Thursday, 20 May 2010

Next Session: 'The Production of Absolute and of Relative Surplus-Value':

Joseph Choonara, former deputy-editor of International Socialism Journal, will introduce a discussion on:

‘The Production of Absolute and of Relative Surplus-Value'.

Tuesday May 25th
F-WB 2.80
Waterloo Campus KCL

"From one standpoint, any distinction between absolute and relative surplus-value appears illusory. Relative surplus-value is absolute, since it compels the absolute prolongation of the working-day beyond the labour-time necessary to the existence of the labourer himself. Absolute surplus-value is relative, since it makes necessary such a development of the productiveness of labour, as will allow of the necessary labour-time being confined to a portion of the working-day. But if we keep in mind the behaviour of surplus-value, this appearance of identity vanishes. Once the capitalist mode of production is established and become general, the difference between absolute and relative surplus-value makes itself felt, whenever there is a question of raising the rate of surplus-value."

N.B. We will be reading Part V (chapters 16-18) for this session.

Monday, 3 May 2010

'Machinery and Modern Industry'

Nicholas Beech, a PhD student from University College London, and Ken Kobayashi of the Reading Capital group will introduce a discussion on:

‘Machinery and Modern Industry'.

Tuesday May 11th
F-WB 2.80
Waterloo Campus KCL

"John Stuart Mill says in his “Principles of Political Economy":

“It is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day’s toil of any human being.”

That is, however, by no means the aim of the capitalistic application of machinery. Like every other increase in the productiveness of labour, machinery is intended to cheapen commodities, and, by shortening that portion of the working-day, in which the labourer works for himself, to lengthen the other portion that he gives, without an equivalent, to the capitalist. In short, it is a means for producing surplus-value.

In manufacture, the revolution in the mode of production begins with the labour-power, in modern industry it begins with the instruments of labour. Our first inquiry then is, how the instruments of labour are converted from tools into machines, or what is the difference between a machine and the implements of a handicraft? We are only concerned here with striking and general characteristics; for epochs in the history of society are no more separated from each other by hard and fast lines of demarcation, than are geological epochs."

N.B. We will be reading chapter 15 for this session.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

David Harvey - The Enigma of Capital - King's College London 27 April 2010

David Harvey - The Enigma of Capital - Kings College from swpUkTv on Vimeo.

Between two and three hundred people came to King's College London last Tuesday 27 April to hear Marxist geographer David Harvey speak on 'The Enigma of Capital' and the crisis of capitalism. The meeting was jointly hosted by the King's Reading Capital Society and the Centre for European Studies.