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New Canadian International Labour 10-Minute

150 Years of Marx's Capital

19 March 2017.


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This is a collection of videos dealing with Karl Marx's Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. This playlist starts with an audio recording of Capital Volume 1. And here's a link to the text of Capital.

It is 150 years since Karl Marx published the first volume of Capital: A Critique of Political Economy in 1867, with the two subsequent volumes coming out under the editorship of Friedrich Engels over the next decades. As its subtitle suggests, Capital is a masterful appraisal of the ‘vulgar’ defences of capitalism focused on exchange and markets and the more ‘scientific’ accounts of classical political economy highlighting the production of an economic surplus and its distribution between the social classes. Capital is, however, foremost a dissection of the historical social relations and mode of production of capitalism. From its initial publication, Marx's Capital steadily gained prominence as the indispensable point of departure for understanding the inner workings of the capitalist system – its modes of exploitation and appropriation of the economic product produced by the working classes, the relationship between the workday, the wage and the social reproduction of the working class family, the continual drive toward technological change, the production of armies of surplus labour, and the social forces polarizing the accumulation of wealth on the one side and poverty on the other. These themes and concepts remain critical guides to understanding our times and the contradictions lived daily under neoliberal capitalism. It is hardly necessary to point out their relevance for dispensing with the theoretical schemas that dominate the bourgeois media and the economic policies of capitalist states. If capitalism has considerably evolved since Marx’s time, Capital retains its importance as a theoretical testament to the unfreedoms, inequalities and crises produced by capitalism and a political manifesto for a democratic socialism as the necessary route forward.

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Global Intern Strike!

20 February 2017.


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On February 20th, young people across the world will come together to push for an end to the exploitative and exclusionary practice of unpaid internships. Decentralised actions will take place in a range of cities, to call on employers and leaders to ensure that quality intern opportunities are paid and accessible to all - regardless of their socioeconomic background.

There is an increasing tendency around the world to hire interns, often without pay and with very little possibility of achieving a real education or a stable job. In the last few years, the rise of the intern economy has attracted the attention of journalists and activists; sociologists, however, are still paying inadequate attention to this phenomenon and its causes. This inattention contributes to a growing ambiguity surrounding the term ‘internship’, making it difficult to understand its aims and to evaluate its abuses. In other words, sociological analysis is very much needed not only to explain the explosion of the intern economy, but also to develop a critical compass to raise awareness about the uses and abuses of internships.

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If You Don't Understand the Second Product, You Understand Nothing About Marx's Capital

Athens — 14 January 2017.


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The following talk was given at the International conference “150 years Karl Marx's Capital - Reflections for the 21st century” held in Athens, Greece on January 14-15, 2017. Organized by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - Athens Office in cooperation with Theseis, the conference discussed the actuality of Marx's theoretical system of the critique of political economy 150 years on from the publication of Capital Volume I.

In this presentation, Lebowitz notes: “Unfortunately, for many who have followed Marx in name and others who never pretended to do so, there is only one product – the change in circumstances, the change in the object of labour. The second product – the change in human beings, the change in the subject of labour – is ignored. The political effects of this blindness can be seen everywhere. In the countries of ‘real socialism’ where the absence of self-government and self-management produced a working class with neither the capacity nor the will to prevent the restoration of capitalism. In the social democrats who, convinced that they are cleverer than capital, use the strength of the working class as a credible threat in their negotiations rather than as a force to be built and built and, accordingly, emerge from the most disgraceful defeats as immaculate as they were innocent. In political parties of the left which, rather than treating social movements as multiple sites for developing the capacities of the working class, view them as fertile ground for the recruitment of cadres for their disciplined phalanxes and celebrate in their solitary gatherings the distilled purity of their brands and their preparedness for the next October. It is not only political practice, however, that has suffered from the eclipse of the second product. Without an understanding of the centrality of the key link between human development and human capacity, we are blind to the limitations of Marx's Capital.”

Michael A. Lebowitz is professor emeritus of economics at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, and the author of The Contradictions of “Real Socialism”: The Conductor and the Conducted, The Socialist Alternative: Real Human Development, Beyond Capital: Marx's Political Economy of the Working Class, Build It Now: Socialism for the 21st Century and Following Marx: Method, Critique, and Crisis. His latest book is The Socialist Imperative: From Gotha to Now.


LS #Date PublishedTitle 
203. 2 February 2014 Building New Parties or Building Direct Democracy?
This forum was part of the 2013 World Peace Forum in Vancouver. Chaired by Ingo Schmidt. Presentations by: Michael Lebowitz, Roger Rashi and Tara Ehrcke. Recorded in Vancouver, 2 November 2013.
202. 26 January 2014 Book forum: Empire's Ally: Canada and the War in Afghanistan
This forum was part of the Canadian Peace Alliance convention weekend in Toronto. Chaired by James Clark. Presentations by Greg Albo, Todd Gordon, Angela Joya and Jessica Squires.
201. 19 January 2014 Trade Unions, Pensions, Corporations, and the State
Given the labour movement's opposition to privatization and positive support for significant public infrastructure renewal, how can labour movement pension activists and trustees support an agenda that actually shrinks the power of private finance in shaping such investments and expands the role of public and democratically accountable institutions to play this role instead?
200. 12 January 2014 The Rise of Finance
One of the emerging features of the neoliberal landscape has been what many have come to label "financialization." What do the "rise of finance" and financialization mean for trade unions, and especially those that name trustees to represent them on governing boards? Are there alternatives to sending union representatives and trustees to the usual business schools for "training" in how to navigate this new world?
199. 5 January 2014 Anarcho-Syndicalism Burns, Taodhg and Marc Young
A discussion with Taodhg (AKA Tim) Burns and Marc Young about the politics of Anarcho-Syndicalism, its history, and modern application. Recorded in Toronto, 22 December 2013.
198. 29 December 2013 Luxemburg, Lenin, Levi: Rethinking Revolutionary History Riddell, John; Paul Kellogg
Presentations by John Riddell and Paul Kellogg. Recorded in Toronto, 14 December 2013.
197. 22 December 2013 Global Labour Migration
A meeting, designed as a dialogue, to build greater solidarity between the labour and migrant justice movements in their shared struggle against workers' exploitation by global capital.
196. 8 December 2013 Launching the Socialist Register 2014: Registering Class
The 50th volume of the Socialist Register is dedicated to the theme of 'registering class' in light of the spread and deepening of capitalist social relations around the globe. Recorded in Toronto, 24 November 2013.
195. 1 December 2013 Socialism and Feminism Bakan, Abbie; Sue Ferguson
Presentations by Abbie Bakan and Sue Ferguson. Recorded in Toronto, 16 November 2103.
194. 24 November 2013 Pension Funds and Privatization Mehra, Natalie; Brian O'Keefe; Graham Cox
Nearly all of the largest pension funds in Canada have moved aggressively into financing what they call infrastructure, or alternative asset classes that include various kinds of public infrastructure that have been either privatized outright or restructured into a partnership structure which, critics argue, produces guaranteed (and monopolistic) profits for private owners and managers of infrastructure, with many of the risks still borne by government or public sector entities.
193. 23 November 2013 Afghanistan: Perils and Possibilities Podur, Justin
This lecture by Justin Podur is based on a trip he made to Kabul in March 2013 and his chapter in the 2013 University of Toronto Press book, Empire's Ally: Canada and the War in Afghanistan. Recorded in Toronto, 28 October 2013.
192. 10 November 2013 The Hidden History of Workplace Resistance: U.S. Autoworkers Speak Out Shotwell, Gregg; Sean Crawford; Scott Houldieson
Three prominent UAW shop floor activists (Sean Crawford, Scott Houldieson, and Gregg Shotwell) describe current life on American assembly lines and keeping resistance alive. Organized by the Labour Committee of the Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly. Recorded in Toronto, 26 October 2013.
191. 3 November 2013 Fiduciary Duty: A legal shield for corporate capitalism? Weststar, Johanna; Simon Archer and Murray Gold
Session 3 of the "Pension Fund" series -- this panel focuses on those situations where trade unions have the power to name trustees to pension trustee boards, and examine more closely what the expectations are of both nominating unions and the trustees themselves.
190. 27 October 2013 Understanding Globalization Gindin, Sam; David McNally
Presentations by: Sam Gindin, co-author with Leo Panitch of The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire; and David McNally, author of Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance. Recorded in Toronto, 19 October 2013.
189. 20 October 2013 Trade Union and 'Progressive' Strategies Soederberg, Susanne; Jim Stanford
It is noteworthy that as finance has been on the 'rise', some activists began to formalize anti-corporate and targeted activist campaign strategies through pension and personal investment funds. In Canada and the U.S., several faith organizations began to argue that anti-social corporate behaviour should be, in some sense, sanctioned by individual investors and ultimate owners, on the basis of social principle or humanitarian values.
188. 6 October 2013 From Pension Fund Socialism to Pension Fund Capitalism?
Peter Drucker's famous 1976 warning that the growth of workers' pension funds was leading to 'socialism' in the United States has not aged well. This conception inspired many trade unionists and some on the left, and led to various experimental proposals for seizing 'worker control' of finance and the economy via the pooled savings of workers, whether in pension funds or in individual savings.
187. 29 September 2013 Tied in a Knot - discussion with the director Kukreja, Reena
This documentary examines the newly emergent phenomenon of bride buying and commoditization of the female body in India, and the attendant gender based violence that the sourced, bought, or trafficked brides undergo in their marital homes. Years of repressive social morés that promoted girl dispreference is now seeing men from these regions breach customary rules and travel to distant poorer regions of India to find wives.
186. 15 September 2013 Prime Your Mind for Resistance to the 'Right to Work' Lie
Bankers get bailed out, corporations get incentives, workers get attacked... and 'right to work' laws threaten to take this much further. A GTWA labour forum with John Cartwright, Sonia Singh, and Sam Gindin. Recorded in Toronto, 12 September 2013.
185. 1 September 2013 How Tar Sands Threaten Our Communities
Concern is growing. Word is getting out about Enbridge Corp.'s plan to convert an aging cross-Toronto pipeline (Line 9) to transport a toxic mixture of bitumen (tar) and chemicals. Hundreds of East End Toronto residents have expressed alarm about the dangers of a spill and the effect on climate change. Recorded in Toronto, 25 August 2013.
184. 18 August 2013 France: One year after the Sarkozy defeat
François Hollande and his Socialist Party came to power following presidential and legislative elections in May-June 2012. While the defeat of hard-right president Nicolas Sarkozy and his UMP party certainly came as a huge relief, Hollande and his government have essentially pursued the same agenda as the defeated forces of the right and have plummeted in the opinion polls.
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