The politics of Marxism
A six-week study course on some basic Marxist texts
Download the texts here (pdf, 180k).
1. The contradictions of capitalism
Reading: excerpts from Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy and On The Question of Free Trade.
We will discuss the different perspectives of building a revolutionary party in a struggle to transform the labour movement, or "building the party" in abstraction; and of developing the class contradictions in European capitalist integration and globalisation, or trying to halt or reverse those processes of integration and globalisation.
2. The Communist Manifesto
Reading: excerpts from the Communist Manifesto; "The Communist Manifesto and Trotskyism", from The Fate of the Russian Revolution.
We will discuss the different perspectives of working-class socialism and "reactionary" or "bourgeois" socialism.
3. Democracy, the commune-state, and the dictatorship of the proletariat
Read: Engels' letter to Bebel on the Gotha Programme, and Marx's Critique of the Gotha Programme.
We will discuss democratic demands - on the one side their importance (as against the "economism") of the SWP and the like) and on the other side their limits; and the idea of "transitional demands", as counterposed to "panaceas".
4. Socialism and women's liberation
Read: Engels, The Origins of the Family, section II/4
We will discuss feminism and socialism.
Read: Hal Draper, Marx and Engels on war, from Workers' Liberty 2/2.
We will discuss independent working-class politics as against "camp" politics.
Read: excerpts from Lenin, A Caricature of Marxism and Imperialist Economism.
We will discuss Marxism and the national question (for example in Israel-Palestine); political independence and "economic independence"; the politics of the US/Iraq confrontation; imperialism in Lenin's day and in ours.
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