Marxism 101, Session 2: Political Economy

The goal of this second class of Marxism 101 is to help participants grapple with Marx’s critique of political economy and to think together about work, workers, and social production and distribution of material wealth in capitalist society.




1.  If you had to summarize the excerpt from Marx’s A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, in a few sentences, how would you summarize it?

2.  In A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Marx writes:

No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of the old society.

In what ways might this help to explain how the fall of capitalism predicted in the Communist Manifesto hasn’t yet come to pass?

3. In the Ruthie Gilmore video, what is the political economy of being “documented not to work”?

4.  How does this quotation from Marx in the excerpt from Introducing Marx relate to what Ruthie Gilmore is talking about in her video?

“Along with the constantly diminishing number of the magnates of capital, who usurp and monopolize all advantages of this process of transformation,grows the mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, exploitation; but with this too grows the revolt of the working class, a class always increasing in numbers, and disciplined, united, organized by the very mechanism of the process of capitalist production itself. The monopoly of capital becomes a fetter upon the mode of production, which has sprung up and flourished along with, and under it. Centralization of the means of production and socialization of labour at last reach a point where they become incompatible with their capitalist integument. This integument is burst asunder. The knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated.”


As part of Center for Political Education’s Marxism 101 class, Angelique Gonzales of School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL)  helps participants work through Marxist analysis of capitalist political economy.


A short list of key terms stemming from this class’ core readings.


Along with studying the core materials, we encourage people interested in a deeper dive, to check out the following resources related to the core materials and following themes discussed in this session of Marxism 101.