28 June 2015

Commodities

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Marx’s Capital Volume 1, Part 2


Commodities

So far in this course we have had a general introduction, and then looked at Marx’s 1847 “Wage Labour and Capital”, the “Communist Manifesto” of 1848, and Marx’s 1865 “Value, Price and Profit”.

Now, and for the remaining eight parts, this course will use text from Marx’s greatest single work: Capital, Volume 1. We will take nearly all of it, conveniently divided, in sequence, starting with Chapter 1 – Commodities (download linked below).

Chapter  1 of Capital Volume 1 of Marx’s Capital (attached) is a text that has been the material for many a political school. It begins with this great definition of commodities:

“The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as ‘an immense accumulation of commodities,’ its unit being a single commodity. Our investigation must therefore begin with the analysis of a commodity.

“A commodity is, in the first place, an object outside us, a thing that by its properties satisfies human wants of some sort or another. The nature of such wants, whether, for instance, they spring from the stomach or from fancy, makes no difference. Neither are we here concerned to know how the object satisfies these wants, whether directly as means of subsistence, or indirectly as means of production.”

And it later says:

“A use-value, or useful article, therefore, has value only because human labour in the abstract has been embodied or materialised in it.”

The second section of the chapter explores this dual character of commodities.

The third section, which contains quite a lot of formulas, is omitted for the sake of brevity. Those few sections of the book that have been left out of this course can be read on Marxists Internet Archive.

The fourth and last section of the chapter is on the Fetishism of Commodities, meaning that in a capitalist society the relations between commodities replace the relations between people.

In commodities, writes Marx:

“the social character of men's labour appears to them as an objective character stamped upon the product of that labour; because the relation of the producers to the sum total of their own labour is presented to them as a social relation, existing not between themselves, but between the products of their labour.”

If there is a single purpose for Marx’s book, it is to re-make human relations so that they are relations between humans again, or in other words: Marx’s purpose is to restore human beings to themselves.

·        The above serves to introduce the original reading-text: Capital V1, Chapter 1, Commodities [abridged], Karl Marx, 1867.

24 June 2015

Value, Price and Profit

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Marx’s Capital Volume 1, Part 1b


Capitalist, drawn by George Grosz

Value, Price and Profit

This is a course on Marx’s “Capital”, Volume 1 (to be followed at once by a course on Volumes 2 and 3). In the next part we begin the book itself, with Chapter 1 of Volume 1. In this instalment we conclude our preliminary look at the preceding literature.

“Wage Labour and Capital” gave us notice of the “problematic” faced by Karl Marx in 1847. By 1857 most of the theoretical problems had been solved. By 1863 Marx had a sketch plan that closely resembled the shape of the full Volume 1 that was published four years later in 1867. By 1865, when he did “Value, Price and Profit” (see the attached documents), Marx had no doubt solved the literary problems of the work, and was by now able to summarise in a concise way, if necessary.

This short work, “Value, Price and Profit”, has served various purposes. It debunks the argument, still used by employers today, that wage rises will cause unemployment. Hence “Value, Price and Profit” has been a mainstay for generations of shop stewards and union negotiators.

Secondly, and prefiguring Lenin’s argument against “Economism” four decades later in “What is to be Done?”, it states clearly that trade unionism, without political organisation, will never succeed in throwing off the yoke of capital (see the excerpt from Chapter 14, attached).

This abridged version of “Value, Price and Profit” can also to some extent serve as a “mini-Capital”, or in other words as the short version of “Capital” that many people crave. It will at least help us to get a better grip on some of the key concepts such as Labour, Value, Labour-Power, Surplus-Value and Profit.

The two quoted paragraphs that follow below are particularly instructive. Hobbes’ 1651 book “Leviathan” was a tremendous groundbreaker; Karl Marx noticed that Hobbes had “instinctively hit upon this point overlooked by all his successors”, namely the distinction between Labour-Power and Labour, which Marx had worked so hard and so long to see clearly (see the remarks about the hunt for surplus value in our earlier post on Wage Labour and Capital).

What the working man sells is not directly his labour, but his labouring power, the temporary disposal of which he makes over to the capitalist. This is so much the case that I do not know whether by the English Laws, but certainly by some Continental Laws, the maximum time is fixed for which a man is allowed to sell his labouring power. If allowed to do so for any indefinite period whatever, slavery would be immediately restored. Such a sale, if it comprised his lifetime, for example, would make him at once the lifelong slave of his employer.

‘One of the oldest economists and most original philosophers of England — Thomas Hobbes — has already, in his “Leviathan”, instinctively hit upon this point overlooked by all his successors. He says: "the value or worth of a man is, as in all other things, his price: that is so much as would be given for the use of his power." Proceeding from this basis, we shall be able to determine the value of labour as that of all other commodities.’

“Value, Price and Profit” includes a counter-intuitive surprise in Marx’s statement that: “Profit is made by Selling a Commodity at its Value” (top of page 8 in our download version). Capitalism would still exist, even if it could shed its nasty price-gouging habits; because capitalism is not a simple swindle, but it is a system and a class relationship.

Capitalism would also still exist if Labour Power was always paid for at its full value.

The source of the “self-increase of capital” is located in the workplace, and not in the marketplace.

·        The above serves to introduce the original reading-text: Marx’s “Value, Price and Profit”, 1865, Chapters 6 to 10 and excerpt from Chapter 14.

22 June 2015

Bourgeois, Proletarians and Communists

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Marx’s Capital Volume 1, Part 1a

Various editions of the Communist Manifesto

Bourgeois, Proletarians and Communists

The Communist Manifesto was written in London by Dr Karl Marx when he was 29, with the help of his 27-year-old friend Frederick Engels, and it was published in January or February of 1848. It has been a “best-seller” ever since, is constantly republished, and is always in print.

Bourgeois and Proletarians

Marx and Engels saw the new masters, the formerly slave-owning but now capitalist bourgeoisie, also known as burghers, or burgesses, that had originally grown up in the towns under feudal rule, and had by then in some places taken over from the feudal lords by revolution.

Marx and Engels were already convinced that sooner or later, this bourgeoisie was going to be overthrown by the class of working proletarians (i.e. free citizens owning nothing but their Labour-Power) that the bourgeoisie had brought into existence.

Commissioned to write the Manifesto by the Communist League, Marx and Engels fell behind the agreed deadline, but came through with a magnificent text published just prior to the February, 1848 events in Paris - events which brought the proletariat as actors on to the stage of history to an extent that had never been seen before, thoroughly vindicating Engels and Marx.

The timing was great. The text turned out to be a classic to such an extent that every line of it is memorable.  The first two parts (“Bourgeois and Proletarians”, and “Proletarians and Communists”) are given in the attached two files.

Short though it is, the Manifesto is so rich and so compressed as to be saturated with meaning and practically impossible to summarise. So without summarising, here are some of the most extraordinary sentences of the first section of the Manifesto:

The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other - bourgeoisie and proletariat.

The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.

All fixed, fast frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify.

All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real condition of life and his relations with his kind.

The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.

Proletarians and Communists

The second part of the Communist Manifesto contains statements about the Communist Party, about the family, about religion, and frank statements about the bourgeoisie.

It is included here with this set of readings of Marx’s Capital, Volume 1, particularly because it shows, within the broadest possible context, the centrality of the relations of production that create and sustain the effect known as capital, which then in turn defines everything else in bourgeois society.

It also looks forward to the way that society can be changed yet again, and thus serves to remind us that Marx’s work is always intentional, and is never merely empirical, descriptive or disinterested.

“The average price of wage labour is the minimum wage, i.e., that quantum of the means of subsistence which is absolutely requisite to keep the labourer in bare existence as a labourer,” wrote Marx and Engels, already making a great step forward from Marx’s “Wage Labour and Capital” that had been published in the previous year, 1847.  

“But does wage labour create any property for the labourer? Not a bit. It creates capital, i.e., that kind of property which exploits wage labour, and which cannot increase except upon conditions of begetting a new supply of wage labour for fresh exploitation.”

“…a vast association of the whole nation… in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.”

·        The above serves to introduce the original reading-text - Marx’s and Engels’ 1848 “Communist Manifesto”, Part 1 and Part2.

21 June 2015

Wage Labour and Capital

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Marx’s Capital Volume 1, Part 1



Wage Labour and Capital


This is the first main post of our Communist University series on Karl Marx's Capital, Volume 1. It is to run over ten weeks on this channel in the third quarter of 2015.


“Wage Labour and Capital” and the Hunt for Surplus Value

Karl Marx’s Capital, Volume 1, is a great work of literature and it covers many things; but more than any other thing, it is about Surplus Value, or “the secret of the self-expansion of capital” as Marx sometimes liked to call it.

This week’s main reading, “Wage Labour and Capital”, and especially Engels’ remarks about it, show that in 1847, Karl Marx was as yet not able, in his writing, to clearly explain Surplus Value in terms of commodity Labour Power – the marketable capacity for labour – as something distinct from Labour itself.

“Wage Labour and Capital” was given as a lecture to the German Workingmen's Club of Brussels (Belgium) in 1847. When he first gave the lecture, Karl Marx did not make a distinction between the act of Labour, and its prior potential, called Labour-Power. The latter is the commodity that the worker sells each day to the capitalist in exchange for the privilege of staying alive.

The capitalist makes the worker work and takes all the product of the worker’s Labour, giving back only just enough for the worker to survive as commodity Labour Power, and so to be up for sale again on the next working day.

The above is the reason for Frederick Engels’ 5-page 1891 Introduction to the subsequent editions of “Wage Labour and Capital”. It is the reason why Karl Marx had to press on with his researches for another 20 years, until Capital Volume 1 was published in 1867, and beyond. Only in 1867 was the true theory of Surplus Value fully published and placed permanently in the public realm.

Our starting point

Hence the main thing to read here, for the purposes of our series, is Engels’ Introduction to “Wage Labour and Capital”, and this Introduction is the main reason for including this text in the series; in other respects it is redundant to our needs. But it provides our starting point, and it defines the theme which will serve us throughout all the remaining parts of the series on Capital, Volume 1.

If you do go on from the Introduction to read the full text of “Wage Labour and Capital”, then please note that this is not Marx’s original version. It is the one doctored by Engels, as he explains in his Introduction, to accommodate Marx’s theory of surplus value.

Labour-Power and Surplus Value

The distinction between Labour and Labour-Power is the necessary basis upon which an understanding of Surplus Value can be built, and Surplus Value is the key to the whole project that Marx worked on for about forty years from at the latest 1844 until his death in 1883.

Said Engels: “Classical political economy had run itself into a blind alley. The man who discovered the way out of this blind alley was Karl Marx.”

This is true, but in 1847 it was not yet fully true. Engels’ Introduction to “Wage Labour and Capital” reveals Karl Marx’s quest. From this point on in this series, side-by-side with Marx, we are going in search of the mysterious beast called “Surplus Value” and all of its implications.

To sum up: Labour-Power is what you bring to your employer’s front gate in the morning. The employer normally pays you for it, in full (as Marx points out in “Value, Price and Profit”). After that, the entire product of any Labour you may do during the working day belongs to the employer.

“The secret of the self-expansion of capital resolves itself into having the disposal of a definite quantity of other people's unpaid labour” wrote Marx, later on, in Capital, Volume 1 (Chapter 18).

·        The above serves to introduce the original reading-texts: Marx’s 1847 “Wage Labour and Capital”, but more importantly for our present purposes, Engels’ 1891 Introduction to the same work

08 June 2015

Capital, Volume 1, A Quest for a Secret

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Karl Marx’s Capital, Volume 1, Part 0

First Edition, 1867

A Quest for a Secret:

Capital, Volume 1



Two weeks from now, on this SADTU Political Education Forum, we will begin posting a ten-part course on Karl Marx’s Capital, Volume 1. It is an easy, enjoyable course. If you follow it, you will join the ranks of those who have read and understood this great work. If we can generate discussion about it by e-mail, or in face-to-face study circles, so much the better.

To see the full posting schedule for 2015, please click here.

The course on Capital, Volume 1 will be followed by a further ten-week course on Capital Volumes 2 and 3. In other words, during the remainder of this year, on this forum, we are about to cover the entire three volumes of Karl Marx’s great work, “Capital”.




Karl Marx’s “Capital, Volume 1”, published in 1867, is the most outstanding product of a long project that Marx begun in the 1840s, when he was still a young man in his twenties.

Volume 2, edited by Marx’s lifelong comrade and intellectual collaborator Frederick Engels, was published two years after Marx’s death, in 1885. Volume 3 was published in 1894, one year before Engels’ death.

The entire project is a quest for a full explanation of what Marx called, at the end of Chapter 18 of Volume 1: The secret of the self-expansion of capital.”

This secret is what Marx called Surplus-Value, gained by purchasing the commodity Labour-Power at its full value, and then putting it to work and expropriating the entire product of the actual Labour expended. This constantly-repeated process sustains the otherwise unstable thing called Capital, rather as a table-tennis ball may be kept in the air by a fountain of water, or of air.

In studying this book, it helps to be able to follow the development of Marx’s quest for “the secret of the self-expansion of capital”, consciously.

Karl Marx’s thought did not spring forth fully-elaborated in one moment. Especially in the early years, Marx had to work very hard, and his quest was still work-in-progress when he died. All this is apparent from works produced prior to 1867, as much as from Volume 1 itself, and from the papers Marx left for Engels to put together for publication, up to the very last page of the last chapter of Volume 3, which ends: “[Here the manuscript breaks off.]”.

Reading it as a quest, which it was, makes it more understandable.

The size of Capital, Volume 1

One challenge presented by Volume 1 is its uneven shape and large size. The Communist University’s method, strongly influenced by the teaching of Paulo Freire, relies on certain simple principles and practices. We discuss original texts. We use extracts from books to create “Short Texts” that can be used as Freirean “codifications”. The point is not to learn the work as if for an examination, but rather to have a discussion, and thereby to socialise our growing collective understanding of it.

In the particular case of “Capital”, this principle of discussion is no less crucial; but the huge size of the project made the delineation of “Short Texts” problematic. Please note that the source of all our texts for this series on Capital Volume 1 has been Marxists Internet Archive. You can consult that text to fill in any omissions you may find in the material presented in the course.

The shape of Capital, Volume 1

Capital, Volume 1 contains 33 chapters. Most of them are short, but there are five long ones, starting with Chapter 1 (Commodities).  Chapter 3 (Money) is also long, as are Chapter 10 (The Working Day), Chapter 15 (Machinery and Modern Industry), and Chapter 25 (General Law of Capital Accumulation).

The structure of the book is deliberate, not accidental. Commodity (Chapter 1) is the right point of departure, and together with the subsequent two chapters on Exchange, and Money, it sets the scene for Chapters 4 and 5 which give the outline “General Formula for Capital”.

The remaining 28 chapters are a carefully-paced rolling out of the idea of Surplus-Value, with all its implications, in short, easy, and sometimes repetitive steps. Exceptions are Chapters 10, 15 and 25, which are “books within the book”. Yet these inner books are also part of the quest for “the secret of the self-expansion of capital”.

Consequent design of the CU series on “Karl Marx’s Capital, Volume 1

The above considerations led to the following decisions (which will be explained further in the introductions to the individual texts):

·        The series begins with Marx’s 1848 study-circle text called “Wage Labour and Capital”, and specifically with Engels’ 1891 Introduction to the first publication of that text, because it explains why Karl Marx worked for so many years on the question of Surplus-Value, a question that had not been fully answered in 1848, by anyone.
·        There are also two other texts showing the development of Marx’s work in the two decades prior to 1867. These help to get an overview of the main work, and should assist the reader/student to get a grasp of Karl Marx’s overall intention. One of these consists of parts from the 1848 “Communist Manifesto”. The other is extracts from Marx’s 1865 talk to workers called “Value, Price and Profit”.

The above three instalments constitute the first part of our ten-part course.

Capital Volume 1 itself is reduced, where necessary, in the following ways:

·        Some text is left out (i.e. “redacted”). This has been done with the third section of Chapter 1, with six of the ten sections in Chapter 15, and with part of Chapter 25.
·        Footnotes are sometimes left out. This is regrettable! The footnotes to “Capital” are a treasury of great worth. For this reason, wherever there is spare space, footnotes have been retained.

Capital Volume 1 is then re-divided in the following ways:

·        Short Chapters are combined together.
·        Long Chapters are divided.
·        In one situation (Chapters 2 and 3) a chapter is divided and part of it is added to the previous chapter

The above results in a division of Capital Volume 1 into 20 items, which are than divided in an appropriate way among the remaining 9 parts (weeks) of the course, with one suggested “main” text in each part and the others distributed as alternative, or additional, reading.

Thus we end up with a ten-week course, which is our standard CU course-length.

After completing Volume 1, we follow on with a ten-week combined treatment of Capital, Volumes 2 and 3, but in these cases the codification has been managed differently. It will be explained at the beginning of the second course.

By completing this collective, co-operative reading of Marx’s Capital, you will join a relatively small group of people in this world who have effectively read it entire work.

You will know by then that it is an enjoyable work, and not at all the terrifying thing that it may at first appear to be.

·        To download the full Capital, Volume 1 course in PDF files, please click here

·        To download any of the CU courses in PDF files please click here.

03 June 2015

President Zuma, Speech to the PWM, 2012

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No Woman, No Revolution, Part 10b


President Zuma, Speech to the PWM, 2012

This document is included as a further assistance in examining the questions as previously put:

Is the Progressive Women’s Movement (PWM) supposed to be a subsidiary of the ANC Women’s League, and therefore a junior partner of the ANC? Or is the PWM a wider movement, open to all women, of which the ANCWL is only one part among many? To what extent have the problems and tensions of the FEDSAW period in the 1950s been solved? Or, have those problems not been solved?”

In the attached and linked speech to the PWM the President certainly does not directly address these questions. It is even quite hard to see, during many passages of the speech, where they refer to women and women’s organisation, at all.

Among many other things, the President said the following:

“To further promote the legislative environment, we are to fast-track the Gender Equality Bill. This progressive Bill will promote the prohibition and elimination of discriminatory religious practises, and eliminate discrimination in access to socio-economic rights.

“It will seek to prohibit harmful traditional practises. It will help eliminate and prohibit discrimination in employment and other opportunities for women.

“The provisions of the Bill also already talk to the need for the participation of women in the economy and also full economic emancipation for women.

“The legislation alone will not achieve our goals. This means that all of us, men and women, must actively work to promote women’s rights as human rights.

“It means that the Progressive Women’s Movement must work with relevant government departments on an on-going basis to promote development and women’s emancipation.

“What is important is that all these new or amended laws and protocols indicate that the commitment exists and that we are moving forward with the promotion of gender equality. Some progress has been made already in many areas.”

Read and discuss the document, comrades.

Apart from the above, President Zuma also, in the same period of time in 2012, made a speech in memory of Charlotte Maxeke, which is on the ANC web site, and another on the occasion of the 56th Anniversary of the 1956, Women’s March to the Union Buildings, which is also National Women’s Day. The latter speech is attached and linked below.

These are the last documents in our course, “No Woman, No Revolution”.

·        The above is to introduce the original reading-text: Speech to the Progressive Women's Movement, President Jacob Zuma, 2012; Speech on National Women’s Day 2012.

02 June 2015

Umsebenzi Online on Women

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No Woman, No Revolution, Part 10a


Umsebenzi Online on Women

Umsebenzi Online is the South African Communist Party’s weekly e-mail newsletter. The Umsebenzi Online archive is on the SACP web site. You can subscribe to it (free) from the Umsebenzi Online distribution-group web site, or by using the Umsebenzi Online promotion box near the top of the right-hand panel on the Communist University blog, or in the left-hand panel on the SACP web site.

You can use the same promotion box (or this one) to invite anybody to be on the Umsebenzi Online list. Just put an e-mail address in the box and click “Subscribe”. An e-mail will go to that address, inviting the person to click to confirm that the she or he wants to subscribe. It’s quick and convenient.

Umsebenzi Online is the SACP’s authentic voice. It often carries an article by the elected SACP General Secretary, currently Dr Blade Nzimande.

To complete the picture of the women’s movement that the CU has tried to provide in our ten-part “No Woman, No Revolution” set, the last main document (attached, and linked below) consists of four articles published in Umsebenzi Online since the beginning of 2006.

2006 was the year when the CU did its first “No Woman, No Revolution” series, from February to May of that year, meeting at the Women’s Jail, Constitution Hill. August 2006 was when we saw the launch of the “Progressive Woman’s Movement”, something different and opposite in character from what the Communist University had imagined was needed.

Here are some speculative theses on the question of women in South Africa:

·        Women, as such, have no interests that are antagonistic to those of men, but women have a common and particular felt experience among themselves, as women, of the oppression that capitalism has brought to their lives.
·        Therefore there is a basis for working women to organise as a mass, by which is meant a small or large number of people who feel a common disadvantage in society, and who in consequence organise themselves together for their mutual collective good and combined self-defence.
·        Women’s mass organisations have the same requirement as trade unions and political-vanguard organisations, to be both democratic and centralist. Therefore women’s organisations should have individual membership and branches, hold periodic national congresses, have corporate personality, and have a constitution to ensure democracy.
·        The SACP, as a vanguard political organisation of the working class, is designed to relate to such mass organisations, just as it relates to trade union organisations, and others.
·        As a matter of historical fact, the ANC, through the ANCWL, has on at least four successive occasions since its founding in 1948, acted to ensure that the above kind of democratic, mass, individual-membership general-purpose women’s movement could not flourish. The ANCWL, under pressure from the ANC, blighted FEDSAW, then the UDF women’s structures, then the Women’s National Coalition, and it now blights the Progressive Women’s Movement.
·        The ANC adopted “non-sexism” in the 1980s, and the current South African Constitution is non-sexist, but in practice these provisions mean little as compared to the material non-existence of a mass women’s movement that has membership and democracy, and which is politically aligned to the working class and to the cause of socialism.
·        Very little of the above is discussed in the general public realm. What discussion there may be is often based on unexamined bourgeois-feminist, eclectic and post-modernist precepts. The situation is, on the face of it, much the same as it was ten years ago in mid-2005, when the Communist University began to put together its first “No Woman, No Revolution” series.
·        Yet great gains have been made. One was the election, in December 2007 at Polokwane, of an ANC National Executive Committee of 84 members of which 50% were women. Another was the announcement in 2009 by the SACP GS that the YCLSA has a membership that is more than 50% female.

·        The above is to introduce the original reading-text: Umsebenzi Online on Women, 2006-2009.

01 June 2015

SACP on Women’s Day

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No Woman, No Revolution, Part 10


SACP on Women’s Day

Jenny Schreiner is a member of the SACP 13th Congress Central Committee. The attached and linked document was written by her for publication in the Umsebenzi Online that came out on 8 August 2012, on the eve of National Women’s Day.

Schreiner says, before aptly quoting Lenin:

“The rights protected in the [South African] Constitution are rights that all women can claim, but they are not yet rights that all women, particularly working class women, are living. The equality in law and rights does not automatically translate into equality in access to jobs, resources, and protection.”

Summing up the situation of women in South Africa and the way forward, Schreiner says:

“The material base of women's emancipation has to be in the integration of women into the economy without gender discrimination, the equalising of the gender division of labour within the household and addressing social and political gender equity.”

Schreiner says:

“...the struggle for women's emancipation is a struggle within a struggle and one that touches both the personal and the political.”

This is discussed in terms of working women’s possibilities or lack thereof, where:

“Work and activity outside the home is premised on an inequality between men and women defined by their household or domestic responsibilities.”

Schreiner then refers to Alexandra Kollontai, whose writing we have already studied in this course. Schreiner writes in a passage that helps us considerably in terms of the way that our course is problematised:

“Alexandra Kollontai identified that the social basis of women's oppression lies in class relations and private ownership of the means of production and appropriation. She discussed whether there was a basis for a cross-class women's movement. She argued that working class women will more easily identify in struggle alongside their working class menfolk than to side with bourgeois women against men.

“This is an important issue for the Party to engage with, particularly in the context of the Progressive Women's Movement.

“It should be clear that the hegemony of the working class and its organisation in all sites of struggle is weakened if working class women are excluded from that organisation.

“However it is equally important for working class women to assert working class leadership of the progressive women's forces in society and form allies amongst the multi-class strata in the liberation movement. The experience of relative discrimination by women across classes provides a unique opportunity for women of the middle classes to be mobilised in support of working class women's interests, and thereby become aware of working class issues.”

Schreiner lays out all the possible permutations, except one.  Working class women can organise in concert with working class men. They can also organise across class lines to create class alliance with middle-class women.

The third possibility, the one that Schreiner rightly or wrongly omits, is the organisation of working women as such.

The three possibilities are not mutually exclusive. It is not unreasonable to go for all three kinds of organisation.

It is reasonable to omit the possibility of a working women’s movement, that is a dedicated working-class women’s movement, if it is regarded as a practical impossibility. This is something to discuss.

·        The above is to introduce the original reading-text: Schreiner, Umsebenzi Online, Impact on Women, 2012.