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/edu/ - Education

'The weapon of criticism cannot, of course, replace criticism of the weapon, material force must be overthrown by material force; but theory also becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses.' - Karl Marx
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Join our Matrix Chat <=> IRC: #leftypol on Rizon


Reading group for Volume 1 of Capital. The reading pace will adjust to suit the group, but we will aim for an average of 1 chapter per week, starting slower and speeding up as we move from abstract to concrete toward the end.

The Book
The version we are using as our standard is the Penguin Classics edition (attached .epub) but others including other languages are fine. We are only planning to read Volume 1 currently.
There has also been an audiobook suggested which matches this version of the text and may be useful to helping read it.
Audiobook: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUjbFtkcDBlSHVigHHx_wjaeWmDN2W-h8

The Format
This thread is intended for
<announcements and updates
<supplementary material.
<long-form posts, effortposts, OC
<slower discussion in general
The matrix chat is intended for
<weekly discussion meetings.
<organizing the group
<faster paced talk
<also will get announcement and update posts
Voice chat sessions are to be weekly, with 3 "official" time slots to make it easier for people to attend one of them (they will all be discussing the same part of the reading, give or take). The matrix call room can also be opened for chats at other times if people find other times to talk. I have attached a picture of a table showing in the times in a few common time zones. Chats will go on as long as people want them to, but I will shoot for 1 hour and try to constrain the main discussion within that as much as possible.

Weekly discussions will cover as much of the reading as people have done, slowing or speeding up accordingly. This is a large group as far as /leftypol/ reading groups go and my intent is to make the process accessible so we will tend toward the slowest readers setting the pace. Discussing pace or or other organizing matters should be done in the Matrix chat to avoid cluttering this thread. Announcements will still go here, including announcing the current stage of reading when we move on to the next chapter.

I'm disinclined to set goals at this point but may update later with a projection for how long until we finish Volume 1. I would estimate it will take at least half of 2023.

Matrix room
I will get notifications for any post in the room automatically but you can make them more attention grabbing if you tag me with my handle @bossignostic


Additionally, there have been several supplements already suggested as reading either before or alongside Capital Volume 1.
This post contains a list of links/files to these.
Feel free to add more.

Harvey 🤢 (recommended against)

Heinrich: "How To Read Marx's Capital"

Althusser: "Preface to Capital" (ignore suggested reading order)

Bordiga (Spanish): "Elementos Economia Marxista"

Cleaver: "Reading Capital Politically" (chapter 1 breakdown and historical context)

Cafiero: "A Compendium of Das Kapital" (Marx's personal recommendation)


Bordiga's one is actually in spanish.
The times are tough for me, unfortunately. Some are impossible. I'll monitor the chat and see what it finally lands on.


File: 1673843796188.png (574.5 KB, 828x683, ClipboardImage.png)

Oh, I didn't check when I was told because I don't speak Italian, pero es asi. Pienso que hay más usuarios que pueden leer español que italiana. Preguntaré a los mods a cambiarlo.


changed ;)


File: 1673898403328.png (550.55 KB, 688x541, ClipboardImage.png)



Don't worry about it. The whole point of reading as a group is so that we can collaboratively fill in each others' understanding.


whoops fixed link >>>/leftypol/1335135


Question for discussion/review: what are the differences between:
<use-value vs exchange-value
<concrete labor vs abstract labor
How are these distinctions related, and how are the distinguished concepts related and/or separated?


Add Paul Mattick's study course to that list. It and Harry Cleaver were indispensable when we had the old Bunkerchan Capital reading group in 2020.




File: 1674255261535.pdf (3.43 MB, 192x255, Neanderthal-Paper.pdf)


Marxists dot org study guide for Capital Volume 1


We have covered the first two sections of Chapter 1 and move on to Chapter 1 section 3 for week 2.
The scheduled meetings are as follows:
<Wed Jan 25th @ 11pm UTC
<Fri/Sat Jan 27/28th @ 1am UTC
<Sat Jan 28th @ 7pm UTC

There is actually a study guide on marxists.org for Capital!
These include study questions and links to the glossary for important terms.
For the next meeting, try to have an answer these study questions and bring any questions of your own about section 3.

>1. Why is Marx bothering to take all this time going back to barter in tribal times?

>2. What does this chapter say about the prospect of getting away from capitalism by going back to barter and local exchange systems?
>3. Why did gold come to be used as money?
>4. It is a long time since paper money replaced gold in day-to-day commerce. Why has this happened? Does it make nonsense of Marx’s idea of money as set out in this chapter?
>5. What do Marx’s remarks about Aristotle in this chapter tell us about capitalism and Equality? And what does this mean in the context of “globalisation”?


“In both these cases, the spinner puts the same
quantity of labour into a pound of cotton, and therefore adds as much value, as
he did before the change in the value: he also produces a given weight of yarn
in the same time as he did before. Nevertheless, the value that he transfers
from the cotton to the yarn is either one-sixth of what it was before the
variation, or, as the case may be, six times as much as before. The same result
occurs when the value of the instruments of labour rises or falls, while their
useful efficacy in the process remains unaltered.”

If I understand this correctly, this is Marx making a separation of use-value and exchange-value?


“Whether the value of cotton rise from one shilling to two shillings, or
fall to sixpence, the workman invariably preserves in the product of one hour
only one half as much value as he preserves in two hours. In like manner, if
the productiveness of his own labour varies by rising or falling, he will in
one hour spin either more or less cotton, as the case may be, than he did
before, and will consequently preserve in the product of one hour, more or less
value of cotton; but, all the same, he will preserve by two hours’ labour twice
as much value as he will by one.”

This one I don't understand. Is this one talking about the limits of productivity or something like that?


Use-value doesn't factor in here beyond the fact that the commodity produced is a use-value by definition. Marx's point in this section is that the value transferred by the worker through labor fluctuates according to productivity + changes in the exchange value of the commodity (for instance due to productivity changes in other capitals that produce the same commodity). His explanation here is meant to resolve the apparent paradox that a worker can somehow transfer less value to a commodity even while his productivity stays constant.


Given a certain productivity the worker will always transfer more value in two hours of work as opposed to one.


>/leftypol/ has been reading Capital vol. 1, chapter 1 for over 7 years now



File: 1686677536934.webm (1.85 MB, 640x360, jules.webm)


>this thread only has 20 replies


Quality > quantity. This board is pretty dead too, it has some good quality posts though.


I'm onto volume 2 and there's nobody on here to discuss it with


I'd rather not wade through it again, to be honest my comprehension of it is lacking compared to volume one, but I probably should.

I think this topic is worthy of sending a thread off the bottom of the catalogue.

Want to make a new thread about it here in /edu/?


i already read entire Vol1 more than year ago. I have no started Vol2 still. Probably lot of anons in same situation. Lets start with Vol2 now


What is relative surplus value? Idk, it sounds like something to do with prices but I can't really wrap my head around how it is different from normal surplus value.


Reposting an effortpost from a while back about Super-Profit

Let’s say that the average television takes 1 hour to make. 1 hour is the SNLT for televisions. But the owner of the ACME TV factory invests in some fancy new machines that make his workers twice as productive. They can now make a television in 30 minutes. They are producing way below the SNLT. This allows ACME to produce twice as many televisions in the same amount of time.

Now if ACME sold their new TV at half the old price they wouldn’t make any more money than before and there would have been no point in investing in all that new stuff. Rather than sell them at their individual value (30 minutes) they continue to sell them at the SNLT (1 hour), or perhaps just under the SNLT in order to out-sell their rivals. Because the price of TVs hasn’t changed significantly there is still the same demand from consumers for TVs, but now there is a giant surplus of TVs on the market because ACME has been making twice as many TVs. ACME’s rivals won’t be able to sell all of their TVs. Part of their product will go unsold. Meanwhile ACME will sell most of their TVs at the SNLT, making not just their normal profit, but an additional “super-profit” because they sold their TVs above their individual values by selling at or near the SNLT.

Profit vs. super-profit

Profit comes from exploiting workers. The only way to turn money into more money is to invest it in workers, or to be precise, in labor power, the only commodity which can produce more value than it costs. (This is all covered in the video “Law of Value 5: Contradictions”.) When ACME sells TVs at under the SNLT they don’t just reap their normal profits from exploiting workers. They also get super-profits: profit appropriated in exchange because their TVs are made at under the SNLT.

It is this race for super-profits that drives much of the technological dynamism of a capitalist society as capitalists compete to constantly lower SNLT. By doing so capitalists don’t just exploit value from workers. They also appropriate value in exchange.



Hobson, the social-liberal, fails to see that this “counteraction” can be offered only by the revolutionary proletariat and only in the form of a social revolution. But then he is a social-liberal! Nevertheless, as early as 1902 he had an excellent insight into the meaning and significance of a “United States of Europe” (be it said for the benefit of Trotsky the Kautskyite!) and of all that is now being glossed over by the hypocritical Kautskyites of various countries, namely, that the opportunists (social-chauvinists) are working hand in glove with the imperialist bourgeoisie precisely towards creating an imperialist Europe on the backs of Asia and Africa, and that objectively the opportunists are a section of the petty bourgeoisie and of a certain strata of the working class who have been bribed out of imperialist superprofits and converted to watchdogs of capitalism and corruptors of the labour movement.

Because, firstly, it overlooks England’s colonial monopoly. Yet Engels, as we have seen, pointed to this very clearly as early as 1882, thirty-four years ago! Although England’s industrial monopoly may have been destroyed, her colonial monopoly not only remains, but has become extremely accentuated, for the whole world is already divided up! By means of this suave lie Kautsky smuggles in the bourgeois-pacifist and opportunist-philistine idea that “there is nothing to fight about”. On the contrary, not only have the capitalists something to fight about now, but they cannot help fighting if they want to preserve capitalism, for without a forcible redivision of colonies the new imperialist countries cannot obtain the privileges enjoyed by the older (and weaker) imperialist powers.

Secondly, why does England’s monopoly explain the (temporary) victory of opportunism in England? Because monopoly yields superprofits, i.e., a surplus of profits over and above the capitalist profits that are normal and customary all over the world. The capitalists can devote a part (and not a small one, at that!) of these superprofits to bribe their own workers, to create something like an alliance (recall the celebrated “alliances” described by the Webbs of English trade unions and employers) between the workers of the given nation and their capitalists against the other countries. England’s industrial monopoly was already destroyed by the end of the nineteenth century. That is beyond dispute. But how did this destruction take place? Did all monopoly disappear?

If that were so, Kautsky’s “theory” of conciliation (with the opportunists) would to a certain extent be justified. But it is not so, and that is just the point. Imperialism is monopoly capitalism. Every cartel, trust, syndicate, every giant bank is a monopoly Superprofits have not disappeared; they still remain. The exploitation of all other countries by one privileged, financially wealthy country remains and has become more intense. A handful of wealthy countries—there are only four of them, if we mean independent, really gigantic, “modern” wealth: England, France, the United States and Germany—have developed monopoly to vast proportions, they obtain superprofits running into hundreds, if not thousands, of millions, they “ride on the backs” of hundreds and hundreds of millions of people in other countries and fight among themselves for the division of the particularly rich, particularly fat and particularly easy spoils.


Or take the law of wages, the realisation of the value of labour power, which is only realised as an average, and even that not always, and which varies in every locality, even in every branch, according to the customary standard of life. Or ground rent, representing a superprofit above the general rate, derived from monopoly over a force of nature. There too there is by no means a direct coincidence between real superprofit and real rent, but only an average approximation.

It is exactly the same with the law of value and the distribution of the surplus value by means of the rate of profit.

One might imagine that the mere appearance of the capitalist farmer in agricultural production would prove that the price of agricultural products, which from time immemorial have paid rent in one form or another, must be higher, at least at the time of this appearance, than the prices of production of manufacture whether it be because the price of such agricultural products has reached a monopoly price level, or has risen as high as the value of the agricultural products, and their value actually is above the price of production regulated by the average profit. For were this not so, the capitalist farmer could not at all realise, at the existing prices of agricultural produce, first the average profit out of the price of these products, and then pay out of the same price an excess above this profit in the form of rent.

Monopolies, oligarchy, the striving for domination and not for freedom, the exploitation of an increasing number of small or weak nations by a handful of the richest or most powerful nations—all these have given birth to those distinctive characteristics of imperialism which compel us to define it as parasitic or decaying capitalism. More and more prominently there emerges, as one of the tendencies of imperialism, the creation of the “rentier state”, the usurer state, in which the bourgeoisie to an ever-increasing degree lives on the proceeds of capital exports and by “clipping coupons”. It would be a mistake to believe that this tendency to decay precludes the rapid growth of capitalism. It does not. In the epoch of imperialism, certain branches of industry, certain strata of the bourgeoisie and certain countries betray, to a greater or lesser degree, now one and now another of these tendencies. On the whole, capitalism is growing far more rapidly than before; but this growth is not only becoming more and more uneven in general, its unevenness also manifests itself, in particular, in the decay of the countries which are richest in capital (Britain).

Engels's negative answer to the question: "Can this revolution take place in one country alone?" wholy reflects the epoch of pre-monopolist capitalism, the per-imperialist epoch, when the conditions did not yet exist for the uneven, spasmodic development of the capitalist countries, when, consequently, the premises did not yet exist for the victory of the proletarian revolution in one country (as is known, the possibility of the victory of such a revolution in one country follows from the law of uneven development of capitalist countries under imperialism). The law of uneven development of capitalist countries, and the concomitant thesis that the victory of the proletarian revolution is possible in one country, where, and could be, advanced by Lenin only in the period of imperialism. That, incidentally, explains why Leninism is Marxism of the epoch of imperialism, why it is a further development of Marxism, which arose in the pre-imperialist epoch.


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