970)

Newsreel films on the Black Panthers, “Off the Pig” (Newsreel #19) (1967) Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U2ApK2nAO8
Note: “Off the Pig” contains interviews with Party leaders Eldridge Cleaver and Huey Newton describing why the Party was formed and its goals. The film is not available streaming online but many university libraries have a copy. Info: http://www.newsreel.us/DVD/information.htm


Week 8 | August 3, 2021: Platypus Hosts the Conversation: From Obama to #BLM

“Progress or regress? The future of the Left under Obama” (2009)
Panelists: Chris Cutrone, Platypus; Stephen Duncombe, NYU, author of Dream: Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy (2007); Pat Korte, new Students for a Democratic Society (SDS); Charles Post, Solidarity; and Paul Street, author of Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (2008).

• Platypus Public Panel Series: “Black Politics and State Violence” (2015)

School of Visual Arts (03/11/15) [Audio]
Panelists: Ben Blumberg (Platypus), Dread Scott (Artist), Eljeer Hawkins (Socialist Alternative/CWI)

UC Santa Cruz (03/27/2015) [Video]
Panelists: Boots Riley of the hip-hop group “The Coup,” Clarence Thomas former Secretary-Treasurer of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and Nancy Kato from the People of Color caucus of the Freedom Socialist Party.

Police Brutality and the Left  (July 11, 2020)
Panelists: Gerald Smith (Oscar Grant Committee), Larry Holmes (Workers World Party), Andrea Pritchett (Berkeley Copwatch), and Conrad Cartmell (DSA, Class Unity Caucus).

"The Fate of the American Revolution," in the Platypus Review 130, October 2020

+ Platypus at Left Forum NYC 2010: The American Left and the "black question:" from politics to protest to the post-political (2010) [Audio] Panelists: Tim Barker, Columbia U.; Benjamin Blumberg, Platypus; Pamela Nogales, Platypus; Chris Cutrone, Platypus

+ “Black Politics in the Age of Obama” (Chicago, 2013)
Panelists: Cedric Johnson, author of Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politics (2007) and The Neoliberal Deluge (2011); and Mel Rothenberg, veteran of the Sojourner Truth Organization and coauthor of The Myth of Capitalism Reborn (1980).

+ Platypus Public Panel Series: “Black Politics and State Violence” (2015) University of Chicago (03/20/15) [Audio] Panelists: Michael Dawson and Mel Rothenberg

+ Platypus Public Panel: “The American left and the ‘Black Question’: From politics to protest to the post-political” (Chicago, 2015) Panelists: Toby Chow, Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL) and The People’s Lobby; Brandon Johnson, Chicago Teachers Union (CTU); August Nimtz, author of Lenin's Electoral Strategy from 1907 to the October Revolution of 1917 (2014); and Adolph Reed, Jr., author of Stirrings in the Jug: Black Politics in the Post-Segregation Era (1999).

Hegel, Marx, Engels

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2270631923069652

Primary sources:
• G.W.F. HegelEncyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences in Basic Outline. Part I: Science of Logic, trans. Klaus Brinkmann and Daniel O. Dahlstrom
Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, trans. H.B. Nisbett
• Theodor W. Adorno, Hegel: Three Studies, trans. Shierry Weber Nicholsen
• Robert C. Tucker, ed., Marx-Engels Reader (2nd Edition, 1978)

Week 1 | June 6, 2021

• G.W.F. Hegel, Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences: The Science of Logic (Encyclopedia Logic) (1830), Preface to first, second, and third editions; Introduction; and Preliminary Conception

Week 2 | June 13, 2021

Hegel, Encyclopedia Logic, The Doctrine of Being

Week 3 | June 20, 2021

Hegel, Encyclopedia Logic, The Doctrine of Essence

Week 4 | June 27, 2021

Hegel, Encyclopedia Logic, The Doctrine of the Concept

Week 5 | July 11, 2021

Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right (1820), Preface; Introduction; Part Three: Ethical Life §142-157, §257-259

Week 6 | July 18, 2021

• Karl Marx, Selections from "Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right" including Introduction (1843-44) [Marx-Engels Reader selections pp. 16-25 and 53-65]; "Critique of the Hegelian Dialectic and Philosophy as a Whole" (from 1844 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts + selections); “Ideology in General, German Ideology in Particular” from The German Ideology (1845-46); Grundrisse (1858), Introduction (3) The Method of Political Economy and Chapter on Capital; Preface to the First German Edition (1867) and Afterword to the Second German Edition (1873) of Das Kapital

Week 7 | July 25, 2021

• Friedrich Engels, Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy (1886)
• Georg Lukacs, Original Preface (1922); "Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat II, The Antinomies of Bourgeois Thought" (including 2nd part); and "What is Orthodox Marxism?" (1919), History and Class Consciousness (1923)

Week 8 | August 1, 2021

• Theodor W. Adorno, Hegel: Three Studies (1963)

"Adorno seems to mean that critical consciousness, including his own, is almost impossible. History, in some sense, has come to a halt. Negative Dialectics is an attempt to break out of this unbreakable paradox and to invite others to do the same. . . . Anyone who is involved in the possibility of Marxism as a mode of cognition sui generis, at a time when critical consciousness can no longer be even 'imputed' to an ideal-typical class . . . must read Adorno's book."
-- Gillian Rose, Review of Adorno's Negative Dialectics (1976)

( • required / + recommended readings)

Required background reading:
• Chris Cutrone, "Revolution without Marx? Rousseau, Kant and Hegel" (2013); Review of Andrew Feenberg, The Philosophy of Praxis (2015); "Why still read Lukacs? The place of 'philosophical' questions in Marxism" (2014); "Ends of philosophy" (2018); "On philosophy and Marxism" (2020); and “The negative dialectic of Marxism” (2021)

Recommended supplemental reading:
+ Adorno, Lectures on Negative Dialectics; History and Freedom; Introduction to Dialectics; Ontology and Dialectics; Metaphysics: Concepts and Problems

Primary sources:
• Theodor Adorno, Negative Dialectics (1966, trans. E.B. Ashton, 1973)
+ Alternate translation by Dennis Redmond (2001/2021) [2021 updated PDF]

Charts of terms:
Being and becoming (freedom in transformation) / immanent dialectical critique chart of terms
+ Kant's 3 Critiques [PNG] and philosophy [PNG] chart of terms
Capitalist contradiction chart of terms 
Commodity form chart of terms
Reification chart of terms
+ Adorno's critique of actionism chart of terms

Week 1: June 5, 2021

• Gillian Rose, Review of Adorno's Negative Dialectics (1976)
• Theodor W. Adorno, "Why still philosophy?", Critical Models pp. 5-17 (322-325nn.)
• Chris Cutrone, "Ends of philosophy" (2018); "On philosophy and Marxism" (2020); and “The negative dialectic of Marxism” (2021)

Week 2: June 12, 2021

Adorno, Negative Dialectics, Prologue (Preface and Introduction) 
(The Possibility of Philosophy 3 Dialectics Not a Standpoint 4 Reality and Dialectics 6 The Concern of Philosophy 8 The Antagonistic Entirety 10 Disenchantment of the Concept 11 “Infinity” 13 The Speculative Moment 15 Presentation 18 Attitude Toward Systems 20 Idealism as Rage 22 The Twofold Character of the System 24 The Antinomical Character of Systems 26 Argument and Experience 28 Vertiginousness 31 Fragility of Truth 33 Against Relativism 35 Dialectics and Solidity 37 The Privilege of Experience 40 Qualitative Moment of Rationality 43 Quality and Individual 44 Substantiality and Method 47 Existentialism 49 Thing, Language, History 52 Tradition and Knowledge 53 Rhetoric 55)

Week 3: June 19, 2021

Adorno, Negative Dialectics, Part One: Relation to Ontology: I. The Ontological Need
(Question and Answer 61 Affirmative Character 65 Incapacitation of the Subject 66 Being, Subject, Object 69 Ontological Objectivism 70 The Disappointed Need 72 “Deficiency=Profit” 76 No Man’s Land 77 Unsuccessful Realism 78 On Categorical Vision 80 Being 83 “Sense of Being” 85 Ontology Prescribed 87 Protest Against Reification 89 The Wrong Need 92 Weakness and Support 94)

Week 4: June 26, 2021

Adorno, Negative Dialectics, Part One: Relation to Ontology: II. Being and Existence
(Immanent Critique of Ontology 97 Copula 100 No Transcendence of Being 105 Expressing the Inexpressible 108The Child’s Question 110 The Question of Being 112 Looping the Loop 115 Mythology of Being 117 Ontologization of the Ontical 119 Function of the Concept of Existence 122 “Dasein in Itself Ontological” 124 The Nominalistic Aspect 126 Existence Authoritarian 127 “Historicality” 128)

Week 5: July 3, 2021

Adorno, Negative Dialectics, Part Two: Negative Dialectics: Concepts and Categories
(The Indissoluble “Something” 134 Compulsory Sustantiveness 136 “Peephole Metaphysics” 137 Noncontradictoriness Not to be Hypostatized 139 Relation to Left-wing Hegelianism 143 “Logic of Disintegration” 144 On the Dialectics of Identity 146 Cogitative Self-reflection 148 Objectivity of Contradiction 151 Starting Out from the Concept 153 Synthesis 156 Critique of Positive Negation 158 Individuality Not the Ultimate Either 161 Constellation 162 Constellation in Science 164 Essence and Appearance 166 Indirectness by Objectivity 170 Particularity and the Particular 173 Subject-Object Dialectics 174 Reversal of the Subjective Reduction 176 Interpreting the Transcendental 178 “Transcendental Delusion” 180 The Object’s Preponderance 183 The Object Not a Datum 186 Objectivity and Reification 189 Passage to Materialism 192 Materialism and Immediacy 194 Dialectics Not a Sociology of Knowledge 197 The Concept of Mind 198 Pure Activity and Genesis 200 Suffering Physical 202 Materialism Imageless 204)

Week 6: July 10, 2021

Adorno, Negative Dialectics, Part Three: Models: I. Freedom
(On The Metacritique of Practical Reason 211 “Pseudoproblems” 211 A Split in the Concern with Freedom 214 Freedom, Determinism, Identity 216 Freedom and Organized Society 217 The Impulse Before the Ego 221 Experimenta crucis 223 The Addendum 226 The Fiction of Positive Freedom 231 Unfreedom of Thought 233 “Formalism” 235 The Will as a Thing 237 Objectivity in the Antinomy 239 Dialectical Definition of the Will 241 Contemplation 244 Structure of the Third Antinomy 246 Kant’s Concept of Causality 247 The Plea for Order 249 The Antithetical Argument 252 Ontical and Ideal Moments 255 Repressive Character of the Doctrine of Freedom 260 Self-experience of Freedom and Unfreedom 261 The Crisis of Causality 265 Causality as a Spell 269 Reason, Ego, Super-ego 270 Potential of Freedom 274 Against Personalism 276 Depersonalization and Existential Ontology 279 Universal and Individual in the Philosophy of Morals 281 On the State of Freedom 285 Kant’s “Intelligible Character” 287 Intelligibility and the Unity of Consciousness 292 Truth Content of the Doctrine of Intelligibility 297)

Week 7: July 17, 2021

Adorno, Negative Dialectics, Part Three: Models: II. World Spirit and Natural History
(An Excursion to Hegel 300 Trend and Facts 300 Construction of the World Spirit 303 “Harmonizing with the World Spirit” 305 The Unleashing of Productive Forces 306 Group Spirit and Dominion 307 The Legal Sphere 309 Law and Equity 310 Individualistic Veil 312 Dynamics of Universal and Particular 313 Spirit as a Social Totality 314 Historical Reason Antagonistic 317 Universal History 319 Antagonism Contingent? 321 The Supramundance Character of the Hegelian World Spirit 323 Hegel Siding with the Universal 326 Relapse into Platonism 329 Detemporalization of Time 331 Dialectics Cut Short by Hegel 334 The Role of the Popular Spirit 338 Popular Spirit Obsolete 340 Individuality and History 342 The Spell 344 Regression Under the Spell 347 Subject and Individual 349 Dialectics and Psychology 351 “Natural History” 354 History and Metaphysics 358)

Week 8: July 24, 2021

Adorno, Negative Dialectics, Part Three: Models: III. Meditations on Metaphysics
(After Auschwitz 361 Metaphysics and Culture 365 Dying Today 368 Happiness and Idle Waiting 373 “Nihilism” 376 Kant’s Resignation 381 Rescuing Urge and Block 384 Mundus intelligibilis 390 Neutralization 393 “Only a Parable” 399 The Semblance of Otherness 402 Self-Reflection of Dialectics 405) 
+ Cutrone, "Ends of philosophy" (2018); "On philosophy and Marxism" (2020); and “The negative dialectic of Marxism” (2021)

Marx-Engels Reader Platypus reading group

Time: Saturdays 2:30PM US EST 

April 10 - May 29, 2021

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/194881882245655

Required reading:

Robert Tucker, ed., Marx-Engels Reader (2nd Edition, 1978)

Recommended background reading:

Franz Mehring, Karl Marx: The Story of his Life (1918)

David Riazanov, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels: An Introduction to Their Lives and Work (1927)

(Selections from Engels’s prefaces, etc. to be added as recommended readings)

(*recommended)

Week One | April 10, 2021 — 1839-44

7-125 (“On the Jewish Question,” “Contribution to the Critique,” and “Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts” etc.)

577-85 “Working-Class Manchester”

*Mehring chapters 1-3

Week Two | April 17, 2021 — 1844-48

126-219 (“Critical Marginal Notes,” “Theses on Feuerbach,” “German Ideology,” “Wage Labor and Capital,” etc.)

469-500 “Communist Manifesto”

*Mehring chapters 4-5

Week Three | April 24, 2021 — 1850-56

“Address to the CL” (501-11), Class Struggles in France and Eighteenth Brumaire (586-617), “On Imperialism in India” (653-664), and “Speech at the Anniversary of the PP” (577-78),

*Mehring chapters 6-8

Week Four | May 1, 2021 — 1857-64

 “Marx on the History of his Opinions” (3-6), “Grundrisse” (221-93), “Inaugural Address to the IWMA” (512-19)

*Mehring chapters 9-11

Weeks Five and Six | May 8 and 15, 2021 — Capital

294-468 (and additional selections from the Grundrisse)

*Mehring Chapter 12; *Kautsky, “The Economic Doctrines of Karl Marx” (1887/1903)

Week Seven | May 22, 2021 — The Paris Commune and the Aftermath of the International

“The Civil War in France”

520-555 (Critique of Gotha etc.), 665-680 (etc.)

*Mehring chapters 13-15

Week Eight | May 29, 2021 — Engels after Marx and Marxism

681-768 (selections from SocialismAnti-Dühring, and Origins of Family, PP, and the State etc.)

556-76 “The Tactics of Social Democracy”

Kautsky, “The Historic Accomplishment of Karl Marx” (1908); and *“Friedrich Engels: His Life, His Work, His Writings” (1899)