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112 s Michigan Room 501

Summer and Fall/Autumn 2018 – Winter 2019

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 3. What is Marxism? I. Socialism | Oct. 31, 2018

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

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

Marx, Address to the Central Committee of the Communist League (1850), pp. 501–511

Week 4. What is Marxism? II. Revolution in 1848 | Nov. 7, 2018

Marx, The coming upheaval (from The Poverty of Philosophy, 1847) 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. 14, 2018

+ 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. 21, 2018

+ Commodity form 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

Week 7. Nov. 28, 2018 U.S. Thanksgiving break

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 8. What is Marxism? V. Reification | Dec. 5, 2018

• 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

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

Week 9. What is Marxism? VI. Class consciousness | Dec. 12, 2018

Lukács, Original Preface (1922), “What is Orthodox Marxism?” (1919), “Class Consciousness” (1920), History and Class Consciousness (1923)

+ 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

Week 10. What is Marxism? VII. Ends of philosophy | Dec. 19, 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 2019

II. Introduction to revolutionary Marxism

An art project breaking away from the assumptions about art history and the historical avant-garde, Towards a Newer Avant-Garde, currently takes place at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). It results in an end-of-process group exhibition, in an art space.
June 14, 1-4 PM, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 112 S. Michigan Ave, Room 920
March 12th, 6:15 PM, 37 South Wabash Avenue, Suite 201, Chicago
February 5 - March 26, Loyola University, University of Illinois at Chicago, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
January 18, 1-4 PM, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 112 S. Michigan Ave, Room 920
November 18, 6:00 PM, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 112 S Michigan Ave, Room 1307

November 11th, 6 PM

112 S Michigan Ave, Room 1307

A Platypus film screening, part of our 4 Films on the History of Socialism Screening Series.

"A true story of politics and art in the 1930s USA, centered around a leftist musical drama and attempts to stop its production."

Directed and Written by Tim Robbins. Starring Hank Azaria, Bill Murray, Joan Cusack, John Cusack, Ruben Blades, Emily Watson, John Turturro, Susan Sarandon, Vanessa Redgrave, Cary Elwes and Angus Macfadyen.

1st Floor Leroy Neiman Center (Sharp Building)

It is generally assumed that Marxists and other Leftists have the political responsibility to support reforms for the improvement of the welfare of workers. Yet, leading figures from the Marxist tradition-- such as Lenin, Luxemburg, and Trotsky-- also understood that such reforms would broaden the crisis of capitalism and potentially intensify contradictions that could adversely impact the immediate conditions of the workers. For instance, full employment, while being a natural demand from the standpoint of all workers' interests, also threatens the conditions of capitalist production [which rely on a surplus of available labor], thereby potentially jeopardizing the system of employment altogether. In light of such apparent paradoxes, this panel seeks to investigate the politics of work from Leftist perspectives. It will attempt to provoke reflection on and discussion of the ambiguities and dilemmas of the politics of work by including speakers from divergent perspectives, some of whom seek after the immediate abolition of labor and others of whom seek to increase the availability of employment opportunities. It is hoped that this conversation will deepen the understanding of contemporary problems faced by the Left in its struggles to construct a politics adequate to the self-emancipation of the working class.


Bill Barclay
DSA/Chicago Political Economy Group

Lenny Brody
Justice Party/Network for Revolutionary Change

Leon Fink
labor history, UIC

Please join Platypus for a course of four sessions focusing largely, although not exclusively, on content generated by the Platypus Review. The aim of these sessions is to provide attendees with a sense of the raison d’être of the Platypus project.

SAIC Michigan Building 14th Floor Lounge
6:00 pm

1st Session: Monday, Sept. 30
2nd Session: Monday, Oct. 14
3rd Session: Monday, Oct. 28
4th Session: Monday, Nov. 18

You can find all the readings here: