glevy@acnet.pratt.edu (glevy@acnet.pratt.edu)
Tue, 14 Nov 1995 02:49:37 -0800

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Two weeks ago yesterday we began a "working through CAPITAL" approach
suggested by Mike L. and modified to include the possibility of "dynamic
threads" (Paul B.). The procedure, some of which I have excerpted below,
called for us to begin with the "Prefaces" and Part 1, Volume 1 by posing
(and possibly answering) "unresolved questions" that come up in the above
context and relate to our understanding of capitalism.

Since that time (11/30), we have had a number of important discussions
(especially, on method and abstract labour).

A number of problems remain:

1) Before we can discuss the different issues that come up in the context
of Part 1, list members *MUST* specify the issues that they want to see
discussed. This has *NOT*, as yet, happened in a comprehensive way.

2) *More* members must *actively* take part in list exchanges. We must be
more responsive to the questions posed by others for this procedure to
work. While we have been adding new members recently, and while it is
reasonable to expect the newer members to take some time "acclimating"
themselves to the list, more participation and more interaction is
necessary (Let me add that the problem, IMO, is *not with "frequent
posters" and any complaints about frequent posting only tend to make
members more self-conscious and more likely to withdraw from exchanges).

3) All of us are pressed for time and have professional and other (e.g.
political, social) responsibilities. This will mean, in practice, that
participation rates will fluctuate from day to day (yesterday was our
*1st* day when no posts were sent). While we must be aware of each others
time constraints, we also have a responsibility to be responsive to each
others posts [e.g. Chai-on, Paul C., Alan, and Mike L. have all written
posts recently which have received *no* responses. This must change as
we continue.

None of the foregoing implies that we can not discuss other issues (e.g.
as "digressions"), however, we must *FOCUS* our discussion more if we are
to move forward in a timely manner. This requires that all of the above
conditions be met.

In OPE-L Solidarity,

Excerpts from old post describing current procedure:

A proposal that we work our way through _Capital_ systematically
discussing various issues in turn.

1) Let's establish initial timeframes for discussion (like Mike L.
suggested in #327). We can decide to extend or contract those timeframes
as we get into the process.

2) The above procedure should be flexible enough that it allows for list
members to discuss other issues that concern them, especially those
falling under the general umbrella of "extending Marx." This would mean,
in practice, that a number of different threads would be pursued

3) The prospect of beginning with Vol. 1, Part 1 is rather daunting. How
could it be made to work? Let me tentatively suggest the following:

a) For each section of _Capital_ we ask list members for "unanswered

b) As people make suggestions, others can either agree that the questions
are questions _or_ offer *answers*.

c) We allow for an interchange of views on the "questions" and "answers."
The goal should be for us to clearly understand and specify our

d) If we find that we are not in agreement, we agree to disagree by
summarizing our positions and then *moving forward* to the next topics.

If the above was done consistently, we would generate a set of questions
regarding political economy and a set of proposed answers. The object of
all this is to get us to a position where, in due course, we can discuss
the "unfinished" tasks.

I think this could be made to work, but it would require a certain amount
of discipline, in the sense that we will need to keep our discussions
focused, and active participation of many more list members.