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An Introduction to Marxism: Marxism, the State and Revolution
A Marxist perspective is central to understanding the role of the state and how the ruling class retains power. But how can we secure a society ‘for the many’? Can capitalism be reformed or must it be overthrown, if so what should replace it? Can we learn from the experience of socialist countries past and present and what are the prospects for a classless, communist society?
Reading: Burns Chapter V: ‘Class Struggles in Modern Times’ ; VI ‘Socialist Society’ and VIII: ‘A Guide to Action’.
Talking points (examples): Can trades unions build a better world? Is the environment a ‘second contradiction’ of capitalism? What is the ‘withering away’ of the state? What do Marxists say about parliamentary elections? What do we mean by ‘revolution’?
With a focus on the fundamentals of Marxism and its relevance to 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
Fee £20/12 unwaged for all classes.
We recommend you sign up to all four sessions.
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.