Das Kapital Volume 1: Karl Marx - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-31-2020, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Das Kapital Volume 1: Karl Marx


I'm looking for at least one other person to take part in a reading group of sorts, where the text will be Das Kapital Vol.1 by Karl Marx.

As the text is difficult and open to different interpretations, I think it would be beneficial to read it along with others and pause every so often to discuss what has been covered in specific chapters. Before setting out a structure to such an activity, I'll wait and see if there is any interest.

I should say that I'm not putting this offer to left-leaning people exclusively. It is an open invitation that extends to anyone regardless of political views. While I can understand that reading Marx might not be high on the list of priorities for non-Marxists/Leftists, I would argue that given the influence of his writings and the fact that "knowing your enemy" is always a good approach, it might still appeal to those who have never considered reading Marx.

Marx is one of the most widely misunderstood and wilfully misrepresented writers in history, so for those who feel attracted to his views and those who are opposed, it would be beneficial to know what Marx actually wrote before continuing on with such attitudes.

I hope the idea of reading such an important work of literature appeals to someone else. It would be great to share the journey with others.

Regards.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-31-2020, 12:09 PM
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It's a big book though.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-31-2020, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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It's a big book though.
Haha. It's a huge book. Three volumes. Though, I am only looking to read volume 1 for now. If that goes well, then the other volumes will be considered.

It's a big reading commitment. But hopefully there will be another person willing to dedicate some time over the coming months to working through it.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-31-2020, 02:01 PM
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I tried it once but didnt get far.

economics is slightly different from philosophy in that its modeling, the model is entirely theoretical and based on assumptions that might just be left behind and unchecked. I mean as long as the model seems legit and furthers the ideology it's supposed to. very shakey foundations. at least in what I read.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-31-2020, 03:49 PM
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Man that's a tall order, I don't know if I could commit to that.

A while ago I watched David Harvey's lectures on Kapital 1, he's been lecturing on the book for around 50 years, it was good to have an expert clarify things along the way because it's a pretty complex book. He has a youtube channel where he's uploaded probably around 45 hours of his lectures for vol 1 and 2.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-31-2020, 05:07 PM
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I am going to pass. But good idea for something to do during quarantine.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-01-2020, 03:08 AM Thread Starter
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It's quite a commitment, I agree. But it is something that I plan on doing over a prolonged period. So there wouldn't be any need to spend crazy amounts of time over a few weeks trying to cram chapters in. I don't mind how long it takes. If it proves beneficial in any way to understanding our social and economic world, it is time well spent.

I've bought the David Harvey companion book to Vol. 1. So that will come in very handy.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-01-2020, 05:24 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by andy1984 View Post
I tried it once but didnt get far.

economics is slightly different from philosophy in that its modeling, the model is entirely theoretical and based on assumptions that might just be left behind and unchecked. I mean as long as the model seems legit and furthers the ideology it's supposed to. very shakey foundations. at least in what I read.
From what I've already read of Marx and from the little I already know about the contents of Das Kapital, Marx set out to provide a critique of political economy. Political economy, while dealing with the economic side of things, is a broader subject. In Marx's day, the main purpose of political economy was to provide a justification for the emerging economic order. Writers like David Ricardo and Adam Smith put forward some of the most famous of these justifications and Marx absorbed some of this into his own critique, before pointing out where he feels both went wrong. Often, Marx takes Capitalism on its own terms and tries to show how it doesn't live up to the promises it makes, even if we take it in its purest form.

There are so many angles you could take while reading the text: sociological, psychological, philosophical, economic, political, even literary. I'm a Philosophy graduate, so I'll most likely look at it from the lens of my subject. But I'm hoping to open myself up to new ideas and approaches.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-01-2020, 05:26 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by crimeclub View Post
Man that's a tall order, I don't know if I could commit to that.

A while ago I watched David Harvey's lectures on Kapital 1, he's been lecturing on the book for around 50 years, it was good to have an expert clarify things along the way because it's a pretty complex book. He has a youtube channel where he's uploaded probably around 45 hours of his lectures for vol 1 and 2.
I've subscribed to his lecture series. So I'll be using that alongside the primary text and David Harvey's companion book. I will also be on the lookout for other secondary texts, because it is something that will require more than one interpretation to get a fuller picture.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-01-2020, 06:09 AM
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If you are interested in following this line of thought, I'd also recommend comparing Marx with Max Weber. Weber's writing is a lot more concise and much of it comes in a form of essays, so won't require as mammoth of an effort as Marx.

Das Kapital is also on my to-read list and I wouldn't have minded participating but I don't have a copy of the book and an e-book is unreadable because of the poor formatting and errors.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-01-2020, 06:17 AM
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Looks like a very laborious read. It's probably worth it, but I'm not sure if I could commit.

Also, I feel like there are going to be a ton of variations from different publishers/translators, etc. We'd have to all get the exact same edition, IMO.

If there is a good, free edition online, I'd give it a go.

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-01-2020, 08:05 PM
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Do you have a preference between Marxism and anarchism?
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-01-2020, 08:51 PM
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I would, but I'm way too busy. I tried reading it a long time ago, but only got a little ways in.

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-01-2020, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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Do you have a preference between Marxism and anarchism?
I do. I share the Anarchist skepticism of Marxist thought. I see myself more as a Libertarian Socialist than a Marxist. Though I don't find labels particularly helpful these days, given the nature of political language. I'm quite sympathetic to Anarcho-Syndicalism and Communism. But definitely never via the State.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-09-2020, 09:32 PM
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I'm not very interested in committing to a reading group, but I'd be interested in hearing about different leftist books anyone has been reading or planning to read.

Over the next while I plan on re-reading a couple books and then going on to a couple I haven't read before, in no order, Communist Manifesto, Kapital 1, Conquest of Bread, and On Anarchism. @Pechorin (and anyone else) if you have any recommendations let me know, theory or otherwise.
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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-12-2020, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by crimeclub View Post
I'm not very interested in committing to a reading group, but I'd be interested in hearing about different leftist books anyone has been reading or planning to read.

Over the next while I plan on re-reading a couple books and then going on to a couple I haven't read before, in no order, Communist Manifesto, Kapital 1, Conquest of Bread, and On Anarchism. @Pechorin (and anyone else) if you have any recommendations let me know, theory or otherwise.
Off the top of my head: I'd recommend Peter Marshall's Demanding The Impossible: A History of Anarchism. It is quite substantial and really helps to ground Anarchism in history.

A work of fiction that explores what Anarchism might look like in practice, under certain conditions, is The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin. It helped me visualise things better, and it was a really good story.

A very succinct essay on Anarchism is Anarchy by Errico Malatesta. You can probably find it on the Anarchist Library online for free. Yes, here it is: https://theanarchistlibrary.org/libr...atesta-anarchy

Search through the Anarchist Library. There are a lot of good essays on there for free.

https://theanarchistlibrary.org/libr...e-of-anarchism

The above essay is more of a defence of Philosophical Anarchism, but that's still quite important. I covered it during my Marxism and Anarchism course at uni.

If I can think of any more I'll be sure to let you know.
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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-18-2020, 06:36 AM Thread Starter
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To add to the above recommendations:

Erich Fromm: Fear of Freedom.

Louis Althusser: Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses.

The latter has been crucial in explaining ideology and how social relations reproduce themselves. The former looks at and tries to explain the emergence of authoritarianism and the authoritarian personality, culminating in Totalitarian states like Nazi Germany and the USSR. It also looks at the more subtle authoritarianism of "democratic" societies like the US.

Both are written by Marxist theorists, but there are valuable insights for any person of the left in there.
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