Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Hobgoblin Collective

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

*********

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

*********

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

*********

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

*********

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

*********

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

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

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

The Island

LOST TEXT

History Matters

THE ILLUSIONS OF ‘SOLIDARITY’ By David Brown

A ‘Lost Text’ from 1975 rediscovered: David Brown on the ‘Illusions’ of Maurice Brinton and Cornelius Castoriadis

Editorial notes by the Hobgoblin Collective:

Hobgoblin has published (online) for the first time a text, written in 1975 as a letter to the membership of the Solidarity group – also known as ‘Solidarity For Workers Power’. This group was founded in 1960 by Chris Pallis, an eminent neurologist who wrote under the name “Maurice Brinton,” and Ken Weller, a young shop steward working in the motor industry. The group, initially known as Socialism Reaffirmed, published a journal, Agitator, which after six issues was renamed Solidarity. Both Brinton and Weller had previously been members of Gerry Healy’s Socialist Labour League, founded amidst the mass defections from the Communist Party after the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. As Richard Abernethy put in an obituary for Chris Pallis in Hobgoblin in 2005:

“Solidarity punctured and deflated some favourite left-wing illusions. It recognised that there was no actually existing socialism, no worker’s states, in the world. Notwithstanding all differences between the Western capitalist bloc, the Eastern bloc ruled by Communist parties, and the Third World, the basic divide between rulers and ruled existed everywhere.”

The Solidarity group, despite never having much more than a hundred members, was influential, not least because Solidarity became the main conduit of the political theories of Cornelius Castoriadis aka Paul Cardan (1922-97), founder of Socialisme ou Barbarie in France.

The resignation statement by Solidarity member, David Brown, was written at a time (1975) when the group was in decline, facing splits and having to deal with the fact that Castoriadis/Cardan had, following the demise of Socialisme ou Barbarie in 1965, moved to the Right. Brown, was influenced by French ex-Bordigist, Jacques Camatte, some of whose writings he translated, by the Russian value-theorist, II Rubin, and by Karl Korsch, author of Marxism and Philosophy. According to Brown, Castoriadis and Solidarity shared with the traditional left a restricted understanding of Marx’s ideas, not recognising the liberatory core of Marx’s Capital, and taking the shortcoming of the traditional left as grounds for breaking with Marx. Brown argues that Castoriadis, Brinton and the Solidarity group misunderstood the cardinal term of the Marx’s critique of political economy – value. Brown writes:

“The attack on the labour theory of value is only a prelude to a more general attack on the materialist conception of history. By reducing the general conception of the mode of production to mean technology and the word ‘determine’ to mean the same as ‘cause’, a simple transformation of marxism into banality follows.” 

Castoriadis had argued that:

“The revolutionary movement… must become the place (the only place in contemporary society, outside the factory) where… individuals learn about collective life, run their own affairs and fulfill and develop themselves, working for a common objective in reciprocal recognition.”

Brown finds this position to be “entirely false,” and argues (following Jacques Camatte) that “all organisations are despotic” because, basing themselves on “critique of other organisations and individuals” they are “already” the conception of competitive capital.

Two of the editors of The Hobgoblin (Richard Abernethy and George Shaw) are former members of the Solidarity group. As Marxist-Humanists, we do not agree with a lot of the positions David Brown expressed in 1975. If the statement that “all organisations are despotic” means that all attempts to overcome atomization and individual isolation are doomed, then we certainly disagree, believing, as we do, in a philosophically-grounded alternative to capitalism – something Castoriadis, as a “positivist,” never even considered. Nor do we agree that “support for oppressed peoples” was part of the degeneration of Marxism (this in spite of Marx’s own statements on Ireland, Poland etc), or saying that people who voted Labour in 1974 “voted for capitalism.”

We are publishing this text not only because of its historical interest as a critique of a (dead) organization of the Left, once significant (and still influential “beyond the grave,” through the works of its theoreticians and the legacy of its activists) , but also because of the general theoretic questions it raises have, in the 21st century Left, not been surpassed.

TO READ THE TEXT IN FULL SEE THE LINKS BELOW

http://www.thehobgoblin.co.uk/2011_DAVID_BROWN_ON_CHRIS%20PALLIS_1.htm

http://www.thehobgoblin.co.uk/2011_DAVID_BROWN_ON_CHRIS%20PALLIS_2.htm

The Hobgoblin: http://www.thehobgoblin.co.uk/

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

Capitalist Crisis

U.S. MARXIST-HUMANISTS NOVEMBER 2010

FROM U.S. MARXIST-HUMANISTS

(http://www.usmarxisthumanists.org/)

NOVEMBER 2010

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES:

1. Kevin Anderson, author of Marx at the Margins,

“French, European Strikes Reveal Mass Discontent… and Its Limits”

The French and European-wide strikes reveal mass discontent, but also illustrate the limitations facing today’s labor and leftist movements. 

http://www.usmarxisthumanists.org/articles/kevin-anderson-french-european-strikes-reveal-mass-discontent-and-its-limits/

2. Paresh Chattopadhyay, author of The Marxian Concept of Capital and the Soviet Experience,

“Marx Made to Serve Party-State”

[A review of On Socialism: Selections from Writings of Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, V. I. Lenin, J .V. Stalin, Mao Zedong, edited by Irfan Habib, New Delhi: Tulika Books, 2009]

In critiquing the assumptions of the Indian Marxist historian Irfan Habib’s statist and ultimately market-oriented concept of socialism, Paresh Chattopadhyay elaborates Marx’s concept of socialism as pointing toward a society free of all forms of domination, whether of capital or the state.

http://www.usmarxisthumanists.org/articles/marx-made-to-serve-party-state-by-paresh-chattopadhyay/

3. Sandra Rein, author of Reading Dunayevskaya (forthcoming)

“Reading Luxemburg Through Dunayevskaya for Today, Theory as Practice”

It is argued that today’s crisis is best confronted through a return to Rosa Luxemburg’s key contributions to Marxist philosophy viewed through the Marxist Humanist lens of Raya Dunayevskaya, with a particular emphasis on the relationship of theory to practice. This chapter originally appeared in Gender Activism: Rosa Luxemburg Annual Seminar, Institute for Social and Economic Research, Rhodes University, South Africa, 2008

http://www.usmarxisthumanists.org/articles/reading-luxemburg-through-dunayevskaya-for-today-theory-as-practice-by-sandra-rein/

4. Dyne Suh, student activist,

“October 7 Day of Action at University of California”

Protests at University of California, Santa Barbara over soaring costs of an education were part of an international day of action by students around the world.

http://www.usmarxisthumanists.org/articles/october-7-day-of-action-at-university-of-california-by-dyne-suh/

5. Ba Karang, Africa-Links,

“Rwanda – From the Horrors of Genocide to Democracy?”

Rwanda’s recent election, its turn toward authoritarianism, and the involvement of Western capital are analyzed.

http://www.usmarxisthumanists.org/articles/rwanda-from-the-horrors-of-genocide-to-democracy/

6. Kamran Afary, author of Performance and Activism, Grassroots Discourse after the Los Angeles Rebellion of 1992, and Kevin Anderson, author of Marx at the Margins,

“Los Angeles Protests Against Police Killing Reveal the Real Grassroots”

Protests against the police killing of a day laborer in the Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles – populated by impoverished Central American immigrants – reveal the real grassroots of US society as it suffers through the Great Recession.

http://www.usmarxisthumanists.org/articles/los-angeles-protests-against-police-killing-reveal-the-real-grassroots-by-kamran-afary-and-kevin-anderson/

7. Richard Abernethy, Hobgoblin Collective,

“Bangladesh: The People Who Make Your Clothes Demand a Living Wage”

A mass strike of garment workers has exposed poverty wages and attracted international support, but met with severe state repression.

http://www.usmarxisthumanists.org/articles/bangladesh-the-people-who-make-your-clothes-demand-a-living-wage-by-richard-abernethy/

8. Reviews of Raya Dunayevskaya, The Power of Negativity:

Angelica Nuzzo, Hegel-Studien, Bd. 42 (2007)

Stacey Whittle, “Philosophy on the Barricades, International Socialism (Summer 2010)

http://www.usmarxisthumanists.org/books/power-of-negativity/

9. Reviews of Kevin Anderson, Marx at the Margins: Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Non-Western Societies:

Colin Barker, Socialist Review (July-Aug. 2010)

Nagesh Rao, “When Marx Looked Outside Europe,” International Socialism (Sept.-Oct. 2010)

Barry Healy, “Was Karl Marx ‘Eurocentric?” Links (Oct. 22, 2010)

http://www.usmarxisthumanists.org/books/marx-at-the-margins-on-nationalism-ethnicity-and-non-western-societies/

THE SITE ALSO INCLUDES OTHER ARTICLES FROM THE PAST DECADE BY U. S. MARXIST-HUMANISTS.

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

Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski

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

Karl Marx