Critique of Everyday Life

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February 23rd, 2013 4:00 PM   to   6:00 PM
Critique of Everyday Life
Lisa Maya Knauer & Friends

Are you tired of capitalism (and its good buddies like racism, patriarchy, homophobia and militarism)? Are you tired of the life you find yourself living, a life you're seemingly forced to live? Are you wondering how you can change your relationship to capitalism, change capitalism itself, change your life?

Then join us for a collectively-organized and led reading group on Henri Lefebvre's 3-volume work, The Critique of Everyday Life (1947/1961/1981). Lefebvre (1901-1991), one of the most important Marxist philosophers of the 20th century, argues that everyday life is a crucial site for the reproduction of capitalism -- and therefore, in order for us to make meaningful, radical and lasting societal change, we need to also understand and then revolutionize our own lives. Lefebvre's Critique was one of the key theoretical works that inspired the Situationists, and it also influenced the student revolt of May 1968. We will do a close and critical reading of Lefebvre's texts (in print from Verso books, and also available as PDF files), supplemented by additional materials (such as some key Situationist writings). Our plan is to finish Volume 1 in 6 sessions and then start immediately on the second volume. However, we will discuss the schedule at the first meeting and the pace of readings will be determined meeting-to-meeting by group participants. 

Bi-weekly Saturdays from 4-6 p.m. February 23rd, March 9th, March 23rd, April 6th, April 20th, May 4th. We hope to start Volume 2 on May 18th.

Please read the first two sections of volume 1, 35 pages total, in preparation for the first meeting. Offerings of food and beverage are also welcome.

Session 1: informal introductions and overview, plus discussion of the first two sections of Volume 1, "Brief Notes on some Well-Trodden Ground" and "The Knowledge of Everyday Life", pages 103-137
Session 2: "Marxism as Critical Knowledge of Everyday Life" and "The Development of Marxist Thought", pages 138-200
Session 3: "Notes Written One Sunday in the French Countryside" and "What Is Possible", pages 201-252
Session 4: Forward (1957), pages 3-42
Session 5: Forward, pages 42-99
Session 6: conclusion of Volume 1, and possible supplemental readings

Lisa Maya Knauer has participated in radical politics for pretty much her whole life. She has been involved with the radical educational project now known as the Brecht Forum/New York Marxist School since 1977, as a collective/staff/board member, and leading classes and study groups on topics ranging from writings by radical women to liberation theology to Marx's Capital. She was active in the REPOhistory artists' collective, and was a member of Red Channels. She works with Occupy Sunset Park and the Centro Comunitario de Trabajadores (in New Bedford, MA), and with community radio activists in Guatemala. Somewhere along the way she became a tenured radical, and teaches anthropology, gender and black studies to working-class kids in Massachusetts.

and friends… have participated in the Our Lives Are Not Negotiable and Anti-State Communism reading groups, as well as Red Channels, the 16 Beaver Group, and New York Year Zero/Group Affect, among many other reading groups, collectives, and revolutionary initiatives. and friends… is always growing. In the Fall of 2010 Red Channels organized another reading group at the Brecht Forum around Henri Lefebvre's Right to the City (1968), which culminated in an open discussion with Peter Marcuse (1928-). This group is a continuation of all this and more. 

Sliding scale: $65 - $85
Free for Brecht Forum Subscribers