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You are here: Platypus /Archive for category LSE Ongoing Events

Autumn/Winter 2018

Tuesdays 6pm-9pm, London School of Economics,

Room KSW1.01
20 Kingsway, London WC2A 2AE

 

check platypus1917.org/london for details, or facebook.com/platypusLSE

  • required/ + recommended reading

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

Week A. Introduction to Platypus | Oct. 2, 2018 | **Knights Templar 6-8pm**

 

 

Week B. Hegel: Freedom in History | Oct. 9, 2018 | KSW1.01 | 6-9pm

 

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

 

Week 1. What is the Left? I. Capital in History | Oct. 16, 2018 | KSW1.01 | 6-9pm

 

+ Rainer Maria Rilke, "Archaic Torso of Apollo" (1908)
+ Robert Pippin, "On Critical Theory" (2004)
+ G.M. Tamas, "Telling the truth about class" (2007)

 

Week 2. What is the Left? II. Utopia and critique | Oct. 23, 2018 | KSW1.01 | 6-9pm

 

 

Week 3. What is Marxism? I. Socialism | October 30, 2018 | KSW1.01 | 6-9pm

Commodity form chart of terms

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 4. Break [ LSE Reading Week ] | Nov. 6, 2017

 

 

Week 5. What is Marxism? II. Revolution in 1848 | Nov. 13, 2018 | KSW1.01 | 6-9pm

 

Week 6. What is Marxism? III. Bonapartism | Nov. 20, 2018 | KSW1.01 | 6-9pm

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

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

 

Week 7. What is Marxism? IV. Critique of political economy | Nov. 27, 2018 | KSW1.01 | 6-9pm

Commodity form chart of terms

 

Week 8. What is Marxism? V. Reification | Dec. 4, 2018 | KSW1.01 | 6-9pm

Commodity form chart of terms

 

Week 9. What is Marxism? VI. Class consciousness | Dec. 11, 2018 | KSW1.01

+ Marx, Preface to the First German Edition and Afterword to the Second German Edition(1873) of Capital (1867), pp. 294–298, 299–302

 


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)

+ 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

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

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

 

 

Week 10. What is Marxism? VII. Ends of philosophy | Jan. 15, 2019 | KSW1.01 | 6-9pm

+ MarxTo make the world philosophical (from Marx's dissertation, 1839–41), pp. 9–11

+ MarxFor the ruthless criticism of everything existing (letter to Arnold Ruge, September 1843), pp. 12–15

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

 

  1. Introduction to revolutionary Marxism – Spring/Summer 2019

Jan 23 – June 6, 2018

[including texts by Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky, Walter Benjamin, Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno]

all readings are available online: http://platypus1917.org/pedagogy

 

Between us we can change this rotten society. Now, put on your coat and make for the nearest cinema. Look at their deadly love-making on the screen. Isn’t it better in real life? Make up your mind to learn to love. Then, during the interval, when the first advertisements come on, pick up your tomatoes or, if you prefer, your eggs, and chuck them. Then get out into the street, and peel off all the latest government proclamations until underneath you discover the message of the days of May and June.

Stay awhile in the street. Look at the passers-by and remind yourself: the last word has not yet been said. Then act. Act with others, not for them. Make the revolution here and now. It is your own. C’est pour toi que tu fais la révolution.

— Daniel and Gabriel Cohn-Bendit, Obsolete Communism: The Left-Wing Alternative


Recommended films for screening

+ Brother Outsider: The Bayard Rustin Story
+ Rebels with a Cause: The SDS
+ Medium Cool
+ Columbia Revolt
+ The Weather Underground
+ Finally Got the News


Recommended background readings

+ Students for a Democratic Society, Port Huron Statement (1962)
+ Irwin Unger, The Movement (1974); see also Unger’s retrospective of 1968

Further background readings

+ Kirkpatrick Sale, SDS (1973)
+ Massimo Teodori, The New Left (1969)
+ Harold Jacobs, Weatherman (1970)


required / + recommended reading


Primary book source *

• Carl Oglesby, ed. The New Left Reader (1968)


Week 1 | June 13

• Stuart Hall, "Introducing New Left Review"
• C. Wright Mills, "Letter to the New Left" and "The politics of responsibility" *
• Leszek Kolakowski, "The concept of the Left" *
• Herbert Marcuse, "Conclusion to One-Dimensional Man" *


Week 2 | June 20

• Carl Oglesby, "The idea of the New Left" *
• Louis Althusser, "Contradiction and over-determination" *
+ Althusser, "Marxism and humanism"


Week 3 | June 27

• Cliff Slaughter, "What is revolutionary leadership?"
Revolutionary Tendency of the Socialist Workers Party/U.S., "In defense of a revolutionary perspective"
Spartacist League, "Genesis of Pabloism"


Week 4 | July 4

• Malcolm X, "I don't mean bananas" *
• Huey Newton, "A prison interview" *
Spartacist League, "Soul power or workers' power? The rise and fall of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers"
+ Harold Cruse, from The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual Part 1 Part 2


Week 5 | July 11

• Andre Gorz, from Strategy for Labor *
Stuart Hall, Raymond Williams, E.P. Thompson, from The May Day Manifesto *


Week 6 | July 18

• Daniel and Gabriel Cohn-Bendit, "The battle of the streets," from Obsolete Communism: The Left-Wing Alternative *
• Rudi Dutschke, "On anti-authoritarianism" *
• Mark Rudd, "Columbia: Notes on the Spring rebellion" *
Sorbonne students' open assembly of June 13-14, 1968, "The appeal from the Sorbonne" *
Tom Fawthorpe, Tom Nairn, David Triesman, "Three student risings" *


Week 7 | July 25

Marcuse, "The question of revolution" (1967)
+ Theodor Adorno, “Late Capitalism or Industrial Society?” (AKA “Is Marx Obsolete?”) (1968)
+ Esther Leslie, Introduction to the 1969 Adorno-Marcuse correspondence (1999)
+ Adorno and Herbert Marcuse, correspondence on the German New Left (1969)
Adorno, “Marginalia to Theory and Praxis” (1969)
Adorno, “Resignation” (1969)
+ Adorno, Interview with Der Spiegel magazine (1969)

Week 11. What is Marxism? VI. Class consciousness | Jan. 16, 2018

Lukács, Original Preface (1922), “What is Orthodox Marxism?” (1919), “Class Consciousness” (1920), History and Class Consciousness (1923)
+ Marx, Preface to the First German Edition and Afterword to the Second German Edition (1873) of Capital (1867), pp. 294–298, 299–302


Week 12. What is Marxism? VII. Ends of philosophy | Jan. 23, 2018

Korsch, “Marxism and philosophy” (1923)
+ Being and becoming (freedom in transformation) / immanent dialectical critique chart of terms
+ 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 2018

II. Introduction to revolutionary Marxism

Week 13. Revolutionary leadership | Jan. 30, 2018

• 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 14. Reform or revolution? | Feb. 6, 2018

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


Week 15. Lenin and the vanguard party | Feb. 13, 2018

Spartacist League, Lenin and the Vanguard Party (1978)


Week 16. What is to be done? | Feb. 20, 2018

• V. I. Lenin, What is to be Done? (1902)
+ Richard Appignanesi and Oscar Zarate / A&Z, Introducing Lenin and the Russian Revolution / Lenin for Beginners (1977)


Week 17. Mass strike and social democracy | Feb. 27, 2018

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


Week 18. Permanent revolution | Mar. 6, 2018

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


Week 19. State and revolution | Mar. 13, 2018

Lenin, The State and Revolution (1917)


Week 20. Imperialism | Mar. 20, 2018

Lenin, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916)
+ Lenin, Socialism and War Ch. 1 The principles of socialism and the War of 1914–15 (1915)


Week 21. Failure of the revolution | Mar 27, 2018

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)


Easter Break | Apr. 3, 2018


International Convention Break | Apr. 10, 2018


Week 22. Retreat after revolution | Apr. 17, 2018

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


Week 23. Dialectic of reification | Apr. 24, 2018

Lukács, “The Standpoint of the Proletariat” (Part III of “Reification 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 24. Lessons of October | May 1, 2018

Trotsky, The Lessons of October (1924) [PDF]
+ Trotsky, "Stalinism and Bolshevism" (1937)


Week 25. Trotskyism | May 8, 2018

+ Trotsky, "To build communist parties and an international anew" (1933)
Trotsky, The 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 26. The authoritarian state | May 15, 2018

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


Week 27. On the concept of history | May 22, 2018

• 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, "Experience and poverty" (1933)
+ Benjamin, Theologico-political fragment (1921/39?)
Benjamin, "On the Concept of History" (AKA "Theses on the Philosophy of History") (1940) [PDF]
Benjamin, Paralipomena to "On the Concept of History" (1940)
+ Being and becoming (freedom in transformation) / immanent dialectical critique chart of terms


Week 28. Reflections on Marxism | May 29, 2018

• 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 29. Theory and practice | Jun. 5, 2018

+ Adorno, “On Subject and Object” (1969)
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)
+ Esther Leslie, Introduction to the 1969 Adorno-Marcuse correspondence (1999)
+ Adorno and Herbert Marcuse, correspondence on the German New Left (1969)

Tuesdays
6pm - 9pm
Starbucks, St. Katherine's House, 10 Kingsway

Our preliminary readings have four weeks on radical bourgeois philosophy (Rousseau, Hegel, Nietzsche), three weeks on the 1960's New Left (neo-Marxism, gender and sexuality, anti-black racism in the US) and one week on 'precursors' to the Frankfurt School (Reich and Kracauer). The primary reading group lasts eleven weeks and focuses on two questions: What is the left, and what is Marxism?