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Socialist Night School Planning Retreat
February 10 @ 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Join the Political Education & Policy Committee in planning the next two semesters of night schools–what is our vision for political education for the chapter, how can we be creative in both teaching and learning, how will we integrate the work with chapter campaigns, how will we measure progress, how will we make sure we are capturing all this knowledge.
The retreat will go from 1-5 on 2/10 at the UE Hall. We will try to provide some snacks and refreshments.
As part of the retreat, we want to have a mini-school, on a basic element of socialist thought. To that end we’ll be reading two excerpts, totaling 37 pages (actually less, see below), from Nikolai Bukharin’s Historical Materialism: A System of Sociology. It’s a complex though not overly difficult reading that builds up a Marxist “sociology” and approach to understanding society.
Note that there are two typefaces; you can skip or skim the sections in the smaller font–Bukharin included these in a distinct typeface to mark them off for “advanced” or specialist readers interested in contemporary philosophical debate. You can skip or skim them without missing out on the point of the reading.
Remember the point is to engage the reading and come ready with questions, points of agreement and disagreement, and critiques.
Some questions to consider:
(1) How does the “historical approach to the social science” make socialist analysis different from liberals’ analysis of current and recent events?
(2) What are examples of “contradictions in the historical process” that we see in our current political climate?
(3) What does Bukharin mean by the difference between a “class” and “caste”? How does this play out in the 21st century US?
(4) What is the challenge of dealing with “intermediate” or “mixed” classes?
(5) What are some current examples of the difference between “group interests” and “class interests”
(6) When (and how) does a “solidarity of interests” emerge? How does a “relative solidarity” between classes play out?
(7) How would Bukharin reply to the liberal idea that in a “pluralist” democracy the machinery of government strikes a “balance” between competing forces?
(8) Is Bukharin’s treatment of “inequality within a class” satisfying enough that we can build a working class political education program from it?
See you Sunday!