20 January 2010

Historical Tendency of Capitalist Accumulation

Marx’s “Capital”, Volume 1, Chapter 32

Historical Tendency of Capitalist Accumulation

During this week we are running the second of the ten parts of the Generic Course called “Basics”. The main text is the one with extracts from Machiavelli’s “The Prince”, that was posted yesterday and which is linked again, below.

[Concerning procedure, please don’t overlook the note concerning the SADTU Political Education Blog, at the bottom of this message.]

In support of “The Prince” we now go straight to the short Chapter 32 from Karl Marx’s “Capital”, Volume 1 – the second last chapter in the book. It is a broad-brush summary of Volume 1. At this stage it may prove a difficult read for some, but it will be valuable in any case, as a preliminary impression of what is to come, as these studies progress.

The chapter is only about 1000 words long. It is the same length as a newspaper “feature” article. It is one of several passages in the works of Marx, Engels and Lenin that compress world history into a single sweep, in this case from the time of slaves and serfs, through the stages of the development of capitalism, to the anticipated proletarian revolution.

Other such passages in the “classics” include Chapter 9 of “The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State” by Frederick Engels”, which will be posted tomorrow, and the first few pages of “The Communist Manifesto”, by Marx and Engels, which is the main text in the next part of this “Basics” course.

The “Basics” course is partly an attempt to answer the frequently-expressed desire for a “simple” explanation of the politics of the working class and of the intellectual partisans of the working class.

In attempting this task, texts have been chosen that exemplify the various original authors’ own attempts to respond to, and to satisfy, the manifest popular craving for a brief and easily-absorbed overall explanation of how politics, and specifically proletarian politics, works.

The Blog

Please visit the blog at http://sadtu-pol-ed.blogspot.com/. You will see that the study e-mails like this one are the same as some of the blog posts. Some of the news items are also there, but not all. The policy has effectively been as follows: 

  • All regular study postings related to the Generic Courses go via the blog and are accessible on the blog
  • A proportion of politically-educational news items are posted via the blog.
  • Other news items are e-mailed direct to the group without going on the blog. This is mainly to save time, but also so as not to swamp the more formal political education material on the blog.
  • Comments on all posts should be possible on the blog