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Raya Dunayevskaya

EXPLODING THE MYTHS OF CAPITALISM: U.S. MARXIST-HUMANISTS

You are invited to attend a series of open discussions on…

Exploding the Myths of Capitalism

First & Third Wednesdays, March & April

6:30-9.00 pm

@ChicagoPublic Library,  Harold Washington L ibrary Center, 400 South State St.Chicago IL, Room 3N-6

Progressive change in the United States is severely hampered owing both to the failure of the left to project an alternative to capitalism and to the myths projected by the right regarding the nature of capitalism. On the other hand, Karl Marx projected an alternative socioeconomic system that comes into view in his writings in significant part in and through exploding the myths about capitalism. This series of five classes will explore the myths of capitalism through discussions of selected writings of Marx, and others.

Readings are available online or from U.S.M.H.  Online readings are available from U.S.M.H in pdf format for e-readers etc.

Sponsored by the U.S. Marxist-Humanists

Email: arise@usmarxisthumanists.org

www.usmarxisthumanists.org

Phone: 773-561-3454

 

Schedule andReadings

March 7th:  Myth #1: Capitalism is the Economic System most in Accord with Human Nature         

Contradictory concepts of human nature abound in the culture of capitalism. Human nature is said to be fundamentally greedy and selfish, or, contrariwise, cast in an image of perfection, or both. These concepts are used to justify social and economic policies that promote and protect capitalism, but this can only work if their historical origin in capitalism itself is obscured. This class will explore the concepts of human nature extant in capitalist societies and counterpose them to concepts drawn from the Marxist-Humanist tradition. The myth that capitalism is reflective of human nature will be exploded in a discussion of the following readings:

Readings:

Erich Fromm, Marx’s Concept of Man, pp. 24-43, “The Nature of Man” www.marxists.org/archive/fromm/works/1961/man/ch04.htm

Karl Marx, Grundrisse, “Introduction,” pp. 84-110 www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1857/grundrisse/ch01.htm

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, Chapter 13: Of the Natural Conditions of Mankind as concerning their Felicity and Misery www.earlymoderntexts.com/pdf/hobblev1.pdf  and Chapter 17:  Of the Causes, Generation, and Definition of Commonwealth www.earlymoderntexts.com/pdf/hobblev2.pdf

Karl Marx, Theses on Feuerbach  www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/theses/theses.htm

 

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

 

March 21st:  Myth #2: Democracy is Compatible with Capitalism

The rhetoric of the candidates for the Republican nomination for president of theUS, as well as their opponents in the Democratic Party, makes it unequivocally clear that for them, and probably for the majority of Americans, capitalism is entirely conflated with ‘democracy.’ That is, the notion of the ‘free market,’ value production, and the drive to accumulate capital for its own sake have been superimposed on the meaning of democracy as a political system as if to say that only the economic system known as capitalism can facilitate democracy. This myth will be exploded in discussion of the following readings:

Readings:

Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto. www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/

Karl Marx, “Address to the Communist League of March, 1850.”

www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/communist-league/1850-ad1.htm

Raya Dunayevskaya, Marxism and Freedom, Chapter VI, The Paris Commune Deepens the content of Capital, pp. 92-102.

Raya Dunayevskaya, Rosa Luxemburg, Women’s Liberation and Marx’s Philosophy of Revolution: Marx’s Theory of Permanent Revolution.” 1843-83, pp. 158-163.

 

Leading the discussion: Anton Evelynov, student activist

 

April 4th: Myth #3: State Forms of ‘Socialism’ are Fundamentally Different from Capitalism

Proponents of capitalism, as well as many post-Marx Marxists, have attempted to identify “socialism” or “communism” with state control of the economy and a centralized state. However, theSoviet Unionas well as “Communist China” and the European welfare state represent not so much a departure from capitalism as a realization of it. This class will explore whether there is an alternative to either reducing a new society to state control of the economy, on one hand, or refraining from the need to seize state power as part of a revolutionary transformation, on the other. The myths regarding state forms of capitalism will be exploded in a discussion of the following readings:

Readings:

Raya Dunayevskaya, Marxism and Freedom, Chapter IV, “Worker, Intellectual, and the State,” pp. 69-77.

Raya Dunayevskaya, State Capitalism and Marx’s Humanism “Lenin vs Bukharin” pp. 10-18.  babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015071598158

“Build It Now”: An Interview with Michael A. Lebowitz radicalnotes.com/content/view/36/39/

John Holloway, Change the World without Seizing State Power, Chapter 2, “Beyond the State?” pp. 11-18.

libcom.org/library/chapter-2-beyond-state

 

Leading the discussion: Ali Reza, Iranian activist and member of Iranian Left Alliance Abroad.

 

April 18th: Myth #4: There is No Alternative to Capitalism

Proponents of capitalism as well as many critics of it have maintained that it is impossible to overcome such phenomena as commodity production, exchange value, alienated labor, and the existence of classes. This stance has within it all of the myths of capitalism, i.e., that capitalism reflects and honors ‘human nature’; that it is a form of democratic practice; and that it prevents the development of state control of the economy. It has also been claimed by many on the left that any effort to spell out the content of a new, post-capitalist society is at best useless and at worst harmful. The myth that there is no alternative to capitalism will be exploded in discussion of the following readings:

Readings:

Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program . www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1875/gotha/index.htm

Raya Dunayevskaya, The Power of Negativity, “Presentation on the Dialectics of Organization and Philosophy,” pp. 3-14.

 

Leading the discussion: Peter Hudis, author of Marx’s Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism

 

Wednesday May 2nd

May Day Celebration and discussion

 

U.S. Marxist Humanists would like to invite all participants in this class to continue the discussion in honor of May Day in a convivial setting, with food and drink. Venue to be announced

**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)

 

‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo  

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/glenn.rikowski

Radical Thinkers

PhD SCHOLARSHIPS IN SOCIAL SCIENCES AT BRUNEL UNIVERSITY

The School of Social Sciences of Brunel University has recently announced nine PhD scholarships. Scholarships include fees, a living allowance, and teaching experience. More information is available here: http://www.brunel.ac.uk/sss/research/phd-scholarships

The Brunel Social and Political Thought Research Group is keen to encourage applications for these scholarships. 

The BSPT Group’s research explores different traditions and currents in critical social and political thought. Our individual and collective work covers the full range of modern social and political thought, from the Renaissance through to the twentieth century. We have a focus on the European context and tradition. 

Particular research strengths include early modern political thought, the critique of political economy, the history of Marxism and theories of war and conflict. We are also engaged in debates in contemporary political theory and European philosophy, including state theory, the critique of security, critical IPE, concepts of the political and notions of monstrosity. As a group we have specialist knowledge of a diverse range of political theorists, including Machiavelli, Spinoza, Hobbes, Burke, Hegel, Marx, Gramsci, Schmitt, Althusser, Polanyi, Foucault and Negri. The Group is particularly keen to welcome research students working in these and related fields.

Key members of the research group in the School of Social Sciences include:

Dr Gareth Dale, author of Karl Polanyi: The Limits of the Market (Polity Press, 2010)

Dr Filippo Del Lucchese, author of Conflict, Power and Multitude in Machiavelli and Spinoza (Continuum Press, 2009)

Prof Mark Neocleous, author of Critique of Security (Edinburgh University Press, 2008); The Monstrous and the Dead: Burke, Marx, Fascism (University of Wales Press, 2005)

Dr John Roberts, author of The Competent Public Sphere: Global Political Economy, Dialogue and the Contemporary Workplace (Palgrave, 2009)

Dr Peter D. Thomas author of The Gramscian Moment. Philosophy, Hegemony and Marxism (Brill Academic Press, 2009)

For more information, visit our web pages:

http://www.brunel.ac.uk/sss/politics/research-and-research-centres/social-and-political-thought

http://www.brunel.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/modern-political-thought-violence-and-revolution-ma

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brunel-University-Modern-Political-Thought/20539302615 0272?sk=wall    

For enquires regarding the scholarships, please contact:

Filippo Dellucchese: Fillippo.Dellucchese@brunel.ac.uk

Mark Neocleous Mark.Neocleous@brunel.ac.uk

Peter Thomas PeterD.Thomas@brunel.ac.uk

Peter D. Thomas
Politics and History
Brunel University
Uxbridge
Middlesex UB8 3PH
United Kingdom

Office: MJ 229

Office hours: Tuesday 14.30-15.30; Thursday 11.30-12.30 

Phone: +44 (0)18952 67573
Work Email: PeterD.Thomas@brunel.ac.uk
Personal Email: thomas_p_au@yahoo.com.au

Staff Page: http://www.brunel.ac.uk/sss/politics/staff-profiles/peter-thomas

Brunel Social and Political Thought Research Group: http://www.brunel.ac.uk/sss/politics/research-groups-and-centres/social-and-political-thought

MA in Modern Political Thought: Violence and Revolution: http://www.brunel.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/modern-political-thought-violence-and-revolution-ma

Historical Materialism: http://historicalmaterialism.org/

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Anarchist Book Fair

THE ANARCHIST TURN

May 05, 2011—May 06, 2011
Theresa Lang Center, The New School for Social Research, Arnold Hall, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd Floor

The Anarchist Turn
Featuring Verso authors Judith Butler, Stephen Duncombe and Alberto Toscano, and Simon Critchley, Banu Bargu and others
See: http://www.versobooks.com/events/138-the-anarchist-turn

For a long time, the word “anarchist” has been used as an insult. This is because, at least since Thomas Hobbes, the concept of anarchy has been extended from its etymological meaning (absence of centralized government) to that of pure disorder—the idea being that, without a sovereign state, the life of individuals can only be brutish, miserable, and chaotic. This move was certainly functional to the ideological justification of the formation of modern sovereign states, but not to an understanding of what anarchy might be.

In the last decade, this caricature of anarchy has begun to crack. Globalization and the social movements it spawned seem to have proved what anarchists have long been advocating: an anarchical order is not just desirable, but also feasible. This has led to a revitalized interest in the subterranean anarchist tradition and its understanding of anarchy as collective self- organization without centralized authority. But the ban on “anarchism” has not yet been lifted.

The aim of this conference is to argue for an “anarchist turn” in political philosophy. We want to discuss the anarchist hypothesis with specific reference to the philosophical tradition in its many historical and geographical variants, but also in relation to other disciplines like politics, anthropology, economics, history and sociology. By bringing together academics and activists, past and present, this conference will assess the nature and effectiveness of anarchist politics in our times.

For the full programme and list of speakers: http://www.newschool.edu/nssr/subpage.aspx?id=64753

—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

Feminism

DIMINISHING RETURNS? FEMINIST ENGAGEMENTS WITH THE RETURN TO ‘THE COMMONS’

_____________________

An international workshop hosted by the Kent Centre for Law, Gender, and Sexuality and Kent Law School

Wednesday 23 March 2011
Kent Law School
Canterbury, UK*
12-6pm

With presentations by:

Rosemary Coombe (York University, Canada)
Radhika Desai (University of Manitoba, Canada)
Denise Ferreira da Silva (Queen Mary, UK)
Nina Power (Roehampton, UK)

Discussed by:

Donatella Alessandrini (Kent, UK)
Brenna Bhandar (Kent, UK)

The day will consist of two sessions, broken up with a light lunch (provided) and followed by dinner (not provided). Please join us for part or all of the day. More information about the theme of the workshop can be found below.

The event is free but spaces are limited. To book a spot please register by emailing Stacy Douglas at: S.M.Douglas@kent.ac.uk before 1 March 2011.

*There are some funds available for postgraduate students who wish to travel to Kent for the workshop. If you are interested please email Stacy Douglas at S.M.Douglas@kent.ac.uk with a brief case for support as well as an estimated cost for your train travel. Information about traveling to Kent can be found here.

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Background:

Garrett Hardin’s now infamous essay “Tragedy of the Commons” (1968) stands as a Hobbesian analogy for what he claims are the inherent destructive capacities of human beings that perpetually stand in the way of realizing a free community of individuals with shared resources. Hardin’s essay suggests that, when faced with the responsibility of sharing the commons, individual human self-interest – or fear of it – will win out over practices of collectivity, sharing, and mutual aid.

More recently, there has been a resurgence in political theory and political philosophy in addressing the concept of “the commons”. Some of the most popularly cited references to the idea can be found in the work of Slavoj Žižek (2009) and Hardt and Negri (2009). This work has further been expounded upon in international conferences devoted to the “Idea of Communism” in London (2009) and Berlin (2010).  Steeped in the philosophy of Spinoza, Hardt and Negri use a notion of the common that “…does not position humanity separate from nature, as either its exploiter or its custodian, but focuses rather on the practices of interaction, care, and cohabitation in a common world, promoting the beneficial and limiting and detrimental forms of the common” (2009). For Žižek, the commons is comprised of culture (“primarily language, our means of communication and education, but also shared infrastructure such as public transport, electricity, post, etc…”), external nature (“from oil to forests and the natural habitat itself”), and internal nature (“the biogenetic inheritance of humanity”), and are all increasingly enclosed by the forces of global capital. It is the process of our exclusion from these commons (“our own substance”) that Žižek argues should effectively proletarianize us into fighting for something more than capitalist liberal democracy – a system whose laissez-faire violence is justified through the empty gesture of “universal inclusion” without any material bite. Žižek’s answer to this political conundrum is a call for communism.

And yet, the past century has seen vast and varied critical feminist engagements with historically changing concepts of communism and “the commons”. Struggles for universal suffrage, critiques of universality, denouncements of the hollowing out of the welfare state as a result of neoliberalisation, and challenges to the concept of the human, are all examples of a rich and diverse feminist tradition of engagement with the concept of “the commons”. Given the popular return to the idea of the commons, what more does feminist analysis have to give to this conversation? Does the concept still have potential for future feminist projects? If so, what is this potential and what do these projects look like? How do they resonate – or not – with those of the past? Further, given the broader theme of the workshop series, what role – if any – does the “the state” play in these imaginings?

The Kent Centre for Law, Gender, and Sexuality (KCLGS) and Kent Law School invite you to participate in a workshop exploring the contemporary feminist work of Rosemary CoombeRadhika DesaiDenise Ferreira da Silva, and Nina Power as it resonates or clashes with these questions. For more information or to register, email S.M.Douglas@kent.ac.uk or visit www.kent.ac.uk/law/kentclgs/

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

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/glenn.rikowski

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com