Political education is not only an entry point to united class struggle, but a site to return to again and again for guidance in our anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist organizing. New and long-time comrades and interested community members are invited to join the Political Education Committee’s current ongoing Night School series 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.

All attendees are encouraged , but not required, to examine the texts in our class reader which can be found here. For each module, we’ve identified a primary text to focus on, along with additional supplementary materials that highlight the main themes of the class.

List of calendar links to RSVP to Night School below (more complete details follow):

  1. Class Under Capitalism – Thursday, October 1 at 6 pm
  2. Surplus Value and Exploitation – Thursday, October 15 at 6 pm
  3. Class Struggle & Political Struggle – Thursday, October 29 at 6 pm
  4. Capitalism Today “Late Capitalism– Thursday, November 12 at 6 pm

Module Details

1. Class Under Capitalism – Thursday, October 1 at 6 pm
Our first module will lay a foundation for the entire Class on Class—readings have been selected to introduce and reintroduce members to what we mean when we talk about “relations of production,” why socialists focus on the working class, and why our collective liberation necessarily requires that we go beyond mitigating the harms endemic to capitalism and dismantle the capitalist system entirely.

Recommended Readings 

  • Primary
    • What Keeps Capitalism Going? by Michael A. Lebowitz (p. 14 of reader)
  • Supplemental 
    • “Why Do Socialists Talk So Much About Workers?” with Vivek Chibber (video)
    • The Communist Manifesto: Ch. 1 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (p. 06 of reader)
    • Why the Proletariat? by Hal Draper (p. 19 of reader)

2. Surplus Value and Exploitation – Thursday, October 15 at 6 pm
Our second module 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.

Recommended Readings 

  • Primary
    • Value, Price, and Profit by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (p. 30 of reader)
  • Supplemental 
    • The Contradictory Unity of Production and Realization by David Harvey (p. 62 of reader)

3. Class Struggle & Political Struggle – Thursday, October 29 at 6 pm
In the third course we necessarily ask: How do we free ourselves from this exploitation in an era of global capitalist hegemony? How does working class power manifest in a system where liberation requires nothing short of revolution? And how is that power wielded? The fight against the ruling class begins with the realization of class consciousness – achieved through both economic and political struggle – and the fight for true democracy and liberation is inextricably tied to the fight for dignity and control of the workplace. If the emancipation of the oppressed under capitalism can only be achieved through their own struggle, then the third Class explores the different tools at our disposal to combat this oppression: the union, the strike, and the political party – their strengths, their shortcomings, and their fallacies – in building class consciousness, directly confronting capital, and spreading the revolutionary spirit.

Recommended Readings 

  • Primary
    • Why Class Struggle is Central by Ellen Meiksins Wood (p. 125 of reader)
    • Selections from ‘The Mass Strike’ by Rosa Luxemburg (p. 68 of reader)
  • Supplemental 
    • Liberation Praxis of Social and Political Movements by Enrique Dussel (p. 128 of reader)
    • The Marxist View of Labor Unions by Dan La Botz (p. 92 of reader)

4. Capitalism Today “Late Capitalism” – Thursday, November 12 at 6 pm
The final class takes up critical questions facing the movement, and a discussion of these readings is meant to help us develop strategy and organizational methods that respond to the capitalism of our time. Neoliberalism is a conscious political project of the capitalist class to eliminate legal, political, cultural, and physical barriers to expansion. Deregulation, privatization, and austerity are more than just bad ideas; they are key pillars of the modern social order. Social Reproduction Theory helps us understand the oppressions and alienation we experience and their relationship to capitalism. The perpetuation of capitalism requires a daily and generational renewal of a subordinate class; this is a burden offloaded onto particular sections of that class in the sphere of reproduction (the home). Lastly, the Right to The City allows us to theorize methods of resistance to the developers and financiers to whom the urban landscape – our gentrifying neighborhoods and disappearing common spaces – is a laboratory for commodifying every aspect of life; their neoliberal dream and our everyday nightmare.

Recommended Readings 

  • Primary
    • How Not to Skip Class by Tithi Bhattacharya (p. 162 of reader)
    • Right to the City by David Harvey (p. 178 of reader)
  • Supplemental 
    • Globalization and US Prison Growth by Ruth Wilson Gilmore (p. 145 of reader)
    • Neoliberalism is a Political Project by David Harvey (p. 139 of reader)

Political Education Committee’s Study Series Archive:

We periodically revisit past study series curricula in Night School formats, and previous readers are freely available below: 

Imperialism Study Series (2019)

Building on concepts introduced in the Class on Class, this series examines the relationship between imperialism and capitalism as articulated by leftists thinkers from the 19th century through today. Across installments, this series is designed to highlight the deep and varied theories on the left and create a space for open, healthy discussion.

Socialism & Electoralism Night School Series (2019-2020)

A series of informal Night Schools designed to complement DSA’s local and national commitments to Bernie’s campaign and  engage with this candidacy within the broader context of socialist strategies and perspectives on electoral politics.

Lost Angles: Piecing Together a Socialist LA (2020)

This series is designed to explore leftist perspectives and critical moments in the history of Los Angeles, with the aim of generating a deeper, shared analysis of what a socialist organization like ours should do to build a working class movement oriented towards a socialist horizon in our city.