Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON
LECTURE ONE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d__In2PQS60
LECTURE TWO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al7O2puvdDA

ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ONE THROUGH TEN ON IDEOLOGICAL CRITIQUE



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Friday, January 16, 2015

THE MANIFESTO

I am now preparing my lecture for next Wednesday on The Communist Manifesto.  Lecturing on the Manifesto is a little like being let loose in a candy store or a Ben and Jerry's.  So many tasty morsels in every direction that it is hard to know where to begin.  I shall start by reading aloud the first and last lines:

"A spectre is haunting Europe -- the spectre of communism"  and

"The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.  They have a world to win.  Workingmen of all countries, unite!"

I mean, after that, we sing the Internationale and I cancel the rest of the two and a half hour class, right?  Alas, UNC is rather prickly about these things, so I must fill the remainder of the time with scholarly explication.

I do plan to quote on of my all-time favorite lines:  "The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie."  This is one of the many insights that have become commonplaces once they were stripped of any association with Marx's name.

5 comments:

Magpie said...

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

This is indeed a very interesting point and one where, in my opinion, many (both on the left and right) assume extremely simplistic interpretations.

You may find this article by Wolfgang Streeck interesting:

The Crises of Democratic Capitalism (New Left Review 71, September-October 2011)
http://newleftreview.org/II/71/wolfgang-streeck-the-crises-of-democratic-capitalism

I am not sure whether Streeck is a Marxist at all (and I suppose depending on which kind of Marxist one is different things could strike as wrong), but overall I think it's a thoughtful analysis. Well worth any spare time.

Ludwig Richter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ludwig Richter said...

I find it a joy to teach "The Communist Manifesto" to my young students. Of course, I teach in liberal Seattle, where youthful rebellion often comes in the form of trying to figure out how they can get to the left of their parents. Let's just say that I normally have classes of very receptive students who are excited by ideas. The debate club is especially a bastion of socialism at my school.

My students also enjoy reading from Engels' "The Condition of the Working-class in England." Last week my students made the connection between the English class system and the disaster of the British assault at the Somme in WWI. That is when teaching is really fun.

One other anecdote. In my philosophy class, we have a Brazilian exchange student, and I somehow got on to the topic of Paulo Freire, whom I studied a little bit in graduate school. One of my debate-team students piped up and said, "Oh yes, we use his 'Pedagogy of the Oppressed' in debate."

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Ah, Professor Richter, you are fortunate in your students. We shall see in time whether I can say the same for mine. I hope so!

Against Names said...

Interesting, it was, Magpie. Thanks.