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u/LiterallyAGoogolplex · 7 pointsr/communism101

I recommend just jumping into the first volume of Das Kapital. It isn't that bad. In fact, it's quite an enjoyable read (for the most part). The first part of it (roughly 200 pages) is fairly difficult and technical, but after that it becomes much more manageable. In fact you could probably even skip the first part and then go back to it later. In any case, you're going to want to re-read that first part multiple times as time goes on and you see more material. You could even read 2) and 3) in /u/jakehmw's post alongside it, and with those I'd also recommend David Harvey's companion. My own approach was to jump right in to Capital, following Harvey's companion and online lectures, and further consulting the other two books (which I didn't finish until after I finished Capital). I have found this approach very rewarding and not that strenuous. It opened up a lot of different directions that I could choose from depending on my interests.

It took me a summer to get through the first volume and those supplementary books. You just need to make sure to not go down too many rabbit-holes as you read it. Just get it done and you'll get a better idea of where you want to go next, and you'll be better equipped when you go there.

Edit: I recommend this copy of the first volume of Capital and here are Harvey's lectures. You can organize a reading schedule in terms of those lectures: one lecture (and the corresponding reading material) per week, for example.

Good luck and have fun!

u/[deleted] · 6 pointsr/communism101

>My question is, does something like this exist for marxist economics?

It's a solid question. One I'm actually trying to flesh out myself. I don't trust myself to give a good enough explanation of the topic so rather than that I'll try to point you in a couple directions.

Before I start listing stuff off though I'm going to make a quick note on the nature of the problem. In my opinion, one major feature of Marxian economics which has left it so fractured is the fact that Marx never got around to writing a tract on methodology. Because we have to reconstruct his method based on how he used it, it leaves a lot of room for debate over the nuances of what Marx was and wasn't doing. In broad strokes you can identify the major component parts, but once you get into the nuts and bolts of how each fits together, it can be tough to handle. I've found Paul Paolucci's book, 'Marx's Scientific Dialectics' to be useful on this front, but I'm not an expert and because of that remain skeptical even of that book as I recommend it.

I'd also note that I think it is more useful to categorize Marxian economics under the rubric of Political Economy rather than Economics as it's practiced today.

[This list is by no means exhaustive] Anyway, some books/articles/resources you may find helpful:

The Marxists Internet Archive Encyclopedia - Useful in general, may not help on this specific question.

Contending Economic Theories: Neoclassical, Keynesian, and Marxian by Wolff and Resnick - Generally a useful text/primer. I'd suggest checking the table of contents provided there to see if it will address some issues you're interested in. I think the discussion of 'Class' is pretty useful.

'Microfoundations of Marxism' by Daniel Little - This article appears as chapter 31 in a text entitled Readings in the Philosophy of Social Science

'The Scientific Marx' by Daniel Little - I haven't been able to read this yet but chapter 5 is devoted to Microfoundations and chapter 6 to the use of evidence.

'Analytical Foundations of Marxian Economic Theory' by John Roemer - Roemer is(was?) a member of the analytical Marxist tradition which sprang up in the 1970s. One of their major differences between other forms of Marxism was the rejection of dialectics and the use of Neoclassical modelling tools to develop various Marxian economic/social theories. Many of their methods and developments are considered controversial among orthodox Marxists, but I think they're worth reading none-the-less. This leads naturally to:

Analytical Marxism by John Roemer - A more general take on analytical Marxism. Addresses issues with historical materialism, combining Marxism with game-theory and even moral considerations.

I've also been reading the Elgar Companion to Marxian Economics which contains a set of essays on various topics within more orthodox Marxian econ

u/StarTrackFan · 4 pointsr/communism101

Of course I second Hobsbawm 1789-1914 series (not a fan of age of "Age of Extremes" liberal narrative though -- Hobsbawm was right, he wasn't capable of writing a history for that era).

I haven't read them but Ivan Berend and Georgy Ranki are two historians I have on my "to read someday" list that extensively cover that era. Specifically they wrote "Economic Development in East-Central Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries" and "Hungary: a Century of Economic Development" together. It looks like Berend might've become somewhat anticommunist after the the collapse of socialism in Eastern Europe but he also produced another history book on the era which Hobsbawm seemed to review positively. Anyway, Berend seems to have been strongly influenced by Marxist historiography and to cover what Hobsbawm covers as well only focusing more on the region you're likely interested in.

I unfortunately don't have pdfs but the first two works I mentioned can be purchased used for fairly cheap, you might try abebooks.

u/unautre · 3 pointsr/communism101

The Marx-Engels reader is a great book. "On Capital" is a good start. You might try to find reading assignments from university courses (sometimes they're online) and that ought to give you some direction. I do recommend reading essays completely.

u/DickieAnderson · 1 pointr/communism101

For me it was best to start with secondary texts. Paul D'Amato's The Meaning of Marxism and Peter Singer's Marx: A Very Short Introduction were both wonderful resources.

u/redvolunteer · 2 pointsr/communism101

/u/ksan recently wrote a good piece that lists a number of introductory texts for Hegel here. I'm currently in the middle of reading Beiser's Hegel and it's very manageable. If you want something lighter, I'd recommend starting with this first but it is a very short introduction. Whilst it's a hundred pages or so you'll be left feeling like you just read an abstract. You should be able to find a copy of both texts online in PDF form without any trouble.

At the very least, you'll probably want to get a grasp of what the structure of Phenomenology PoR is and what Hegel is trying to convey before Marx's Contribution will make any sense.

u/Blonguin · 2 pointsr/communism101

Although it is usually ignored in these kind of conversations, performance art is very interesting to think about within the context of soviet rule. There is an interesting book, Body and the East: From the 1960s to the Present by Zdenka Badovinac. I might be able to send you a free copy on Google Drive or something. There is also Antipolitics in Central European Art: Reticence as Dissidence under Post-Totalitarian Rule 1956-1989 and Art and Democracy in Post-Communist Europe.

Of course, there is a problem with speaking about performance art within a marxist context. Performance Art is postmodern, while traditional Marxist ideology is modern. Still, I hope this is still a valid post. Here is a small fragment I'll just copy paste from an essay I wrote on Performance Art which might help you understand how it influenced a change in post-communist societies.

>‘Performance’ or ‘body’ art has reframed the notion of art in fundamental ways, and has played an essential role in the shift from modernism to postmodernism. The shift, according to Amelia Jones, is caused by the dislocation of the modernist Cartesian subject through the implementation of the body and its performance into the artwork (Body Art, 1998). In other words, unlike traditional art, there is no dualism concerning the artist and the artwork, but rather the artist’s biological existence becomes part of the artwork. Much like other postmodern elements, it is counter-formalist. The performative body of the artist breaks down the hierarchies between actor, spectacle and spectator that are inherent in traditional forms of art. The meaning of body art cannot be defined as a certain or fixed object, it is open-ended and indefinite, and thus destabilises structures and assumptions of formalist art history and criticism. This destabilisation also happens through the use of the body, as racial, ethnic and sexual identity of non-normative artists naturally challenge not only conventional art itself, but how the spectator looks at, studies and evaluates art too (Jones, 1998). The prime of performative art was in the East, as the inherently anti-authoritarian art was used to battle an authoritarian government. Performative art in the East rose to challenge western values and notions. The second wave feminist movement and the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s and 70s introduced the term ‘Body Politics’ and the phrase ‘the body is political’, a theory that many body artists adopted and expressed with their performance, notably Carolee Schneemann’s Interior Scroll.

u/smokeuptheweed9 · 7 pointsr/communism101

Here's a whole book about it if you're really interested. Ultimately though, it's not that interesting to me because freedom presumes economic equality which makes the question of legal structures at best a secondary concern to be crafted through the contingencies of class struggle. All the complications of the US state are merely a distraction from the basic structure: the singular freedom for the proletariat to work or die and the subordination of everything else to that.

u/HapTrek13 · 8 pointsr/communism101

Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA by Richard English is pretty thorough and well balanced. He is neither overly dismissive nor celebratory of the militancy of the IRA, but he examines its successes and failures pretty fairly.

u/lilnasx2020 · 1 pointr/communism101

There’s the Marx-Engels reader, I can find it on amazon but I’m sure there’s a better means to purchase it without supporting bezos:

u/how_shave-wot · 7 pointsr/communism101

gonna plug the “marx-engels reader”

best thing is each work included has an introduction by the editor that explains why he chose to include that work and why it’s important.

u/bzilla · 2 pointsr/communism101

I have a copy of the Marx-Engels reader and I find it pretty comprehensive.

u/jcoopz · 2 pointsr/communism101

I've heard really good things about Heinrich's Introduction to the First Three Volumes of Karl Marx's Capital. I just picked it up the other day, but I haven't read it quite yet.

Otherwise, you should check out the link to David Harvey's video series (found in the sidebar). Or, for a contemporary application of Marx's theories, Harvey's Enigma of Capital is a worthwhile read.

u/Christbasher27 · 2 pointsr/communism101

Purges began in 1919 after the revolution to get rid of people in the party who were drinks fakes or anything in between.

Very food revisionist history of the purges here, adds some context to the Great Purges by exploring how they began under Lenin

u/r-redson · 3 pointsr/communism101

The answer to your question does seem easier than it is. Because there are several traditions or schools of thought on how to define fascism. I myself worked through some primers on this the last couple of months.

A good start in my opinion are the 14 points by Umberto Eco:

The US-academic Jason Stanley recently published his book on a purely ideological definition, but basically expands on Eco's points:

From what I learned through mostly the work of german marxists is the following:
Fascism is more than just a military dictatorship, because it is based on a mass movement and mass support. Fascism is always anti-communist and it's prime goal is to crush the worker movement. Domestically fascism crushes any opposition and favours big business (but in order to come to power panders to the bourgeoisie and the workers with pseudo-anticapitalis rethoric). In regards to foreign policy fascism strives to build or expand the empire and to conquer other nations in order to subjegate other people and to exploit ressources to feed it's own capitalist war machine.

In absence of fascism, capitalism works pretty well as long as bourgeois parlamentarism can solve the issues in favor of big business. That's why fascism is the last resort for capitalists in times of crisis when the worker movement poses a threat...when a simple return to the good old days does not seem realistic anymore.

Petty bourgeois might join the working masses if they see a chance of success, of victory on this side of the struggle. But if e.g. social democracy fails the petty bourgeois or the workers movement is weakened (or both) then the "middle classes" join the more active, the more "vital" seeming fascists.

Therefore, US-goverments including Trump now certainly in part deploy fascist politics like US Border Control, mass surveilance, mass incarceration, segregation, racism, etc. etc. But according to what I learned so far, the US is not yet a fascist state simply because there are still remnants of democracy. The US is by all accounts an oligarcy. But fascist, I say it's not.

u/bONKLEhOUR · 1 pointr/communism101

i bought the penguin versions of volume 1, 2, and 3 on amazon. volume 1 is the ben fowkes translation and 2 and 3 we're translated by david fernbach. it looks like that review is for an old version of the book. this version on amazon should be the ben fowkes translation of volume 1. that review is a couple years old too and i think that most online retailers carry the ben fowkes version now.

u/youngsteinbeck · 4 pointsr/communism101

I'll just say don't overthink petit-bourgeois delusions and resentments if you're interesting in drawing real lessons from Soviet history. Half of the argument is literally presuming the NKVD hid a substantial amount (itself undeclared in an already weak assertion) of additional executions (with no clear reason to presume why a 'totalitarian bureaucracy' would obscure its own estimates to itself, making its structural violence less effective ['effective' as in socially and ideologically targeting 'the right people,' who were a class minority by nature] as a whole, when that information was [apparently] concealed to the public at large) and then playing numbers games (which is there to draw us away from learning the actual sociological relevance of mass violence and its nature, purpose, and difference between and within reactionary and revolutionary societies). I too could easily misrepresent life expectancy 'discrepancies' (say, of the work done by Amartya Sen) to 'prove' the British Empire starved 200 million people to death in India, but I don't enjoy wasting my time when I know I can't convince people out of their material and social interests. Unlike anarchists, we're not basing our 'arguments' around our petit-bourgeois resentment against political projects that don't require us and were (and are) superior to our baseless (and classless) ideological fantasies. Our arguments are based in a methodology where dialectical and historical materialism have to be internalized, where we have to ask the right questions to even have a chance at giving the right answers. Us arguing about the 'honesty' of the NKVD or the 'possibility' of thousands of unknown shallow graves in Siberia just means that we have already surrendered to the nonsense of our enemies.