glevy@acnet.pratt.edu (glevy@acnet.pratt.edu)
Wed, 31 Jan 1996 12:28:46 -0800

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Allin Cottrell wrote:

> How far did the group get in the "working through Capital" approach?
> Is it worth returning to that, as one way of providing structure?

Here's what happened (in summary form):

1) In September, we had a critical review of Marx's plans for _Capital_
(which, at some point, we might want to return to).

2) The original idea (mine) was to then (following a "brainstorming" that
we had in October) to begin to *list* unsettled questions related to our
understanding of capitalism. The idea was that this would be a prelude to
our discussion of the issues themselves.

3) We had a fair amount of discussion at the time about how to proceed.
One idea was to divide the list into groups that would do the listing.
Many, however, felt strongly that we should keep the list together by
discussing the same topics at once. In the end, we decided to adopt Mike
L's "Working through Capital" approach. I can send you the relevant
posts if you desire.

4) We began, in answer to your question, the above procedure on October
30 beginning with the Prefaces and Postfaces and Ch 1 of V 1. By
mid-December, we were still on Part 1, Volume 1.

5) The above, I suppose, should come as no surprise since I believe
everyone understands that there are fundamental differences among us
regarding method and value.

6) I think that we have to recognize, however, that the "Working through
Capital" procedure didn't work out quite as planned and have to make
adjustments accordingly. This doesn't mean that we have to reject that
procedure. However, at least, it suggests that a modification of
procedure is in order.

> I had floated the idea of value and socialism as a topic for discussion,
> but would be content to wait until it comes up in the context of
> Capital.

My proposal for February, basically, is that we depart from the "working
through Capital" approach and try to concentrate on two issues that we
believe are important. These could be V1 issues or they could be other
kinds of issues.

I believe that it makes a lot of sense to proceed by discussing the more
abstract questions first. However, I also believe strongly that we need
enough flexibility to allow list members to discuss issues that *you*
want to discuss.

Hope that helps.

In OPE-L Solidarity,