PolyluxMarx. Understanding Marxism (I)

“Marx is back. His magnum opus, ‘Capital’, is enjoying a resurrection. It has been the subject of a film, performed onstage, toured as a jazz band and has even been published as a Manga comic. New books are being written about it, old ones reissued, and, first and foremost: people are reading it again.”

The paragraph above is the intro for a collection of presentations, PolyluxMarx, made by a team of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung (Berlin 2012).

PolyluxMarx presentation

As the authors say, this work is not intended as a substitute for reading Marx’s book ‘Capital’. However, it’s true that reading the original Marx’s book is not very easy, at least some of its chapters: it’s a long book, written almost 150 years ago, so in a different historical context and sometimes in an unusual language. This presentation with graphics, explaining in easier manner the most important concepts, makes easier its reading and comprehension. One can read better ‘Capital’ having watched this presentation before, or simultaneously.

Is worth reading ‘Capital’ today? Indeed, it is. Marx’s book continues being totally relevant nowadays. Marx was decades studying the capitalist mode of production, and the fruit of this research was his ‘Das Kapital’ in three volumes, although just the first one was published while he was alive. Capitalism has changed since 19th century, of course, but its core, its internal functioning, continues being the same. So, it’s absurd to claim that ‘Capital’ is obsolete, as capitalism apologists like to repeat; Marx’s analysis will continue being current while capitalism exists, in the same way that Newton’s gravity law will continue being current while gravity exists, no matter how many years ago they completed their investigations.

There is till another problem with ‘Capital’: many people seem to think this is a taboo book, a sin against our Western system or the American way of life. Maybe these presentations will be less frightening, and more than one will think later that maybe Karl Marx wasn’t so evil after all.

Here are the first five presentations, which correspond to the first chapter in the book, ‘The commodity’:

1_Getting started

2_The two factors of the commodity

3_Dual character of labor

4_The valueform

5_Fetishism of the commodity

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