What is Capitalism?

Pro-capitalist ideologues link capitalism with abstract democracy and claim that working-class people have the same economic interests as CEOs. The following group discussion helps to explain how capitalism actually works and what that means for the working-class.

In this session, we will begin by watching excerpts from Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story and giving new members a chance to formulate their own thoughts on what capitalism is and why it is so destructive.  We will then proceed from the general to the particular, exploring diverse modes of socialist thought, investigating Marx’s definition of capitalism and class struggle, and approaching Communism as both a social/political goal and an organizing strategy.  This meeting will lay out the principal questions, texts, and modes of thought that we will encounter in later meetings.

Texts to be discussed (no prior reading assumed):

    Michael Moore, Capitalism: A Love Story
    Friedrich Engels, “Socialism, Utopian and Scientific”
    Karl Marx, Capital
    Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, “The Communist Manifesto”
    V. I. Lenin, ‘Left-wing’ Communism... an Infantile Disorder

Selections from each text should be assigned for further reading and discussion.

Subjects to be covered:
1.    Capitalism as a system based on exploitation of the working class.
2.     This gives rise to the class struggle of the working class, which takes on ever new expressions.
3.    Capitalism is now state monopoly capitalism, with globalization and financialization, in the age of computers and the internet.  How this impacts all working people, especially the working class, the racially and nationally oppressed, women, youth
4.    The relationship between the struggle for reforms and socialism.

Discussion questions:
1.    Can there be capitalism without the class struggle? Why not?
2.    What are the most important  developments of capitalism impacting the lives of working people? Do they impact all working people equally? Why not?                                                                                    
3.    There is a big rising tide of struggle led by labor. But these struggles have not yet improved the lives of working people. Is it a waste of time, struggling for reforms? Why not just go for socialism itself?

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  • Our societies are corrupted, our economies are weak and vulnerable. Our population is scared and becomes more stupid year after year. We degrade. People in every country want to live a calm life with enough food to eat and clothes to wear. We don't really care about whether it is capitalism, communism or monarchy rules.

    Posted by William Miller, 04/11/2013 9:28am (5 years ago)

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