27 January 2012



Marx’s Capital Volume 1, Part 3a

Illustration from Thomas Hobbes’ “Leviathan


“The commodity that functions as a measure of value, and, either in its own person or by a representative, as the medium of circulation, is money.”

It would not be remarkable that in a work called “Capital” and in a chapter called “Money”, Karl Marx would proceed to define it; except that bourgeois economists cannot do so, even up to today. 

Marx’s definition of money (“the perfected form of the general equivalent”) sits within a concrete overview of all the circumstances of capital, whereas bourgeois economists can never present a full picture of society, but only disconnected snapshots of abstract parts of the whole.

The second title of the book is “Critique of Political Economy”. Karl Marx had read everything of consequence that had been written, from the time of Thomas Hobbes’ “Leviathan” (1651), and had made notes of it in a manuscript called “Theories of Surplus Value”, which is also sometimes called “Capital, Volume 4”. The table below is a list of names of political economists mentioned in that work, sixty altogether; and there are many others that are mentioned in the text or in the footnotes of Volume 1, including in the chapter given as a download for today, below.

Karl Marx was not an economist. Capital is not a book of economics. It is a critique of the entire body of Political-Economic thought up to the time of its writing, with conclusions drawn about the development of Political Economy (not economics) into the future. Political Economy is the study of human political relations, and not just money relations.

In this chapter Marx describes Money and Price, the conversions between Use-Value and Exchange-Value, and then the transformation of commodities into money and back again from money into commodities, which is the series “C – M – C”.  Marx spends time on this quite simple description, because he is going to build on it later. Therefore it is advisable to read it at least once in full. But don’t get stuck. If you stick, skip.

Scrooge McDuck: miser

Finally, Marx deals in this chapter with hoarding of money, and with the practical use of money. All of these things are going to be useful while we go through the book.

Top picture: a 17th-century vision of the bourgeois state, from the cover of Hobbes’ “Leviathan”. Above: a 20th-Century vision of a miser (hoarder), “Scrooge McDuck”. Below (table): some authors covered by Marx during his preparations for writing “Capital”.

Names of “political economists” studied in Marx’s “Theories of Surplus Value” (Capital, Volume 4):

Sir James Steuart
John Stuart Mill
Robert Torrens
Germain Garnier
James Mill
Charles Ganilh
Anonymous English Author
Thomas De Quincey
Adam Smith
Earl of Lauderdale
David Ricardo
Samuel Bailey McCulloch
Count Destutt de Tracy
Nassau Senior
Pellegrino Rossi
John Stuart Mill
John Barton
Nathaniel Forster
Sir Dudley North
James Deacon Hume
Richard Jones
Thomas Robert Malthus


26 January 2012



Marx’s Capital Volume 1, Part 3


In his 1863 plan for the work, Karl Marx proposed to begin Volume 1 of Capital with “1.  Introduction.  Commodity.  Money.” In the published version, four years later, an additional short item – Exchange – was introduced between Commodity and Money.

This is a helpful, short, readable chapter that manages to reprise the definition of Commodity and the description of its implications given in the preceding chapter, while prefiguring the definition of Money that arrives in Chapter 3.

So this chapter on Exchange is a useful summary. In this regard it is typical of the work as a whole. Marx takes care in Capital, Volume 1, to allow the reader to rest at intervals and re-look at the material in a different way, or else to show off the new parts again in their relation to the whole.

Marx begins this chapter on Exchange by saying, of commodities:

“In order that these objects may enter into relation with each other as commodities, their guardians must place themselves in relation to one another, as persons whose will resides in those objects, and must behave in such a way that each does not appropriate the commodity of the other, and part with his own, except by means of an act done by mutual consent.”

“In the course of our investigation we shall find, in general, that the characters who appear on the economic stage are but the personifications of the economic relations that exist between them.

“All commodities are non-use-values for their owners, and use-values for their non-owners. Consequently, they must all change hands.

“At the same rate, then, as the conversion of products into commodities is being accomplished, so also is the conversion of one special commodity into money.

What appears to happen is, not that gold becomes money, in consequence of all other commodities expressing their values in it, but, on the contrary, that all other commodities universally express their values in gold, because it is money. The intermediate steps of the process vanish in the result and leave no trace behind.”

The section of Chapter 3 on Price is also included in today’s instalment.

  • A PDF file of the reading text is attached

18 January 2012


Marx’s Capital Volume 1, Part 2


So far in this course we have had a general introduction, and then looked at Marx’s 1847 “Wage Labour and Capital”, the “Communist Manifesto” of 1848, and Marx’s 1865 “Value, Price and Profit”.

Now, and for the remaining eight parts, this course will use text from Marx’s greatest single work: Capital, Volume 1. We will take nearly all of it, conveniently divided, in sequence, starting with Chapter 1 – Commodities (download linked below).

Chapter  1 of Capital Volume 1 of Marx’s Capital (attached) is a text that has been the material for many a political school. It begins with this great definition of commodities:

“The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as ‘an immense accumulation of commodities,’ its unit being a single commodity. Our investigation must therefore begin with the analysis of a commodity.

“A commodity is, in the first place, an object outside us, a thing that by its properties satisfies human wants of some sort or another. The nature of such wants, whether, for instance, they spring from the stomach or from fancy, makes no difference. Neither are we here concerned to know how the object satisfies these wants, whether directly as means of subsistence, or indirectly as means of production.”

And it later says:

“A use-value, or useful article, therefore, has value only because human labour in the abstract has been embodied or materialised in it.”

The second section of the chapter explores this dual character of commodities.

The third section, which contains quite a lot of formulas, is omitted for the sake of brevity. Sections of the book that have been left out can be read on Marxists Internet Archive.

The fourth and last section of the chapter is on the Fetishism of Commodities, meaning that in a capitalist society the relations between commodities replace the relations between people.

In commodities, writes Marx, “the social character of men's labour appears to them as an objective character stamped upon the product of that labour; because the relation of the producers to the sum total of their own labour is presented to them as a social relation, existing not between themselves, but between the products of their labour.”

If there is a single purpose for Marx’s book it is to re-make human relations so that they are relations between humans again, or in other words, Marx’s purpose is to restore human beings to themselves.

13 January 2012

Value, Price and Profit


Marx’s Capital Volume 1, Part 1b

Capitalist, drawn by George Grosz

Value, Price and Profit

This is a course on Marx’s “Capital”, Volume 1 (to be followed immediately thereafter by a course on Volumes 2 & 3). In the next part we begin the book itself, with Chapter 1 of Volume 1. In this instalment we conclude our preliminary look at the preceding literature.

“Wage Labour and Capital” gave us notice of the “problematic” faced by Karl Marx in 1847. By 1857 most of the theoretical problems had been solved. By 1863 Marx had a sketch plan that closely resembled the shape of the full Volume 1 that was published four years later in 1867. By 1865 when he did “Value, Price and Profit” (see the attached documents), Marx had no doubt solved the literary problems of the work, and was by now able to summarise in a concise way, if necessary.

This short work, “Value, Price and Profit”, has served various purposes. It debunks the argument, still used by employers today, that wage rises will cause unemployment. Hence “Value, Price and Profit” has been a mainstay for generations of shop stewards and union negotiators.

Secondly, and prefiguring Lenin’s argument against “Economism” four decades later in “What is to be Done?”, it states clearly that trade unionism, without political organisation, will never succeed in throwing off the yoke of capital (see the excerpt from Chapter 14, attached).

This abridged version of “Value, Price and Profit” can also to some extent serve as a “mini-Capital”, or in other words as the short version of “Capital” that many people crave. It will at least help us to get a better grip on some of the key concepts such as Labour, Value, Labour-Power, Surplus-Value and Profit.

The two quoted paragraphs that follow are particularly instructive. Hobbes’ 1651 book “Leviathan” was a tremendous groundbreaker; Karl Marx noticed that Hobbes had “instinctively hit upon this point overlooked by all his successors”, namely the distinction between Labour-Power and Labour, which Marx had worked so hard and so long to see clearly (see the remarks about the hunt for surplus value in our earlier post on Wage Labour and Capital)

What the working man sells is not directly his labour, but his labouring power, the temporary disposal of which he makes over to the capitalist. This is so much the case that I do not know whether by the English Laws, but certainly by some Continental Laws, the maximum time is fixed for which a man is allowed to sell his labouring power. If allowed to do so for any indefinite period whatever, slavery would be immediately restored. Such a sale, if it comprised his lifetime, for example, would make him at once the lifelong slave of his employer.

‘One of the oldest economists and most original philosophers of England — Thomas Hobbes — has already, in his “Leviathan”, instinctively hit upon this point overlooked by all his successors. He says: "the value or worth of a man is, as in all other things, his price: that is so much as would be given for the use of his power." Proceeding from this basis, we shall be able to determine the value of labour as that of all other commodities.’

“Value, Price and Profit” includes a counter-intuitive surprise in Marx’s statement that: “Profit is made by Selling a Commodity at its Value” (top of page 8 in our download version). Capitalism would still exist, even if it could shed its nasty price-gouging habits. Because capitalism is not a simple swindle, but is a system and a class relationship.

Capitalism would also still exist if Labour Power was always paid for at its full value.

The source of the “self-increase of capital” is located in the workplace, and not in the marketplace.

  • The above serves to introduce the original reading-text: Marx’s “Value, Price and Profit”, 1865, Chapters 6 to 10 and excerpt from Chapter 14.

Bourgeois, Proletarians and Communists


Marx’s Capital Volume 1, Part 1a

Various editions of the Communist Manifesto

Bourgeois, Proletarians and Communists

The Communist Manifesto was written in London by Dr Karl Marx when he was 29, with the help of his 27-year-old friend Frederick Engels, and it was published in January or February of 1848. It has been a “best-seller” ever since, is constantly republished, and is always in print.

Bourgeois and Proletarians

Marx and Engels saw the new masters, the formerly slave-owning but now capitalist bourgeoisie, also known as burghers, or burgesses, that had originally grown up in the towns under feudal rule, and had by then in some places taken over from the feudal lords by revolution.

Marx and Engels were already convinced that sooner or later, this bourgeoisie was going to be overthrown by the working proletariat (i.e. free citizens owning nothing but their Labour-Power) that the bourgeoisie had brought into existence.

Commissioned to write the Manifesto by the Communist League, Marx and Engels fell behind the agreed deadline, but came through with a magnificent text published just prior to the February, 1848 events in Paris - events which brought the proletariat as actors on to the stage of history to an extent that had never been seen before, thoroughly vindicating Engels and Marx.

The timing was great. The text turned out to be a classic to such an extent that every line of it is memorable.  The first two parts (“Bourgeois and Proletarians”, and “Proletarians and Communists”) given in the attached two files.

Short though it is, the Manifesto is so rich and so compressed as to be saturated with meaning and practically impossible to summarise. So without summmarising, here are some of the most extraordinary sentences of the first section of the Manifesto:

The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other - bourgeoisie and proletariat.

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

All fixed, fast frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify.

All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real condition of life and his relations with his kind.

The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.

Proletarians and Communists

The second part of the Communist Manifesto contains statements about the Communist Party, about the family, about religion, and frank statements about the bourgeoisie.

It is included here with this set of readings of Marx’s Capital, Volume 1, particularly because it shows, within the broadest possible context, the centrality of the relations of production that create and sustain the effect known as capital, which then in turn defines everything else in bourgeois society.

It also looks forward to the way that society can be changed yet again, and thus serves to remind us that Marx’s work is always intentional, and is never merely empirical, descriptive or disinterested.

“The average price of wage labour is the minimum wage, i.e., that quantum of the means of subsistence which is absolutely requisite to keep the labourer in bare existence as a labourer,” wrote Marx and Engels, already making a great step forward from Marx’s “Wage Labour and Capital” that had been published in the previous year, 1847.  

“But does wage labour create any property for the labourer? Not a bit. It creates capital, i.e., that kind of property which exploits wage labour, and which cannot increase except upon conditions of begetting a new supply of wage labour for fresh exploitation.”

“…a vast association of the whole nation… in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.”

  • The above serves to introduce the original reading-text - Marx’s and Engels’ 1848 “Communist Manifesto”, Parts 1 and 2. 

12 January 2012

Marx's Capital: Wage Labour and Capital


Marx’s Capital Volume 1, Part 1

Wage Labour and Capital
This is the first main post of our Communist University series on Karl Marx's Capital, Volume 1, which is to run over ten weeks in the first quarter of 2012.

“Wage Labour and Capital” and the Hunt for Surplus Value

Karl Marx’s Capital, Volume 1, is a great work of literature and it covers many things; but more than any other thing, it is about Surplus Value, or “the secret of the self-expansion of capital” as Marx sometimes like to call it.

This week’s main work, “Wage Labour and Capital”, and especially Engels’ remarks about it, show that in 1847 Karl Marx was as yet not able to explain Surplus Value in terms of commodity Labour Power, as something distinct from Labour itself.

“Wage Labour and Capital” was given as a lecture to the German Workingmen's Club of Brussels (Belgium) in 1847. When he first gave the lecture, Karl Marx did not make a distinction between the act of Labour, and its prior potential, called Labour-Power. The latter is the commodity that the worker sells each day to the capitalist in exchange for the privilege of staying alive.

The capitalist makes the worker work and takes all the product of the worker’s Labour, giving back only just enough for the worker to survive as commodity Labour Power, and so to be up for sale again on the next working day.

The above is the reason for Frederick Engels’ 5-page 1891 Introduction to the subsequent editions of “Wage Labour and Capital”. It is the reason why Karl Marx had to press on with his researches for another 20 years until Capital Volume 1 was published in 1867 (and beyond). Only in 1867 was the true theory of Surplus Value fully published and placed permanently in the public realm.

Our starting point

Hence the main thing to read here, for the purposes of our series, is Engels’ Introduction to “Wage Labour and Capital”.  This Introduction is the main reason for including this text in the series. In other respects it is redundant to our needs. But it provides our starting point, and it defines the theme which will serve us throughout all the remaining parts of the series on Capital, Volume 1.

If you do go on from the Introduction to read the full text of “Wage Labour and Capital”, then please note that this is not Marx’s original version. It is the one doctored by Engels, as he explains in his Introduction.

Labour-Power and Surplus Value

The distinction between Labour and Labour-Power is the necessary basis upon which an understanding of Surplus Value can be built, and Surplus Value is the key to the whole project that Marx worked on for about forty years from at the latest 1844 until his death in 1883.

Said Engels: “Classical political economy had run itself into a blind alley. The man who discovered the way out of this blind alley was Karl Marx.”

This is true, but in 1847 it was not yet fully true. Engels’ Introduction to “Wage Labour and Capital” reveals Karl Marx’s quest. From this point on in this series, side-by-side with Marx, we are going in search of the mysterious beast called “Surplus Value” and all of its implications.

To sum up: Labour-Power is what you bring to your employer’s front gate in the morning. The employer normally pays you for it, in full (as Marx points out in “Value, Price and Profit”). After that, the entire product of any Labour you may do during the working day belongs to the employer.

“The secret of the self-expansion of capital resolves itself into having the disposal of a definite quantity of other people's unpaid labour” wrote Marx, later on, in Capital, Volume 1 (Chapter 18).

  • The above serves to introduce the original reading-texts: Marx’s 1847 “Wage Labour and Capital”, but more importantly for our present purposes, Engels’ 1891 Introduction to the same work

  • PDF files of the reading texts are attached


9 January 2012

Use Your Head


Pedagogy 2

Use Your Head

This is the last preliminary posting before the courses re-start next week. It is a “conspectus” (overview) of Tony Buzan’s book, “Use Your Head”. Please find the file attached. The first instalment of the course proper will be sent out on Thursday, 12 January 2012.

The original author Buzan does not propose, or proceed from, any overt political premises. He appears at first sight to resemble a utilitarian bourgeois “management guru” or a “motivational speaker”. His work stands out from the others of that kind only because of its great practical effectiveness, and not because of any open political aspect.

But Buzan’s work also fits in very well, politically, with our Communist University pedagogy, because it is dialectical. And it is intentional.


From a practical point of view, Buzan’s appeal is that he offers assistance with faster, more purposeful reading; with memorising; and with note-taking, particularly using his invention, the “mind-map” technique. An example of a mind-map is reproduced above.

These techniques are just what students need to help them get through their studies, and just what conventional education often failed to give them. Students used to be obliged to learn before having learned how to learn. Buzan filled this gap very well.

But what underlies Buzan’s approach? It is not that he was just lucky to stumble upon three techniques, like an old-time prospector discovering gold in a lucky strike.


What distinguishes the mind-map, in particular, from other forms of note-taking characterised by lists and bullet-points, is that it begins and ends as a “unity and struggle of opposites”. It is a representation, in one glance, of the way in which any concrete phenomenon, or discrete system, is the product (or resultant) of many abstract dynamic forces (or vectors) pulling in different directions.

The mind-map is therefore a very good illustration of exactly what is meant by “dialectics”.


The other main underlying characteristic of Buzan’s approach is its “intentionality”, to use a term from Paulo Freire’s vocabulary.

Towards the end of Chapter 1 of Freire’s “The Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, Freire quotes Alvaro Vieira Pinto saying that intentionality is “the fundamental property of consciousness”, remarking that this concept is “of great importance for the understanding of a problem-posing pedagogy”.

Buzan’s approach is full of intentionality. There is no question, for Buzan, of wandering, or learning for learning’s sake, in a random, eclectic way. Buzan says that you must be looking for a result.

Karl Marx, in the 11th Thesis on Feuerbach, said that while the philosophers have interpreted the world, the point is to change it. That’s intentionality.

Intentionality, as well as dialectics and dialogue, are common themes in Freire, Buzan and Marx – and in the Communist University.

5 January 2012

Pedagogy by the method of Paulo Freire


Pedagogy 1

Pedagogy According to Paulo Freire

The Communist University has a tradition of starting every year with a reflection upon our methodology, and on the theory of pedagogy (i.e. theory of learning and teaching) in general, and on the way that practical pedagogy relates to politics.

The great 20th-century theoretician of liberation pedagogy was Paolo Freire. It was Freire who gave us the word “conscientise”. It was Paulo Freire, more than any other, who showed how the bourgeois education system, with its “banking” theory of pedagogy, is not well designed to educate. Instead, its primary purpose is to reproduce the class relations that suit the ruling class. Please read Paulo Freire’s own words about this, in the attached file.

Education, which should by nature liberate the student, is made by the ruling class into a means of repression, said Freire.

How can revolutionaries ensure that education ceases to reproduce oppressive landlord-dominated or bourgeois-dominated class relations, and instead starts to generate socialism and communism?

Problematising Education

To ask such a question is to “problematise” education. To ask such a question is to begin a “dialogue” about education. Freire thought that for the political education of the oppressed, if it was not to be patronising and therefore counter-productive, by reproducing and reinforcing the features of the oppressive state, then the educational method for this revolutionary purpose would have to be different and new.

In the dialogical method that Paulo Freire devised and called the Pedagogy of the Oppressed, or otherwise Critical Pedagogy, there is no elementary, junior, senior, matriculation, undergraduate, post-graduate, doctorate or professor level. Teachers are learners and learners are teachers; yet all are free-willing “subjects”, having “agency”, capable of leadership.

As much as there may be a room and a gathering of individuals, each known by name, and a “codification” which is the text or other object for the occasion, yet the dialogue admits no limits. The Freirean gathering is not sheltered. It is one of the essentials of Freirean Pedagogy that we refuse the fiction of the sheltered classroom. Instead we recognise that the oppressor is around us and even within us, while we strive to liberate ourselves through our mutual, socialising pedagogical dialogue.

In Freirean practice, there is no such thing as a basic level, or an advanced level. All that we can do is to begin a process of “problematising”, beginning with education itself.

As a rule, the CU uses original authors, and not commentaries on their original texts. In that spirit, text attached today is the second chapter of Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, here supplemented with a glossary of “critical pedagogy” terms (the link to the download is below). This text provides an opportunity to reflect upon what you are trying to do by learning and teaching. You may ask each other: What is political education for?

For the late Freire (pictured above), and for the Freireans of today, all education is a political act and a social act, an act of liberation and of self-liberation.

There will be one further preliminary posting. The first instalment of the course proper will be sent out on Thursday, 12 January 2012.

  • This introduction only serves to introduce the original reading-text. In this case it is Chapter 2 of Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

  • A PDF file of the reading text is attached

Capital, Volume 1: A Quest for a Secret


Karl Marx’s Capital, Volume 1, Part 0

First Edition, 1867

A Quest for a Secret

Capital, Volume 1

Next week, the Communist University begins posting a ten-part course on Karl Marx’s Capital, Volume 1. This will be the first of four ten-week courses to be run through this and its related e-mail channels in 2012. The first Johannesburg Communist University live session is scheduled to take place on 25 January 2012.

The course on Capital, Volume 1 will be followed by three further ten-week courses, on Capital Volumes 2 and 3, on The Classics, and last but not least, our course “No Woman, No Revolution”. This year’s courses therefore amount to a comprehensive run-through of the most fundamental texts of Marxism – all three volumes of Capital, plus the most salient of the other Marxist Classics, plus indispensable material on revolutionary women.

Karl Marx’s “Capital, Volume 1”, published in 1867, is the most outstanding product of a long project that Marx begun in the 1840s, when he was still a young man in his twenties.

Volume 2, edited by Marx’s lifelong comrade and intellectual collaborator Frederick Engels, was published two years after Marx’s death, in 1885. Volume 3 was published in 1894, one year before Engels’ death.

The entire project is a quest for a full explanation of what Marx called, at the end of Chapter 18 of Volume 1: The secret of the self-expansion of capital.”

This secret is what Marx called Surplus-Value, gained by purchasing the commodity Labour-Power at its full value, and then putting it to work and expropriating the entire product of the actual Labour expended. This constantly-repeated process sustains the otherwise unstable thing called Capital, rather as a table-tennis ball may be kept in the air by a fountain of water or of air.

In studying this book, it helps to be able to follow the development of Marx’s quest for “the secret of the self-expansion of capital” consciously.

Karl Marx’s thought did not spring forth fully-elaborated in one moment. Especially in the early years, Marx had to work very hard, and his quest was still work-in-progress when he died. All this is apparent from works produced prior to 1867, as much as from Volume 1 itself, and from the papers he left for Engels to put together for publication, up to the very last page the last chapter of Volume 3, which ends: “[Here the manuscript breaks off.]”.

Reading it as a quest, which it was, makes it more understandable.

The size of Capital, Volume 1

One challenge presented by Volume 1 is its uneven shape and large size. The Communist University’s method, strongly influenced by the work of Paulo Freire, relies on certain simple principles and practices. We discuss original texts. We use extracts from books to create “Short Texts” that can be used as Freirean “codifications”. The point is not to learn the work s if for an examination, but to have a discussion, and thereby to socialise our collective understanding of it.

In the case of “Capital”, this principle of discussion is no less crucial; but the huge size of the project made the search for “Short Texts” difficult. Please note that the source of all our texts for this series on Capital Volume 1 has been Marxists Internet Archive. You can consult that text to fill in any omissions you may find in the material presented.

The shape of Capital, Volume 1

Capital, Volume 1 contains 33 chapters. Most of them are short, but there are five long ones, starting with Chapter 1 (Commodities).  Chapter 3 (Money) is also long, as is Chapter 10 (The Working Day), Chapter 15 (Machinery and Modern Industry), and Chapter 25 (General Law of Capital Accumulation).

The structure of the book is deliberate, not accidental. Commodity is the right point of departure, and together with the subsequent two chapters on Exchange, and Money, it sets the scene for Chapters 4 and 5 which give the outline “General Formula for Capital”.

The remaining 28 chapters are a carefully-paced rolling out of the idea of Surplus-Value, with all its implications, in short, easy, and sometimes repetitive steps. Exceptions are Chapters 10, 15 and 25, which are “books within the book”. Yet these inner books are also part of the quest for “the secret of the self-expansion of capital”.

Consequent design of the CU series on “Karl Marx’s Capital, Volume 1

The above considerations led to the following decisions (which will be explained further in the introductions to the individual texts):

  • The series begins with Marx’s 1848 study-circle text called “Wage Labour and Capital”, and specifically with Engels’ 1891 Introduction to the first publication of that text, because it explains why Karl Marx worked for so many years on the question of Surplus-Value, a question that had not been fully answered in 1848, by anyone.
  • There are also two other texts showing the development of Marx’s work in the two decades prior to 1867. These help to get an overview of the main work, and should assist the reader/student to get a grasp of Karl Marx’s overall intention. One of these consists of parts from the 1848 “Communist Manifesto”. The other is extracts from Marx’s 1865 talk to workers called “Value, Price and Profit”.

The above three instalments constitute the first part of our ten-part course.

Capital Volume 1 itself is reduced, where necessary, in the following ways:

  • Some text is left out (i.e. “redacted”). This has been done with the third section of Chapter 1, with six of the ten sections in Chapter 15, and with part of Chapter 25.
  • Footnotes are sometimes left out. This is regrettable! The footnotes to “Capital” are a treasury of great worth. For this reason, wherever there is spare space in terms of working to multiples of four pages for printing purposes, footnotes have been retained.

Capital Volume 1 is then re-divided in the following ways:

  • Short Chapters are combined together.
  • Long Chapters are divided.
  • In one situation (Chapters 2 and 3) a chapter is divided and part of it is added to the previous chapter

The above results in a division of Capital Volume 1 into 20 parts, which are than divided in an appropriate way among the remaining 9 parts (weeks) of the course, with one main text in each part and the others given as alternative or additional reading.

So that we end up with a ten-week course – our standard CU course length. After completing Volume 1, we will follow on with a ten-week combined treatment of Capital, Volumes 2 and 3.

By completing this collective, co-operative reading of Marx’s Capital, you will join a relatively small group of people in this world who have actually read it all. You will know by then that it is an enjoyable work and not at all the terrifying thing that may at first appear to be.