New Marx's Capital Vol. 1 reading group?

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johnbltz
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Mar 11 2013 01:47
New Marx's Capital Vol. 1 reading group?

So I noticed that the former reading group from the sticky is basically defunct, and well past the beginning of the work. I just found a free copy on Google Books and was wondering if anyone else would be interested in reading through it with me and having a discussion every week or two?

Tom de Cleyre
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Mar 11 2013 04:14

Sure, why not. I've read it before but it's always good to revise our classics!

wojtek
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Mar 11 2013 11:59

Gonna regret this but I'm in. What's the link for the book?

jolasmo
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Mar 11 2013 14:04

I'd be interested, think I said this the last time it came around and then ended up sacking it off but I will try and actually read the blasted thing this time wink. I have the penguin classics edition on my bookshelf.

~J.

Tom de Cleyre
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Mar 11 2013 23:46

For the laziest among us, or people who are stuck on Volume 1 for whatever reason, AK Press just published a small book called 'The Value of Radical Theory: An Anarchist introduction to Marx's Critique of Political Economy' I only just started it, but it seems okay. Also, Cafiero's simplified version of vol 1 is less intimidating than the unshortened thing.

Angelus Novus
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Mar 12 2013 10:22
Tom de Cleyre wrote:
AK Press just published a small book called 'The Value of Radical Theory: An Anarchist introduction to Marx's Critique of Political Economy' I only just started it, but it seems okay.

Wow, it seems like every radical publisher is putting out a Capital introduction these days. That's probably a good thing; an indication that lots of people are trying to read Capital.

petey
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Mar 12 2013 13:41
Tom de Cleyre wrote:
For the laziest among us

that would include me. the AK book sounds useful, but i have no head for economics and still need someone to write me a summation of Capital in 1000 words or so.

Agent of the International's picture
Agent of the In...
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Mar 12 2013 14:52

By the end of this month, I should have all three volumes of Capital (penguin edition) shipped to my house.

And by the way, that book by AK press is available online for free. It's called 'Marx's Economics for Anarchists' and its written by Wayne Price.

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Mar 12 2013 14:54

http://libcom.org/library/marx’s-economics-anarchists-anarchist’s-introduction-marx’s-critique-political-economy

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xslavearcx
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Mar 12 2013 15:13

dont know if it really matters if its being done online... but my advice would to try and read from the same translation of the book. I did (most of) volume 2 in a reading group, everybody barring me had the penguin edition and i had a different one and it was a nightmare finding anything if someone wanted to draw attention to a passage.

petey
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Mar 12 2013 17:12
Agent of the Fifth International wrote:
http://libcom.org/library/marx’s-economics-anarchists-anarchist’s-introduction-marx’s-critique-political-economy

smashing, thanks

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arminius
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Mar 12 2013 17:38
xslavearcx wrote:
dont know if it really matters if its being done online... but my advice would to try and read from the same translation of the book. I did (most of) volume 2 in a reading group, everybody barring me had the penguin edition and i had a different one and it was a nightmare finding anything if someone wanted to draw attention to a passage.

Though arguably, that might not be quite so bad for an online reading group, or???

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xslavearcx
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Mar 12 2013 18:10

yeah thats why i said the first bit haha "dont know if it really matters if its being done online."

Dave B
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Mar 12 2013 18:38

Personally I would recommend reading the first ever das capital for dummies by Deville which was started with Karl’s encouragement and ‘endorsed’ by Engels;

http://www.marxists.org/archive/deville/1883/peoples-marx/index.htm

A copy of the Das capital is available online of course;

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/

These reading groups have always ended in failure before.

I think one reason is that there is a tendency to loose sight of the fact that, in my opinion, Das Capital presupposes an understanding of pre existent ideas which it is attempting to address.

And they are laid out in a rambling incoherent way in ‘volume IV’, or theories of surplus value.

Which should have been the ‘prequel’ in my opinion.

For instance Karl’s objective was to establish and prove the ‘political’ theory of Surplus Labour, which was actually attributed to another in volume IV but was not credited to the English originator in volume one.

Quote:
The Source and Remedy of the National Difficulties, [deduced from Principles of Political Economy, in] a Letter to Lord John Russell, London, 1821. (anonymous).

This scarcely known pamphlet (about 40 pages) [which appeared] at a time when McCulloch, “this incredible cobbler”, began to make a stir, contains an important advance on Ricardo. It bluntly describes surplus-value—or “profit”, as Ricardo calls it (often also “surplus produce”), or“interest”, as the author of the pamphlet terms it—as “surplus labour”, the labour which the worker performs gratis, the labour he performs over and above the quantity of labour by which the value of his labour-power is replaced, i.e., by which he produces an equivalent for his wages.

Important as it was to reduce value to labour, it was equally important [to present] surplus-value, which manifestsitself in surplus product, as surplus labour. This was in fact already stated by Adam Smith and constitutes one of the main elements in Ricardo’s argumentation. But nowhere did he clearly express it and record it in an absolute form.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1863/theories-surplus-value/c...

http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/economics/dilke/1821/sourceand...

There you go, derailed the thread already!

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Mar 12 2013 22:03

http://www.marxists.org/archive/ruhle/1939/capital.htm

Otto Ruhle's simplified version of Capital.

paul r
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Mar 13 2013 09:09

FYI, Wayne Price's 'The Value of Radical Theory: An Anarchist introduction to Marx's Critique of Political Economy', newly published by AK Press, is a revised, expanded, and IMO much improved version of his earlier 'Marx's Economics for Anarchists: An Anarchist's Introduction to Marx's Critique of Political Economy', available free online.

Both these books outline Marx's critique of bourgeois economics as it appears in 'Capital', vols 1-3, and show the present-day political relevance of Marx's critique, IMO, their main virtue is to indicate how Marx's critique might be integrated into a class-struggle anarchist position, without taking on board those aspects of Marx and the Marxist tradition which are deemed to be incompatible with anarchism.

However, as an introduction to Marx's 'Capital', especially as a guide for first-time readers of 'Capital', they are somewhat limited. IMO. there's no substitute for diving in to the deep end and tackling the original; at least that's the only way to find out what questions one needs to ask.

GoHabsGo
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Mar 13 2013 18:50

Also interested. Though I recently read Chapter One. I think it will be more fun if I had people to discuss it with rather than the odd Facebook status that nobody is interested in, LOL.

Dave B
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Mar 13 2013 18:51

I still think the chronology of the development of allegedly “Karl’s” key ideas of surplus labour, labour power and labour power as a commodity are important.

The basic ideas were laid out by Fred in 1843 when Karl was still puzzled about the implications of people collecting firewood.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/df-jahrbucher/outlines.h...

Fred seemed to have raised the key idea of labour power as a commodity in 1847

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/11/prin-com.htm

On the Anarchists; Proudhon had obviously made an early contribution to the general ‘prejudicial political’ theory.

I think in fact that the opening chapter, where

‘Wages is a category that, as yet, has no existence at the present stage of our investigation’

And which was;

“the starting-point of capital. ………..[and] the historical ground-work from which it rises….”

Is an economic description of the Proudhonist model.

Karl’s and Fred’s Criticism of Proudhonist type ideas was that it was resetting the clock back to where capitalism started from.

Like tipping the monopoly board over and starting again as if the first player to put hotels on Mayfair and Park Lane won’t end up winning again.

Although maybe we are half way there in the UK as we have peoples banks offering zero % interest rates.

The common identity of surplus value, surplus product and surplus value is another key idea I think, and for me nicely demonstrated in the volume IV quote I provided on ‘surplus labour’ eg;

…….it was equally important [to present] surplus-value, which manifests itself in surplus product, as surplus labour.

Although these kinds of ideas were circulating amongst the working class of Lancashire before 1820.

Edukating the edukators.

petey
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Mar 13 2013 20:10
Agent of the Fifth International wrote:
http://www.marxists.org/archive/ruhle/1939/capital.htm

Otto Ruhle's simplified version of Capital.

thanks for that too.

Angelus Novus
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Mar 13 2013 21:03

*cough* *cough*

Best secondary literature.

solidariedade
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Mar 13 2013 21:47

Yeah, I second Angelus Novus suggestion. Despite having it's roots on the somewhat hermetic debates of the 60/70's NML, Heinrich's Intro is well written and an excellent (and short!) companion to THE BOOK.

I would also add I.I. Rubin's Essays on Marx's Theory of Value, Intro included.

That said, if you people manage to get the reading group going, I might join you, although not very regularly.

tigersiskillers
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Mar 13 2013 21:59

That was remarkably restrained Angelus, you waited until your second post!

It is a great book, I've gotten more from it than any other 'guide to Capital' type book I've read. But stop posting and get back to work on The Science of Value....

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Mar 14 2013 16:40

I just won a benefits appeal which has been ongoing since last august... Got a lot of outstanding bills to pay and what not but i think ill treat myself to a book: Henrichs Intro to capital i think will be just the ticket smile

BTW whys no one mentioned Harveys online lectures on Capital. I havent read enough to know what differing interpretations of capital are out there, which ones are better and why... but id've thought Harveys would be mentioned on the basis of them being lectures which one can sit back and have a cup of tea too or indeed lunch with...

petey
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Mar 20 2013 16:20
petey wrote:
Agent of the Fifth International wrote:
http://libcom.org/library/marx’s-economics-anarchists-anarchist’s-introduction-marx’s-critique-political-economy

smashing, thanks

i've read this now, and found much of it lucid.

would yiz recommend cleaver's Reading Capital Politically?