Planning to create a study group for Capital book 1 and figured it be best to ask for advice before failing...

Planning to create a study group for Capital book 1 and figured it be best to ask for advice before failing fantastically. I've never before held in a study group but for what it's worth I've organised political work and read chapter 1, Engels reviews of capital where he explains the basics of a commodity and "Reading Capital Politically" by Harry Cleaver.

What has been your experiences leading/participating in study groups and what advice would you give?

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You haven't read the fucking books already? what the fuck are you doing here? Hurry the fuck up.

Don't remind me of my sins faggot

OK so I have 2 suggestions:

1. Avoid secondary sources. It's a better use of your time to simply read Capital and try to understand Marx's own arguments. If you need help understanding his vocabulary just use a dictionary plus a glossary of terms like you can find on The reason why you shouldn't read secondary sources is that a) it's faster just to read Capital and b) most secondary sources don't even understand Marx. David Harvey is really popular right now as an "explainer" of Marx but the man doesn't even understand Marx's basic concepts. Stay away from secondary sources!

2. Someone with experience of reading groups or "theory cells" wrote a (fairly longish) guide. I've attached it as a pdf.

3. There's a long thread discussing Capital volume 1 and part of volume 2 on /marx/.

technically that was 1 suggestion and 2 links, but whatever >_>

I'd say, before reading Capital you need to grok Contribution to Critique of Political Economy. Otherwise you might end up with some cargo-cultist nonsense LeftCom preach.

For example, not realizing that "modes of productions" are abstract categories, no different from chemical elements. I.e. you almost never encounter them in pure form.

I get that Marx's works are quite opaque (both due to poor translations and alien concepts - Americans specifically are not taught philosophy and can miss even obvious things), but why would you want to read people who never intended to put their ideas to practice themselves, nor had their works vetted by major movements? Do you not know what backseat driving leads to?

If you want to read secondary sources, read actual Communists (i.e. people who tried to apply Marxism in practice). I recommend this Soviet textbook:
It's not perfect, but it's head and shoulders above "readings" available in English.

Either way, you are strongly urged to cross-reference multiple sources: both Marx himself and his works as they had been interpreted by others - so as to ensure that you understood everything properly.

Finally, don't forget to discuss questionable things and double-check with actual Marxists.


Maybe you should actually read Marx's Capital for once, Ismail.

In general for study groups you want to meet often enough to discuss the text, once or twice a week should be enough for this while going beyond two weeks every meeting will result in more people dropping out. You want to establish a pace based on your slowest reader, for instance when me and some friends were reading the ego and it's own one couple had full time jobs and a kid to deal with so we had to take it slow to fit their inability to read for long periods of time. It's impossible to force someone to read but if for whatever reason they haven't kept up it's better to have them stay and listen to the conversation than to kick them out. Finally you should have discussions about the text and avoid making the reading group just some check in thing, this seems obvious but as time lurches on more than a few turn into this.

For capital specifically, the leftcom makes some good points I'd advise to not buy into memes like you need to read Hegel or the entirety of western philosophy before even attempting to crack open Capital, it's not that complex once you get past some of the autism surrounding linen.

Abstract categories need not being encountered in pure form for them to be able to describe what you actually encounter in pure form as accurately enough. Otherwise there wouldn't be any science beyond the immediate impression of our senses.


Fucking, yes. Do not read some other asshole's hermeneutic of Marx. It will do nothing to help people understand it.

What will really help people get it is reading aloud. It saves a lot of time that would otherwise be spent reading one paragraph over and over again. You will see lights going on in people's eyes.

Don't fall for the memes like "read Hegel before otherwise you won't understand it". Look what this focus on other secondary opinion pieces and takes about Marx done to kids like Muke. Capital is easy to read, the first chapters requires slow and contemplative reading but if you are not a retard and don't aim in remembering every single argument in it you will go through it like a knife through hot butter. It's important to have read Capital so you have digested Marx magnum opus in its purest version (Wage Labor and Capital and Value Price and Profit contain some small mistakes he corrects here). Marx has worked his ass off for this to give the purest and most correct version of his political economy.

That being said, you can read an abridged version, just be careful not to choose one of a "particular school" as these tend to read Marx very selectively in a way that agrees with their interpretation, I would recommend to do so when you are not overwhelmingly interested in the nitty-gritty of economics. There is plenty of philosophical meat in Marx as well, but you need to learn at least the basic principles of Marxist economic analysis.

Not a fan. Marx uses clear terminology and no biblical aphorisms you need to examine.

I wouldn't go that far. Volumn 1 is a slog, and unless you have already read works by other classical economists you will spend a lot of time re-reading paragraphs.

Op here.

Thanks for all the feedback, greatly appreciate it. I tend to agree with the view that it is better to read the man himself. However, I personally had use of Reading Capital Politically (cha.3) where Cleaver explains the two aspects a commodity. I Remember that my translation of capital had a few translation errors that totally changed the meaning of a few arguments in chapter 1 and Cleaver helped me make sense of it.

Also, why wouldn't you want to read Capital in a group setting? Half the benefit is discussing what Marx can teach us today and meeting potential comrades locally.

will this reading group be online or irl? if it's online i'd like to join, if it's irl i'd like advice too because i want to start one at my college

thank you so much for this pdf

what's wrong with muke? have you seen his latest reading recommendations video? he recommends marx and engles and some introductory essays like "Why Socialism" by Albert Einstein (which is the ideal layman's first impression of socialism btw)


Not him, but muke had gotten himself a reputation for meme-tier knowledge of Marxism. IIRC, he later managed to prove himself to be better than Unruhe, but that's not saying much as Unruhe didn't read anything.

I absolutely hate videos.

Reality-check: we are talking about Marxism here.

Offline. In my country there are organisations that will help you set up reading groups and give you small financial compensation. Not much but enough to buy coffee and cookies for anyone attending. Look around if that may be the case for you too.

Because he's got a meme understanding of Marxism and doesn't read the stuff honestly, instead he gets Libcom articles sent to him and then he approaches the text with the preconceived ideas that were brought to him by other people - if he ever approaches a text, that is. Like that same short Libcom article he uses to condemn Lenin or that badly translated Japanese obscure Leftcom article which got BTFO on Zig Forums in a massive thread. He also tried to BTFO Steve Keen on Twitter with a few hot takes while he hasn't even read Capital, which was embarrassing as fuck. That together with his opportunism, sucking up to libs like hbomberguy and Contrapoints, being an "ironic hormone-taking soy-drinking cultural Marxist" bullshit and the fact he is a drug addict and thinks socialism shouldn't have school, etc. - should I go on?