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Marxism and Culture

MARXIST LITERARY GROUP SUMMER INSTITUTE ON CULTURE AND SOCIETY

 

Monday, June 20

9:00-10:15: MARXISM AND BOURGEOIS REVOLUTION 
Spencer Leonard: Marx’s Critique of Political Economy: Proletarian Socialism Continuing the Bourgeois Revolution?
Pamela Nogales: Marx on the U.S. Civil War as the 2nd American Revolution
Jeremy Cohan: Lukács on Marx’s Hegelianism and the Dialectic of Marxism

10:30-11:30: WAR AND SOCIAL CLASS
Pat Keeton: “Class, War, and Class War: Changing Ideology in American Films from Vietnam to Post-9/11
Peter Scheckner: “End of Empire: How American Cinema since Vietnam Narrates the Erosion of American Global Power.

12:30-1:30: ROUNDTABLE: AFTER GLOBALIZATION

1:45-3:00: POLITICS AND CONSCIOUSNESS
Eric Vazquez: Counterinsurgency’s Suppositions
Joel Nickels: From Spontaneity to Self-government: Imagining Self-Organization in the Twentieth Century and Beyond
Gino Signoracci: Marxism and Eastern Thought: Toward a Philosophy of Perpetual Revolution?

3:15-4:45: COMMODITIES
Ariane Pasternak: Commodity Fetishism and the Feminized Sphere of Non-Value
Ericka Beckman: Seeing the World System: The Latin American “Commodity Novel”
Sina Rahmani: Einwaggonieren: Containerization, Displacement, and the “Forbidden Commodities”
Max Haiven: Abject Finance: Wal-Mart and the Unbankables

7:00: FILM SCREENING: SHASHWATI TALUKDAR’S PLEASE DON’T BEAT ME, SIR.

Tuesday, June 21

9:00-10:15: HISTORY, LITERATURE, REVOLUTION
Eldon Birthwright: Caribbean Literature and the Sanitizing of History
Sheshalatha Reddy: Bodies in Bondage, Bodies in Labor: Class Consciousness and the “Oppressed Natives” in the Morant Bay Uprising
Aisha Karim: Literature and Revolution

10:30-11:45: RACE, REVOLUTION, POSTCOLONIALITY
Julie Fiorelli: Recurrent Revolutions? Arna Bontemps’s Conception of Time and African American Race-War Novels of the Late 1960s
LaRose Parris: The African Diasporic Proletariat
Henry Schwarz: Marxism and Postcolonial Studies

1:00-2:30: READING GROUP: ANTONIO GRAMSCI 
Led by Jaafar Aksikas

2:45-4:00: REVOLUTION AS EVENT
Kanishka Chowdhury: Revolution and the “Hidden Abode of Production”
Barbara Foley: Event, Non-Event, and “Arrested Dialectic”: The Aftermath of 1919.
Neil Larsen: Revolution as Event and the Temporality of Crisis

4:15-5:30: REVOLUTION AND UNEVEN DEVELOPMENT, AKA THE SPATIAL DIALECTIC 
Laura Martin: Colonial Servitude in the Transition to Capitalism.
Joe Ramsey: Learning from Failures, and from Afar: The Problem of Revolutionary Subjectivity in the US of A, Today

5:45-6:30: WHAT IS A MARXIST POLITICS TODAY?
Oded Nir: Waltz With Bashir: Mediating Class In and Out of Globalized Israeli Culture
Niamh Mulcahy: Class Struggle and the Possibility of a Science of Aleatory History
Andrew Culp: Three Theses for Marxist Politics Today
Joshua Kurz, respondent

Wednesday, June 22

9:00-10:15: AESTHETICS AND POLITICS
Vin Adiutori: Appearance and Phantasm: Reconfiguring Misrecognition
Anthony Squiers: Rethinking Brecht’s Split Character: Dialectics, Social Ontology and Literary Technique
Eleanor Kaufman: Revolution and the Question of Party in Sartre, Brecht, and Badiou

10:30-11:45: BETWEEN REVOLUTIONS: RESISTANCE, CULTURAL POLITICS, AND THE CLICHÉ
Joe Hughes: Ethico-Aesthetics and the Politics of the Cliché
Christian Haines: “It is you who give the life”: On Walt Whitman, Cultural Revolution, and Biopolitics
Hyeryung Hwang: “I prefer not to”: Embodied Subjectivity as the Site of Resistance

1:00-2:30: READING GROUP: MARXISM AND FEMINISM REVISITED 
Led by Ann Mattis and Susan Comfort)

2:45-4:00: THE MARXISM OF SECOND INTERNATIONAL RADICALISM: LENIN, LUXEMBURG, TROTSKY AND LUKÁCS 
Chris Cutrone: Vladmir Lenin
Greg Gabrellas: Rosa Luxemburg
Ian Morrison: Leon Trotsky
Spencer Leonard, respondent

4:15-5:30:  END TIMES
Mathias Nilges: The Tenses of Form or, Literature at the End of Time
Brent Bellamy: Foreclosing Revolution, or the Apocalyptic Contradiction of Late Capitalism
Eui Kang: Apocalyptic Marx

7:00: FILM SCREENING: MICHAEL TRUSCELLO’S CAPITALISM IS THE CRISIS

Thursday, June 23

9:00-10:15: HISTORY I
Lucas Johnson: Measuring History in the Post-National
Jackson Petsche: Marxism, Posthumanism, and the Future of Animal Liberation
Nathaniel Boyd: Re-thinking the Contingent Political Sequence of Revolutionary Class Struggle

10:30-11:45: HISTORY II
Grover Furr: Why Is It Vital To All of Us To Get the Stalin Period Right?
Ryan Culpepper: 5 Years After the 1929 Economic Collapse
Justin Sully: Population Decline and the Historical Lateness of Capitalism

1:00-2:30: READING GROUP: C.L.R. JAMES AND JAMES BOGGS 
Led by Joel Woller

2:45-3:45: THE PERIPHERAL STANDPOINT
Jefferson Agostini Mello: Desiring the World: A New Brazilian Culture?
Maria Elisa Cevasco: Misplaced Ideas: What We Can Learn from How Ideas Fare in Brazil

4:00-5:00: BUSINESS MEETING

7:00: FILM SCREENING: ANDREW FRIEND’S WORKERS’ REPUBLIC

Friday, June 24

8:45-10:15: LITERATURE I
Emilio Sauri: Cognitive Mapping, Then and Now
David Aitchison: Literature and Revolution: Radical Politics and the Novel in the U.S.A.
Jen Hammond: The Lyric Moment and Revolution
Madeleine Monson-Rosen: The Structure of Media Revolution: Thomas Pynchon and the Politics of Paradigm Shift

10:30-12:00: LITERATURE II
Jonathan Poore: John Steinbeck and the Proletarian Aesthetic
Carolyn Lesjak: Realism and Revolution
Peter Gardner: The Political Unconscious of A Farewell to Arms
Kristin Bergen: Gertrude Stein and the Relation of Political Periodization to Aesthetic Form

1:00-2:30: READING GROUP: THE STRUCTURE OF REVOLUTION 
Led by Joe Ramsey and Rich Daniels

2:45-4:00: GUY DEBORD
Sarah Hamblin: Repetition as a Revolutionary Aesthetic in the Cinema of Guy Debord
Jane Winston: Revolution in Debord
Vanessa R. S. Cavalcanti and Antonio Carlos Silva: The Society of the Spectacle to the Beat of the Capital: a Contribution to the Criticism of Modernity’s Ritual

6:30: MLG BARBECUE

Marxist Literary Group: http://mlg.eserver.org/the-institute/2011-chicago/

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Karl Marx

MARX’S ‘CAPITAL’ FOR TODAY

Announcing a new series on
Marx’s Capital for Today:  A Reading of Volume One of Capital

Second & Fourth Mondays
June, July & August
6:30-9.00 pm
@ Chicago Public Library
Harold Washington Library Center
400 South State St. Chicago IL
Room 3N-6

Join us for a re-examination of Marx’s analysis of the logic of capital in light of today’s economic and social crises. The focus will be Volume One of Marx’s Capital, in which Marx developed some of his most creative philosophic conceptions. The suggested readings from Marx will be supplemented by selections from Marxism and Freedom, by Raya Dunayevskaya, founder of Marxist-Humanism in the U.S.

Capital is online at http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1

Marxism and Freedom is available from U.S. Marxist-Humanists.

Sponsored by the U.S. Marxist-Humanists
Email: arise@usmarxisthumanists.org
http://www.usmarxisthumanists.org
Phone: 773-561-3454
eg/2011/labor donated
*********

Schedule and Readings

June 13th   — The Commodity Form and the Dual Character of Labor

Marx called his analysis of the dual character of labor at the start of Capital his “unique contribution” to the critique of political economy. This meeting will discuss the difference between concrete labor and abstract labor and how it defines the nature of the social relations of modern capitalism.

Suggested readings:
Capital, chapter 1, sections 1 and 2 (pp. 125-137)
Marxism and Freedom, chapter 5 (pp. 81-91)

Leading the discussion: Peter Hudis, General Editor, The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg

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June 27th — The Forms of Value and the Function of Money

The discussion of the forms of value in section 3 of chapter 1 of Capital, which is the subject of this meeting, is of pivotal importance in disclosing capitalism’s drive to commodify human relations as well as the function of money in the modern world.

Suggesting reading:
Capital, chapter 1, section 3 (pp. 138-163).
Leading the discussion: Anton Evelynov, student activist

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July 11th — The Adventures of Commodity Fetishism

The section on “The Fetishism of the Commodity and its Secret” has been widely considered the philosophic core of Capital, in which Marx both pinpoints the reason for capitalism’s persistence and points to its possible transcendence. This meeting will focus on this famous section in light of ongoing debates in radical theory.

Suggesting readings:
Capital, chapter 1, section 4 (pp. 163-177)
Marxism and Freedom, chapter 6 (pp. 92-102).

Leading the discussion: Marilyn Nissim-Sabat, author, Neither Victim nor Survivor: Thinking Toward a New Humanity

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July 25th — What is Capital? Why is it the Defining Feature of Modern Society?

Part 2 of Capital, “The Transformation of Money into Capital,” which is the subject of this meeting, discloses the peculiar nature of capital as a social form and how it becomes the universal medium of  social relations in capitalist society.

Suggested readings:
Capital, chapters 4-6, (pp. 247-282)
Marxism and Freedom, chapter 7, section 1 (pp. 103-111).

Leading the discussion: Miguel A. Rodriguez, student at Loyola University; and Ali Reza, Committee in Solidarity with the People of Iran

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August 8th — The Domination of “Dead” over “Living Labor”

The subject of this meeting is Marx’s discussion of the relation between the labor process and the valorization process, on the one hand, and constant capital and variable capital, on the other. This relation discloses the law of motion inherent in all forms of capitalism—whether in its “free market” or statist variants.

Suggested readings:
Capital, chapters 7-8, (pp. 283-319)
Marxism and Freedom, chapter 7, section 2 (pp. 112-119).

Leading the discussion: J Turk, U. S. Marxist-Humanists

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August 22nd — The Working Day and the Quest for a New Society

Why have automated and computerized forms of labor, which at one time were heralded as leading to a dramatic shortening of the working day, led instead to an increase in the amount of time that many spend at work? To what extent do efforts to shorten the working day and transform conditions of labor point to a possible alternative to the capitalist mode of production? We will explore Marx’s discussion of these issues in the section of Capital on “The Working Day.”

Suggested Readings:
Capital, chapter 10, (pp. 340-416)
Marxism and Freedom, chapter 7, section 3 (pp. 120-125).

Leading the discussion: Eileen Grace, Hobgoblin Collective

 

END***

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

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Capitalism in Crisis

DEMOCRATIC ALTERNATIVES TO CAPITALISM PART 3: COMMODITY FETISHISM OR FREELY ASSOCIATED LABOR?

Saturday, MAY 14, 2011

1:00-3:00 PM

Community Room A, Westside Pavilion,Los Angeles

(Westside Pavilion is at Pico & Westwood Boulevards; Community Room A is on east side of the mall, third floor, behind food court; free parking in mall lot)

Speaker:

Kevin Anderson, author of Marx at the Margins

In Capital, Vol. I, Marx describes commodity fetishism as a system in which human relations are as relations between things, because that is the reality of life under capitalism.  However, in a little-known part of this analysis of fetishism, he also sketches a positive alternative to capitalism, a society based on freely associated labor.  At a time when the Arab revolutions have toppled dictators and asserted the power of the working class, it is urgent to re-examine Marx’s vision of a truly anti-capitalist revolution. 

Suggested readings:

Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. I, chapter 1, section 4 (pp. 163-77, Fowkes edition, esp. pp. 171-3)

Sponsored by West Coast Marxist-Humanists

More information: arise@usmarxisthumanists.org and http://www.usmarxisthumanists.org/

Future meetings (same time and location):

June 11, PART 4: on Marx’s discussion of from each according to their abilities and each according to their needs – and the steps to get there – in Critique of the Gotha Program.

***END***

‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h7tUq0HjIk (live)

‘Maximum levels of boredom

Disguised as maximum fun’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLjxeHvvhJQ (live, at the Belle View pub, Bangor, north Wales)  

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Raya Dunayevskaya

DEMOCRATIC ALTERNATIVES TO CAPITALISM: MARX’S WRITINGS ON EXISTING CAPITALISM – PART 2
Saturday, April 2, 2011
1:00-3:00 PM
Community Room A, Westside Pavilion, Los Angeles

(Westside Pavilion is at Pico & Westwood Boulevards; Community Room A is on east side of the mall, third floor, behind food court; free parking in mall lot)

Speakers:
Kevin Anderson, author of Marx at the Margins
Dale Parsons, labor activist

Why have automated and computerized forms of labor, which at one time were heralded as leading to a dramatic shortening of the working day, led – in addition to persistent unemployment, even in non-recessionary times — to an increase in the amount of time that so many who do have jobs spend at work? To what extent do machinery and technology hinder or assist the effort to transcend the alienation that characterizes much of present-day society? To what extent does the development of the productive forces under capitalism create a basis for a new society free of alienation and overwork? We will explore Marx’s discussion of these issues – and that by the Marxist-Humanist philosopher Raya Dunayevskaya — in the section on machinery of the Grundrisse, his most important critique of political economy in the years before he finished Capital.

Suggested readings:
Karl Marx, Grundrisse,” pp. 699-712
Raya Dunayevskaya, “The Automaton,” Philosophy and Revolution, pp. 68-76

Marx’s Grundrisse is now online: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1857/grundrisse/index.htm

Sponsored by US Marxist-Humanists on the West Coast
More information: arise@usmarxisthumanists.org and http://www.usmarxisthumanists.org/

Future Meetings (same time and location):

May 14: PART 3: on Marx’s discussion of free and associated labor in the section on commodity fetishism in Capital.

June 11, PART 4: on Marx’s discussion of from each according to their abilities and each according to their needs – and the steps to get there – in Critique of the Gotha Program.

—END—

‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h7tUq0HjIk (live)

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Culture

CULTURE & ORGANIZATION

Call for Papers

There will be a Special Issue of the journal Culture & Organization on: Commodities & Markets

Edited by Stevphen Shukaitis (Autonomedia / University of Essex) & Ming Lim (University of Leicester)

What would commodities say if they could speak? Marx’s wistful question can seem playful in some registers. Paul Jennings, for instance, proposed in his “Report of Existentialism” (1963) that everyday objects are constantly at war with their users: “things are against us,” he gleefully pronounces. And yet, objects voice themselves not only through our playful – or rueful – gaze.  If Marx had listened long enough, these talking commodities would have announced the traumas of their exploitative and violent birthing to him. Eventually, one imagines, they would have described the nature of the various forms of labour necessary for their production in the capitalist mode. As Fred Moten (2003) points out, history is marked by the revolt of the screaming commodity: the body of the slave fighting against its imposed status of thing-liness.

The rise of consumer culture, the proliferation and intensification of the commodity, can be understood as the expansion of the violence of accumulation all across the social field. The ferocious forces which separate the producer from the product of the labour process have not waned; on the contrary, they have become monstrously multiplied and rendered all the more invisible by their ubiquity in the society of the spectacle (Debord 1983). The critique and denunciation of these forces, have, in fact, become yet another commodity in the spectacle; something we witness today in the backlash against banks, bankers and speculators and all the glorified preening of capitalist consumption they stand for. Is this trend, then, the ‘new spirit of capitalism’?    

And yet, an alternative exists to the vicious dynamics described above.  One thinks, for instance, of the practices of Russian constructivists during the 1920s. The Constructivists, employing their artistic practices and knowledges to reconfigure industrial design and production, argued that rather than denouncing the seductive lure of the capitalist commodity it would be possible to utilize these energies to reshape the socialist world. This would move the objects produced for use and consumption from being capitalist commodity to be active participants in the building of this world: it would make them into comrades (Kiaer 2005).  Yet, how attractive is this vision to the postmodern consumer? Is it more or less dangerous than its alternative?

Today, therefore, we need to reconsider the “state of things,” or, put another way, the “state” of things.  Both bloody commodities and comradely objects exist, as a double edge, all around us:  the stubborn existence of sweatshop production and labour exploitation exist side-by-side with the proliferation of ‘helpful’ technologies and all sorts of interactive gadgets and participatory media networks. Fair trade products have moved from the status of marginal subcultural practices to multinational corporate cash schemes. Are we seeing the inauguration of a new era of ethical production through the commodity form (Arvidsson 2006) or the latest and most comprehensive example of alienation, one that is now self-managed through the fetish of ethical consumption?  What would objects now say to us?

This issue aims to find out. Possible areas for inquiry could include but are not limited to:

• Commodity fetishism, surfaces and glosses

• Revolting objects and rebellious products

• The current ‘ethical’ fetishes in production and consumption

• Autoreduction and reappropriation of commodities

• The labour of making labour ‘disappear’ from commodities

• Spectacular society and its other

• The commons in and through the ‘market’ and ‘markets’

• The madness of crowds and the taming influence of objects

References

Arvidsson, Adam (2006) Brands: Meaning and Value in Media Culture. London: Routledge.

Debord, Guy (1983) Society of the Spectacle. Detroit, MI: Red & Black.

Jennings, Paul (1963) “Report of Resistentialism,” Town & Country. Available at www.resistentialists.com

Kiaer, Christina (2005) Imagine No Possessions: The Socialist Objects of Russian Constructivism. Cambridge: MIT University Press.

Moten, Fred (2003) In The Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

We welcome original, high-quality articles between 6,000 to 7,000 words (including references) which are not currently under consideration by other journals and also shorter review articles, commentaries and book reviews.  Potential contributors are welcome to contact the Editors informally, and especially in the case of shorter pieces they may want to submit:  stevphen@autonomedia.org or m.lim@leicester.ac.uk

SUBMISSION PROCESS

Full submission instructions are available on the Culture and Organization publishers’ homepage:   http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/14759551.asp. Please read these in full before submitting your manuscript.

Important Dates

• Paper submission deadline: 3rd June, 2011

• Camera ready papers:  30th April, 2012

Publication scheduled for September 2012.

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com