Community Event: Marx-a-thon 1


When:
May 5, 2018 @ 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm
2018-05-05T12:00:00+00:00
2018-05-05T21:00:00+00:00
Contact:
Puget Sound Socialists (ISO)

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/351734261987187/

Sponsored by Red May Seattle

Join us for the first of four Marx-a-thons. This is an afternoon of events stopping at 4 locations on Capitol Hill. We will feature conversations analyzing contemporary topics through the lens of Marx’s ‘Capital’.

SCHEDULE:
(more details on each topic below)

12 – 1:30pm
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PRIMITIVE ACCUMULATION
Nikhil Pal Singh
Location: Hedreen Gallery
https://goo.gl/maps/4irHDPWDmy32
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2 – 3:30pm
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DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT
Asad Haider, Philip Wohlstetter
Location: Northwest Film Forum
https://goo.gl/maps/9rV5i9riskB2
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4 – 5:30pm
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SUBSTITUTIONISM
David Lau
Location: Gay City: Calamus Auditorium
https://goo.gl/maps/7uVE44jT7C42
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TOPIC DETAILS:
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PRIMITIVE ACCUMULATION
Nikhil Pal Singh
“Nature,” says Marx, “does not produce on the one hand owners of money or commodities, and on the other hand men possessing nothing but their own labor-power.” How does Capital explain this inequality? Some people are thrifty, says Adam Smith, some indulge in riotous living: the latter turn into the poor; the former, the virtuous rich. Skewering this fantasy of the “thrifty proto-capitalist” Marx tells a more compelling (and bloodier) story about the origins of Capitalism, about the foundational violence that created a population separated from its means of subsistence (the future reserve army of labor); the story includes slavery, the conquest of the Americas, enclosures, vagabond laws, and the branding of human flesh. But is this “so-called Primitive Accumulation” a moment that precedes Capitalism or is it a continually-renewed moment within Capitalism? Marx’s own story has some crucial gaps. Nikhil Singh fills them in.
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DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT
Asad Haider, Philip Wohlstetter
There’s no more maligned term associated with Marx. But what exactly does it mean? A form of regime the moral opposite of a democratic one or something that doesn’t even belong in an Aristotelian typology of regime forms? What problems was Marx trying to address with this concept? Asad Haider traces its history and fortune from Marx to Lenin and beyond. Philip Wohlstetter wonders if it meshes with familiar modes of action outside the Marxist tradition.
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SUBSTITUTIONISM
David Lau
How does a party–any party–stay connected to the currents of popular will that brought it into existence? How does it avoid substituting its own agenda for the needs of the broad majority it is supposed to be empowering? Here’s Trotsky’s take: “The tasks of the new regime will be so complex that they cannot be solved otherwise than by way of competition between various methods of economic and political construction, by way of long “disputes”, by way of a systematic struggle not only between the socialist and capitalist worlds, but also many trends inside socialism, trends which will inevitably emerge as soon as the proletarian dictatorship poses tens and hundreds of new … problems. No strong “domineering” organization… will be able to suppress these trends and controversies … A proletariat capable of exercising its dictatorship over society will not tolerate any dictatorship over itself … The working class … will undoubtedly have in its ranks quite a few political invalids … and much ballast of obsolescent ideas, which it will have to jettison.” David Lau will lead us through this thicket in the context of our own time of left movements and what is perhaps the beginning of a new period of socialist organization and construction.

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