Political Education Events

Greetings, comrades! We have two exciting political education opportunities coming up – send us an email if you have any questions about content or accessibility!

Wednesday, June 5 – 5:30pm-8:00pm
Meet us at the Highland Square Branch Library to discuss The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. If you are interested in the mass incarceration system, systemic racism or fighting white supremacy, this is the session for you! Don’t worry if you haven’t finished the book – the discussion can still be very informative and eye opening. Access a pdf of the reading here.

Thursday, June 13 – 6:00-8:00pm
Meet us at the Goodyear Branch Library to discuss this month’s Socialist Night School topic – Social Reproduction. We will be discussing two texts: an excerpt from Lise Vogel’s Marxism and the Oppression of Women: Towards a Unitary Theory and an adaptation of Julia Ott’s lecture “Slaves: The Capital that Made Capitalism” from the series Rethinking Capitalism, a course taught at The New School for Social Research.

One of our members has generously offered to provide recordings for each of our Socialist Night School readings – below are links to the text and audio versions of each reading, along with discussion questions to consider.

Vogel – Text
Vogel – Audio

Ott – Text
Ott – Audio

Discussion Questions:

  1. Capitalism is primarily understood as a socio-economic system constructed upon the principle of wage labor. How does each text expand that definition? Discuss surplus labor, the domestic component of necessary labor, and slave labor as forms of unpaid work that sustain/helped form the capitalist system of production.
  2. Social reproduction in capitalist societies generally refers to the maintenance and renewal (or replenishment) of exploitable labor-power. Through what processes — what types of ‘work’ — is this accomplished? What does it mean to say that they unfold outside capitalist production proper? Do you agree? In what ways can they be said to be a constitutive dimension of capitalist societies?
  3. With regard to the domestic caregiving function historically assumed by women, how does the division between wage work and necessary yet unpaid labor reinforce multiple systems of oppression? Give examples of how patriarchal and class-based modes of oppression are often fused. Do you consider feminist struggles to be a vital part of the fight for socialism? What are some important fronts of struggle for socialist feminists?
  4. Discuss the role played by plantation slavery in the emergence of industrial capitalism. How did it give rise to modern finance, new industry, as well as wage labor in the 18th century? Did Julia Ott’s account alter your understanding of a) where and when capitalism originated, and b) the forms of oppression capitalism relies on? By extension, how might we think of immigration (including guest worker programs) as a modality of social reproduction?
  5. Over time, the extent of state intervention in social reproduction has increased, especially since the advent of the welfare state (education, housing, and healthcare being just a few – if important – areas of intervention). How has the terrain changed under neoliberalism? What kinds of struggles can we wage as democratic socialists in these areas so as to transform, and not merely accommodate, capitalist accumulation?
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