Marx’s Das Kapital For Beginners

(Steerforth Press 2012)

Marx’s Das Kapital explained in 136 pages with illustrations. The focus is on Volume one of Das Kapital. Chapters on the commodity, value, work, reproduction and crises and commodity fetishism and ideology are explored with contemporary examples demonstrating the continuing relevance of Marx’s critique of the capitalist mode of production. The book follows the broad outline of Marx’s argument starting with the commodity form. Right here in microcosm fundamental contradictions of capitalism can be gleaned, when, as under capitalism, the commodity form is generalised so that everything, especially human labour, becomes a commodity. Marx’s argument tracked the consequences of this momentous historical turning point for workers and society. He showed how the domination of ‘things’, capital, money, machinery, the market in general, flowed from the way our social relationships are organised. With devilish cunning, capitalist social relationships are concealed by this domination of things, with the consequence that our consciousness of the deeper causal forces responsible for why things are as they are, struggles to achieve clarity and finds a thousands different ways of only partially grasping the roots of our problems. Marx’s Das Kapital is a critique of capitalist political economy that provides the essential tools for understanding this system and why its contradictions are so explosive.

Read this article in Tribune on why Das Kapital continues to speak to us today.