Course on “Why Marx Matters”

See below for information on an upcoming course, which will be both online from 11/22-11/24 ( and in-person on 11/23 if you are in Philadelphia (

This seminar will elucidate the fundamental tenets of Marx’s philosophy, as well as their importance for understanding and transforming the contemporary world order. It will begin by explaining key concepts like historical materialism, class struggle, alienation, the labor theory of value, ideology and revolution. It will then briefly discuss a few of the important debates in the deep and broad history of Marxism in order to explore some of the ways that Marx’s work has been interpreted and transformed by subsequent generations. Finally, the course will focus in on what Marxist analysis has to contribute to contemporary debates and struggles by demonstrating how it can help us understand phenomena such as the environmental catastrophe, the increasing social inequality of globalization, the carceral state and its relationship to electoral democracy, the military-industrial-academic complex, institutional racism and gender inequality. Although the course will be directed at a lay audience, it will pedagogically build up its analysis in such a way that it will also serve the interests of those with a working knowledge of Marx and Marxism.

Facilitators: Gabriel Rockhill and Emre Çetin Gürer

Friday, November 22
7-8 p.m. EST
Initial meeting, introductions and preliminary discussion (this session will be recorded and made available in the case that participants cannot attend due to work or other obligations)

Saturday, November 23
10 a.m.-2 p.m. EST
Online participation in the lecture Why Marxism Matters

Sunday, November 24
5-6 p.m. EST
Q & A regarding the lecture Why Marxism Matters
6-7 p.m. EST
Final discussion and wrap-up

Readings: (Reader forthcoming)

  • Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 (excerpt)
  • Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, “Manifesto of the Communist Party”
  • Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology (excerpt)
  • Eduardo Galeano, Upside Down (excerpt)
  • Barbara Foley, “Intersectionality: A Marxist Critique”

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