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PSL Course: Marx’s “Capital” (vol. 1)

Sep 7, 2020

Course description: The first volume of Karl Marx’s Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, which was originally published in 1867, remains a key resource for understanding the logic of capitalism to this day. Marx wrote the book–which was the only volume of Capital published during his lifetime–to theoretically arm the movements of working-class and oppressed peoples. While the book is long and some parts are quite complicated, every worker can understand it through careful reading and collective discussion. The nine classes of this Liberation School course will help you do just that.

While there are valuable resources for helping work through the text, most of them are from academics who aren’t thinking about the day-to-day concerns of organizers in the struggle. We wanted to do this collective reading from our perspective, the perspective of those committed to advancing the worldwide struggle for socialism and liberation.

Taught by educational theorist, PSL member, and Liberation School editor Derek Ford, this course was initially conducted in the summer of 2020. Each class below a video lecture and a reading guide to help you through the text.

The book is available online for free here. This is the International Publishers version, which is the original English translation of the book. The other main version is from Penguin. Either version is acceptable. The class will generally include page numbers from the online PDF, the International Publishers, and the Penguin editions.

Class 1: Prefaces and afterwords
Class 2: Chapter 1 (Commodities)
Class 3: Chapters 2-3 (Exchange and Money)
Class 4: Chapters 4-9 (Capital and Labor-Power)
Class 5: Chapters 10-14 (The Working Day and Relative Surplus-Value)
Class 6: Chapter 15 (Machinery, Technology, and Class Struggle)
Class 7: Chapters 16-24 (Surplus Value, Wages, and Simple Reproduction)
Class 8: Chapter 25 (The General Law of Capitalist Accumulation)
Class 9: Chapters 26-33 (Primitive Accumulation and Colonialism)

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Introduction In a recent book on the ongoing relevance of Walter Rodney’s work, Karim F. Hirji notes that, “as with scores of progressive intellectuals and activists of the past, the prevailing ideology functions to relegate Rodney into the deepest, almost...

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