Marxism Reading Group: What is Capitalism?


January 20, 2021 at 7:00pm - 9pm

Many people have encountered Marx's critique of political economy, particularly his discussion of the dynamics of value accumulation. Less familiar are Marxist theories of the precise nature of the capitalist social system–the structures, the institutions, even the very origins of capitalism. This session will initiate a series of discussions about the rise of the world we now inhabit. We begin with one of the most influential and controversial theories of capitalism, Immanual Wallerstein's suggestion that capitalism represents a novel and distinctively modern world system.

Required Reading:
  • Wallerstein, “Medieval Prelude” (The Modern World System, 14-63)
Recommended Reading:
  • Frank, World Accumulation: 1492-1789
  • Lughod, Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350
  • Amin et al, Dynamics of Global Crisis
  • Shaikh, “Capital as a Social Relation”

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About the Series

The Philly Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) Marxism Reading Group meets via Zoom on alternating Wednesdays to discuss issues in socialist theory and strategy. 
Each meeting, we’ll look at a specific topic, including theories of the State, gender, imperialism,hegemony, and the origin of capitalism itself. Along the way, we’ll read some of the most influential Marxist theorists, including Angela Davis, Louis Althusser, Ellen Meiksins Wood, CLR James, and Rosa Luxemburg.



Jarek Ervin ·

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