6 January 2008

Spectre of Communism

The first item today is the first instalment of our ghost” course on Karl Marx’s Capital, Volume 1. It is “Wage Labour and Capital”, and it is one of what we are calling the "precursors". It was given as political education to the German Workingmen's Club of Brussels (Belgium) in 1847. This was twenty years before the main book came out, and forty-four years before Frederick Engels wrote, in 1891, an introduction to this altered version of the political education texts (Marx died in 1883).

Engels’ introduction is included here. Please read it! Engels confesses that in the original lectures, Karl Marx failed to make the distinction between “Labour” and “Labour-Power”. This distinction is the necessary basis upon which an understanding of Surplus Value can be built; and Surplus Value is a concept that is right at the heart of Capital, Volume 1, and the key to the whole thing.

Reading Engels’ introduction to this early work of Karl Marx’s will give you a very quick understanding of what was at stake, and what was resolved, in Marx’s twenty years of study between 1847 and 1867, and how it was that, as Engels puts it: “Classical political economy had run itself into a blind alley. The man who discovered the way out of this blind alley was Karl Marx.”

The “ghost” course on Capital will run “in the background”, but we will return to it in the workers’ month of May, in six contact session. At that stage we will be reading the core of the book, the part that examines “Production of Surplus Value”. Hence we can say that the first text linked below is a bit like a wormhole that leads all the way to the centre of Capital, Volume 1. That spot also happens to be where the “ghost” course is going to surface for
Communist University face time in May 2008.

The SACP and the YCL have been hanging out in different haunts for a couple of weeks, but are now wasting no time with the first major statements in 2008, covering yesterday’s 13th Anniversary of Joe Slovo’s passing, and launching major initiatives around Health, Housing, and Education. See and read the next three important linked items below.

The organised working class, whether in vanguard or in mass, has no intention of letting any “elephant” invade its “living room”. So let the NPA take its litigious "JZ matter" elephant and park it until August. The ANC leadership elections were never a “beauty contest”. Tomorrow’s ANC NEC must not be diverted. The decade of the workers and the poor starts now!

The best report in yesterday’s papers about all this is Jeremy Gordin’s, from the “Sunday Independent”, linked below. It includes this choice quote: "I have no idea why Chaskalson and Bizos have made a statement. They are not connected with this business; they are not in the loop any more. If the chief justice wanted to make a statement, that would be fine. But it's not the business of two old fogeys."

The two old fogeys had made a daft statement that seemed to suggest that without their nannying intervention, the judicial sky would fall down. The only danger in this would be if people started to believe the two old farts. We would have descended to a state of perilous weakness if our courts are depending on the voluntary chivalry of a Don Quixote Chaskalson and a Sancho Panza Bizos.

Or maybe (see picture) that’s Ollie Chaskalson and Stan Bizos (Ollie to Stan: “That’s another fine mess you’ve got me into!”)

Finally, for safekeeping and future use, Brendan Boyle, blogmaster of “
Politically Correct” (please go and keep the red flag flying there in the “Comments”) has listed the constitutional considerations that would apply if Cde Thabo Mbeki was asked, and refused, to stand down from his ANC deployment as president of the country (most likely he will not even be asked).

Click on these links:

01, Wage Labour & Capital, 1847 (14835 words)

Outrageous plans by private hospitals to increase fees, SACP (678 words)

13th Anniversary of the passing away of Cde Joe Slovo, SACP (607 words)

YCL remembers Joe Slovo (569 words)

Zuma tells supporters to stay calm, Jeremy Gordin, Sapa, Sindy (838 words)

Zuma vs Mbeki - On a point of law, Brendan Boyle, Politically Correct (326 words)


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