Sunday, 23 February 2020

POLS 323 Marxism - Classical and Contemporary - 2020

This is where I'll be putting links to audio-visual and other material for POLS 323 Marxism: Classical and Contemporary during Semester 1, 2020. I will be adding to, editing, and updating this blog during the course of the semester. So it is a work in progress.

Some of the av-material and links overlap with POLS 208 Democracy, so check that blog out as well.

The lecture schedule is outlined below.

Lecture Schedule
1.      What is Marxism? Is Marxism Still Relevant? Why Classical and Contemporary Marxism?
Section 1: Laying the Foundations: Karl Marx and Frederick Engels
2.      Karl Marx: Brief Biographical Sketch and ‘Marx in Soho’
3.      Karl Marx: Intellectual Significance, Biography and Historical Context
4.      Marx’s General Theory of History: Dialectical and Historical Materialism
5.      Marx’s Critique of Capitalism: Analysing Capitalist Exploitation
6.      Marx’s Critique of Capitalism: Analysing Capitalist Economic Crisis
7.      Marx’s Critique of Capitalism: What is Alienation? What’s Wrong with Liberal Democracy?
8.      Frederick Engels’ Contribution to Establishing Marxism: Biography, Early Development of Historical Materialism and Marxian Socialism, Dialectics, and Critical Analysis of Women’s Oppression.
Section 2: Classical Marxism: Overview, Context and Key Figures
9.      German Social Democracy, Classical Marxism and Vladimir Lenin’s Theory of Revolution
10.    Marxist Conceptions of Socialist Organisation from Marx to Lenin and Beyond
11.    Rosa Luxemburg: Reform or Revolution?
12.    Rosa Luxemburg: The Mass Strike and Luxemburg’s Critique of the Bolsheviks
13.    Leon Trotsky: The Fight Against Stalinism
14.    Antonio Gramsci: Hegemony and Contradictory Consciousness
         ----------------Mid-Semester Break----------------
15.    Georg Lukacs: History and Class Consciousness
16.    The Classical Marxist Vision of Socialism: Revolution, Socialism and Participatory Democracy

Section 3: Contemporary Marxism
17.    Marxist Economics: The Global Financial Crisis and its Aftermath (1)
18.    Marxist Economics: The Global Financial Crisis and its Aftermath (2)
18.B. The Political Economy of the Covid-19 Pandemic
19.    Marxist Educational Sociology: Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education
20.    Marxist International Relations: Imperialism and the Causes of War
21.    Applying Marxism in Practice: Trotskyism and The International Socialist Tradition
22.    Marxist Ecology: Analysing the Causes of Resource Depletion, Habitat Destruction, and Global Warming
23.    Socialist and Marxist Feminism: Capitalism, Gender Inequality, Intersectionality and Women’s Liberation
24.    Digital Disconnect: The History and Political Economy of the Internet
25.    The Ideological Bias of the Corporate Media: Manufacturing Consent?
Conclusion: Results and Prospects
26.    The Democratic Socialist Alternative to 21st Century Capitalism.

Music Videos 2020

Lecture 1
• Marlon Williams - Beautiful Dress
• Arcade Fire - Ready to Start
• The Guardian

Lecture 2
• Bob Marley - Redemption Song
• The Uncluded - Delicate Cycle

Lecture 3
• Big Thief - Masterpiece
• PJ Harvey - The Wheel

Lecture 4
• Courtney Marie Andrews - Table for One
• Sunflower Bean - Crisis

Lecture 5
• Florence and the Machine - Hunger
• Valerie June - Shakedown

Lecture 7
• Julia Jacklin -Body 
• Wolf Alice -Don't Delete the Kisses

Lecture 8
• Sunflower Bean - 2013
• Daughter - Smother

Lecture 9
• Linton Kwesi Johnson - Reggae Fi Peach

Lecture 10
• Rage Against the Machine - Take the Power Back\

Lectures 11-12
• The Specials - Ghost Town
• The Interrupters - Take Back the Power
• P J Harvey - Good Fortune
• Jamie XX - Loud Places

Lecture 13
• Slowdive - Star Roving
• Boots Riley - The Guillotine

Lecture 14
• The Clash - Call Up

Lecture 16
• Lana Del Rey - Mariners Apartment Complex

Videos and Links
Introductions to Marx and Marxism
Marx in Soho performed by Brian Jones
This play provides both a genuinely amusing and accurate account of Marx's life and central ideas. Well worth watching. Learn stuff and have a good laugh while doing so. 
'Karl Marx' 30 minute humorous introduction to Marx by Marx Steel (in 2003). Unfortunately the only online version I have been able to find is very low definition- but it is still well worth watching.

David Harvey on the Global Financial Crisis and Crises of Capitalism.
Animation of David Harvey providing a 10 minute oral outline of the Marxist analysis of capitalist economic crises. 

Roland Boer, 'In Defence of Engels', published on the Philosophers for Change blog site.
An interesting article by the author of a very good book on Engels:
Roland Boer, Criticism of Earth: On Marx, Engels and Theology (Chicago and Leiden: Haymarket and Brill, (2014 [2012]).
 Among other things, argues that Engels' "
writes of ‘two great discoveries, the materialistic conception of history and the revelation of the secret of capitalistic production through surplus-value …. With these discoveries Socialism became a science’.[31] As ever, Engels attributes these discoveries to Marx, but they were also very much his achievement."

New Zealand
For New Zealand material, some of which is relevant to this course, go to:
The Russian Revolution

The most accurate short (20 minutes long) video documentary on the Russian Revolution that I have been able to find currently (2016) available on Youtube is:
Timeline: The Russian Revolution - by British socialist John Rees - produced as part of a historical 'timeline' series of historical documentaries produced by Islam TV in the UK.

Rosa Luxemburg - Then and Now

An excellent slideshow with Alistair Hulett singing the Internationale in the background.  

Lenin - What is Soviet Power?

Five minute speech by Lenin with English subtitles.
Another interesting short speech by Lenin:


Antonio Gramsci - Five Lectures

There are some interesting, informative and illuminating lectures on Gramsci available online. Here are the best five (in my view).

1. Peter Thomas – ‘Gramsci and Hegemony’ (37 minutes)
If you only have time to listen to one of these lectures, then catch the excellent lecture by Peter D. Thomas – author of the best book on Gramsci published during the past decade.

2. Alex Callinicos - ‘Gramsci and the Art of Politics’ (66 minutes)
A superb lecture on Gramsci is by Alex Callinicos.

3. Megan Trudell – ‘The Uses and Abuses of Gramsci’ (65 minutes)
Megan Trudel provide a critique of common misinterpretations and misrepresentations of Gramsci.

4. Paul D’Amato – ‘Life of a Revolutionary’ (69 minutes)
This lecture provides a superb account of the historical context of Gramsci’s intellectual and political life from 1914 to 1926.

5. Bob Jessop – ‘The Life and Work of Gramsci’ (62 minutes)
This lecture by Jessop provide a very clear account of key concepts in Gramsci’s thought, but doesn’t put enough emphasis on the context of Gramsci’s intellectual and political life, nor duly acknowledge that Gramsci was a resolutely revolutionary Marxist.

Climate Change and Capitalism

The Titanic:
• To access the 2014 major assessment report (AR5) by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), go to:

If you want to download the most important graphs and figures then go to:

• To access the 2007 major assessment report (AR4) by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),
go to:

• Video showing thinning of Greenland polar ice based on international study using satellite data and photographs from the University of Leeds website.

• See also the British channel 4 news report on the study (2012) at:

• "2012 Record Low Artic Ice Sheet". The Arctic ice cap is melting at a rapid rate and may shrink to its lowest-ever level within weeks as temperatures continue to rise. Al Jazeera's Nick Clark joined an expedition travelling deep into the Arctic Circle to Qaanaaq, in Greenland. Three minute report on the melting of the Arctic ice caps. Well worth watching.

• Very interesting report on the 'carbon bubble' on the Guardian website. Highlights which stock exchange listed companies have the greatest carbon assets and the financial risks that they face if these assets become unburnable due to the introduction of more effective environmental policies addressing the causes of climate change. This also indicates just how powerfully motivated these companies are to lobby governments to prevent them introducting more effective environmental policies to counter global warming.

• Really interesting article in The Guardian: "The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests."

• John Bellamy Foster gives lecture on capitalism and climate change.

• Climate Central - a US based research foundation - has an interactive 'Surging Seas' map that allows you to see the degree of encroachment on land of sea level rises.
Comparative Statistics on Gender Inequality

• UN Women provides lots of interesting and useful comparative data on gender inequality and women's participation in government.

The most recent (2011) Progress of Women report can be downloaded from:

The World's Women 2010: Trends and Statistics can be downloaded from:

The World's Women 2015: Trends and Statistics can be downloaded from:

• Statistics New Zeland bar graphs describing female representation in parliament and local government from 1996 to 2014 can be found at:

Digital Disconnect: Robert McChesney on How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy

• Short 17 minute segment on the capitalist political of the internet with Aaron Swartz and Robert McChesney (from Democracy Now!).

• This is a lecture on capitalism and the internet by Robert McChesney.

He gives another lecture on the same topic at;
Manufacturing Consent 9 Minute Summary:

Amy Goodman: _How_Capitalism_is_Turning_the_Internet_Against_Democracy

Videos on the Global Justice and Occupy Movements

Showdown in Seattle- 'This is what democracy looks like'. Part V of the Indy Media documentary on the global justice protests that successfully shutdown the millenium round of the WTO at the end of 1999. This sparked the dramatic growth of the global justice movement during the first half of the 2000s.

• Occupy Wall Street Video: Global Day of Action, 15OCT
Six minute video focusing on the protests of Occupy New York.

• The Guardian: Occupy Protests Mapped Around The World

• The Guardian: Images of the World Social Forum 2013 in Tunis

• A Twenty Year Programme of Neoliberal Fiscal Austerity?
British Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, said in 2013 that the cuts pushed through by the Coalition did not go nearly far enough. He said that there was a “very long way to go” and added: “This is not a two-year project or a five-year project. This is a 10-year project, a 20-year generational battle to beef up the economy in ways that we have not seen for many, many decades.”

The Neoliberal Critique of Marxism

• Milton Friedman - Redistribution of Wealth Chicago and monetarist economist, Milton Friedman, providing a neoliberal justification of the unequal distribution of wealth in advanced capitalist societies.

• Hayek on Socialism Friedrich von Hayek providing a brief critique of socialism.


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