Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Syllabus for Class Series on 150th Anniversary of Marx's Capital, Volume 1

Sundays Jan. 29,  Feb. 26,  March 26,  April 30,  May 28, 2017

2:30-4:30 p.m. 

Southern California Library, 6120 South Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles 90044

Introduction:   This class series aims to examine  key concepts in Marx’s Capital, Volume 1 from three different vantage points:   1. The current global trend toward authoritarianism 2.  Capitalism’s inseparability from racism, sexism/heterosexism and environmental destruction.  3.  Marx’s concept of an alternative to capitalism and how it differs from systems that existed in the USSR and Maoist China.  Writings from various Marxist thinkers will also be included and discussed.   Those who have no previous knowledge of Marx, as well as those who are long-time students of Marx will have an opportunity to ask provocative questions and have a dialogue about
Marx’s critique of capitalism, his concept of an alternative and the relevance of his ideas for today.  The classes will be led by Frieda Afary, Philosophy M.A. and M.L.I.S.    All the required readings can be found on     For the syllabus and for more information please see below or go to 

Sunday January 29, 2017

Class I.  Alienated Labor, Value Production and Marx’s Alternative

Required readings

Chapter 1:  “The Commodity”

“Alienated Labor” from the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844

Optional reading: 

David Harvey.“The Foundational Contradictions,” (Part I) in  Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism.  Profile Books, 2015.

Sunday February 26, 2017

Class II:  The Production of Surplus-Value and the Distinctiveness of the Capitalist Division of Labor

Required readings: 

Part Two:  The Transformation of Money into Capital (Chapters 4-6)

Part Three:  The Production of Absolute Surplus Value (Chapters 7-10)

Part Four:  The Production of Relative Surplus-Value (Chapters 11-15)

Sunday March 26, 2017

Class III:  Capital Accumulation, Unemployment, Crises and Wars

Required readings:  

Part VII:  The Process of Accumulation of Capital (Chapters 23-25) 

Optional readings:

Lenin.  Imperialism:  The Highest Stage of Capitalism,  1916.

Rosa Luxemberg.  Excerpts from The Accumulation of Capital:  A Contribution to An Explanation of Imperialism (1913) in  Rosa Luxemburg Reader (pp. 32-70)

Raya Dunayevskaya.  “The Humanism and Dialectic of Capital, Volume 1, 1867-1883” in Marxism and Freedom.  2000 [1958]

Michael Roberts.  The Long Depression.  Haymarket, 2016

Sunday April 30, 2017

Class IV:  Marx’s Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism

Required readings:  

“The Fetishism of the Commodity and its Secret” in Chapter 1 of Capital

The Critique of the Gotha Program.  1875

The Collected Works of Marx and Engels. Volume 28 (Grundrisse). New York, 1986.  pp. 411-412, 530-531.  

 Capital, Volume III.  Penguin, 1981.  pp. 958-959

Optional readings: 

Peter Hudis.  Marx’s Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism.  Haymarket,  2013

Moishe Postone.  “Abstract Time” (chapter 5) in  Time, Labor and Social Domination,  Cambridge University Press,  1993.

Sunday May 28, 2017

Class V:  Marx’s Capital as a Challenge to Racism, Sexism/Heterosexism and Environmental Destruction

Required readings:

Part Eight:  So-Called Primitive Accumulation (Chapter 26, 31-33)

Chapter 10:  "The Working Day," section 7,  pp. 411-416 (Vintage,1976)

Chapter 15:  “Machinery and Large-Scale Industry,”  section 9,  pp. 617-621 (Vintage, 1976)

“Private Property and Communism”  in The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844.

Chapter 7:  “The Labor Process and the Valorization Process”,  section 1,  pp. 283-292 (Vintage, 1976)

Optional readings:  

Kevin Anderson.  “Race, Class and Slavery:  The Civil War as a Second American Revolution”  and “”Late Writings on Non-Western and Precapitalist societies”  in  Marx at the Margins:  On Nationalism, Ethnicity and Non-Western Societies.  University of Chicago Press, 2010.

C.L.R. James.  On The “Negro Question.” Edited by Scott McLemee.   University Press of Mississipi,  1996

Heather Brown.  Marx on Gender and the Family:  A Critical Study.  Haymarket, 2013.

Angela Davis.  Women, Race and Class.  Vintage,  1983. 

Paul Burkett.  Marx and Nature.  Haymarket,  2014

Kohei Saito.  “Marx’s Ecological Notebooks” in Monthly Review.  February 2016

These classes will be led by Frieda Afary,  Philosophy M.A.,  M.L.I.S., librarian, translator and producer of Iranian Progressives in Translation (  She has published articles in English and Persian on Marx’s Capital, Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century,  Marxist Feminism,  and Marxist theories of state capitalism in the former Soviet Union and Maoist China.  

For more information about this class series go to or  contact Frieda Afary at  or call 310-210-3748.


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