Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sun, 7/17, "Marxism Study Group"

Join the International Socialist Organization to discuss...

THE MEANING OF MARXISM by Paul D'Amato

SUNDAY 7/17, 4 PM,
Au Bon Pain, Harvard Square 
(1360 Mass Ave, take the Red Line to Harvard Square)

We will be discussing the Introduction & Chapters 1-3 of the book.  People around the world are standing up and fighting back against the attacks on poor and working class people.  From revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia to occupations of the Wisconsin State House to millions on General Strike in Greece.  There has never been a more urgent time to discuss the the ideas of Marxism and what we can do to put them into practice.


This book is a perfect introduction into Marxism and Socialist politics, with insightful contemporary applications of Marxist ideas. Come join us for the first of several regular group discussions.  Some study guide questions are also attached below, but please come with more questions and thoughts!

From the book jacket:
It is fashionable for pundits to declare every so often that Marxism is dead. As the late socialist author Daniel Singer aptly put it, their aim “is to doom as impossible a radical, fundamental transformation of existing society.” But you can’t keep a good theory down. The poverty, class inequality, war and environmental degradation that today’s globalized capitalist system creates on an ever-expanding scale raises questions for which Marxism still offers fresh and relevant answers. This book is a lively and accessible introduction to the ideas of Karl Marx, as well as other key Marxists, with historical and contemporary examples. The Meaning of Marxism shows that a “radical, fundamental transformation of existing society” is indeed not only possible, but urgently necessary.

“Marx’s ideas remain crucial for comprehending the modern world, and no one does a better job of explaining them and showing how to apply them to contemporary issues than Paul D’Amato. This book is a treasury of powerful arguments illustrating the continuing relevance of class politics. A superb introduction to the Marxist method.”
--Phil Gasper, editor of The Communist Manifesto: A Road Map to History’s Most Important Political Document
To pick up a copy of the book, email contact@bostonsocialism.org

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STUDY GUIDE/QUESTIONS:

Intro
1) How would you rewrite D'Amato's introduction given recent events? (ex. economic crisis, revolutions in Mid East/North Africa, budget cuts, & mass protests in Wisconsin)
2) Why have stereotypes about Marx & Marxism endured?

Ch. One

1) Why can't we simply change people's ideas through logic & reason?

Ch. Two

1) Think of some contemporary examples that prove or disprove "the ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas"
2) Discuss impartiality & objectivity in academics & society (ex. the media)... why does it benefit the ruling class for average people to stress objectivity?

Ch. Three

1) How did class society come about? Was the state a necessary byproduct?
2) Why couldn't socialism come about in previous eras (under feudalism, for example)?
How does capitalism provide the "means" to create socialism?