The Isms of March! Thinking Critically about Society Seminar Series Announced!

We’re back at it again with a series of seminars The Isms of March as part of our Thinking Critically about Society series. We’ll be joined by CSU Monterey Bay professors, local poets, and critically thinkers just like you to help tackle some of the different ideologies and theories that we’ve been hearing about.

Friday 9 March – 7pm: What is Anarchism?
Friday 16 March – 7pm: Understanding Neoliberalism
Friday 23 March – 7pm: Reading Marx
Friday 30 March – 7pm: Exploring Primitivism

Friday 9 March – 7pm: What is Anarchism?
Facilitated by Michael Frederiksen

What do people mean when they say “Anarchism”? Between the international Occupy movement, and questions surrounding capitalism, Anarchism has been a topic that has been much in the media of 2017. This seminar will introduce you to the philosophies of Anarchism through key readings, and then use these philosophies to discuss current events.

Suggested reading for the session:
1.) Howard Zinn – “Anarchism”. FULL TEXT
2.) Emma Goldman – “Anarchism: what it really stands for”. FULL TEXT
3.) Noam Chomsky – “On Anarchism”. FULL TEXT
4.) Encyclopedia Brtiannica, 1905 – “Anarchism”. FULL TEXT
5.) L. Susan Brown – “Does Work Really Work?”, Kick it Over, #35. FULL TEXT

Friday 16 March – 7pm: Understanding Neoliberalism
Facilitated by Sriya Shrestha

In this seminar, we will discuss Neoliberalism, a term for the economic, culture, and social shifts that have occurred in the United States and abroad since the 1970s. Over the last few decades, people all over the world have felt the intense impacts of a changing global economy. Deindustrialization has left once thriving manufacturing communities abandoned and struggling. Wages and benefits for working and even middle-class people have largely stagnated as employment has increasingly become temporary and unstable. Limited opportunities for upward mobility have become even more compromised by decrease in funding for both primary and higher education leading to enormous tuition rises at public universities. Right and left leaning governments have slashed basic services like welfare benefits, affordable housing, and public transportation. Policing and punishment systems have become increasingly punitive, and once abandoned communities have become battlegrounds between wealthy developers and poor residents. Most of us have been impacted by one or more of these shifts, in this seminar we will contextualize these issues within a set of global trends that have fostered inequality and wide-spread social unrest all over the world.

Suggested Reading:

  • “Neoliberalism as Creative Destruction” by David Harvey. Click here for text
  • George Monbiot, “Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems” Click here for text.

Friday 23 March – 7pm: Reading Marx
Facilitated by Stephanie Spoto

Marx and Engels’ theories became the most important political philosophies of the twentieth century, inspiring revolutions all over the world. Though we now maybe are familiar with some critiques of capitalism and some of the language of class consciousness, how might we understand some of the more nuanced aspects of Marxist thought? Why are dialectics and historical materialism and why were these ideas important to Marxist thought?

The readings for this session include:

1.) The Communist Manifesto (Of course) by Marx and Engels. Click here for text.
2.) “Socialism: Utopian & Scientific” by Engels. Click here for the text.
3.) “From Servitude to Service Work: Historical Continuities in the Racial Division of Paid Productive Labor” by Evelyn Nakano Glenn. Click here for text.

Friday 30 March – 7pm: Exploring Primitivism
Facilitated by Jeffrey Erwin

The ethos of Primitivism is based on the philosophical stance that civilization is itself unsustainable both from humanity and the ecology of the planet. Primitivism has also been approached by movements rooted in religious beliefs, psychological, Marxist and social concepts such as intimacy and ownership of production, and by historical and ongoing resistance to the state by hunter-gatherering and subsistence farming societies, either established de novo by social schisms or by indigenous peoples. This discussion focuses on this radical critique of our way of life.

Suggested readings:

1.) John Zerzan – Two Essays – Available here
2.) A Dialog on Primitivism – Available here

The purpose of these seminars is not an attempt to “convert” anyone to a particular way of thinking, but to provide them with a wider range of experiences that may help them to see the world in a different way.

We suggest that you read a few of the articles above, which have been some of the most influential on the subject, but you can read as many or as few as you’d like. Copies of all the articles below can be found on our webpage, or by visiting Old Capitol Books, 559 Tyler Street, Monterey.


Published by oldcapitolbooksmonterey

Proprietor of Old Capitol Books

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