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AN INTRODUCTION TO MARXISM
Understanding and action, this course of four classes will cover an introduction to Marxist theory, applying it to a discussion of relevant issues today, such as: the changing nature of work and exploitation, austerity and the gig economy, racism, women’s oppression, class society, revolution and climate change.
Mary Davis and Richard Clarke
Course reader: We’ll be using a classic text, Emile Burns’ ‘What Is Marxism?’ It’s on the web and you should try to read the relevant sections (below) before each class.
Other resources: including copies of the Morning Star’s fortnightly ‘Full Marx’ series can be found on the Marx Memorial Library’s website and the Marxists Internet Archive provides a gateway to a rich variety of original texts.
LABOUR VALUE & EXPLOITATION
Get to grips with Marxist economics at the Marx Memorial Library this summer. This course – aimed at beginners - provides a basic introduction to the Marxist analysis of capitalist economics – comparing and contrasting its approach to that provided by neo-liberal and Keynesian interpretations.
We will look at Marx's pamphlet, Wages, Price and Profit. Written in 1864 at the same time Marx was finishing his great work, Capital, Volume 1, it boils down the arguments of Capital to their simple essence.
At the end of the course you should have a basic grounding in Marxist economics. You should be able to contest arguments that:
· Wage increases cause inflation
· Collective action by workers can never increase wages in the long-run
And instead argue that
· Labour is the only source of new value
· Capitalist production is organised to maximise the rate of exploitation
· Capitalist production is inherently crisis-prone
· Collective action by workers enhances productivity and overall economic demand
CLASS STRUGGLE, THE STATE AND FILM
These three sessions set out to explore some of the ways in which the state engages in industrial conflicts. Each session will start with a brief introduction followed by a selection from films about previous industrial struggles, as the basis for further discussion. What do these examples tell us about the underlying nature of the relationships between employers and governments and class struggles, in the past? How did workers involved in these struggles see the issues at the time? What do we think now, in the present context?