The DSA Los Angeles Political Education Committee is proud to present The Class on Class! This study series examines a selection of foundational concepts and inquiries, with the goal of more deeply grounding our collective struggle in rigorous socialist analysis. The Class is comprised of four individual yet interconnected modules — each featuring a selection of readings and discussion questions, as well as a presentation followed by opportunity to discuss, dissect & debate these concepts.
Our second module, Surplus Value and Exploitation, will focus on our role as workers in which we survive by selling our time and our labor to the capitalist class. This second module is designed to deepen our understanding of this exchange between capital and labor—the exchange upon which capitalistic production, or the wage system, is founded. Examining and discussing these concepts together will strengthen our ability to more effectively communicate (and thereby advance) our collective class interests by articulating precisely how and why the relationship between labor and capital is an antagonistic, exploitative one. We’ll investigate how value is created and extracted from workers, why unemployment serves capitalist interests, why capitalism cannot avoid periodic crises, and more.
All attendees are encouraged, but not required, to read the associated module texts in our class reader which can be found here.
Primary reading: Value, Price, & Profit (Karl Marx, 1865): Pages 41 – 61 in the Class on Class Reader; Section VI. (Value and Labour) thru Section XIV (The Struggle Between Capital and Labour and its Results).
- This piece is a transcript of lectures Karl Marx gave to the First International Working Men’s Association in 1865. In it, Marx outlines the fundamentals of his theories of surplus value in the form of a polemic against another socialist (Citizen Weston) who followed the classical political economic ideas of David Ricardo. This polemic was written while Capital, Volume I was in preparation – a seminal text which critiques classical economics and transcends its analytical limitations. Value, Price & Profit offers a more concise overview of concepts which are more fully developed in Capital Vol. I.
- Where do profits come from? from A People’s Guide to Capitalism (Hadas Their, 2020)
- The Contradictory Unity of Production and Realization from Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism (David Harvey, 2014); Pages 62 -65 in the in the Class on Class Reader