Category Archives: Communism & Marx

History and the Social Forms of Existence

This is the second part in an ongoing series on some of the key ideas in Marx’s thought. The first part can be found here.

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The preceding section discussed Marx’s understanding of human beings in the abstract. However, a true picture only emerges when one grasps humanity in the concrete; that is, in its actual living existence. So, for instance, in the beginning of the previous section the relationship between essence and existence was described as a matter of “standpoint.” This terminology is important because it suggests how Marx conceived of humanity as a dialectical unity between its essence and its mode of existence. One can only view human beings from different, distinct sides that, nonetheless, constitute a whole. As was emphasized above, essence only comes into being through existence and its content only exists objectively as form. Continue reading History and the Social Forms of Existence

Notas Del Capítulo Uno De El Capital

Lo siguiente es la primera parte de algunas notas del capítulo uno de El Capital. Esta es mi primera vez traduciendo un artículo tan complejo como éste. Así que si lees algo que no está traducido bien o hay un error gramático le agradecería su ayuda en corregirlo. Puedes conseguir el artículo original en Ingles aquí.

Originalmente escrito por HiFi y traducido por Parcer.

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El Carácter Doble de la Mercancía es el Carácter Doble Del Trabajo 

Marx empieza capítulo uno de El Capital describiendo el carácter doble de la mercancía. Un lado de la mercancía se define por la forma en que se utiliza. Marx llama a esto el “valor de uso.” Él define uso por cómo la mercancía “satisface necesidades humanas, de cualquier clase que ellas sean” (3). La idea de “necesidades humanas” representa una función importante en el pensamiento de Marx y toma una multitud de significados interrelacionados. Continue reading Notas Del Capítulo Uno De El Capital

Against Transparency

by James Frey and Jocelyn Cohn

The following piece by JC and James Frey (an independent marxist and labor organizer in NYC, and author of “A Moving Story” ) takes a look at the demand for “transparency”, and presents a critique from the perspective of communist labor organizing.

The demand for transparency will inevitably arise in the course of workplace struggle, especially when liberal organizations, trade unions, and non-profits are involved. “Open the books!” some will demand, “and let us see where the money is coming from, where its going, and just what can be afforded!” The imperative to open the books can be inspired by noble intentions, notably, the desire for radical democracy in the workplace, and it comes as a response to the mystery created by management about the source of the company’s wealth. However, demanding to see our bosses’ budgets suggests that workers are an expense for whom money is to be found, when in fact, we are the most necessary component of production, and the very source of whatever is to be found in the “budget”. Continue reading Against Transparency

The Communist Theory of Marx

The link for the Spanish translation of this post can be found here.

The following posts represent one part of a larger project on communist theory and revolutionary organization that was begun this past summer [2012]. It is an ongoing working project that was not only intended to provide a frame of reference for our own grouping. More broadly, it is meant to be a contribution to ongoing discussions and debate on communist theory and practice, which, in our historical moment, cannot and will not be the product of any single grouping. Continue reading The Communist Theory of Marx

Thoughts on Kevin Anderson’s Marx at the Margins

Marx at the Margins is an important summary of Marx’s thought concerning the relationship between the capitalist and non-capitalist world, colonialism and social development, as well as nationalism and internationalism. The book provides a general overview of Marx’s thinking about these issues, especially as Anderson draws together and gives some narrative form to an extremely wide-ranging number of Marx’s writings. However, Anderson doesn’t always step back to consider this material from a more conceptual standpoint. Therefore these notes try and synthesize Anderson’s reading in order to lay the groundwork for a more schematic understanding of the issues raised in the book. Continue reading Thoughts on Kevin Anderson’s Marx at the Margins

Notes on chapter one of Marx’s Capital, Part One

The following is the first part of some notes on chapter one of Capital. The second part will follow in the upcoming months.

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The Dual Character of the Commodity is the Dual Character of Labor

Marx begins chapter one of Capital by describing the dual character of the commodity. One side of the commodity is defined by how it is used. Marx calls this “use-value.” He defines use by how the commodity “satisfies human needs of whatever kind” (125). The idea of “human needs” plays an important role in Marx’s thought and takes on a number of interrelated meanings. In the German Ideology he argues “The first historical act is thus the production of the means to satisfy these needs, the production of material life itself. And indeed this is an historical act, a fundamental condition of all history” (47). Throughout history human beings have produced things, or “uses,” to address their basic and expanded needs, which gives rise to particular forms of society, specific kinds of social relations and subjectivities. Continue reading Notes on chapter one of Marx’s Capital, Part One