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Hi folks! It's time for another LCC Field Trip. This time, we'll be hitting up the famous William Morris Gallery in Morris' native Walthamstow in north London. WMG is putting on an excellent exhibition of Chinese state-sponsored art of the Cultural Revolution period in partnership with the University of Oxford. The WMG is a 15 minute walk or a short bus ride from Walthamstow Central station (easy to get to on the extremely speedy Victoria Line). The organisers will be on the front steps of the Gallery from 3:00 PM; look to join them there! If you're late, we'll be inside - feel free to message an organiser to find them. The Gallery closes at 5, so we'll head to the nearby William Morris pub for a drink after. You can also meet us there if you miss the group. --- FROM WILLIAM MORRIS GALLERY: "In 1942 Chairman Mao Zedong declared that all art should serve the worker, peasant and soldier. During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution [masked]) this policy was vigorously implemented. Images of the leader appeared everywhere: bold, colourful posters combined text and image to promote political messages. The predominant colour was red – colour of the revolution – and when Mao was shown it was always amid a glowing light. Traditional landscape styles were reimagined and now incorporated symbols of modern and industrial achievement. Even the traditional folk art of the delicate papercut, used to decorate windows at home, promoted ‘Mao Zedong Thought’. This exhibition displays a selection of Cultural Revolution propaganda posters, revolutionary landscapes, images of the leader and intricate papercuts all of which were collected in China during the 1970s. This is a touring exhibition organised by the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford." https://www.wmgallery.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions-43/cultural-revolution
Welcome to week three! (NOTE: Please use the postcode EC4Y 1DH to find May Day Rooms. People have been having issues with Google Maps.) Last time, we dealt with Sections 1 and 2 of Chapter 1. We all agreed to proceed smoothly and methodically through this first, most important in many ways most difficult chapter - so don't worry, if you're just joining us, you're still coming in at the beginning. For this meeting, please read as much as you can from Section 3 of the Chapter 1 of Capital, 'Commodities' - specifically "A" and "B". We'll discuss what we think Marx is trying to say with this portion of the text, and whether or not we think he's right. We'll also read through the really important bits together. Everyone will have the chance to share their views, even if you just have questions. Section 1 is sub-titled "The Two Factors of a Commodity: Use-Value and Value". Section 3 is sub-titled "The Form of Value or Exchange Value". Find it here or wherever else works for you: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch01.htm#S3 These sections deal with the basic building blocks of the capitalist mode of production according to Marx: the different 'forms' of 'value'. Value for Marx is far more complicated than the liberal economists would have you believe. As we move through Capital, we'll see how social relations under capitalism are fundamentally conditioned by value in its various forms. In practical terms, this means that we live our lives in an endless loop of buying and selling, including the sale of our own time and energy: always at work to create value for someone or something else, but never to create for ourselves. Everything in Marxism rests on understanding the concept of value, which illustrates how capitalism functions, how it is different from previous historical periods, and how it may eventually come to an end. This is therefore an extremely important chapter, and one which has been endlessly debated by theorists and historians of philosophy. Note: in addition to Section 3 of Capital Chapter I, it's worth having a look at Chapter 2 of Michael Heinrich's introduction to Capital. This is very useful for understanding the different debates Marxists and other writers have had about what Marx is doing with Capital and especially in this very important sectiuon. Heinrich's work is available via Monthly Review Press, on Amazon, Abebooks, and in PDF or Mobi form via Libcom. https://monthlyreview.org/product/an_introduction_to_the_three_volumes_of_karl_marxs_capital/ https://libcom.org/library/introduction-three-volumes-karl-marxs-capital Looking forward to seeing folks there! -- ABOUT 'CAPITAL IN DARK TIMES': Times are changing, but in many ways, we live in a world less different from Karl Marx’s than many would like you to believe. Over a century after Marx published his most famous work, Capital, the world still faces war, poverty, exploitation, and cruelty; all justified by interlocking ideologies of bigotry and oppression. What’s new about our time is that this is where it ends: either the world transitions to socialism, or it gurantees ecological and social catastrophe. Much of the world capitalism built may already be beyond saving. Marx’s Capital shows us why, and possibly where to go from here. This year, we’re reading Capital front cover to back. Each meeting is open to everyone, no matter if it’s your first time or your fiftieth.