28 July 2009

The Prince

[CU for Wednesday 29 July 2009]

This part of the Basic Communism course was written almost 500 years ago, in Italy, and published in 1512, near the beginning of the century in which, according to Karl Marx, capitalism first arose on the face of the earth (but in the Netherlands and in England, not in Italy).

“The Prince” therefore appeared long before any writings on Political Economy such as those by Thomas Hobbes, William Petty and Nicholas Barbon in the second half of the following century. Karl Marx was familiar with all of these, as well as with Nicolo Machiavelli, whose work has been foundational for politicians through five centuries.

Machavelli (pictured, top) was needing employment when he wrote this user-friendly text for Lorenzo De’ Medici (pictured, below), a 20-year-old Florentine prince, hoping that the young man (who died of syphilis seven years later) would give Machiavelli a job as a consultant or something of the sort.

No job resulted for Machiavelli but what he left us as a result of this attempt was a set of “short texts” of very frank and still-useful political education, not very different from a Communist UniversityGeneric Course”.

Of the four short chapters in the compilation linked below, the one that corresponds most closely to the politics of today is Chapter IX, “Concerning a Civil Principality”. Machiavelli had a good rudimentary understanding of class politics.

Comrades, even if you do not have a study circle organised, yet some of you might be able to attend a seminar. It is true that, with the exception of the SACP, there may be too little time put aside at such events for dialogue. Nevertheless here are three Johannesburg events that some might be able to attend:

Native Republic Thesis, Blade Nzimande, COSATU House, 10h00, 7 August 2009

Rethinking Civil Society, Kumi Naidoo, UJ Auckland Park, 17h30, 12 August 2009

The Life of an ANC Branch, Jacob Dlamini, Wits Senate House, 17h30, 17 August 2009

There is also a two day seminar series on Development, Protests and Democracy to be held on the 30th and 31st July at the Delta Park Environmental Centre in Linden put on by the Ikwezi Institute. Phone Mary Moloisane, 011 403 6291 or Vuyiswa Nodada 076 153 0316

Click on this links:

The Prince, Nicolo Machiavelli, 1512, Compilation (5131 words)


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