Marxism-Leninism is a living philosophy – a world outlook and guide to action in working class political action. “There can be no revolutionary movement without revolutionary theory, “ said Lenin, and, summing up revolutionary praxis, declared, “Theory without practice is sterile. Practice without theory is blind.” This course applies this to eight areas of understanding essential for the development of our revolutionary movement, and the Party’s leading role in that development.

Capitalism and ExploitationClass and Class StruggleHow Marxists Understand the WorldThe StateThe Communist Party: a revolutionary partyMonopoly, Imperialism - and Nationalism and Working Class InternationalismSuper-Exploitation and Ideologies of OppressionAlliances and Revolutionary Change

Reading

  • ‘What is Exploitation?’ in Full Marx: Marx Memorial Library
  • Emile Burns, ‘Capitalist Society’ in What is Marxism ?
  • Britain’s Road to Socialism (BRS) – Part 1 Capitalism and Exploitation: ‘A system of contradictions and crisis’ and ‘the general crisis of capitalism’. You will receive a digital copy of the BRS when you sign up for this course here. The full paper copy of the BRS can be purchased from the CP Shop for £3. All purchases of the BRS in book format also receive a digital copy.
  • Robert Tressell, Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Chapter 21 ‘The Great Money Trick’ 25, The Oblong, 45 Great Oration.
  • Robert Griffiths, ‘Introducing Marxism’ – Class 2 – “Capitalist Exploitation & Crisis” You will receive a digital copy of the BRS when you sign up for this course here. The full paper copy of the Introducing Marxism can be purchased from the CP Shop for £3. All purchases of the Introducing Marxism in book format also receive a digital copy.

Discussion Questions

  1. Are the poorest paid workers necessarily the most exploited? Can the highest paid workers inthe most advanced industries be more exploited? What lessons are there in this for ourpolitical work with both?
  2. Is “Ragged Trousered Philanthropists” still useful in illustrating exploitation? How might it be written for the 21st century British State monopoly capitalism?
  3. What is super-exploitation? How does it relate to different sections of workers, and monopoly capital?

Reading

  • Britain’s Road to Socialism  Part 1  ‘The development of Capitalism and Imperialism’ You will receive a digital copy of the BRS when you sign up for this course here. The full paper copy of the BRS can be purchased from the CP Shop for £3. All purchases of the BRS in book format also receive a digital copy.
  • Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto, Chapter 1
  • ‘Class Struggle/Class Prejudice’ in Full Marx: Revolution and Ruling Class:
  • Rob Griffiths, Introducing Marxism’ – Class 3 – “Capitalist Exploitation & Crisis” You will receive a digital copy of the BRS when you sign up for this course here. The full paper copy of the Introducing Marxism can be purchased from the CP Shop for £3. All purchases of the Introducing Marxism in book format also receive a digital copy.

Discussion Questions

  1. Is it true that society today is divided into two great hostile camps? Have occupations“previously held in reverent awe” been proletarianised? How do we analyse increasing levelsof “self-employment”?
  2. How is BRS definition of “intermediate strata” different from subjective notions of a “middleclass”?
  3. Is the level of trade union organisation a good measure of class consciousness? How do communists work to raise the level of consciousness to revolutionary political consciousness, using workers own experience and that of others?

Reading

  • Full Marx, Can Dialectics Explain the World ?
  • Communist Party, Dialectical and Historical Materialism Parts 1 and 2. You will receive a digital copy of the Dialectical and Historical Materialism Parts 1 and 2 when you sign up for this course here. The full paper copy of the BRS can be purchased from the CP Shop for £1.
  • Rob Griffiths, Introducing Marxism’ – Class 1 – “The Marxist World Outlook” You will receive a digital copy of the BRS when you sign up for this course here. The full paper copy of the Introducing Marxism can be purchased from the CP Shop for £3. All purchases of the Introducing Marxism in book format also receive a digital copy.

Discussion Questions

  1. Has the advance of science into the 21st century undermined idealism in political analysis? Give examples of forms of idealism that are influential today. How can they be countered most effectively? Does the ruling class in Britain promote idealism of any kind?
  2. How does Marxist materialism enable us to contribute effectively — and offer a lead — to the working class movement?
  3. Take one or two of the burning issues facing us: austerity, the European Union, racism and xenophobia, the oppression of women, or imperialist militarism and war. How do idealists and materialists view these?
  4. A theory — a system of ideas — can become a ‘material force’ when it grips the minds of the masses, as people recognise it in the light of their practical experience and act on it. Can you think of an example from your experience where this has happened? What was the role of the Communist Party?
  5. Can you think of major changes that have taken place — and were preceded by a process of much? Can you think of any major ‘qualitative’ change in the nature of society that has occurred where there have been no smaller ‘quantitative’ changes leading up to it?
  6. Will reforms necessarily lead to revolution? Can there be revolution without previously achieving reforms?
  7. Britain’s Road to Socialism proposes a strategy for qualitative change, from capitalism to socialist society. What kind of ‘quantitative changes’ would need to take place first, and why?
  8. Consider a local or national issue in which comrades are directly involved. What are the negative and positive sides of the primary contradiction that contains and how can they drive it forward? What in that struggle is dying away, and what is developing? What is disappearing, what is becoming stronger as a result of the struggle? How does the Party organise itself in this perspective?

Reading

  • Britain’s Road to Socialism, ‘Communist Party and Revolutionary Leadership’, pp.45-47. You will receive a digital copy of the BRS when you sign up for this course here. The full paper copy of the BRS can be purchased from the CP Shop for £3. All purchases of the BRS in book format also receive a digital copy.
  • Full Marx, ‘What is Leninism ?’ 
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Picture from Morning Star