Why read Capital they said.It’s unintelligible and boring. Besides Marxism is dead.Wouldn’t it be better to throw everything into the anti-capitalist movement against the WTO and big business?
No we said. You should take Capital with you on demonstrations for something to read between police riots. It might have something to say about what kind of capitalism you should be anti. Besides it makes useful padding stuffed down your shorts.
What, all three (or is it four) volumes?You could make a suit of armour out of them – six books in all.
They thought we were joking but we said No never more serious. Marx said that we had to turn the idea of weapons into the weapon of ideas. You’re never better armed than with at least Volume 1 of Capital preferably the hardback edition.

Vol 1 is the best weapon because this is where Marx brings out his heaviest ideas.This is where he explains that the origin of surplus value and profits is in the labour time of the working class. That is a powerful idea because it says outright that capitalism lives off the surplus-labour of the workers.

It’s also a revolutionary idea which motivates us to go all the way to abolish wage labour and capitalist property and fight for socialism. There can be no half measures favoured by middle class greens and/or parliamentary cretins (to use Lenin’s term) bishops and social workers who are anti-bad capitalists and for kindly, caring ones.

Then we add Vol 2 to our armoury.Marx shows that capitalism has to build up a huge banking and state apparatus including the cops and army just to keep the capitalists profits rolling in. So there’s no point just being anti- the World Bank or big governments because they are merely the paid lackeys of the giant MNC’s.

The most powerful weapon of all is in Volume 3 where Marx proves that capitalism cannot survive without massive destructive crises that force the capitalists to destroy wealth, attack jobs and drive down workers’ living standards, health and life expectancy.

So there is no way that capitalism can be tamed, humanised, reformed, prettified or Blairised.To survive the workers have to unite, fight back and take over the ownership and control of the global economy.

If you don’t read Capital and understand it you won’t know this and your ideas will be those that the bosses pay to have drummed into you from childhood by your teachers, Hollywood, Rupert Murdoch, Tony O’Reilly and all.

We are not pacifists. We read Capital every week at:

Labour Forum, Avondale Community Centre. Mondays 7-30/9-30 pm. Next to Avondale Library, Rosebank Rd.

From Class Struggle No 37 February-March 2001

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