Category Archives: Marx

Citizen Marx/Kane

My text on reading Capital in the cinema- with Orson Welles (forthcoming in ‘Marx at the Movies’ – edited collection [email me for details if needed]).

 

The cinema hall as a place to sell Eskimo Pie.

 

‘No matter how many customers there are, it’s still an empty building’ (Orson Welles in Welles and Bogdanovich 1998: 8)

 

This chapter addresses the question of how, today, to start reading that rich book that is Marx’s Capital:– of which an immense, even monstrous, accumulation of commentary on the Marxist mode of literary production appears to have already shaped its elementary forms. In reading Capital, if anything about beginnings should be considered necessary, it is usual to say it is good to start at the beginning – not always of course, but usually to start with what is immediately at hand. Commentaries, primers, prefaces, intros, first sentences, first chapters: start at the beginning and continue on from there. This is itself debated, but my argument is that we can only approach Capital through the already existing commentary, even as we would like to start as if the book were new. And the commentary that exists is not only that which is explicitly marked as such, but also includes all the ideas we have already received about so many things – about Marx, capitalism, communism, exchange, commodities, and so much more. A vast accumulation of things that filter reading, so that it would be naïve to simply say that materialism might start with things themselves, even if it makes sense to start with commodities, the objects that are the souvenirs or detritus of our lives.

 

The key to the beginning of volume one is where Marx starts with ‘a monstrous accumulation of commodities’ [‘ungeheure Waarensammlung’ - translation modified by author], but there are many possible starts and many people don’t get much further than chapter one, or they take chapter one as the ‘proper’ beginning. I want to suggest that there is something more here and so want to begin with something else, or even someone else, who might seem the total antithesis of the celebrated critic of the commodity system. A monstrous figure to expose the workings of monstrosity all the more (the monstrous will be explained). My reading is angular, so I choose a character from a parallel history of commerce, although glossed through a film. I have in mind William Randolph Hearst – moneybags – portrayed by Orson Welles in the classic film Citizen Kane. In this chapter, I want to develop this as an introduction to Capital, through its incarnation in the figure of moneybags Kane, and to begin to get at commodities through a focus on the kind of obscure, miniature, almost irrelevant and insignificant of objects to hand – those baubles and trinkets that mesmerise Kane, and us all.

Read the whole thing here: Citizen Marx-kane.

David McLellan’s para on Marx’s Workers Inquiry

From page 413 of McLellan, David 1973/2006 Karl Marx: A Biography, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan

20140408-145236.jpg

Rumford – some like it hot.

A crater on the moon named after him. Soup maker to the poor. And had a hand in formulating the second law of thermodynamics.

Mentioned by Marx in Capital, here is the entry from wikisoup:

Rumford’s Soup

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rumford’s Soup
Region or state Bavaria
Creator(s) Benjamin Thompson
Main ingredient(s) Pearl barley, dried yellow peas, potatoes, beer
Cookbook:Rumford’s Soup Rumford’s Soup

Rumford’s Soup was an early effort in scientific nutrition. It was invented by Count Rumford around 1800 as a ration for the prisoners and the poor of Bavaria, where he was employed as an advisor to the Duke.

As a reformatory measure, the Bavarian government intended to institute workhouses for those on welfare. Rumford’s charge was to provide the cheapest possible ration that was still a high-calorie, nutritious food.

Recipe

1 part pearl barley
1 part dried (yellow) peas
4 parts potato
salt according to need
Old, sour beer
Slowly boil until thick. Eat with bread.

Rumford’s soup is not noted as particularly tasty, but is palatable with long, slow cooking.

Nutrition and modification[edit]
Rumford’s soup is low-fat, with high protein and carbohydrate content — protein from the dried peas, complex carbohydrates from the potato and barley, and simple carbohydrates from the beer. Thus, Rumford’s soup was close to the optimum solution to the problem of cheap, nutritious food according to the knowledge of the day. Unfortunately, such knowledge did not extend to vitamins or trace elements. As a result, Rumford’s soup was often supplemented by corn or herring to supply Vitamin C and Vitamin D.

History[edit]
Rumford’s soup was a common base for inexpensive military rations in Central Europe for much of the nineteenth and twentieth century.

References[edit]
Molnár T. B. & Bittera Dóra: A gróf sparheltja (The count’s cooking range). Magyar Nemzet, 23 April, 2005.
“On the benefits of thermodynamics”, [1]
Categories: Copy to WikibooksSoups

Capital lectures in Spring term at Goldsmiths starting January 14

Marx Capital lecture course at Goldsmiths ✪

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Lecture course on Marx’s “Capital” at Goldsmiths: everybody is welcome

Capitalism and Cultural Studies – Prof John Hutnyk:

tuesday evenings from january 14, 2014 – 5pm-8pm Goldsmiths Room RHB 309. Free – all welcome.

No fee (unless, sorry, you are doing this for award) – and that, friends, is Willetts’ fault – though the Labour Party have a share of the blame too).

This course involves a close reading of Karl Marx’s Capital (Volume One).
90 minute lectures, 60 minutes discussion
The connections between cultural studies and critiques of capitalism are considered in an interdisciplinary context (cinema studies, anthropology, musicology, international relations, and philosophy) which reaches from Marx through to Film Studies, from ethnographic approaches to Heidegger, from anarchism and surrealism to German critical theory and poststructuralism/post-colonialism/post-early-for-christmas. Topics covered include: alienation, commodification, production, technology, education, subsumption, anti-imperialism, anti-war movement and complicity. Using a series of illustrative films (documentary and fiction) and key theoretical texts (read alongside the text of Capital), we examine contemporary capitalism as it shifts, changes, lurches through its very late 20th and early 21st century manifestations – we will look at how cultural studies copes with (or does not cope with) class struggle, anti-colonialism, new subjectivities, cultural politics, media, virtual and corporate worlds.
********** The weekly course reading guide is here: Cap and cult studs outline013 *************

The lectures/seminars begin on Tuesday 14th January 2014 between 5 and 8pm and will run for 11 weeks (with a week off in the middle) in the Richard Hoggart Building (Room 309), Goldsmiths College. You are required to bring their own copy of the Penguin, International Publishers/Progress Press of German editions of Karl Marx Capital Vol I. We are reading about 100 pages a week. (Please don’t get tricked into buying the abridged English edition/nonsense!)

Note: The Centre for Cultual Studies at Goldsmiths took a decision to make as many as possible of its lecture series open to the public without fee. Seminars, essays, library access etc remain for sale. Still, here is a chance to explore cultural studies without getting into debt. The classes are MA level, mostly in the day – though in spring the Capital course is early tuesday evening. We usually run 10 week courses. Reading required will be announced in class, but preliminary reading suggestions can also be found by following the links. RHB means main building of Goldsmiths – Richard Hoggart Building. More info on other free events from CCS here: http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/what-is-to-be-done/

God Complex

I cannot help but see debates about origins as theological. In religious studies we see two kinds of origin myth – in the Bible there is a God (well ‘the’ god) who intervenes upon the primordial swirl to separate out day from night, land from sea etc., then makes life and says that it is good. According to some anthropology I read way back when, in some parts of Papua New Guinea the ‘god’ is a crocodile who arrives the  with intent to eat men, and in thrashing about by their land, turns the area into swamps and marsh and rivers and land all mixed together. To the extent that men can kill crocodiles they might stop this thrashing about and so create dry land on which to live. See Gregory Bateson The Naven on this.

There is a debate over sovereign power versus the power of security – I read this as related to the theological approaches mentioned above. Agamben as monotheist, Foucault as pagan would not even do it justice as of course the thing is more complicated..

What does this mean for reading capital and the suggestion I made two years ago that sometime we might start reading Capital from section 8, so-called Originary Accumulation, before reading the rest? Reminding ourselves that the process of valourisation is ongoing [that 'so-called' is key].

It is not quite so simple as offering up some version of theological teleology in Marx as having an origin story in accumulation – the accumulation is not only at the ‘start’ just as I do not think his argument so easily fits a binary code of separating capitalists and labour in some co-constituting or contradictory embrace. It is also the case that the flux orientation of multivariant power is not simply randomisation interrupted by strategies of security – there is however agency of the class plausible here too, even as that is more evident against the hegemonic sovereign. Ahh mythology – and different versionings of the origin story, each obscure this possibility or intervening to make things really new. Thus ideology obfuscates.

Quid pro quo – talk at Melbourne Uni

“Quid pro quo’: Marx on India, from the Black Hole to the East of Capital”

John Hutnyk

The paper moves from re imagining Das Kapital if the book had been written at a major point of value extraction – Bengal – and follows this drift to the east up to the present day regeneration of the old East India Docks in London by a Chinese Corporation.

Venue: University of Melbourne, Friday 13 December 2013 (2pm-4 in the 4th floor common room John Medley Building)

paragoric

Abstract: My case is Marx writing on India, examining his theoretical and journalistic work together, each informed by an emergent anthropology, by historical hermeneutics, by a critique of political economy and by attention to a political contest that mattered more than philosophy. Marx reading history, already against the grain and without being able to make actual alliances, is nevertheless seeking allies in a revolutionary cause. Is it possible to observe Marx coming round to realise, after the shaping experience of the 1848-1852 European uprisings, the possibilities for the many different workers of the world to unite? I consider the sources Marx finds available, what he reads, and how his writing practice parses critical support as habitual politics, and how far subcontinental events, themes and allegories are a presence in the key moves of his masterwork Capital almost as if India were a refocussed bromide for Europe, just as slavery is for wages. I will take up four cases – the ‘founding’ of Calcutta by Job Charnock (disputed); the story of Clive sacking Chandernagor and going on to defeat Suraj-ud-duala at Palashi/Plassey in 1757 in retaliation for the ‘Black Hole’ (did it exist?); Disraeli verbosely saying nothing about the so-called Indian ‘mutiny’ 1857 (‘the East as a career’); and the question of legalizing Opium in China and the advent of Matheson-Jardine Company after the East India Company comes to an end (‘quid pro quo’). A coda returns us to London and the redevelopment of the old EIC shipyards in Deptford, returning Capital to the capital.

Citizens: On Marx and Kane: Objects, Commodities, Souvenirs 21.11.2013 Giessen University

Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 20.09.14

 

Note: the same day as this.

Marx Internet archive on farce and repetition.

So, its from Engels…

History Repeats Itself?

Marx never believed that “history repeats itself,” but in a famous quote he said:

“Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” [Marx, 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonapatre, Chapter 1.]

This seems to come from Engels’ letter to Marx of 3 December 1851:

“it really seems as though old Hegel, in the guise of the World Spirit, were directing history from the grave and, with the greatest conscientiousness, causing everything to be re-enacted twice over, once as grand tragedy and the second time as rotten farce, Caussidière for Danton, L. Blanc for Robespierre, Barthélemy for Saint-Just, Flocon for Carnot, and the moon-calf together with the first available dozen debt-encumbered lieutenants for the little corporal and his band of marshals. Thus the 18th Brumaire would already be upon us.”

– words quoted almost verbatim by Marx in Eighteenth of Louis Bonapartre.

Marx makes similar points in Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Introduction.

Possible sources in Hegel are The Philosophy of Right, §347 and The Philosophy of History, §32-33 though another version of this work published as Introduction to The Philosophy of History, published in 1837, said:

“A coup d’état is sanctioned as it were in the opinion of the people if it is repeated. Thus, Napoleon was defeated twice and twice the Bourbons were driven out. Through repetition, what at the beginning seemed to be merely accidental and possible, becomes real and established.”

but this is hardly the point being made by Marx. See The Philosophy of History, where Hegel contrasts Nature, where “there is nothing new under the Sun,” with History where there is always Development.

Marx Capital lecture course at Goldsmiths ✪

#Marx #Capital #lecture #course at #Goldsmiths #GoldsmithsUni ✪

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Public Lecture course on Marx’s “Capital” at Goldsmiths: everybody is welcome

20130918-063732.jpg

Capitalism and Cultural Studies – Prof John Hutnyk:

tuesday evenings from january 14, 2014 – 5pm-8pm Goldsmiths Room RHB 309. Free – all welcome.

No fee (unless, sorry, you are doing this for award) – and that, friends, is Willetts’ fault – though the Labour Party have a share of the blame too.

This course involves a close reading of Karl Marx’s Capital (Volume One).
90 minute lectures, 60 minutes discussion.

The connections between cultural studies and critiques of capitalism are considered in an interdisciplinary context (cinema studies, anthropology, musicology, international relations, and philosophy) which reaches from Marx through to Film Studies, from ethnographic approaches to Heidegger, from anarchism and surrealism to German critical theory and poststructuralism/post-colonialism/post-early-for-christmas. Topics covered include: alienation, commodification, production, technology, education, subsumption, anti-imperialism, anti-war movement and complicity. Using a series of illustrative films (documentary and fiction) and key theoretical texts (read alongside the text of Capital), we examine contemporary capitalism as it shifts, changes, lurches through its very late 20th and early 21st century manifestations – we will look at how cultural studies copes with (or does not cope with) class struggle, anti-colonialism, new subjectivities, cultural politics, media, virtual and corporate worlds.

The lectures/seminars begin on Tuesday 14th January 2014 between 5 and 8pm and will run for 11 weeks (with a week off in the middle) in the Richard Hoggart Building (Room 309), Goldsmiths College. You are required to bring their own copy of the Penguin, International Publishers/Progress Press or German editions of Karl Marx Capital Vol I. We are reading about 100 pages a week. (Please don’t get tricked into buying the abridged English edition/nonsense!)

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Defoe on the right side with the wrong argument – Robinsonade

robinsonIn Capital volume one we have Marx discussing the worldwide immiseration of the proletariat, the introduction of machinery as a weapon of dispossession – and Marx wryly reports that even the British Governor-General in India, William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, in 1834, was forced to lament that: ‘the bones of the cotton-weavers are bleaching the plains’ (cited in Marx, 1867:LW432 P558). Fluctuations of the international market – not so many years earlier, in England, as recent historical research shows, the East India Company was getting it from the other end. Marriott documents the revolt of London weavers in 1697 against the import of cheap dyed and painted calicos which became items of high society fashion. East India House in Threadneedle Street, the Spitalfields home of the Deputy Governor of the Company and Company Governor Sir Josiah Child’s house were only saved from mob demolition by military intervention (Marriott 2011:39). In the years following the English weavers’ revolt, women wearing calico were assaulted in the street and no less than Daniel Defoe championed the weavers’ cause in the 1719 journal The Manufacturer, comparing calico to the plague and destroying families by favouring employment for ‘pagans and Indians, Mohametans and Chinese, instead of Christians and Britains’ (Marriott 2011:40).

Again remembering that Marx also has a soft spot for critiques of Robinsonades (wait to see what footprints Claire Reddleman’s PhD leaves – CCS Goldsmiths),

Marx Trot this sunday, 2.30 archway tube…

People saying wear something red for this – and as its gonna be sunny, wear sunscreen or be redder than red. lal salaam.

Marx Trot this sunday, 2.30 archway tube…

Marx Trot 2013 – July 7 [word to the wise: bring some tinnies in a bag - and some dosh for dinner in China town, and more beer of course - afraid we don't have an Engels to subsidise us this year.]

karl-marx-grave-highgate

All welcome. A day of revolutionary dawdling, pints, and ending up awash somewhere on Tottenham Court Rd… The annual Marx trot this year will be on July 7. Lal Salaam!

We will again be leaving from Archway tube 2:30 pm, then to Highgate Cemetery Marx’s Grave about 3pm – heading across the Heath to the Lord Southhampton pub which was the old man’s local on Grafton Terrace – then onwards to Engels’ house, then to the pub where the Manifesto was adopted by the Communist League, – now a crappy cocktail bar – and more… All welcome (kids could surely come for the first couple of hours – but warning, its a longish walk across the heath between Highgate and the Grafton Terrace HouseBYO libations for the first part.

.

Last year’s trot = http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/marx-trot-2012-july-7-2/

(and links to previous) here: http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/marx-trot-29-5-2011/

Pics of the houses: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/photo/london/index.htm

Other links:

http://www.alphabetthreat.co.uk/pasttense/pdf/communistclub.pdf

The Great Windmill Street venue is where Liebknecht says the Manifesto was adopted by the League of the Just/German Workers Educational Association/Communist League – but some say it was at the White Hart in Dury Lane. In any case Marx lectures on Capital at Great Windmill Street, but see here:http://www.alphabetthreat.co.uk/pasttense/pdf/communistclub.pdf

For Leninists – a diversion on the trot might take in Charing Cross station, and areas near Kings Cross and Pentonville:http://sarahjyoung.com/site/2011/01/16/russians-in-london-lenin/

Dancing the first international! http://history-is-made-at-night.blogspot.co.uk/2009_10_01_archive.html

A pub crawl with Karl http://www.mytimemachine.co.uk/pubcrawl.htm

Marx Trot this sunday, 2.30 archway tube…

Marx Trot 2013 – July 7 [word to the wise: bring some tinnies in a bag - and some dosh for dinner in China town, and more beer of course - afraid we don't have an Engels to subsidise us this year.]

karl-marx-grave-highgate

All welcome. A day of revolutionary dawdling, pints, and ending up awash somewhere on Tottenham Court Rd… The annual Marx trot this year will be on July 7. Lal Salaam!

We will again be leaving from Archway tube 2:30 pm, then to Highgate Cemetery Marx’s Grave about 3pm – heading across the Heath to the Lord Southhampton pub which was the old man’s local on Grafton Terrace – then onwards to Engels’ house, then to the pub where the Manifesto was adopted by the Communist League, – now a crappy cocktail bar – and more… All welcome (kids could surely come for the first couple of hours – but warning, its a longish walk across the heath between Highgate and the Grafton Terrace HouseBYO libations for the first part.

.

Last year’s trot = http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/marx-trot-2012-july-7-2/

(and links to previous) here: http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/marx-trot-29-5-2011/

Pics of the houses: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/photo/london/index.htm

Other links:

http://www.alphabetthreat.co.uk/pasttense/pdf/communistclub.pdf

The Great Windmill Street venue is where Liebknecht says the Manifesto was adopted by the League of the Just/German Workers Educational Association/Communist League – but some say it was at the White Hart in Dury Lane. In any case Marx lectures on Capital at Great Windmill Street, but see here:http://www.alphabetthreat.co.uk/pasttense/pdf/communistclub.pdf

For Leninists – a diversion on the trot might take in Charing Cross station, and areas near Kings Cross and Pentonville:http://sarahjyoung.com/site/2011/01/16/russians-in-london-lenin/

Dancing the first international! http://history-is-made-at-night.blogspot.co.uk/2009_10_01_archive.html

A pub crawl with Karl http://www.mytimemachine.co.uk/pubcrawl.htm

Talk notes for Taipei conference on Time and Possibility, circa December 2009

More notes not written up, not fit for filing ‘cept in the rapt that is WordPress.

20130618-214315.jpg

Marx Trot 2013 – July 7

karl-marx-grave-highgate

All welcome. A day of revolutionary dawdling, pints, and ending up awash somewhere on Tottenham Court Rd… The annual Marx trot this year will be on July 7. Lal Salaam!

We will again be leaving from Archway tube 2:30 pm, then to Highgate Cemetery Marx’s Grave about 3pm – heading across the Heath to the Lord Southhampton pub which was the old man’s local on Grafton Terrace – then onwards to Engels’ house, then to the pub where the Manifesto was adopted by the Communist League, – now a crappy cocktail bar – and more… All welcome (kids could surely come for the first couple of hours – but warning, its a longish walk across the heath between Highgate and the Grafton Terrace HouseBYO libations for the first part.

.

Last year’s trot = http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/marx-trot-2012-july-7-2/

(and links to previous) here: http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/marx-trot-29-5-2011/

Pics of the houses: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/photo/london/index.htm

Other links:

http://www.alphabetthreat.co.uk/pasttense/pdf/communistclub.pdf

The Great Windmill Street venue is where Liebknecht says the Manifesto was adopted by the League of the Just/German Workers Educational Association/Communist League – but some say it was at the White Hart in Dury Lane. In any case Marx lectures on Capital at Great Windmill Street, but see here:http://www.alphabetthreat.co.uk/pasttense/pdf/communistclub.pdf

For Leninists – a diversion on the trot might take in Charing Cross station, and areas near Kings Cross and Pentonville:http://sarahjyoung.com/site/2011/01/16/russians-in-london-lenin/

Dancing the first international! http://history-is-made-at-night.blogspot.co.uk/2009_10_01_archive.html

A pub crawl with Karl http://www.mytimemachine.co.uk/pubcrawl.htm

Capital in Manga

Image

Marx’s own copy of Kapital, page one

20130531-225255.jpg

195 trinketization

Each miniature sculpture, which stands less than a meter (3.3 feet) tall,...

DPA

“Four shades of red: To honor Karl Marx’ 195th birthday, artist Ottmar Hörl set 500 of these sculptures up throughout the philosopher’s hometown of Trier, a city in western Germany near the border with Luxembourg. The different shades are reportedly meant to suggest that Marxism can be interpreted in more than one way.

Political artist Ottmar Hörl captured headlines from away from his hometown of Nuremberg in 2009 when he created garden gnomes performing Nazi salutes. And now he’s back to making what he hopes will be another controversial statement.

Each miniature sculpture, which stands less than a meter (3.3 feet) tall, portrays Marx in the exact same pose, but in different shades of red. “I want to inspire pedestrians to think about Karl Marx in a different way,” Hörl explains while his installation is being set up next to Trier’s historic Roman city gate, Porta Nigra, adding that the German philosopher has often been misinterpreted.”

HT Karen, – from:  Philosopher as Farce: Artist Immortalizes Marx as Garden Gnome  Sebastian Hammelehle

Happy 195th Old Beardo.

420KarlMarx-420x0

Marxism for Beginners

blocksWhy when I look for trinkets for the kids can’t I find the things I assume would be best sellers in a certain bourgie corner of London?

For example, a set of building blocks with pictures of Marx, Engels, Mao…?

 

 

 

Update: And Giles is first with a design, though I had to get him to swap M.N Roy for his inclusion of Gandhi
http://bookleteer.com/publication.html?id=2808

block

On the Courtyard, talk at Tate from January

On 26 Jan 2013, a talk at Tate Modern on the Sharjah Art Foundation Biennale proposed theme of New Cultural Cartographies. My views, given late in the day, reliant on Gayatri Spivak’s hugely influential work, and following talks by the excellent Sarat Maharaj, Yuko Hasegawa and Wael Shawky (interviewed). Slightly combative  and with a slip in putting the Danes in Chandenaggor, it is the talk I wish I could have parsed for Princeton – but that was not recorded, even though some people asked for it (thanks Anisha, Saleh, Ben). Click the picture to get to the Tate link.

Screen shot 2013-04-24 at 23.19.39

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