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Self Education in Glasgow

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A marxist reading group has been established in Glasgow. Tom Coles makes the case for self education to inform the struggle for social change.

What is causing the changes we see around us? Rising unemployment, the gradual reduction of benefits, more restrictions on the dole? Buying the things we need to live gets more expensive, but our pay never gets higher, and, as per usual, women get paid even less than men.

During the current crisis many of us have looked around for a way to begin to understand what is happening. The newspapers lurch from analysis to analysis as politicians lurch from crisis to crisis. It is not just our politics and economics which are flailing, it is our tools to understand them that are partial and incoherent.

In Glasgow there has always been a long tradition of self education. What we learn at school, college, university and in workplaces is a set of skills and knowledge considered appropriate for our role in society. In times of upheaval this is not enough. When we come together outside these institutions we are free to study not only the things we enjoy, but also the skills and knowledge that are required to try and change our situation to something better.

We have tried to put together a list of the politically-oriented reading groups as a Glasgow Self Education Resource. Over the past year there have been groups on German Critical Theory, Hegel’s Phenomenology, Marx’s Capital, and the Italian Autonomy Movement. I’m sure you know of more, if so please let us know.

Coming up soon are some reading groups specifically covering the key works of Karl Marx (1818-1883). To keep up to date with these please email to be added to our mailing list:: [email protected].

Intro to Marx – STARTING NEXT WEEK, 4 weeks, 4 texts, June – July, Kinning Park Complex
Capital Volume 1 – September
Capital Volume 2 – September
Grundrisse – TBC

These reading groups are based first and foremost on what the text in front of us is saying, and we hope to provoke new and interesting interpretations for each other. We are a loose group of interested people – not a political organization. We try to hold events in appropriate locations, and there is no charge for attending. At times there may be a small charge (a few pounds) for use of the space.

There is a huge weight of influential interpretation surrounding these works, we will not be overawed by them. There are times when a solid return to Marx, and a return to other key texts and thoughts, is essential. It may be that we are currently living in such times.

Information for Intro To Marx, June – July

This reading block on some of Marx’s writings has been set up to explore some of the main themes developed in his work. Each article provides a framework and background to his thinking in key areas such as: history, dialectics, political economy and democracy. The point of the group is to help provide an introductory map to some of Marx’s thought in a way that will support a better understanding of his work, and hopefully suggest ways in which his thought can be put to use in the present.

The group is not about showing off expertise or knowledge, but openly exploring Marx’s work and sharing what knowledge we have supportively and collectively. We aim to create a situation where being ‘caught learning’ isn’t a crime. We don’t claim to have all the answers, and we don’t claim Marx has them either, but we do think there is much to be gained from reading him. We are not a party or a Marxist group, just some people brought together by an interest in learning and a critique of capitalism and all it entails.

In each reading session, we will progress through the articles in a structured way, allowing everyone to discuss, share and learn from the basic ideas emerging from it. The intention is that through knowledge sharing, we can ensure that everyone has a basic grasp of important concepts. Structure and loose facilitation are designed to encourage a close examination of each article, encouraging a broad understanding of key themes, and as much participation as possible.

From 7-9pm at Kinning Park Complex (near Kinning Park subway station).

June 26th  Historical Materialism – ‘The German Ideology’, 1846 (read pages 1-43)
July 3rd  Dialectical Method - ‘Theses on Feuerbach’, 1845, (3 pages) and ‘Fragment from the Afterword to the 2nd German Edition’
July 10th Politics and Critique of Political Economy – ‘Critique of the Gotha Program’, 1875 (24 pages)
July 17th Politics and History - ‘The 18th Brumaire of Louis Boneparte’, 1852 (68 pages)

One Response to “Self Education in Glasgow”

  1. Felix Slavin says:

    I am interested in coming along to the reading group on the Dialectical Method, July 3rd at Kinning Park Complex and wondering whether it is an open event, I must pay, or must I register for it so I can attend.

    Thank you

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